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How to Stop Drinking Coffee and Boost Your Energy With Natural, Healthy Alternatives

Evidence-based Reviewed Article

An image of a woman resisting a glass of coffeeCoffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, well-known for its psychoactive effects, such as boosting mental alertness, reaction time, productivity, and vigilance. Americans consume an estimated 5.1 kg of coffee per person a year. Caffeine is a major source of the benefits of coffee and why many men and women rely on this caffeinated beverage in the mornings to kickstart their day. However, coffee can also have several downsides, especially for those who deal with chronic stress. We explain how coffee affects your body, how to stop drinking coffee gradually, and great coffee alternatives that can boost your energy instead.

How to Stop Drinking Coffee: Caffeine and Its Effect on Your Body

Caffeine is a substance that acts as a stimulant. This white, bitter substance, once ingested, enters your bloodstream from your stomach and small intestine. At this point, it stimulates your central nervous system (nerves, brain, and spinal cord). Caffeine can affect your body in several different ways, some helpful, and some not.  And depending on the extent of its impact, you may have to consider how to stop drinking coffee.

Caffeine makes you feel more alert and awake and helps you to concentrate. Also, it can provide your body with a significant boost of energy and minimize your feelings of fatigue.

Furthermore, moderate caffeine intake can benefit heart health. According to the Oschner Journal, moderate coffee consumption leads to a decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular-related mortality, hypertension, cholesterol, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

However, while caffeine is safe in general, consuming as little as 300-400 milligrams a day could potentially increase your risk of negative side effects, such as anxiety, nausea, dehydration, restlessness, dizziness, and sleeplessness.

How quickly your body metabolizes caffeine could also play a role in the effect it has on you. Genetics plays a crucial role in this process. If your body breaks caffeine down quickly, you may experience improvement in memory and mental functioning as quickly as 15 minutes after consuming coffee. However, if your body metabolizes caffeine slowly, you are more likely to experience greater sensitivity to caffeine, as well as heightened side effects.

Caffeine Dependency: How to Stop Drinking Coffee

Some people can develop a dependency on caffeine but not an addiction in technical terms. It elevates your dopamine level but does not significantly interfere with your brain’s reward circuits. Gradually, the cells in your brain adapt and you develop a need to consume more coffee to get the same buzz. You develop tolerance and you notice your habit of one mug of coffee in the morning becomes multiple mugs during the day.

It can be incredibly tough to quit. However, it can be done gradually and not abruptly, limiting your chance of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including headache, irritability, muscle pain, nausea, tiredness, and difficulty focusing.

How to Stop Drinking Coffee: How Long is Caffeine in Your System?

You can feel the effects of caffeine as quickly as 15 minutes after you consume it. After about 1 hour following consumption, the level of caffeine in your blood reaches its peaking point, and for most people, it remains at this level for several hours. Furthermore, after six hours, half of the caffeine is still in your body, and it could take as much as 10 hours to entirely clear it from your bloodstream.

Caffeine Side-Effects and Adrenal Fatigue

An image of a woman while holding her head and a cup of coffee in front of a laptopCaffeine can be quite harmful to people who deal with adrenal fatigue syndrome (AFS), because it can trigger a demand for increased cortisol. AFS is the non-Addison's form of adrenal dysfunction, where the body's stress response cannot keep up with life's chronic stressors. It happens when chronic stress keeps the body's cortisol production elevated for too long, causing dysregulation in other systems.

Caffeine increasing cortisol puts additional stress on adrenal glands which are already overburdened and exhausted from adrenal fatigue. Symptoms include anxiety, tiredness, insomnia, low energy, and low blood pressure, along with many other symptoms. Caffeine worsens the symptoms of AFS by slowing down any attempt to regulate the systems that are experiencing an imbalance.

Additionally, the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system can be affected by caffeine altering the neuroaffect circuit, sleep patterns, and energy levels during the day. When caffeine stimulation is prolonged, the neuroaffect circuit can become dysregulated. To avoid worsening adrenal fatigue, caffeine intake should be moderate and you shouldn’t depend on it for your energy to get through the day.

How to Stop Drinking Coffee: Coffee Alternatives for Energy

If you are wondering how to stop drinking coffee and find a replacement that can give you the energy that you need to function throughout the day, then there are several options to try.

These include:

B Vitamins

A deficiency in B vitamins can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, mood problems, and poor concentration. Vitamin B5 helps produce energy by breaking down carbohydrates and fats. Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a type of vitamin B3 that your body can convert into the coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). This enzyme is important in the promotion of energy metabolism and the maintenance of optimal cell function. Supporting your body's natural levels of NAD+ will promote energy production on a cellular level.

To do this, you can eat B-vitamin-rich foods, including lean meats, nuts, seeds, and fortified grains, or opt for B-vitamin supplements.

Amino acids

Amino acids are key building blocks to making protein and energy in the body. If you're trying to wean caffeine but are feeling very tired, taking some amino acid supplements could possibly give you a boost. Ask a provider before starting.


A popular herb that’s rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng has long been used as an energy-replenishing tonic. Today, it's utilized in several ways, including enhancing concentration, memory, and endurance. Ginseng root is packed with nutrients such as antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and compounds known as ginsenosides. This combination of nutrients contributes to stimulating metabolic effects on the central nervous system, which is how ginseng provides a boost of energy and stamina. According to an article in the Journal of Ginseng Research, ginseng is effective in improving your body’s immunity and boosting energy.

You can have ginseng in tea form or taken in capsule form as a supplement. However, be sure to talk to your doctor before adding ginseng to your regimen.

Chicory Root "Coffee"

If you are thinking about how to stop drinking coffee, this alternative will not only provide an energy boost but can also mimic the flavor and aroma of coffee. Chicory root may be one of the closest alternatives to coffee in flavor.

You can have this energy-boosting coffee alternative in tea form. You will need to steep the chicory root in hot water for a few minutes and add to it your choice of milk and sweetener.

Matcha Green Tea Powder

An image of Matcha Green Tea Powder in a wooden bowl and spoonMatcha ground green tea powder provides a steady boost of energy minus the jitters that so many experience with coffee. It contains a mix of caffeine and L-theanine, which promotes alertness and focus for up to 8 hours. Additionally, as a source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it helps to enhance your energy levels naturally. This powder contains an average caffeine content that ranges from m 20 to 45 milligrams per gram. Green and black tea are also similar alternative caffeine sources.

Lemon Water

Lemon water can help to give you the kickstart that you need for your day. It contains vitamin C that boosts your body’s immune system, helping to give your body a feeling of vitality. Also, its natural sugars provide a boost of energy to the body. Furthermore, its potassium content may help you to be more alert throughout the day.

Tricks on How to Stop Drinking Coffee: Effectively Weaning Off Caffeine

If you've been drinking coffee for a long time and need to know how to quit drinking coffee, it helps to have a plan to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Here are some easy steps that you can take to get started on your journey of cutting back on caffeine:

Log Your Caffeine Intake

Writing down your coffee intake in a journal can help you to consciously reduce the amount of caffeine you consume. Each day, write down any caffeine you consume to help you keep track. Phone apps can help with this too.

Identify Your Caffeine Craving Period

Maybe you notice that when you find yourself in certain situations and moods, your coffee craving kicks in. You want to avoid the instances that may trigger your caffeine craving. If you do develop a craving, opt for a short relaxation time or deep breathing to distract your mind from the craving.

Green Tea Substitute: How to Stop Drinking Coffee

A great alternative to coffee that can still give you some caffeine is green tea. However, the caffeine in green tea is far less than what's in coffee. Green tea has 25-50mg per 8-ounce cup of caffeine, in comparison to 100-200 mg of caffeine per cup of coffee.

Identify Hidden Caffeine Sources

Check your diet and identify every source of food or beverage in your diet that contains caffeine. You may find that, in addition to coffee, you are getting significant amounts from tea, chocolate, soda drinks, energy drinks, and snack foods. Additionally, it could be in energy bars and even some pain medications, like paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Gradually Cut Back on Your Caffeine Intake

You don't want to stop drinking coffee abruptly. If you normally drink five cups of coffee a day, slowly move down to four cups a day. It's best to reduce your coffee intake a little at a time, cutting back a little, holding for a few days, then cutting a bit more. This will reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, this gives you time to develop new habits that serve as good alternatives to your coffee habit.

Stay Hydrated

An image of a man drinking a glass of waterYou can detox your body from caffeine by increasing your water intake and staying hydrated. Also, drinking more water means that you are likely to drink less coffee because you'll have a water bottle in your hand more often. When you hydrate your body, it can help you to stay alert and awake.

Exercise Your Body

To combat withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue and irritability, get physically active. Exercise stimulates the body to release endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that dull the perception of pain. This can increase energy and boost mood naturally, so you don't need the coffee. However, if you have adrenal fatigue or other medical conditions, focus on gentle exercise or talk to your doctor first.


Adrenal Stress Control

This supplement provides adrenal support through vitamin C, prebiotics, amino acids, vitamins, and immune-enhancing nutrients. It builds and rejuvenates the body while it helps fuel the energy needs of a body under stress and can be beneficial to helping you have more energy when trying to wean down on coffee.


Adaptogens can help your body respond to anxiety, stress, and fatigue. They restore balance to your body by helping it manage stressors. It could be a good choice for those who have strong adrenals who want to wean down on coffee.

Vitamin C

This vitamin supports collagen synthesis and repairs connective tissues in the body. It also strengthens your body's immune system, plays a role in energy metabolism, and helps minimize fatigue. Keep in mind that caffeine could interfere with the absorption of vitamin C.

How to Stop Drinking Coffee: The Takeaway

Caffeine can help with the effects of fatigue, but it can also cause fatigue as well. It can help, and it can hurt. For adrenal fatigue sufferers, caffeine can worsen symptoms and add to your existing fatigue, overburdening your adrenals. You can quit drinking coffee by slowly weaning off caffeine, drinking a little less every few days. Instead, slowly switch to the several healthy energy-boosting alternatives that can provide you with the boost you need to get through the day.

Talk with your healthcare provider about how caffeine is affecting your health and how to stop drinking coffee without withdrawal symptoms. It's possible to energize your body without coffee. Break your dependency on caffeine.

Adrenal Stress Control helps fuel the energy needs of a body under stress.

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© Copyright 2024 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Mendoza, Michael F., et al. "Impact of Coffee Consumption on Cardiovascular Health."The Ochsner Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, 2023, pp. 152-158,

Ratan, Zubair A., et al. "Pharmacological Potential of Ginseng and Its Major Component Ginsenosides." Journal of Ginseng Research, vol. 45, no. 2, 2021, pp. 199-210,

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Knowing how to stop drinking coffee safely can begin with finding alternatives, like ginseng and B vitamin, that can give your the energy boost that caffeine does. You could also take simple steps that include gradually weaning off coffee, logging your coffee intake, exercising, and staying hydrated, among other simple measures.

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