Scientists have discovered that drinking energy drinks mixed with alcohol is seriously bad for your health...
Feel like you know a night is heading downhill when people start ordering Jagarbombs? Well, turns out you were right – more so than you ever realised.
According to new research from Indiana’s Purdue University, mixing highly caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol can have the same negative effect on the body as cocaine.
In his research, Professor Richard van Rijn monitored brain activity after subjects had consumed the classic combination of energy drinks and alcohol. The results showed a worrying similarity with the brain activity of a person who had consumed cocaine – a Class A drug.
‘It seems the two substances together push them over a limit that causes changes in their behaviour and changes the neurochemistry in their brains,’ said Professor van Rijn.
However, before you throw out your energy drink (because let’s face it, we’re not going to throw out the booze) bear in mind that this is a result on the combination, not drinking each one alone. Professor van Rijn explains: ‘We are clearly seeing effects of the combined drinks that we would not see if drinking one or the other.’
The devastating effects they can have were seen earlier this year when British holidaymaker Peter Nicholson died in Thailand after a drinking binge which included vodka and red bull mixers.
At the inquest, toxicologist Julie Evans explained: ‘There are some concerns around the process of people consuming vodka and Red Bull. It is a stimulant. It can counter the effects of alcohol and people consume more alcohol not realising how intoxicated they are. It is called ‘wide-eyed drunk’. When you mix Red Bull with vodka you are risking masking the effect of alcohol on the body.’
The research also discovered that people who do drink energy drink and alcohol mixes are more likely to use cocaine at some point in the future. The reason? Once you’ve been exposed to its affects, you begin to acclimatise to them.
The professor explained that subjects who ‘had been exposed to alcohol and caffeine were somewhat numb to the rewarding effects of cocaine as adults. They may then use more cocaine to get the same effect […] That’s one reason why it’s so difficult for drug users to quit because of these lasting changes in the brain.’
Crumbs. Looks like it’s time to step away from the Red Bull then…