The 4 Best Caffeine Free Supplements For Increasing Your Energy

There’s nothing worse than trying to workout when you’re physically and mentally tired. Whether it’s from a hard day at the office or a lack of sleep the night before, it’s impossible to put your all into every set and rep when you are mentally and physically fatigued. I know this feeling well. Too often I am forced to work until late in the night (or early the next morning) to get everything on my to-do list done. This leaves little energy for my workout the next day.

While sleep is the best way to prevent feeling fatigued, it’s not always possible to get enough. That being the case, I decided to research what supplements will help me put 100% into my job and workouts.

Before doing this research, I established several criteria that a supplement must meet to make the list. Like you, I didn’t want to simply be fooled by a supplement companies marketing hype into buying something that doesn’t work. Listed below are the criteria.

Please note that I am not compensated financially or otherwise for any of the products I recommend in this article. They’re nutritional supplements I truly find effective.

Stayfitcentral’s Criteria In Choosing The Best Caffeine Free Supplements For Increasing Energy
1. It must be caffeine free.
I consume a fair amount of iced tea which contains caffeine. I don’t want to take more as it tends to make me jittery, interferes with my sleep, and causes an energy crash. Since most people drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated products I figure they too don’t want to ingest excessive amounts.

2. It has to be backed by scientific research.
Before I tried a product, I made sure that its ingredients are supported by clinical research that’s published in a peer reviewed journal. While this isn’t a guarantee it will work, it’s a good start.

3. It has to work for me.
If a supplement doesn’t help increase my mental and/or physical energy it’s not going to make this list. Studies are great but first hand experience is important as well.

4. It must be convenient to use.
I don’t want to take dozens of pills several times a day. My criteria for this list is that the you don’t need to take more than 2-4 pills a serving. I also eliminated products that you have to take more than twice a day.

Without further ado, here’s my list of the best supplements for increasing your energy.

twinlab_alcfuel
1. Acetyl L Carnitine – Boosts Mental Energy And Protects Your Brain
This form of the amino acid carnitine is one of the most promising energy boosting supplements available. Research shows that it increases energy, memory and focus.

Scientists find that taking it daily helps boost mental and physical energy in patients with Hepatitis. This disease – and the medicine you take to treat it – often causes extreme fatigue that limits your ability to live a normal life. Other studies find that it helps keep the cells of our brains healthy too.

When Should You Take Acetyl L Carnitine?
You can take Acetyl L Carnitine any time of the day. I find Acetyl L Carnitine most effective when I take it first thing in the morning. Doing this gives me a boost of energy that lasts for several hours.

How Much Should You Take?
According to the Life Extension Foundation, a dosage of 1000-2000 mg daily is required to see an energy boosting benefit. They state you may need to take 3000 mg daily if you have a neurological condition.

My Personal Experience With Acetyl L Carnitine
I take this supplement when I’m tired and need to get a lot of work done. A dose of 2000 mg works well. This gives me more mental energy and the ability to better concentrate on my work.

Recommended Acetyl L Carnitine Supplements
When shopping for an Acetyl L Carnitine product, choose one from a reputable company that contains at least 500 mg per serving. The one that I like best is Twinlab ALC Fuel.


2. Branch Chain Amino Acids – Boost Mental And Physical Performance
These amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are essential to many bodily processes and are great for giving you an energy boost any time of the day. Studies show that they are especially good for increasing how long and hard you can train. This is why they’re often used before and after exercising.

Branch chain amino acids are also great for an energy boost between meals. I use them this way too whenever I feel myself dragging but don’t have time to eat. Within a few minutes I feel an increase in energy and an improvement in my mood. Studies verify this benefit of BCAAs and find that that they help to increase the levels of chemicals in your brain that regulate your mood.

How Much Should You Take?
Studies show – and my personal experience confirms – that a dose of .05 grams per lb. of body weight works best. You may need more or less, but this a good starting point. It’s also a dose that makes taking BCAAs economical and convenient.

The Best BCAA Supplements
You can get BCAA supplements in capsule and powder form. I like taking them as a powder since I prefer drinking 10 grams of BCAAs over swallowing a dozen capsules. The BCAA powders I like are Optimum Nutrition BCAA 5000 Powder and Scivation Xtend.

If, for some reason you prefer capsules over powder I recommend trying Optimum Nutrition BCAA 1000 caps.


3. Rhodiola Rosea Extract
This supplement is derived from the root of the Goldenroot plant. This plant grows in cold climates throughout the world including the Arctic and Siberia. It’s been used for years by Chinese and Russian people to boost energy and mood and we in the west are just beginning to catch onto its usefulness.

Recently published research supports what these people have known for years. Rhodia Rosea works. Studies show that it helps to decrease anxiety, enables you to exercise longer, and decreases fatigue even when you’re stressed and haven’t slept. It’s safe to use too. Research finds you’d have to take 235,000 mg for it to be toxic. That’s about 500 capsules of a typical Rhodiola product!

How Much Do You Need To Take?
Research finds that doses between 100-600 mg daily are required to see benefits. The dosage required seems to vary based on the potency of the supplement you buy.

Below is a list of recommended dosages based on the standardization of a given Rhodiola supplement.

  • 360-600 mg when standardized for 1% rosavin
  • 180-300 mg when standardized for 2% rosavin
  • 100-170 mg when standardized for 2.6% rosavin

You should see a benefit from Rhodiola after taking a single dose. It can be taken every day or before workouts depending on your goals. If you want a pre-workout boost, take it before you train. When you’re looking for long-term benefits, you can take it on a daily basis.

My Experience With Rhodiola Rosea
I take Rhodiola Rosea daily and find that it helps to improve my mood and ability to deal with the daily stress of running a business. When I take it before a workout, my endurance improves and I’m able to perform more work than normal.

My Favorite Rhodiola Rosea Supplement
I like, and take, Vitamin Shoppe Rhodiola Rosea capsules. It’s a high potency and inexpensive formula. Each dose is standardized to 5.6% rosavin. This means you only need to take 1 capsule per serving. A bottle is good for about a month and costs $19.99.


4. Tyrosine
This is perhaps my favorite energy-boosting amino acid. I like it because it works fast and is inexpensive. I also like that a large dose isn’t usually required to see results.

The way l-tyrosine works is that it increases the production of dopamine, a chemical that gives you energy and improves your ability to focus. Studies show it helps increase your ability to exercise harder, longer even in a hot environment and do more mental and physical work when you’re underslept and fatigued.

How Much Tyrosine Do You Need To Take?
The required dosage seems to vary greatly. Studies find benefits from amounts between 500-3000 mg. The dose that works for me is 1000-2000 mg. The more tired I feel, the more I need to take to see results. I usually take it as a pre-workout supplement. Doing this always helps me train harder, longer.

The Best L-Tyrosine Supplements
When shopping for a supplement, make sure you buy one that has at least 500 mg of l-tyrosine per serving. This is the lowest dose required to see benefits. I use the Vitamin Shoppe brand which has this dosage.

Conclusion
Now you have 4 great ways to boost your energy. Whether you’re looking for a quick boost or something that can benefit you over time this list has an option for you. As with any nutritional supplement, check with your doctor before using any of these products.

References
Banderet LE, Lieberman HR. Treatment with tyrosine, a neurotransmitter precursor, reduces environmental stress in humans. Brain Res Bull. 1989 Apr;22(4):759-62.

Bystritsky A, Kerwin L, Feusner JD. A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Mar;14(2):175-80.

Calvani M, Arrigoni-Martelli E., Sigma-Tau S.p.A, Pomezia, Rome, Italy. Attenuation by acetyl-L-carnitine of neurological damage and biochemical derangement following brain ischemia and reperfusion. Int J Tissue React 1999;21(1):1-6.

Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71.

De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307.

Malaguarnera M, Vacante M, Bertino G, Neri S, Malaguarnera M, Gargante MP, Motta M, Lupo L, Chisari G, Bruno CM, Pennisi G, Bella R.The supplementation of acetyl-L-carnitine decreases fatigue and increases quality of life in patients with hepatitis C treated with pegylated interferon-α 2b plus ribavirin. J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2011 Sep;31(9):653-9.

Matsumoto K, Koba T, Hamada K, Tsujimoto H, Mitsuzono R. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation increases the lactate threshold during an incremental exercise test in trained individuals. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2009 Feb;55(1):52-8.

Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue.Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

Rao KV; Qureshi IA., Division of Medical Genetics, Sainte-Justine Hospital, Montreal, Que, Canada. Reduction in the MK-801 binding sites of the NMDA sub-type of glutamate receptor in a mouse model of congenital hyperammonemia: prevention by acetyl-L-carnitine. Neuropharmacology (England) Mar 1999, 38 (3) p383-94.

The Antiaging Effects of Acetyl-L-Carnitine New Research Yields Unexpected Benefits. LE Magazine May 2000. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2000/may00-cover2.htm.

Tumilty L, Davison G, Beckmann M, Thatcher R.Oral tyrosine supplementation improves exercise capacity in the heat. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Dec;111(12):2941-50.

Wiśnik P, Chmura J, Ziemba AW, Mikulski T, Nazar K. The effect of branched chain amino acids on psychomotor performance during treadmill exercise of changing intensity simulating a soccer game. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011 Dec;36(6):856-62.