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RED BULL Gives You... Wired up to heart and blood pressure monitors, SAMANTHA BOOTH drank four cans of Red Bull to see what happened Starting heart rate 81 Starting blood pressure 115/81.

Byline: By Samantha Booth

DRINK makers boast that Red Bull 'gives you wings' but can the energy drink also be dangerous?

Denmark and France already refuse to sell the stimulant on health grounds. And it is now under investigation in Sweden after reports of three people dying after drinking it mixed with vodka or before a gym workout.

An English coroner has called for a drink-drive limit on stimulant caffeine after 21-year-old Lee Foster died in a high-speed crash. There was no sign of alcohol or drugs in his bloodstream only high levels of caffeine from the four cans of Red Bull he had drunk during the evening.

Tests showed Lee, of Rotherham, had 3.5 milligrams of caffeine per litre of blood in his body. And coroner Stanley Hooper said: 'Red Bull contains large amounts of caffeine and you should be distinctly cautious about driving a car having drunk more than moderate amounts.'

Red Bull say each can only contains 80mg of caffeine about the same as a cup of filter coffee.

A spokesperson said: 'The drink is sold in more than 100 countries and is proven to be safe.

'No one anywhere has ever shown any link between Red Bull and harmful effects.'

Glasgow University cardiologist Dr Andrew Rankin said: 'In moderation, caffeine is a positive stimulant. But in excessive amounts, it can cause tremors, an increase in breathing rate and blood pressure and also affect a person psychologically.

'The main dangers are when it is mixed with other stimulants, such as alcohol or weight-loss pills.'

AFTER FIRST CAN

Heart rate 92 Blood pressure 121/86 Samantha said: 'One can went down pretty easily. Other than feeling quite awake, I was not really up or down. I could imagine one can could help you to concentrate on work or just keep you going when you are tired.'

AFTER SECOND CAN

Heart rate 100 Blood pressure 126/89 Samantha said: 'I didn't expect drinking a second can of Red Bull would make that much of a difference but I was beginning to feel the effects of caffeine by now. From having been sleepy before, I was now fully awake, if slightly edgy.'

AFTER THIRD CAN

Heart rate 117 Blood pressure 129/90 Samantha said: 'By now, I was definitely aware that there was something having an effect on my system. could feel my heart beating in my chest and I felt like was full of energy, although I also knew the extra charge didn't feel natural. To be honest, didn't think would like to put my mind to anything by this point.'

AFTER FOURTH CAN

Heart rate 126 Blood pressure 130/90 Samantha said: 'Now I was really buzzing. I knew my heart rate was up and I felt totally aware of my surroundings, as if everything had come into sharp focus. But didn't feel totally in control of myself.I found concentration difficult, as if I had drunk too much alcohol. Even trying to write this up was a huge effort, as words became jumbled.'
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 24, 2004
Words:507
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