"Two ounce liquid energy shot that provides extended amount of energy without the crash or jitters associated with the energy sodas or coffee. “What 5 hour energy really is an amino acid drink. Amino acids that work on for focus memory concentration mood enhancement,” says Carl Sperber, Director of Marketing for Living Essentials.
There are several questions here regarding 5 hour energy: Is there anything special in it besides caffeine? Is it any better than the other energy drinks? And…is it potentially dangerous? First, are the amino acids a big deal…really? “Your body can make them by itself. We can easily obtain it from diet. There is no scientific backing no scientific support to say the amino acids in a blended energy drink is going to do anything for you,” says registered dietician Sari Greaves of NY Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
So what is providing the benefit? The product says it contains as much caffeine as one cup of coffee. But Living Essentials says its product is more than that…because of the energy blend and the b vitamins, which help turn your food into energy. In fact, they say it works better, and lasts longer than its competitors, including red bull. “People who took five hour energy felt by and large normal. People who took the other drinks felt worse the felt the crash they felt tired and drained,” says Mr. Sperber.
They say the research is just completed, and the data still being analyzed. Ms. Greaves believes, until there’s any research, this may just be a caffeine product…given, the amount that’s in it really is unknown. A cup of coffee can be different sizes for example. “One cup of coffee at Starbuck’s is 300 milligrams. And that’s a 12 ounce cup of coffee. One cup of coffee from your coffee machine at home, is more along the lines of 100 mg.”
Ms. Greaves says it could be potentially harmful for several reasons. “You’re condensing the amount of caffeine into what essentially is a two ounce shot and with caffeine abuse becoming an emerging health problem, the last thing we need to do is cram more caffeine and make it easier to ingest large quantities in small amounts.”
There is also niacin in this, which causes flushing, like a hot flash. It’s not dangerous, but for some it can be uncomfortable. The company says it’s put in there, not only because it is a B vitamin, but to let the user know the product is working. The company does urge responsible use, and that minors should not use it.
Still, experts argue, why use any energy drink in the first place? “Instead of figuring out which energy drink is right for you, focus more on eliminating the need for the energy drink in the first place,” argues Ms. Greaves. Sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition are the best way to go to have energy--tough to choose when the alternative is in a two ounce bottle.