U Of M Expert: 'It's Like Taking A Drug'By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Food and Drug Association is investigating after learning that 5-Hour Energy drinks were cited in 13 deaths.

It’s not just the 13 deaths. In a statement, the FDA told WCCO-TV that cases surrounding 92 patients, including 33 hospitalizations are under investigation due to a possible link to 5-hour Energy.

5 Hour Energy is popular because many people like Thane Hager say it works. Hager said,

“It definitely kept me up,” said Hager. “It does its job. It’s not false advertising.”

A number of the death reports cite heart problems.

Ted Labuza is a professor of food science at the University of Minnesota.

“The heart is weak and this is a stimulant and this is going to cause arrhythmia in the heart. Two of the reports say it was arrhythmia that made the person die,” said Labuza.

Labuza says the amount of caffeine in the energy drink is one concern. The other is the high amount of B-12.

“The Vitamin B-12: It’s present in there at 8,000 percent of the daily requirement. No one has ever tested vitamins at that kind of level,” said Labuza.

Labuza says consumers should know that the federal government considers 5-Hour Energy and most other energy drinks as nutritional supplements, so they are not regulated.

“This is like taking a drug,” said Labuza.

5-Hour Energy does have a warning label that says anyone who is pregnant or nursing or under the age of 12 should not drink it.

Last month, the FDA said it had received reports questioning a link between five deaths and another drink, Monster Energy.

Labuza would like to see government regulation of all energy drinks.

“We need laws to protect people who can’t protect themselves,” said Labuza.

The reports to the FDA on these deaths do not mean a link to the drinks has been proven.

5-Hour Energy has said in statements that its product is safe and that it’s unaware of any deaths caused by the product.

Esme Murphy