Red Bull additive taurine could treat psychosis
A substance commonly found in energy drinks like Red Bull has potential to treat psychosis, researchers have claimed.
Taurine "significantly improved symptoms" of young people suffering first-episode psychosis in a recent Australian trial.
The amino acid occurs naturally in the body, but is a key ingredient in energy drinks like Red Bull and V.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne and mental health organisation Orygen presented the paper, yet to be peer-reviewed, to an International Early Psychosis Association conference in Melbourne on Thursday.
"Although taurine supplementation did not improve cognition, it appears to improve core symptoms and depression in patients with first-episode psychosis," the study found.
"The use of taurine warrants further investigation in larger randomised studies, particularly early in the course of psychosis."
The patients were given 4g of taurine - about four times what is found in a typical bottle of Red Bull. That level was found "safe and well-tolerated".
Previous research has shown found taurine is a mild inhibitory neurotransmitter - it can dampen down excitable brain states, which the researchers say gave them the idea it could help treat psychosis.
The encouraging results suggest it's worth investigating the effects of taurine further, according to the researchers.