Effects of Red Bull Energy Drink on Short Term Memory – Annika Swenson and Allison Bichler

Annika and Allison studied the two active ingredients in the Red Bull Energy Drink, taurine and caffeine. They wanted to know if students who ingested these ingredients had any change in short term memory. Their results were published in the Amino Acids Journal in 2006 (see citation below).

Red Bull energy drink has become extraordinarily popular amongst college students for use as a study aid. We investigated the combined effects of Red Bull’s two active ingredients, caffeine and taurine, on short term memory. Studies on the effects of these two neuromodulators on memory have yielded mixed results, and their combined actions have not yet been investigated. In this double-blind study, college student subjects consumed either caffeine and taurine pills or a placebo and then completed a memory assessment. Heart rate and blood pressure were monitored throughout the testing period. The combination of caffeine and taurine had no effect on short term memory, but did cause a significant decline in heart rate and an increase in mean arterial blood pressure. The heart rate decline may have been caused by pressure-induced bradycardia that was triggered by caffeine ingestion and perhaps enhanced by the actions of taurine.

Bichler, A., A. Swenson, and M.A. Harris (2006). A combination of caffeine and taurine has no effect on short term memory but induces changes in heart rate and mean arterial blood pressure. Amino Acids 31:471-476.