Living Essentials, the manufacturer of 5-hour energy says it contains "about as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee." However, a recent test by Consumer Reports found that 5-Hour Energy contains 215 milligrams of caffeine per serving. In comparison, an average 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine, although that varies according to how the coffee is brewed. Consumer Reports also finds that 8 ounces of Starbucks coffee is on the high side with 165 milligrams of caffeine.
So, it appears that 5-hour energy has up to double the amount of caffeine as a standard cup of coffee.
According to Consumer Reports, safe limits of caffeine are up to 400 milligrams per day for healthy adults, 200 milligrams a day for pregnant women, and up to 45 or 85 milligrams per day for children, depending on weight.
As a physician, none of this surprises me.
Potentially misleading advertising, of something that looks to good to be true, is again causing medical problems.
The challenge here is that 5-hour Energy, and products like them (Monster has been linked to deaths by the FDA as well), work. They “lend you” energy. Notice I said, “lend” not give. Caffeine to the body is sort of a borrowed energy as it is not naturally produced, but rather is artificially stimulated. I do think that occasional black tea, green tea, and organic coffee is safe for many people, but a high dose of concentrated caffeine, in my opinion, simply is not.
A couple of things to help your own energy production are as follows:
- Do not trade caffeine for sleep (a good idea for doctors as well.)
- Start trading your simple carbohydrate foods, such as grains and sugar, for more protein based foods and complex carbs such as fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise whenever possible.
- Consider supporting the adrenal gland.
- Have your thyroid checked with a holistic practitioner such as a Naturopathic Doctor.