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5-Hour Energy linked to heart attacks

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5-hour energy is sold chiefly at gas stations and convenience stores, at the cash register. These small, bright red metal cans promise a quick dose of energy and are supposed to be a "safe alternative" to energy drinks. However - there is growing evidence to support that using the drink can lead to heart attacks - and even death.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The flavored energy shot "has been mentioned in some 90 filings with the F.D.A., including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion," according to a New York Times investigation.

The Times investigation found that 5-Hour Energy was implicated in at least 13 deaths over the last four years. Its nearby competitor, Monster Energy Drink was cited in five deaths in a review last month.

Both the investigation, along with the FDA are careful to point out that correlation does not equal causation in these drinks that result in the exact opposite of a pick-me-up.

The most frightening implication to emerge from these recent reports is the fact that nobody really knows what's going on with energy drinks, or as in 5-Hour Energy's case "dietary supplements" -- that become implicated in fatalities.

The companies behind these products are aware of what's happening. They're required by federal law to report cases that link their products to fatalities to the FDA. "I am not interested in making any comment," Manoj Bhargava, the chief executive of Living Essentials, the company that makes 5-Hour Energy says.

It calls to mind the Four Loko debacle. In that instance, a product team decided that it would be a good idea to take all of the ingredients in your standard energy drink -- caffeine, taurine, B vitamins -- and mix it with high proof malt liquor and sell it for about two bucks a can.

A few months later, people turned up dead after drinking the stuff, a horrible turn of events that eventually caused the government to ban the formula. However -- it was eventually re-released without all of the energy additives.

A few months later, and America figured out a way to bring back to old upper-downer specialty cocktail. Just drop a 5-Hour Energy into a can of Four Loko and BOOM! People came up with the same deadly results.

5-Hour Energy may not be the cause of those grisly sounding deaths, and maybe it isn't. Either way, we've seen this chain of events before. Somebody like The Times spots the correlation. Some government agency conducts an investigation, maybe banning some things even though that won't bring the victims back from the dead. And, inevitably, nobody wins.

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