DO ENERGY DRINKS CONTAIN BULL SPERM?
Written by Sahar Adatia @sahar_adatia
The promise of popping open an energy drink and slurping down delicious, instant vitality is appealing – especially when you need a boost. But where exactly does this verve spurt from and what strange substances are you actually swallowing? REIZE locks horns with the raging rumours to answer the question once and for all: Do energy drinks contain bull sperm?
Say what? Does your energy drink really contain bull sperm?!
For many years now, energy drinks like V drink and Red Bull have been burdened by bizarre allegations that they incorporate a variety of dubious ingredients in their magic elixirs, cramming all kinds of unusual compounds into their concoctions to give consumers that pep in their step and energy to their brain.
As these accusations continue to fiercely do the rounds, circulating all over the internet and amongst energy drink communities at large, one slightly unappetising claim has found itself repeatedly getting sprayed about.
Indeed, it’s the rumour that keeps on giving - a true contender of old chestnut status. And, surely enough, it surges from a stream of outlandish speculation pointing to a “mystery stimulant” common to energy drinks. So, what exactly are the facts on energy drinks - specifically, that one special something?
Apparently, that energy drink you gladly gulped down earlier contains the testosterone derived from bull semen.
Yes, trusty, refreshing bull sperm. Delicious.
Moreover, we have a livestock business in America to thank for fuelling these allegations further in recent years. Better known as “Longhorn Cattle Company” , the business claims that its lab tests on several leading energy drink brands supposedly uncovered traces of bull sperm.
In a strange twist of fate, it also turns out that Longhorn Cattle Company is actually a barbecue and steak restaurant (Mmm smoky meats). Righteo then.
Alas, the facts are in, so let your stomach untie from that knot!
Rest (and drink) assured: Those whispers about your energy drink being derived from the schlong juice of old mate, Toro (pictured), is actually all a load of bull.
Accidental Conception: The “Bull Sperm” Saga
So, it looks like there’s been one giant, unexpected game of virtual Chinese Whispers going on amongst energy drink communities for the last several years. Escalating from zero to bull faeces real quick, we can only assume that this bewildering tittle-tattle was conceived somewhere deep in the bowels of extreme boredom.
That said, as the guys from REIZE explain, the “bull sperm” buzz certainly makes for a good story! And that’s about it.
You see, this bizarre anecdote simply originates from the fact that energy drinks contain an ingredient called taurine , a common dietary supplement used by athletes and body builders to enhance physical performance.
In its natural form, taurine is an amino acid found in the tissues of humans and animals, as well as in foods such as meat, fish and even breast milk. It is an essential building block of protein, supporting neurological development and helping to regulate the level of water and mineral salts in the blood.
But back to the rumour.
Taking a closer look at the etymology of the word taurine, the saga surrounding this supposedly sperm-y substance contained in your energy drink starts to unravel.
Stud muffin: Toro, in earlier days. Family jewels remain happily intact.
If we break down this substance’s name into its constituent parts, we get:
Combined, the origin of "taurine” quite logically portrays something relating to, or resembling a bull.
And so, the pieces of the energy drink puzzle start to fit together. Suddenly, it is easy to see how, to the casual energy drink consumer, this association may insinuate that taurine is a compound excreted by a bull.
That said, for further enlightenment into this bull sperm hearsay, let’s gather the team together for some Energy Drink Trivia.
*Did You Know?*
Taurine was actually first isolated from ox bile - a discovery was made by German scientists Friedrich Tiedemann and Leopold Gmelin, way back in 1827. (Ahh, Energy Drink Trivia. So many riveting, useless facts; such little time.)
Now, couple this nugget of truth with the enduring perceptions of bulls symbolising stout, virile and powerful life forces (don’t ever change, Toro), and it is perhaps unsurprising that these connections have given rise to an attractive urban legend.
So, no need to throw out your pack of energy drinks or sachets thinking you’ve inadvertently been swigging prostatic fluid this whole time! Contrary to popular belief, taurine is not derived from bull sperm. In fact, as you can now see, other than the name itself, there is really not much of a connection between the amino acid and a bull (or the sacrifice of its family jewels).
As for those still speculating that the beast has been unleashed, take note:
The version of taurine supplementing your energy drink is not actually a bull or animal product at all anyway. It is synthetically produced in laboratories to guarantee your drink only the highest quality.
I.e. No bull’s delicate parts were harmed in the making of your energy drink!
Clearing the air: Steve and Marty take the bull by the horns to separate the rumours from the facts when it comes to alleged spermatic fluids contained in your energy drinks.
Taurine, or not Taurine: That is the Question
With the bull sperm myth debunked (thanks, Steve and Marty!), it’s back to guzzling down that instant vitality, complements of your bull-sperm-free energy drink. Nonetheless, we may still question the safety of taurine consumption in these concoctions and the effects it has on the body.
First thing, let’s get real: While the phenomenon of energy drinks has captured the attention of scientists and nutritionists worldwide, research to date on the impact of taurine in humans is not extensive.
But fret not!
That carried out so far reveals several promising positive correlations. It turns out this supplement has a beneficial role to play in aiding both physical and mental functions.
Let’s Get Physical: Boosting Performance with Taurine
As an essential compound of the human body, taurine works to ensure overall healthy physiological functioning. It is a potent nutrient, and found in large amounts in the brain, retina, heart, bones and blood cells.
Remarkably, during exercise and in times of stress or strain such as physical exertion and muscular tension, taurine is utilised by the body to operate optimally. When the body does not create enough of this amino acid, however, supplements can help. To this effect, taurine has become a popular ingredient contained in energy drinks.
According to dietician Katherine Zeratsky R.D., L.D. at Mayo Clinic , a not-for-profit organisation committed to medical education and research, an average energy drink will contain roughly 1000mg of taurine by 250ml serving. And this gets the thumbs up – this figure is considered safe by medical investigators.
Keeping hope alive, Zeratsky advises that with its inclusion in energy drinks, taurine may help to boost physical performance, in particular muscle operation and athletic endurance. Here, its function is twofold.
Firstly, taurine helps muscles to work harder through increasing the effectiveness of heart muscle contractility. With better ability for the heart to contract, this results in workouts being more powerful.
Secondly, taurine supplementation means muscles can work longer. Essentially, this is because taurine assists exercising muscle to rid itself of lactic acid. (That’s what causes those tormenting feelings of pain and soreness when you’re pushing yourself on the treadmill for once.)
And on the topic of physical exertion, here’s some stimulating information that might get your pulse racing!
Taurine also shows positive effects on the cardiovascular system and can even reverse the effects of cardiovascular disease.
Specifically, research reveals that taurine supplementation can improve blood flow and oxygen supply to heart cells. Given taurine’s key role in metabolising fats, it can also help to lower cholesterol.
Equally heartening, taurine has the ability to regulate blood pressure and act as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It is therefore also believed to be a preventative factor for heart diseases.
Let’s Stress Less and Get More Sleep Too: Better Mental Health with Taurine
“I definitely don’t have enough stress in my life!”
Said no one ever.
Let’s face it, even the most calm and composed individuals profess that they’d like to have less stress in their lives. The same goes for those extra hours of better sleep. And the inclusion of taurine in the diet can certainly pave the way.
Taurine is believed to be one of the most valuable nutrients for our mental health and well-being. This is partly associated with the compound’s sedative effects.
While taurine is perceived as a natural energy booster, its impact on the body is not actually stimulatory. Instead, the amino acid operates to calm the body down during periods of stress and unwind from high levels of adrenalin. By encouraging this kind of relaxation and lowering cortisol, taurine, in turn, also serves to promote better sleep. No need to be haunted by exhaustion any longer!
Interestingly, the intake of taurine also uncovers an anxiolytic effect on the central nervous system to improve mental health. Put simply, this means that it acts as an intervention to inhibit and treat anxiety. By reducing anxiety, taurine also highlights its potential as a mood stabiliser and even a natural antidepressant. The amino acid hence offers an effective way to get motivated and minimise nervous feelings.
Food for Thought: Lessons on Longevity from the Japanese
But wait, there’s more!
No, sadly no free set of steak knives (Come back, Toro, it was just a joke!).
Forget fad diets, Hollywood celebrity endorsements and all of that jazz. According to research , a diet rich in taurine, including plenty of fish and seafood, may be the key to a long, healthy life.
For evidence, look no further than the Japanese, who seem to be eating their way to a century .
The Okinawa diet. Okinawans eat three servings of fish a week, on average. This increases taurine levels in the body.
The Japanese are believed to have a life expectancy that is among the highest in the world. In Okinawa – dubbed Japan’s famous “Island of Longevity” – for example, the population boasts one of the world’s highest percentages of people aged over 100 years old.
Still going strong: An elderly Toro, now aged 97. Years of extra life and sustained good looks (other than hair loss and horn shrinkage associated with bull old age) obviously attributed to high taurine diet.
It is incontestable that there are various factors that can be attributed to the lengthy life spans of this community.
However, as investigations into this population reveal, the underlying factor believed to promote long life is a diet with a high consumption of the amino acid, taurine. In fact, so strong has this correlation between taurine and longevity been that researchers have labelled the compound a “wonder molecule”. To the Japanese folk, amino acids are the key nutritional factor to ensure a healthy nourishment regime.
Indeed, the Japanese may well be onto something.
Still got beef about your energy drinks containing bull sperm?
Well, you can speculate until the cows (or bulls) come home. But, between assuring that no bull’s private parts were compromised in the making of your energy elixir and unearthing taurine’s impressive biological versatility, it’s safe to say that we may just have the energy drink stamp of approval. Well, Toro's (hoof) stamp anyway.
Understandably, when it comes to taurine, it is likely that each individual will experience different benefits and effects based on their biochemical individuality, diet, lifestyle and environment.
That said, we can only hope that one day, Toro may adopt us, teaching us the mysterious ways of his amino acid ingestion and helping us to live longer.
Until then, we’ll be slashing open our energy drink sachets and sipping away on some rejuvenating, bull-sperm-free goodness.
Sperming around. Ain't no energy drink got time for that!