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The inside scoop on energy and alertness boosters

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Updated: 1/25/2013 10:34 am

Who isn't busy these days? And who couldn't use an extra shot of mental alertness and energy to make it through all they do in a day? The need to feel alert has many Americans looking for help, and turning to a variety of products promoted as energy boosters.

If you've never used an energy or alertness aid before, you may wonder how to choose one that will work best for you. While each person's needs are different, and their body's reaction to energy-enhancing products will vary, here's some basic information to keep in mind.

Energy drinks are popular, and many purport to give users a burst of energy and increased alertness. These beverages typically contain caffeine and sugar (although some brands offer sugar-free varieties) and may also include vitamins and herbs. Keep in mind that when using caffeine-containing alertness aids, be sure to limit your intake of other caffeinated products.

When it comes to ill effects of energy drinks, high sugar content seems to be the most offensive ingredient. Consuming a high concentration of sugar in a single beverage can lead to an 'energy crash' once the sugar spike from the drink leaves the bloodstream. Plus, many energy drinks have a host of proprietary ingredients, so it's difficult to know exactly what you're consuming. What's more, over-use of energy drinks has been linked to a number of health problems, according to recent media reports.

Finally, the caloric content of energy drinks can be a concern for people who are trying to watch their calorie intake. Sugar-free varieties may offer fewer than 100 calories, but drinks that include high amounts of sugar (for an extra energy boost) can run as high as 200 calories or more for a single serving.

While energy shots, which concentrate similar ingredients into a smaller serving size, may help address the calorie issues, they also can lead to adverse side-effects, especially if a user indulges in too many shots in a day.

Consuming caffeine has long been a reliable way to feel energized and alert. Sticking with a caffeine-based product can help you avoid sugar crashes while still feeling alert, focused and sharp. Caffeine-only products like Vivarin have been on the market for decades, while energy drinks are a relatively new entrant into the product field. Plus, it's easy to understand the ingredient list: Vivarin's only active ingredient is caffeine.

Vivarin, which has been America's No. 1 alertness aid for more than 25 years, contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. The caffeine-only formula solves the problems of sugar crashes and calories associated with energy drinks.

Because it's a tablet, Vivarin is also convenient to carry and take, and, at about 20 to 30 cents per tablet, is a great value when compared to costly energy drinks that cost $3.50 to $4.50 per serving. As with any caffeine-containing alertness aid, Vivarin is for occasional use, not a substitute for sleep, and not for children younger than 12. To learn more, log on to www.vivarin.com.

In today's busy world, sometimes you need help feeling energized and clear-headed. Choosing the right energy enhancer can help you face all the day's demands without the sugar crash and high calories.

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