Is 5-Hour Energy Killing People?

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    According to records from the Food and Drug Administration, popular energy drinks like Monster and 5-Hour Energy have been implicated in several serious illnesses in the past decade, including more than a few deaths.

    Documents recently obtained by the New York Times implicate 5-Hour Energy, a ubiquitous two-ounce energy drink, in the deaths of 13 people over the past four years.

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    In addition to the deaths, the FDA filings on 5-Hour Energy mention 30 other life-threatening incidents, including heart attacks, convulsions, and at least one “spontaneous abortion,” reports the New York Times. While 5-Hour Energy doesn’t disclose the precise amount of caffeine each “energy shot” contains, the company has stated each shot has “about as much” as a cup of premium coffee.

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    Is that enough to kill someone? Unlikely. Based on isolated deaths attributed directly to too much caffeine, the average human would have to consume between 5 to 10 grams of the stuff. In human terms, Popular Science points out that’s the equivalent of drinking 6 to 12 gallons of McDonald’s coffee.

    Living Essentials, the distributor of 5-hour Energy, has maintained its products are safe when used as directed. Last year, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said there were more than 13,000 emergency room visits tied to energy drinks. New York’s Attorney General is investigating the producers of several high-caffeine energy drinks. Some of the “energy boosters” are sold as beverages, while others are sold as dietary supplements, complicating FDA oversight of them.

    This can’t be good. We will keep you up to date as story develops.

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