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Entries in Energy (2)

Friday
Mar082013

New Chewing Gum Offers Caffeine Boost

Wrigley's(NEW YORK) -- Starting next month, a new gum from Wrigley will offer more than something to chew on.  One piece of Alert Energy Caffeine Gum packs 40 milligrams of caffeine, about as much as a half of a cup of coffee or a whole dark chocolate bar.

Targeted at adults 25 to 49, the company believes the “bitter taste, hexagonal pellet, primary packaging and premium price point” will differentiate it in the market.

The idea for Alert started when Wrigley was looking for ways to expand its line to “functional and ‘occasion-based’ reasons to chew.”

Wrigley, the company behind brands like Orbit, Eclipse, Juicy Fruit and Altoids, is taking care with its product marketing.  Advertising geared toward adults and a warning label on the package are attempts to keep the gum out of the hands of kids.

Available in fruit or mint flavors, one pellet contains five calories and 2 grams of sugar alcohols.  Priced at $2.99 for an eight-pellet pack, Alert can be found in select stores and will become available nationwide this summer.

So far, the idea of caffeinated gum hasn’t completely stuck.  Amp Energy and RockStar launched gum lines a few years ago that are no longer on the market.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

Provigil: Sleep Deprivation Drug the Secret to Success?

JB Reed/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- They are all around us, a secret society of the successful. They say what gives them an advantage, though, isn't just purposefulness or perseverance but a little secret weapon -- a pill called Provigil.

There is the lobbyist, who wakes up at 5 a.m. to complete two full workouts before heading to work.

"I could not do this without Provigil. You know, it just wouldn't be the same," she told ABC News, asking that ABC News not identify her. "It's amazing. ...I just don't get...why more people don't know about it."

John Withers, a computer programmer, can write code for 12 hours at a time.

"It helps you focus up for exceptionally long periods of time," he said.

And then there is the brain researcher who can find connections no one else is seeing. She also asked that ABC News not name her.

"It's just a clear day," she said. "The fog isn't there."

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Provigil is approved only for narcolepsy, sleep apnea or for people who work irregular hours, but hidden among those who take it are pockets of healthy Americans taking it just to boost energy and enhance focus. It excites the mind so much that Provigil has been nicknamed "Viagra for the brain."

Prescription sales for this class of drugs has increased by 73 percent in four years, from $832,687,000 in 2007 to more than $1.4 million in 2011, according to IMS Health.

Online there are hundreds of sites campaigning for Provigil that explain how to get a doctor to write a prescription or how to get the drug without one.

Many Provigil users are secretive, but not Dave Asprey, a successful executive of a billion-dollar Internet security firm who often starts his day at 4:45 a.m. by popping a pill.

"[It] can be the difference between [me] just making it through the day to I had the best day of my life," Asprey told ABC News.

Asprey says he once flew 20 hours to Australia with almost no sleep, got off the plane, took Provigil and delivered a series of speeches that were so good they made the local papers.

As a kind of an experiment ABC News asked Asprey to stop taking the drug for three days. Off the drug, he said he felt off.

"I've noticed that my speech is very slightly altered," he said.

After three days, Asprey popped a Provigil and he says it took only 17 minutes for him to snap back. He said the world suddenly seemed brighter. Asprey compared it to the scene in The Wizard of Oz where everything goes from black and white to color.

ABC News had Asprey take some cognitive tests, and there was a pronounced improvement over the day before when he was not on Provigil.

So, should we all be on Provigil?

Doctors warn that you are really rolling the dice with this drug. There have been no long-term studies of Provigil and its effects on healthy brains have never been studied. Doctors also warn that possible side effects include sleep deprivation and potentially lethal rashes and worse.

Provigil is a wake-promoting agent, but doctors admit they don't really know how it works.

"Provigil is not a substitute for sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause and worsen heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure," said Dr. Joanne Getsy, chief of the Sleep Medicine Section at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

And there have been no studies proving that performance actually improves with Provigil. "Sleep deprivation can actually worsen performance," said Getsy.

"It's very tempting, but I think long-term it's a bad idea," said Dr. Martha Farah, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania. "We actually know very little about the long term effects."

Astonishingly, Asprey says even if it were to turn out that Provigil could shorten his life he wouldn't give it up and neither would the lobbyist or brain researcher who take it. They told ABC News they aren't worried and aren't about to stop using Provigil.

"I would like to really live during those years when I'm alive. I'd like to be fully alert, fully focused and fully present all the time" Asprey said. "Provigil helps me do that."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio