Substituting/enhancing the effects of alcohol with these exceptional supplements

Alcohol is one of the most abused beverages out there. And why is that?

Because it makes people feel amazing. It helps them calm down, remove their brakes that inhibit them in life, make them feel more confident and good about themselves, enhances sociability and the list goes on.

A little bit of alcohol isn’t bad, but a lot, frequently will definitely start to affect your health negatively. Heavy drinkers age much faster than non-drinkers.

I’m not here to condemn alcohol, but simply provide an alternative, because sometimes we might not have access to alcohol, or perhaps you can’t drink because you have a meeting coming up, or you have to drive home or something like that.

In order to find a good replacement for alcohol, we first have to look at the effects of alcohol on the body and then mimic that with natural substances. A few pros of natural substances are that they are generally safer than alcohol in terms of health effects and they don’t result in a hangover or other side effects (unless abused as well).

The effects of alcohol


  • Is a positive GABA-A receptor modulator 
  • Is an NMDA, AMPA and Kainate receptor antagonist (both are glutamate receptors)
  • Increases levels of dopamine 
  • Increases endogenous opioids 
  • Is a glycine receptor agonist
  • Is a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist
  • Is 5-HT3 receptor agonist
  • Increase histamine
  • Is a glycine reuptake inhibitor
  • Is an adenosine reuptake inhibitor
  • Is a L-type calcium channel blocker
  • Is a GIRK channel opener

The anti-anxiety and disinhibiting properties of alcohol are mostly due to being pro-GABA, anti-glutamate, pro-adenosine and pro-endorphins.

The outgoing effects of alcohol are mostly due to being pro-dopamine and histamine and being a nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) receptor agonist.

So to mimic the effects of alcohol we want to focus on modulating those neurotransmitters and try to find substances that have overlapping properties. For example, something that is both pro-GABA and pro-dopamine.

Individual effects of alcohol to mimic

Boost GABA

GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter and puts brakes on all other neurotransmitters. Without GABA, all the other neurotransmitters can get out of hand. Too much GABA on the other hand can cause sleepiness and fatigue. One such extreme condition is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and in that case, you might want to lower GABA.

GABA will help you to stay calm, not feel shy, exposed, self-conscious and will help you be more able to speak your mind and make jokes in conversation, etc.

A few good pro-GABA substances that aren’t too overwhelmingly fatiguing include:

  • Phenibut
  • Taurine
  • Uridine (GABA-A)
  • Phenylpiracetam (increase GABA-A density)
  • Niacinamide
  • Valerian root
  • Kava

NMDA receptor inhibitions

NMDA is a glutamate receptor and over-activation of this receptor can cause over-excitation and even excitotoxicity.

A few common, yet effective NMDA receptor antagonists include:

  • Theanine
  • Zinc
  • Agmatine
  • Ketamine (also known as “special K” in party circles)
  • Huperzine
  • Cat’s claw
  • Panax ginseng
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Magnesium (can be sedative in high dose. Magnesium taurate or threonate might have the most mental effect)

Boost dopamine 

Dopamine will help with being outgoing, creative in conversation, open, happy, witty, etc.

If you want to know why dopamine is so awesome, check out this article: The high dopamine & histamine personality.

A few common dopamine boosters include:

  • Huperzine
  • Uridine
  • Piracetam & Phenylpiracetam
  • Catuaba bark
  • CDP choline
  • Kava
  • Forskolin
  • Mucuna Pruriens
  • Taurine
  • Glycine
  • Phenibut

Read more here on how to boost dopamine and which foods can boost dopamine.

Boost histamine

Histamine and dopamine share similar effects in how they make you feel, so if you want to read more on that, check out this article: The high dopamine & histamine personality.

To boost histamine you can simple take a combination of 2-4g histidine and 500mg kutaja bark (Conessine from Holarrhena antidysenterica is an H3 antagonist).

Boost opioids 

Opioids can have varied effects depending on which receptor they bind strongest to, but in general, opioids help against depression and anxiety and can help you feel better.

Natural opioids can be found in wheat and A1 milk, but with wheat being the strongest. Natural opioids can rather have a mind-numbing (even dumbing) effect.

A few pro-opioid supplements include:

  • Tianeptine
  • Selank
  • Krotum (R)
  • Taurine (R)

AMPA receptor antagonism

AMPA is another receptor that glutamate binds to, to exert excitation. Blocking this receptor can help against fear and anxiety.

A few natural antagonists include:

  • Curcumin derivatives (R)
  • Lavender and Lebanese oregano (aka Syrian oregano) (R)
  • Taurine (R)
  • Zinc (R)

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor activator

Nicotinic receptor activation improves attention span, alertness, arousal, enjoyment and similar traits to dopamine, since it causes the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (the enjoyment centre of the brain).

Nicotine and acetylcholine are two of the most potent nACh receptor agonists, however, too much acetylcholine can make you feel flat and depressed. So this leaves you with nicotine as the best option. However, chronic use will desensitize and upregulate nACh receptors and can cause many cognitive and neurological disorders. For example, smokers are much more prone to suffer from ADHD, depression, suicidality and more.

Galantamine is a “safer” alternative to nicotine. It’s also a nACh receptor-positive modulator but is less likely to cause desensitization and withdrawal compared to nicotine.

Calcium channel blocker

Calcium influx into a cell causes excitation and excitotoxicity. A few natural inhibitor include:

  • Magnesium
  • Phenibut
  • Kava
  • Taurine (R)

Adenosine promotor

Adenosine an inhibitory neurotransmitter that’s involved in sleep and relaxation. Adenosine antagonism is the main mechanism how caffeine promotes energy levels.

Cordycepin found in Cordyceps appears to increase theta brain waves in animals through the adenosine receptors (R).

Supplements that can be used alone to mimic the effects of alcohol


Phenibut is one great example since it boosts dopamine and activates the GABA-B receptors, creating a good vibe of calm energy. It also blocks the voltage-gated calcium channels, which reduces the release of glutamate and nitric oxide, further helping against, depression, anxiety, OCD, and other mood/mental disorders.

However, phenibut has additive properties and you can build tolerance fast. So if done right, with dosing once or twice a week, then it should be fine to use while limiting the downsides.

Phenibut can also be combined with alcohol for an added effect.


Kava has been consumed for centuries throughout the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia, including Hawaii, Vanuatu, Melanesia, and some parts of Micronesia for its sedating properties. To a lesser extent, it is consumed in nations where it is exported as an herbal medicine and is also used in ceremonies.

The root of the plant has sedative, anesthetic, and euphoriant properties. Consuming the root as a supplement or as a water extract has low risk of side effects. However, consuming the extract made with organic solvents can be an issue and had the potential of harming the liver.

A Ketone ester

R,S-1,3-butanediol is a widely available nontoxic dialcohol and component of ketone esters. A few esters it’s found in include, R,S-1,3-butanediol acetoacetate monoesters and diester, 1,3-butanediol monoester of β-hydroxybutyrate. These ketone esters can rapidly boost ketone levels in the blood. Apart from the ester, ketones itself are pro-GABA and an easy fuel source for the brain, and this can give you nice calm energy.

This specific ester, R,S-1,3-butanediol, can be used to produce a similar “buzz” to alcohol, without the side effects of losing yourself, getting out of control or getting a hangover.

Stacks to mimic the effects of alcohol

It’s a good idea to start with individual supplements first to see how you react to each, before considering combining them. That’s when you’ll get the most value out of supplements, because you can tweak dosages and stacks according to how you react to each supplement.

Once you have a good idea of how you react to each supplement, then you can start combining them for added benefit. However, there is also nothing wrong with jumping in at the deep side and trying stacks as is.

Idea 1

Normal stack:

  • 200-400mg Caffeine
  • 200mg theanine

Supercharged stack:

  • 200mg-400mg Caffeine
  • 200mg theanine
  • 1mg methylene blue
  • 100mg vitamin B1 (sulbutiamine/benfotiamine)

Superduper charge stack:

  • 200mg-400mg Caffeine
  • 200mg theanine
  • 1mg methylene blue
  • 100mg vitamin B1 (sulbutiamine/benfotiamine)
  • 1mg nicotine
  • 100mg CBD

Idea 2

Normal stack:

  • 250-500mg Uridine
  • 2-6g taurine

Supercharged stack:

  • 250-500mg Uridine
  • 2-6g taurine
  • >50mg L-dopa (from >15% Mucuna pruriens extract)
  • 500-1500mg niacinamide

Idea 3

Normal stack:

  • 2-4g Histidine
  • 500mg valerian root

Supercharge stack:

  • 2-4g histidine
  • 500mg valerian root
  • 500mg kutaja bark
  • 100-200mcg huperzine
  • 2-6g taurine

What are you using instead of alcohol? What are you using to amplify the effects of alcohol? Let me know in the comments below, or contribute to the conversation here.

As always, thanks so much for reading my article. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions. And if you found this article to be insightful and helpful please like and share so this information can help others as well.

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5 Replies to “Substituting/enhancing the effects of alcohol with these exceptional supplements”

  1. Hans thank you for your dedication and work to help us all

  2. Hey Hans, What is your opinion to replace alcohol with GHB once in a while

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