AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — Could a popular energy shot be to blame for several deaths? The FDA is now investigating 92 complaints about 5-Hour ENERGY since 2009. People died in 13 of those cases.
5-Hour ENERGY and similar drinks are popular especially among young adults including college students.
“They help you stay up,” said UMass freshman, Brian Beckett. “Get some work done. Get some more partying in.”
Beckett says he has at most two or three a week but knows others who have a lot more.
“Some people have like 3, 4, 5 a day,” he said.
“Sometimes, like coffee doesn’t give me as much pick up as like an energy drink would,” said UMass student, Lindsay Verge.
“You can just grab a can and carry it with you adn open it whenever,” said UMass student, Ben Clabault. “You can’t really do that with coffee.”
The maker, Living Essentials, says its two ounce product contains about the amount of caffeine in one “leading premium coffee”. The FDA doesn’t require the exact amount of caffeine to be listed because energy drinks are considered nutritional supplements, not food. And unlike coffee, energy drinks have other ingredients considered boosters. Five-Hour Energy has B-vitamins and the amino acids Taurine and L-Tyrosine.
Monster energy drinks have also come under FDA scrutiny. In October, the agency announced it was investigating a possible link between Monster drinks and five deaths.
Monster and 5-Hour ENERGY labels warn against use by children and pregnant women. They also recommend limited use per day. Some don’t think more serious warnings would make a difference.
“There’s a Surgeon General warning on a pack of cigarettes,” said Beckett. “So, you can take that how you want to take it. But I don’t think people are really going to care.”
In a statement, Living Essentials said in part, “5-Hour ENERGY is a compact sized energy shot intended for busy adults; it is not an energy drink, nor marketed as a beverage.”
It continues, “When consumed according to our recommended use guidelines, 5-Hour ENERGY is an effective dietary supplement, although individual results may vary.”