Glucuronolactone benefit and side effects, found in energy drinks
October 24 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Glucuronolactone is found naturally in the body as a substance produced by the metabolism of glucose in the human liver.
   Glucuronolactone is a popular ingredient in energy drinks. Most of these drinks contain caffeine, but glucuronolactone is included because it is thought to fight fatigue and provide a sense of well-being.  I was not able to find a human study that evaluated the effects of glucuronolactone on mood or energy when provided just by itself.


Benefit of glucuronolactone supplement
As of 2015, I could not find any published research regarding the use of a glucuronolactone supplement by itself. If your purpose for taking glucuronolactone is to enhance energy, consider an excellent and healthy option with MultiVit Rx. It provides an excellent and natural all day energy boost.


Nutr Rev. 2012. Do energy drinks contain active components other than caffeine? Energy drinks (EDs) contain caffeine and are a new, popular category of beverage. It has been suggested that EDs enhance physical and cognitive performance; however, it is unclear whether the claimed benefits are attributable to components other than caffeine. A typical 235 mL ED provides between 40 and 250 mg of caffeine, equating to doses that improve cognitive and, at the higher levels, physical performance. EDs often contain taurine, guaranį, ginseng, glucuronolactone, B-vitamins, and other compounds. A literature search using PubMed, Psych Info, and Google Scholar identified 32 articles that examined the effects of ED ingredients alone and/or in combination with caffeine on physical or cognitive performance. A systematic evaluation of the evidence-based findings in these articles was then conducted. With the exception of some weak evidence for glucose and guaranį extract, there is an overwhelming lack of evidence to substantiate claims that components of EDs, other than caffeine, contribute to the enhancement of physical or cognitive performance. Additional well-designed, randomized, placebo-controlled studies replicated across laboratories are needed in order to assess claims made for these products.


Eur J Nutr. 2014.Cardio- and cerebrovascular responses to the energy drink Red Bull in young adults: a randomized cross-over study. Energy drinks are beverages containing vasoactive metabolites, usually a combination of caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone and sugars. There are concerns about the safety of energy drinks with some countries banning their sales. We determined the acute effects of a popular energy drink, Red Bull, on cardiovascular and hemodynamic variables, cerebrovascular parameters and microvascular endothelial function. Our results show an overall negative hemodynamic profile in response to ingestion of the energy drink Red Bull, in particular an elevated blood pressure and double product and a lower cerebral blood flow velocity.


Efficacy of a 'functional energy drink' in counteracting driver sleepiness.
Physiol Behav. 2002. Sleep Research Centre, Loughborough University,Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK.
Coffee is often used as an effective countermeasure to driver sleepiness. However, the caffeine levels in coffee are variable, whereas certain proprietary "functional energy drinks" contain known levels of caffeine (and other ingredients). We investigated the effectiveness of a well-known energy drink in reducing sleepiness in drivers. Twelve healthy young adults drove an instrumented car simulator between 14:00 and 17:00 h. Their sleepiness was enhanced by sleep restriction to 5 h the night before. Following a pretreatment 30-min drive and at the beginning of a 30-min break, participants were given double-blind 250-ml energy drink (containing sucrose, glucose, 80-mg caffeine, taurine, glucuronolactone and vitamins) vs. a control drink with the same volume and same taste but without caffeine, taurine and glucuronolactone. Two hours of continuous driving ensued. Compared with the control, the energy drink users significantly reduced sleep-related driving incidents and subjective sleepiness for the first 90 min of the drive.


The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood.
Amino Acids. 2001. Psychology Department, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.
The effects of Red Bull Energy Drink, which includes taurine, glucuronolactone, and caffeine amongst the ingredients, were examined over 3 studies in a total of 36 volunteers. Assessments included psychomotor performance (reaction time, concentration, memory), subjective alertness and physical endurance. When compared with control drinks, Red Bull Energy Drink significantly (P < 0.05) improved aerobic endurance (maintaining 65-75% max. heart rate) and anaerobic performance (maintaining max. speed) on cycle ergometers. Significant improvements in mental performance included choice reaction time, concentration (number cancellation) and memory (immediate recall), which reflected increased subjective alertness. These consistent and wide ranging improvements in performance are interpreted as reflecting the effects of the combination of ingredients.


The metabolism of oral glucurolactone to serum D-glucarate is by the hepatic cytochrome P450 enzyme system.


I would like to ask if you have a glucuronolactone supplement for sale.
    Not at this time.


Glucoronolactone in autism, epilepsy, in schizophrenia, and in cardiomyopathy too? I am from Brazil and I found some articles (that I paste part of the abstract bellow) about neuroglycopenia in the pathogenesis of some types of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. Maybe glucoronolactone isn't only an 'alternative fuel" to the neurons, but it can be too a enhancer of mitochondrial function, and researchers could try it in Parkinson disease to control the mitochondrial disfunction and neuroglycopenia. "..A causal relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and cardiomyopathy also is evidenced by several genetically engineered mouse models... or "... Evidence for a Link Between Derangements in Mitochondrial Energy Metabolism and Cardiomyopathy..." (Circulation. 2007;115:2540-2548.) I asks: glucuronolactone looks to be a mitochondrial enhancer. Maybe it“s a good thing to make some research with glucoronolactone in cardiomyopathy with mitochondrial dysfunction. Maybe glucoronolactone can be used as a dietary supplement in diseases that the link it's neuroglycopenia (it will works only with doses of 400 mg. to 600 miligrames ( (capsules or chewing tablets ,etc) three or four times / day in schizophrenia and BPD ) to help cognitive disfunction in schizophrenia, PD ,etc. , and to help the control of delusions and hallucinations of that patients too. I'm seeing the control of behaviour (agitation, delusions ,hallucinations, etc) in Alzheimer patients, only with small doses of beverages with glucoronolactone, without the use of any type of antipsichotic drugs. It can works too like an "alternative sugar" and/or mithocondrial enhancer (and GLUT 1 and GLUT 3 function enhancer?) in that diseases (schizophrenia ,BPD, epilepsy, Pd,...) ? (for most patients, only doses of 200 miligrames to 600 miligrames of pure d-glucoronolactone two to four times a day, will work). The results are amazing, only if you get the right dose for each patient. I guess that with Redbull, as we can't give high doses of the beverages for aged patients, the tests with glucoronolactone using beverages like redbull, can fail with a lot of patients, because we can't give the ideal doses for most patients, using redbull. The ideal doses for patients taking painkillers and other drugs (antipsychotic drugs, etc) are doses of 400 to 600 miligrames of pure glucoronolactone two to four times a day maybe as a fluid or in gouts (liquids can have better absortion), without taurine or caffeine. We use what we have here in Brazil at the moment (redbull, flying horse, etc.) in small doses of 20 to 40 mililiters of beverage, two to four times a day . (each 25 mililiters of that beverages contains 60 miligrames of d-glucoronolactone). These beverages contain 600 miligrames of d-glucoronolactone in each 250 mililiters of fluid associated with 1000 miligrames of taurine,80 miligrames of caffeine ,etc. To a research , I guess that maybe , the better is to start ,in a empiric base, with doses between 50 miligrames to 600 miligrames of pure d-glucoronolactone two to four times a day. I guess that when you reach doses between 200 miligrames to 400 miligrames , 2 (two) to 4 (four) times a day, you can get good and stable results with most patients, and for some patients only doses of 600 miligrames 2 to 4 times a day will works. But to give 200 miligrames of glucoronolactone two to four yimes a day , with a beverage like redbull , you have to give 80 mililiters of redbull 2 to 4 times a day , and it's like to give 1 and 1/2 (a can and a half) of redbull in a day. It' s a lot of taurine ,because in each can of 250 mililiters of redbull you have 1000 miligrames of taurine. The problem or issue with beverages like redbull ,it's that they contain high doses of taurine ,and taurine in some patients, can gives strong dizziness , with the sensation of weak legs ,and the patients can fall with that dizziness of taurine. It's very interesting that some patients take only one table spoon of redulll or flying horse at morning , and have amazing results in behaviour mood and cognition. But most patients have to take 80 mililiters (or more) of redbull 4 times a day to have the same result. Some patients take only two table spoons (one in the morning and on in the afternoon) of redbull (each table spoon of redbull contain only 20 miligrames of glucoronolactone) and have good results even when they take painkillers and other drugs. I guess that small doses like that (20 to 40 mililiters 2 or 4 times a day) will not work in patients taking a lot of medications like antipsychotic ,antidepressant ,painkillers, ginkgo biloba, vitamin E , vitamin B complex, etc. (ONLY DOSES OF 400 TO 600 MILIGRAMES TWO TO FOUR TIMES A DAY WILL WORKS FOR THAT PATIENTS). As I said before even a half tablet of thylenol or 15 gouts of thylenol can neutralize the effects of low doses of glucoronolactone FOR MOST PATIENTS. But most patients even taking 50 mililiters of redbull 3 times a day (in each 50 mililiters of redbull contains 120 miligrames of glucoronolactone 3 times a day) ,when they take any type of medicine drugs, IT NEUTRALIZES THE EFFECTS OF GLUCORONOLACTONE. The liver "pull" glucoronolactone to metabolize that drugs (painkillers, vitamin E and B , etc) and this reduces the use of glucoronolactone by the brain. Then ,like with my aunt ,we increase the doses to 80 or 100 mililiters of redbull or flying horse three or four times a day , to have the same results while she is taking any medicine drugs (painkillers ,etc.). The problem is that if we keep high doses of redbull in a few days she starts to have strong dizziness. Another serious problem with taurine ,it's that taurine works like aspirin, and makes a strong reduce in platelet adesion and agregation. (even in patients that aren't taking any type of drugs). With high doses of taurine maybe patients can bleed. Because that ,if we have pure glucoronolactone in capsules (without taurine and caffeinne ) we could keep high doses of glucoronolactone (400 miligrames to 600 miligrames 2 to 4 times a day ) and with that, we coulds keep stable the amazing results. I guess that maybe ,the best to make in a research , it's to start with small doses of 50 miligrames two to four times a day and increase the doses up to 400 miligrames to 600 miligrames two to four times a day ,observing the reply. With patients taking a lot of other medications , because glucoronolactone it is used by the liver to metabolize drugs by glucoronidation, it leads liver to pull glucoronolactone that patients take, reducing the effects of glucoronolactone in brain.(I guess). Maybe, in that cases, only with doses of 400 to 600 miligrames of pure -glucoronolactone three times a day you can have stable results. We saw that when redbull it's not working with someone with AD ,it's because the doses are low for that patient. After we increase the doses ,we have good results with that patient that looks that redbull wasn't working. Don't give up with patients that glucoronlactone it is not working. If you increase the dose you can see good results. It's only a question of get the right dose . But if you want to see fast result in a few hours with ,only gives 80 to 180 mililiters of one of that beverages (redbull, etc) to a patient with agitation ,dellusions ,etc. If you make a video before and two hours after the administration of a dose of 180 mililiters of redbull ,you will see amazing results with an AD patient with agitation ,delusions ,hallucinations , etc. In Brazil we can't buy pure d-glucoronolactone in capsules ,gouts or tablets ,etc. I would like very much to try with my aunt (that have Alzheimer and improve with small doses of Redbull) some capsules of d-glucoronolactone ,but "brazilian F.D.A." here ,that it is called A.N.V.I.S.A. , don't allow brazilian labs to import , produce and sell pure d-glucoronolactone in capsules or gouts ,etc. The A.N.V.I.S.A. only allow , d-glucoronolactone in energetic beverages. Because that , we can't use greater doses of d-glucoronolactone ,once that beverages contain high doses of taurine and caffeine.
    A. I have not studied this topic enough to have a good understanding of the uses of this substance.