Caffeine Alternatives for Mental Alertness

Caffeine Alternatives for Mental Alertness

Caffeine is a popular stimulant in coffee, tea, soda, and several foods. It’s revered for its ability to stimulate the brain and central nervous system (CNS), providing mental alertness and minimizing fatigue. Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors—the chemical that causes us to feel tired. Depending on the type, brand, and brew style, an average cup of coffee can contain anywhere from 80 to 100 mg of caffeine. While caffeine may help people meet the mental challenges of their daily lives, too much of it can have an adverse impact. Often, people experience a “caffeine crash” around three hours after consuming caffeine, resulting in feeling somewhat fatigued and low in mental alertness. Consumers are looking for an alternative to caffeine that will enhance working memory, focus, and mental alertness. There are several ways to support cognitive functions without relying solely on caffeine. 

Black Tea

Black tea is one of the most popular types of tea in the world. It’s derived from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plants—fragrant, flowering shrubs cultivated worldwide. Black tea undergoes an extensive oxidation process, exposing the leaves’ cells to oxygen. A typical cup of black tea has approximately 47 mg of caffeine, about half the amount found in a cup of coffee. Black tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that supports mental alertness and focus. One study indicated that a combination of caffeine and moderate levels of L-theanine may significantly improve accuracy as well as alertness during task switching. 

Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba mate is made from the dried leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. This evergreen tree is native to the subtropical regions of South America. The leaves of the yerba mate plant are the primary component used to prepare this traditional beverage. While Yerba mate does contain approximately 70 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup, it also has small amounts of L-theanine and theobromine to support mental alertness. 

Green Tea 

Like black tea, green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinenais plants. However, they differ in their extraction process. Green tea leaves are not oxidized, which results in slightly less caffeine than black tea. Its high level of L-theanine sets green tea apart from other caffeine alternatives. Studies have shown green tea contains 6.56 mg of L-theanine per gram of green tea.

Matcha, a type of green tea, is more nutrient-dense than regular green teas because drinkers consume the entire ground green tea leaf rather than an infusion made from water and tea leaves. 


Ginseng is derived from the roots of plants in the genus Panax. It’s a popular herbal supplement that may boost energy and mental alertness without the use of caffeine. Many people prefer it as an alternative to coffee. The high ginsenoside content may support brain neurotransmitters. Slices of ginseng can be steeped in hot water to make a nutrient-rich tea. Ginsenosides and compound K found in ginseng may provide some protection against damage caused by free radicals. 

Consumers are looking for efficient, safe alternatives for caffeine to stay awake and boost their mental alertness. In fact, over 83% of caffeine users indicate they are willing to try a non-caffeine energy product as long as it can meet the mental energy demands of their lives. As part of a new generation of nootropics, OmniActive’s enXtra is a caffeine-free solution to help boost mental energy. It can be implemented easily among a wide variety of applications, such as energy drinks, RTDs, gummies, snacks, stick packs, and more.

enXtra is made from a proprietary extract of Alpinia galanga. It works by targeting a cognitive process known as “Attention Network Function” (ANF). The ANF is the brain’s ability to allocate processing resources to specific tasks, which means it plays a vital role in mental alertness and the ability to focus on a specific task. enXtra can sustain mental alertness for up to five hours, and can also be combined with caffeine. In clinical studies, enXtra has been shown to be safe with no impact on blood pressure, heart rate, sleep, or other adverse events. 

To learn more about how OmniActive’s science-backed, caffeine-free enXtra can support your brand in the energy market, contact us today!