Red Bull side effects:
12 Ways Red Bull is bad for you & the best natural supplement alternative

Benjamin Martin - 16 April 2021

Red Bull Side Effects: 12 Ways Red Bull Is Bad for You

Red Bull and other energy drinks are very popular due to their purported positive effects on your energy, alertness and general performance. Consuming them often has been associated with multiple adverse side effects, however.

We’ll also give all the information you need about the perfect natural alternative to energy drinks: Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ and how you can reduce your consumption of energy drinks.


  • Red Bull side effects
  • Side effect 1: Jitters
  • Side effect 2: Migraine
  • Side effect 3: Insomnia
  • Side effect 4: Excess sugar
  • Side effect 5: Stress reaction
  • Side effect 6: Interference with neural communication
  • Side effect 7: Increased heart rate
  • Side effect 8: Increased blood pressure
  • Side effect 9: Weight gain
  • Side effect 10: Interference with healthy sleep patterns
  • Side effect 11: Withdrawal symptoms
  • Side effect 12: High-risk behaviour
  • Quiz: Do you need to cut back on energy drinks due to side effects?
  • Conclusion: Is Red Bull bad for you?
  • The best natural supplement alternative

Red Bull side effects

The combination of ingredients used in Red Bull can cause side effects, especially if consumed in large amounts over a long period, or when mixed with alcohol. Research suggests that all energy drinks, in general, can harm your health. They can be especially damaging to young people and children.

Below, you will find a list of the possible Red Bull side effects.

1. Jitters

This is where you experience a sudden rush of intense energy which can make you feel a bit shaky. Your energy will then suddenly crash which can feel quite unsettling. This is caused by the high levels of caffeine in Red Bull.

One small can (250ml/8.4 fl oz) contains 80mg of caffeine which is a substantial amount of the recommended maximum limit of 400mg per day for adults. Drinking more than just 5 cans a day would therefore increase your risk of a caffeine overdose.

Remember that you also receive caffeine from other foods and drinks which is why it's important that Red Bull is consumed in moderation.

2. Migraine

Migraines can occur as a result of what's called a caffeine rebound. This is where your body gets so used to consuming certain levels of caffeine that withdrawing from it gives you a headache. Regular drinkers of Red Bull are therefore more likely to experience regular migraines as they are more dependent on caffeine.

3. Insomnia

Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep can also be caused by too much caffeine intake. Regularly having a poor night’s sleep will take its toll on your energy, mood, ability to function throughout the day, and your overall health. The later in the day you have caffeine, the more it will affect your sleep and so it's especially advisable not to drink Red Bull in the evenings.

Red Bull

4. Excess sugar

Red Bull contains a large amount of sugar to support its energy-boosting abilities - a can contains the equivalent of nearly seven teaspoons of sugar. Many energy drinks contain more sugar than you should have in a day.

In the sugar-free Red Bull, sucrose and glucose are replaced by artificial sweeteners.

Consuming sugar increases the blood sugar level in the short term. Now, increased blood sugar is not necessarily a bad thing as the brain requires glucose to function.

While both too little and too much blood sugar is problematic, the 'easy sugar' supplied by energy drinks, i.e. refined sugar, could harm cells, including brain cells. Getting a big sugar rush from an energy drink will leave you feeling lethargic and even more tired afterwards, once your blood sugar levels go down quickly.

Excess sugar intake has also been linked to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes, so drinking one or more servings of Red Bull per day could increase this risk for you.

Other issues excess sugar intake may cause are damage to your teeth and kidneys.

Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO

Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO


5. Stress reaction

When you feel like you need to have an energy drink, the chances are that you are under pressure and experiencing a stressful situation of some sorts. You feel tired but pressured to perform well.

If the situation is mentally challenging, say studying for an exam or trying to squeeze in an essay just before a deadline, experiencing high blood sugar has been associated with the release of cortisol.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that will interfere with you performing well on the task. Namely, you will likely experience impaired memory as your body and brain are focussing on dealing with the perceived stress rather than cognitive functioning.

So when you drink Red Bull, your blood sugar increases rapidly, which releases cortisol and may impair your mental performance.

6. Interference with neural communication

When consuming excessive amounts of glucose in the form of refined sugars, neural communication gets disrupted. This could have effects not only on memory but on other cognitive functions such as attention span.

It is tempting to think that the sugar-free Red Bull could be a better alternative. However, diet drinks like this have been associated with phenomena such as performing worse on delayed gratification tasks.

The rise in blood glucose that the body is expecting to experience but does not happen makes it think it is missing out on calories, which then interferes with planning and focusing on tasks.

7. Increased heart rate

Heart rate measures heartbeats per minute. Due to its caffeine content, Red Bull can increase your heart rate. Excess intake, especially in young people, has been linked to heart palpitations, abnormal heart rhythm and even heart attacks.

8. Increased blood pressure

Blood pressure refers to the blood moving through the body, and increased blood pressure is correlated with increased heart rate.

One of the problems associated with high blood pressure is that it strains the heart and vessels involved in circulating the blood.

Several studies have shown that drinking a can of Red Bull significantly increases both blood pressure and heart rate within 90 minutes and for up to 24 hours after consumption.

Young people and individuals with high blood pressure or any pre-existing heart conditions should, therefore, avoid consuming energy drinks.

Red Bull side effects: Blood pressure

9. Weight gain

As mentioned above, Red Bull contains a lot of sugar. Sugary drinks contain a large number of calories and have thus been associated with weight gain and obesity.

Furthermore, the calories you consume in Red Bull are so-called empty calories. When drinking Red Bull and other energy drinks, there is no substantial nutritious benefit to your body. Therefore, these calories could easily be cut out to 'make room', so to say, for healthy and calorie-rich foods that will actually benefit your body.

10. Interference with healthy sleep patterns

If you are working late or waking up after a short night and you feel like you need an energy drink to get you going, the chances are that your body is telling you that you need more sleep.

Of course, there are exceptional situations where that just is not an option. However, relying on energy drinks to feel awake and energise will potentially interfere with a healthy sleep pattern that would maybe be sufficient to make you feel that way in the first place. 

11. Withdrawal symptoms

Similarly, getting into the habit of consuming drinks high in caffeine and high in sugar will increase your tolerance for them, so eventually, you will need to consume more and more to get the effects you're used to.

This can lead to withdrawal symptoms if you're not getting your caffeine fix of the day. You might have experienced craving a cup of coffee in the morning, and many people start to suffer from headaches if they don't get their morning cup of coffee.

Or you might feel nervous or shaky when not regularly consuming the energy or other caffeine drink you are used to. The same effect could be associated when applied to a diet high in sugar and then cutting out these foods. 

12. High-risk behaviour

A side effect you may not have considered when it comes to energy drinks is that they may increase high-risk behaviour, especially when mixed with alcohol.

Caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol, making you feel less intoxicated even though you are still under the influence. This can lead to risky behaviour, such as drink-driving or injuries.

Red Bull Side effects:
Are you worried?

Conclusion: Is Red Bull bad for you?

If you enjoy the occasional Red Bull in moderation, that is perfectly ok!

However, if you find that you rely on multiple cans of Red Bull a day to stay energised, focused, and motivated, it is very likely that you will start to feel some of the adverse effects listed in this article.

We challenge you to try something new...

Have you ever thought about food supplements in order to stay focused and energised?

We recommend trying Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™

Brainzyme 30 Day Challenge

This is a food supplement that we believe is the best natural alternative to energy drinks. It has all of the benefits that Red Bull claims to have, without the side effects. 

And it’s not just us that believe this - our customers agree! Check out our reviews here

Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ is specifically designed to provide a smooth, 100% plant-powered boost in energy which lasts for 8 hours whilst also helping you feel motivated and focused.

These fast-acting supplements are easily absorbed to help you achieve the “flow state” shortly after taking them. Whilst in the flow state, you will feel yourself working extremely efficiently without feeling under pressure.

As a result, you’ll find that your satisfaction at completing tasks is increased, keeping you motivated to carry on at a consistent level of high focus and concentration.

Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™'s advanced formula contains plant extracts, vitamins and minerals that are scientifically proven to support concentration, cognition, energy, memory and mental performance.

It has been formulated with ingredient research from leading neuro-cognitive and nutritional experts, including the 18-member panel at EFSA.

Unlike Red Bull and other energy drinks, you will not experience a crash in energy levels or any of the side effects that consuming a lot of Red Bull may cause.

Use the code RED-BULL10 to get 10% off your new supplements. Try Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ now!

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About the author

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast who has tried every type of performance-boosting supplement under the sun. At Brainzyme®, he uses his expertise to produce educational content for the Nootropics UK and Brain Supplements UK blogs.

Based in Edinburgh, Benjamin loves spending his free time in nature whenever he gets the chance.

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