5 Natural Alternatives to Caffeine: How to Increase Alertness Without Coffee!

    Categories: Articles

Are you looking for natural alternatives to caffeine? Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed substances due to its stimulating effects. Coffee is a great way to increase alertness, or would have been, had it not been for the side effects it comes with. 

Apart from being highly addictive, excessive consumption of coffee may cardiac sensitivity, with abnormal heartbeats, anxiety and irritability, stomach and intestinal irritation, insomnia, and such withdrawal symptoms as headaches and fatigue!

Furthermore, consumption of coffee during pregnancy can affect the fetus negatively. It has been known to cause smaller head size and low birth weight among other detrimental birth defects.

Did you know that coffee can also interfere with the absorption of many vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and iron?

Due to these reasons, you might want to opt for healthier and more natural alternatives to caffeine but the question is; is there a way you can achieve the same wakefulness and focus obtained from caffeine without the negative side effects? The answer is yes. 

1. Taking icy water and a B12 supplement in the morning

Despite its simplicity, this alternative is a very effective way to boost your focus and alertness. A drink of frigid water in the morning kick-starts your body’s functioning as the rate of metabolic activity increases in a bid to generate enough heat to warm the water. As a result, you experience a more alert feeling. 

Coupled with Vitamin B12, which is known to enhance mental clarity, taking them in the morning can stimulate the same feeling experienced when one consumes coffee. Apart from the energy enhancing properties of vitamin B12, it is used in the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep cycle. 

In fact, a deficiency of the vitamin B12 can result in fatigue according to livestrong.com. It also alleviates depression and some symptoms of asthma in addition to helping in the formation of red blood cells (source).

Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products like eggs, meat, shellfish, dairy, and in B12 fortified foods. Up to 15% of people don’t get enough B12, and they’re more likely to be vegetarians, have celiac disease or other digestion problems, or be an adult over 50 (source).

Vitamin B12 is available in capsules, but the supplement can also be taken sublingually (under the tongue).

2. Ginkgo Biloba: one of the best natural alternatives to caffeine

Ginkgo Biloba is an herbal extract which has been known to increase focus when consumed. The substance is a vasodilator as it increases the flow of blood to the major organs, effectively increasing their functioning capacities. 

As a result, gingko can boost energy levels and reduce stress. The ginkgolides in gingko also help protect our nerve cells and in this way improve cognitive function.

The herbal extract has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat circulatory problems and asthma.

It is consumed in tea or capsule form and can induce feelings of alertness and in some people, enhance their creativity. It is one of the most sought after natural substitute for coffee.

3. Ginseng: another perfect alternative to caffeine

Obtained from the ginseng root, usually panax ginseng, this herbal extract is a known vasodilator that has been used for its medicinal value since the ancient times. The substance, much like coffee, produces a stimulating effect when consumed, making it one of the best natural alternatives to caffeine.

Ginseng is found in many parts of the world and has different levels of potency depending on where it is grown. It comes mainly from Asian cultures, where it is used extensively as a tonic, stimulant, and rejuvenator, especially for men.

It is also used by women for fatigue and sexually related symptoms. But the most common use of ginseng is to increase energy.

It is ideal for people trying to cut down on their coffee consumption as it provides them with the option of a healthier stimulant. It is a stimulant, not an excitant like caffeine!

A daily dose a ginseng root is usually about 500mg. Larger amounts can cause overstimulation, which may result in increased blood pressure, diarrhea, skin eruptions, or insomnia. If there is any cardiac problems, ginseng should be used carefully, and it should not be used by pregnant women.

4. Increasing your protein consumption

One of the little known methods you can substitute your daily caffeine content is by increasing your protein consumption. Including more proteins in your diet will not only improve concentration and focus but it can also enhance your mood.

Therefore, you can sacrifice your morning cup of coffee and instead increase the consumption of protein-rich foods, such as eggs. Proteins are one of the best substitutes for caffeine as they can provide and maintain energy levels for longer periods with no side effects whatsoever.

Alternatively, a natural way to cut down on your caffeine intake is by replacing that cup of coffee with a handful of nuts or sunflower seeds.

Hemp seeds are a great source of proteins and they contain omega 3, which you should include in your diet. This seed is considered by many to be one of the safest, most digestible, balanced, natural and complete sources of protein, amino acids, and essential fats found anywhere in nature!

Eating shelled hemp seeds is as simple as sprinkling a spoonful or two into smoothies or on top of cereal, salads, or yogurt.

5. Staying hydrated

Increasing your energy levels can be as simple as drinking a glass of water frequently. Dehydration causes the body to become fatigued and so by staying hydrated, you get rid of the need to use stimulants such as caffeine to boost your energy levels. 

Hydration goes a long way to ensure the optimum functioning of the body and as such, the energy from the food you consume will be utilized properly all through the day.


In conclusion, building up a caffeine dependency has detrimental effects on your body in the long run. Caffeine is not the ideal option when looking for a quick energy boost. The natural alternatives to caffeine, such as Gingko Biloba or Ginseng, are not only healthier but often come with other benefits to our general health. 

The list of natural energy boosting alternatives is endless so feel free to comment on what you use as a healthy alternative to caffeine.

If you wish to try gingko or ginseng root as a tonic or remedy, obtain guidance from your physician, acupuncturist, or someone with experience in its use.

Is coffee bad for you? According to Dr. Axe, the answer is yes and no!

Coffee is beneficial because it contains massive amounts of antioxidants, which help slow the aging process and protect you from free radical damage. Coffee also helps stimulate the liver and increases circulation, helping blood flow to the brain. Coffee can be harmful in some ways because of the amount of caffeine it contains. The caffeine in coffee can over stimulate the body, burn out your adrenal glands, and overtax your body.

Watch his video about coffee and the impact on your health if you want to know more:

J. Beck, Holistic Nutritionist, CNC & Natural Health Writer

The information provided on Optiderma.com is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified practitioner. Optiderma.com is not responsible for content written by contributing authors and assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Please read the legal mentions »