5-Hour Energy Review: Caffeine Shot vs. Caffeine Pill?
It wasn’t until a few days ago before we found out that 5-Hour Energy was also being used by those who take nootropics. We know that caffeine is on the list of most nootropics stacks, but most of them are in the form of capsules or powders. However, it seems that every day, caffeine shots are becoming more and more popular in nootropic stacks.
While it can be argued that most caffeine supplements are similar in nature, there are distinct differences between normal caffeine pills and energy shots like 5-Hour Energy. They aren’t all the same, as the differences lie in the different dosages and other added ingredients in their formulas. Think of it as the feline family – they are all cats, but some are lions, while some are bobcats (no offense to bobcats).
Caffeine is one of the most versatile nootropics there are out there. But it does have flaws. Generally speaking, taking just caffeine by itself is a pretty bad idea. You get the alertness, clarity, and energy that it is known for, but all of that come with a cost: there are numerous side effects associated with caffeine use, including getting the jitters, anxiety, heart palpitations, hypertension, and of course, the inevitable crash that comes after your caffeine “high”.
In this specific case though, 5-Hour Energy, and most other caffeine shots have a hand up on normal caffeine pills since they come in liquid form, meaning more ingredients can be stuffed in a single dosage. You can stuff a 100ml shot with so much more ingredients than you can a 200mg capsule. This little piece of information is how the creators of 5-Hour Energy have transitioned their product to nootropic users.
Too Much Caffeine?
One thing that 5-Hour Energy is being constantly criticized about is the amount of caffeine it contains. While there are no specific numbers made available on its supplement facts label, online health sites estimate that it is around 215mg, which is really quite a lot of caffeine. For comparison’s sake, a standard cup of brewed coffee contains only 40mg of caffeine, while a can of Red Bull contains 80mg.
This means that if you really enjoy the taste of coffee, you might perhaps be better off sticking with decaf if you decide to take 5-Hour Energy. The huge amount of caffeine contained in its formula really leaves a very small margin for error, as the safe recommended caffeine intake per day is around 350mg for healthy adults. Staying within this limit, however, isn’t too easy as caffeine is actually contained in quite a few different drinks, from soda to even green tea.
While trying 5-Hour Energy, we had to say that we did try to stay within the safe side of things – but it was very difficult as you had to consciously think about and calculate every single drink you had, just to make sure you were okay.
Getting Caffeine right
In all honesty, they could really have reduced the amount of caffeine in 5-Hour Energy. Judging from the other ingredients in the energy shot, you would already get a lot of energy off the bat. For example, 5-Hour Energy contains a load of B vitamins, which we know really help in processing the food we eat into energy. In addition, it contains glucuronolactone, which helps inhibit sleep receptors, making you feel a lot more energetic. 5-Hour Energy also contains Malic acid, which helps converts carbohydrates into energy.
All the ingredients have so much focus on producing energy. This kind of makes you wonder if they have gone a little bit overboard. They also do have ingredients that increase alertness, clarity, and overall response time. However, what they were missing out on in our opinion was L-Theanine.
While 5-Hour Energy did help a lot in allowing us to get things done more quickly, the formula was still prone to the common problems of most caffeine sources. More often than not, two to three hours after taking 5-Hour Energy, we would feel really lethargic and demotivated. This would have been fixed by simply adding L-Theanine into the mix, an ingredient with soothing properties. This allows you to fully experience all the energy benefits from caffeine. Especially, without the side effects that normally comes along with it.
In addition, L-Theanine has synergistic effects with caffeine. Having both together in the same formula also allows for greater heights in clarity, focus, and even short-term memory.
We can’t completely hate on 5-Hour Energy though. It served us well when we needed just a little bit more to get through a night. In that way, it’s pretty awesome.
Pro’s and Con’s
– Contains nootropic ingredients
– More potent than most caffeine pills
– Really high in energy
– Caffeine content may be a bit too excessive
– A lot more expensive per dosage compared to most caffeine pills ($5 vs. $0.5)
– Great formula, but the lack of L-Theanine is really a shame
Summary:More Caffeine Isn’t Always Better
While 5-Hour Energy is a lot more potent than most other forms of caffeine supplements. However, keep in mind that it does come with some draw backs as well. Firstly, the caffeine content is arguably a little bit too much. Depending on the person, it may even cause jitters and other caffeine-related side effects if not taking caution. Again, this could have been resolved by adding L-theanine into the mix. Perhaps something worth considering for their next iteration?
Another thing to keep note of is that since it comes it comes in a “one shot per bottle” dose, 5-Hour Energy is a lot more expensive than most other caffeine supplements per dose.
That said, there are good points to this as well – there are more nootropic ingredients in 5-Hour Energy that may support optimal cognitive function as well. However, the pro’s and con’s should be weighed, and from our opinion, it might be even cheaper to just take 2 caffeine capsules per day if you are looking for a higher dosage, and it will still be loads cheaper than 5-Hour Energy. Caffeine shots are great every now and then, but their value is really undercut by their price.
Total Score: (3 / 5)
Effectiveness: (4 / 5)
Ingredients: (4 / 5)
Side Effects: (2 / 5)
Value for the Money: (2 / 5)