When Richard Perez was 41 years old, and very physically fit, he had a heart attack.
“No lie, I saw this white light and I was like ...” he said, shaking his head
Perez said that two times a day, for about five years, he gulped down the energy boost known as 5-Hour Energy.
Last month his coronary artery became 100 percent blocked.
Now, he has to take medications the rest of his life. His cardiologist told him the energy shot is to blame.
“He said you take energy drinks, he asked me, and I go ‘Yes I do, I take a lot of it.’ He goes ‘That's not good, don't ever take them again,’” Perez said.
The Food and Drug Administration is investigating 13 deaths possibly linked to so-called "energy shots."
The agency said it has received 92 reports of people getting sick, hospitalized and even dying after drinking 5-Hour Energy.
A spokeswoman for the manufacturer of 5-Hour Energy, Living Essentials LLC, said the company is not aware of any deaths proven to have been caused by their product.
Elaine Lutz said the company's website advises consumers to drink no more than two bottles of the shots per day, spaced several hours apart, and for new consumers to drink half a bottle to start.
“Most children have lots of energy, far more than most of us as we get older, so children in general really don’t need these energy drinks and I would really discourage that,” Fort Lauderdale Dr. Steven Joyal advised.
Perez, a lifelong athlete, now carries a card warning medical professionals he's on a blood thinner. He has replaced 5-hour Energy shots with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
“Forty-one years old, I would never have thought that I would have a heart attack at this age,” Perez said. “Never, never, never.”