Living Essentials, the company that makes 5-Hour Energy, sold 350 million cans of the 2 oz. drink in 2009. 5-Hour Energy can be found at supermarkets, gas stations and office supply stores. TV ads for the drink are ubiquitous. Living Essentials promotes 5-Hour Energy as pick-me-up that doesn't result in an energy crash later. In many respects, 5-Hour Energy lives up to the hype, but there are reasons to be somewhat cautious in using it.
Most energy drinks contain copious amounts of sugar. Sugar acts as a stimulant and can give you an energy boost, but its effect is short-lived. Sugar spikes your insulin level and gives you a boost, but it quickly leaves your system. The sharp reduction in your insulin level practically guarantees the boost will be a temporary one. Also, sugar is high in calories and very low in nutritional benefits. 5-Hour Energy has no sugar.
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Most reviewers give 5-Hour Energy good marks for boosting your energy, according to the Consumer Search website. The two ingredients in the drink that furnish the energy boost are caffeine and very large quantities of B vitamins in an "energy blend," according to Living Essentials. You consume 2,000 percent of the recommended daily amount of B6 and 8,333 percent of the recommended daily dose of B12 in one 2 oz. can. Since injections of Vitamin B12 are often prescribed for people who are fatigued or run down, it is plausible that the B vitamins and the caffeine in 5-Hour Energy work as advertised.
There are over a dozen other ingredients in 5-Hour Energy drinks, a combination of amino acids and other compounds. Brent Bauer, the director of complementary and integrated medicine at the Mayo Clinic, is concerned at the lack of testing of these ingredients, especially when combined together. As of April 2011, it is unknown whether the ingredients produce good results, interact with other medications or possibly damage the liver or kidneys.
Some people have reported feeling jittery after drinking a can of 5-Hour Energy, and Living Essentials cautions users that you could experience a niacin--B3--flush. In addition, Brent Bauer says that people should not consider 5-Hour Energy to be a "magic potion that's going to immediately raise your energy level." Because of the high levels of B vitamins and the uncertainties surrounding the other ingredients in 5-Hour Energy, you should not take it on frequent or daily basis without consulting your doctor.