frs healthy energy liquid concentrate

I’m a fan of the FRS energy drink. It tastes good, it works for me, and the “all natural” variety is healthier than the majority of energy drinks out there.

But… it’s expensive. And it’s not actually healthy when compared to health food (like fruits and vegetables.) And to top things off, many users are reporting poor customer service. I don’t doubt those claims, as I have received poor service from FRS myself. (And considering the number of people who type “FRS healthy energy scam” into Google each month, I bet a lot of people are in the same boat!)

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to look for a cheaper, healthier alternative to FRS Healthy Energy. In this article, I will dissect the FRS ingredients list and see what I can come up with.

(In this article I’m focusing on the ingredients in the all natural orange concentrate, which is my personal favorite of the FRS line.)

Dissecting FRS Healthy Energy

Here are the ingredients FRS contains which look important:

  • Water
  • Organic cane juice
  • Grape juice concentrate
  • Green tea extract
  • Vitamins A, C, E
  • B vitamins
  • Quercetin
  • Caffeine

Now to examine each of these in greater detail…

Water. This one’s easy – you should already get plenty of water in your diet. As long as you’re hydrated, the extra water you get from a glass of FRS shouldn’t matter much.

Next up, the organic cane juice and white grape juice concentrates are just forms of sugar, used as sweeteners, so we can skip them. They’re used in just about every other energy drink, anyway. If you want sugar, you can add honey to your diet and it will be a better option.

Orange juice concentrate is used for flavor. I’ve had plenty of orange juice in my life and it never gave me a big energy boost, so let’s keep going.

Green tea. FRS contains important compounds called EGCG and catechins thanks to the green tea ingredient. The label shows 100mg of catechins in FRS.

I would consider this important, but green tea is not exclusive to FRS. You can get green tea extract in capsule form and as a concentrated liquid (easily getting your 100mg,) or you can drink one or two glasses of green tea each day for the same effect.

Vitamins A, C, and E do look important, too. These are important vitamins that are also considered to be antioxidants.

However, these vitamins are easily found in a healthy diet that includes fruits and veggies. Also, they are present in virtually all multivitamins. The doses in FRS range from 25-200% of the DV, which is nothing huge, so let’s move on.

Next, B vitamins. If I had to pick a secret ingredient in FRS, I’d bet it was the B vitamins that are really to thank for the energy boost. It’s a well-known fact that B vitamins are helpful in increasing energy levels, and if you look around, you’ll see B vitamins in nearly all energy drinks these days.

FRS contains 6mg of B12 and 2mg of B6, as well as 1mg Thiamin, 20mg Niacin, 2mg Riboflavin.

But you can get B vitamins in many different ways; B-complex, B6, and B12 tablets, as well as B12 injections. I found a B complex pill with huge doses of all the B vitamins for a mere 13 cents per serving!

Now for FRS’s coveted ingredient, quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant found in certain fruits and vegetables, and some recent studies have shown that it may improve sports performance (by increasing endurance, etc.) FRS contains 250mg quercetin.

While the quercetin research is far from exhaustive, it does seem to have some merit, and it’s entirely possible that quercetin supplementation could improve performance. But FRS does not have a monopoly on quercetin; it also comes in capsule form, with doses ranging from 250-1000mg.

Note: here are a couple studies that show promise for quercetin when taken in certain doses over time:

Last but not least, caffeine. Caffeine is responsible for the kick from virtually all energy drinks. However, FRS contains a small amount (35mg) of caffeine, so I don’t believe it plays much of a role in FRS’s energy boost.

But it’s not a problem to get that much caffeine from your diet; if you drink a couple glasses of tea or a single cup of coffee, you’ll get plenty of caffeine.

Cheaper Energy Boost

In these tough economic times, we’re all looking for ways to cut costs. One thing you could do is cut out expensive energy drinks and bottled water.

To get the same effects as FRS ($1.25 per serving) without drinking it each day, here is what I have been trying:

What it boils down to is drinking green tea and then taking some Quercetin and B vitamin tablets. In theory, this would provide a long-lasting, natural energy boost.

I have been testing out the previously mentioned pills, along with this one called a Super Antioxidant – it contains lots of good stuff like A, C, E, and B vitamins, and even a bit of of quercetin and green tea – for just 34 cents per serving.

Here’s the price overview:

  • B12: $0.06 per serving
  • B complex: $0.12 per serving
  • Quercetin: $0.25 per serving
  • Green tea extract: $0.15 per serving
  • Green tea (brewed): $0.20 per serving
  • Antioxidant cocktail: $0.34 per serving

If any of this stuff works, even in combination, it could cut your energy drink costs in half!

Homemade Energy – It Might Just Work

Here is what I tried over the past couple months, along with my initial thoughts:

250mg Quercetin ($0.25) – I noticed no change in energy when I tried taking one quercetin pill per day. After a few days I tried two servings per day, but that produced no difference.

750mg Quercetin ($0.75) – This (three servings) produced the same lackluster result as just one serving.

Glass of green tea + 250mg quercetin ($0.45) – As with the plain quercetin days, there was no discernible energy boost.

Antioxidant cocktail ($0.34) – This was the real surprise from the bunch. One serving (two pills) was all it took, and I got a long-lasting energy boost. It was a pleasant boost and it lasted all day – nearly as good as FRS.

Glass of green tea + antioxidant cocktail ($0.54) – There was a good boost with this, but it was the same whether I had green tea or not.

500mcg B12 ($0.06) – When taking one of these tablets, I felt a good, light energy boost that lasted all day.

Glass of green tea + B complex + quercetin ($0.57) – noticeable energy boost?

Glass of green tea + 500mcg B12 ($0.26) – These days provided a good, light energy boost that lasted all day, but with the added enjoyment of the green tea flavor.

FRS concentrate ($1.25) – FRS has always worked well for me. There’s an instant kick (just a slight one, probably from caffeine,) but the real goodness is the light energy that lasts all day, even if I do a hard bike ride. It’s also easy to drink and the best tasting option here.

From my experience with my tests, it seems the common denominator in the energy-yielding supplements is some sort of B vitamin. No surprise – it’s pretty much undisputed that B vitamins give you energy. Some of my older relatives get B12 shots each month, and they swear by them for the extra energy.

The quercetin itself, which FRS claims will reduce your fatigue and bring energy, had no effect on me when taken in capsule form. No matter if I had one capsule (same amount as one serving of FRS) or three.

I’ve heard many people say “don’t overspend for FRS, just get quercetin pills.” Well, I bet anyone that followed that advice was sorely disappointed. It’s possible there are higher-quality sources of quercetin out there than the capsules I tried, but I think I would have had some sort of affect from what I tried.

The Super Antioxidant capsules fared much better. They contain B vitamins, which are probably responsible for the energy boost, but they also add CoQ10 and some other healthy goodies.

The antioxidants from drinking my own brewed green tea probably keep me healthy – and yes I plan to continue drinking tea – but don’t bring about extra energy.

My Energy Boost Recommendations

My recommendation, if you want to save money, consume less sugar, and still get an all-day energy boost, is to take a B complex or B12 vitamin each day. I also recommend drinking green tea for general health.

If you want to skip the B vitamin tablets and choose a capsule like the Super Antioxidant instead, that’s fine (and it’s what I’ll probably do most of the time.) As long as the capsule contains B vitamins in large doses, you should get the same affect.

However, sometimes when you order from FRS directly, you can get 30-50% discounts. If you order at those discounts, you get the good taste and convenience of FRS for the same price as this homemade solution.

So if FRS works for you, I’m not saying to abandon it. Really, just pick whichever option makes you happy. I feel good taking my B vitamins, and I always drink green tea, but I don’t see myself giving up FRS completely. It just seems to work too well for me.


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  1. OK, good one but you seem to take out of the equation the fact that you will need more time to get all the ingredients into your body. If you save let’s assume $1 for the exercise then it is in my opinion wasted time. It is actually a wash since you can use your time for more productive stuff than figuring out the perfect mixing of potions. I completely disagree with the money saving notion of your experiment. Time is money and in this case you are wasting lots of time. Buy the can of FRS and let the potion mixing be something that pros get paid for.

  2. @Frank

    Yes, obviously this is not a huge research study. It is not intended to be.

    But about wasted time… I’m wasting time by trying out new supplements and different combinations of nutrients to see what is best for enhancing my athletic performance?

    That’s part of my job and not something I plan to give up. Think about it – if I never tried new things, I would have never tried FRS.

  3. Coach,

    I found your initial FRS review and after reading it and noticing the FRS advertisement on the side of your page, I was a bit skeptical that your positive review may be influenced by FRS. Then I found this article of yours, which I found to be very informative. I appreciate that you went to this effort to break-down and test the components of FRS that actually cause the desired benefits. I also appreciate your candid and detailed writing style, which lends to a perception of honesty in your writing. Thanks!!

  4. @Mark

    Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it. I put a lot of effort into my reviews because I value products that work, but I also believe you can do very well without expensive supplements. So I try to cover all the bases.

  5. Cool experiment. I always curious about the benefit claims of these ingredients. I am gonna try your Super Antiox recommendation.
    I am a recreational soccer player (35yo) and I tried the FRS chews before a match last week. I misread the directions and took 4 instead of 2 chews, 30min before the match. I felt great. Focus, the right amount of energy (not hyper), the whole package. Gonna try 2 before tonight’s match and see how that goes. Shame about the artificial sweetener- I feel like it’s gonna be shown one day that it causes cancer in lab rats or something- I always avoid if I can.

  6. This comment on the quercetin, from Amazon, was interesting…

    Bought based on article in Nutrition Action Healthletter, December 14, 2008
    By Luddite –

    I subscribe to the Nutrition Action Healthletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Page 8 of the December issue has an article titled “Manipulating Mitochondria.”

    This article states that the Department of Defense (DoD) (the agency being DARPA) sponsored research into the ability of quercetin to increase mitrochondria. DOD wanted to know if quercetin would reduce the number of colds and other viral infections of young men under intense physical stress (1000 MG per day which would be 8 of these chews). To quote from the article “In all these studies researchers used a high-purity quercetin called QU995. That’s the kind that’s also in FRS energy mixes drinks and chews.” I subtracted 1 star for all the other sugar related ingredients. Too early to tell if I will catch less colds, but willing to try to boost my mitrochondria in any case.

    Updated (7/20/09): There is one other manufacturer that makes similar energy chews. Both contain 30 chews and the prices are comparable. The difference is the other brand has twice as much QU995 Quercetin in each chew (250 MG versus 125 in each FRS chew). So based on this, FRS is overpriced for what you get.

  7. @Erik

    Thanks for the comments, good stuff.

    Testing plain quercetin is my biggest challenge because I’d like to be 100% sure I’m testing the good stuff, and it’s more of a long-term supplement, so it requires a longer test period.

  8. Thanks for the research and comments. I have been drinking FRS for two months in an attempt to combat nearly crippling fatigue. I never expected to drink two classes and jump around. I have plenty of alternatives for that. I cannot say if it is the placebo effect or genuine, but I do feel better after 8 weeks. The fatigue has lessened to a manageable level. I am not surprised that there is a much cheaper alternative. However, I was paying over two dollars per can for caffeine drinks, and what I am really paying for is the convenience, and I know that. I have tried your method with other vitamin supplements but I lack the daily discipline to manage all the different things to take, so I pay a dollar a day for them to manage them for me. I have also changed the auto delivery to suit my habits. Thanks again.

  9. @Jon

    Yes, it definitely is nice and convenient to just sit back and drink a glass of FRS each day, rather than fuss with the pills. Glad it’s working for you!

  10. Thanks for the read. Regarding your conclusions, specifically, “if you want to save money, consume less sugar, and still get an all-day energy boost, is to take a B complex or B12 vitamin each day.” Unrelated to this article, I just started doing this, and despite hydrating regularly, which normally yields a very pale yellow or clear urine stream, it is now a bright yellow, almost neon. Is this normal when taking B complexes? The brand is “Nature’s Bounty” if that matters at all. Thanks again for the article.

  11. @JP

    I think that is normal. When using products containing B2 such as a B complex pill, you’ll pee out the excess your body doesn’t need that day, and it gives urine that neon yellow color.

    I have noticed that affect myself sometimes, depending on my source of B vitamins (FRS, B vitamin tablets, beef liver tablets, red meat, other energy drinks, etc.) Off the top of my head, it seems like I usually got the neon yellow color from the rare times I tried out energy drinks like Rockstar. I’m not sure if that says anything about the quality of the vitamin they use or not.

  12. Yeah right – just take like 9 different pills and supplements instead of one drink or fruit chew – all to save a couple of cents. Treat yourself the extra 45 cents…seriously.

  13. @Erik, NYC
    Hi Erik…you said –
    “Updated (7/20/09): There is one other manufacturer that makes similar energy chews. Both contain 30 chews and the prices are comparable. The difference is the other brand has twice as much QU995 Quercetin in each chew (250 MG versus 125 in each FRS chew). So based on this, FRS is overpriced for what you get.”

    can you let us know who is the other manufacturer… I think FRS is overpriced !

  14. @Alexander

    Yes, it’s much nicer to have a drink of FRS each day. But it’s fun to explore this stuff sometimes and experiment with different things.

  15. Coach Levi,

    I found your article rather interesting. I had my first FRS energy drink the other day and noticed a nice alertness without the edge. It was a good feeling. I was giving it a try as I am getting ready to do a long trip and wanted a drink that would help keep me alert. I usually drank Red Bull on these trips. When I saw the add for FRS, I became interested. Like you, I though it was a little pricey; however, so it Red Bull. I did buy some Quercetin capsules with Bromelain. I understand the Bromelain helps the absorption of the Quercetin. It is also suppose to have good antihistamine and anti inflammatory properties. I need to go back to drinking green tea instead of coffee. Thanks for your research and posting it.


  16. I found your info interesting and informative. I have used FRS for 2 weeks now and I swear by it. It may be a little pricy compared to using several different individual ingredients but the convience is worth it. FRS gives me good energy and good mood for quite a long time, compared to the rush and crash of other energy drinks.

  17. Dear Levi,

    I’m a 22 year-old college student aiming to compete in amateur boxing. My physical state and technique is above average, but I get tired very easily over a period of time. As the month of hard training goes on, I start getting more and more tired. Eventually, all of my punches become feeble and pathetic due to the lack of energy. I’m taking a three week break, and going back while being careful not to overwork myself.

    Several days ago, I tried using multivitamins. It helps clear my mind, but it doesn’t give me the energy boost that I require. I’ll experiment with B vitamins as well as antioxidant cocktails (I’m a bit skeptical about the latter giving me energy). It sounds a lot better than chugging a lot of Red Bull, so I might as well give it a shot.

  18. I have been using FRS for a couple of years. I love it. Yes it is a bit pricey. But if you get on the FRS VIP program(I think thats what it’s called) you’ll get your products at 50% off. I sometimes combine orders with friends and that offset the cost of shipping per item that much more…Thanks for the time and effort in breaking done FRS. If nothing else it is informative.

  19. Hi Coach,
    Nice article and full of good faith.
    But, you missed the science behind….The point is ,and try to search deep, there are several form,s of Quercetin.
    And, believe me, they use one that I do also use myself now for 4 years.I can tell you that it really is a energy booster and increases VO2,other than cells in our body.
    From B Agonists and anticholinergics (severe COPD) to Quercetin and other top antioxidant…and nothing else to be totally stable without any kind of exacerbations,nor a 4 years my friend ¡¡

    Good luck coach¡

  20. @John Gall

    Do you care to share the specific type of Quercetin that FRS uses? And do you know what companies offer which types in their products?

  21. FRS not really healthy? Seriously? Do you mean to tell me that this drink, from a company founded by former executives at Coke and Burger King, is not healthy? Good to know.

  22. @Tony

    I haven’t had a good sarcastic comment here in a while, thanks for picking up the slack! 🙂

  23. Hey Coach…

    Just wanted to say I found your article quite interesting, albeit the information is from 2009, it still comes in handy now that FRS is discontinuing a number of their products, including my favorite “Low cal orange liquid concentrate” I’ve used this product about 10 years and never had a cold; folks comment on my “never getting sick” quite often. So now I’m in search of something similar … I’m going to try your concoction as I’m addicted to the stuff for a great start to my day.

    • @Gina

      Oh wow, I didn’t realize they were discontinuing that one! I still see it listed on their website. With a product description that says, “An FRS favorite, Low Cal Orange Concentrate delivers fresh fruit flavor and long-lasting energy with just 20 calories per serving” you’d think they are keeping it.

      Hopefully this works for you!

      • I contacted the health store I’ve ordered from for years and they stated FRS is discontinuing the Concentrate, my initial thought was “yah right, you’re just not carrying it any longer” … I then contacted a fitness firm who carried it and they said the same thing. I finally go on FRS website and you can’t order it having 2 of the concentrates saying “Temporarily out of stock” but with the Low Cal orange [which doesn’t say it’s out] you’re unable to hit “submit” to place an order. I contacted Customer service and the gal says, “uhm yah, we’re out and not sure when or if we’ll be getting it back in, but we do have the cans or chews, sorry” I asked if she thought it could come back in soon and she again replied with, “I’m not real sure” I don’t get it since it’s a number 1 seller …. Something is going on … FRS doesn’t have a solid answer however. =(

        • @Gina

          Thank you for sharing your experience! What a mess! The concentrate was always my favorite, too. 🙁

          Fortunately the cans are a little cheaper than they used to be – I just picked up a few in a 10/$10 sale at the local supermarket.

  24. I have used FRS since it released its first product seven or eight years ago. I looked around for the individual ingredients the way you did and determined that I could, indeed, manually gather each one myself. However, upon considering the value of my time in gathering each ingredient and remembering the dosages every day, I quickly arrived at the decision that FRS was a better choice for me.

    Furthermore, my experience in having FRS products auto-shipped to me for many years has been very positive. Due to the boost in my immune system, I did not experience any colds for six or seven years and was generally extremely healthy. This is, no doubt, from the combination of both a healthy lifestyle in general and from adding FRS to my diet.

    Your mention of caffeine only being responsible for a kick does not tell the whole story of why caffeine is used in the FRS products. Caffeine is a stimulant that provides an awakening effect, but the real benefits of caffeine are that it enters the bloodstream quickly and it can increase the effects of other substances and vice versa. When coupled with caffeine, some substances can enter the bloodstream quicker. In the case of FRS, several of the other ingredients may be targeted for this purpose. Additionally, when blended with caffeine, the effects of some of the ingredients may be enhanced or the effect of the caffeine may be enhanced by one or more of the other ingredients.

    All this being said, FRS is a business, after all, and the goal of any business is to make money. So, it’s an individual decision.

    One last bit, I just spoke with customer service today and the FRS concentrate is not going away. They are reformulating it to use less added sugar and making a few other minor changes. Unfortunately, they somehow allowed their current stock to lapse and it is currently unavailable (how on earth does a business let it’s flagship product run out?!) But, over the years, FRS as a business has exhibited many changes from packaging, to billing to price, to expansion, etc. So, I’m hopeful that they are being honest and not eliminating the concentrate.

    • @Bruce

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and all the valuable info!

    • @Bruce
      Thanks for the info! I do hope FRS is being up front & will get it in stock soon. I too spoke with them twice now and they assured me it would be in stock Late July mid August. To date still nothing …
      I did order some Antioxidant, B12 & Quercetin items beginning of July in hopes of it doing the trick until FRS’s [hopeful] return. (I’m so in fear of getting sick with all our travels and gatherings)
      I was ordering a dozen FRS bottles at a time and recently ran out so we’ll see how this continues to go with the vitamins; so far so [pretty] good. Thanks @Coach Levi for keeping the thread going.

  25. I love FRS!!! Been on it since it’s creation. I find myself anxious and disappointed every time they do away with a product such as the concentrate then the single serving packages): I settled for the chews not as effective…So I started trying to recreate the product with quercitin, caffeine, green tea etc. I just know the company must be about to close their doors-panic! Thank you so much for the information. Does anyone know where to purchase FRS? I went to re-order the chews and now they are out of stock… I suspect discontinued also, so there is no products left except the immunity. I truly believe in FRS with energy and immunity please help.
    Sherry McCay, RN

  26. what is the other manufacturer that makes a similar chew

  27. Hey guys converted to Q energy drink. I compared ingredients I add a .25 of sublingual B-12 and I feel amazing!

  28. Hey Coach Levi – just for clarification (alas, another lost soul without any access to FRS and having a hard time maintaining energy through the day, much less to meet my workout goals) what exactly do you mean by the “Antioxidant Cocktail” – is this referring to the Super Antioxidant capsules alone or with something else, such as B12, quercitin + green tea?

    • @Rebecca

      Thanks for posting this question. I should make some edits to this article to make that more clear. I’m not sure why I phrased it like I did; either the pills changed their name, or I made up my own nickname for them!

      This should clear it up:

      “Antioxidant Cocktail” = the Super Antioxidant capsules alone

  29. Thank you for this info!!! I have missed FRS so much!!! With your help I will finally find a replacement! Can’t tell you how excited I am to have found your post!!! ?

    • QHydration has the same ingredients and has been working for me! It’s missing only one of the B vitamins. But it has extra ingredients that FRS didn’t have. I still miss my FRS a lot and will go back if they ever make it again. For now Q is working!!

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