Science Behind 5-Hour Energy Protein

The world of energy drinks is vast, and there isn’t enough time to give every drink the full “Energy Drink of the Month” deep dive review. In my attempt to guide my fans through this world of energy drinks, I like to share the science behind the various caffeinated beverages I come across in my travels.

Sometimes I am BOTH fascinated and wary of new energy products. Some online supplements seem rather shady to me, and sometimes protein drinks are clumpy and gross. Fortunately, this protein-plus-energy shot wasn’t awful. For this protein caffeine combo, we look at the key ingredients and what they do. Read more

5 Quick Facts About VoloVitamins: ingredients, food science, and caffeine

VoloVitamins is an energy supplement that comes in a powder. For this quick review, I share five quick facts about the energy supplement from a food scientist perspective.
  1. Vitamin B12 is the number-one most common energy drink ingredient (caffeine is third!) [Source, Caffeine Informer and Innova Market Insights’ Database]   and VoloVitamins has over 41,000% of the Daily Value of vitamin B12!

    caffeine informer top 5 ingredients
    Source: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/energy-drink-ingredients
  2. For most B-vitamins, you don’t have to worry about ingesting too much because you’ll just pee out the excess. This is NOT TRUE for vitamin B6 and niacin aka vitamin B3, which CAN give you upleasant symptoms if you have too much. The vitamin B6 in VoloVitamins is not high enough to cause any of these symptoms, but the amount of niacin is high enough to cause “niacin flush” in some people.
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  3. VoloVitamis contains 17 different fruits in powder form. Since the overall amount of the whole serving isn’t very big, it’s safe to assume the amount of each fruit is miniscule. That means VoloVitamins is not a replacement for whole fruit in the diet and does not provide sufficient amounts of fruit polyphenols and antioxidants to make any health claims. But fruit powders add flavor.
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  4. The caffeine content is not stated outright on the product but it’s compared to a cup of green tea. Comparisions like this are always tricky because it’s not a standard reference: an 8 ounce cup of green tea may have a little at 12 mg or as much as 48 mg caffeine according to the Caffeine Informer database.
    For VoloVitamins, the caffeine comes from guarana extract and green tea extract.
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  5. VoloVitamins conains NO artificial flavors or sweeteners. The color comes from grape seed extract. The sweetness comes from the natural sweetener stevia. Malic and citric acid also contribute some sourness to the taste, though they serve multiple roles in this formula: they are not just added for taste.

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“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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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.

these-are-energy-drinks-too

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 http://amzn.to/2bjHRbk

CNN article – http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/02/health/energy-drinks-hepatitis/index.html

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 YEAR IN REVIEW (YEAR 1 AND YEAR 2…year 3 coming soon…)

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Energy Drink of the Month — Sept 2016: Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion

Are you setting new resolutions for a new school year, trying to get used to a new schedule, or just trying to get in shape before the holiday season? This month’s pick is dedicated to September, and all the changes it brings.

edm-sept-16-highlights-v2

The Energy Drink of the Month for September 2016 is Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion.

One serving is one scoop of powder, delivering 135 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. Though this is a dry powder and not a Ready-To-Drink (RTD), we’ll review the Who, What, and When as we do for every Energy Drink of the Month.

 

Who is this for? Target Audience

As it says right on the label, Six Star Pre-workout Explosion is for active men and women, bodybuilders, and strength athletes. But to find out if this product is worth a try, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you workout for more than 20 minutes? Does your workout exceed the intensity where you find it hard to talk normally / find yourself out of breath?
  • Are you more concerned about limiting sugar and calories than avoiding artificial colors and sweeteners?
  • How much caffeine can you handle?

What is in it? Ingredients and Function

The key ingredients in this product include caffeine (duh), beta-alanine, arginine and citrulline, creatine, vitamin C, and vitamin B3 (niacin).

Caffeine is a stimulant, but it also has been shown to increase muscle endurance and athletic performance in reliable scientific studies. Have you seen my YouTube presentation, Caffeine in Workout Supplements and the 5 Levels of Fatigue yet?

Arginine and citrulline are ingredients we’ve reviewed in depth during for the Ingredient Focus series. In general, citrulline and arginine help the body remove biochemical waste, and they help improve blood flow. For more detail, see the Ingredient Focus three-part series on citrulline: What It Is, What It Does, Dosage and Side Effects.

Creatine and beta-alanine are both ingredients intended to help build muscle and increase muscle strength. In both cases, total doses of 3-6 grams per day are needed on a regular basis to have an effect. Beta-alanine has some fascinating studies behind it (nerd alert!), especially since one brand (CarnoSyn) owns the market and has been responsibly proactive about proving this ingredient’s benefits. In general, beta-alanine is claimed to increase muscle strength and power output. However, the specifics on how much one really needs and how exactly this ingredient works is worth further investigation. Beta-alanine will be our Ingredient Focus pick for this month, so stay tuned for that!

Niacin is like the person everyone wants at their party. Did you know that niacin participates in over 200 reactions in the body – most of them used to produce ATP (the chemical form of energy)? Did you know that niacin deficiency symptoms include the three Ds: dementia, diarrhea, and dermatitis? Niacin is one of my favorite vitamins to talk about, especially since it disproves the idea you can never have too much of a water-soluble vitamin. It’s a popular vitamin in energy drinks, and yet with a 35 mg dosage, some people experience “niacin flush”.

If you’re a nerd like me and you want to learn more about what niacin does and why its story of discovery and application is so interesting, check out 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”

 

When to take it? 5 Levels of Fatigue

During grad school, when I was doing research on energy drinks and their ingredients, I developed the 5 Levels of Fatigue. This system is designed to match the type and potency of caffeinated beverage with one’s true level of fatigue. In short, if you always reach for the strong stuff when you’re bored (not tired), it won’t work when you really truly need it.

This product contains 135 mg caffeine per serving, but the label of this product encourages people to have TWO servings! While the EFSA has ruled that up to 200 mg caffeine is safe to consume in one occasion, TWO servings would be 270 mg caffeine. That’s more than a whole can of Rockstar, more than the EFSA recommends consuming in one sitting, and more than half the safe daily max of 400 mg caffeine per day. According to the 5 Levels of Fatigue, this product is Fatigue Level 4. In short, this Pre-Workout Explosion may be too powerful for some people (and there’s no shame in that!).

While the EFSA has ruled that up to 200 mg caffeine is safe to consume in one occasion, TWO servings would be 270 mg caffeine. That’s more than a whole can of Rockstar, more than the EFSA recommends consuming in one sitting, and more than half the safe daily max of 400 mg caffeine per day.

 

Bottom Line

There’s a good reason Caffeine Informer considers pre-workout supplements one of the 8 Most Dangerous Caffeinated Products.  This is a large dose of caffeine per serving — not larger than what is considered safe in one sitting, but large enough to warrant careful consumption by the user.

I’ve been using this product as my pre-workout for about one month (*individual results may vary*) and I have found I don’t need any other source of caffeine the rest of the day. What helps most is that I add one (non-heaping) scoop to a 20 oz water bottle, and it takes me the full 90 minutes of my morning workout to get through the whole drink. Moderation and pacing are critical to consuming caffeine safely and effectively.

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ENERGY DRINK OF THE MONTH YEAR IN REVIEW (YEAR 1 AND YEAR 2…year 3 coming soon…)

Explore the CAFFEINE INFORMER database

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