Can supplements really help you focus? Science Behind FocusAid: Energy Drink of the Month June/July 2018

To say it was difficult getting good grades in high school while balancing competitive sports, family obligations etc. feels as silly as admitting I cried over a difficult physics exam. Now I laugh at my previous concept of “difficult” with the context of college, grad school, and adulthood. But balancing everything in high school was hard, and I was in high school during the early 2000s, before energy drinks and Starbucks took over the world. Then energy drinks came along, and I balanced two jobs while I was a full-time student in college, then two different jobs while I was in grad school. Caffeine changed my life in more ways than one, and I’ve been studying the science behind energy drinks since the day I declared myself a biochemistry major back in 2003. Read more

Energy Drinks in the News – The effects of Alpha-GPC versus caffeine on mood, cognitive function, and performance

Here at GreenEyedGuide.com, my goal is to share the science behind energy drinks and their ingredients. In a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, caffeine goes head to head against Alpha-GPC in a battle of jitters and performance metrics. Which do you think is going to win?

This article is Open Access (hurray!) but, because it’s a poster presentation, it’s only two-pages long (aww….). Still, let’s dissect the details, shall we? Read more

How Much Carnitine? Book Excerpt of the Week

For last week’s Book Excerpt, we reviewed the role of carnitine in the body and how it helps the body’s powerhouse, the Mighty Mitochondria. This week we ask, “How much carnitine is too much?”

With a well-balanced diet, a healthy human body makes enough carnitine to meet demand.

Carnitine supplements have been used in clinical trials for age-related cognitive decline, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. These studies use carnitine in GRAMS and many energy drinks contain carnitine in MILLIGRAMS.

In other words, don’t expect the carnitine amount in energy drinks to MAKE YOU OVERDOSE on carnitine or PREVENT COGNITIVE DECLINE.

The body is pretty effective at getting rid of excess carnitine so consuming too much shouldn’t be a big concern… unless you have an empty stomach. Taruine, carnitine, and B-vitamins can irritate an empty stomach, leading to nausea, light-headedness, and other stomach pains.

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Energy Drinks and Exams – How They Can Help and How to Use Them Safely

It’s almost Christmas, which means Finals Week for many of you college students. As an early holiday gift, please enjoy this free handout on how to use energy drinks effectively to get through exams.

Free Flyer Handout: Energy Drinks and Exams

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Energy Drink of the Month – September 2013: Rize

It’s the beginning of football season, and the end of the regular baseball season. It’s the end of summer and the beginning of colder months, all which coincidentally end with a “burr” (Octoburr, Novemburr, Decemburr).

September is a curious month. As the song lyrics go, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,” — to many people, the beginnings and ends September brings are significant.

Like the trajectory of a Red Bull flugtag contraption, many people start September with an optimistic lift of energy and determination…before losing momentum and dropping quickly to the ground.

I have to plan for Halloween already?!? The sun has set already?!? Midterms, already?!?

Don’t give into the fall, rise. You may be powerless to stop the evening fog from rolling in, but you can combat the fog that creeps into your mind – rise.

The Energy Drink of the Month for September 2013 is Rize.

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Sept 2013 Energy Drink of the Month

Designed by a biochemist with a passion for athletic events ranging from Mud Runs to Marathons, Rize is not your typical “energy drink”. In fact, one would dare to say Rize symbolizes the New Era of energy drinks.

Rize is just one of the products you could use as a counterargument to one of my favorite blanket statements, “Energy drinks are bad.”

 

The Science Behind Rize Energy Drink

Like most energy drinks, Rize contains caffeine (*SHOCKER*) and B-vitamins. However, there are three major ingredients that set this drink apart from the other 500 products marketed as “energy drinks”.

Yes, 500. This is neither an exaggeration nor a typo. According to Forbes Magazine, there were over 500 energy drinks on the market worldwide in 2006. This vast collection of products is precisely why the blanket statement, above, irks me so.

1 – Trehalose

Trehalose sounds like it’s a fort you’d build in the limbs of a tree but trehalose (“trey-ha-lohs”) is a special kind of sugar. Don’t panic, it’s nothing foreign to your body. Trehalose is made from two regular glucose molecules. (glucose is the most basic building block of carbohydrates) In trehalose, however, the two glucose molecules are holding hands in a different way than two glucoses normally would (say, in a starch molecule). This tiny deviation from the norm is enough to change taste and metabolism.

Here’s the important part: trehalose doesn’t create blood sugar spikes like other simple sugars would. Trehalose has a unique sweetness that’s different than sugar but not metallic like Stevia. Also, it’s free of the controversies surrounding aspartame and sucralose. In essence, trehalose provides the yummy part of sugar, without the rise and fall of blood sugar levels. The result is sustained energy, the natural way.

2 – Green Tea Extract and Green Tea’s caffeine

The following is an excerpt from the book ARE YOU A MONSTER OR A ROCKSTAR: a guide to energy drinks:

Green tea is probably the healthiest drink on the planet, second to water. Loaded with antioxidants and other phytonutrients you’ve probably never heard of before, green tea is continuously glorified for its health benefits. Plus, it just looks healthy with that green hue, doesn’t it?

The only downside to consuming green tea is that it’s only good for you if you drink it, and the bitter taste is a deal-breaker to many, including yours truly. If you can’t stand the bitterness of green tea, green tea extract seems like the next best thing. Green tea extract is an isolated, purified version of the major antioxidants in green tea. Green tea has more nutrients than green tea extract, but green tea extract has all the star players, like the 25-man roster in baseball.

So how does green tea extract work? What, exactly does it do in the body? How do green tea extract and caffeine interact? For these answers and the rest of this discussion on the amazing benefits of Green Tea Extract, check out this handy guide.  Rize contains both green tea extract and caffeine from green tea, giving it an advantage over the stereotypical “energy drinks”.

3 – Huperzine

Not only is Huperzine a fun word to say out loud, it’s the X-factor that distinguishes Rize from all the other “energy drinks”. Supposedly, this natural compound helps memory, focus and cognitive function. There are even double-blind clinical studies to prove it. These cognitive function studies gave huperzine to people over a period of 8 weeks. So to get the same benefit, you’d have to consume Rize for 8 weeks straight.  Consuming the same energy drink every day for several consecutive days in a row goes against the 5 Levels of Fatigue

Rize is Fatigue Level 2 beverage

The 5 levels of Fatigue is a system which categorizes fatigue into levels of severity, then outlines which particular ingredients to look for to best suit that particular level.

For example, someone who needs a jolt in the morning should not be drinking the same product as someone who needs to pull an all-nighter. Rize is a Level 2 product, meaning it has up to 100 mg caffeine per serving, so you should drink it when you’re tired enough to need caffeine (as opposed to water) but not so tired you need a strong jolt of caffeine. You want to save those high-powered drinks for when you absolutely need them.

See this page to learn more about how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue.

BOTTOM LINE

Trehalose is not a new discovery, but it’s not the most affordable ingredient out there in the world of sugars and sweeteners. As a product developer and food scientist, when I see a company using trehalose it makes me believe these guys are willing to pay for quality. They could’ve stuck with green tea and brain-boosting Huperzine, but they decided it was worth it to use trehalose as well. Not only does this earn my respect as a food scientist and fellow biochemist, it makes the product unique in sweetness.

The two biggest drawbacks are availability and ambiguity. Thus far, this product is only available in the eastern half of the US, in Meijer stores: ee the Rize Store Locator. Of course, you could always order a case and get it shipped to you, but it’s not as convenient as purchasing a competitive product from your local supermarket or gas station. Furthermore, this product does not disclose the amount of caffeine per can and it’s ridiculously difficult to find this information online. Fear not, it’s only a matter of time before Caffeine Informer comes to the rescue.

***UPDATED: 9-16-2013:
Caffeine Informer assessment of this product:
Caffeine Informer on Rize Energy Drink