POSTED: Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 5:22pm
UPDATED: Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 6:14pm
el paso — Just a month after the Food and Drug Administration said Monster energy drinks were linked to five deaths, now 5 Hour Energy shots is being investigated.
They are linked to 33 hospitalizations and 13 deaths. The news was released today but the incidents span four years.
"There has to be more awareness of the dangers of this drink. I know that it has caused the visits to emergency rooms to increase ten fold since 2009," said Vlasta Pinto, a Clinical Nutrition Manager with Providence Memorial Hospital.
Vlasta Pinto sees people come to the hospital all the time with serious symptoms from energy drinks.
"Most of the time it's heart palpitation, irritability, nervousness, vomiting and also kidney failure," said Pinto.
The shots contain about 215 milligrams of caffeine, which is like two 8 oz. cups of coffee. According to the FDA, there is no evidence the caffeinated drinks caused any of the deaths or injuries, but an investigation is ongoing.
"Anything in excess is very dangerous. They make it look like a fun product and something so convenient, without ever indicating that excess of it can cause death," said Pinto.
The shots also contain vitamins and amino acids which classifies it as a dietary supplement. So 5 Hour Energy is not required to disclose the amount of caffeine in its 2 oz. "energy shot."
"Commercials do want me to go out and try it but I just don't trust caffeine," said Northeast El Paso resident Candy Salcedo.
"Some more warning labels I mean marketing you have to sell the product. I understand that but yeah they should have more transparency about whats inside," said West El Paso resident Paul Hernandez.
But Hernandez says, it can also be a life saver.
" I remember I was driving back from El Paso at 2 o'clock in the morning and I took a 5 hour energy drink and I felt pleasantly awake. I think it's more dangerous to fall asleep especially while I'm driving," said Hernandez.
East El Paso resident Aaron Lira was drinking a Monster energy drink when News Channel Nine caught up with him.
" I think it might be a problem for someone that might not know they have some health problems, said Lira.
Vlasta Pinto says its too good to be true.
"If you drink too much its supposed to give you this feeling of being rested and alert but its artificial and it's a temporary high. I see everyday the dangers of overdoing this kind of energy supplement so I do not approve it at all," said Pinto.
In a statement, the company that makes the energy shots says it's taking the reports "very seriously" and suggests 5 Hour Energy only be used by "hardworking adults who need an extra boost of energy."