A long-standing rumor claims that Red Bull and other energy drinks contain bull semen. Is this true or false?
This claim has circulated for many years, and the rumor likely began because a key ingredient of many energy drinks known as taurine. Taurine is found in animal tissue, including humans. Its name relates to the bull because it was first isolated from ox bile in the 1820’s. The type of taurine used in Red Bull, however, is synthetic.
Some have suggested that the rumor arose because the word, when broken down, could imply bull urine. Visually, the word “taurine” contains the root “taur” (meaning “bull” as in the Taurus zodiac sign), and some people have even pointed out that the word “urine” can even be deciphered within the word taurine. Of course, urine and semen are two completely different things, but there are those who seek connections in any manner they can.
Why Red Bull has been singled out above other energy drinks could be due to the fact that it has the word “bull” in its name and logo. Red Bull’s reference to the animal, however, is likely tied to the ingredient taurine, and not bull semen.
Red Bull Response
Red Bull has responded this rumor directly in their Q&A section:
Is Taurine made from bull’s testicles?
Many people bet it comes from some delicate parts of the strongest and most potent bulls in the world, but the fact is that the taurine in Red Bull is produced synthetically to the highest quality standards.
Their older FAQ answered it in a slightly different manner:
Is taurine made from bulls’ testicles? Is taurine a derivative of bulls’ testicles or semen?
The taurine in Red Bull® Energy Drink is a purely synthetic substance produced by pharmaceutical companies and is not derived from animals or animal materials.
All ingredients for Red Bull® Energy Drink are synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies. This guarantees the highest quality.
Red Bull does not contain bull semen, or any animal products. The drink is considered vegetarian-friendly. The rumor that Red Bull and other energy drinks contain bull semen likely arose from a connection to the product’s name and logo to the ingredient taurine. The taurine used in Red Bull, however, is synthetic.
Updated June 30, 2016
Originally published March 2014