The most widely used natural stimulant on earth (1) caffeine is available today in a dizzying array of forms including the coffee-free caffeine pill. Caffeine pills are ideal if you want the energy boost of coffee but don’t like the taste. Or if you simply don’t have time to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Since it first emerged from the monasteries of Yemen during the 14th century and spread to Turkey and then by boat to Italy coffee, and by extension caffeine, has been a dietary staple that transcends political and cultural boundaries. Or you want to avoid the sugar and other things that typically accompany caffeinated drinks.
Below we’ve brought together the 10 best caffeine pills on the market today.
1. Natrol High Caffeine Tablets
Natrol High Caffeine Tablets contain 200 mg of caffeine as well as 75 mg of calcium. But just as important is what they do not contain. There is no gluten, no egg, no milk, shellfish, nuts, artificial flavors or colors and no sugar. Instead, it puts the focus where it should be. Providing enough caffeine in only two capsules to satisfy the average person’s optimal daily intake. While the 200 mg of caffeine will help you get the most from your workouts, the 75 mg of calcium will help ensure that your new, more toned and muscular physique is attached to strong, durable bones. To smear a bit of icing on the cake Natrol Caffeine Tablets are reasonably priced and produced in the US in a GMP facility.
2. SmarterVitamins 200 mg Caffeine Pills
With their 200 mg Caffeine Pills SmarterVitamins takes direct aim at those interested in the weight loss benefits of caffeine. Alongside the generous dose of caffeine they include 500 mg of medium chain triglycerides or MCTs. MCTs are broken down quickly by your system and moved to the liver where they can be turned into ketones that metabolize fat. This will have broad appeal to those on the keto diet. But MCTs are not just for keto-philes. They’ll also help you recover faster from strenuous workouts. And the energy they produce is less likely to be stored as fat (2) if it is not used right away. If you are on the keto diet here is the caffeine pill for you. Produced in the US in an FDA certified facility.
3. Zhou Caffeine with L-Theanine
Zhou has gained an impressive foothold in the supplement market by producing high quality, high potency supplements that are heavy on the things you want and light on those things you want to avoid. Their Caffeine with L-theanine is a good example. Each capsule provides 100 mg of caffeine and 200 mg of L-theanine. L-theanine is important because it is believed to mitigate some of the negative effects of caffeine such as anxiousness. It may also help prevent caffeine from presenting a problem for those with high blood pressure. Although more study is needed to confirm that hypothesis. There’s nothing in Zhou Caffeine with L-Theanine that’s likely to be an issues for any average, healthy individual. Keep in mind too that the 100 mg dose in each capsule allows you more precise control over your total daily intake.
4. Prolab Caffeine Tablets
Prolab Caffeine Tablets are a great value that provide 200 mg of caffeine each along with 75 mg of calcium to help ensure healthy bones and teeth. These tablets contain no milk, soy, gluten, corn, wheat, artificial colors or preservatives and no sugar. So there’s nothing in them that’s likely to cause problems for people with dietary sensitivities. Those wanting to use caffeine pills to augment their weight loss efforts will appreciate the fact that each capsule contains zero calories. What they do contain is just enough caffeine to enhance your metabolic rate and promote fat burning. These tablets will typically produce the desire energy boost in less than 15 minutes. And the effect won’t hit you like a ton of bricks. Great for dieters but also for students and professionals who need a quick lift.
5. Genius Caffeine Extended Release Caffeine Pills
Genius Caffeine keeps it as simple as can be. They provide 100 mg of caffeine in each pill and that’s it. That caffeine is microencapsulated extended release (ER) caffeine that is slowly and gently released into your system. That way you avoid the sudden caffeine jolt that some other caffeine supplements generate. There are no calories lurking in the background, no objectionable ingredients like soy, gluten, dairy or sugar. And no nasty chemicals used to produce the capsule itself or additives used to fill it out. Just 100 mg of delayed release caffeine. If you’re in search of a kinder, gently caffeine pill you’ll find a lot to like with Genius Caffeine ER Caffeine.
6. Vitalfuse Fused Focus
Vitalfuse Fused Focus provides 150 mg of caffeine in every capsule along with a number of other ingredients with nootropic properties. Studies have shown nootropics are more than just a marketing gimmick and can actually help improve many aspects of brain function (3). The nootropic compounds employed in VitalFuse include bacopa extract, alpha-GPC and theacrine. While the science of nootropics and the existence of the nootropic effect is not in question, the ability of theacrine to produce enhanced mental function has not yet been firmly established (4). So make of that what you will. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that VitaFuse provides 150 mg of very effective caffeine and offers a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied.
7. Nutricost Caffeine Pills, 200 mg
While we’re on the subject of no-nonsense caffeine supplements lets take a look at Nutricost. Each Nutricost caffeine pill provides 200 mg of caffeine anhydrous (dry caffeine) and nothing else. There are no genetically modified organisms. No gluten, soy, dairy or artificial ingredients, fillers or flavors. And no sugar or calories. If you’re tired of energy drinks spiking your blood sugar and leaving you a bug-eyed, jittery, aggressive basket case Nutricost Caffeine Pills are the smart, low impact alternative. You’ll get the energy boost you want with none of the energy drink nastiness. Nutricost Caffeine Pills are produced in the US in an FDA certified facility and are very reasonably priced.
8. Best Naturals Caffeine Pills 200mg
Like a couple of other caffeine pills on our list Best Naturals provide 200 mg of caffeine along with 75 mg of calcium. The reason we include them is because they’re one of the more reasonably priced of the caffeine/calcium pills. While cheaper supplements are often laden with nasty, cheap ingredients that’s not the case here. There are no artificial preservatives, flavors or fillers, no GMOs, no soy, lactose, gluten, yeast, fish or seafood. And most importantly, no sugar. Like the other caffeine/calcium entries on our list they’ll help provide the energy you need and contribute to enhanced bone strength as well.
9. Elite Caffeine with L-Theanine
Elite Caffeine is another product that pairs caffeine with L-theanine. L-theanine (as we discussed briefly above) is believed to help prevent the onset of side effects that befall some people when they drink coffee or use caffeine pills. Most people are able to use caffeine pills without any adverse effects. Some however, occasionally experience mild jitters and/or anxiety. They may also experience something of a crash once the caffeine has run its course. L-theanine should help mitigate such side effects and allow you to enjoy the upside and avoid the downside of caffeine. Make no mistake however, the 100 mg caffeine dose per capsule also helps minimize any potential side effects.
10. Bulksupplements Caffeine Capsules
The last of our 10 best caffeine pills come to us from an old favorite; BulkSupplements. BulkSupplements Caffeine Capsules provide a no-nonsense 200 mg of caffeine per capsule with no soy, dairy, yeast, gluten or sugar added. And no artificial flavors, fillers or preservatives. Because the capsules are made from bovine gelatin they’re not vegetarian or vegan safe. But beyond that they’ll appeal to anyone in search of an effective caffeine pill who also appreciates value. You won’t get award winning graphic design with these supplements or a fancy bottle you can use afterward to store herbs. But you will get the caffeine boost you want at a price you can afford.
What are Caffeine Pills?
Caffeine pills are supplements that consist of caffeine that is sometimes extracted during the decaffeination process but more often created through industrial synthesis. In fact, most caffeine in soft drinks, as well as that in caffeine pills, is produced in factories and has been since the days of World War II (5). Millions of pounds of synthetic caffeine are consumed each and every year by billions of people worldwide.
Caffeine pills have grown steadily in popularity as more and more people have discovered their convenience, their effectiveness and their affordability. They’re used by everyone from business executives to bodybuilders to students who need to burn the midnight oil studying for finals. As is the case with most everything moderation is the key to making the most of what caffeine pills have to offer. Many medical professionals suggest more than 400 mg per day is probably excessive and may lead to negative side effects (6). So be aware.
Are There Any Benefits From Taking Caffeine Pills?
As long as one can exercise a bit of restraint the benefits of caffeine pills are many and include but are not limited to:
- Enhanced mental alertness – There is no denying that one of caffeine’s most sought after and important benefits is its ability to improve mental performance. This is true for just about everyone across the board. Taking a caffeine pill several hours before an important meeting, interview or exam can boost alertness, improve recall and enable more efficient overall cognitive function.
- Better physical performance – Whether you’re a pro athlete looking for a way to (legally) enhance your performance on the field or an average person hoping to get more from your workout at the health club caffeine can help (7). Taking a caffeine pill an hour before working out is likely to result in a significant boost in performance. While it doesn’t actually increase strength it can enable a person to make the most of the strength they have and has been proven to increase endurance, which can lead to more effective workouts.
- Weight loss – Caffeine is known to increase thermogenesis, which is the process by which the body produces heat. Increased thermogenesis can increase fat burning which can in turn aid in weight loss efforts. Caffeine is also known to help reduce appetite. And eating less is a crucial component of any weight loss program.
- Speeds recovery after workouts – Studies show that caffeine taken after a workout can be effective in speeding the recovery of strained muscles (8). When taken with carbohydrates after a workout caffeine helps replenish glycogen levels to a greater extent over the course of several hours than if a person did not take caffeine.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease – As you’re probably aware by now there have been a significant number of studies looking at the effects of caffeine on health. A number have concluded that ingesting moderate amounts of caffeine can significantly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (9).
- It’s full of beneficial antioxidants – Caffeine is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants have long been known to play an important role in eliminating free radicals that attack and cause damage to otherwise healthy cells. Recent studies have confirmed that the antioxidants in caffeine may have a key role to play in staving off the onset of Alzheimer’s and other debilitating conditions (10).
The benefits of caffeine pills are numerous and well-documented and not confined to the above list. As one of the most studied substances in the world you can be certain that moderate use of caffeine pills is unlikely to produce anything but beneficial effects on your health.
Are There Ways to Enhance the Effectiveness of Caffeine Pills?
In an effort to produce more well-rounded benefits from their caffeine pills some manufacturers have taken to adding other ingredients. One of the most popular of these is L-theanine. L-theanine is now believed to mitigate some of the more odious aspects of caffeine such as the jitters and its effect on high blood pressure in some individuals (11). Some manufacturers will add various vitamins or minerals but few of any significant consequence.
How do I Pick the Right Caffeine Pill?
Any of the caffeine pills we profiled above should serve you well. That said, there are some things you may want to be mindful of when searching for the right caffeine pill to suit your needs. These include:
- Sugar content – Some makers of caffeine pills will add sugar to their pills. This is done largely because the sugar rush combines with the boost in energy you get from the caffeine to make it seem as though the caffeine is super-potent. In most cases you’ll want to avoid caffeine pills with added sugar because of the many harmful effects sugar can have, including weight gain.
- Natural ingredients – While there is an ongoing debate over what constitutes “natural” that shouldn’t dissuade you from seeking out caffeine supplements that don’t include genetically modified fillers, harmful chemicals, artificial color or flavors and other counterproductive ingredients.
- Affordability – Chances are you are going to use caffeine pills on a regular basis whenever you need a boost. Therefore you may want to pick a more affordable caffeine pill just because it can all add up over time. Fortunately there are many affordable caffeine pills on the market to choose from.
How Do Caffeine Pills Compare to Coffee?
First of all you will likely enjoy the same benefits from the caffeine in coffee as you will from the caffeine in caffeine pills. The problems start not with the caffeine in coffee but with what comes with it.
Caffeinated drinks like coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes as so forth are typically loaded with sugar and fats that are part of the drink/experience and are going to have a negative effect on your health. These negative effects may well cancel out any positive effects created by the caffeine. Same with caffeine pills. One pill may contain only caffeine and be fine. While another pill may be laden with sugar that is going to spike blood glucose levels and add weight to your midsection.
All that said, there is no denying that from a taste perspective coffee and other cafe drinks have it all over caffeine pills. Caffeine pills are strictly a utilitarian device after all. While coffee is as much a cultural and social device as it is a method for delivering an energy boost.
Do Caffeine Pills Produce Any Side Effects?
When used as directed the side effects of caffeine pills are generally positive as demonstrated in the above list of benefits. However, almost anything taken to excess will produce negative side effects and caffeine pills are no exception to this rule. Even so these negative effects will be mostly of concern to individuals with various types of heart conditions. If you suffer from cardiovascular disease or other heart-related health issues always be sure to talk to your doctor before taking caffeine pills. That said the potential negative side effects of caffeine pills include:
- Insomnia – Taking caffeine pills too near to bed time or taking an excessive number of caffeine pills can lead to insomnia. While it’s a given that you take caffeine at least in part for its ability to keep you awake and alert you need to be aware that it takes some hours for the caffeine to wear off. So you should never take them too close to your normal bed time.
- Upset stomach – Excessive amounts of caffeine whether in pill form or in the form of coffee can cause upset stomach. In addition, it’s typically recommended that you drink one or two glasses of water with an average caffeine pill. If you don’t the dehydrated caffeine in the pill could cause stomach pain as it soaks up the available moisture in your gut.
- Addiction – Caffeine is not the type of substance that causes people to destroy their lives in pursuit of it. Nonetheless it can create an addictive dynamic where the person craves caffeine and simply doesn’t feel right without it. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can range from minor to more serious and include headaches, insomnia, fatigue and moodiness.
- May be dangerous for those with high blood pressure – While caffeine itself can’t and doesn’t cause high blood pressure it does seem to present a risk to those already diagnosed with the condition. Caffeine may cause a stiffening of the arteries in people with high blood pressure (12). However, the effect is not consistent in all people with this condition.
Note: While some years ago caffeine had been implicated as a risk factor for osteoporosis it is now believed that concern was misplaced (13). Nonetheless the caffeine/osteoporosis myth continues to live on. Don’t buy it.
The Bottom Line
Caffeine pills can produce a range of healthful benefits that are hard to ignore. From a strictly practical standpoint they can help you study harder and more effectively, do a better job with an important presentation or help you find that last bit of stamina during the big game. Like all stimulants however, it is necessary to exhibit restraint when using caffeine pills lest you wind up experiencing some of caffeine’s downside. We hope you found the above information useful and be sure to check back for more supplement reviews.