|Country of origin||United States|
The official website lists the active ingredients of 5-hour Energy as: vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, sodium, taurine, glucuronolactone, malic acid and N-Acetyl L-tyrosine, L-phenylalanine, caffeine, and citicoline. The product is not U.S Food and Drug Administration approved. It contains no sugar, instead providing the stimulant caffeine and the psychoactive dopamine precursor amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. According to an article in Consumer Reports, 5-hour Energy should be avoided by children under the age of 12 and as well as nursing or pregnant women.
A March 2011 article in Consumer Reports reported that, according to a lab test, a 2-US-fluid-ounce (59 ml) 5-Hour Energy contained 207 milligrams of caffeine, slightly more than an 8 US fl oz (240 ml) serving of Starbucks coffee which contains 180 mg of caffeine. (It is not clear whether the "Original" or "Extra Strength" product was tested.) The directions on the 5-Hour bottle recommend taking half of the contents (103 mg of caffeine) for regular use, and the whole bottle for extra energy. A regular cup of coffee has less than 100 mg/250 ml cup.
In 2012, Forbes magazine commissioned an independent lab to analyze the contents within full bottles of 5-Hour Energy. The findings showed that the regular strength 5-Hour Energy contained 157 mg of caffeine, whereas the Extra Strength version had a caffeine content of 206 mg.
In December 2012, Consumer Reports published an article on 27 energy drinks including 5-hour Energy, which compared the caffeine content of the 27 drinks. Caffeine levels in 5-hour Energy are: Decaf (6 mg), Original (215 mg), and Extra Strength (242 mg). The publication also reviewed a double blind study and reported that "5-Hour Energy will probably chase away grogginess at least as well as a cup of coffee" and that "little if any research" indicated that amino acids and B vitamins would result in a difference in energy level.
A 2014 article in The New York Times article reported that 5-hour Energy was lobbying state attorneys general in 30 states after being investigated for deceptive advertising. The New York Times report also revealed the company made contributions totaling $280,000 to the political funds of state attorneys general "after the investigation into false claims and deceptive marketing [...] opened in January 2013." A 2015 report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) said that the attorney general offices in five US states had filed cases against Living Essentials for "deceptive marketing practices" and that additional class-action lawsuits were pending in seven states.
Living Essentials was found liable for deceptive practices under the Consumer Protection Act in Washington State in 2017. The court ordered the company to pay $4.3 million. The violations included stating that doctors recommended the product, that the product was superior to coffee, and that the decaffeinated product provided long lasting energy and alertness. The companies' communications director, Melissa Skabich, said they will appeal.
"Unlike the two other courts that found in our favor, this court did not follow the law. We intend to vigorously pursue our right to appeal, and correct the trial court’s incorrect application of the law," she said.
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- "Manoj Bhargava, richest Indian in US commits 90% earnings to charity". The Economic Times. 10 April 2012.
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- "The buzz on energy-drink caffeine: Caffeine levels per serving for the 27 products we checked ranged from 6 milligrams to 242 milligrams per serving". Consumer Reports. December 2012.
- Koleva, Gergana (3 August 2010). "Hearts Attack victims spouse sues 5-hour energy maker for wrongful death". dailyfinance.com. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
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- Zuraw, Lydia (July 22, 2014). "Three States Sue 5-Hour Energy Makers For 'Deceptive' Advertising". Food Safety News.
- "Eight-year trademark infringement battle nets $10.6 million damages award for 5-Hour Energy". Crain's Detroit Business. February 29, 2016. Retrieved April 10, 2019.