Hey there! Welcome to my round-up of the best nootropics for addiction recovery.
There’s no doubt that overcoming addiction and dealing with withdrawals is difficult. Fortunately, some nootropics and supplements can help support your journey and keep your mind on the right path.
As someone who is managing my own recovery, I have found certain cognitive-enhancing compounds to be invaluable.
I have spent many hours researching and testing various products to narrow the list down to what I feel are the 13 best nootropics for addiction recovery.
It’s important to note that while I feel these 13 products can be truly impactful, they are not magic pills.
They’re meant to simply deliver critical nutrients to your brain that are proven to stabilize neurotransmitters and stack the neurochemical odds in your favor.
Getting and staying clean requires a complete overhaul of your life including a solid support network, getting the professional help you need, and time to heal.
It’s also essential to take care of your body holistically, with proper nutrition, exercise, hydration, and sleep.
Most importantly, overcoming addiction requires patience.
If that sounds like something you can adhere to, and you’re ready to discover some powerful nootropics to aid your recovery, let’s jump into it!
What Are The Best Nootropics for Addiction Recovery in September 2023 – Quick Answers
Best Nootropics For Addiction and Withdrawal
The neuroscience of addiction is a complex and constantly changing topic that goes beyond the scope of this article.
Much of the research, however, has focused on the prevalence of addiction in relation to several factors, including stress hormones, inflammation, and metabolism.
Of course there are many other factors that contribute to the addicted brain, not least of which surround a person’s particular psychology, family upbringing, and environment, among many others.
When we discuss using nootropics and supplements to control addiction and aid recovery we are not saying that these nutrients should take the place of any other therapy, rather, they are critical nutrients that steer the brain and body in the right direction.
Let’s say for example you wanted to build bigger chest muscles. You can do a lot of pushups and eventually get there, but a barbell with heavier weights will get the job done more effectively.
In your recovery journey, nootropics are like the weights you need to supply your brain with the neurotransmitters to stabilize and head in the right direction.
5 Best Nootropics For Addiction Recovery – September 2023
Blood Sugar Breakthrough
Prevents development of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance often seen in addiction
Optimizes use of glucose from food
Helps regulate mood swings because it improves cognitive abilities
Decreases sugar cravings
- Contains natural ingredients that have been clinically proven to help lower blood sugar levels
- Has been shown to help people lose weight
- comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can feel confident that you’re not wasting your money if it doesn’t work for you
- Produced by BiOptimizers, one of the most trusted names in the Supplement Industry
- Can be a bit pricey
- Encapsulation includes magnesium stearate, and silicon dioxide (not toxic at low levels, but not 100% clean)
Dysregulated blood sugar levels have been associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline, development of depressive symptoms, and formation of addictive behavior patterns.1Lynette C. Daws, Malcolm J. Avison, Sabrina D. Robertson, Kevin D. Niswender, Aurelio Galli, and Christine Saunders, Insulin signaling and addiction, Neuropharmacology. 2012
Studies also suggest that people who have had a history of substance abuse are at an increased risk of development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes due to increased cell damage and the adverse effects of opioids on glucose homeostasis.2Omorogieva Ojo, Xiao-Hua Wang , Osarhumwese Osaretin Ojo , Jude Ibe, The Effects of Substance Abuse on Blood Glucose Parameters in Patients with Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Int J Environ Res Public Health. 20183C Taha, A Klip, The insulin signaling pathway, J Membr Biol. 1999
Blood Sugar Breakthrough can help to bring the blood glucose levels back into balance and thus assist the process of addiction recovery.
Mind Lab Pro
Address addiction in a holistic manner
Improve your willpower to stay on track with good habits
Enhance mood and feel-good factors through complex neurotransmitter systems
All ingredients are 3rd party tested, free of toxic ingredients
- Proven to boost overall cognitive performance including memory, focus, mood, creativity, motivation, and overall well-being.
- Potent blend of all-natural nootropics, herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
- Good for experienced biohackers and those new to nootropics.
- Caffeine Free
- No artificial fillers or toxic preservatives
- Affordable Price, money back guarantee
- Ingredients are lower dosed.
Mind Lab Pro is my top nootropic choice for overcoming addiction.
This stack includes 11 high potency ingredients that build neurotransmitters, which helps with willpower and feeling good.
The adaptogenic herbs add support by reducing brain inflammation and stress hormones.
There’s also B-vitamins and phosphatidylserine for added support.
The supplements themselves are 3rd party tested and free of excess fillers and toxic ingredients.
I love this stack for nootropic newbies and experienced nootropic users alike.
Reishi – Real Mushrooms
- May help improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels
- Can be consumed in many different forms, such as capsules, powders, teas, and tinctures
- Used in Asia for centuries as a medicinal mushroom
- Common side effects include gastrointestinal upset and nausea
- Not recommended for people with autoimmune disease or taking immunosuppressive medication
Reishi mushroom is a medicinal mushroom that helps both addiction recovery and mitigate harsh withdrawal symptoms.4Huihui Wu, Shanshan Tang , Zhaoqin Huang, Qian Zhou , Ping Zhang , Zuohong Chen, Hepatoprotective Effects and Mechanisms of Action of Triterpenoids from Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes) on α-Amanitin-Induced Liver Injury in Mice, Int J Med Mushrooms. 2016
It has immunomodulating effects that keep your body’s defense mechanisms calm, balances hormones, and promotes hepatic health, which are all crucial for successful addiction recovery.5Huihui Wu, Shanshan Tang, Zhaoqin Huang, Qian Zhou, Ping Zhang , Zuohong Chen, Hepatoprotective Effects and Mechanisms of Action of Triterpenoids from Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes) on α-Amanitin-Induced Liver Injury in Mice, Int J Med Mushrooms. 2016;
This mushroom contains many essential macro- and micro- nutrients, which will help you from feeling tired, dizzy, and lethargic during the recovery period.
Reishi also promotes neuroplasticity, and enhances antioxidant status in the body to keep you feeling sharp and healthy while abstaining from substances..6Sissi Wachtel-Galor, John Yuen, John A. Buswell, and Iris F. F. Benzie., Chapter 9Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), CRC Press/Taylor & Francis. 2011
Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Reishi.
- Includes the 7 most effective forms of magnesium
- Highly credible manufacturer
- No added fillers, preservatives, or unnecessary ingredients
- Free shipping and discounts are available
- Underdosed for specific magnesium type you may want
Research suggests that the intake of Magnesium in supplemental form may assist in the reduction of the intensity of addiction to alcohol, cocaine, opiates, amphetamine, and nicotine.7Mihai Nechifor, Magnesium in drug abuse and addiction, University of Adelaide Press. 2011
The underlying mechanism for magnesium’s potential role in addiction recovery may be attributed to the fact that drug abusers and alcohol consumers often have relatively lower levels of magnesium concentration intracellularly and also in their blood plasma when compared to non-drug dependent individuals.8Mihai Nechifor, Magnesium in addiction – a general view, Magnes Res. 20189Kari Poikolainen & Hannu Alho , Magnesium treatment in alcoholics: A randomized clinical trial, Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy volume 3. 2008
Not only does magnesium help in emerging from addiction and dependency, it may also help in reducing the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and managing stress in drug-dependent individuals.10Mihai Nechifor, Magnesium in addiction – a general view, Magnes Res. 2018
Magnesium Breakthrough contains is a good amalgamation of various absorbable forms of dietary magnesium. Hence, it is highly recommended as a useful supplement in addiction recovery.
L-Theanine – Nootropics Depot
L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves, and it’s the compound that’s responsible for tea’s relaxing effects.
This might be valuable for recovering addicts, who may appreciate l-theanine’s non-habit forming chill-out effects. According to research, it can lower anxiety through its action on the GABA, dopamine, and serotonin system.
This process could help calm you down during the stressful period while you are detoxing. L-theanine helped addicted primates stay clean from opiates during one trial.11Laura E. Wise, et al. L-theanine attenuates abstinence signs in morphine-dependent rhesus monkeys and elicits anxiolytic-like activity in mice, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012
Quitting any substance is always going to be tough and stressful. Withdrawing can trigger your body’s fight-or-flight response, which can cause a lot of anxiety and may cause a relapse.
Luckily, l-theanine may reduce these symptoms and help you stay calm as you detox.
- Non-addictive and has few side effects
- Does not interact with other medications, so it can be taken safely by people who are taking other medications for other conditions
- Relatively inexpensive and is covered by many insurance plans
- Can cause withdrawal symptoms in people who stop taking it suddenly
- Can also cause liver damage, so people with liver problems should not take nalt
L-tyrosine is a common amino acid found in foods like cheese. It is an essential building block of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, which are critical for regulating mood and motivation.
People struggling with addiction often have imbalances in these transmitters. Many drugs use up dopamine stores and downregulate dopamine receptors.
So, when you stop using them, you suffer from the effects of low dopamine.
Symptoms include depression, anxiety, and intense cravings for the dopamine release the drugs provide.
Theoretically, taking an l-tyrosine supplement could boost levels of dopamine naturally and help curb some of the withdrawal symptoms.
L-tyrosine may also improve focus, reduce stress, and support healthy brain chemistry during the stress of withdrawals.
If you want to go this route, we recommend taking NALT, which is a more bioavailable form of l-tyrosine.
Although there is currently no clinical evidence to support this use, many people have reported success kicking opiates by using l-tyrosine.
Curcumin – Nootropics Depot
Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric that has many potential health benefits. A curcumin supplement can provide physical and cognitive benefits due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties12Susan J. Hewlings and Douglas S. Kalman. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health
, Foods. 2017
The exact mechanism of how curcumin works in the body is still not fully understood. Still, research has shown that it affects various pathways and processes related to inflammation and oxidative stress.
Curcumin modulates the activity of certain enzymes involved in the inflammatory response, such as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and lipoxygenase (LOX).
It also binds to cell receptors that control inflammation, including nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB).
Furthermore, curcumin acts as an antioxidant by scavenging damaging molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) which cause oxidative damage.
These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects are thought to be responsible for the potential physical and cognitive benefits of taking a curcumin supplement, such as the reduced risk of heart disease or improved brain function.
Numerous studies have confirmed curcumin’s cognitive benefits ranging from neuroprotection to improvements in memory and brain processing speed.13I-Chen Tsai, et al. The Effect of Curcumin Differs on Individual Cognitive Domains across Different Patient Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
, Pharmaceuticals (Basel)
However, further research is needed to understand how curcumin works in the body and its potential therapeutic applications
Phosphatidylserine – Nootropics Depot
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid molecule that is abundant in the brain. It is a major component of cell membranes and is involved in cell signaling. PS supplements have been shown to have nootropic effects, including improved memory, concentration, and mental clarity.
Additionally, PS has also been shown to improve cognitive function in people with age-related cognitive decline. The exact mechanisms by which PS exerts its nootropic effects are not fully understood, but it is thought to work by modulating neurotransmitter levels and improving neuronal membrane fluidity.
No matter how it works, though, there’s no doubt that PS supplements can have a positive impact on cognitive function. So if you’re looking for a way to boost your brainpower, consider giving PS a try!
- A powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage
- Help improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia
- Found naturally in foods like eggs and fish
- It may help boost exercise capacity and improve athletic performance
- Can cause some side effects, including gastrointestinal upset, headaches, and insomnia
- It may have a blood-thinning effect, precaution should be taken to people taking blood-thinning medication
Vitamin D3 + K2
Vitamin D3 is essential for good health
Vitamin K2 is necessary to optimize Vitamin D levels
Liposomal delivery + Nutrigenesis for best absorption
Plant-based capsule with no added fillers and preservatives
Healthy Vitamin D levels = optimal bone, immune, and mental health
Lithium is a naturally occurring trace mineral that your body requires for proper metabolism and nerve health.
Lithium orotate works by increasing levels of lithium in the brain. This mineral is known to have mood-stabilizing properties.
In addition, lithium orotate helps to reduce levels of free radicals and inflammation, which are thought to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases.
Though more research is needed, lithium orotate may be a safe and effective way to treat mental illness and promote brain health.
Aniracetam | Nootropics Unlimited
Boosts creativity and productivity
Exhibits both stimulant-like effects and calming, anti-anxiety properties
Helps with mood changes associated with withdrawal
Provides a subtle mood boost without the risk of addiction
Aniracetam is a nootropic in the racetam family and is known for its powerful stimulating and cognition-enhancing effects.
Although there has yet to be clinical research, there is some anecdotal evidence that it can help with addiction recovery.
Aniracetam has a subtle effect on mood, through its action on the acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin systems.
It can increase feelings of wellbeing and decrease anxiety somewhat, which could potentially offset some of the depressive symptoms of withdrawals and recovery.
Although it can make you feel good, it is not known to be addictive itself, which is a positive.
- Great choice for students or anyone looking to boost their cognitive performance
- Improves focus, attention, and impulse control in people with ADHD
- Generally well tolerated and side effects are rare.
- All-natural supplement
- Easily found online or in health food stores
- May cause stomach upset, headache, dizziness, and insomnia
Citicoline is an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that could be valuable in fighting addiction.
It is also a precursor of dopamine, which could have therapeutic use. Researchers are taking note.
Although there are not many current studies, one meta-analysis saw that citicoline had promising results treating a variety of addictions.
They concluded that citicoline had “promise for alcohol and cannabis dependence and in reducing food consumption.”16Wignall ND, Brown ES. Citicoline in addictive disorders: a review of the literature, Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2014
Citicoline also has a minimal side-effect profile and is extremely safe. We highly recommend it for any detox stack.
Proven to be effective in boosting energy and mental clarity
Safe for use on a daily basis or when coming off of harder stimulants like cocaine
Low potential for addiction, making it safer than other substances
- Adrafinil has been shown to improve working memory, executive function, and vigilance in healthy adults.
- In one study, adrafinil was found to be as effective as methylphenidate (Ritalin) at reducing ADHD symptoms.
- May also help to improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
- Can help you stay awake longer
- Most common side effects reported are headache, nausea, and anxiety.
- Adrafinil is a schedule IV controlled substance in Canada and is classified as a prescription drug.
- not currently approved by the FDA
Adrafinil is essentially an over the counter version of modafinil, the prescription smart drug.
It is a mild stimulant that can increase arousal, wakefulness, and cognition, although it is not nearly as intense as other stimulants like amphetamine or cocaine.
It has a low potential for addiction and may be useful for helping treat other addictions. Because it is a mild stimulant, it could be a possible replacement for other, more dangerous substances.
Similar to the way suboxone can treat heroin abuse, it could keep cravings under control and help keep people sober for longer periods. There is some initial clinical evidence that this is the case.17Ann L.Anderson, et al. Modafinil for the treatment of cocaine dependence, Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2009
Withdrawals are also associated with brain fog and cognitive problems.
Adrafinil could help cut through the mental fatigue and allow people in recovery to be more motivated and productive as they go about life during their withdrawals.
However, be aware that there is a small chance that adrafinil could become addictive. We would recommend checking in with a physician or counselor before trying adrafinil as part of your detox regimen.
Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.
We highly recommend you explore substance abuse counseling along with any supplement regimen.
If you need help immediately, we recommend reaching out via Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services National Helpline.
Do you have a recovery story or strategy to share? Tell us about it in the comments!