Wake Up and Don’t Smell the Coffee: A Survey of Dangerous and Safe Ways to Energize Daily

By Amy Rudolph
Elm Staff Writer

There are some days when you need just a bit more than a Five Hour Energy. Doctors and mothers around the world have their own advice about how to get energy, but when your schedule hardly even allows for sleep, you need to get creative.   

Caffeine is a go-to for most people looking for a quick burst of energy to start their day or prolong a late night study session. It is typically found in coffee or soda. For those who don’t want to consume the above products, caffeine can be found in different teas; chocolate; and even chocolate milk in far smaller doses.   

Many doctors warn against the use of caffeine pills. Users of caffeine pills may downplay the effects of caffeine, which may lead to an overdose. Overdosing on caffeine pills can cause rapid heart rate, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, tremors, upset stomach, and dizziness. It can even result in death.

Tea, while containing caffeine, contains powerful antioxidants that have been linked to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke, according to WebMD.

Some people who don’t like the taste of coffee or teas may lean towards Red Bull and other energy drinks. Red Bull contains concentrated amounts of caffeine that are typically unsafe to consume in large quantities or to couple with alcohol.

Five Hour Energy is a similar product, as it is a liquified form of quick energy. It consists of vitamins in the B family, such as vitamin B-6 which supports adrenal function, according to drweil.com. This little energy drink provides over 200 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin B-6 and 833 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin B-12, according to sciencemedicine.org. Vitamin B-12 affects the brain and nervous system. According to Livestrong, because Five Hour Energy is an energy supplement, it is not monitored or regulated by the FDA, so the actual effects of long term usage and overdosing are not fully understood, though the manufacturers warn against drinking more than one bottle in a 24-hour period.

Students looking to go a more natural route with their energy needs can incorporate super foods into their diet. Egg yolks and edamame are packed with guarana and the same vitamin B’s that Five Hour Energy drinks have. Goji berries are also a natural energy supplement.

Another natural form of energy is ginseng, which has been used for centuries to cure different ailments. Medical News Today published an article stating that ginseng may improve cognition. Ginseng is also an anti-inflammatory that may help reduce headaches caused by other energy suppliers. It may also help to stimulate physical and mental ability. It has been shown to even help cancer patients with fatigue.

Whether you choose to fulfill your energy needs with natural foods and drinks, or artificial beverages, there is a product for everyone. Students looking to get this added boost should first study up on the effects of each of these remedies to find the one that will work best for them.

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