"5 hour energy" product does more than keep me awake
December 31, 2008 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Lately I find myself using 5 hour energy product even when I'm not drowsy as it sees to significantly improve my ability to focus and socialize. Are there dietary supplements available that will give me the same effect in a more reliable manner? Is this safe? Will my body build a resistance to it?

I started using this product to adjust to third shift serving. Now that my sleep schedule has adjusted to the difficulty that working these hours can create, I find myself using it even more frequently. I am more comfortable socializing and better at it, I'm happier to work and I work harder, I am much less likely to forget that you asked for extra napkins with your meal. The energy drinks at $4 a bottle are a little expensive to use once a work day never mind multiple times a day. Plus, as advertised, they only work for five hours. A page from the website (http://www.5hourenergy.com/ingredients.asp) suggests that a chemical called Citicoline may be responsible for increased mental facilities but some googling (admittedly my google-fu is pretty weak) doesn't turn up any way to take this as a dietary supplement. Caffeine may be part of the answer but using coffee or tea has not been nearly as effective as use of this product.

In a search of previous questions on energy drinks and similar problems with focus I read a lot of people advising that cutting out the drink entirely would result in more energy in the long-term. There are also a lot of people that suggest AD(H)D as a cause of this problem. These aren't the answers I'm looking for. If you want more information on the specific sorts of problems this product helps me with, there's a more detailed question in my profile from several months ago.
posted by Niomi to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Citicoline appears to be better known as CDP-Choline. It's sold as a supplement that way. (Don't know enough about it to speak for or against it.)

Taurine, another ingredient here, is a pretty common ingredient in Red Bull and comparable products.
posted by gimonca at 4:18 PM on December 31, 2008

First of all I will let you know you that I use mostly all natural remedies and am skeptical about non-natural ones, for fear of what they may do to our bodies in the long run.

That said, I would say that anything that boosts your body to give you 5 hours of energy, and from what you are saying, much more than that, can't be great for your body, especially every day or more! I am very sensitive to caffeine, and pretty much everything, and so I have never tried that.

When I'm feeling slightly tired, or needing to get some energy up, I take vitamins. Two packets of emercen-C really helps. This not only builds up your immune system, but it gives you a shot of energy (may not last 5 hours, but definitely gets you going) and if you can use this initial energy to set your mind up to get done what you need to do, it may just work.

Your mind may be more powerful in this situation that a bottle of 5 hour energy!

I know this sounds a little crazy, but give it a shot. If you live near a Trader Joe's, emergen-C is the cheapest there, and if it doesn't work, they have a policy where you can take anything back.
posted by Andrea2880 at 4:24 PM on December 31, 2008

Try Yogi Tea Royal Vitality, no caffeine but I think it's the ginseng, it seems to provide clarity but no caffeine buzz.
posted by starfish at 5:55 PM on December 31, 2008

Are there dietary supplements available that will give me the same effect in a more reliable manner?

Eat more protein. That'll go a long way towards keeping you alert and awake.
posted by jason's_planet at 6:01 PM on December 31, 2008

Taurine is chemically identical to caffeine, fwiw.
posted by Precision at 6:12 PM on December 31, 2008

When I'm feeling slightly tired, or needing to get some energy up, I take vitamins. Two packets of emercen-C really helps.

That might be because Emergen-C is chock full of sugar.

I'm really curious about the answers to this question too because I get the same effect from Red Bull- calm steady focus for hours. I have taken Adderall and the effect of Red Bull or sugar-free Red Bull on me is VERY similar. I know that taurine is similar (identical?) to caffeine but coffee or No-Doze (which I took once) do not have anything close to the same effect.
posted by fshgrl at 6:48 PM on December 31, 2008

Taurine is chemically identical to caffeine, fwiw.

posted by DarkForest at 6:55 PM on December 31, 2008


My apologies. I was thinking of theine. I'm a bit out of it today, good catch.
posted by Precision at 7:31 PM on December 31, 2008

Hmm. "Taurine" and "Red Bull"?

Now I get it!
posted by washburn at 7:58 PM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Taurine, fwiw.
posted by gimonca at 12:31 AM on January 1, 2009

I have used "Jet-Alert" tablets from Target. VERY cheap. There is 100MG in each tablet. Here's how Jet-Alert compares with other forms of caffeine drinks. They are nothing but caffeine in a pill, but it's cheaper than Red Bull, and caffeine is caffeine. In a nice can with flavoring and all it's expensive. With these little tablets, I think I paid $2.49 for 100. So if you're out just for the blast of caffeine to wake-up, focus, whatever -- you won't be out much money trying them anyway.

Ahh....here's the Jet-Alert Product Page from Bell Pharmaceuticals.

Good luck!
posted by Gerard Sorme at 1:45 AM on January 1, 2009

If it is choline, you can find it in a lot of forms including in eggs. I find nootropics forums the most informed for this sort of question.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:33 AM on January 1, 2009

This is a little off topic but now that we've brought Red Bull into the china shop, I should mention that Aldi sells a knockoff called Red Thunder (regular and sugar free) and it's much cheaper - $2.99 a four-pack here. I think it's just as good. When I did a side-by-side taste test, I could tell they were 2 different drinks, but neither was better than the other. YMMV.
posted by altcountryman at 4:11 PM on January 1, 2009

I don't see specifics on their page regarding amounts, so it's tough to tell how much of any of this is actually in there, but choline can improve verbal acuity, short term memory (and smooth muscle tone, if I recall correctly). Also, L-tyrosine and l-phenylalanine can trigger noradrenaline release, if taken in the right manner (without a lot of competition for amino acid transport across the blood-brain barrier) and with the right co-factors.

A lot of these items have been staples of the "smart drugs and nutrients" crowd for at least 10 - 15 years; google "nootropics" and you should find tons of information on these and other dietary supplements for "brain enhancement".
posted by nonliteral at 4:13 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

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