That little tiny bottle promising five hours of energy without the crash you'd get from coffee or soda? It may actually be linked to other, much more worrisome side effects. FDA records show that over the past four years, 13 deaths have mentioned the 5-Hour Energy drink as a possible factor. And that's not all: According to The New York Times, the caffeine-vitamin shot has appeared in 90 FDA filings since 2009, more than 30 of which were tied to serious conditions ranging from heart attacks to a spontaneous abortion. Whoa! Crazy!
Nonetheless, the producers say they're "unaware of any deaths proven to be caused by the consumption of 5-Hour Energy." Hmm ... Still, this news has got to be enough to give even a casual energy drink consumer pause -- especially in the wake of last month's report that the Monster Energy drink could be potentially linked to five deaths, one of which was 14-year-old Anais Fournier who drank two Monster drinks in a 24-hour period.
But here are the facts ... According to Consumer Reports, 5-Hour Energy contains about 215 mg of caffeine -- which is not too much more than you'd get in a cup of coffee (100-150 mg). In fact, a grande coffee at Starbucks will run you much more (in the 300 mg range). And adults are advised to keep their daily caffeine intake under 500 mg, which you'd think 5-Hour Energy would be far below ...
Nonetheless, the drink also has high amounts of B vitamins and amino acids (like taurine, L-tyrosine, and L–phenylalanine), which are considered to play a role in energy metabolism and the effects of which, especially when combined with caffeine and sugar as they are in energy drinks, simply aren’t known. There's also a chance someone doesn't handle a dose of B vitamins or taurine or anything else in the 5-Hour "Energy Blend" very well. Or the entire mix could be fatal to someone who has a pre-existing condition (like the heart condition mitral valve prolapse) they're unaware of.
The bottom-line is that the FDA definitely hasn't established a definitive link between the drink and these deaths or heart attacks or spontaneous abortions. They're in the process of investigating it, and until we know more, seems all that's left for energy drink fans to do is know their own personal health picture and then drink at their own risk.
Are you wary of energy drinks?