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How Energy Drink Ingredients Affect the Body

July 13, 2017 — Everyone knows that energy drinks boost energy levels with high levels of caffeine, but how do the other ingredients affect the body?

Here is a look at the health effects of common energy drink ingredients.


Caffeine is the most popular stimulant drug in the world. It is found in over 60 plants, such as coffee and green tea. People use caffeine boost alertness, mood, and energy levels, but in high doses, caffeine can cause heart attacks, cardiac arrest, or irregular heart rhythm.

The amount of caffeine in energy drinks varies widely. Higher amounts of caffeine are often found in smaller energy drink “shots.” For example, a 1.9-oz shot of 5 Hour Energy Extra Strength contains 242-mg of caffeine. In comparison, 8.4-oz can of Red Bull contains about 80-mg of caffeine.


Ginseng is an herb that has traditionally been used to boost the immune system. There is no scientific evidence that ginseng increases energy levels. Instead, studies have found that ginseng actually decreases endurance while exercising, as well as lowering blood-sugar levels, which may be a problem for people with diabetes.


Besides caffeine, sugar is the next most common energy-boosting ingredient in energy drinks. The maximum daily limit of sugar for a healthy adult is 25 grams (g) — and many energy drinks exceed this. For example, one 8-oz can of Full Throttle® has 58-g of sugar. Monster Energy and Red Bull Energy both contain 27-g of sugar. Excessive consumption of sugar causes a spike in blood-sugar levels and a rush of energy, followed by a “crash” and serious fatigue.


B-vitamins like niacin, folate, riboflavin, or cyanocobalamin are very common in energy drinks, with some drinks containing over 1000% the recommended daily intake of the vitamin. More vitamins is not necessarily good for you — and it can be really hard on the liver. There are multiple reports of people who drank energy drinks and suffered liver inflammation (acute hepatitis) as a result of B-vitamins.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea naturally contains low levels of caffeine, but the extracts of green tea (or “EGCG”) are far more powerful than a cup of tea. They are also far more likely to cause health problems in the body. Like B-vitamins, green tea extract supplements are associated with several reports of liver inflammation (acute hepatitis) requiring hospitalization.

Taurine, Glucuronolactone, and L-carnitine

Taurine, Glucuronolactone, and L-carnitine are amino acids that are found naturally in the human body. They are also very common ingredients in energy drinks — including Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, and NOS — although there is no evidence they boost energy levels.

Do I have an Energy Drink Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting energy drink induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with a serious side effect of energy drinks, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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