Red Bull gives you horns and a tail.

The barrage of Righteousness against energy drinks continues. They are now a gateway to smoking and hard drugs.

Yes indeed, if your child gets hold of one of these drinks, you can be sure that within a year they will be living in the gutter, surrounded by empty bottles, oblivious to the world around them, arms covered in needle jabs and fag-ash and unaware that they have repeatedly soiled themselves.

This is wonderful news. The link to smoking just adds to the credibility of the nicotinic acid game. Rose pointed out a while back that the Puritans didn’t want it added to bread in case it encouraged smoking – and here it is again, added to energy drinks and the kids who drink it become smokers! All we need do is give them the name of the chemical, they are already doing all the rest for us.

Thyey’ve linked everything in the drone-mind. Red Bull today, Red Stripe tomorrow. A can of fizz today, a fifty-a-day smoking habit tomorrow. Breathe in steam and you will develop an uncontrollable urge to smoke. Popping Smarties leads to popping pills. Why, I’ll bet every single intravenous drug user has had an inoculation. That’s where they first experience their love of needles. Everyone knows that… or soon will. Then parents will refuse inoculations for their sprogs in much higher numbers than they do now. ‘Obesity epidemic’? Ha! Here, have some proper ones.

At this rate I’ll have to change my name to Pestilence and learn to ride a horse. Of course, it’s a little unfair that, over the course of a career at the dangerous end of microbiology, I have been inoculated against just about everything but them’s the breaks.

The link between bread and smoking is an old one, all they need is a reminder. Do you eat bread every day? Well, there you go, you see. You’re a nicotine addict, just like any smoker. Not to worry, I’m producing bread patches to help you kick your doughy addiction. What do you mean, it looks like a slice of Mother’s Pride and duct tape? I’ll have you know it took almost half an hour of research to develop this highly technical medication. It works, too. Just stick one over each eye and you can’t find your sandwiches.

I like those energy drinks. I learned the hard way not to drink too many of them, after three 500 ml cans of the stuff and still up at 5 am with chest pains, surfing the internet at light speed but achieving nothing at all. Yes, I still like them, but only the little tins, limited intake and never at night. They are good at the start of a long and dull shift of cleaning but no use if you have to use your brain in any kind of focused way, if you want steady hands for fine-detail model work or if you have any desire at all to get some sleep.

For the record, I was drinking and smoking long before these drinks appeared. My caffeine intake has varied over the years, it’s now confined to cans of chemical fizz and espressos, so pretty high, I suppose. There was a week in Marseille that was work related, the options were coffee or beer, and beer would have affected work. Pernod or absinthe would have stopped work altogether. When I came back home I couldn’t find coffee strong enough. Then there were a few years of being decaffeinated, after spending time in China where they didn’t have any coffee. That was work too. Unfortunately it did involve a drinking session with Chinese pig farmers which I don’t remember very much about at all, except there was a thinly sliced dog on the table. Oh, and ‘Gam-be’. They catch your eye, raise their glass and say that word and you both have to down whatever’s in your glass. Well, when in Rome…

So for me at least, caffeine hasn’t led me to anything. The smoking and drinking were there first. I haven’t tried hard drugs because I need my brain for work. Perhaps in retirement.

Interpreting the study correctly reveals that, in fact, caffeine has not led anyone to anything – other than unfocused hyperactivity.

What they really found was that those kids willing to take risks and experiment were the ones most likely to try energy drinks – and also the ones most likely to try booze, smokes and drugs. In other words, if energy drinks were not available, they would have tried something else anyway. Snorting glue or butane, probably. Those things can kill far faster than fizz with caffeine in it, and I haven’t heard of any glue or butane stories since the energy drinks appeared. Maybe the caffeine high replaced the other two. So take the drinks away and…

Well, if they disappear, I still have my espresso machine here. I could make a fortune with a little espresso van at the school gates. I’d stock antidepressants for the teachers too. With the kids filled with espresso doppio on the way in, they’ll need them.

And I’ll guarantee not to add any nicotinic acid. I’d have to – they’ll be scared shitless of it by then.

With any luck.


11 thoughts on “Red Bull gives you horns and a tail.

  1. Yesterday afternoon I left a reply to your DM comment saying that these drinks are gateway drugs to get children smoking and must be banned! DM hasn’t published it yet but it’s nice to know I am, once again, on the scalpel’s edge of science! I failed ‘O’Level Chemistry so I am an expert.


  2. Pingback: Red Bull Gives You Horns and a Tail | VapeHalla...

    • Why There is Nicotinic Acid in Your Bread.

      The Forgotten Plague

      “A murderous disease was ravaging the South. Then one brave and determined Doctor discovered the cause – and no one believed him.”

      “For the first third of this century, pellagra was a scourge across the American South, killing thousands and afflicting hundreds of thousands more. Its cause was unknown, and there was no treatment, let alone cure. Victims were shunned like lepers, and by 1914 the sickness was a national scandal.”

      Dr Joseph Goldberger and the War on Pellagra

      “Between 1907 and 1940, aprroximately three million Americans contracted pellagra and 100,000 of them died. A worried Congress asked the Surgeon General to investigate the disease. In 1914, Joseph Goldberger was asked to head that investigation.”

      The medical theories of the time being bad corn, germs or even that the disease was hereditary.

      Dietary Deficiency

      “Joseph Goldberger’s theory on pellagra contradicted commonly-held medical opinions. The work of Italian investigators as well as Goldberger’s own observations in mental hospitals, orphanages, and cotton mill towns, convinced him that germs did not cause the disease. In such institutions, inmates contracted the disease, but staff never did. Goldberger knew from his years of experience working on infectious diseases that germs did not distinguish between inmates and employees.

      Although many scientific colleagues sang Goldberger’s praises, even mentioning a Nobel nomination, others still doubted. In the pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association, critic W.J. MacNeal challenged the results. One Birmingham physician referred to the experiment as “half-baked.” Still others thought the whole experiment a fraud.

      Goldberger vs. The South

      “Enraged Southerners, led by South Carolina Congressman Jimmy Byrnes, denounced the negative characterization of their region and feared that it would discourage economic investment and tourism in the South.”

      “During the 1920s, Goldberger continued research to identify what he called the “pellagra preventive factor.” He learned that small amount of dried brewer’s yeast prevented the disease as effectively and more cheaply than fresh, lean meat, milk, and vegetables.

      He also began laboratory experiments on dogs after learning that black tongue disease was the canine equivalent of pellagra.”

      Conrad Arnold Elvehjem

      C. A. Elvehjem , R. J. Madden , F. M. Strong , D. W. Woolley

      The Nomination Database for the
      Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

      Conrad A Elvehjem
      R J Madden
      F M Strong

      Medicine: Pellagra Cure
      Monday, Aug. 22, 1938

      “Over 1,000,000 families in the rural South eat nothing but salt pork, corn meal and molasses. Their members are frequent victims of that painful deficiency disease, pellagra, with its attendant diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis.

      Physicians have known for nearly 25 years that small amounts of green vegetables and milk will forestall the disease. But still pellagra continues. In its advanced stages it has been considered incurable, since the patients are unable to ingest the necessary kinds of food.

      Last week the Journal of the American Medical Association printed two articles on pellagra showing the startlingly beneficial results of a new treatment.”

      “Nicotinic acid, a distant relative (about second cousin once removed) of tobacco’s nicotine, is found in yeast, wheat germ and liver. When considerable quantities were fed to some 300 patients with pellagra, their sores healed, their cramps disappeared.

      Even patients who were violently insane dramatically regained their wits within 48 hours”,9171,788409,00.html

      The Nation’s Food – 1941

      “A necessary vitamin is B—a group of at least half a dozen different chemicals. Most radio listeners, said Vice President Wallace last week, know B as the “oomph vitamin, that puts the sparkle in your eye, the spring in your step, the zip in your soul!” Vitamin B is found abundantly in whole wheat and coarse grains, is appreciably reduced in the milling process, when the rough coat is “scalped”‘ from wheat kernel.

      Most of the big flour mills and bakers have recently agreed to put vitamin B1; nicotinic acid and iron back into their flour and bread. But experts last week pointed out that such “enriched bread,” although a step forward, was not the ideal solution of the problem.”,9171,795342,00.html

      The Journal of the American Medical Association – 1942

      Niacin and Nicotinic Acid

      “A poor name is a handicap to the promotion of a meritorious product. The name “nicotinic acid” for the vitamin so important in the prevention of pellagra has been doubly unfortunate. To the general public the word “nicotinic” implies too strongly the relationship of this vitamin to nicotine, the chief alkaloid of tobacco often used as an insecticide. The term “acid” denotes a corrosive substance such as the liquid used in automobile storage batteries. The vitamin called “nicotinic acid” was first produced in the laboratory in 1867 by the oxidation of nicotine with potassium chromate and sulfuric acid. Later the compound was named nicotinic acid because it had been made from nicotine and it had the ability to form salts. As a laboratory curiosity, which it remained for over seventy years, nicotinic acid was adequately named.
      From the point of view of those interested in furthering the distribution of foods enriched with this dietary essential the name has proved unsuitable.”

      “Following the announcement of proposed regulations for enriched bread by the Food and Drug Administration, a well known trade publication announced the event with the heading “Tobacco in your Bread” because nicotinic acid happened to be one of the dietary essentials which is added to the product.

      Although nicotinic acid was first produced from nicotine, and even now a small proportion of this substance is being produced commercially in this manner, the implication that tobacco is contained in enriched is far from true.

      Most of the nicotinic acid of commerce is produced by the oxidation of beta-methylypyridine, a coal tar derivative.”

      “Nicotinic acid was first made by the oxidation of nicotine and Whiffens operate a commercial process in this country starting with tobacco.
      Later they were supplied with nicotine by the British Nicotine Company and continued the oxidation.
      Finally – before the Second World War – they found they were unable to compete with manufacturers starting from quinoline and picoline although it could be made directly from tobacco waste, from pyridine, some other coal tar bases, nicotine, anabasine, nor-nicotine or mixed tobacco alkaloids.
      The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored work aimed to make nicotine compete, as early as 1942, but although a new catalytic oxidation process was developed quinoline was still the cheapest source of nicotinic acid.

      Comparative costs were published in 1951 by Coal Tar Products of Philadelphia”;jsessionid=83AE25F86F4FDAC3582307DF8AECF4D7.tobacco04

      The campaign against tobacco started by James 1st of England, 6th of Scotland. Head of the Church of England, was at base a religious one

      “shall we, I say, without blushing, abase our selves so farre, as to imitate these beastly Indians, slaves to the Spaniards, refuse to the world, and as yet aliens from the holy Covenant of God? Why doe we not as well imitate them in walking naked as they doe? in preferring glasses, feathers, and such toyes, to golde and precious stones, as they do? yea why do we not denie God and adore the Devill, as they doe?”

      So it is hardly surprising to find this on an International Journal for Pastors

      (with grateful thanks to SagaxSenex for finding this)

      Nicotinic Acid vs. Nicotine
      H.M. Walton 1942

      “Some have apparently gained misleading impressions from recent press reports to the effect that nicotinic acid is now to be derived from the tobacco plant. Information at hand indicates that individuals have con­cluded from these reports that nicotinic acid is of the nature of nicotine, and therefore undesirable as a product in the “enriched” flour program that has recently been launched —a program that deserves hearty endorsement.”

      “Nicotinic acid is the term given to one of the dietary essentials for complete nutrition. This factor is quite widely distributed in na­ture in various plants and foods, as milk, eggs, wheat germ, and green vegetables, and is also derived from brewers’ yeast. It is produced synthetically for commercial use.
      The name “nicotinic acid” was attached to this factor because of the fact that it was first isolated during the chemical study of the tobacco plant. However, one is not to be misled by this association, for there is no rela­tionship, as relates to effects and actions in the body, between nicotine and nicotinic acid. In fact, authorities in the field of chemistry and nutrition are proposing that the name “nicotinic acid” be changed.”

      “Had some other common name been given to this important antipellagra factor, as indeed will no doubt be done soon, no objection would have been made to this chem­ical substance, which is one of the links of the dietary chain needed for optimal growth and buoyant health.

      Any implication or indication that flour enriched by the addition of nicotinic acid contains nicotine, or is undesirable because of that addition, we regard as very unfortunate, misleading, and wholly contrary to established scientific evidence.”


      “pellagra-preventing vitamin in enriched bread,” 1942, coined from ni(cotinic) ac(id) + -in, chemical suffix; suggested by the American Medical Association as a more commercially viable name than nicotinic acid.
      “The new name was found to be necessary because some anti-tobacco groups warned against enriched bread because it would foster the cigarette habit.” [“Cooperative Consumer,” Feb. 28, 1942]

      Conrad Arnold Elvehjem (May 27, 1901 – July 27, 1962)

      “In 1937 he identified a molecule found in fresh meat and yeast as a new vitamin, nicotinic acid, now called niacin. His discovery led directly to the cure of human pellagra, once a major health problem in the United States.

      Nicotinic acid – 1941

      page 2

      “We find that the smoke from ordinary Ripple cigarettes contains the anti-pellagra vitamin or nicotinic acid in fairly substantial amounts. However, the quantity is probably too low for a man to rely upon this source alone for his nicotinic acid requirement.At least to do so he would find it necessary to smoke an unreasonable number”

      “You will recall that in our letter of March 11th we doubted that vitamins could be absorbed from tobacco smoke by the throat and lung tissues. However, we have now found that nicotinic acid is disolved in the saliva of the smoker when smoking ordinary oigarettes, and even in greater amounts when smoking cigarettes made from the enriched tobacco. Thus, the vitamin does not have to be absorbed thru the lungs, but will be swallowed in the approved manner. These conclusions are based on actual analysis of saliva, collected from a smoker while smoking.

      “In other words, we analyzed the saliva, which would have otherwise been swallowed. No Nicotinic Acid occurred in the smoker’s saliva before smoking. We feel that we have made this report sufficiently long to cover the discoveries, which we regard as quite remarkable”


      “Parmele informed Mr Riefner that work on nicotinic acid could be confirmed free of charge by Dr Elvehjem at the University of Wisconsin.
      Dr Elvehjem analyzed samples prepared by Parmele by the microbiological assay method of Snell and Wright. The microbiological method was more specific than the chemical method employed by Parmele.
      Lower levels of nicotinic acid were found, but Parmele’s essential findings were confirmed”

      “Early neurological symptoms associated with pellagra include anxiety, depression, and fatigue; later symptoms include apathy, headache, dizziness, irritability and tremors.”


      • Duly copied for future reference. Interesting to see the 1942 statement –

        “The name “nicotinic acid” was attached to this factor because of the fact that it was first isolated during the chemical study of the tobacco plant. ”

        Strange of a scientist not to have researched this, and found that it was called ‘nicotinic acid’ because it was made from nicotine. The plant it came from was not the source of the name, the chemical it came from was. It seems science was dying already, all those years ago.


      • I had a hunch about what nicotine turned into when it burned, but without anti-tobacco putting those industry documents online I could never have been really sure, there were so many other sources assuring me that I was wrong.

        Of course there is other more tenuous confirmation. What do you do when there is no, or very little niacin in your diet, particularly if you are desperately poor?

        The “Social Dip”:
        Tobacco Use by Mid-19th Century Southern Women

        “According to numerous observers of the time, the most distinctive characteristic that set apart many southern women from their Northern sisters was their fondness for tobacco.
        Time and again, Federal soldiers commented about encounters with snuff-dipping or pipe-smoking women and girls in the Confederacy, and the habit occasionally prompted remarks from regional sources as well.”

        “What sort of Southern woman dipped snuff, smoked a pipe, or even, as a last resort, chewed tobacco? She could be either black or white. She also tended to be rural rather than urban, although that eliminated relatively few in this overwhelmingly agricultural region. Accounts appear from Texas (where Olmstead called it a “Virginia habit”) and Arkansas, all across the South to Georgia and the Old Dominion. It seemed to be a nearly universal habit in northern Mississippi and Alabama. A Federal refugee aid worker in Nashville declared that she “could not recall a single instance of women or good sized girls who did not use tobacco in some form.

        A young girl, a refugee from Northern Alabama, who was present, was asked if she knew of any women or girls in her section who did not smoke. Only one—her granddaddy’s folks, she said; the old man was opposed to tobacco; but his was the only family that she knew who did not use it.” An 1863 commentator estimated that “more than two-thirds of the Georgia women one sees on the railroad and at the hotels, use snuff for chewing, or ‘dipping,’ as it is called.”

        John Aughey, a Virginian, estimated that among poor white Southern women in his state “scarcely one in fifty of this class is exempt from the disgusting habit. . . . Every five of these will use a two-ounce paper of snuff per day.”

        A historian of the American South in the late 1860s reported on typical usage in the region where it was grown: A History of the United States since the Civil War Volume: 1. by Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer; 1917. P 93.

        “The chewing of tobacco was well-nigh universal. This habit had been widespread among the agricultural population of America both North and South before the war. Soldiers had found the quid a solace in the field and continued to revolve it in their mouths upon returning to their homes. Out of doors where his life was principally led the chewer spat upon his lands without offence to other men, and his homes and public buildings were supplied with spittoons. Brown and yellow parabolas were projected to right and left toward these receivers, but very often without the careful aim which made for cleanly living. Even the pews of fashionable churches were likely to contain these familiar conveniences.

        The large numbers of Southern men, and these were of the better class (officers in the Confederate army and planters, worth $20,000 or more, and barred from general amnesty) who presented themselves for the pardon of President Johnson, while they sat awaiting his pleasure in the ante-room at the White House, covered its floor with pools and rivulets of their spittle. An observant traveller in the South in 1865 said that in his belief seven-tenths of all persons above the age of twelve years, both male and female, used tobacco in some form.

        Women could be seen at the doors of their cabins in their bare feet, in their dirty one-piece cotton garments, their chairs tipped back, smoking pipes made of corn cobs into which were fitted reed stems or goose quills. Boys of eight or nine years of age and half-grown girls smoked. Women and girls “dipped” in their houses, on their porches, in the public parlors of hotels and in the streets.”

        Nicotine is made from nicotinic acid and putrescine in the tobacco plants roots, but as the industry documents show us, the amount of nicotinic acid in the smoke is so small, you could chew or smoke your head off all day and it would never be quite enough.

        How to Make a Corncob Pipe

        “Corncob pipes bring back memories of simpler times. A corncob pipe has always been the preferred smoking instrument for farmers. Many pipe enthusiasts use corncob pipes to sample pipe tobaccos because they provide a smooth smoking experience and the cob itself lets the taste and aroma of the tobacco shine. It isn’t too difficult to make a corncob pipe if you have access to corn. Learn how to make a corncob pipe that will provide you with a pleasurable pipe smoking experience.”


        • Redneck

          “In America, the term ‘redneck’ actually comes from a vitamin B deficiency that causes heightened susceptibility to sunburns. Interestingly, most Americans are, today, deficient in B vitamins as well, which is why they are so easily susceptible to sunburns. As explained in Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Dr. Elson Haas, M.D.:

          For a long period of history, the niacin deficiency disease, pellagra, was a very serious and fatal problem. Characterized as the disease of the “three Ds,” pellagra causes its victims to experience dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia. The fourth D was death. As described previously, the classic B3 deficiency occurs mainly in cultures whose diets rely heavily on corn and where the corn is not prepared in a way that releases its niacin.

          One of the first signs of pellagra, or niacin deficiency, is the skin’s sensitivity to light, and the skin becomes rough, thick, and dry (pellagra means “skin that is rough” in Italian). The skin then becomes darkly pigmented, especially in areas of the body prone to be hot and sweaty or those exposed to sun. The first stage of this condition is extreme redness and sensitivity of those exposed areas, and it was from this symptom that the term “redneck,” describing the bright red necks of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century niacin-deficient fieldworkers, came into being.”


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