Does 5-Hour energy really give you a boost?

February 10, 2011 8:36:26 PM PST
Energy shots are small bottles that promise a wake-up formula to keep you alert and feeling lively. Sales are soaring, and the top-seller by far is 5-Hour Energy.

Its ads target busy parents and working adults, as well as young people on YouTube and Facebook. And you see the small shot bottles at checkout counters all over. The company says people drink it more than seven million times a week.

5-Hour Energy claims that you'll "feel it in minutes" and that it "lasts for hours." Consumer Reports wanted to know: Can 5-Hour Energy kick your afternoon slump? The company showed Consumer Reports a summary of a study it conducted that supports its claims of increasing attention and alertness. But the study hasn't been published, and the company wouldn't let Consumer Reports keep a copy.

5-Hour Energy contains B vitamins and 1,870 milligrams of what it calls an "energy blend," which contains a long list of ingredients including caffeine. Although caffeine is a known stimulant, Consumer Reports says there is little if any published scientific research showing that the other ingredients in the "energy blend" provide such a boost. As for the caffeine, the company won't disclose exactly how much 5-Hour Energy contains but says it's comparable to a cup of "the leading premium coffee."

The label cautions "do not exceed two bottles daily, consumed several hours apart." And it goes for a hefty price of about $3 a shot. Consumer Reports says 5-Hour Energy will probably chase away grogginess. But so will a cup of coffee, and it cost a lot less.

If you want to try 5-Hour Energy, be aware that it isn't for everyone. The label cautions that women who are pregnant or nursing shouldn't try it, nor should children under 12.

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