The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Controversial energy drink’s popularity soars

The beverage market has a new item for coffee drinkers, athletes and those who like to party all night, but not without some controversy.

The Austrian energy drink Red Bull has become increasingly popular since it was introduced to Wisconsin several months ago.

The drink was “especially developed for times of increased stress or strain,” according to its Web site.

“Red Bull increases physical endurance, improves reaction speed and concentration, increases mental alertness, improves overall feeling of well being, stimulates metabolism and increases stamina and helps to eliminate waste substances from the body.”

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The drink can be found at bars, liquor stores, grocery stores and even some coffee shops.

“The stuff is selling like bananas,” said Mike Walker, owner and manager of Kerms, 329 Water St.

Walker said the store’s been selling the drink for a few months and the people buying it are mostly college-age.

“It makes me wired,” said Dave Bolton, a former UW-Eau Claire student, who said he drinks Red Bull before he goes to work.

The drink is becoming especially popular when mixed with alcohol.

But skeptics say the mixture of the stimulant with a depressant can cause people to have highs and lows.

“Red Bull comes with quite a steep crash if you have too much,” said Andy Starsky, a physical therapist at the Sports Medicine Institute of Sinai Samaritan Medical Center in Milwaukee, to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You’re all fired up and then, boom.”

The drink contains 80 milligrams of caffeine in the 8.3 oz. can, which is about the equivalence of a filtered cup of coffee, according to its Web site.

One of the ingredients in the drink is an amino acid called taurine, which can be found in many foods as an energy source. The Web site says that “at times of extreme exertion, the body no longer produces the required amounts of taurine, and a deficiency results.”

The site does not mention if there are detrimental effects if the drink is taken when the drinker is not experiencing a deficiency of taurine.

There is little medical information about the effects these types of energy drinks have. According to the Web site, Dr. Haller, a drug expert specializing in psychiatry and neurology, said, “It is proven: Red Bull contains no addictive substances and is, therefore, not a entry-level drug to hard drugs. Red Bull has, just like caffeine-containing coffee, a stimulating effect.”

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Controversial energy drink’s popularity soars