We all lead busy lives, packed with work, chores, cooking, caretaking, and so much more. All of us – okay, most of us – turn to a source of caffeine throughout the day to get us through.
In fact, with over 260 billion pounds of it consumed a year, caffeine is the most popular psychoactive drug in the world. This is for good reason, too. It’s a powerful drug that keeps us awake, focused, and alert around the clock.
However, it’s also got some drawbacks. Sometimes the drug can turn on you, making you jittery, restless, and anxious. And if you go a while without it, you may be forced to suffer through some painful headaches. We all know this cycle much too well.
There are more holistic alternatives; alternatives that can have all of the power of caffeine, but with none of the downsides. A cleaner high, if you will. These would be natural energy supplements.
The 8 Best Natural Energy Supplements
The following 8 natural energy supplements will give you something else to turn to other than caffeine when you’re feeling fatigued.
1. Vitamin B12
This one is big, folks. B12 is a crucial vitamin necessary almost every single bodily function including the formation of new red blood cells, which is what carries oxygen throughout your body. Once that oxygen has been transported, it is then used for energy production.
It is also a necessary vitamin to maintain prime neurological function. In other words, if you do not have enough B12 in your body, you will be more susceptible to fatigue and a lack of focus. A B12 supplement may be a good idea.
2. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10, or CO-Q10 as it is popularly called, is an antioxidant found in every cell of the body. It is yet another vitamin necessary for the production of energy in your body.
You can find CO-Q10 energy supplements in the vitamin aisle of a grocery store, but it is also found in meat, fish, and peanuts.
Ginseng is probably the energy supplement most like caffeine on this list. It just so happens to be healthier for you.
Ginseng is an East-Asian root plant, like a potato or a carrot, but it happens to carry with it adaptogenic, energy boosting properties. If taken over time, it is believed that ginseng reduces chronic fatigue and anxiety.
These days, now that the popularity of ginseng is growing in Western countries, it is easy to find ginseng energy supplements in the form of capsules or infused in health drinks with other benefits as well.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb used in Eastern medicine that grows in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Africa, and India.
This herb works as an energy booster by reducing the cortisol levels in your blood, thus reducing your overall stress that has you bogged down.
It’s also a great pre-workout supplement because studies have shown that it can improve your endurance and strength gains.
5. Green Tea Extract
Okay, so technically this is a caffeine supplement, but it’s from some crappy artificial source like Red Bull or Monster.
On top of having a hearty dose of caffeine, green tea extract is a powerful antioxidant and also has a little amino acid known as L-theanine.
L-theanine is a crucial amino acid your brain uses to help reduce anxiety. So when paired with caffeine, it has a synergistic effect, giving you all the energy of caffeine but with none of the jitters.
This may sound crazy, but melatonin acts as a sort of indirect energy supplement.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your pineal gland that helps regulate sleep and wakefulness. It also allows you to dream, which is crucial for getting a good night’s sleep. When taken as a supplement, it boosts your brain’s ability to give you a good night’s rest.
After all, the best way to treat your energy issues is to make sure you’re getting the rest you need.
7. Rhodiola Rosa
Rhodiola is one of the best natural energy supplements out there for those of you that feel tuckered out after a session of intense exercise.
Rhodiola is a botanical supplement has been used in Eastern medicine for a long time, and it’s now finally being subject to clinical studies here in the West. The findings have been pretty incredible.
One study found that it improved alertness and reduced anxiety. Another found that it improved endurance during exercise and aided in muscle recovery afterward.
Whether your fatigue is related to stress or physical exertion, Rhodiola is a good thing to add to your supplement arsenal.
“Do you have enough iron in your diet?” Many a nebbish grandmother has asked her grandchildren this question, anytime they complained about feeling tired or ill.
Turns out our grandmothers were onto something. Like B12, iron is an essential mineral that exists in our blood to circulate oxygen throughout our body. And a lack of iron can result in anemia, which weakens our immune system, impairs our cognition, and negatively impact our focus in all aspects of life.
You can’t know for sure if the source of your fatigue is from iron without a blood test, but adding more iron to your diet can’t hurt.
If you don’t feel like taking an iron supplement, you can find more natural sources of iron in meat, seafood, nuts, beans, and spinach, among others.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, none of these natural energy supplements will provide you with the same energy caffeine can provide. And caffeine isn’t explicitly bad for you, but it needs to be consumed in moderation.
We recommend to switching to one of these energy sources as a substitute for at least a little portion of your overall caffeine consumption. You might just eventually find that you don’t need the caffeine anymore.
If you’re interested in any more recommendations on different dietary supplements, like the best protein powder to take, check out the rest of our website.