The 7 Best Adderall Alternatives in 2018 (and Beyond)
At first glance, Adderall may seem to be a good medication for conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and has been a recommended remedy for it for a while.
In the past, it was thought to be a pediatric condition. However, recent data suggests that 30% to 70% of children with ADHD continue to exhibit the same symptoms in adulthood.
American adults who are prescribed medication to treat the disorder increased by 90% from 2002 to 2005.
Adderall is the most widely-prescribed medicine for people with ADHD, but because of people’s tendency to abuse and psychological and physical dependency, it has been classified as a “Schedule II stimulant” by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
This means they are only legally available through prescription, with a limit of 30 days’ worth of doses.
“ADHD” and Substance Abuse
Unfortunately, despite the restrictions, the illegal use of ADHD stimulants such as Adderall has become popular during the late 90s for American college campuses.
Research found out that some students sample these stimulants recreationally – highest among fraternities, students from the northeastern region of the United States, and students from competitive colleges.
These students were soon found out to be more likely to consume alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and participate in other risky behaviors.
They also discovered that while there are only very few participants have prescription for ADHD medication, more than 35% used ADHD medication illegally.
These students eventually frame stimulant use as physically harmless and morally acceptable as it becomes a stigma-free part of the culture.
The same research advocates for increasing knowledge about ADHD stimulants, and enlightening the public that:
- Not because ADHD prescription medications are produced, regulated and prescribed by medical establishments, they are always safe ADHD stimulants have no harmful physical side effects
- Using or distributing these substances are not dangerous, as distribution of these stimulants may carry legal repercussions in some states
- ADHD is more than a “periodic inability to concentrate”
- ADHD medications are akin to coffee or a can of Diet Coke
Adderall: Is it completely healthy?
First and foremost, what exactly is Adderall?
Adderall is used primarily to treat ADHD and is a combination of Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine. It is a central nervous system stimulant, meaning it speeds up and heightens certain bodily processes. It also has benefits to people with sleeping disorders, and in some cases treat severe depression.
It increases the availability of certain neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, boosting alertness, attention and energy levels.
Adderall is taken orally and is prescribed by a physician that normally gives a low dose to avoid unwanted side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach and digestive issues
- Reduced appetite, diarrhea and constipation
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Excess fatigue and difficulty sleeping
When untreated, these side-effects can become severe and have dangerous effects ranging anywhere from chest pain to aggressive behavior.
Given these risks, a lot of people still ask if there are any effective over-the-counter alternatives to Adderall that are both legal and safe. The good news is that there are –and perhaps the only thing stopping customers like you from getting a good amount of these products are restrictions and prescriptions – but products do exist that are safer and more natural compared to Adderall.
Most of them are stacks or a mixture of ingredients aimed in increasing performance. These “brain foods” boost the effects of external factors such as exercise habits, sun exposure, social group and genetics to the brain’s chemical behavior.
These “brain foods” are useful especially when a user does not have the time to perform all of the tasks mentioned. These products help address deficiencies and imbalance in the neurological system, and increase an overall ability to concentrate, energy regulation, and mood balance.
Adderall is a powerful stimulant, but there are more natural, healthier alternatives available in the market.
Are nootropics the answer?
These “brain foods” are also commonly called Nootropics. They are a class of cognitive-enhancing supplements that are used to improve concentration and boost memory power – which means they can also be used to increase attention span, focus and studying power.
Nootropics are also labeled as “smart drugs” as they are associated with activities involving intelligence, motivation and mental energy.
However, unlike smart drugs that have side effects (often negative) with long-term use, Nootropics generally tend to be safe, neuroprotective (meaning they protect the brain) and pose a very low risk of side-effects.
This means nootropics can also directly affect the levels of brain chemicals associated with slowing down the aging process, and can even stimulate the growth of new synapses and vastly improve mental clarity – making it a good tool for students and professionals alike.
Nootropics share a common characteristic with Adderall where they enhance communication between neurons or the message centers of the brain. They balance neurotransmitter levels by promoting brain cell health, as they also improve energy metabolism in neurons, and stimulate their growth.
Most nootropics are synthetic, meaning they come in form of manufactured products such as capsules and tablets – but most (if not all) of them are natural-borne and are made from natural substances found in nature.
For instance, fish oil, grape seed extract, bacopa monnieri, yerba mate and licorice are natural Nootropics. These ingredients are often combined in a stack (as will be explained later) to further enhance their effectiveness.
Continuous usage of nootropics can help improve the health of neurons, which contribute to long lasting improvement to the health and function of the brain.
Some nootropics increase blood flow, or supply it with nutrients, oxygen and glucose which is the primary energy source of the brain. This is vital to the brain’s function as it requires an immense amount of energy, despite being only 2% of our body mass. It constitutes 20% of our energy expenditure, meaning it requires regular maintenance.
This is generally maintained by mental exercises, learning new things, concentration, and staying alert – so with the help of oxygenation and raising blood flow, focus can be significantly improved.
So what other nootropic alternatives to Adderall are available in the market?
THE TOP 7 NOOTROPIC ALTERNATIVES TO ADDERALL
Improves alertness, neuroprotective, treats ADHD
Speeds up nerve signals, boosts clearer thoughts
Improves alertness, assertiveness and concentration
Boosts productivity and creativity, improves mental clarity, reduces stress
Improves cognitive performance and brain function
Increases memory and cognitive function, boosts brain power
Improves focus and productivity, improves mood
Those are my top 7, and while they may not be the same for everyone, they work incredibly well for me.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each nootropic.
Modafinil is a prescription wakefulness enhancer that increases productivity and cognitive function, with much more manageable side effects. Though a bit expensive, Modafinil will make users feel more alert, and has been reported to be a good treatment for ADHD.
Modafinil is said to be more gentle to the brain compared to Adderall, and may even be neuroprotective, or can protect the brain from injury. It inhibits dopamine reuptake, increasing dopamine concentrations at synapses, which enhances alertness.
2. Alpha Brain
Alpha Brain is the leading nootropic “stack” product on the market, or a combination of different supplements. A lot of nootropics or smart drugs exhibit “synergistic harmony” that elevates the effects of all members of the said stack.
One of its most important components, Alpha GPC, boosts acetylcholine in the brain, which is key to faster nerve signaling. It boosts clearer thoughts, and helps make neural tissue healthier.
Other ingredients such as GABA and Vitamin B6 are stress relievers that can help ADHD patients. Alpha Brain is boosted with beneficial herbs and supplements such as AC-11, Bacopa Monnieri, Serrata, Pterostilbene, Mucuna Pruriens, and Oat Straw.
Natural Stacks’ Dopamine Brain Food is yet another popular iteration of these “stacks,” which makes full advantage of dopamine. It is a neurotransmitter responsible for motivation, memory and creativity, that helps users stay alert and focused, be more athletic, and boosts alertness, assertiveness and confidence.
Primary ingredients for this particular stack are L-Phenylalanine and L-Tyrosine, which are amino acids that help synthesize dopamine.
Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Selenium are responsible in converting other substances to dopamine, and convert dopamine to norepinephrine that boosts alertness and concentration.
Folate, Vitamin B12 and Trimethylglycine boost the performance of norepinephrine and epinephrine in attention-based activities.
In general, Dopamine Brain Food boosts mental alertness, athletic performance, and provides an increased drive to accomplish tasks.
Smart Caffeine uses L-Theanine, which is ideal for creating a relaxed yet alert state that is useful for productive and focused activity. It helps align a user’s energy for consistency, total mental clarity, without jitters, anxiety and nausea.
Ingredients for Smart Caffeine includes natural caffeine, which is the most popular stimulant available in the market. L-Theanine from green tea naturally helps induce mental relaxation, reduced stress, and improved memory.
Smart Caffeine works best to individuals that are used to handling caffeine, which includes students and professionals.
Caffeine on its own cannot become an effective cognitive enhancer, as users often experience an anxious mental state that is followed by a “crash,” or tolerant users may simply not get the “kick” they need at all. Natural caffeine and L-Theanine work synergistically to boost each other’s positive effects.
Axon Labs’ Nexus claims to be the most advanced nootropic in the world, capable of providing both improved cognitive performance and maximum long-term brain function.
It works by facilitating receptors that interact with electrical signals which form short-term memory. Nexus optimizes the mitochondria to boost mental performance by helping it produce more cellular energy.
This particular smart drug enhances the brain neuroreceptors with its ingredients. Aniracetam strengthens interconnections with neurons, increasing blood flow to the association cortex that boosts higher level processes and holistic thinking. CDP Choline and Phosphatidyslerine can help maintain cellular function in the brain.
Sulbutiamine and Vitamin B help produce Acetylcholine, which is known to work with other nootropic ingredients to boost their effects. R-Lipoic Acid and Vitamin C boost mitochondrial activity and cellular energy production.
Neurohacker Collective’s all-inclusive Qualia stack supports increased memory and cognitive function, by combining a very long list of nootropics and nootropic herbs like Ashwaganda, L-Theanine, Coqsol-10, Pterostilbene and Alpha Lipoic Acid to improve focus in users. This boosts concentration ability and peak brain power, reducing fatigue and improving clarity.
Each capsule is a blend of Caffeine, Choline, Taurine, Caffeine, Vitamin B6 and B12 and much much more, which are known ingredients that effectively combine and boost mental processes. Vitamins B6 and B12, for instance, are known not only to aid cognitive function, but to keep neurons generally healthy as well.
Qualia is hands down my favorite nootropic stack, not only because it works so well, but also because it has overall brain health as a top priority (not just “improvement”). As such, it’s a top contender for the best natural alternative to Adderall on the market today.
SPRINT is a smart drug designed for immediate use and provides clarity, energy and flow effective for a good run of four to six hours. It is ideal to use when finishing big projects, long days at work, or overcoming mentally demanding tasks.
While each bottle contains only ten capsules, SPRINT takes effect immediately right after consumption and is a good substitute to coffee or an energy drink for focus and productivity.
Its components, which are Caffeine, L-Thenaine, Vitamins B6 and B12, Glucuronolactone and Inositol, are specifically chosen for their effects to boost alertness, focus, memory and reaction time. Each complement the other’s effects, which include improved rapid visual information processing, attention and mood improvement.
Glucuronolactone is specifically praised in SPRINT as it converts toxic substances in the bloodstream into water-soluble conjugates that can be excreted in urine. This is important as a lot of toxic substances build up under stress and lack of sleep.
Are they worth it?
But do we really need these products? Absolutely.
Not only are we in an environment where tasks are becoming increasingly demanding, but results are being demanded on a much quicker pace than we could generally handle.
Contrary to popular belief, the usage of supplements the right way not only can boost mental performance, but boost results as well.
The above products not only prove that certain ingredients work by being synergistic with one another, but they also prove that these supplements, coupled with healthy diet and exercise, could put our brains to its maximum potential.
Being more focused in tasks not only produces better results, but they can also help us become the following:
- More in control of our lives as we will become more aware of our plans.
- More positive, as a healthy psychological state can drive determination in achieving goals.
- Being more aware of oneself, which is essential in pursuing any goal and help us become stronger in the long-term.
- Improved decision-making, which boosts our trust in oneself and in others, as having a focused mind helps bolster growth.
- Being more reflective, as clarity and focus helps us become more open to methods to help us achieve our goals.
Despite what our peers might say, constant misuse of drugs and stimulants can let us stray from this path and even damage our brains, moving us further away from our goals to be more productive.
The above products can help mitigate the damages and still provide results.
What is your favorite Adderall alternative?
Update 2018: 5 more suggestions to try
Here are five more popular and safe Adderall alternatives I was able to get my hands on.
While I found Focusene and a Uridine stack my preferred choice, it might be something else entirely for you. But above all else, always remember to consult your doctor before you get started on a particular regime.
One of first alternatives for Adderall to appear, Addtabz was developed to be safer and more accessible for the masses. It was created with the sole aim to positively affect cognitive ability and performance for students and professionals alike.
I read the reviews (many negative) and decided to take the plunge and see for myself.
Since there were no ingredients listed on the website, I was wary about it and took just 1 pill a day. It only touches upon the primary ingredient and nothing else. I would advise you to consult your doctor before you take this.
I’ve used it for a period of over 2 months and I didn’t feel overwhelmingly productive, but still had no hindrances and side effects like jitters and anxiety normally associated with Adderall. I was less likely to be in a foul mood at the end of the day and generally had a good experience even after it had tapered off.
This was one of the newer ones to hit the market. I’ve heard about its benefits from several friends, but since I was involved with testing other nootropics I never had the time to test it out. So after I was done with everything, I wanted to see for myself why everyone was giving out rave reviews about this supplement.
First off, it’s an all-natural supplement which contains Dandelion Extract, Forskolin, L–Theanine, Phenylalanine and vitamins for a solid foundation.
Suggested dosage is 2 capsules in the morning and that’s exactly what I did. I had good results with these as they gave me a heightened feeling of awareness and a general calmness. Would definitely recommend!
This was a completely herbal nootropic supplement which was marketed as a dietary supplement. It contains a mix of natural anti-oxidants, stimulants and nootropics to improve brain function and cognition.
Since it was completely natural, I believed that it would have relatively less side effects. Plus, I could buy it a lot easier than most of the other ‘specialized’ nootropics.
It contains the usual suspects: Gingko, Huperzine and choline. Also included are Yerba Mate and Gurana.
The directions were to take 1-2 capsules a day along with plenty of water. Since my allotment for nootropics was 30$ a month (a bottle of this was 60), I decided to take just 1 pill in the morning. But I had no noticeable effects for the first 5 days. So I went ahead with 2 capsules just because I wanted to review its effects on a proper dose.
I had a good sense of clarity post the upped dosage and felt that I could get tasks done quicker. I wouldn’t call it the best or the most cost effective, but it’s still a viable alternative to Adderall.
Including Uridine in a stack for increased cognitive benefits was relatively new to me. In fact, I only first heard about it on the Longecity forum (from user “Mr. Happy”) before writing about it here on Corpina.
As recommended in that post, your dosage depends upon your source of Uridine. It could either be 250mg (UMP) or 25-50 (TAU). I was able to get myself TAU plus it is also absorbed easier by the body.
The day I took TAU together with DHA,, I could definitely sense a more substantial effect when it came to getting my work done. I could supplement Uridine and choline to get a much better feedback from my current nootropic regime. This was an eye-opener!
Another product whose ads were literally everywhere on the internet when it came to nootropics! The first thing that came to my mind was that something this well-marketed could not be bad. Then I read this review.
Though that review was anything but flattering, I found a few people who had benefitted from it as well. It struck me as a bit expensive considering that it offered comparatively less benefits compared to the rest of the products we have in this round-up.
More on taking Adderall
- Adderall & Xanax: Why Are So Many Americans Hooked on Both?
- Adderall Withdrawal: Symptoms & Effective At-Home Remedies
- Adderall & Weed: Effective & Enjoyable (When Used Properly)
- Adderall & Alcohol: A Powerful Combination (But Not Worth It)
- Snorting Adderall: Fun in the Short Term, But You’ll Regret It Later
- Taking Adderall for Depression Will Only Get You So Far (Try This Instead)
- The Adderall High: What I Learned From Playing With Fire
- How to Restore your Dopamine Receptors after Years of Adderall Use and Abuse
- The Best Nootropic Stack to Replace Adderall & Ritalin
- 11 Safe Nootropic Equivalents to Adderall
- Top 8 Natural Adderall Alternatives in 2018
- The 7 Best Adderall Alternatives in 2018 (and Beyond)
Adderall vs other products
- How To Switch From Adderall To Adrafinil?
- Optimind vs. Adderall: Is Optimind a Viable Adderall Alternative?
- Modafinil vs Adderall: Why I Made The Switch (And You Should Too)
- Alpha Brain vs. Adderall: Which is Better?
- Nuvigil vs. Adderall: Which Supplement Is More Effective?
- Which is safer Adderall or Modafinil (Provigil)?