America's Energy Crisis

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Scott Wharton of HealthandMen and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

Is there ever going to be a point where we stop seeing the walls of energy drinks and energy shots at our convenient stores? When I was in my late teens and early 20 there wasn't any Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star drinks. There was only Jolt Cola. Jolt was just like any other cola, except they claimed that it packed more caffeine and more sugar than your average Pepsi. If I was about to embark on a long drive from Quantico, Virginia to upstate, New York I would grab one or two of these for the road. I wasn't much of a coffee drinker back then and Jolt Cola was my pick-me-up when I had to make long trips home. The downfall with caffeine and sugar was the crash. I would often get about 6 hours in to the trip and suddenly start to feel the crash. By the time I got home I would be either be wiped clean of any energy I had.

Truck stops used to have the plastic cases next to or behind the counter loaded with little bottles of mini-thins and similar products. They were Ephedrine or Ephedra based stimulants that were not the healthiest stimulant but then again loading up on caffeine and sugar isn't either. People started dying from overuse of ephedra and the United States took action against ephedrine because of the Meth epidemic. That's the reason you have to go to the pharmacy to get anything with ephedrine in it like Sudafed. The most you see in them now are Stackers and other caffeine, guarana and ginseng products.

These days the energy shots and drinks are still loaded with caffeine, sugar and extra vitamins. We know too much caffeine is bad for your heart and too much sugar is never a good thing for the human body, but what about the vitamins? Vitamins are good, right? That's what we're told as children. People don't know nearly enough about vitamins except for what they might hear on television and rarely do their own research. Naturally if you're told by some random person on TV that B Vitamins are good for you, then you're bound to believe that. Granted, B Vitamins are good for you and B vitamin deficiencies are, well, not good.

The funny thing that people fail to understand when they buy the energy shots like 6 Hour Energy and equivalent products is that most of that vitamin B that is supposed to give you all that energy is just going to waste. If you eat properly you get plenty of vitamin B and there really isn't much need for more. Either way, your body will get rid of any excess water soluble vitamins that it doesn't need and has no need to absorb and pees out. People that take a vitamin B supplement often know how well their body is absorbing it by the color of their urine. Riboflavin or vitamin B2 will tend to make your urine a bright yellow color.

Marketing is an amazing thing because people are so easily manipulated by things that help make day-to-day life more convenient. Fat burning pills, energy supplements and anything else that helps cope with the stress of work or life in general. When you're tired you're tired. There is no other way around it and your body needs rest. No matter how much energy supplements you take, it can not substitute the rejuvenating effect your body gets from a good night sleep. Sometimes you have to slow down, take it easy and let Mother Nature do her thing.

Image credit: Hotash

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McBloggenstein - April 15, 2009 10:59 AM

Ah, I remember jolt. I still see it sometimes.

Traveling always makes it tougher for me to avoid junk. Being prepared before a long trip is so important. It's still pretty much the only time I break down and get a soda nowadays. Those 6-hour energy drinks always weird me out. I know that B12 has no known toxic level, and B6's tolerable upper intake is over twice what the drink provides, but the 8,333% and 2,000% of your daily value - respectively - is still freaky.

I don't think we'll see them go away anytime soon. If anything there will probably be more products that provide "energy", and they will come at us in different forms (probably just about anything short of a syringe full of adrenaline).

Steve - April 15, 2009 6:32 PM

My vitamin B12 pills have a similar gigantic dosage. I break them up into quarters and still don't take it every day.

Years ago athletes used to take mega doses of B12 via needle, or so they say. I suspect this was just a code for some type of steroid (why inject it). I think recently Roger Clemens claimed to be taking B12 injections...

Steve

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