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RTM
04-22-2019 at 06:29 PM
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Gamers Trying to Stay Awake

I did some research this year into the popular brand "5 Hour Energy Drink" as I know a few people in gaming who rely on this to keep themselves awake especially when marathoning...plus one or two co-workers who also make this part of their daily diet.

My research is on two parts...first (and most recently) is how the product actually works, and second (earlier this year) what the long-term effects are. Here goes, with two (2) related links to check out.

PART ONE - HOW IT WORKS

Ever wonder HOW "5-Hour Energy Drink" actually works to stave off feeling groggy ? I did some research during my lunch hour and here is the answer....

You feel sleepy because of a buildup of a chemical called adenosine in the brain, which happens throughout the day as you head toward night. Sleeping soundly reduces that chemical so that when you wake up, the levels are at their lowest, and you feel refreshed.
But the longer you stay awake and the less sleep you get, the more your adenosine levels rise

Adenosine is a chemical our bodies naturally produce that over the course of a day fill into these adenosine receptors that begin slowing down cell activity. This makes us feel more and more tired and lets us know we need to rest. Since caffeine has a very close chemical makeup to adenosine, it can fill in these adenosine receptors, which blocks adenosine from doing its job. This process will certainly make you feel more awake. However, like you mentioned, these various energy drinks that contain caffeine have many negative consequences such as increased blood pressure and irregular heart rhythm.

PART ONE - RELATED LINK - https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/10/23/what-happens-after-drinking-5-hour-energy-are-there-side-effects/?fbclid=IwAR1221aIap2n6wfqLYCK7MPU4MPY02BBiWNg6kuk ZxtX25nX-6cgkJt9IOc

PART TWO - LONG TERM EFFECTS

Earlier this year I tried for the first and only time "5 Hour Energy Drink".

I also looked up out of curiosity how it works and potential long-term effects, and discovered the following...

The drink contains phenylalanine -- which can cause a severe reaction in certain people when mixed with aspartame.

By itself the drink contains 8,333% of the RDA for vitamin B12, effectively an 83-day supply in a single shot, so just four (4) of these is an entire year's worth. There were several "fact vs fiction" sites that explained the significance of this, and more than a few speculated that long term usage could lead to a form of liver cancer and/or increase chances of other forms of serious health conditions.

But the key elements are as follows...

-> Phenylalanine - The body uses phenylalanine to make chemical messengers, but it is not clear how phenylalanine might work. Additionally it is used to combat depression and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). I also know from researching Diet Coke years back that phenylalanine causes cancer in laboratory rats.

-> Aspartame - Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death.

So the drink by ITSELF may be "within standards" as far as RDA goes, but when mixed with certain substances it becomes highly problematic, and over a lengthy period of time...the liver typically stored a few years worth of B12 so polluting it with decades worth of B12 in just two months of daily use or more, who knows what the long-term liver effects could be ?

Judge for yourself. Meanwhile one link worth reading follows.

PART TWO - RELATED LINK - https://www.livestrong.com/article/457355-using-5-hour-energy-and-liver-problems/?fbclid=IwAR2FctXO9zbYs64jP6aIXMSwz76zlQaP2NjoaGye b3Zf6lUeR65JF2cWIe4


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  1. RTM's Avatar

    Keep in mind that the brand was created back in 2004, a mere 15 years ago.

    There is effectively no empirical evidence possible to show what the effects are of polluting the liver with so much B-12 over 25, 30, 35 or more years.

    Considering how many people start drinking this product while young, they have several decades to look forward to where a mere four (4) of these consumed is the equivalent of a full year's RDA for that vitamin...so here's the long-term effects...

    Consuming ONE (1) bottle per week for ONE (1) Year
    1,187 times the combined annual RDA for vitamin B-12

    Consuming ONE (1) bottle per day for ONE (1) Year
    61,733 times the combined annual RDA for vitamin B-12

    This is the effects for just one year...now over a 20, 25 or more year span the amounts might be the same per year, but they are also cumulative. A certain point is reached where the tissue of the liver cannot be further saturated by such excesses and that is when the compounded damage starts to take effect big time.

    Anyone who has ever seen the effect of eating too many carrots (your skin can turn orange from too much carotin), or eating too many lemons (your teeth erode over a surprisingly short period of time as the acid wears down the enamel quickly) and even the effect of drinking too much water and over-hydrating (it can cause the level of salt, or sodium, in your blood to drop too low. That's a condition called hyponatremia...it's very serious, and can be fatal. You may hear it called water intoxication)

    So, that's my advice. It's simply not worth it over a period of time, and even for the short duration staving off the body's natural mechanism to reduce the build-up of adenosine is fool-hardy and not for a very worthwhile cause.

    LikesILLSeaBass, voltronforce0 liked this post
  2. Joonas's Avatar

    Interesting read, never heard of that brand, probably cause they don't sell it here. I find it ironic that the main group consuming energy drinks (atleast in my country) is 13-25 year old males; young people who should be at the best physical shape of their life.

    Ofcourse their reason for using energy drinks is to stay up longer or to "get energy", no one drinks them for the taste; let's be honest, energy drinks taste like cr*p.

    Usually these young people also have "sleeping issues". They stay up to until 2-3am, because according to them, they can't get sleep. Do they stop to ever wonder that the energy drinks are the reason they can't get sleep. Also it can't be underlined enough how addictive these drinks are. If a person quits after long use, they might get withdrawal symptoms like shaking of the hands.

  3. Barthax's Avatar

    Never looked into it myself but as you mention this is primarily Vitamin B12, I feel a lesser version of this kind of research must already have taken place given the amount of pill-poppers for vitamin supplements. Many people buy the ingredients for very expensive bathroom visits - surely the body isn't storing that much and it's just dumping (pun) it.

  4. Barthax's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Joonas

    If a person quits after long use, they might get withdrawal symptoms like shaking of the hands.

    Coming down off caffeine is something I can attest to (not strictly on topic, I know): sleep, sleep, a bit of being awake and then more sleep. I've lost several weekends from cutting off caffeine more than once. It used to be regular: drink oodles of caffeine in work and then nothing at the weekend. I'd wake up normal on the Saturday (Mon-Fri job) but by lunch I'd be slowing down & be fast sleep by 3.

  5. RTM's Avatar

    That "crashing"...some kids are taking 5-hour Energy Drink to keep themselves awake during the day and then by night they take "Red Bull" to make up for the crash...problem is they are often mixing with alcohol in the NYC area so who knows what their livers are going to look like in 25-30 years or more.

    My guess is they will have livers that look like that of people who are alcoholics or the like.


  6. ILLSeaBass's Avatar

    Scary stuff.. I'm sure in time there will be major lawsuits just like what the tobacco industry went through..

    Call me weird, but this is my gaming beverage of choice:

    Coffee, the "Retro" gaming beverage :P

    LikesBarthax, EVN, RTM liked this post
  7. RTM's Avatar

    Decades back my "gaming beverage" was weak tea with lemon...nowadays it is either water or unsweetened iced tea, although I'll make an exception if an "Arnold Palmer" is around :)

    LikesILLSeaBass liked this post
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