When is Caffeinated Water an Energy Drink? Hint Kick – Energy Drink of the Month – April 2018

Start with water. Add flavor. Add vitamins. Add color. Add sweetener. At what point does “water” become something else? Consider a drink with only caffeine, water, and flavor – what do we call this?  For this month’s energy drink pick, let’s discuss a beverage contrary to energy drink expectations and the science behind the green coffee beans used to fuel it. Read more

What does Vitamin B6 do? Book Excerpt of the Week

For last week’s book excerpt from the Energy Drink Guide, we talked about where we get Vitamin B6 (aside from energy drinks, other sports supplements, and fortified foods like breakfast cereals). This week’s book excerpt is about what vitamin B6 does.

Vitamin B6 helps the body make protein. Ever heard of essential and non-essential amino acids? Vitamin B6 helps our bodies make those non-essential amino acids…(through a process called transamination, for you biochem nerds). B6 also helps us maintain optimal blood sugar levels.

what does b6 do

Gluconeogenesis = creating new glucose.
Glycogenolysis = breaking down the stored form of glucose into its itty-bitty pieces.

Breaking down the stored form of glucose means we can tap into those reserves when we need them. And this isn’t just for emergencies – our bodies go through glycogenolysis all the time. If B-vitamins were all Marvel Avengers, Vitamin B6 would be another star member, like thiamin, riboflavin, and especially (my favorite) niacin.

Vitamin B6 has several more jobs that are important and not boring like other vitamins (*cough, #boringbasicbiotin ) BUT we’ll have to talk about that next week and/or you’ll have to get a 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” available on Audible, Amazon, and wherever books are sold.

To learn more about riboflavin and the other B-vitamins, stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

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Widespread and Pointless? Pantothenic Acid – Book Excerpt of the Week

Vitamin B5 aka pantothenic acid is everywhere. If you were assembling your dream superhero squad for an energy drink, I would argue that pantothenic acid is the last vitamin worthy of making the team.

Sorry B5, we can’t all be like Niacin, the Captain America of Energy Drink Ingredient Avengers.

Here’s why pantothenic acid is not worthy.

Rich sources of pantothenic acid include mushrooms, peanuts, eggs (especially the yolk), yeast, broccoli, milk, sweet potatoes, legumes, and whole grains.

Milk, meat, vegetables, and carbs are all sources of pantothenic acid so it’s hard to imagine a diet that isn’t getting pantothenic acid from somewhere.

all carb diet

I have yet to discover why anyone needs to supplement with panthothenic acid, yet its included in several energy drink vitamin blends. Of course, pantothenic acid has an important role when it comes to facilitating energy production in the body, but a vitamin B5 deficiency is rare because this vitamin is in so many foods.

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

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Is V8 Really an Energy Drink? A Primer on the Science of Energy Drinks in Disguise [GreenEyedGuide on ScienceMeetsFood]

In this article I wrote for ScienceMeetsFood.org, I address the problem behind the term “energy drink” and the science behind energy drinks in disguise. (There’s also a Guardians of the Galaxy metaphor!) It’s a great primer if you’ve never heard the term “energy drink in disguise”, or if you never realized that V8 and Ocean Spray make energy drinks. Read this article in its entirety at ScienceMeetsFood.org

“I’ve been studying energy drinks since 2003 and they continue to both fascinate and horrify me. They fascinate me because I’m a biochemistry major, or maybe it’s the other way around. Energy drinks are the reason I pursued my masters in food science (and the reason I survived grad school). Metabolic biochemistry is the closest I’ll ever come to engineering – for me, studying biochemistry is studying the secret rules to how things work.

Energy drinks horrify me because it feels like people with no science background are behind some of the products you can buy online. Sometimes I’ll read a label and think, “What are they doing? Who thought this was a good idea?” The most concerning aspect of energy drinks is we don’t have a proper nomenclature to classify them properly. (#WhatWouldIUPACDo?) Using the term “energy drink” the way we do is like calling pure ethanol “booze”. Let’s talk about why the lack of classification is a problem.

Is V8 Really Energy Drink
Read this on ScienceMeetsFood

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Is Niacin REALLY a Vitamin – Book Excerpt of the Week

Last week we said NIACIN was the Captain America of the Energy Drink Ingredient Avengers – one of the BEST energy drink ingredients – because it participates in numerous reactions to form ATP (the chemical form of energy) in the human body. But is niacin really a vitamin?

Vitamins are essential to life and, by definition, something we need to get from the diet because we can’t make on our own. Did you know the human body can MAKE niacin? As this book excerpt explains, tryptophan and protein are the key ingredients for this magic.

Niacin is still considered a vitamin because we can make some but we can’t make enough to survive and thrive.

The amount of niacin our bodies can make in a day from the amino acid tryptophan is not the full amount we’d need in a day, but it helps. Moreover, our bodies cannot make tryptophan: it is an ESSENTIAL amino acid, meaning we have to get from the diet.

STAY TUNED every Monday for more book excerpts and the science behind energy drink ingredients.  Stay tuned for next week’s book excerpt as we continue our page-by-page exploration through the Energy Drink Guide.

Let’s connect!