If you're a gamer, you can't help but think that Mana looks pretty cool. It's
an energy drink that comes in a little potion bottle and is a bright mana potion
blue. I'm not sure exactly when blue became the de facto standard color for mana
potions in games, but if you play RPG games one look at a bottle of Mana will
bring instant recognition. It's a bottle of mana potion, alright. They should
sell a belt that lets you hang a bunch of these bottles off of it. There's
certainly a gamer chic component to it - you'll score some points at your next
LAN party if you show up with some Mana bottles for everyone.
All that aside, what's in the bottle is one of those "five hour energy"
drinks. Now if there's ever a time when I could use extra energy, it's during
November and December. There are so many games and peripherals to review at this
time of year that I'm lucky if I can manage six hours of sleep on a given night.
I know, tough life. So I spent a week having a Mana every evening at about 6 to
see if it would give me a much-needed five hour energy boost to get me through
the evening. My first experience with Mana was, of course, with its taste. Well,
it's not the best-tasting stuff in the world. It has a semi-slick consistency
and a taste that I can best describe as being akin to a day-old Blue Hawaiian.
There's a vague undertone of pineapple, but without any of the tartness. Let's
just say that you're pretty safe from OD'ing on the stuff because you won't be
compelled to down a bunch of bottles in a row.
Now for the energy boost - there is a boost from Mana, but it's about the
same you'd get from a few cups of coffee or some tea. A look at the
ingredient list indicates that this is most likely due to the caffeine in the
bottle. A further look at the ingredient list finds the usual group of
suspects found in energy drinks, though guarana isn't among them. There's
also an "enzyme blend" of amylase, lactase, cellulase, lipase, and protease.
Not sure what they're all in there for, but there they are. Of more
interest is the 400 mcg of vitamin B-12, which equates to 6667% of the
recommended daily value. Yikes! I don't know about you, but that's
enough to scare me off of the stuff. With all of that caffeine (there's
four cups of coffee's worth) and vitamin B-12, it's no wonder the manufacturer
warns against drinking more than one of these things a day. As for the
five to eight hours of energy promised by the maker, well, I found that I got
about as much of a boost from Mana as I do from a couple of cups of coffee and
that it lasted about as long. At least with the coffee I don't have to
worry about a vitamin overdose...