Glucuronolactone is a molecule commonly found as a component of Energy Drinks formulations with surprisingly minimal research on it, given its societal usage.

This page features 15 unique references to scientific papers.

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Also Known As

Glucuronic Acid, Glucaro 1,4-lactone, Glutarate

Table of Contents:

Edit1. Sources and Stucture

1.1. Structure

Glucuronolactone is a molecule that is commonly found in energy drinks (at around 10-60mg, with variance depending on brand), although in studies 'disassembling' the constituents of energy drinks suggest no significant contribution towards energy.[1][2]

1.2. Biological Significance

In vitro, D-glucuronolactone can be metabolized by a dehydrogenase into D-Glucaro-1,4-Lactone (G14L), where D-glucuronolactone appears to metabolize into a dilactone (d-glucaro-1,4-3,6-dilactone) and then spontaneously degrade into G14L.[3]

D-Glucaric acid is the main urinary metabolite of the glucuronic acid pathway,[4][5] which synthesizes Glucuronic Acid for the purposes of conjugation by drug metabolizing enzymes (UGT transferases). Daily urine output of D-Glucaric Acid is approximately 30-100umol.[6][7]

Glucuronolactone is a prodrug for the compound D-Glucaro-1,4-Lactone

In animals (non-primapes) that are capable of synthesizing ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) endogenously, glucuronolactone is used as a pre-requisite for ascorbic acid.[8]

Can be used to synthesize Vitamin C in creatures capable of this conversion, which are not humans

1.3. Enzymatic Interactions

D-Glucaro-1,4-Lactone (G14L) appears to be an inhibitor of the β-Glucuronidase enzyme.[3]

Edit2. Pharmacology

2.1. Metabolism

Glucuronolactone can be formed when glucuronic acid is degraded in subcritical water interchangeably.[9]

Edit3. Cardiovascular Health

3.1. Blood Flow

1,4-GL can be seen as protective for blood vessel health by alleviating oxidative/nitrative damage to lipoproteins from reactive species such as hydroperoxide and peroxynitrate, as well as acting as an anti-platelet aggregative compound.[10][11] It may be synergistic with Resveratrol in this regard.[12]

When consuming an energy drink (80mg Caffeine, 1000mg Taurine, 800mg Glucuronolactone; sugar free with B-complex), an overall increase in platelet aggregation appears to occur in otherwise healthy persons with infrequent energy drink consumption.[13] Participants refrained from caffeine for a week prior to testing, and the contribution of Glucuronolactone towards the observed effects was not established.[13]

Edit4. Interactions with Cancer

Via its actions as a beta-glucuronidase inhibitor (of which too much activity is correlated with some forms of cancer), 1,4-GL can be seen as potentially anti-carcinogenic.[14] 1,4-GL and D-Glutarate also have potent anti-proliferative properties.[15]


  1. Mets MA, et al. Positive effects of Red Bull® Energy Drink on driving performance during prolonged driving. Psychopharmacology (Berl). (2011)
  2. Debunking the Effects of Taurine in Red Bull Energy Drink
  3. Marsh CA. Metabolism of D-glucuronolactone in mammalian systems. Inhibitory properties of the products of D-glucuronolactone-dehydrogenase action. Biochem J. (1966)
  4. Perry W, Jenkins MV. Note on the enzyme assay for urinary D-glucaric acid and correlation with rifampicin-induced mixed function oxidase activity. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. (1986)
  5. Metabolism of d-glucuronolactone in mammalian systems. Identification of d-glucaric acid as a normal constituent of urine
  6. Marsh CA. An enzymatic determination of D-glucaric acid by conversion to pyruvate. Anal Biochem. (1985)
  7. Marsh CA. Biosynthesis of D-glucaric acid in mammals: a free-radical mechanism. Carbohydr Res. (1986)
  8. Smirnoff N. L-ascorbic acid biosynthesis. Vitam Horm. (2001)
  9. Wang R, et al. Degradation kinetics of glucuronic acid in subcritical water. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. (2010)
  10. Saluk-Juszczak J, et al. Protective effects of D-glucaro-1,4-lactone against oxidative modifications in blood platelets. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. (2008)
  11. Olas B, et al. Protective effects of D-glucaro 1,4-lactone against oxidative/nitrative modifications of plasma proteins. Nutrition. (2007)
  12. Olas B, Saluk-Juszczak J, Wachowicz B. D-glucaro 1,4-lactone and resveratrol as antioxidants in blood platelets. Cell Biol Toxicol. (2008)
  13. Worthley MI, et al. Detrimental effects of energy drink consumption on platelet and endothelial function. Am J Med. (2010)
  14. [No authors listed. Calcium-D-glucarate. Altern Med Rev. (2002)
  15. Walaszek Z. Potential use of D-glucaric acid derivatives in cancer prevention. Cancer Lett. (1990)

(Common misspellings for Glucuronolactone include glutrate, glucaronic, glucuronlactone, glucuro)

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