Monster Energy is an energy drink made by Hansen Natural Corporation. The company markets several versions of this drink, and all of them contain taurine, an amino acid. Companies that market energy drinks claim taurine improves mental performance and gives you energy. However, medical research doesn't support these claims.
According to the book "Integrative Medicine" by David Rakel, taurine protects the outer segments of rods, one of the major proteins that enable humans to see. Taurine is also used by the body for cardiovascular function and to help with nerve signals such as pain. Taurine also helps support liver and bile function and is one of the main amino acids that binds and neutralizes toxins. An amino acid is a basic component of protein. Your body normally synthesizes taurine, and according to New York University Langone Medical Center, you can take up to 3 grams of it per day safely.
According to the nutritional content label on Monster Energy drinks, a regular can of this energy drink contains 16 ounces or two 8-ounce servings. One serving of this energy drink contains 100 calories, 27 grams of sugar, 1.7 milligrams of vitamin B-2, 20 milligrams of vitamin B-3, 2 milligrams of vitamin B-6, 6 micrograms of vitamin B-12, 180 milligrams of sodium, 1000 milligrams of taurine and 200 milligrams of panax ginseng.
Each serving also contains 2,500 milligrams of a proprietary energy blend, which includes L-carnitine, glucose, caffeine, guarana, inositol, glucuronolactone and maltodextrin. Every serving of Monster Energy drink provides 100 percent of your daily recommended level of B. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't established a daily guideline for taurine.
Taurine originally got its name after scientists found the amino acid in bulls. Energy drinks, including Monster Energy, market taurine as a substance that enhances the entry of glucose into muscles -- which improves endurance because the body uses the glucose in times of stress.
However, research conducted at the Weill Cornell Medical College, published in the January 2008 issue of "The Journal of Neuroscience," found that taurine along with caffeine, may actually cause a "crash" effect after consumption. The European Food Safety Authority concluded in 2009 that exposure to taurine at the levels found in energy drinks, including Monster Energy, appears to be safe.
Besides taurine, energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar and caffeine. Caffeine alone can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. A study in the July 2012 issue of "Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior" reports that scientific studies haven't proven that taurine in combination with caffeine improves mental performance, but that benefits observed may be based on caffeine alone. Based on scientific evidence, the taurine found in Monster Energy drinks is most likely not hazardous to your health. However, the purported benefits of the taurine haven't been confirmed through clinical evidence.
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Taurine
- The Journal of Neuroscience: Taurine Is a Potent Activator of Extrasynaptic GABA A Receptors in the Thalamus
- DietFacts.com: Monster Energy Drink
- Integrative Medicine; David Rakel
- Pharmacology, BioChemistry and Behavior: Differential Cognitive Effects of Energy Drink Ingredients: Caffeine, Taurine, and Glucose