More on the Energy Thing (April 24, 2018)
So -- a healthy person is going to have plenty of energy for what they need to do, as long as they aren't doing a lot of over-the-top kind of stuff. Anyone who is chronically tired but otherwise healthy -- I’m not sure just what the problem is, but I do know that it’s something that none of the items they were selling at the Southern Women’s Show can handle.
That’s because in a healthy person, a chronic lack of energy is usually from eating poorly or sleeping inadequately. And you cannot swallow a pill or chug a drink that is going to fix either of those things. But that doesn’t stop no end of hucksters for trying to convince us otherwise.
The last time we were here, I was ragging on some of the “energy boosters” sold at the Southern Women’s Show a couple of weeks ago. But I didn’t get to all of them. Today, I will.
Previously, I pounded on:
Purple Tiger Energy. Which increases energy by delivering a bucketload of caffeine. Now, there’s nothing wrong with caffeine, as long as you know that that’s what you’re buying. But you can get it a whole lot cheaper than in an energy booster supplement, especially this one.
And also on:
B Lite. Which contains a lot of B vitamins, which do not, repeat DO NOT, boost your energy unless you are actually deficient in them. And if you are, like with caffeine, you can get them for a whole lot cheaper than you’ll get them here.
Don’t forget what I told you about “proprietary blends”. You see them mentioned on most of these supplements down at the bottom of the label. They are usually a sneaky way of suggesting that the supplement is a whole lot better than it really is. More on that below
Let us proceed.
Zipfizz. This one was being promoted as a sports drink, so its boast is that it provides “Hydration” (also known as water, which you get because you mix the little packet of Zipfizz in a glassful of it). But also – Electrolytes. And -- it has a high ORAC score! Sounds like science! But it’s not.
Electrolytes (the substances that your body uses to carry out its electrical activities like muscle contraction and nerve conduction) are hugely important in normal physiology. Because they are so crucial to have in the right balance, unless you have certain diseases or are taking certain prescription medications your body does an admirable job maintaining them on its own and does not need you, or even want you, to buy anything special to help it out.
Maybe, just maybe, someone who is exercising strenuously in very hot weather might lose a little too much sodium and have their electrolytes get out of balance. But even that person is usually better off with water and some salted peanuts than they are with a sports drink like this one.
Now, this “ORAC score”. That’s a research measurement. It's a number that shows how well an antioxidant works – in a test tube. It doesn’t say ANYTHING about how what it does in your body. But the more a supplement costs, the more you are likely to see it touting its ORAC score. Trust me, in this context it means absolutely nothing. Ignore it. Really, it's ok.
Saba. Is a whole series of weight-loss and cosmetic products. The one that was being pushed as an energy product was “Saba Skinny 5000 Fat Burner”. Again we see a lot of caffeine, niacin, B6 and B12, and chromium (which might help with weight loss IF you take in quantities larger than are found in this supplement). Which brings us to…
The Proprietary Blend Thing Again. Each daily dose of Saba 5000 contains 468 mg of a mixture of a bunch of different things, only three of which are:
Acetyl-L-carnitine. Which may have some benefit in weight loss and other issues. But you would have to take at least 1,500 mg of it per day to possibly get those effects.
Garcinia Fruit powder. Which may help with weight loss. As long as you consume 900 mg or more of it daily.
Bitter Orange. A stimulant similar to the unfairly-maligned ephedra. Bitter orange could have some weight loss benefit, too – as long as you take about 975 mg daily.
So much for "proprietary blends".
Also notice how I'm fudging in my descriptions up there (“may help” “possibly” "could have"). That’s because most of the things that are included in proprietary blends have very limited evidence that they work at all, as well as being provided in insufficient amounts. Bringing to mind the old complaint about the restaurant where the food is not just terrible – but the portions are so small.
Aya-Tea. This stuff (containing mainly stimulants and flavorings) is really meant to be a weight loss thing, although for some reason it was being promoted to increase energy. It costs $35 a gallon and you are guaranteed to lose five to seven pounds on the Aya-Tea Program in five days. You drink it AND follow a severely restricted food plan (including no beverages other than the daily 24 ounces of Aya-Tea).
This thing is pure genius. Because I promise you that if you follow the Aya-Tea food and beverage plan even without drinking the Aya-Tea, you will lose five or more pounds in five days. This product is a truly remarkable achievement. It is a complete and total scam THAT DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS IT’S GOING TO DO. I am in awe.
Five-Hour Energy. This little fellow, with whom most of us are well acquainted, packs 215-242 milligrams of caffeine, plus some of the usual suspects. So again, caffeine is the energy-producing ingredient here.
Every time I see one of these, I can’t help fondly reminiscing about the appearance of Jolt! Cola (“all the sugar and twice the caffeine!”) in my graduate school bookstore, and the tearful enthusiasm with which we all embraced it. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
So here is the lecture. These things WILL give you a brief burst of energy due to their caffeine content. And that’s pretty much it. If you have a chronic fatigue problem, these are band-aids only. They won’t fix anything, even though that is unspoken suggestion behind every single one of them, and that is why I get so peeved when I talk about them.
If you think that your morning Starbucks will do as much for your energy as any of these supplements would, you are probably right. Starbucks is notorious for loading a ton of caffeine into its drinks, up to 500 mg in fact. Most people can probably drink even more than that safely, every day, if they must. And coffee is a whole lot better for you than you were ever led to believe, so you needn't feel guilty about that.
It's your choice. Just be informed. That’s all I’m trying to accomplish here.
--dr. diane holmes
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