5-Hour Energy has been linked to more than 90 incident reports, including 13 fatalities. Many people are concerned about the large amount of caffeine and other ingredients. In very high doses, niacin (Vitamin B3) can cause liver inflammation, hepatitis, or even death.
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What is 5-Hour Energy?
5-Hour Energy is a popular energy drink sold in 2-ounce “shots,” each containing approximately 215 milligrams of caffeine. 5-Hour Energy also contains amino acids, such as taurine, L-tyrosine, and L-phenylalanine, which all play a role in energy metabolism.
Who Sells 5-Hour Energy?
5-Hour Energy is manufactured by the company Living Essentials, which introduced the product on the U.S. market in 2004. The company launched an aggressive marketing campaign. Within just a few years, 5-Hour Energy dominated the U.S. energy drink market and was used by millions of people. Its success made CEO Manoj Bhargava one of the richest men in the world.
B-Vitamins in 5-Hour Energy
5-Hour Energy contains extremely high doses of B-vitamins — 200% of Vitamin B3 (niacin), 2000% of Vitamin B6, 8,333% of Vitamin B12, and 100% of Vitamin B9 (folic acid) than the maximum doctors recommend per day for a healthy adult.
How Much Niacin is in 5-Hour Energy?
5-Hour Energy contains 40mg of niacin. The National Institute of Health recommends that healthy adults consume less than 20mg of niacin per day. Niacin is found in a wide variety of foods (milk, eggs, meat, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains) and most people have no trouble getting enough from their diet.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) and Liver Damage
Sensitivity to niacin (Vitamin B3) is remarkably common. Even in normal doses, niacin often causes a “skin flush.” Niacin is also toxic to the liver, known to elevate liver enzyme and cause liver damage. In high doses, niacin can accumulate in the liver and cause inflammation, liver failure, or even death.
5-Hour Energy and Toxic Hepatitis
Toxic hepatitis, also known as non-viral hepatitis, is a side effect of niacin overdoses in energy drinks. In one report from 2016, a 50-year old construction worker consumed 4-5 energy drinks per day (160-200mg of niacin total) for three weeks before developing hepatitis. In a similar case, a 22 year-old girl who consumed 300mg of niacin per day in energy drinks developed hepatitis.
FDA Reports Injuries & Deaths
According to a FDA report from November 2012, 5-Hour Energy has been linked to 90 incident reports, including 13 fatalities and 30 reports involving serious or life-threatening reactions. Although these adverse event reports do not prove cause-and-effect, any incident is concerning.
5-Hour Energy Class Action Lawsuits
In June 2013, a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) was established to centralize 9 separate 5-Hour Energy class action lawsuits into one federal court in California. All of the lawsuits allege that the products were falsely marketed under the slogan “hours of energy now — no crash later.” These class actions do not involve people who were injured. Instead, they are seeking refunds for consumers who were misled into buying 5-Hour Energy based on false advertisements.
Caffeine, Dehydration, and Exercise
5-Hour Energy is marketed with advertisements featuring athletic men and women running, climbing mountains, biking, working out, and playing sports. Even the bottle itself displays an image of a person running up a mountainside.
Some experts have raised concerns about the combination of caffeine and exercise. Caffeine is a diuretic, which can cause dehydration if a person is not drinking enough water while exercising. Exercising also naturally increases blood pressure and heart rhythm. Large amounts of caffeine can have toxic cardiovascular effects, including arrhythmias, which may be exacerbated by the cardiovascular stress of exercise.
Caffeine is not Listed on Label
5-Hour Energy is regulated as a dietary supplement, which means that it is subject to far more relaxed regulations than foods or drugs. Manufacturers do not need to get approval from the FDA, conduct safety studies, or disclose ingredients on the label. This is why the amount of caffeine in 5-Hour Energy is not on the label. Independent studies have found about 215 milligrams of caffeine per bottle of 5-Hour Energy.
Need a Texas Energy Drink Lawyer?
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