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5 Hour Energy: A pricey pick me up

Friday - 2/25/2011, 1:55pm  ET

5HourEnergy375.jpg

Kristi King, wtop.com

That long-lasting energy drink you see at gas stations and convenience stores does work. But, you better like caffeine.

Laboratory tests on "5-Hour Energy" by Consumer Reports reveal the 2-ounce shot has about 207 milligrams of caffeine.

"It's no secret that caffeine is a stimulant and that caffeine can make people feel more energetic and can make you feel more awake and can improve concentration and alertness," says Consumer Reports senior associate editor, Jamie Hirsh.

Consumer Reports, however, hesitates to endorse anything about the 5-Hour Energy drink other than the long proven effects of caffeine.

"It's not like there's some magical elusive ingredient in it. It's just caffeine people. It's just a cup of coffee," Hirsh says.

Compared to 5-Hour Energy's 207 milligrams of caffeine, an 8-ounce cup of drip coffee at Starbucks has 180 milligrams of caffeine.

5-Hour Energy also includes B-vitamins and amino acids. But, Hirsh says, "no one has been able to show that just taking extra doses of them gives you an extra energy boost."

She adds that most people get enough B-vitamins already from their diets. If not, a standard multi-vitamin provides enough. People who have serious B-vitamin deficiencies are typically treated with injections or prescription doses that are much higher than anything found in a self-described energy boosting product.

5-Hour Energy costs about $3 a shot and Consumer Reports concludes the drink is "A Pricey Pick Me Up." Not that there's anything wrong with that though.

"If you're not a coffee drinker and you don't mind paying for it - it might not be a terrible thing to have. It doesn't seem to be dangerous," Hirsh says.

The product is not intended for children. And Consumer Reports agrees with 5-hour Energy's advice not to consume more than two a day or more than one dose at a sitting.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)