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July 15th, 2009
08:10 AM ET

Small drinks promise big energy, but experts say effects unclear

By Danielle Dellorto, CNN Medical Producer

(CNN) - From supermarkets to the office supply store, it's hard to miss those tiny bottles of 5-hour Energy.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/15/art.energy.drink.ad.ho.jpg caption="The makers of 5-hour Energy call it a 'no-nonsense drink.'"]

"It would be easier for me to tell you where we didn't sell them in the U.S. than list all the places we do," said Carl Sperber, spokesman for Living Essentials, the Detroit, Michigan-based manufacturer of 5-hour Energy shot.

The small, shot-glass size bottles promise to provide energy and alertness without jitters to fatigued Americans. Unlike other popular energy drinks that market to college students, 5-Hour Energy's audience is multitasking, working professionals. The market demand has skyrocketed since the product hit store shelves in 2004. The company expects to move more than 350 million shots this year, Sperber said, up from 174 million in 2008.

"This is a no-nonsense drink," Sperber said. "It is not a fashion statement. It doesn't have a cool name; it is just a simple grab-and-go product to help busy adults when they can't afford a letdown."

Each 2-ounce bottle contains zero grams of sugar, 4 calories and about the same amount of caffeine as a small coffee. It also contains about a dozen ingredients that are broken down into B vitamins (B3, B6, B9, B12) and what the manufacturer lists as an "energy blend."

But don't expect superhuman results, one expert said.

"The B vitamins are given at extraordinarily high levels, and people need to know they are not some magic potion that's going to immediately raise your energy level," said Dr. Brent Bauer, Mayo Clinic director of complementary and integrative medicine. "There is no data that show that."

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Filed under: Health
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. What?

    What does that have to do with this, Jim?

    July 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  2. Jim

    I understand that Obama has walked into a hornets nest regarding the economy. However I don't believe any stimulus plan is going to work. I believe our problems are here because we as a country have been living on a credit card for the last 25 years (except for a few years in the late 90s).

    The best way to fix this is to both raise taxes and cut spending. This will cause pain, but it's going to be painful no matter what. Continuing to live on a credit card will only deepen the problem in the long run.

    It's worth pointing out that out of our 11 thrillion dollar deficit 8-9 thrillion dollars of it was caused by the policies of the conservatives 3 favorite presidents, Reagan and the two bushes.

    Tax and spend is bad, but don't tax and spend is even worse.

    July 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm |