Ingredients in Monster Energy Drinks

Monster ingredients are important to know before you start drinking the energy drink. While they are similar to other energy drinks on the market today, regular consumption could lead to potentially harmful side effects.

Monster ingredients are important to know before you start drinking the energy drink.
Credit: Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/GettyImages

What Are the Monster Ingredients?

Monster ingredients are not listed on the official website, aside from the caffeine content. The USDA Branded Food Product Database lists the ingredients as follows:

Carbonated Water: Water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas. Sugar: A sweetener that can be naturally occurring or added to food and drink to enhance taste. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), it is an added sugar on many nutrition labels.

Glucose: The AHA says if you see this on a label, it's another added sugar. Citric Acid: According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, citric acid is a naturally occurring acid found in citrus fruits that's commonly used as a preservative.

Natural Flavors: According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "natural flavors" means the extract, essential oil, distillate or anything that contains flavoring that comes from a plant, meat, eggs, dairy or other food product whose function in the product is flavor rather than nutrition.

Taurine: According to the Mayo Clinic, taurine is an amino acid that's naturally found in a number of foods. It plays an important role in many of the metabolic processes but little is known regarding the effects of long-term supplemental use.

Sodium Citrate: The U.S. National Library of Medicine states this is the sodium salt of citric acid.

Color Added: This refers to the artificial colors added to change the appearance of the drink, but no specific colors are mentioned.

Panax Ginseng Extract: An extract of ginseng. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there's no conclusive evidence to support any health benefits.

L-Carnitine: According to the National Institutes of Health, carnitine is an amino acid the body makes enough of on its own for most people. Healthy children and adults don't need to consume extra in food and drink.

L-Tartrate: The National Cancer Institute says L-tartrate is a slat of tartaric acid, which serves as a strong antioxidant.

Caffeine: Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed ingredients all over the world. It is a stimulant ingredient that is naturally occurring in many plants such as coffee, tea, cacao beans and kola nuts.

Sorbic Acid (Preservative): According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this is also known as ascorbic acid, another name for vitamin C. It plays a number of important roles in the body and must come from the diet.

Benzoic Acid (Preservative): According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this preservative is a nitrogen binding agent.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): Also known as niacin, the Mayo Clinic says the body makes and uses this nutrient to help turn food into energy. Most people get all the niacin they need from the food they eat, such as milk, yeast and meat.

Sucralose: The AHA says this is another added sugar. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sucralose is sold as Splenda, and is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar.

Salt: According to MedlinePlus, sodium is an electrolyte that has many uses in the body. When you sweat, you lose sodium and can disrupt your electrolyte balance. Sodium is commonly found in energy and sports drinks to help replenish electrolyte loss.

Inositol: According to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, this is also known as vitamin B8 and is naturally found in a number of foods including grains, nuts, beans and fruits. It is a naturally occurring sugar.

Guarana Extract: According to an April 2015 study published in Public Library of Science One, guarana is a plant native to the Amazon. The seeds contain about four times the natural caffeine in coffee beans, and when combined with caffeine from other sources, guarana provides additional stimulation.

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6): According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B6 is naturally found in many foods such as turkey and rice bran. It is involved with over 100 enzymatic actions in the body related to metabolism.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B2 plays a role in energy production as well as fat metabolism and cellular growth and function. It can be found in foods such as organ meats and eggs. Most people get all they need from diet.

Maltodextrin: According to the National Cancer Institute, this is a sugar that's made from starch. It's used as a food additive and a carbohydrate supplement to provide energy.

Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12): According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 helps DNA and also ensures the nerve and blood cells are healthy. Vitamin B12 is naturally occurring only in animal foods unless fortified.

Monster Energy caffeine comes in at a whopping 80 milligrams per serving, or 160 milligrams per can. This is the same amount of caffeine found in Rockstar ingredients. Because the active ingredients are part of the Monster Energy Blend, which is considered proprietary, the amount of each of these ingredients in each drink is not disclosed.

All Monster Energy flavors contain the Energy Blend, but the sugar-free and low-carbohydrate versions do not use sugar and instead rely on artificial sweeteners.

In addition to the main line of energy flavors, the company also makes tea (Rehab), water (Hydro), coffee (Java), Juice (Juice Monster), maximum strength (Maxx) and protein shakes (Muscle).

Each of these product lines has a variety of Monster energy flavors to choose from, but the amount of caffeine and other ingredients varies.

Read more: Is Monster Energy Good for You?

Monster Energy Drink Side Effects

The majority of Monster Energy drink side effects come from the caffeine. According to MedlinePlus, it's not harmful for most people to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. If you are sensitive to its effects, you could feel side effects at lower doses. Too much caffeine can lead to:

  • Dehydration due to frequent urination
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate or abnormal heart rhythm
  • Restlessness or feeling jittery
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach upset
  • Dependency so you require more caffeine to achieve the same effect

People who suffer from sleep disorders, GERD or ulcers, chronic headaches (including migraines), take certain medications, have high blood pressure, have heart rhythm issues or have anxiety should avoid caffeine. Children, teens and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid caffeine consumption. If you're looking for an energy boost, seek alternatives to caffeine and energy drinks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against mixing caffeine with alcohol. Because the caffeine can hide the depressant effects of alcohol, drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise, resulting in the potential to become more intoxicated than they realize. It's worth noting caffeine doesn't affect the liver's ability to metabolize alcohol, so mixing the two will not sober you up faster.

Read more: Healthy Alternatives to 6 Popular Energy Drinks

Do Energy Drinks Contain Drugs?

Energy drinks contain caffeine, which the FDA considers a drug. Other than that, there are no drugs in energy drinks. Depending on the drink, however, there may be herbs and other supplements, such as guarana and ginseng which could interact with medicines you may be taking or food you're eating. According to Poison Control, ginseng interacts with caffeine, ephedra and bitter orange, along with diabetic medications and antidepressants.

Even though energy drinks don't contain illicit drugs, Monster ingredients have the potential to be harmful. As such, they are not recommended for children, women who are pregnant or nursing or anyone with a medical condition.

Rather than relying on Monster Energy caffeine to perk you up to prepare for the day, try eating food high in nutrients for energy. Though Monster Energy flavors are available in low-carb and sugar-free options to make them friendlier for dietary restrictions, regardless of flavor or style there's a significant amount of caffeine.

If you choose to consume the energy drink, do so with caution and avoid drinking caffeine from other sources at least until you know whether you're dealing with Monster Energy drink side effects.

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