Last month, Kim Kardashian West posted an article on her app titled, "My Favorite Drink Right Now." The favorite drink wasn't another green tea or ill-advised weight-loss shake, but rather Neuro Drinks, a line of bottled beverages that has all the trappings of a "health drink."
Kim seems to be all about these drinks right now. In a March 2018 video interview for Elle, the Neuro bottles are strategically propped up behind Kim's head. On Instagram a few days after, she wrote, "A big thank you to my friend Diana Jenkins @drinkneuro for letting us use your amazing home & stocking us with the best Neuro drinks all day!!!" If, like me, you're usually skeptical of the health products that Kim peddles on Instagram, you're likely wondering what the deal is with this drink. And, dolls, it's complicated.
Neuro Drinks are sweet, watered-down, flavored drinks that taste like a cross between iced tea and Vitamin Water. But, with flashy names like Sonic, Trim, and Gasm, Neuro Drinks are marketed to change the way you feel. For example, Kim wrote that her favorite flavor is Neuro Bliss, which is a lightly carbonated beverage which the brand claims reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels, thanks to the L-Theanine, vitamin D, and chamomile. There's also Neuro Sleep, which contains melatonin, 5-HTP and magnesium, and has a mango-y peach flavor. And then there's Neuro Gasm, which has a moderate dose of caffeine that the brand claims "just may leave you playful, passionate, and satisfied."
According to a Neuro representative, some Neuro Drinks "offer health solutions," like stress reduction or better sleep and digestive health, in lieu of a pill or supplement, while others are supposed to "hydrate the body with wonderful tasting water-based solutions" and can be sipped all day long.
Sound confusing? Basically, you have to read the fine print before you start chugging Neuro. At the bottom of most Neuro bottles, the fine print says that the drink you're consuming is a "lifestyle beverage." But, Neuro Sleep's bottle says that it's a "dietary supplement." This may sound like splitting hairs, but legally Neuro Sleep has to be marketed as a liquid dietary supplement, because it contains melatonin, which the FDA doesn't permit in food and beverages. The rest of the flavors, like Neuro Gasm or Neuro Trim also contain vitamins (like vitamin D and vitamin B12), but they don't have the same type of warning.
Despite the flashy packaging and clever names, Neuro Drinks are really just drinks with caffeine and vitamins in them, so you can't expect them to magically help you achieve an orgasm, find bliss, or even fall asleep. As we've written before, most people who eat a variety of foods don't need to add supplements to their diet. (Occasionally, people's doctors will recommend that they take very specific vitamins or minerals because they have a medical condition — but a healthcare professional should be the one recommending those.) In other words: You don't need these drinks.
"In general, a lot of the active ingredients in these drinks can be found from more natural sources, such as green tea or coffee, which we would prefer to drink instead," explain Melissa Bailey, MS, RD, LDN and Liz Smith, MPH, RD, CNSC, clinical dietitians in Philadelphia behind Two Hungry Work Wives. Also, many of the listed ingredients are actually just fancy words for basic ingredients. For example, Neuro Trim lists "reverse osmosis filtered water," which is purified water; "crystalline fructose," which is just high fructose corn syrup alternative; and "sucralose," which is Splenda. "Just remember to always read the label and do your research on ingredients so that you can be a well-informed buyer," Bailey and Smith say.
It's also important to be aware of the amount of vitamins and supplements you're taking, because in some cases it is possible to take too many vitamins. If you take an excess of fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, D, E, and K, your body will just end up storing the excess amounts in tissue, but sometimes that can lead to other health issues, like liver damage or bone thinning. Now, Neuro's representative told us that you should be fine if you choose to drink more than one in a day, but you should still talk to your doctor first and proceed with caution. For example, Neuro Gasm contains 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D, and the recommended dietary allowance for most adults is 600 IU.
So, the next time you're choosing a bottled drink at the grocery store, and you enjoy the saccharine taste of Neuro Drinks, then you do you. But, if you're into Neuro for the so-called health benefits, just be careful — and maybe don't take Kim's word for it.