Is it possible to boost energy these days without also exploding the heart? Seems like if we’re not hyped up on powerful stimulants, we’re seeking “healthier” alternatives that are really just caffeine-loaded pills sprinkled with junky additives and fillers.
Are there any non-caffeinated, non-stim energy boosters that won’t leave you feeling like a crackhead on a three-day bender?
Yes, a lot actually because that’s a wild exaggeration.
Even so, there are natural energy boosting supplements that work without resorting to caffeine. And, yes, we even have an answer for the titular question: what is the best energy supplement without caffeine?
We’ll get to that answer, but first let’s address why everyone seems to be asking now:
To ‘Feine or Not to ‘Feine?
Alternate header title: “To Bean or Not to Bean?”
Because coffee beans. Which have caffeine… You know? Whatever, you get it.
Should you take caffeine to boost your energy levels or not? Funny enough, this didn’t seem to be much of an issue back in the pre-internet days. However, now that everyone’s freely able to share whatever damn opinion’s sitting in their brain with the whole world, we’re suddenly confused about the things we’ve been doing and consuming everyday for decades upon centuries now.
Pretty soon people will begin questioning whether or not water is good for our health due to one very well-written, but very wrong blog on the dangers of dihydrogen oxide!
Nonetheless, the question of caffeine is always an interesting question, as it’s technically a stimulant drug that’s both good and bad for our health in subtle ways. Really, if you want to take caffeine and you’re familiar with the needs of your body, go for it. Otherwise, there is another energy boosting option that actually increases our natural energy levels.
Because one thing’s for sure: caffeine doesn’t boost natural energy levels—at least not the type of energy that our body can use to fix itself. That role’s reserved for mitochondrial energy.
Caffeinated vs. Mitochondrial Energy: What’s the Difference?
Roughly speaking, caffeine provides the energy whereas mitochondrial energy boosters enhance the body’s natural energy producing pathways. And, honestly, I think that about sums up the differences between these two—even though caffeine doesn’t actually provide the energy as we think. No, its pathway’s actually kind of interesting, albeit not as healthy as the mitochondrial pathway.
The Caffeinated Energy Pathway
How does caffeine work? Essentially, caffeine “wakes you up” by binding to adenosine receptors, which, when otherwise bound to adenosine, cause drowsiness.
Created in the brain, adenosine is a nucleoside component of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the energy unit of interest that we’ll cover below. However, on its own, adenosine binds to adenosine receptors, thereby slowing down nerve cell activity.
Caffeine, on the other hand, also binds to adenosine receptors, except this compound has an opposite effect on nerve cell activity: caffeine ramps it up!
Also, caffeine seems to constrict blood vessels, which adenosine otherwise dilates, which helps explain why caffeine seems to reduce some types of headaches—namely the vascular headache. Yet, this same bio-effect is also why exercisers, who rely on open vascular flow, avoid caffeine as an ergogenic.
By exciting brain activity, caffeine promotes catecholamine activity, such as adrenaline and dopamine, thereby explain the feel-good rush associated with, say, drinking a cup of coffee. And, yet, by engaging these “fight or flight” chemical compounds, caffeine engages a metabolic pathway that’s perhaps not best to engage while, well, not fighting or flighting—i.e., while sitting in a computer chair at work.
The Mitochondrial Energy Pathway
Mitochondrial energy is ATP energy, the basic unit of energy throughout the body.
Whereas stimulants simply flush the brain with an excess amount of “fight or flight” chemicals—either by artificially promoting “fight or flight” chemical release or providing artificial analog versions of these compounds—natural energy boosters assist with the natural production of natural energy through the mitochondrial pathway.
They typically do this by:
- Protecting mitochondria against free radical damages
- Stimulating the creation of new mitochondria
- Transporting fuel to mitochondria to convert into energy
Many natural energy boosters tend to be antioxidants, or they at least promote antioxidant activity via some direct or indirect pathway. Creating ATP energy increases the amount of oxidative stress within mitochondria.
Reducing mitochondrial free radical levels may go a long way in sustaining healthy energy levels.
The Benefits of Non-Caffeinated Energy Boosters
Okay, so if we’re avoiding caffeine, does that mean we’re compromising the feel-good energy boosts for the simple benefit of not taking caffeine? Because if that’s the case, then eff that!
That’s bogus. And I’d rather just bite the bullet for the feel goods.
Fortunately, that’s not the case, and, thus, not bogus.
Non-caffeinated energy boosters that enhance the body’s natural energy production activities improve various facets of brain and body health from overnight repair and recovery, enhanced exercise endurance, clearer cognition, and so on.
Perhaps the main benefits of non-caffeinated energy boosters are:
- Revitalized mental and physical performance
- Harder workouts for longer
- Enhanced mental and physical longevity
- Improved mood and emotional balance
- No crash and no comedown
Really, given how the body uses ATP for damn near everything, improving ATP activity improves …well, damn near everything.
Best Energy Supplement Without Caffeine:
Performance Lab Energy
If you want to go the non-caffeinated route to energy enhancement, you need to go with a supplement like Performance Lab Energy, the best energy supplement without caffeine.
Really, this supplement sets the standard on non-caffeinated energy enhancement. You know what, given what we’ve explained thus far about “caffeinated energy vs. mitochondrial energy,” we may as well qualify Performance Lab Energy as the best energy supplement period. No “non-caffeinated” modifiers. Because any supplement that effectively improves mitochondrial ATP output is an effective energy booster.
And Performance Lab Energy does exactly that from four different angles with four different ingredients—Acetyl-L-Carnine, R-Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, and PQQ—topped with a nutrient absorption enhancer, the one and only BioPerine® black pepper extract.
You can read our full review of Performance Lab Energy here. But for a ‘quick and dirty’ analysis of its ingredients, take a look below:
Performance Lab Energy Supplement Facts
Impressively, Performance Lab Energy encases its formula in vegan, additive-free capsules called Plantcaps®. These food-based capsules are constructed out of fermented tapioca (pullulan) and nothing else—no FD&C colorants, no junky manufacturing lubricants, no nothing!
So, if you’re worried about the vegan aspect of this formula, worry no more: Performance Lab Energy is safe to use for all people of all dietary lifestyles.
However, how does Performance Lab Energy work at boosting energy? To answer that, we’ll need to look at each ingredient individually. Check it:
Performance Lab Energy Ingredients
An amino acid that’s become somewhat of a staple of nootropic supplements, Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is a cofactor required for mitochondrial cell energy production, especially for muscle energy and functionality. As we age, ALCAR seems to increasingly benefit cognitive performance as well.
Think “carne” as in “carne asada”: carnitine is a MEATY amino heavily concentrated in muscle tissue—roughly 95% of the body’s carnitine content is found in muscle tissue, where the amino helps regulate energy fuel metabolism. Essentially, carnitine works by transporting long-chain fatty acids into cell membranes, where they’re oxidized by mitochondria into ATP energy. Many bodybuilding fat burner supplements use carnitine for this reason as well.
By prioritizing fatty acids as a fuel source, ALCAR may help preserve glycogen energy stored in muscle tissue, increasing exercise endurance during high-intensity training.
R-Lipoic Acid (as Microencapsulated Bio-Enhanced®)
Known as the “Universal Antioxidant,” R-Lipoic Acid is …well, an antioxidant. However, this specific antioxidant is particularly important to bioenergetics for its activation of enzymes related to carbohydrate metabolism. This compound helps with overall energy and vitality by:
- Supporting Acetyl CoA formation;
- Enhancing insulin-stimulated glucose transport;
- Assisting other mitochondrial protective antioxidants.
Performance Lab’s R-Lipoic Acid, as Microencapsulated Bio-Enhanced®, works particularly well with its enhanced bio-absorption properties. Meaning that this enhanced version of lipoic acid may better enter the body than usual lipoic acid ingredients with poor bioavailability.
Coenzyme Q10 (as MicroActive® Q10)
A vitamin-like antioxidant, CoQ10 is naturally present in all cells across the body, namely the brain and heart—two very demanding organs for obvious reasons. Roughly 80% of CoQ10 is found within the inner membrane of mitochondrial membranes, where CoQ10 assists with:
- Converting food energy into ATP energy;
- Protecting mitochondria against free radicals;
- Stimulating the creation of new mitochondria.
CoQ10 is absolutely imperative to ATP energy production. As we age, natural CoQ10 levels decline, making CoQ10 supplementation increasingly more valuable over time. By replenishing CoQ10 levels, Performance Lab Energy helps keep ATP energy production up to speed.
PQQ (as PQQ®)
An enzymatic co-factor related to B-vitamins, PQQ works with CoQ10 to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis. Having 5,000 times the potency of vitamin C, regarding antioxidant activity, PQQ also provides even more protection against oxidative stress for mitochondria (and other parts of the body). On the whole, by stimulating and protecting mitochondria health, PQQ is a pro-mitochondria—and, therefore, pro-energy compound—that’s key to the success of any cellular energy boosting supplement.
Black Pepper Extract (as BioPerine®)
Really, every supplement should have a little black pepper in their formula. As the supplement facts indicate, it doesn’t take much pepper extract to work. A small amount of piperine, the spicy, bio-active constituent of black pepper, may go a long way in enhancing a formula’s overall bioavailability.
BioPerine, the preferred black pepper extract option, is great for improving nutrient absorption rates, allowing for more of a formula’s ingredients to enter the body. For example, CoQ10 blood levels have been shown to increase by 30% when CoQ10 is taken with black pepper extract (as compared to CoQ10 taken with placebo).
Smart addition to this smart stack.
How to Take Performance Lab Energy
Take from the site’s F.A.Q. page, here are the directions for this supplement:
“Take 1-2 capsules in the morning and 1-2 in the early afternoon as needed. If exercising, take one serving 45-60 minutes pre-workout. For best results use daily and consistently.”
We’ve found sectioning the servings into a morning and afternoon split works best for sustained daily activity; however, whichever way you cut it, daily Performance Lab Energy intake works for ongoing, daily energy enhancement. Especially when used daily and consistently, as the directions suggest.
Where to Buy Performance Lab Energy
You can buy Performance Lab Energy at the Performance Lab website: link here.
Like the other Performance Lab supplements, Performance Lab Energy only sells through the company’s website—no Amazon or GNC listings. This is likely to avoid all the keyword-pandering, SEO-exploiting nonsense going on with all these online retailers.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are three pricing options for Performance Lab Energy. Here’s essentially how they work:
- One Bottle: $50 for 60 pills
- Two Bottles: $95 for 120 pills (5% saving)
- Three Bottles: $135 for 180 pills (10% saving)
With each bottle added per order, an additional 5% discount is added to the total cost. (For up to three bottles.) If you’re looking to take this stack for the long haul, buying in bulk seems to be the way to go, setting you up for a three-month supply with a 10% total saving.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Will Performance Lab Energy disrupt my sleep cycle?
No. This isn’t the type of energy that forces your brain to stay awake, even when your body is dead tired. (Looking at you, modafinil!) Performance Lab Energy enhances the type of energy that may actually improve overnight recovery and repair, not disrupt it. After all, even while you’re sleeping, your body needs energy to fix itself.
Resting ain’t free!
Do I need to cycle energy booster supplements?
No, not Performance Lab Energy at least. And, frankly, does anyone really cycle their daily caffeine intake? Seems more that they just ramp it up week by week until they wipe the slate clean with a good ol’ mental breakdown.
Which is besides the point. Performance Lab Energy improves cellular energy enhancement with no tolerance build up or long-term adverse side effects. All clean, green energy, baby.
Is it okay to stack Performance Lab Energy with other supplements?
Yes. In fact, the entire Performance Lab supplement line seems designed for mix-and-match supplement stack customization. And by taking a natural, cellular approach to energy enhancement, Performance Lab Energy may help improve your health, regardless of your particular health or fitness goals. A few smart stack options to go with Performance Lab Energy include:
- Performance Lab Sleep: Uppers and downers, right?! Yes and no—countering daytime stimulants with nighttime sedatives is a very unhealthy cycle to spiral into. Fortunately, these aren’t “uppers” and “downers” but rather natural supplements that may help bolster your natural sleep-wake cycle. With a unique tart cherry extract, Performance Lab Sleep helps the mind rest with 100% natural sleep boosters. More on Performance Lab Sleep.
- Performance Lab Mind: One of the best nootropic supplement options for daily foundational cognitive support. Targeting cholinergic, dopaminergic, serotonergic, and circulatory pathways, Performance Lab Mind keeps the key cognitive wheels turning, allowing the rest of the brain to fall into place. More on Performance Lab Mind.
- Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout: If you’re in the business for a caffeine-free energy booster, perhaps a caffeine-free pre-workout is next on your list. Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workouts offers just that with its creatine-driven exercise enhancement stack. More on Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout.
Although we’ve been throwing around the term “energy booster” in this article, what we’re actually seeking here is energy “balance.”
Stimulants boost energy.
Performance Lab Energy balances energy.
And the difference is important to consider. Anything that boosts, or stimulates, energy is essentially robbing your future’s energy levels in the now. Hence the evening crash that tends to come with the likes of daytime caffeine overload or powerful “wake-stimulating” pills, etc. Taken for days this crash may extend well beyond just a single evening.
This is what makes Performance Lab Energy so important not only for energy levels but overall health. By targeting and enhancing the body’s natural energy pathways, Performance Lab Energy balances the body with a “pay it forward” effect on your future’s energy levels.
In other words, with this stack, if you feel good today, hold tight: it only gets better.
*The only drawback is that you can only buy Performance Lab Energy from: www.performancelab.com