Following the explosion of high-sugar, high-caffeine energy drinks on the market, many people began to catch on to the fact that pumping the body full of dangerously high levels of chemicals might not be the healthiest way to live.
Subsequently, a surge of energy drinks boasting their naturally healthy herbal ingredients hit the market and continue to climb their way up the energy drink popularity ladder.
But what are these ingredients and are they as beneficial as the companies claim they are? Or are the new “healthier” energy drinks just a spin on the old? Let’s have a look at some of the more common energy drink herbal ingredients and see.
This ever popular and oh-so-exotic energy drink ingredient comes to us all the way from South America where Amazonians have used it for light years to naturally increase their alertness and energy levels.
It’s not only a dense source of caffeine (more so than coffee) but also zaps us with theobromine and theophylline, which are also stimulants. Because of the combination of stimulants, guarana is often marketed as an energy drink herbal ingredient that not only boosts energy, but also promotes weight loss.
This herb has many uses, but when included in energy drinks, it’s generally meant to increase energy and improve memory. The only problem is that studies point to the common side effect of headaches and nausea when ginseng is combined with caffeine.
This is the key ingredient in the patented formula of FRS Healthy Energy drinks and chews. Quercetin is an antioxidant found in apples, onions and other fruits and veggies that has been shown to stimulate the production of mitochondria, which in turn boosts energy levels naturally.
You’ll most often see B-12, B-6, B-9 (or folic acid) and B-3 (niacin) on the labels of your energy drinks and some in massive quantities (like 8,333% of the recommended daily intake of B-12 in one little 2 ounce shot of 5-Hour Energy. B Vitamins help provide natural and healthy energy.
But as it turns out, extra levels of most B vitamins above and beyond what you naturally and easily get in your diet are simply flushed out of the system. Except, that is, for Vitamin B-6. It is speculated that consuming more than 100 mg of B-6 per day (about the amount in two and a half shots of 5-Hour Energy) might cause nerve damage in the extremities.
Green Tea Extracts
Green tea extracts are antioxidant rich, making them a perfect addition to energy drinks particularly for athletes who could use something to counter the wear and tear of intense physical activity.
Green tea is also used in energy drinks for its caffeine, so if you are looking to shy away from the stimulant, then choose products that use decaffeinated green tea instead. On the other hand, green tea is known to counter the rise in blood pressure that can accompany caffeine intake in itself.
The weight loss benefits of green tea can only been seen at around 270-1125 mg per day, so you need to get in at least three cups to actually see the fat slide off your bones.
This leaf and seed extract is said to help with memory and concentration as well as circulation, increasing blood flow to the brain and blood vessels sending oxygen and nutrients where you need it most.
The only issue, of course, is that most energy drinks do not contain nearly enough ginkgo biloba to actually benefit you. And for anyone on anti-depressants, ginkgo biloba is known to be dangerous when mixed with certain medications.
This gorgeous grape-like berry comes from a palm tree in the Brazilian rainforests and is rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins, giving them regenerating and rejuvenating properties. They are added to energy drinks like Efusjon and MonaVie because they supposedly help lose weight, lower cholesterol and boost energy. None of these claims have been proven as of yet. Still, acai berries are like most fruits: very good for you.
energy-drink-herbalYet another magical plant from South America, Yerba Mate commes from the leaves and stems of a rainforest tree that provides the stimulant caffeine while still delivering vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Yerba Mate is used in some energy drinks today because it is believed not to carry the negative side effects of the caffeine derived from guarana and coffee.
So, What Herbal Supplements Are in Your Energy Drink?
This is Part 3 in a series of 5 articles pertaining to Energy Drink Nutrition. To read more, do continue:
• Energy Drink Sugar – This Just In! Energy Drink Sugar Levels Anger Tooth Fairy
• Energy Drink Caffeine – Energy Drink Caffeine Content: We Be Buzzin’
• Energy Drinks Taurine – Energy Drinks with Taurine: Info Straight from the Bull’s Balls!
• Energy Drink Carb – Energy Drink Carb Levels: Would Dr. Atkins Roll Over in His Grave?