Subjective State, Blood Pressure, and Behavioral Control Changes Produced by an "Energy Shot"

J Caffeine Res. 2014 Jun 1;4(2):57-63. doi: 10.1089/jcr.2014.0005.


Background: Energy drinks and energy shots are popular consumer beverages that are advertised to increase feelings of alertness. Typically, these products include high levels of caffeine, a mild psychostimulant drug. The scientific evidence demonstrating the specific benefits of energy products to users in terms of subjective state and objective performance is surprisingly lacking. Moreover, there are rising health concerns associated with the use of these products. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the acute effects of a popular energy shot (5-Hour Energy®) on subjective and objective measures that were assessed hourly for 6 hours following consumption. Methods: Participants (n=14) completed a three-session study where they received the energy shot, a placebo control, and no drink. Following dose administration, participants completed subjective Profile of Mood States ratings hourly for 6 hours. Participants also repeatedly completed a behavioral control task (the cued go/no-go task) and provided blood pressure and pulse rate readings at each hour. Results: Consumption of the energy shot did improve subjective state, as measured by increased ratings of vigor and decreased ratings of fatigue. However, the energy shot did not alter objective performance, which worsened over time. Importantly, the energy shot elevated both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Conclusions: Consumption of one energy shot may only result in modest benefits to subjective state. Individuals with preexisting hypertension or other medical conditions should be cautious about using these new consumer products.