Red Bull Ingredients Breakdown [Is it Safe to Drink?]

Let's dig deep into Red Bull's ingredients and find out once and for all if it's safe. Red Bull: to sip or skip, that is the question. Read on to find out.

Image of 3 cans of Red Bull with a blue water background showcasing Red Bull ingredients but you'll want to know, are they safe to drink?
Credit: OA Studios

Red Bull ingredients contains a mix of sugar, synthetic caffeine and amino acids. These include taurine and several B vitamins, all of which are well-known for their energy-promoting qualities. Take a closer look at some of the powerful drink’s active ingredients, which are listed on the back of the Red Bull can: 

  • Carbonated Water
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Citric Acid
  • Taurine
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Magnesium Carbonate
  • Caffeine
  • Niacinamide
  • Calcium Pantothenate
  • Pyridoxine HCI
  • Vitamin B12
  • Natural, Artificial Flavors and Colors

Here’s What’s Really in Red Bull’s Energy Drink 

Image of a close up of the back of a can of Red Bull with the ingredients listed and nutrition information. Reading the ingredients, most of which you probably can't pronounce begs the question, is Red Bull safe to drink?
It’s always a good idea to read the ingredients list before consuming and energy drinks like Red Bull are no different. Does it mean anything when you can’t identify most of the items listed? Read on to see.Credit: Organic Authority Studio

Glucose & Sucrose:

Do you recognize your old friend sugar? Red Bull has 37 grams of added sugar per can, which is actually a little less than most soft drinks (Dr. Pepper has 40 grams) – but still a massive amount of the sweet stuff. Prepare for an energy rush – and then the inevitable crash. 

Sugar free Red Bull contains the artificial sweeteners aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose instead of sugar, which have recently been found genotoxic and linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.1 So all of these “healthy alternatives” to sugar may just be a ton of bull! (Fitting though, right?)


Alright gym rats/lifters/gym bros, this one’s for you!Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an amino acid naturally made in the human body. Found in the lower intestine and a major component of bile, taurine is an antioxidant that helps to move minerals through the system and generate nerve impulses. 

Each can of Red Bull, among other ingredients, contains 1000 mg taurine, and although Red Bull products containing the substance was banned in France for a while, at this point all bans are off and taurine is generally considered safe.

Image of a black female hand pulling a Red Bull energy drink off a shelf filled with many different energy drinks.
Red Bull offers seasonal flavors of its energy drink, each with different packaging and exciting colors—and a few different ingredients. You might think that they’re trying to appeal to younger consumers.Credit: Organic Authority Studio


In their 8.4 fl/oz  can, Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine, about half of other soft drinks and about the same as a cup of coffee. Caffeine’s stimulating mental and physical benefits have been well documented, with some even arguing that coffee’s introduction to the Western World made the Industrial Revolution possible. 

Caffeine works by blocking adenosine, a sleep-promoting brain chemical, which in turn makes your body release adrenaline. Caffeine is the world’s most widely used psychoactive substance, and over-consumption can cause diarrhea, twitching, racing heartbeat, and nervousness – otherwise known as the “caffeine jitters.” Some say the caffeine content is dangerous, but its really just a bit more than a small cup of coffee.


This naturally occurring chemical is found in connective tissues and plant gums. A carbohydrate, glucuronolactone is a stimulant with mild anti-depressant effects that helps improve memory and concentration. It also has detoxifying qualities and can help remove waste from the body. But excessive consumption of Glucuronolactone can cause increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

Related: Red Bull may not be the only source of toxic chemicals in your kitchen. Are you cooking with clean cookware? Read the nerdy deep dives on clean non-toxic ceramic cookware and clean bakeware to find out if it’s time to make some changes.


Inositol is a chemical compound and mood-booster that helps the brain use serotonin, and can be found in many foods such as oranges, cantaloupes and high-fiber nuts and beans.


B vitamin that helps with energy formation and use.


Also known as vitamin B-5 or Pantothenic Acid, D-Pantothenol is an essential nutrient that improves mood, boosts metabolism and helps to turn fat into energy. Vitamin B-5 deficiency has been connected to a host of mental and physical health problems including acne, fatigue, muscle cramps and apathy.

Image of 3 cans of Red Bull with a blue water background showcasing Red Bull ingredients but you'll want to know, are they safe to drink?
It may be the most popular energy drink on the market, but are Red Bull’s ingredients safe?Credit: OA Studios

Pyridoxine HCL:

Otherwise known as vitamin B6, pyridoxine HCL helps the body to form red blood cells and use oxygen, improving mood and energy levels.

Vitamin B-12:

Like vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 helps form red blood cells for oxygen utilization.

Artificial Colors & Flavors:

You didn’t think that glowing pink color was natural, did you? While Red Bull also uses natural flavors, every version of the drink includes artificial flavors and colors.

What About Bull Sperm and Urine? I Don’t See Them on This List

Despite the rumors and enticing urban legends, Red Bull ingredients do not include bull semen, bull urine, or any artificially manufactured stimulants from China. Taurine was first isolated from ox bile, and is indeed found in the large intestines of many animals. But rest assured that the taurine used by Red Bull is synthetically produced in laboratories.

While the word “taurine” takes its name from the Greek word for “bull,” the drink does not take its ingredients from the testicles of a bull.

image of grocery shelves stocked with Red Bull and other energy drinks and the ingredients of Red Bull, one energy drink might not be any safer or better than the other.
Since launching, Red Bull has added new flavors to cater to all tastes, but are they any healthier?Credit: Shilo Urban

Red Bull Energy Drinks New Editions

Red Bull has ever rotating seasonal flavors of its energy drink, each with a different color – and a few different ingredients: Sea Blue Edition (juneberry), Winter Edition (pear cinnamon), Amber Edition (strawberry apricot), Red Edition (watermelon), Yellow Edition (tropical), Blue Edition (blueberry), Green Edition (dragon fruit), Coconut Edition (coconut berry), and finally, Peach Edition (peach-nectarine). 

With their fun, vibrant colors and trendy names adding an air of exclusivity, one might wonder if they’re marketing to a younger consumer (hint: they are). But it’s not only the youth of the world that we need to be concerned about, energy drinks are also targeting boomers (you might want to check your grandma’s fridge). 

And for good reason, energy drink companies like Red Bull are capitalizing on the fact that all soda categories are in decline, but guess what’s on the rise? You guessed it, energy drinks. 

Sea Blue Edition: 

Carbonated Water, Sugar, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Caffeine, Color, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI, Calcium Pantothenate, Blue 1 Vitamin B12.

Winter Edition:

Carbonated Water, Sugar, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caffeine, Color, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12.

Amber Edition:

Carbonated Water, Sugar, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caffeine, Color, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12.

Red Edition: 

Carbonated Water, Sugar, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caffeine, Color, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12.

Yellow Edition: 

Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caffeine, Colors, Niacinamide, Glycerol Esters of Wood Rosins, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Pyridoxine HCI, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12.

Image of 7 Red Bull Blue Edition cans in a line against a white background
Don’t be fooled by this calming blue shade…this drink will leave you plenty energized.Credit: Jason Mitrione via Unsplash

Blue Edition:

Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Carbonate, Caffeine, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine HCI, Vitamin B12, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors, Blue 1.

Green Edition:

Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Caffeine, Colors, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI, Calcium Pantothenate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin B12.

Coconut Edition:

Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Glycerol Esters of Wood Rosins, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Caffeine, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Color, Blue 1, Vitamin B12.

Peach Edition:

Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Glycerol Esters of Wood Rosins, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate, Caffeine, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCI (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate, Color, Vitamin B12.

Eco-Friendly Production Practices

image of  the top of a Red Bull can and it's pull tab on orange background that looks like a sunset.
Some good news, Red Bull implements numerous strategies to reduce its environmental impact. Credit: Soekarno Omar

Red Bull strives to keep its carbon footprint as small as possible. Along with decreasing its can weight by 60 percent in recent years, the company follows numerous strategies designed to minimize its environmental impact:

  • 100 percent recyclable aluminum cans.
  • Lightweight, compact cans for more efficient transport packaging that requires 40 percent less space than glass bottles and 30 percent less than PET plastic.
  • Wall-to-wall production saves transport energy – cans are manufactured and filled at the same site, saving 6,641 tons of CO2 emissions every year.
  • Eighty percent of energy used from renewable resources.
  • Eco-Coolers use up to 35 percent less energy than conventional refrigerators.

Always remember to recycle your empty Red Bull can – recycling a can requires 95 percent less energy than producing a new one.

Transparency? Not So Much

Are you looking for a full list of ingredients for Red Bull drinks, including the new products? Good luck. On the website, the only ingredients listed are caffeine, taurine, B-group vitamins, sugars, and water. There’s no mention of Glucuronolactone, inositol, flavorings, or color. And when you search the website for ingredients, you get a list of blog posts about skateboarding, motocross, and hip-hop battles – which are all certainly cool ingredients to life, but not exactly what you’re probably looking for.

I contacted Red Bull four times to request a full list of ingredients for its beverages, and was provided with only a partial list – the same information on the website. After repeatedly requesting a complete list of ingredients, I was told “All ingredients of Red Bull® products are labelled on the can.” Not very helpful — and not transparent at all.

Red Bull refused to tell me its ingredients, so in order to obtain the information for this piece I drove to the store and took a picture of the back of every flavor and type, which you can read for yourself below. Look on the back of a can and tell us how many ingredients you can pronounce. You’ll get about three in before you have to start brushing dust off of your old dictionary or pulling out Google.

Image of Red Bull Purple Edition, which is Açai berry flavored, against a wall of purple leaves
Don’t be fooled by the Açai Berry flavor, it certainly does not have the antioxidant properties you’re looking for.Credit: Himanshu Choudhary via Unsplash

Red Bull: Healthy Energy Drink or Not?

There is certainly some accuracy behind Red Bull’s claims to increase physical performance and cognitive performance, increase concentration and reaction speed, improve vigilance, improve emotional status, and stimulate metabolism. But what are the adverse effects?

The truth is, you need sustained energy in a relaxed yet alert state, not energy ups and downs.

Well okay — sometimes you need the “up.” And Red Bull can certainly provide this — just make sure that you can allow your body time to rest for the corresponding “down” that will inevitably follow. We know you’re a busy person, do you really want to schedule in time for R&R after drinking a red bull? Just remember that building up a sleep debt is bad for your system, and a good night’s sleep is one of the most effective (and inexpensive) antidepressants in the world.

Is There a Better Energy Alternative? 

A multivitamin taken once daily that contains all the B vitamins can help to give you sustained energy throughout the day. B vitamins in any form can upset the stomach, so whether you pop a pill or down a can of Red Bull, your body will be better off if it has some food in it to offset the B vitamins’ tummy-aching potentialities. 

BTW did we mention chlorella is full of energy supporting B vitamins? Read more about this really cool algae supplement.

Is Red bull Safe? 

If you love Red Bull’s jolt however, rest assured that the most dangerous ingredients in the can by far are probably already two of your favorites: caffeine and sugar. All the other active ingredients are in very small doses that are not likely to hurt your system.

However, if you drink ten cans of Red Bull in a row, you WILL be shaking like a coca leaf and your stomach is probably not going to like you too much. However, the same thing would happen if you consumed ten cups of coffee.

Image of two Red Bulls being poured into a two glasses with ice. Okay, it looks fancy but are the ingredients safe?
Having a Red Bull to get through a 9-5 is one thing, but mixing alcohol and energy drinks can have seriously dangerous repercussions.Credit: Danny Howe via Upsplash

Overall, Red Bull is a safe product in moderation. The trouble with energy drinks occurs when they are mixed with alcohol, such as in the popular “bomb shots” where a shot of hard liquor is dropped into a Red Bull and pounded — often multiple times. Let’s be honest, we all made questionable choices concerning drinking in college, but adding caffeine into the mix is a whole new level of dangerous.

The stimulating effects of the energy juice can keep a person up and drinking, when they really should have passed out already and stopped consuming alcohol.

However, if you aren’t in the market for binge drinking and just crack open a can of Red Bull here and there to make it through your next meeting, then breathe easy. Red Bull is no tool of the devil, and sometimes even angels need an energy boost and a little help with their wings.

Red Bull Pop Culture Fun Facts

From early-morning athletes to the late-night club scene to the mom just trying to get her kids to school on time, Red Bull is a pervasive source of get-up-and-go. But you might not know some of these unfamiliar facts about the popular energy drink:

  • Red Bull’s logo isn’t a bull. It’s a guar, or Indian bison, which is the largest bovine animal in the world.
  • Red Bull’s original yellow-gold drink is actually berry flavored.
  • The drink company has its own in-game island in PlayStation Home.
  • Red Bull today is less sweet than the original Thai energy drink, Krating Daeng.
  • Red Bull has its own record label, and the Red Bull Music Academy fosters up-and-coming artists (such as AWOLNation) with global festivals and workshops.

The Entrepreneur Behind the Brand

In 1987, a wealthy Austrian entrepreneur named Dietrich Mateschitz arrived in Thailand with a killer case of jet lag. He tried a traditional drink known as Krating Daeng to cut through the brain fog and give him an energy boost. Mr. Mateschitz is now one of the richest people in the world, and his drink, Red Bull, is consumed by everyone from soccer moms who need a jolt to college kids.

Although there are many energy drinks on the market, Red Bull is by far the most popular, good old coffee notwithstanding. 

Related on Organic Authority

Woman drinking mushroom cacao with reishi. Adaptogens defined, we answer the question, 'what are adaptogens' share the benefits and more.
Besides the known harmful ingredients in Red Bull, there are other reasons to skip the sip.

5 Best Collagen Supplements, Powders & Peptides, Dietitian Approved, 2023

All Soda Categories in ‘Terminal Decline’, But Energy Drinks on the Rise
FDA Announces Sugar Intake Guidelines, Cites Health Risks in High Sugar Diet

Red bull image by Dawn Ashley
Back of Red Bull can image by author
Red bull cans on shelves image by author

In no way does promote drinking Red Bull or any other energy drink. Consult your personal physician for advice.