5-Hour Energy Review: Does it Work? Is it Safe?
5-Hour Energy review
On a daily basis, we Americans go to work, attend school, do household chores, cook meals, take care of kids, exercise, and try to solve the world's problems. Understandably, we are tired. How can we possibly maintain this busy and energy-consuming lifestyle day after day? Thankfully, 5-Hour Energy claims to hold the solution. Obviously, there are skeptics, but there are also committed believers.
What is 5-Hour Energy?
Since it's introduction in 2004, 5-Hour Energy has become the number one selling product in it's category, grossing more than $500 million in annual sales. For you cave dwellers out there: 5-Hour Energy is a 2-ounce liquid supplement that’s available in a variety of flavors. It claims to give users increased energy and "provide mental alertness, focus and improved mood." There is zero sugar, so users of 5-Hour Energy reap it's benefits without "crashing" or "feeling jittery or tense [later]." The ubiquitous TV advertisement portrays a handful of sluggish office workers on the brink of unconsciousness. Miraculously, after drinking 5-Hour Energy, workers are wide-awake, cheerful, and have seemingly fallen in love with their cubicles all over again. The advertisement leads one to believe that 5-Hour Energy is the solution to the humdrum of office work. Can this be true? Is this the Holy Grail of increased energy we've all been searching for? Or is 5-Hour Energy just pulling the wool over the eyes of exhausted white-collared Americans in order to make a buck?
Momma always told me, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” And to me, this looks pretty damn good. So I'm here to find out: Does 5-Hour Energy actually work like they say? And if so, is it safe to drink?
Does 5-Hour Energy work?
In short, yes, 5-Hour Energy does give you energy. Whether or not it provides the full 5 hours of energy, improves mood or mental alertness as it claims, is up for debate. The fact is, 5-Hour Energy contains as much caffeine as a regular cup of coffee. It also contains a healthy dose of B vitamins - about 8,333% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 and 2,000% of the RDA for vitamin B6. B vitamins provide energy by helping to unlock the energy found naturally in most foods. But the average American already consumes the RDA of B vitamins in their normal diet. Excess B vitamins are literally pissed away, and do not equal excess energy...sorry. You'd like that though, huh?
Okay, what about the claim that you can drink 5-Hour Energy without "crashing" later? Well, this could also be true. Instead of sugar, 5-Hour Energy relies on vitamins and amino acids to give users their elevated sense of energy, over a longer period. Obviously, everyone is different, but the drink should let you down easier, so to speak, than most other energy drinks high in sugar and caffeine.
Does 5-Hour Energy work for you?
Is 5-Hour Energy safe?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for protecting and promoting your health, has not approved 5-Hour Energy or it's claims. This may sound a little unnerving, but don't worry. While all dietary supplements are strictly regulated, none are ever approved by the FDA. Nevertheless, Lynn Petersmarck, advertising director for Living Essentials, the manufacturer of 5-Hour Energy, says the product is safe. Phew. Petersmarck also states that "everything in 5-Hour Energy is already contained in foods, such as apples, avocados, grains, and nuts, or is naturally occurring in your body."
After reviewing the ingredients, you might be wondering - "that's a lot of vitamin B, is that safe?" Well, yes and no. Even at excessive amounts (8,333% and 2,000% of the RDA for vitamin B12 and B6, respectively), B vitamins won't do any damage. However, it is true that extremely high doses of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage, tingling, and numbness in the arms and legs. In addition, we know that too much caffeine can cause a variety of problems including sleep deficiency, nausea, anxiety, increased heartrate, and high blood pressure to name a few. The manufacturers website also cautions that some users may experience a "Niacin flush (hot feeling, skin redness) that lasts a few minutes. This is caused by Niacin (Vitamin B3) increasing blood flow near the skin." To be safe, 5-Hour Energy recommends not exceeding 2 bottles of 5-Hour Energy in one day. Thus, like most things in life, 5-Hour Energy can be completely safe in moderation.
The claim of 5-Hour Energy
Buy 5-Hour Energy!
How to get more energy, naturally
If you find yourself continually reaching for a 5-Hour Energy or similar stimulants throughout your day, it might be time to try a more natural alternative. There are several things you can do to help increase energy levels and mental sharpness. In a related article from WebMD, Chris Rosenbloom, a professor of nutrition at Georgia State University; Jim White, a national spokesman for the American Dietetic Association; and Brent Bauer, director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota suggest ways you can boost your energy levels effectively and naturally:
- Eat several small meals throughout the day rather than three large ones.
- Avoid large amounts of sugar and fat.
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Take a quick exercise break, such as a short walk.
- Exercise regularly.
- Consider paced breathing, which can improve the heart rate and boost relaxation, or meditating for a short time.
- Reduce stress.
- Get enough sleep.
Should I buy 5-Hour Energy?
In trying to stay as objective as possible, I can't tell you whether or not to buy 5-Hour Energy. Will it give you some energy if you are tired? Yes. Is it safe to drink in moderation? Yes. Personally, at $2.99 per 2-ounce bottle, I need 5-Hour Energy like I need an ashtray on my motorcycle.