Does the Taurine in Red Bull Really Come from Bull Semen?

Is Red Bull Made from a Bull?

Bull
Taurine can be purified from the bile and semen of bulls. Brad Wilson / Getty Images

Taurine is the ingredient in Red Bull and other energy drinks that help muscle function, may aid athletic performance and endurance, helps reduce anxiety, and appears to aid blood sugar regulation and cardiac health. It's an organic molecule (not an amino acid) named for the Latin taurus, which means ox or bull because originally taurine was extracted from bull semen and ox bile.

Taurine is found in other animal tissues, as well, including the human intestine, breast milk, meat, and fish.

However, chemical processes can make taurine from other source molecules in much the same way your body does.

Although there is taurine in bull semen, this is not the source of the ingredient in Red Bull, other energy drinks, or the host of other products that contain the molecule, which include baby formula and cosmetics. It's synthesized in a lab and is suitable for vegans and anyone wishing to avoid animal products. Specifically, taurine may be synthesized by reacting aziridine with sulfurous acid or from a series of reactions starting with ethylene oxide and sodium bisulfite.

Red Bull gets its name from the ingredient, but it doesn't get the ingredient from bulls! It's a matter of simple economics. Using bull semen would alienate a large portion of the customer base, including people seeking to avoid animal products, and would cost much more to produce.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Does the Taurine in Red Bull Really Come from Bull Semen?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 14, 2017, thoughtco.com/taurine-red-bull-and-bull-semen-607438. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, August 14). Does the Taurine in Red Bull Really Come from Bull Semen? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/taurine-red-bull-and-bull-semen-607438 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Does the Taurine in Red Bull Really Come from Bull Semen?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/taurine-red-bull-and-bull-semen-607438 (accessed November 22, 2017).