The term ‘nootropic’ comes from the Greek for bending or shaping the mind. These supplements are linked with various brain benefits, including improving memory, boosting creativity, and better decision making.
Adderall is one of the best-known nootropics and is associated with improved focus and concentration. However, it is illegal to use this drug without a prescription. This doesn’t stop people from using it, though, and high school and university students often try the drug to help them study.
Yet, those who are unwilling to take the risk want legal alternatives to Adderall. It is also a fact that the drug causes several unwanted side effects. There are plenty of alternatives to Adderall in the modern era containing natural ingredients with minimal side effects. These supplements also have the advantage of being legally available online.
This guide looks into prescription drugs similar to Adderall and the top-rated natural nootropics users can try instead. First, however, let’s find out more about Adderall, what it does, and its adverse effects.
What Is Adderall?
It is a prescription drug primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or daytime sleepiness (narcolepsy). Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant with the same effects on users who don’t have ADHD.
The drug is a brand name for a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Both substances are part of the stimulant class of drugs. Its possible benefits include:
- Improved attention span
- Controlling behavioral problems
- Increasing the user’s ability to stay focused on a task
- Better listening skills
- Improved organizational skills
Adderall works by altering naturally occurring chemicals in the brain. It enhances the effects of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Data from the Cleveland Clinic shows that Adderall and similar stimulants can improve ADHD symptoms in 70-80% of children and up to 70% of adults. The benefits are even more noticeable when the drug is used in conjunction with behavioral therapy.
The precise dosage depends on the individual’s medical condition and how they respond to treatment. A physician may adjust the dose for greater effectiveness.
While it is effective in many cases, patients are seeking nootropics that are better than Adderall. The search for alternatives to Adderall is mainly due to the side effects associated with the drug.
Adderall Side Effects
Adderall provides side effects regardless of whether the user has ADHD or not. One of its main uses is as a study aid since it can keep users awake for many hours. However, evening use is not recommended as it can interfere with sleep. Other Adderall side effects include:
- Potential hallucinations
- Dry mouth
- High blood pressure
- Stomach ache
- Increased heart rate
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Slowed growth in children
- Constricted blood vessels
- Numbness in the fingers
- Swelling of the tongue, throat, and face
The above only covers some of the potential adverse effects. Adderall could result in heart attacks, strokes, and even death. It is addictive, and if someone uses a large amount without a medical need and stops taking it suddenly, they may experience symptoms such as depression, fatigue, or suicidal thoughts.
Individuals who are allergic to stimulants should avoid using Adderall. People with the following medical issues are also advised to steer clear:
- Overactive thyroid
- High blood pressure
- A history of alcohol or drug addiction
- Vascular disease or hardening of the arteries
- Severe anxiety
- Heart disease
Finally, approximately 180 medications interact with Adderall. This combination of medication can cause a range of issues. For instance, using it with certain drugs can significantly increase serotonin, leading to a serious medical condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity.
There are plenty of prescription drug alternatives to Adderall. These include:
These drugs are divided into short, intermediate, and long-acting forms. Users take short and intermediate-acting acting options, such as Focalin and Dexedrine, 2-3 times a day. The effects of long-acting drugs such as Vyvanse, Adderall XR, And Ritalin LA can last up to 12 hours. Therefore, it is generally only necessary to use them once a day.
Both Ritalin and Adderall are central nervous stimulants that increase the availability of neurotransmitters.
Ritalin is a popular alternative to Adderall. Methylphenidate is the generic form of Ritalin, and the average daily dose ranges from 5mg to a maximum of 60mg. Most people experience similar benefits when taking Ritalin and Adderall. Both are central nervous stimulants that increase the availability of neurotransmitters. They both speed up brain activity and improve focus.
Many users find that Ritalin takes effect faster, but Adderall is effective for longer. However, regardless of the prescription stimulant used, the long list of side effects remains similar. Therefore, it is perhaps worth considering an Adderall substitute.
What Are the Best Adderall Alternatives?
Before we look into the best natural alternatives to Adderall, we would like to provide information on prescription options with fewer side effects. Modafinil, sold under brand names such as Provigil and Alertec, is arguably one of the most popular nootropics like Adderall that isn’t legally available over-the-counter.
It offers similar cognitive and focus-enhancing benefits to Adderall, but significantly fewer reported side effects. Users often report the following:
- Increased energy levels
- Better drive and motivation
- 12-16 hours of focus
- Improved mood
- Heightened cognition
There are still side effects such as dizziness, nervousness, nausea, insomnia, and headache. However, severe allergic reactions or adverse side effects are relatively rare. Yet, while Adderall is linked with dozens of deaths, there are no valid reports of death occurring due to overdose of modafinil alone, according to the American Addiction Centers.
While Adderall is linked with dozens of deaths, there are no valid reports of death occurring due to overdose of modafinil alone.
Armodafinil is another popular prescription smart drug. Its effects are similar to modafinil but last for 9-12 hours. In contrast, modafinil’s effects can last up to 16 hours in some users. The slightly shorter effect duration means one can use armodafinil in the early afternoon and perhaps experience no negative impact on sleep.
Adrafinil is an OTC drug that’s significantly cheaper than modafinil or armodafinil. It provides up to nine hours of cognitive enhancement but is less potent than the prescription options.
Now that we’ve looked through a few synthetic Adderall alternatives let’s focus on natural nootropics.
Natural Alternatives to Adderall
There are a significant number of nootropics like Adderall on the market. However, when making a decision, please research the following regarding any alternatives to Adderall:
Natural Ingredients: Many natural nootropics ingredients, such as lion’s mane, Rhodiola rosea, and Ginkgo biloba, have at least some scientific data to back up claims they can help positively impact the brain’s function.
Clear Labeling: Low-grade products contain significant amounts of caffeine to trick users into thinking they’re effective. Focus on brands that clearly state what a serving contains.
Research-Backed: Products such as Prevagen have drawn criticism for providing a lack of evidence to substantiate the brand’s claims. Indeed, Quincy Bioscience, the makers of Prevagen, have faced legal action amid accusations of false advertising. Only buy nootropics with ingredients linked to improved brain function by reputable studies.
Brand Reputation: Nootropics brands spring up overnight in an industry that lacks oversight. We recommend purchasing natural Adderall alternatives from companies with a few years in the sector. Check out customer reviews to learn even more about a brand and its products.
Money-Back Guarantee: Nootropics don’t work for everyone, and reputable companies understand this. They also stand by their products and provide a cast-iron guarantee, usually in the 30 to 60-day range.
There are several excellent options, but we’ve highlighted three that may be quality options for those seeking natural Adderall over the counter.
1 – SANE Vitaae
- A multi-purpose formula that can act as an anti-aging supplement and cognition booster
- A simple list of ingredients with no filler
- Each supplement container only lasts 15 days
SANE Laboratories created this product, which contains several ingredients known for their anti-inflammatory effects. Each bottle contains 45 capsules, and the brand recommends a serving size of three. Here is what’s inside each serving:
- 125mcg of vitamin D
- 100mg of citicoline
- 667 mcg of Magnafolate
- 50mg of coenzyme Q10
- 1800mg of a VitaalMind Proprietary Blend (Including omega 3 fatty acid concentrate and L-carnitine tartrate)
Using this product daily could help improve concentration, mood, and mental clarity. SANE Laboratories is a reputable firm, so customers have peace of mind. As a container only lasts for 15 days, it is potentially rather expensive. However, SANE offers a 6 for the price of 4 deal which cuts the cost dramatically.
2 – BiOptimizers CogniBiotics
- 365-day money-back guarantee
- Made in a GMP-certified facility
- It contains a unique blend of ingredients
Founded in 2004 by Matt Gallant and Wade Lightheart, BiOptimizers has established itself as a reputable nutrition supplement company. It has paired with several leading experts in their respective fields, including enzyme specialists and Chinese herbal experts. All of this experience is brought to bear in its CogniBiotics product. Each container offers 60 capsules, and the serving size is two. Each serving contains:
- 30 billion CFU of a proprietary probiotic blend
- 280mg of a Chinese herbal blend
- 260mg of prebiotic complex
BiOptimizers clearly outline what’s contained in each blend. Like the rest of the company’s supplement range, CogniBiotics is American-made, created in a GMP-certified facility, and possesses the manufacturing COA badge.
3 – Zenit Labs Brain C-13
- Six-month ‘empty bottle’ money-back guarantee
- Reasonably well priced for a nootropic
- Includes 13 natural ingredients to help with cognitive health
- Not suitable for anyone under the age of 18
The well-respected Zenith Labs created Brain C-13. According to the company, Brain C-13 provides advanced brain health support, helps awareness, and boosts mood. There are 90 capsules in a container, and the serving size is three. As the product name suggests, this nootropics supplement contains 13 ingredients. Each serving offers:
- 150mg of DMAE
- 300mcg of huperzine A
- 75mg of phosphatidylserine
- 75mg of dimethylglycine
- 150mg of acetyl-L-carnitine
- 150mg of velvet bean seed
- 150mg of rhodiola root extract
- 150mg of rosemary leaf
- 150mg of citicoline
- 150mg of bacopa whole plant extract
- 150mg of ginkgo leaf
- 150mg of turmeric root
- 150mg of gotu kola
This is a nice blend of natural ingredients that could protect brain cells and is unlikely to cause side effects. Zenith Labs also offers one of the best money-back guarantees on the market. Users can claim the purchase price back after six months if they don’t feel a difference in their health, energy, or happiness. The guarantee is in effect even if the bottles are empty.
Final Thoughts on the Best Natural Adderall Alternatives
The hunt is on for natural Adderall alternatives that improve brain function. While Adderall is designed for people with ADHD and a handful of specific conditions, others use it to help boost their brainpower. However, the drug is only available on prescription and comes with a number of possible side effects.
Therefore, it makes sense to try nootropics containing natural ingredients that don’t cause significant adverse outcomes. The three natural nootropics we outlined in this article are potentially suitable for anyone who feels they need a mental boost during the day. Individuals with mentally draining jobs and daily lives can finally get much-needed help without the risk of addiction.
Nonetheless, we recommend performing detailed research into any nootropics brand you’re interested in. Also, individuals who are currently using prescription drugs should consult with a physician first before using any nootropics supplement.