5 Hour Energy

Move over extreme athletes, college students and late night ragers; all those energy drink brands that fuel your fast-paced lifestyle are now planning on energizing your grandparents, too.

As energy drink brands seek to expand their market share, which has been largely focused on people under age 40, companies such as 5-Hour Energy are reaching out to the Baby Boomers, many of whom are now turning 65, reports the New York Daily News. 5-Hour Energy has partnered with actor John Ratzenberger (from the 1980s sitcom Cheers) to star in ads aimed at drawing on the aging market to increase their energy with the stimulants.

Citing improved energy and alertness—effects commonly experienced after consuming an energy drink—the highly caffeinated drink brands credit their effectiveness with the addition of powerful herbal stimulants such as ginseng and guarana, which may not be recommended for individuals taking certain medications or suffering from heart disease.

According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “More than 13,000 ER visits related to the highly caffeinated drinks were reported in 2009.” High levels of caffeine can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, dehydration and other serious conditions, which may already be of concern for seniors.

Commonly mixed with alcohol, which can also lead to a number of health risks, energy drinks have been linked with a number of deaths leading to the  ban of products including the controversial Four Loko. In November of 2010, the FDA warned several brands that offer a mix of caffeinated energy drinks and alcohol that seizures would result unless the formulations were changed.

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