Do You Really Need That 5-Hour Energy Drink?
5-Hour Energy Drink is now one of the most popular of a long line of energy enhancers. Is there really anything in this product that might enhance your energy levels in a reasonable way? The answer is somewhat nuanced. The first question you need to ask yourself is why do you need an energy drink in the first place? 5-Hour Energy Drink contains caffeine, a well-known energy enhancer. If you need a little caffeine, why not just go for a good cup of coffee? After all, it’s a lot cheaper.
Caffeine has been shown to enhance brain function by increasing your ability to concentrate and focus. It also gives you a short burst of energy. So why slug down a 5-Hour Energy Drink when you need a little pick me up? Why not choose a cup of coffee? If that’s all you are looking for, go for it. I happen to be a big fan of caffeine, especially when it comes packaged in a coffee bean. Coffee is loaded with anti-oxidants and thus it has a lot more beneficial health effects than you get from caffeine alone, which is what you’d get in that high priced energy drink.
Recent research suggests that coffee:
- Lowers the risk of type II diabetes.
- Lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Lowers the risk of liver cancer.
- Lowers the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
- Lowers the risk of strokes.
- Lowers the risk of depression.
- Lowers the risk of liver cirrhosis.
- Lowers the risk of death from any cause.
- Lowers the risk of prostate cancer
Coffee is starting to look like a super-food! Getting your caffeine from tea seems to have similar health benefits. When you get your caffeine from 5-Hour Energy Drink you lose all of these health benefits.
5-Hour Energy Drink is loaded with various B vitamins. If you take a multivitamin or eat a healthy diet, you simply don’t need this extra dose of B vitamins. If your diet consists of Big Macs and sodas, perhaps these vitamins will move you from “disaster” to merely sick. I always recommend getting most of your vitamins from whole foods.
There is one good thing that I can say about 5-Hour Energy Drink—it doesn’t have sugar, HFCS or high glycemic carbohydrates so at least it isn’t a toxic product. But just because it isn’t toxic, does that mean you should buy it? In my opinion the answer is no.
5-Hour Energy also contains amino acids like L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine. These happen to be the precursors of the important neurotransmitter dopamine. If you have low levels of dopamine, then it makes sense that taking these amino acids might be helpful. The real question is why do you have low levels of this important neurotransmitter? After all, Mother Nature works very hard to be sure that you have plenty of these important chemicals in your brain.
As it turns out, the most common reason for having low levels of monoamine neurotransmitters is the presence of some degree of food-induced brain dysfunction. We now know that excessive fructose mainly from sugar and HFCS combined with high glycemic carbohydrates mainly from grains can trigger a condition called Sugar-Brain.
People with Sugar-Brain develop strong cravings for sweet and starchy foods pushing them to consume more of the very food that is frying their brain. People with Sugar-Brain also have low levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, the key neurotransmitters that keep your brain working. Over time Sugar-Brain can transition to a serious medical condition called Carbohydrate Associated Reversible Brain syndrome or CARB syndrome. People with CARB syndrome can develop up to 22 disabling brain dysfunction symptoms that reflect low levels of these neurotransmitters.
So if you have low levels of dopamine, wouldn’t it make sense to take the two amino acids that your brain needs to make dopamine–L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine? Yes and no. If you only take these precursors, then the levels of serotonin in your brain will drop. That’s not good if your serotonin levels are already low because you have sugar-brain or CARB syndrome. As it turns out, when you have these conditions you need to take a combination of L-tryosine, L-phenylalanine and the serotonin precursors–L-tyrosine and 5-htp to raise the levels of all the key monoamine neurotransmitters. You also need to take these precursors in the proper ratio: approximately 10 to 1 for dopamine/neurotransmitter precursors to serotonin precursors.
Fortunately there is a product that contains this combination: CARB-22. CARB-22 has the proper balance of precursors to raise the levels of all the key neurotransmitter levels in people with sugar-brain and CARB syndrome. If you have Sugar-Brain or CARB syndrome and drink 5-Hour Energy Drink you will end up with even lower levels of serotonin in your brain leading to symptoms such as carbohydrate cravings, anxiety, mood swings and poor sleep.
CARB-22 will soon be available exclusively at http://carbsyndrome.com.
Thus the main problem with 5-Hour Energy Drink is that it is a treatment without a disease. If you have normal brain function you certainly don’t need this product. If you want a little jolt of caffeine, why not get it from coffee or tea where you will also get a boatload of additional health benefits? If you have sugar-brain or CARB syndrome, then this product is a poor choice. You need effective treatment, not a shot of an energy drink.
If you continue to consume sugar, HFCS and high glycemic carbohydrates, then no product will be helpful. If you want to reverse sugar-brain and CARB syndrome then you need to change your diet and take supplements that really work. CARB-22 fits the bill. There are also other helpful supplements for treating Sugar-Brain and CARB syndrome that our outlined in my e-book “Sugar-Brain Digest—Obesity” available at http://carbsyndrome.com.
If you truly want to enhance your energy levels in a healthy way, consider doing the following:
- Eat a healthy diet of whole foods and eliminate sugar, HFCS and grain-based high glycemic carbohydrates.
- Consider consuming a Paleo-style diet as outlined in Loren Cordain’s book “The Paleo Answer”.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Even a 20 minute walk a day is all it takes.
- Get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
- Consider taking D-ribose 5 grams two or three times daily—a natural way to enhance energy without the excess stimulation that sometimes occurs with caffeine.
- If you get jittery from drinking coffee, consider taking the supplement L-theanine 100 mg up to three times daily. L-theamine comes from tea and has a natural calming effect.
Treatments only make sense if you understand the disease that you are treating. Whether you are healthy or sick, 5-Hour Energy Drink is simply a poor choice and a waste of money.
Dr. Bill Wilson