Any scientifically-accepted alternatives to caffeine?

I’m wondering if there are any (non-prescription, OTC, not controlled substances) that have effects similar to that of caffeine. By scientifically-accepted, I mean “have been clinically proven to enhance alertness/quicken heartbeat/act as a general stimulant”.

I am not interested in the least in unsubstantiated claims that whatever herbal “remedies” will do it for me. Nor am I interested in suggestions to try getting more sleep (I would if I could), nor yoga/meditation/etc (because if I can’t gulp it down on my way to class, it’s useless to me). So far everything I’ve found has fallen into the above categories, and I’m tired of giving so much of my money to whatever company makes Tums.

Have you tried Yerba Mate? The chemical is just caffeine despite whatever they claim, but it’s been shown to be gentler on the stomach.

There’s ephedra, which has stimulant effects from a non-caffeine source (it’s actually ephedrine and psueudoephedrine). On the downside, it can potentially mess you up with increased blood pressure and heart palpitations and such. It’s gotten much more difficult to find in recent years, although if you’re feeling really ambitious you could grow your own.

That’s not entirely true. It does contain caffeine, albeit much less than most teas, but it also contains other xanthines, such as theobromine which is a chemical similar to caffeine and found in chocolate, as well as theophylline.

Not exactly what you are looking for, since it’s prescription, but provigil is supposed to give one the benefits of caffeine without the drawbacks. I’ve tried it (via prescription from my pulminologist for sleep apnea), and had good results.

B12 gets me going in the morning.

Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant.

So it seems your biggest problem with caffeine is that it upsets your stomach? Maybe instead of tums you could try a PPI, like Prilosec. It works out to less than $1/day to never have heartburn again, except if you chow down on like 50 extra hot wings or something.

Is it the coffee that is upsetting your stomach, or are you sure it is the Caffeine? You can get pure caffeine from a Sports Supplement shop, and it is much easier on your tracts. I can’t drink coffee because it speeds everything out of my body, but pure caffeine gives me no trouble.

I’m not totally sure. I know that Mountain Dew is easier than Red Bull, which is easier than coffee or tea (at least, the way I make them). Mostly, I’ve been having a sour stomach (not heartburn, really) plus some problems with my sleep schedule, so I’m trying to shop around for possible alternatives.

The problem with psuedoephedrine is that I’ve learned the hard way that taking it with my regular allergy meds (Zyrtec, claritan as well on bad days*) it makes me feel very very light-headed. The only season when I’m not taking allergy drugs every day is sometimes in the dead of winter, and if I do that, anything with psuedoephedrine makes my nosebleed issue worse.

I think I’ll look into Yerba Mata, and if I’m not satisfied with that I’ll see if I can get my hands on some ephedra.

*I know I’m probably not supposed to do this.

Try chocolate, too. That’s always good advice, in general, but the theobromine might be what you want, too.

I’ve since gotten past it, but when I first started taking caffeine as a study aid, I found that it upset my stomach considerably and no amount of antacids seemed to help. In fact, they seemed to make it a bit worse. So I mostly avoided caffeine after that. But a few years later, necessity sent me back to it. Again, I had the stomach issues - as you say, a sour stomach. But this time, I had a moment of “Aha!” when I realized that caffeine is alkaline, so antacids, also alkaline, wouldn’t help. Instead, I tried drinking something acidic, like orange juice, when I took caffeine and the stomach problems were greatly ameliorated.

You may certainly take this with a grain of salt (metaphorically speaking), since I have nothing but my own anecdote to back this up, but I don’t see how it could hurt much to try.

Ephedra is an herbal product which contains varying amounts of several substances including ephedrine. It is no longer widely sold because it was of unpredictable composition and strength.

Ephedrine is a single chemical (well, actually there are two forms, Ephedrine HCl or Ephedrine Sulphate), which you can buy in the form of Bronkade or Primatene. These (and almost all ephedrine products) also contain Guaifenesin (a harmless expectorant).

These are commonly available over the counter in drugstores and convenience stores (though you may have to ask for it, show ID and sign for it) and online. I get mine from westburyonline.

Pseudoephedrine is something else entirely, and not much of a stimulant.

Yes, that’s most herbal products, isn’t it?

Untrue. Pseudoephedrine is also a stimulant, probably best known as Sudaphed but widely available in generic form. It, too, often involves a photo ID and signature at point of sale.

Epheda is the original, herbal origin for the two chemicals I mentioned, although most of those two are now produced through industry, giving us reliable strength and dosage.

I thought caffeine wasn’t a stimulant but rather it has the same shape as some other kind of chemical that calms you down. Therefore the caffeine fills in that receptor and stops the chemical that would calm you down from doing it’s job. Or something like that