Question on Quora asks about taurine: “It’s the ingredient in Red Bull. I’m aware that each Red Bull contains the amount of caffeine a cup of coffee would have but what about the taurine ingredient?”
According to a pubmed citation – this one specifically examines the effects of energy drinks containing Taurine and other additives on a pediatric and adolescent population:
“Energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit, and many ingredients are understudied and not regulated. The known and unknown pharmacology of agents included in such drinks, combined with reports of toxicity, raises concern for potentially serious adverse effects in association with energy drink use. In the short-term, pediatricians need to be aware of the possible effects of energy drinks in vulnerable populations and screen for consumption to educate families. Long-term research should aim to understand the effects in at-risk populations. Toxicity surveillance should be improved, and regulations of energy drink sales and consumption should be based on appropriate research.”
I read the conclusion as, “it doesn’t do much good and we don’t know what harm it can do, we need to study this some more.”
Even though the question asks about taurine in isolation as a key ingredient in Red Bull, I think the question needs to be answered in the context of the form and method of delivery of the taurine in question. Thus I believe the above March 2011 study is closest to giving a clinical conclusion to what the effects of taurine may be when taken as an energy drink. The confounding effects would come from other additives including caffeine on the subjects studied.