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Energy drinks aim to enhance performance or provide a physiological boost. Although people may consider energy drinks to be non-nutritious, some of these beverages may contain natural and nutritious ingredients.

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Often, energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, artificial ingredients, and sugar. However, the beverage market now features energy drinks with more natural ingredients, which manufacturers claim to produce similar energy-boosting effects.

This article looks at natural energy drinks in more detail. It also provides a list of options a person can consider and answers some frequently asked questions about natural energy drinks.

Energy drinks often contain high amounts of added sugar and caffeine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that a healthy adult can usually consume 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day without experiencing any negative or dangerous side effects. However, some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others.

Manufacturers of natural energy drinks tend to use energizing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as more natural ingredients.

Individuals who consume natural energy drinks may get a boost from the vitamins, fruits, plants, and naturally occurring caffeine within these products.

There are a few reasons people may wish to consume natural energy drinks. These include:

  • feeling more alert in the morning
  • enhancing physical performance
  • improving concentration
  • consuming additional supplements
  • recovering after exercise

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high-quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the dosage.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a safe dosage.

Many natural energy drinks are available to buy online. Below are eight products to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best matcha option: MatchaBar Hustle Energy

  • Caffeine: 120 mg
  • Calories: 40
  • Serving: 12 fluid ounces (fl oz)
  • Price: $32.99
  • Sugar content: 2 grams (g)
  • Sodium content: 0.01 g
  • Pros: matcha is a source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories
  • Cons: expensive, limited research on the effects of matcha on cognitive function

This mango-flavored product contains fruit juice, ceremonial grade matcha, and green tea extract.

There is some evidence suggesting matcha powder can improve attention and some aspects of memory.

An older review highlights that some of the benefits of green tea extract include antioxidant effects, body weight reduction, and protection against degenerative conditions.

2020 research notes that the high concentration of catechins in matcha green tea provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may benefit physical health.

A person can buy a 12-pack of MatchaBar Hustle Energy for $32.99.

Best black and green tea blend: V8 +Sparkling Energy

  • Caffeine: 80 mg
  • Calories: 50
  • Serving: 11.5 fl oz
  • Price: $15.95
  • Sugar content: 10 g
  • Sodium content: 60 mg
  • Pros: contains a range of vitamins, contains one of a person’s 5 fruits a day
  • Cons: 50 calories per can, higher sodium content than other brands

This product contains caffeine that naturally occurs within black and green tea extract. It comes in black cherry, lemon lime, orange pineapple, and strawberry kiwi flavors. The company claims it offers one of a person’s five fruits a day.

It is gluten free and also contains a number of vitamins, including:

Packs of 12 V8 +Sparkling Energy drinks are available online for $15.95.

Best yerba mate energy drink: Guayaki Yerba Mate

  • Caffeine: 150 mg
  • Calories: 100
  • Serving: 15.5 fl oz
  • Price: $35.88
  • Sugar content: 23 g
  • Sodium content: 5 mg
  • Pros: yerba mate has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Guayaki uses Fairtrade ingredients
  • Cons: contains added sugar, 100 calories per can, expensive

Guayaki Yerba Mate is a lemon-flavored, noncarbonated blend of brewed yerba mate and organic fruit juice.

Yerba mate is a species of plant that naturally contains caffeine. Due to the higher caffeine content in this beverage, a person will likely feel a boost in their energy levels after consuming it. A 150 ml cup of yerba mate tea contains around 80 mg of caffeine, similar to coffee. A 2021 review also states that it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and heart-protective properties.

The manufacturers of this product state that it contains Fairtrade ingredients. This means that the people manufacturing the ingredients are paid fairly.

The company writes that this drink is not suitable for children, pregnant or breastfeeding people, or those who are sensitive to caffeine.

A pack of 12 cans costs $35.88.

Best guayusa tree-derived energy drink: Runa Energy Drink

  • Caffeine: 150 mg
  • Calories: 10
  • Serving: 12 fl oz
  • Price: $29.88
  • Sugar content: 2 g
  • Sodium content: 10 mg
  • Pros: high caffeine content, low calorie content, guayusa may have antioxidant benefits
  • Cons: some reviews state the blood orange flavor is not sweet enough

According to the manufacturers, this blood orange-flavored drink only contains seven ingredients, the most notable of which is organic guayusa — a species of tree.

A review of guayusa noted that this tree may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The company claims it uses organic ingredients that are U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified and non-GMO. It also claims 88% of its ingredients are Fairtrade.

A 12-pack of 12 fl oz cans of Runa Energy Drink is available to purchase online for $29.88.

Best energy drink shot: Proper Wild Clean All Day Energy Shot

  • Caffeine: 100 mg
  • Calories: 45
  • Serving: 2.5 fl oz
  • Price: $23.99
  • Sugar content: 9 g
  • Sodium content: 10 mg
  • Pros: shot may be more convenient, contains L-theanine which may boost alertness
  • Cons: 45 calories for small serving size, expensive for a smaller pack

This ginger-flavored product is a small beverage that contains 100 mg of caffeine. It also contains 120 mg of L-theanine.

An older 2016 review suggests that L-theanine, a compound found in green and black tea, may improve alertness when combined with caffeine.

As well as ginger, which research states has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it also contains white grape juice. A 2019 study concluded that white grape juice can reduce body mass index in older women.

A 6-pack of 2.5 fl oz bottles of Proper Wild Clean All Day Energy Shot is available to purchase for $23.99.

Best post-workout natural energy drink: FITAID Energy+ Sports Recovery Drink

  • Caffeine: 200 mg
  • Calories: 15
  • Serving: 12 fl oz
  • Price: $28.99
  • Sugar content: 3 g
  • Sodium content: 0 g
  • Pros: includes a wide range of vitamins, low calorie, high caffeine content
  • Cons: one can is half of the recommended daily allowance of caffeine for adults

This peach mandarin flavor drink is marketed as a sports recovery drink. The manufacturer writes a person can drink it pre- or post-workout for a boost in energy. Its caffeine content comes from green tea. The company writes that each can contain 200 mg of caffeine.

It contains a range of vitamins, including:

According to product labeling, a person can get 100% of their recommended daily value of certain vitamins by consuming this sports recovery drink.

2018 research suggests that the antioxidant properties in vitamin C can help reduce muscle damage caused by strenuous physical activity.

It also contains turmeric, electrolytes, and quercetin.

The company claims it is certified vegan, gluten- and GMO-free, and contains no artificial sweeteners.

A person can buy the FITAID Energy+ Sports Recovery drink for $28.99.

Best low-cost natural energy drink: Emergen-C Energy+ Drink Mix

  • Caffeine: 50 mg
  • Calories: 35
  • Serving: 9.4 g
  • Price: $10.99
  • Sugar content: 7 g
  • Sodium content: 70 mg
  • Pros: contains a range of vitamins, can be mixed into water at desired strength
  • Cons: lower caffeine content than other brands

This blueberry acai flavor energy drink mix is a powder that a person mixes into water. The manufacturer states a person can add one or two sachets of powder to water a day, adding more water if they want a weaker mixture.

Emergen-C Energy+ uses green tea for its caffeine content, and each sachet provides 50 mg of caffeine. A person can add two sachets to a drink if they want a stronger boost, totaling 100 mg of caffeine.

The company claims its vitamin C and B blend can support the immune system.

It is more affordable than the other drinks in this article and costs $10.99 for 18 servings.

Best caffeine-free energy drink mix: Laird Superfood Hydrate Coconut Water + Aquamin

  • Caffeine: 0 mg
  • Calories: 40
  • Serving: 8 oz
  • Price: $14.81
  • Sugar content: 9 g
  • Sodium content: 5 mg
  • Pros: caffeine-free, contains ingredients that help hydration
  • Cons: is not specifically formulated to boost energy, not suitable for people with tree nut allergy

Laird Hydrate Coconut Water + Aquamin does not contain caffeine, so people who are sensitive to caffeine may wish to consider this drink mix. However, it is not suitable for people with a tree nut allergy.

It is made with two ingredients: freeze-dried coconut water and Aquamin.

Although this drink mix is not specifically formulated to boost a person’s energy, its ingredients can help a person maintain their energy levels. For instance, this mix includes 2 mg of iron, making up 11% of a person’s recommended daily value. Iron is an essential mineral that plays a role in transporting oxygen around the body. Lower iron stores can cause a person to feel tired as the body is not able to efficiently supply the muscles with oxygen.

Overall, this drink mix aims to hydrate. Although research is limited, older research found that dehydration can negatively impact cognitive function and increase feelings of fatigue.

Laird Superfood Hydrate Coconut Water drink mix costs $14.81.

Each natural energy drink manufacturer will offer specific instructions on how or when to consume its product.

A person may want to drink them before or after exercise, on days when they feel particularly tired, or before a task requiring a lot of concentration.

As a way to boost concentration, the caffeine in energy drinks may increase alertness, improve memory, and elevate mood.

However, there is mixed evidence indicating the effectiveness of these beverages in improving physical performance.

For example, one study concluded that energy drinks improved running performance across 5 kilometers. However, research from 2016 is conflicting. The researchers suggest there was no statistically significant difference in physical performance in those who consumed energy drinks compared with those who did not.

There is a lack of research exploring natural energy drinks specifically. However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggests some potential risks associated with energy drinks.

For example, the large amounts of caffeine usually present in these beverages can cause heart problems.

Caffeine may also cause anxiety, digestive problems, sleep problems, and dehydration.

In addition, an older review suggests that the day after consuming an energy drink, people are more likely to feel excessive daytime tiredness.

The table below compares each of the natural energy drinks in this article for calories, caffeine content, and price.

Price ServingCaloriesCaffeine (mg)
MatchaBar Hustle Energy$32.9912 fl oz40 120
V8 +Sparkling Energy$15.9511.5 fl oz5080
Guayaki Yerba Mate$35.8815.5 fl oz10080
Runa Energy Drink$29.8812 fl oz10150
Proper Wild Clean All Day Energy Shot$23.992.5 fl oz45100
FITAID Energy+ Sports Recovery Drink$28.9912 fl oz15200
Emergen-C Energy+ Drink Mix$10.999.4 grams3550
Laird Superfood Hydrate Coconut Water + Aquamin$14.818 oz400

To boost mental and physical performance, a person may wish to consider the following alternatives to energy drinks:

  • Getting more sleep: Sleep deprivation can impair a person’s ability to carry out tasks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Eat a nutritious diet: One study found that people who ate more whole grains, legumes, and vegetables had more energy than those who consumed more refined grains and added sugars.
  • Limit alcohol intake: Drinking high amounts of alcohol can cause sleep disturbances, which may negatively affect energy levels.
  • Avoid smoking: One study suggests sleep disturbances are more prevalent in people who smoke than in those who do not.
  • Stay hydrated: Even mild dehydration can affect cognitive performance, so a person wishing to help their concentration should drink water regularly throughout the day.

When choosing energy drinks a person should consider the following factors:

  • Caffeine content: Consuming large amounts of caffeine can be dangerous. A person should consider how much caffeine a natural energy drink will provide them and limit their intake, always following the serving suggestions the manufacturer provides.
  • Price: Typically, energy drinks come in packs of 6–12 online. They can sometimes cost over $30, which may not be suitable for smaller budgets if a person intends on drinking a natural energy drink each day. A person should consider how cost effective each brand will be. For instance, drink mixes can last longer, making them cheaper over time.
  • Allergens: A person should consider any allergies they have before making a purchase. Some natural energy drinks include added vitamins and minerals that may not be suitable for everyone.
  • Manufacturing processes: Some brands hold Fairtrade or USDA organic certification. These certifications show that a company treats its workers fairly and uses responsible manufacturing processes to grow and harvest its ingredients.
  • Health conditions: The ingredients included in natural energy drinks may not be safe for everyone. A person should speak with a doctor before trying an energy drink with added vitamins or ingredients they have not tried before.

Below are answers to the top frequently asked questions about natural energy drinks.

Which energy drinks contain the most natural ingredients?

Many natural energy drinks are made with one or two key natural ingredients. They are formulated so that a person can avoid the additives, preservatives, and sugar that are present in a typical energy drink.

Natural energy drinks that contain added vitamins can be more nutritious than those using one energy-boosting ingredient, such as yerba mate or green tea.

Ingredients will differ from brand to brand, so a person should check the ingredients label to understand which natural ingredients a brand has used in its product.

What makes an energy drink natural?

Natural energy drinks are marketed as being free from artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives. They contain naturally derived ingredients that reportedly boost energy due to their natural caffeine content, including green tea, yerba mate, and other plant-derived ingredients.

They may have a lower caffeine content than a typical energy drink.

What is the best natural ingredient for energy?

Although research is limited for many ingredients used in natural energy drinks, coffee, green tea, and yerba mate may provide short-term energy benefits.

Natural energy drinks can provide a similar boost in energy to standard energy drinks. However, the former tends to contain less sugar and more naturally occurring sources of caffeine.

Although energy drinks may help increase alertness and concentration, an individual should also consider natural alternatives, such as staying hydrated and eating a nutrient-rich diet.