Whether the goal is to fit in extra reps at the gym or wake up for work, energy boosters are the savior of those who slumber.
Some simply choose coffee or tea for the caffeine, others want more.
Products ranging from powders to liquids to bars exist to satisfy the need for more perk.
“The reason people consume sugar like candy bars to raise their energy is because glucose, our main blood sugar, is what the body makes atp, or energy, from,” Dr. Cheryl Buckholz, pharmacy program chair at Chemeketa Community College said. “I go for a Snickers bar.”
Dr. Buckholz encourages consumer to scrutinize the label of all natural supplement products.
“Look at what the first product is, if it’s sugar steer clear of it,” she said. “It has a quick reaction but it won’t last long.”
This ‘crash’ is why many energy products are sugar-free and instead rely on any combination of natural ingredients, usually caffeine, guarana, ginseng, and Vitamin B and the amino acid taurine.
The staff at Salem Health Foods pointed out a guarana triple boost supplement as their best seller, though they also carry 11 brands of energy drinks, a variety of protein bars, and numerous powder and liquid energy products.
Coffee shops are in on the mix, too, literally. Java Crew offers its customers a mix-in energy powder, called Bev-Rev, that can be added to any drink. The additive, made by Salem’s Gosh That’s Good company, contains additional caffeine along with guarana seed, ginseng and maltodextrin. Starbucks has double shot energy plus coffee drinks in three flavors. These contain B vitamins, guarana, and ginseng.
How much is too much?
“Overall, there is little evidence of health risk and some evidence of health benefits for adults consuming moderate amounts of filtered coffee (3-4 cups/d providing 300-400 mg/d of caffeine),” according to Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute.
These stimulatory products are derived from plants, however, what is safe for one may not be safe for all.
“Energy drinks and products have to be careful how they make their claims, the problem is that everyone metabolizes differently,” Dr. Buckholz said.
Although over-the-counter, natural supplements can have drug interactions.
“One point I stress to my students is that toxicity is dependent on dose,” Buckholz said. “Our country has taken a interest in natural medicine and they want these products. Everybody needs to know more about over-the-counter products and how they interact.”
Most energy products, including drinks, contain around 75 to 170 mg of caffeine according to their manufacturers. Couple that with 72-130 mg of caffeine from brewed coffee, or 42-72 mg of caffeine from black tea, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, and its equal to drinking more like two cups.
It may give a different meaning to ordering a “double shot.” Now set this paper down for a second so the last of that cup doesn’t get cold.