We aren’t a species meant to last. While it makes sense that one wouldn’t mix caffeine and alcohol, that hasn’t stopped people from ordering a Vodka Redbull on nights out. However, it may be worse for you than you think, as a key ingredient in energy drinks, taurine, may be exacerbating the effects of alcohol.
The University of Portsmouth and the Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil tested the effects of taurine, a key ingredient of many energy drinks, and alcohol on social and fear responses in zebrafish, they found that taurine seemed to increase the fear-reducing properties of alcohol, but also affected social communication.
The combination of energy drinks and alcohol results in the “reduction of fear and problems in social communication while intoxicated, which collectively increase the risk of fighting, violence and participation in risky behaviors,” says Dr. Matt Parker, senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and co-author of the study.
Dr. Parker says, “Alcohol reduces our inhibitions, and in low doses can cause relaxation and euphoria. However, in higher doses this low inhibition can cause problems with fighting or risky behavior…People should be aware that drinking energy drinks in combination with alcohol may impair their judgement, and should do so with caution.”
So, maybe skip the energy drink (or the alcohol), on your next night out?