Folate and the Exploding Pen – Book Excerpt of the Week

For the Book Excerpt of the Week we talk about what FOLATE DOES. Folate’s job is to move a single Carbon atom from point A to point B. It SOUNDS boring like how Boring Basic Biotin moves a Carbon Dioxide molecule from A to B. However the stakes are MUCH HIGHER with Folate.

Regardless of whether it came into your body as folate (the natural form from food) or folic acid (the synthetic kind from fortified food) this vitamin becomes the coenzyme tetrahydrofolate, THF.

THF is a key player in DNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and the formation and maturation of red and white blood cells.

<<THF = BFD>>

The cells along your GI tract are so constantly used they go through a lot of wear and tear. They need constant supplies of DNA so they can keep growing and multiplying fast enough to keep us healthy. Without THF, the cells can’t divide and conquer. Instead, they grow larger and larger until they explode and die!

Folate is added to energy drinks, but it doesn’t “give you energy”, its job is so much more important than that!

LEARN MORE about the science behind energy drink ingredients on my Insta page (@greeneyedguide) and at You can 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 Audible and wherever books are sold!!!

❓Does your favorite energy drink have folate❓

STAY TUNED every Monday/Tuesday for more book excerpts and the science behind energy drink ingredients as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

Let’s connect!

The Difference Between Folate and Folic Acid – Book Excerpt of the Week

Have you ever wondered about the difference between folic acid and folate? In this Book Excerpt of the Week, we enter the Folate/Folic Acid chapter of the Energy Drink Guide: Part III – How Do They Work. Before we talk about what folate does, we have to talk about what it is, and where it comes from.

Folic Acid book excerpt

Folic Acid is a term reserved for the SYNTHETIC form of folate whereas Folate or Folacin are general names for a group of nutritionally identical compounds.

If the amino acid Glutamic Acid is a bling necklace, Folic Acid always has one, whereas the natural kind, folate, almost always has three.

Folic acid is synthetic but still prevents spina bifida like natural folate. In fact, because folic acid has less bling (fewer glutamic acids hanging off it) it is easier to digest than natural folate.

Folic Acid and folate are indistinguishable once they’re absorbed and get to the liver.

🌱🌳🌿☘🍀FOLATE gets its name from FOLIUM, the Latin word for LEAF. And wouldn’t you know it, dark green leafy veggies are the best sources of folate. Other sources include asparagus, dried beans, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals (obviously) and oranges.

❓Does your favorite energy drink have folate❓

STAY TUNED every Monday/Tuesday for more book excerpts and the science behind energy drink ingredients as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

Let’s connect!

GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge Day 10/10 – 10 Tips for Label Reading

For the 10th and final day of the GreenEyedGuide Caffeine Challenge we review the 10 things on a label to check before consuming a caffeinated beverage or other health/functional beverage.

Thank you for playing along with the Caffeine Challenge! You can always share your favorite caffeinated beverages with me on Instagram/ Facebook/Twitter and tag @GreenEyedGuide.

Through this challenge, you’ll learn how to use the 5 Levels of Fatigue to reap the benefits of caffeine while avoiding addiction, dependence, tolerance, and toxicity.

Energy Drinks and Hepatitis – What You Should Know

You’ve probably seen this story on CNN and other outlets. There are some additional details I want to add based on the 10 years I put into researching energy drinks and their ingredients. In the CNN article, I do understand why it’s mentioned this man had excessive folate and vitamin B12 levels, and yet the blame for the liver problems went not to B12 nor folate, but exclusively to niacin. Excessive folate masks B12 deficiency; excessive B12 doesn’t have documented symptoms, and excessive niacin HAS in fact caused liver damage. Liver damage may occur at 1.5 GRAMS (1500 mg). However, the man in this story reportedly only consumed 5 cans with 40 mg niacin each, or 200 mg niacin total. That doesn’t seem like enough to hit toxicity levels. Another thing to consider is how Niacin Flush occurs at 30 mg; if someone was consuming an excess of niacin, usually they’d feel it.

I’m always aggravated when “energy drinks” are treated all the same. Have you see the “energy drinks in disguise” I’ve been talking about here on this blog? Do you even realize how different the New Age of energy drinks more closely resembles “functional beverages” than the energy drink stereotype. But I get it — some stereotypes are just too persistent.


In that case, what aggravates me most of all in this particular story is how the caffeine content is curiously missing from the details collected or any of the blame assigned/implicated in this piece. It’s aggrivating to me when a news story casually implies energy drinks have caused a medical condition, and yet the details of that energy drink are missing. What OTHER ingredients were in there? Any EGCG? How much caffeine? How much sugar?

This is important because there are some really critical details missing from the news stories, and yet they’re not wrong. It’s TRUE that TOO MUCH Niacin can hurt your liver. But HOW MUCH is TOO MUCH? (1.5 GRAMS) That’s what is missing from these news stories. That’s what I want to share with all of you. There’s no need for panic, but there IS a need to be more informed.

Reference used for the vitamin information – Are You A Monster Or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks

CNN article –

Related content: Niacin Sample Chapter from 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”


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Energy Drink of the Month – July 2013: Nawgan

Partially inspired by the movie Iron Man 3 and partially due to this summer’s hot weather, I’ve chosen Nawgan Mandarin Orange as the Energy Drink of the Month for July 2013.

For any caffeinated beverage, the following 10 attributes are key to assessing the drink’s potency and value. Let’s go through this exercise with Nawgan’s Mandarin Orange.

Caffeine content is stated on the label – 100mg caffeine per can (11.5 ounces)
This is amount is less than the amount of caffeine in a tall iced coffee from Starbucks (120mg).
 Energy Fiend Complete Guide to Starbucks Caffeine

One serving is one whole can, which makes it easy to regulate the amount of caffeine one consumes.

This product has a Nutrition Facts panel, which means it’s a beverage, not a supplement. That means this product is subject to food/beverage regulations, not the supplement regulations (What? Supplements are regulated? Yes, despite what you may here elsewhere, supplements ARE regulated by the FDA, just using a different rule book than the one used for food/beverage products).
Since this has a Nutrition Facts panel, you know all the ingredients used within are either GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) or approved food additives.

Since this product is a beverage, not a supplement, it’s unusual to find Recommended Usage or Warning information. Some caffeinated beverages still bear the Warning Label, but this beverage does not. With only 100mg caffeine, this isn’t surprising.

The first ingredient in this product is filtered water, not carbonated water. Carbonation irritates the stomach lining which speeds up the absorption of certain molecules like alcohol and caffeine. This is why champagne seems to affect one’s sobriety more rapidly than beer does.

This product has 11 grams of added sugar so those of you watching your sugar intake may want to opt for the sugar-free Nawgan products.  This product also has Erythritol, a sugar alcohol that’s captured the interest of food scientists for its reported ability to improve oral health.
New clinical trial indicates erythritol’s superior dental benefits
Notably, this product is also sweetened with Stevia, not any artificial sweeteners.

7.  VITAMIN B-12:
Vitamin B-12 plays a key role in maintaining healthy cells and DNA throughout the body. This product has 50% of the Daily Value of B-12, a respectable amount. There is no known upper intake level for B-12, meaning you can’t ever have too much, but there’s no reason anyone without a clinically diagnosed B-12 deficiency or absorptive disorder needs over 100% DV in one product.

Vitamin B-6 participates in over 100 chemical reactions in the body, most of them involving amino acids and proteins. This product has 50% of the Daily Value of B-6, which is a good amount. A deficiency in B-6 makes it harder for blood cells to carry oxygen properly, so it’s important to get enough of the vitamin every day. However, intakes over 100 milligrams ( 5,000% DV) can cause nerve damage.

9. FOLIC ACID – This product has no folic acid, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It would only be bad if the product had more than 100% DV folic acid because that could mask a B-12 deficiency.

10. NIACIN – This product has no niacin, which isn’t a bad thing either. It would only be bad if the product had more than 35 milligrams of niacin (175% DV) because that could bring on the “niacin flush” – symptoms of flushing and itching.

This drink gets bonus points for the ingredient that makes it (and all other Nawgan beverages) special. Citicoline has been used in numerous studies assessing cognitive health and especially cognitive decline with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. A double-blind, placebo controlled (aka legit) study involving healthy participants showed that daily supplementation with citicoline improved cognitive function and performance. That study can be found here:
Improved Attentional Performance Following Citicoline Administration in Healthy Adult Women

The amount of caffeine in this product and the lack of carbonation make this product a good match for Fatigue Level 3 (Read more about the 5 Levels of Fatigue in ARE YOU A MONSTER OR A ROCK STAR: a guide to energy drinks).

This drink is perfect for those mornings when a cup of tea or a glass of water isn’t enough to wake you up, but you don’t need a high-powered shove of caffeine to push you through an all-nighter or a graveyard shift. Moreover, whether or not this citicoline brain-booster actually works, the drink is energizing, sweet and refreshing – perfect for a hot summer day. Mandarin Orange – product page