Ah, there's nothing like the quick burst of liveliness you get from knocking back an energy drink during your afternoon slump. There's also, as a construction worker recently learned, nothing quite like the life-threatening case of hepatitis you could get from drinking too much of it. Gizmodo posted an article about a 50-year-old man who drank four or five energy drinks every day for three weeks (and changed nothing else about his diet) in order to boost his endurance on the job, only to end up in the emergency room with dark urine and jaundiced skin. Feel that power surge!
The unidentified man had started to feel fatigued, and developed abdominal tenderness. When that progressed to nausea and vomiting, he figured he had a flu. It wasn't until his skin turned yellow that he realized something could be seriously wrong with him. A biopsy of his liver showed hepatitis C, which doctors think was brought on by all the vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) in those energy drinks he was chugging daily, each bottle of which contained 40 mg of niacin (200 percent of the recommended daily value).
According to the doctors who authored the case report,
As the energy drink market continues to rapidly expand, consumers should be aware of the potential risks of their various ingredients. Vitamins and nutrients, such as niacin are present in quantities that greatly exceed the recommended daily intake, lending to their high risk for harmful accumulation and toxicity.
Fortunately, the man ended up fine, but let this be a lesson to us all: all those 5-hour powers can lead to debilitating illness. Maybe that's what "wings" is secretly code for?