Everyone who relies on energy drinks to make it through their day may not have an issue with 5-Hour Energy side effects. But, for certain people, they can be dangerous.
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Healthy people can use 5-Hour Energy in moderation. If you have high blood pressure or a heart condition, you should avoid it.
What Is 5-Hour Energy?
5-Hour Energy is a brand of energy "shots" that work as an energy drink. Unlike many products on the market, this one is positioned as a supplement. Supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as food, not drugs.
According to the official 5-Hour Energy website, the regular strength ingredients include:
- Vitamins B6, B12 and B3 (Niacin)
- Energy blend: Citicoline, tyrosine, phenylalanine, taurine, malic acid, glucuronolactone and caffeine
A single 1.93 fluid ounce serving contains 30 milligrams of niacin, which is 188 percent of the daily recommended value. It also contains 40 milligrams of vitamin B6, which is 2,353 percent of the daily recommended value. When it comes to vitamin B12, it contains 500 micrograms accounting for 20,833 percent of the daily recommended value. It contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, which is comparable to a cup of coffee.
Directions for use indicate that you should not drink more than two shots per day, consumed several hours apart. If you opt to drink half the bottle, use or discard the remainder within three days of opening. Refrigeration is not required.
Read more: Do Energy Drinks Make People Gain Weight?
5-Hour Energy Side Effects
Caffeine is a stimulant, so it's important to limit consumption from other sources if you use these energy shots. 5-Hour Energy side effects are worse for those who use the energy shots alongside other products that contain caffeine. 5-Hour Energy side effects include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Niacin flush
These side effects are similar to what you'd experience with other energy drinks because of the high vitamin and caffeine content.
A small-scale June 2014 study with 14 subjects published in the Journal of Caffeine Research revealed that consuming one energy shot only results in a modest benefit to the subjective state, or being aware of yourself and your surroundings. The energy shot didn't alter objective performance, which worsened over time. Consuming the energy shot increased both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
An April 2017 study published in the _Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research _showed that 5-Hour Energy consumption increased blood pressure rather significantly at 30 and 60 minutes after consumption. At the 30 minute mark, it had also significantly increased heart rate. However, Monster energy drink had a stronger effect on both than 5-Hour Energy.
Read more: Why Diet Energy Drinks Are Bad for You
5-Hour Energy Alternatives
If you'd rather use something healthier than 5-Hour Energy, there are a few healthy energy drinks you can rely on. The active ingredient in the energy shots, regardless of flavor or strength, is the B vitamins. Rather than dealing with the synthetic vitamins that are often part of the drink, you can get an even better effect with natural ones from fruits and vegetables made into a green juice.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, vitamins B6 and B12 may indirectly boost cognitive function by lowering levels of homocysteine. High levels of the homocysteine protein have been linked to cognitive decline and dementia.
More research is necessary to determine that supplementation can slow cognitive decline. You can find B6 in dark leafy greens, oranges, bananas and papayas. You can find B12 in eggs, red meat, fish, poultry and dairy.
The Mayo Clinic says niacin is a B vitamin your body makes and uses to turn food into energy. You can also get it from milk, meat and cereal grains. Most people get enough from their diet and don't need any kind of supplementation, though it's often a part of multivitamins.
- Food and Drug Administration: "Dietary Supplements"
- 5-Hour Energy: "How to Use 5-Hour Energy Shots"
- Journal of Caffeine Research: "Subjective State, Blood Pressure, and Behavioral Control Changes Produced by an 'Energy Shot'"
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: "Effects of Energy Drinks on Economy and Cardiovascular Measures"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "B Vitamins"
- Mayo Clinic: "Niacin"