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The Low-Down on 5-Hour Energy Shots

With entire beverage cases filled with energy drinks, there is no disputing that we are a well-caffeinated culture. Maybe even too caffeinated.

5-hour energy shots

One such drink that has found its way in every gas station, every convenience store, millions of  websites and even health food stores are 5-Hour Energy shots. Since many drinks contain sugar and a lot of it, they are also steeped in calories. But 5-Hour Energy shots bill themselves as the carb-conscious solution for anyone looking for a boost of energy without the calories of sugar. In addition, these small pocket-sized bottles of caffeine don’t contain any herbal stimulants and sport just four calories per two-ounce serving. They also contain Vitamin B6, B12, folic acid, amino acids and niacin.

The regular strength 5-Hour Energy shots contain about 80 mg of caffeine per two-ounce serving, which is about the equivalent of an eight-ounce cup of coffee. But the brand has also created an Extra Strength which contains as much caffeine as a 12-ounce cup of joe.

While energy drinks like 5-Hour Energy shots are popular among teenagers and young adults, many health advocates have highly criticized the potential danger of these super-charged beverages. Even the FDA cannot attest for the safety of many of the ingredients of these caffeine bombs. Possible side effects are irregular heart beats, dizziness, insomnia, jitteriness, irritability and reduced concentration.

The primary concern among the medical community is that the the effects of caffeine on the developing brains of children, teenagers and young adults has not been studied. We do know that caffeine use poses risk for the developing fetus during pregnancy and can also cause sleeping and psychological problems.

In addition, the caffeine content does not have to be disclosed on the label just as long as what is included on it is suffice enough to comply with the current labeling regulations.

So the take-home message is to exercise caution. If you’re brave enough to try one of these heart-thumping drinks, do yourself a favor and read the instructions. The 5-Hour Energy shots for both Regular and Extra Strength only recommend that you drink half of a bottle (or one ounce) to start with for a moderate energy boost. In addition, the label strongly discourages consuming two bottles in a 24-hour period. Unless of course, you enjoy bouncing off walls and visibly seeing your ticker thump through your chest.

August 28th, 2009