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Of Rum and Red Bull

Of Rum and Red BullI do not always keep up with popular music, but recently I heard a song by Beenie Man, "Rum and Red Bull," in a night club advertisement. Apparently the song is is very popular, but not quite as popular as the drink, or indeed the mix.

Since young men and women all over the world started to believe the myth that combining alcohol and Red Bull can increase sexual performance, the practice has taken off with wings. The reality is, the only sexual performance that it enhances is risky sexual behaviour.

A lot might be known of alcoholic drinks, but what is  known of Red Bull?

There is a Thai energy drink called Krating Daeng that has been reputed to make one as strong as a bull. In 1987, an Austrian company created an adaptation of this drink, which is now the world famous Red Bull.

The ingredients in Red Bull include taurine, glucuronolactone, caffeine, B vitamins, sucrose, and glucose. Additionally, the sugar-free version contains aspartame, acesulfame K and sucralose (which means in reality, it is not sugar free) and the cola version has trace amounts of cocaine.

Far from giving you wings, Red Bull on its own has quite a number of detrimental health effects, even before you combine it with alcohol.

In the first place, taurine has not been definitively proven to be an energy booster. Although it is often called an amino acid, (building blocks of proteins) it lacks a key chemical group that makes up amino acids.


It was banned in France, Norway, and Denmark after it was believed to be linked to several deaths. Although the ban was eventually lifted, a study at Weill Cornell Medical College concluded that it does have an unnatural effect on certain areas of the brain and may be responsible for the "crash" that one feels after Red Bull binging.

Glucuronolactone is a substance known to disrupt restful sleep, and its constant use may force one to resort to unnatural methods in order to sleep well. These methods often include the use of drugs such as Restoril and Ambien, which can be very addictive. Synthetic glucuronolactone can only be legally obtained by prescription in several countries, including Canada, England, Germany, and France.

Caffeine is a stimulant which affects heart function, alters vascular flow, and overstimulates digestive and hormone functions. As a result it throws your energy balance off and eventually causes organ failure. Ultimately like other stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, caffeine slows you down.


The dangers of refined sugars are almost not disputed. They contribute to diabetes, depression, thought dysfunction and obesity. And the cravings they create can make their use addictive, just like alcohol and tobacco use is.

Aspartame and other sugar substitutes (used in the so called sugar-free version of Red Bull) are considered chemical poisons and extremely toxic to the brain. They have a similar effect to that of MSG.

Because of the trace amounts of cocaine in the cola version of Red Bull, this drink was banned in more that 10 of Germany's 16 states by May 2009.

A study reported by ScienceDirect in July 2008 found that healthy young people who drink one regular (250 ml) can of "sugar-free" Red Bull raised their immediate cardiovascular risk to levels of people with serious heart disease. And a case reported in the UK Herald in June 2009 linked the death of a 21-year-old epileptic girl to her consumption of only four cans of Red Bull.

While Red Bull might be bad enough on its own, in combination with alcohol the dangers are multiplied. Many people believe that the motor impairment that alcohol causes can be reduced by Red Bull. In other words, they believe even if they are intoxicated with alcohol they can effectively go and drive their car as long as they drink enough Red Bull.


That myth was debunked by Dr Amelia Arria and Itai Danovitch in a study in 2010. They found that young people who believe this myth put themselves in great danger, believing they are less drunk than they really are. Effectively, they become energetic alcoholics without inhibitions.

The impulse control centres in their brains are numbed, but their bodies are "fast". Hence, irrational behaviours are carried out with even more reckless abandon. This explains why high risk sexual behaviours (not sexual performance) are enhanced.

The study concluded that young people who mix energy drinks and alcohol run a much higher risk of becoming alcohol dependent. Logically, they are at higher risk for developing diseases associated with alcohol dependence, such as liver failure and mental illness.

What save Beenie, might just hang you. Rum and Red Bull is a dangerous mix. The only wings it will give you are those to fly to the hospital or the funeral home.

Dr Jerry Simon (NSA Medical Surgical Rehab Centre, 268 462 0631, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

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19 Comments In This Article   

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RE: Of Rum and Red Bull

#19 86boi » 2011-10-26 17:36

I truely haveta disagree... I have had sex 3 times while on red bull(2 16ounce cans) and a lil bit of vodka and it had me goin fa 2hrs straight. no stoppin!!!
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86boi

#18 Englishladybug » 2011-01-25 07:58

Thanks Doc, I agree with you 100%. Please send this article to the"Daily Observer " for all to see. :)
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Englishladybug

wow

#17 Cherilyn Adolphine » 2011-01-24 01:28

great article ...will recommend reading it to my young co-workers.
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Cherilyn Adolphine

Thanks Doc.

#16 Proud ANU Queen » 2011-01-24 00:29

Excellent article; my question is, how do we distribute this information to those who really need to read it? Dance Hall Artists and all entertainers need to realize that some of our youth are gullible and vulnerable and look to them as role models, so their lyrics and behaviour should be more positive...I guess "positive" is not a money maker, huh?
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Proud ANU Queen

RE: Of Rum and Red Bull

#15 J. Simon » 2011-01-23 14:59

Maybe it was a bad metaphor. But when I mentioned Duly changed his tune and lyrics I was not referring to any particular song.
I was referring to the contrast of glorifying the message of Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll and his later work for UNICEF warning against promiscuity and unsafe sex.
This is something he did after HIV became a world issue.
Although Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll was not originally coined by him, that was considered a signature song for him. So no doubt his film-biography was appropriately called such.
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J. Simon

#14 Reality » 2011-01-23 14:18

Ian was one of the early proponents of condom use, to curb AIDS, (as a disabled victim of childhood polio, he had a better understanding of disease than most), but he was straight, not on the "down low" like the "jump and wave" crowd. He died of cancer, not AIDS.

I doubt his heirs and estate would have allowed his authorized film-biography to be called "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" if the lyrics had been changed, let alone his tune.
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Reality

@ Pellucid

#13 J. Simon » 2011-01-23 14:17

Thanks for your comments, but most of the problems in medicine can not be separated from politics, economics and sociology.
I wonder if you listened to your Minister of Health when he chided a public health official for doing his job in trying to prevent diseases.
Health is about society and in the history of medicine changes (negative or positive) are not made without political will or economic backing.
Cuba is a case in point, the country pond issue is another; as well as the Tuskegee Experiment.
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J. Simon

@ Same old

#12 J. Simon » 2011-01-23 13:49

In the late 70s Ian Dury was glorifying Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll, by the mid 80s he was warning against it.
The HIV epidemic made him change his tune and lyrics.
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J. Simon

RE: Of Rum and Red Bull

#11 Pellucid » 2011-01-23 13:47

Great Ian Dury clip.

But what does it have to do with Rum and Red Bull and Talentless Antiguan "Jump and Wave" Hacks?

On the other hand, great opinion article from Dr. Simon. He seems to have learned something about medicine from the Cubans, hopefully he'll stick to his knitting and not subject us to his less-than-remedial musings on politics, economics and sociology in the future.
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Pellucid

Sex and drugs and rock and roll

#10 Same old Same old » 2011-01-23 12:38

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEUX9k0npgA
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Same old Same old

Many Thanks Doc - part 2

#9 Smart One » 2011-01-23 12:02

What I found disturbing is that there is no warning from the medical profession on these things. Not even from the ministry of health. Just like we all now know that Cigarettes can cause lung cancer. But who cares, just smoke yourself to death. Apart from Redbull the shops now cannot keep the demand of these sex or energy enhancing drinks, such as Rockstar, Wired and others. I hope the Ministry of Health will someday find it their responsibility to at least put out public notices of the health consequences of some of these health risks products so that at least consumers can make informed decisions. Once more thanks Doc for a timely article. Hope you have save some of the youth.
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Smart One

Many Thanks Doc - part 1

#8 Smart One » 2011-01-23 12:01

Dear Doc. I appreciate your warnings to the youth at this time. A couple of years ago a young contractor died while having sex with **. The accident however was viewed not as a warning for those that practice this, but more as something he couldn’t handle. Men have always looked for ways to improve their sex drive with their female partner. Men have an ego to feed. Especially when the female partner is demanding more. Just look at how Viagra became a world seller. Thereafter Cialis and others followed. We also have stuff like China Brush and Black stone. But in the old days men use to take herbal drinks to boost their sex drive. I wonder why we do not go back to these pure herbal drinks. I believe those are saver for consumption.
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Smart One

Hypertension

#7 Platinum » 2011-01-23 07:45

Let's not forget that even on it's own, Red Bull causes your pressure to go up. Doc I hope they listen to you on this one.
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Platinum

Thank you sir for this

#6 my way of helping » 2011-01-23 07:18

informative article. With the increase in alcohol consumption, it is cool now to drink alcohol, before it was only "rum man" who we look down on drank
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my way of helping

Very interesting article

#5 TC » 2011-01-23 03:18

Since I drink neither "Rum nor Red bull" the song won't have an effect on me. But those who are really affected and who think it is cool to walk around with a "Red Bull" in their hand drinking and consuming large amounts of "Rum" will never read this. I just hope that parents do their duty and make sure that these kind of info are readily available to their kids.
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TC

Awareness is key pt. 2

#4 Dig It » 2011-01-23 01:59

Red Bull is one of the top or if not the most selling energy drinks on the market. It has been good at its marketing campaigns and sponsorship of events. Therefore, it's an opportunity for people like Beenie Man to cash in. Yet, again, Red Bull sponsored with his 37th birthday bash, and I am sure he's getting some money for the song! Like he said "I'm Okay Drinking Rum and Red Bull." As parents we have to do our part to make sure our children either stay away or aware of the health effects involved with alcoholic drinks! Dr. Simon, if think, Red Bull is a bad, try the alcohlic enery drink, "Four Loca" which was recently banned in the U.S! It's a 24 ounce can containing 12% alcohol per volume. Like it said "Loco for Loko."
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Dig It

Awareness is key pt. 1

#3 Dig It » 2011-01-23 01:55

Very information, Dr. Simon! Obviously, the public is not fully educated on Red Bull, which I don't drink! I believe the combined taurine and caffeine in the drink does cause neurophysiological problems in some ways. I remembered when I visited France, a few years ago, the popular drink was banned because it contained traces of steroids, and was linked to several fatalities. Anyway, I heard France lifted the ban on the energy drink in 2008, until they proved the drink to be a health risk. I agree with Dr. Simon that "Rum and Red Bull is a dangerous mix." And, artists like Beenie Man is doing the public a disservice with such song because many of the people that ended up in the emergency rooms are youths who listens to him in the clubs!
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Dig It

#2 Antiguan Abroad » 2011-01-23 00:39

Thanks, doctor, for a very interesting article.
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Antiguan Abroad

Timely and Insightful

#1 Higher Heights » 2011-01-22 21:41

A very timely and insightful article. It's just a pity that the bulk of those affected would probably never read this article. Perhaps it's time for us to petition or constituency representatives so that they can introduce a bill in Parliament.
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Higher Heights

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Dr. Jerry Simon

Dr.Jerry Simon,a general physician, is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and Villa Clara (Cuba) Medical School. He has previously worked in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. Presently he is Medical Director of the NSA Medical Surgical Rehab Centre and is a certified member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

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