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Just How Safe is 5-Hour Energy?

10:33 AM, Jul 13, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We've all seen the commercial.  The guy who just can't get his day started without a shot of 5 hour energy.  

Jacksonville's Lite 96.1 radio adman Mike Vatter could be that guy. He's a steady 5-Hour Energy customer.  

He says he chugs the stuff at least once a day, "I wouldn't work out at 5am if I didn't take one before I exercise," says Vatter.

After exercising Vatter says he then drinks a travel mug of coffee before heading into work.  "I'm a high energy guy. I talk to people all day long. I'm either on the phone or in person talking to people. I gotta have my energy up so that's why I tried it." 

Sometimes in the afternoon Vatter admits drinking another shot of 5 hour energy Another two-a-day energy shot drinker is Jimmy Withers.

He lays tile for a living and says the caffeine gives him the boost to get him through the afternoon. "You really don't get the caffeine, shakes and nervousness from this.  You don't need to drink another cup of coffee to keep going," says Withers.

What's in a two ounce bottle of Five Hour energy? There's caffeine that equals a cup of coffee, zero sugar, four calories and a blend of B-vitamins including B3 also called niacin.

Shands Dietician Sally Clifton says the caffeine in 5 hour energy is concentrated and too much Niacin could redden the skin.  "Energy shots could pose a risk for cardiac patients. It can promote heart palpitations, jitteriness or high blood pressure," says Clifton.

The caffeine in an energy shot is dumped into your system right away instead of gradually like a cup of coffee. 

Too much Niacin can give people a Niacin flush, which can redden the skin. 

Also, children under 12 should not take energy shots as well as women who are pregnant or nursing. The maker of Five Hour energy recommends not to exceed two bottles per day. 

Jimmy Withers and Mike Vatter say their daily energy shot intake is no more than two. But just like a cup of coffee it could be habit forming. "Beware that you could become addicted. You don't want this to become a habitual thing," says Clifton.

First Coast News

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