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Purdue students concoct safe energy drink

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A popular energy drink made here in Indiana is under scrutiny. The founder and CEO of 5-hour energy is strongly defending his product after claims that it led to 13 deaths in the past four years.

In the midst of this controversy, a group of Purdue students is doing their own testing and it all started in the dorms.

“We're full-time engineers, we're working to be entrepreneurs, we're juggling a few business ideas and on top of that we're college students,” said Andrew Linfoot, CEO and Co-founder of Kyk Energy. “We like to go out and enjoy our lives, so we just really didn't sleep, at all.”

As if being engineering majors were not hard enough, Andrew Linfoot and his two partners are self-made food scientists and have very well become the most popular entrepreneurs at Purdue University.

“I mean, you only drink so many carbonated soda for breakfast,” Linfoot joked.  “Our whole thing was we didn't like the taste of energy drinks.”

Two years later, Kyk Energy was born.  It's an energy supplement you can add to any drink without changing the taste. The chemists came up with the blend by breaking down the main ingredients found in popular energy drinks -- a mix of caffeine, amino acids, herbs and B-vitamins. And who better to test it on than sleep-deprived students?

“Everyone was all on board, they're hyped up, they knock on my door and are like, ‘Andrew! I need the latest batch of Kyk! We’ve got a test coming up.’”

Most people are concerned about how much caffeine is in energy drinks. To put it into perspective, a can of coke contains about 35 milligrams of caffeine. A Monster energy has about five times more with about 160 milligrams. A 5-hour energy is about 250 milligrams, which is nearly half of a Vente Starbucks coffee (400-500 milligrams).

Kyk is in the middle with about 300 milligrams. After tons of tests and getting expert advice from pharmacists and doctors, these chemists conclude the caffeine content in most energy drinks is nowhere near dangerous.

However, the men recommended taking any product in small doses.

“Like anything else, take it in moderation,” says Linfoot. “Don't pound back seven of these every day.”

The men have come a long way from the dorms. They now have a manufacturer in California. Kyk has been on the market since February.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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