Ashwagandha and antioxidants in an Energy Drink? Science Behind Crunk!!! – Energy Drink of the Month

In January we face the difficult task of setting goals for the year. We aim high. Sometimes we fall short. But as Brene Brown taught us, sometimes we have to look at the attempt itself as the victory. It’s far easier not to try and play it safe. Thus, in the spirit of Daring Boldly, let’s talk about the energy drink that strives to break the mold. If you avoid energy drinks because you’re afraid of health risks, consider the science behind Crunk!!! Energy.


Crunk Energy Family
Courtesy of Crunk on Twitter



How Energy Drinks are Like Harry Potter Versus Snape

When news stories talk about energy drinks and the dangers they pose, what drinks do you see? Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar. The Big Three. This criticism against energy drinks is like when Snape scolds Harry Potter: sometimes Harry deserves it; other times the scolding is the result of misplaced angs with the intent to protect.

Does Crunk!!! Energy deserve the criticism against Energy Drinks?

Energy drinks are often criticized for high amounts of sugar and caffeine. While Crunk!!! Is not the worst offender I’ve ever seen (Redline, I’m looking at you!), it does have more caffeine than the original Monster and Rockstar Energy drinks  – 192 mg versus 160 mg caffeine per container. Healthy adults can have up to 200 mg caffeine at a time and 400 mg a day.

Caffeine Content of Crunk

Crunk!!! Energy also has over 20 grams of sugar PER SERVING – which equates to over 40 grams PER CAN! The American Heart Association says adult men shouldn’t have more than 37 grams of sugar per day.

Sugar Content of Crunk

Ashwagandha and Antioxidants – How Crunk!!! Energy is different than most energy drinks

For the food scientist in me, reading the ingredient label of Crunk!!! Energy was like seeing names you recognize in the opening credits of a B-movie.
“Hey look, it’s that guy! I didn’t know he was in this! This isn’t his kind of film…”.

Adaptogens. Antioxidant-rich botanicals. “Naturally fueled”. No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. This drink dares to be different.

Crunk!!! Energy is the creation of Sydney Frank, the man behind Grey Goose vodka. According to,

“The challenge was to craft a quality energy supplement that embodied an edgy and uninhibited style infused with Sidney Frank’s radical, trailblazing business savvy attitude.”

I can see that radical, trailblazing attitude in the ingredients. These are NOT your typical energy drink ingredients:

Ashwagandha, NAC, White Willow Bark, Milk Thistle, Grape Seed Extract, Skullcap, Horny Goat Weed

  • Ashwagandha is believed to help the body handle stress. Some scientists think its active compounds, the “Withanosides”, prevent a stress-induced increase in NADPH diaphosphorase and prevent corticosterone from increasing during stress.
  • N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (also called “NAC”) provides antioxidant benefits by allowing more glutathione to be produced. Glutathione is a major player in antioxidant reactions (redox reactions), so glutathione is a good thing to have around to fight damage caused by free radicals.
  • White Willow Bark has a reputation as an anti-inflammatory. A small number of clinical studies have been conducted that support the use of willow bark extracts in chronic lower back and joint pain and osteoarthritis, according to this study in Phytotherapy Research. [] In animal studies, White Willow Bark extracts have been shown to down-regulate the inflammatory mediators tumor necrosis factor-a and nuclear factor-kappa B. (Turn down for White…Willow Bark!)
  • Milk Thistle is a liver protector! The active compounds of this plant, called Silymarin, are used to treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic hepatitis, and toxin-induced liver diseases. There have also been multiple occasions where milk thistle was given to save people who ate deadly poisonous mushrooms!
  • Inositol can be used as an anti-depressant because of how it helps with a complicated process called Signal Transduction. This complicated process is best explained by the story of the single girl who got flowers:


How Crunk!!! Energy could be better

This energy drink has this interesting roster of ingredients with known benefits, but like the dragons in Game of Thrones, we don’t get nearly enough of them.

  • Inositol’s Effective Dose = 200 mg
    • Dose in Crunk!!! = ~75 mg per can
  • Milk Thistle’s Effective Dose = 420 – 600 mg (total Silymarin)
    • Dose in Crunk!!! = <2 mg per can
  • Ashwagandha’s Effective Dose: 25 mg per kg of body weight
    • Dose in Crunk: <5 mg per can

And so on…

Crunk Blood Orange
Source: Crunk!!! Energy Blood Orange on Amazon

Energy Drinks, the Spectrum

Energy drinks can be, as some news outlets put it, a “deadly concoction of sugar and caffeine”. Or they can be a healthy alternative to flavored coffee. There are energy drinks out there which are barely indistinguishable from tea, and some which are nothing more than caffeinated water.

If you’ve ever wanted to help your friends, your family, your coworkers feel more energized while avoiding caffeine overdosing and dependence, the single greatest thing you can do is embrace the energy drink spectrum.

Do you wear the same exact color clothes every single day?

No (unless you’re Batman or Black Widow). So why would you drink the same amount of caffeine every single day?

By alternating the amount of caffeine you have every day, you can keep yourself from getting dependent. How do you know how much caffeine you need? Use the 5 Levels of Fatigue.

With 192 milligrams of caffeine per container, Crunk!!! Energy is FATIGUE LEVEL 3. Since it’s carbonated and has sugar, it’s almost Fatigue Level 4.

5 LOF for Crunk 3.7

Bottom Line

Crunk is a good energy drink in spite of not providing large enough doses of the ingredients it triumphs on the label. Does every little bit count? Should we penalize Crunk for not having enough of these botanical ingredients? Or do we praise Crunk for striving to be different, even if it falls a little short?

Crunk!!! Energy Home Page



Let’s connect!

Want to Read More About the Science Behind Energy Drinks?

Get your copy of MY BOOK: “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks — How They Work, Why They Work, How to Use Them Safely” on Amazon and NOW ON AUDIBLE***


3 thoughts on “Ashwagandha and antioxidants in an Energy Drink? Science Behind Crunk!!! – Energy Drink of the Month

    • I haven’t yet but I will add it to the list. I already have 2 new drinks to review for June but please look for it on the blog in July. Thanks for the suggestion and for supporting GreenEyedGuide.

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