General Question

shared3's avatar

Do energy drinks like 5-Hour Energy have long lasting medical problems or wear off?

Asked by shared3 (921 points ) September 22nd, 2009

I know that caffeine tolerance is built up really quickly and that caffeine isn’t harmful. What about all those B-vitamins that speed up your metabolism? Do we build up a tolerance to those quickly? Any problems with extended use? My brother’s been taking one of those a day and I’m worried about him…it just seems to me that if it didn’t have any ill effects than everyone would be using it? I know that you guys aren’t medical professionals, but I was hoping I could get a quick answer.

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17 Answers

Ivan's avatar

“if it didn’t have any ill effects than everyone would be using it”

Uh, I’m not so sure about that logic. Apples don’t really have ill effects, and most people don’t eat apples every day.

CMaz's avatar

Drink three in a row. That will mess you up good.

marinelife's avatar

Whay do you make the assumption that caffeine is not harmful? Adding as much caffeine in the 5-hour energy drink (which is the same as a loaded cup of premium coffee house coffee, which is a lot) on top of other caffeine you consume in coffee and/or soft drinks could well have harmful effects.

erichw1504's avatar

Check this: http://www.energyfiend.com/caffeine-content/5-hour-energy

It would take 74.18 bottles of it to kill you if you weigh 150 pounds.

oratio's avatar

I would stay away from those energy drinks if I were you, especially if you are not training or have a physical job. Maybe if they are hypotonic, but either way, I keep away from all of them. Your body doesn’t need it.

ragingloli's avatar

some guy in france died after drinking too much red bull and playing basketball the next day. that is why they banned it.

marinelife's avatar

@erichw1504 There is a lot of ground betwee4n being healthy and being dead.

mass_pike4's avatar

its bad for the heart trust me. Speeds it up a lot and when you have that kind of stress on your heart each and everyday, it will catch up to you. B Vitamins are suppose to suppress jitteriness, but there are such a high percentage in these drinks that they can make you jitter. It is not the caffeine in it because there is not that much, less than in a 12 oz. coffee. There is sugar, a high percentage of B vitamins, and caffeine that are the main ingredients. However, there are a bunch other ingredients in there that I have no idea what they are and I do not see them in normal staple foods or drinks. Sooo they cannot be that good for you

shared3's avatar

@mass_pike4 : It has no sugar and you’re right, not a lot of caffeine. I’m mostly worried about my brother taking such high amounts of B vitamins (several times over the recommended daily intake!)

christine215's avatar

here’s a rundown of the ingredients in the 5 hour energy drinks (I use them on occasion)

The B-complex vitamins are actually a group of eight vitamins, which include:
thiamine (B1)
riboflavin (B2)
niacin (B3)
pantothenic acid (B5)
pyridoxine (B6)
cyanocobalamin (B12)
folic acid
biotin
These vitamins are essential for:
The breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose (this provides energy for the body)
The breakdown of fats and proteins (which aids the normal functioning of the nervous system)
Muscle tone in the stomach and intestinal tract
Skin
Hair
Eyes
Mouth
Liver
Some doctors and nutritionists suggest taking the B-complex vitamins as a group for overall good health. However, most agree that the best way to get our B vitamins is naturally—through the foods we eat!

Citicoline Studies suggest that CDP-choline supplements increase dopamine receptor densities,[1] and suggest that CDP-choline supplementation can ameliorate memory impairment caused by environmental conditions.[2] Preliminary research at Harvard found that citicoline supplements help improve focus and mental energy and may possibly be useful in the treatment of attention deficit disorder.[3]
Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid the body makes from another amino acid called phenylalanine. It is a building block for several important neurotransmitters, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Neurotransmitters help nerve cells communicate and influence mood.

Phenylalanine an essential amino acid, is a derivative of alanine with a phenyl substituent on the β carbon. Phenylalanine is quite hydrophobic and even the free amino acid is not very soluble in water.
(warning to those with PAH here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=gene&part=pku )

Taurine supports neurological development and helps regulate the level of water and mineral salts in the blood. Taurine is also thought to have antioxidant properties.
Taurine is found naturally in meat, fish and breast milk, and it’s commonly available as a dietary supplement. Some studies suggest that taurine supplementation may improve athletic performance, which may explain why taurine is used in many energy drinks. Other studies suggest that taurine and caffeine act together to improve athletic and perhaps even mental performance, although this finding remains controversial.
Up to 3,000 milligrams of supplemental taurine a day is considered safe. Any excess taurine is simply excreted by the kidneys. Moderation is important, however. Little is known about the effects of heavy or long-term taurine use. It’s also important to remember that other ingredients in energy drinks, such as high amounts of caffeine or sugar, can be harmful. For example, too much caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, interrupt your sleep, and cause nervousness and irritability.

Malic Acid – Malic acid is an organic dicarboxylic acid found in wines, sour apples, and other fruits. An acidulant is a substance added to food or beverages to lower pH and to impart a tart taste . Phosphoric acid is an acidulant added to cola drinks. Malic acid is used as an acidulant as well as a flavoring agent in the processing of some foods. In addition to food uses, malic acid is sometimes used in cosmetics to adjust the pH. Preliminary animal studies indicate that malic acid may reduce injury

Side Effects
Impaired sexual desire and performance, increased coagulation, inhibited libido, sexual arousal, sexual vigor and sexual performance, mild erectile dysfunction.

Glucuronolactone
Glucuronolactone is a naturally occurring chemical produced by the metabolism of glucose in the human liver. It is an important structural component of nearly all connective tissues.[1] Glucuronolactone is also found in many plant gums.

Glucuronolactone is a popular ingredient in energy drinks. Most of these drinks contain caffeine, but Glucuronolactone is included because it not only supplies energy, it also increases feelings of well-being

Glucuronolactone has been clinically proven to reduce sleepiness and sleep-related driving incidents under conditions of afternoon monotonous driving following sleep restriction the night before.1 It is widely known to improve mental performance, reaction time, concentration and memory.2,

Caffeine
Provides a boost of energy and feeling of heightened alertness. Caffeine also facilitates the rapid absorption of nutrients, including B-vitamins. Original 5-Hour Energy contains caffeine comparable to a cup of the leading premium coffee. Extra Strength 5-Hour Energy contains caffeine comparable to 12 ounces of the leading premium coffee. Decaf 5-Hour Energy contains about as much caffeine as a half cup of decaffeinated coffee.

mass_pike4's avatar

ya we really have no evidence showing what the effects are initially, but anything taken over moderation is not good for you, especially energy drinks with all those unknown chemicals. Who knows what your liver does with those. Often times I bet it doesn’t know what to do with them. I’m sure cellular damage takes place consuming it that often. You should not have to rely on an substance just to feel better and get you through the day

dee1313's avatar

I’ve never used them, but if we’re travelling by car or my husband hasn’t gotten a lot of sleep and he has to work, he’ll grab one of them.

I think its important to note that the 5 hour energy shots are different from a Red Bull, etc. There is no sugar in the 5 hour energy shots.

Your brother should change his life style if he thinks he needs one every day. I have no data to back this up, but I’d say once in a while is fine, but every day is excessive.

Not to mention that his habit must be getting expensive.

Caffeine has a lot of nasty side effects too, such as hurting your metabolism and screwing with your sleep.

rottenit's avatar

I do 1 a day, this has helped me kick the 18can a day soda habit, I took the ingredients to a MD to look at (although this is way out of her speciality) basicly the bulk of it is amino acids and vitamins, she felt that the caffeine is the main “energy” provider although she said that if people were eating poorly then the amino acids and vitamins could produce some energy for people.

I only use this stuff because I had a gastric bypass and cannot take a caffeine pill without some major stomach pain (landed me in the er once).

Response moderated
Tomfafa's avatar

Mine lasted 4 hours 45 minutes… I demanded my money back!

LeslieJ's avatar

Unless you have an allergy or medical condition that makes you sensitive to caffeine (of which the amount in these drinks compares to a soda or a cup of coffee) or B vitamins, nothing in these energy drinks will harm you in the quantities given. Maybe this will help… There are two types of vitamins: water soluble (such as B vitamins) and fat soluble (vitamin E for example.) For water soluble vitamins your body will absorb what it can use and discard the rest in your urine. Fat soluble vitamins are more likely to be stored in your bloody and pose a greater threat for overdose. Since these energy shots contain only B vitamins, the worst side effects would be a bit of jitteriness while the body processes any excess, and thats just temporary. The big concern over energy drinks is the high levels of taurine which is an amino acid. It occurs naturally in the body as well as most protein based foods. it helps the body process fats and also helps to build muscle tissue, but too much of this can store up in the body and can lead to metabolic and heart problems in the long run. That said, ‘too much’ is more than one or two energy shots a day would contain. I think the best rule of thumb here is to keep it in moderation. One a day is not likely to cause a problem as the body can derive what it needs and discard the rest through natural processes without becoming overloaded.

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