Are C4 Energy Drinks Bad For You?

Unlike other brands of energy drinks, C4 caters to a specific demographic — athletes and gym-goers. Advertised on its website as the top pre-workout energy drink brand in America, C4 is designed to enhance the physical and mental performance of its active users. Even better, it does so with zero calories, carbs, sugar, or artificial colors.

Like most energy beverages, C4 energy drinks contain caffeine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that healthy adults should not consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, as doing so can result in potentially harmful side effects. The good news is that a standard C4 energy drink contains only 200 milligrams of caffeine per 16-ounce can, which is lower than other popular energy drinks (via Caffeine Informer).

This is not the only way in which C4 is distinct from other energy drinks. Starting out initially as a powdered drink mix, C4 energy drinks now come in a variety of flavors ranging from twisted limeade to orange slice. Not only that, but C4 contains some unique ingredients not commonly found in other energy drinks.

C4 energy drinks have unique ingredients

Of all the ingredients found in C4 energy drinks, two stand out from the rest. The first ingredient, CarnoSyn, works to enhance muscle performance. The second ingredient, BetaPower, keeps muscles hydrated (via C4 Energy). According to Caffeine Informer, CarnoSyn is a form of beta-alanine. Beta-alanine is an amino acid found naturally in the liver. It can be consumed through meats, such as chicken and other poultry (via Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition). BetaPower stems from the amino acid, betaine, which can be found in beets. Both have been shown to improve athletic performance.

So what exactly does this mean for our health? When consumed in moderation, C4 can be a great choice of energy drink if you're regularly physically active. The ingredient to keep an eye on is caffeine. According to Beastly Energy, caffeine can kick in as soon as 15 minutes after drinking. The 200 milligrams of caffeine in a C4 energy drink would take a total of 12 hours to be fully filtered out of your system. For this reason, it's important to avoid energy drink consumption in the evenings to maintain your quality of sleep.

By sticking to just 1-2 cans of C4 throughout the course of a day, you can keep your caffeine intake within range of the FDA's recommendation.