5-Hour Energy Study: Is The Energy Drink Any More Effective Than Coffee?

By iScienceTimes Staff on June 14, 2013 5:05 PM EDT

5 hour energy
A new study finds that 5-Hour Energy isn't more effective than a cup of coffee at boosting energy. (Photo: Flickr: aukirk)

5-Hour Energy is no more powerful than an ordinary cup of coffee, a new study finds.  

In the study, researchers examined the brain activity of participants as they watched letters change on a computer screen. Before this activity, the participants drank 8 ounces of one of three things: water, water with caffeine or water with 5-Hour Energy mixed in. The caffeinated drinks were colored blue, to disguise their contents, and their caffeine levels were adjusted to correspond to each participant's body weight.   

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What the researchers found, unsurprisingly, was the study participants who drank caffeinated drinks had faster brain responses to the computer images than those who drank regular water. But there was absolutely no difference between drinking water with 5-Hour Energy or drinking water with caffeine.

"A lot of people take the energy drinks because they think they have that extra boost over caffeine," said study researcher Chelsea Benham, a student at Centre College in Danville, Ky., adding, "there's really no difference."

A cup of coffee with the same amount of caffeine as a bottle of 5-Hour Energy are virtually the same thing as far as their energy-boosting properties, Benham said. Bottle of 5-Hour Energy are 2 ounces and contain 215 milligrams of caffeine, the same as two cups of coffee.

The lead researcher of the study, Katie Skogsberg, emphasized that the study was only preliminary, "using a small sample size, so the first and most important step is to replicate it, using more participants, and even more labs replicate our research. We need more research, more 'takes' on it." 

Elaine Lutz, who works for 5-Hour Energy's distributor, Living Essentials LLC, told Beverage Daily, "We cannot comment on the student research, since we, like you, have not seen the unpublished small sample research in full, its methodology or what peer review process the research may or may not have undergone."

In November 2012, the Food and Drug Administration said that 5-Hour Energy had been cited in the deaths of 13 people over the past four years. The month before, another popular energy drink, Monster Energy, was mentioned FDA filings for five fatalities. The makers of both products claim their drinks are safe, and no lawsuits related to the deaths have been brought.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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