In the old days, a drink high in caffeine and sugar was enough for an athlete or regular office worker to stay awake or alert. These drinks, usually a cola drink or coffee, came with unwanted side effects like the jitters or increased trips to the toilet. Some even rescued to caffeine pills.
Along came a new breed of drinks consisting of caffeine and tyrosine or Taurine which were classified as "mental alertness" or "neurotransmitter" drinks.
Why are they called neurotransmitter drinks? Tyrosine blocks the release of Tryptophan in your brain, which is the amino acid that gives you the sleepy or sedative feeling during near-maximal effort, usually after 20 seconds of exertion.
Tryptophan is also found high in turkey meat and warm milk, both of which can make you sleepy after a huge Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Whether or not it can cross the blood-brain barrier is another open topic for discussion.
Here is a summary of selected drinks to give you energy, stay focused and be mentally awake! They can be consumed by an ordinary office worker, or used as a pre-competition drink to an athlete.
Some of the items on this list may only be available in North America in this highly competitive market. Some even include ingredients such as ginseng extract or gingko biloba to label itself as a "healthy" alternative.
Red Bull primarily contains caffeine and Taurine. Ingredients: Carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, sodium citrate, taurine, glucuronolactone, caffeine, inositol, niacin, D-pantothenol, pyridoxine HCL (vitamin vitamin B6), vitamin B12, artificial flavors, colors
Monster drink by Monster Beverage is also good at a fraction of the price of Red Bull. It used to taste like stale lemonade! Monster has been reformulated with an improved taste. Ingredients: carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, taurine, natural flavors, sodium citrate, l-carnitine, panax ginseng root extract, ascorbic acid, caffeine, sodium chloride, niacinamide, riboflavin, guarana seed extract, inositol, glucuronalactone, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanobalmin
Full Throttle by Coca-Cola. Ingredients: caffeine, ginseng extract, guarana extract, carnitine fumarate, B Complex vitamins B3, B6, B12
NO-Xplode by BSN. An all-in-one pre-workout supplement designed to address all 4 of these critical issues simultaneously: energy, mental focus, work intensity, and maximum pump.
Fierce by SAN. Ingredients: Cell Hydration Matrix (Dicreatine-Malate, Creatine-Malate, Creatine-Ethyl-Ester HCI), Neuro Substrates (L-Taurine, N-Acetyl-L-Glutamine, L-Tyrosine & Caffeine Anhydrous), Creatine AssimilatorTM (Betaine Anhydrous Glycocyamine, Guanidinopropionic Acid (3-GPA), DuralastTM Matrix (Glucuronolactone & L-Aspartic Acid, b-Alanine), Nitro NO (L-Arginine-Alpha-Ketoglutarate & L-Ornithine Alpha-Ketoglutarate)
Xenergy by Xyience. Ingredients: Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Sodium, and Proprietary Blend of Taurine, glucoronolactone, caffeine, guarana extract, panax ginseng extract, inositol, l-carnitine.
Redline RTD by VPX. Ingredients: Caffeine Citrate, Caffeine Anhydrous, Evoburn (pure Evodiamine), N-acetyl-L-tyrosine, Yerbe Mate, Green Tea, 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan, CAMP (adenosine Cyclic 3?, 5? -monophosphate), Vinpocetine , Yohimbine HCL
Mad Croc by Mad Croc. Ingredients: caffeine, taurine, and B complex vitamins, carnitine fumarate, B Complex vitamins B3, B6, B12
Rockstar by Rockstar69.com. Ingredients: caffeine, taurine, ginko biloba, ginseng extract, guarana extract, L-carnitine, inositol