What are the best substitutes for caffeine?

April 21st, 2022

A wide variety of caffeine-containing products are available, ranging from coffee and tea to dietary supplements, sodas and energy drinks. However, consuming too much caffeine often leads to side effects such as stress, anxiety, and even sleeping problems. If you are looking for alternative products to boost energy levels and increase focus, Brainberry®, maca root, ginseng, Rhodiola, and Lion’s Mane are natural ingredients that can help you get through the day without side effects.


Why should you substitute caffeine with another ingredient?

Most people drink coffee regularly. It is consumed because people like the taste or because of the social aspects to drinking coffee, but the most important reason people consume coffee is that it makes them feel more awake, alert, and energetic.

Of course, coffee is a source of caffeine, which is the ingredient that gives coffee its effects. There are other drinks that contain caffeine, and some people even take dietary supplements containing caffeine to boost their energy levels during the day or for their workout. [1].

Besides positive effects, consumption of caffeine may also have some downsides. These include giving people feelings of stress and anxiety. Besides increasing these feelings, caffeine consumption could also lead to insomnia [2].

Caffeine is unique in its function, but these adverse effects are a reason for people to reduce the intake of caffeine and look for alternative ingredients. Here are some suggestions of natural substitutes that make you feel awake and help you focus, without leaving you feeling stressed.

The best substitutes for caffeine

1. Maca root

Maca is a plant that grows in Peru (also called Peruvian ginseng). It’s a plant that belongs to the brassica (mustard) family. It is traditionally used for nutritional and medicinal purposes. The plant is made into a powder that is often added to smoothies, juices, and shakes.

It has been used for centuries as a fertility enhancer in humans and animals, but now more benefits of consuming maca are being discovered. The benefits of maca root vary, and evidence shows it may help increase energy levels and improve mood.

Additionally, other findings show that maca can help against feelings of anxiety and stress. This makes Maca a good alternative to caffeine, which can have the opposite effect.


2. Ginseng

Like maca, ginseng is a herb made from the root of its plant. It has been one of the most important products for health care in Asia. There, it has been used to make traditional medicine for centuries.

There are different types of ginseng, which vary in the way they are grown and processed. White ginseng is dried naturally, while red ginseng is steamed before it is dried, which increases its efficacy. The most important compounds in ginseng are ginsenosides and gintonin [3].

Ginseng is one of the most popular caffeine substitutes. Various research demonstrated that this plant is able to improve brain functions, boost mood and memory, help against fatigue, and increase energy levels.


3. Brainberry® (Aronia berry extract)

Aronia berries are becoming increasingly popular among consumers because of their many demonstrated health benefits. Aronia plants are native to North America but are also commonly found in the Baltic region of Europe.

Brainberry® is an Aronia berry extract researched and developed by BioActor. It was demonstrated that the daily consumption of Brainberry® is able to boost mental energy and focus without side effects. An ideal alternative if you want to get rid of caffeine!

The main constituent of Brainberry is an anthocyanin called Cyanidin 3-O-galactoside, a powerful antioxidant that can improve brain health and support brain function.


4. Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a plant that can be found in Europe and Asia. Like ginseng and maca its root is consumed for health benefits. Rosavin and salidroside are believed to be its most profitable compounds.

Rhodiola has been used for many years and has been mostly recommended to treat headaches, hernias and has also been used as an astringent. Nowadays, rhodiola is often consumed by people during stressful times.

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to caffeine that reduces fatigue, rhodiola is a good option because it has been shown to improve symptoms in participants that suffered from chronic fatigue. The stress-lowering and energizing effects of rhodiola make it a great natural replacement for coffee.


5. Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that can grow long hair-like strings that resemble a lion’s mane. It is often found in North America, Europe, and Asia. It consists for roughly 20% out of protein.

Lion’s Mane is increasingly studied. It has properties that are believed to be neuroprotective. That is because two novel nerve growth factors have been discovered in this mushroom [4].

Lion’s Mane has thus been said to have positive effects on the brain. It can improve memory and helps to lower feelings of stress and anxiety. This makes it an ingredient that can help consumers cut down on their caffeine consumption.

The bottom line

We all love a good cup of coffee in the morning. However, there are several reasons to reduce caffeine intake and look for a substitute. The aforementioned ingredients are good natural alternatives to caffeine as they can boost energy levels and brain functions, without having any anxiety or stress inducing effects.