Red Bull may claim to give you wings, but mixing it (or any other kind of highly caffeinated energy drink) with alcohol might also increase your chances of crashing down and getting hurt.
A review published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that people who combine energy drinks and alcoholic beverages may be at an increased risk for injury.
Canadian researchers at the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) analyzed 13 peer-reviewed journal articles on the subject of mixing alcohol and energy drinks published between 1981 and 2016. Of those articles, 10 showed evidence of a link between mixing alcohol and energy drinks and a higher risk of injury compared to drinking just alcohol.
The study categorized injuries as either unintentional (falls or car crashes, for example) or intentional (fights or other physical altercations.)
"The stimulant effects of caffeine mask the result that most people get when they drink," says lead study author Audra Roemer, M.Sc.
"Usually when you're drinking alcohol, you get tired and you go home. Energy drinks mask that, so people may underestimate how intoxicated they are, end up staying out later, consume more alcohol, and engage in risky behavior and more hazardous drinking practices."
Three of the studies researchers reviewed looked at whether risk-taking or sensation-seeking tendencies had anything to do with the injuries associated with mixing alcohol and energy drinks.
"We know that these are risk factors for alcohol-related injuries, and some research has suggested that people who have these traits might prefer the awake-drunk state that you get from mixing alcohol and energy drinks," Roemer says. "This could be a population that's at even higher risk for injuries."
Roemer said more research is needed to figure out the extent of the risk associated with mixing alcohol and energy drinks, adding that the team plans to release three articles in total on the subject.
"We're currently running a controlled emergency department study to look at the relationship a little more closely," she says.
"Hopefully that will bring more answers. The research we've done so far points to an increased risk of injuries with the use of AmED that could be a serious public health concern. Our hope is to conduct and facilitate future research in order to identify limitations and get a closer look at the topic to see what's really going on."
h/t Science Daily