Not being able to stay focused on a single task can significantly affect your quality of life.
Every moment brings a new creative thought worth entertaining.
You open your laptop determined to do one simple thing, and before you know it, you have so many open browser tabs you can’t find the one you actually need to be on.
Over time this inability to stay focused can significantly reduce your rate of success.
Postponing tasks is not only stressful but also bad for mental health as well.
Overcoming this issue can help redefine success in life and allow an individual’s true potential to shine through without distractions that keep them from working towards goals or living up to expectations set by themselves or others.
The good news is that there are safe, non-addictive treatments to help.
Mind Lab Pro, for instance, has been designed with the right blend of nutrients for optimizing your brain focus capabilities and will be an excellent choice if you’re new in this area or need some extra boost during intense work sessions.
This is my top choice to boost focus, especially for anyone new to nootropics.
But, as you’ll read in this article, there’s way more to the story.
What Are The Best Nootropics for ADHD – Quick Answers
The Best Natural ADHD Treatments
In addition to nootropics, there are many affordable, natural options that are highly effective at treating ADHD.
In fact, many top doctors and specialists regularly recommend these to patients as either a substitute for or in addition to prescription meds. These options include:
- Diet and Lifestyle Intervention
Probiotics, Gut Health, and ADHD
Think twice before you take that traditional ADHD medication.
The brain isn’t the only part of our body affected by this disorder, and in fact, it may be one small component among many others!
For example, over 50% of neural dopamine production comes from bacteria in your gut.1Rufeng Xue, et al. Peripheral Dopamine Controlled by Gut Microbes Inhibits Invariant Natural Killer T Cell-Mediated HepatitisFront. Immunol. 2018
This is important since traditional ADHD medication is designed to enhance dopamine production.
By optimizing your gut’s ability to produce dopamine, you can enhance the main pathway that affects your focus.
The best way to boost beneficial gut bacteria is through probiotic supplementation.
My top probiotic choice is CogniBiotics from BiOptimizers.
Cognibiotics is specially formulated with probiotics AND nootropics to fully optimize the BRAIN-GUT connection!
ADHD and Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the most crucial minerals your body needs to work optimally.
Magnesium also has an important role in 300+ metabolic processes that ultimately affect physical and mental health,
Maintaining proper levels can improve all aspects of health, from physical strength and energy metabolism to mental agility!
Unfortunately, many people are magnesium deficient due in part to its absence from modern food sources.
Recent research into magnesium’s influence on ADHD points to a statistically significant relationship between magnesium deficiency and ADHD.2Mohammad Effatpanah, et al. Magnesium status and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A meta-analysisPsychiatry Res. 2019
No matter what nootropic or medication you use, supplementing with Magnesium must absolutely be a part of your regimen to maximize results.
My #1 magnesium recommendation is Magnesium Breakthrough because it includes 7 different forms of Magnesium that are needed to optimize both mind and body magnesium status.
Diet and Lifestyle Impact on ADHD
It should come as no surprise that food has a major impact on how you feel.
Now, new research shows that dietary habits and lifestyle can contribute to ADHD symptoms too!
A metabolic syndrome caused by an inflammatory diet increases markers of inflammation in the body which increases feelings like impulsivity or hyperactivity–all traits associated with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).3Zohar LandauAttention Deficit/Hyperactivity, the Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 DiabetesCurr Diab Rep. 20194Laura LaChance, MD, et al. Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Patients with ADHD: A Meta-AnalysisJ Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2016
Controlling metabolism is a critical piece of keeping your mind focused, optimized, and free from ADHD.
The top tool for doing this? Lumen Metabolism Checker!
With the Lumen app, you can track your eating and activity habits to see how it impacts metabolism.
They even provide dietary recommendations for a personalized plan tailored just for YOU.
How Common Is ADHD?
It’s important to note that these numbers reflect only those kids who actually receive an official ADHD diagnosis.
ADHD and Comorbidities
ADHD is infamous for being accompanied by many comorbidities.
It’s not uncommon to suffer from ADHD while also dealing with other mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.8Belén Roselló, Carmen Berenguer, Inmaculada Baixauli, Álvaro Mira, Jose Martinez-Raga & Ana MirandaEmpirical examination of executive functioning, ADHD associated behaviors, and functional impairments in adults with persistent ADHD, remittent ADHD, and without ADHD BMC Psychiatry volume. 2020
In adults, especially, these comorbidities can lead to functional impairments in some life activities, including an affinity to risky behaviors, employment difficulties, relationship problems, emotional problems, and restlessness.
Traditional ADHD Treatments
There are several pharmaceutical treatments available for anyone diagnosed with ADHD. These include:
- Amphetamine (Adderall)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)
- Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
These drugs help boost dopamine in the brain, but with different courses of action to do so.
Amphetamine is the fastest route to boosting dopamine levels in the brain, while methylphenidate acts more to slow dopamine uptake. This helps the brain preserve the levels of dopamine that are already there.
Lisdexamfetamine is a prodrug of amphetamine. This means your body metabolizes it into dextroamphetamine, which is an active ingredient in Adderall.
The advantage of Lisdexamfetamine is that because it acts slower in the body, it should be safer than traditional amphetamine.
All 3 of these drugs are classified as schedule 2 by the Drug Enforcement Administration/Food and Drug Administration (DEA/FDA) and come with a high potential for abuse.9Nazila Sharbaf Shoar; Raman Marwaha; Mohammed Molla. Dextroamphetamine-Amphetamine StatPearls. 2020
These drugs can do wonders and come with harmful side effects, including irritability, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart problems, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, and addiction.
As anyone who has suffered the dreaded Adderall crash can tell you, sometimes the benefit is not worth the pain.
The 11 Best Nootropics For ADHD
Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is a powerful nootropic multivitamin that contains nootropics, amino acids, vitamins, and adaptogenic herbs.
Designed specifically to boost focus, memory, mood, while lowering stress and anxiety.
Increased mental energy, clear thinking, and working brain cells
If you’ve spent any time clicking around this site, you may notice a common theme. Mind Lab Pro is typically my #1 recommended nootropic supplement for enhancing cognitive function, and for a good reason!
Its efficacy is backed by robust scientific research and endless positive testimonials from thousands of users, making it one of the most effective products on the market today for those looking to upgrade their brain function.
It’s a comprehensive nootropic supplement that meets the brain’s complex needs with 11 nootropics working in 6 brain pathways to optimize a wide array of cognitive functions.
Who Should Take Mind Lab Pro?
What makes Mind Lab Pro my #1 recommended nootropic product is its ability to benefit such a wide array of adults seeking extra support.
Look at other nootropic products and smart drugs and you find a blitzkrieg of chemicals designed to stimulate your central nervous system.
While some people prefer a buzz-like approach to nootropics, this does little to promote better brain health.
If you’re new to nootropics, Mind Lab Pro is an optimal product to start with.
I call it a “gateway” nootropic because it will let you feel the differences in mental performance that nootropics can deliver without feeling overstimulated.
- 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
- Ingredients are lower dosed.
- Fewer ingredients than other leading nootropic stacks
Most advanced preformulated nootropic stack on the market.
Packed with 28 cognitive-enhancing ingredients each clinically proven to boost cognition
Preferred nootropic product for many top biohackers and wellness professionals
Available in both caffeinated and decaffeinated versions
Qualia Focus is the sister product to Qualia Mind and comes with fewer ingredients
Qualia Mind is one of the most advanced cognitive enhancing dietary supplements on the market today.
Qualia Mind is a preformulated nootropic stack made by the company Neurohacker Collective, whose mission is to create groundbreaking products that help the body regulate its biochemistry and restore homeostatic balance.
Qualia Mind has been shown to improve focus, energy, and motivation in people with ADHD, and contains a blend of powerful ingredients that work together to support cognitive function and brain health.
Qualia Mind is also non-stimulatory, so it won’t cause the jitters or crash like some other ADHD treatments.
It’s touted by many high performers along with some of the biggest names in the health and wellness space as a nootropic powerhouse!
- Most advanced nootropic formula on the market
- All-natural ingredients
- Clean formula: No toxic fillers or necessary preservatives
- Many positive user testimonials
- Option for less potent Qualia Focus Available
- Over 50% off 1st Bottle
- Use “15INSAVINGS” For Additional 15% Off
- Large dose of 7 pills
- More expensive than most other nootropics
- More ingredients not always better.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in over 300 metabolic processes in both the mind and body.
These metabolic processes include neurotransmitter synthesis including dopamine.
In today’s hectic society filled with nutrient-depleted food, magnesium deficiency is on the rise.
Subsequently most people with ADHD exhibit low levels of magnesium.1T Kozielec, et al. Assessment of magnesium levels in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Magnes Res. 2006
In clinical studies, supplementation with Magnesium has shown effective in improving ADHD symptoms. 2M Mousain-Bosc, et al. Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, Magnes Res. 2006
Ultimately, magnesium is highly effective at calming the body’s stress response, inducing relaxation, and steadying the mind.
Learn more about how Magnesium works in treating ADHD and other symptoms.
Sulbutiamine is a synthetic derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1). It was created in an effort to improve the absorption and efficacy of thiamine. Sulbutiamine has been shown to increase alertness, vigilance, and energy levels while also reducing fatigue. Additionally, sulbutiamine has neuroprotective and nootropic effects.
Sulbutiamine is thought to work by increasing the level of thiamine in the brain. Thiamine is an essential nutrient that plays a role in nerve function and energy production. Sulbutiamine may also help to protect nerve cells from damage and improve communication between nerve cells.
Sulbutiamine has been shown to be effective in treating fatigue, improving cognitive function, and reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, sulbutiamine has been shown to improve blood flow and protect nerve cells from damage.
Sulbutiamine is generally well-tolerated and side effects are rare. The most common side effect is mild gastrointestinal distress.
Adrafinil is a cognitive enhancer that has been shown to improve memory, motivation, and wakefulness in clinical trials.
Of all the supplements on this list, adrafinil is probably the most stimulatory in how Adderall is (although to a significantly lesser degree).
Adrafinil is structurally similar to modafinil and shares many of the same mechanisms of action. The human body metabolizes adrafinil into modafinil, so you do not need a prescription to buy it. However, adrafinil is not as potent as modafinil and has a shorter half-life.
The exact mechanisms of action are not completely clear, but scientists believe Adrafinil modulates the dopamine system but also acts on the histamine, GABA, and glutamate systems.
Although it is somewhat similar to Adderall, this nootropic does not have nearly the potential for damage or abuse.
If you need a little kick to get going, we think that adrafinil is a much healthier option.
- 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
Improves brain connectivity and helps with focus
Highly sustainable- no need for tolerance build up
Helps to avoid the sudden crashes you see with other drugs
Minimal side effects, can be taken every day
Aniracetam is a nootropic that has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function. It is believed to work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is involved in many cognitive processes, including learning and memory. Aniracetam may also increase blood flow to the brain and protect neurons from damage.
Aniracetam is effective in animal studies, and there is some evidence that it may improve memory and cognitive function in humans. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects.
Aniracetam is sometimes used off-label to treat Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and age-related cognitive decline. It is generally well-tolerated, but side effects may include headaches, anxiety, and gastrointestinal upset.
If you consider taking Aniracetam for memory or cognitive enhancement, speak to your healthcare provider to see if it is right for you.
Increase concentration and focus
Enhance neuroplasticity to create new connections in the brain
Mild stimulatory effect- less likely to ruin sleep patterns than traditional ADHD drugs
DL-Phenylalanine (DLPA) is an amino acid that can be found in foods like meat, milk, and beans. It’s also available as a supplement.
Some people take DL-Phenylalanine for ADHD because it’s thought to increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These are two chemicals that play a role in ADHD.
This nootropic could provide the building blocks to make up this deficit.
There is some evidence that DL-Phenylalanine may help with ADHD symptoms. Some initial trials saw improvements in patients; others did not.3Wood DR, Reimherr FW, Wender PH.Treatment of attention deficit disorder with DL-phenylalanine, Psychiatry Res. 1985 Sep
And as always, be sure to consult with a doctor before starting any new supplement regimen. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications.
Read more about DLPAs potential for treating ADHD.
- DLPA has been shown to help with ADHD symptoms in some people
- May provide the building blocks to make up for a deficit in dopamine and norepinephrine
- DLPA is available as a supplement so you can get the benefits without having to change your diet
- Effective doses are small, only 10-60mg
- Increased norepinephrine levels can trigger headaches in some people
- Increased levels of dopamine can cause anxiety is some people
Improves brain connectivity and helps with focus
Highly sustainable- no need for tolerance build up
Helps to avoid the sudden crashes you see with other drugs
Minimal side effects, can be taken every day
Noopept is a cognitive enhancer that has been shown to be effective in treating ADHD.
Noopept is structurally similar to Piracetam and works by increasing levels of acetylcholine and dopamine in the brain.
Noopept has been shown to improve memory, attention, and focus in people with ADHD, and may also help to reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity. Noopept is typically taken in powder form, either by itself or mixed with a liquid.
Noopept is considered to be safe and well-tolerated but should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Noopept may interact with other medications, so it is important to talk to a doctor before taking Noopept.
NALT is a precursor to important neurotransmitters
Helps boost serotonin levels, which can improve mood and sleep
May help with anxiety and depression
Can be used as an alternative to ADHD drugs
is a naturally occurring amino acid that’s derived from tryptophan.
This nootropic acts as a precursor to dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline. It is much more potent than healthy tyrosine and gets used by your body much faster.
It’s often used as a dietary supplement for people who want to boost their serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in mood and sleep. Nalt may also be used to help treat anxiety and depression. Some research suggests that nalt can improve symptoms of both conditions. Some people use NALT as an alternative to ADHD drugs, enjoying the energy and focus it brings. Others use it alongside their medication.
Because NALT provides the building blocks for the neurotransmitters that Adderall depletes, some people use it at the end of the day to replenish those stores.4Fernstrom JD, Fernstrom MH. Tyrosine, phenylalanine, and catecholamine synthesis and function in the brain, J Nutr. 2007 5Marty Hinz, et al. Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with monoamine amino acid precursors and organic cation transporter assay interpretation, Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011
Some people also find that this nootropic also increases their mood.
- 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
Pine Bark Extract
Improve cognitive function and attention span for clearer focus
Increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels
Reduce inflammation in the brain
Pine Bark Extract is a potentially powerful all-natural nootropic derived from the Pinus pinaster.
French Maritime pine bark extract (sometimes sold as Pycnogenol) is a natural supplement that has been shown to improve symptoms of ADHD. It is also known to improve cognitive function and attention span.
Pine bark extract helps ADHD symptoms by increasing the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
ADHD is notorious for the low levels of these neurotransmitters. It can also lower inflammation, another possible factor in this condition.
Multiple studies show that it is effective for children with attention problems.
Although there have not been any studies done on adults, it is not unreasonable to assume these results could translate to older patients as well.6Dvoráková M, et al Urinary catecholamines in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): modulation by a polyphenolic extract from pine bark (pycnogenol), Nutr Neurosci. 2007 7Dvoráková M, et al. . The effect of polyphenolic extract from pine bark, Pycnogenol on the level of glutathione in children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Redox Rep. 2006 8Trebatická J, et al Treatment of ADHD with French maritime pine bark extract, Pycnogenol, Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2006
Pine Bark Extract is also a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your cells from damage and can also help to reduce inflammation.
- Natural supplement made from the bark of pine trees
- Powerful antioxidant It has anti-inflammatory properties
- It can help reduce the risk of heart disease
- Easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is available soon after taking it
- can sometimes cause gastrointestinal issues like nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach
- can also interact with some medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before you start taking it.
Citicoline is the most bioavailable source of choline for your brain. Getting adequate levels of choline is important for optimizing attention and focus.
Citicoline can also help improve memory and learning, making it a great choice for students or anyone looking to boost their cognitive performance.
It’s best used in combination with a racetam or acetylcholinesterase inhibitor like Huperzine A. Citicoline has also shown benefits for ADHD when used with caffeine. 9Steven E. Bruce, et al. Improvements in Concentration, Working Memory, and Sustained Attention Following Consumption of a Natural Citicoline-Caffeine Beverage, Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014
Since citicoline has shown the ability to increase dopamine release, it is a prime candidate as a nootropic for ADHD. It can also improve mood and memory, which are both often seen with ADHD.
Some people also find that this nootropic increases their mood.
Citicoline dosage typically ranges from 250-1000 mg per day. When starting out, it’s always best to start with a lower dose and increase as needed.
If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your cognitive function, Citicoline is definitely worth considering.
Learn more about Citicoline
- 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
Do Nootropics Work For ADHD
Nootropics can be a powerful alternative to traditional ADHD medications.
The nootropics below are shown to boost brain function by more foundational means like boosting acetylcholine activity, supporting BDNF function, and optimizing ATP production.
Some nootropics can even directly boost dopamine production.
This is not to say that nootropics deliver the same, stimulating force that you get from something like Adderall or Ritalin.
These drugs are designed to manipulate dopamine production while nootropics take a more indirect, holistic approach.
While not as potent as traditional drugs, nootropics are highly effective, non-addictive, and core with little-to-no side-effects.
Nootropics also are a useful tool to help come off these harder stimulants while mitigating withdrawal symptoms.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some over the counter nootropics that can be used to help ADHD.
What The Experts Say About Treating ADHD
A healthy diet can provide an effective complementary approach to alleviating some symptoms of ADHD. – Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
Previous studies showed that certain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids may contribute to the pathology of ADHD (discussed below). Thus, a wide range of nutritional supplements (vitamins and minerals) have been proposed as potential adjunct and alternative ADHD treatments. – Journal of Neural Transplantation and Plasticity
So, there are several options if you are trying to treat your ADHD with nootropics.
Some people are wary of traditional medication’s drawbacks and are willing to try over-the-counter supplements.
Although research may be minimal for some of them, that does not necessarily mean they may or may not work for you.
As with anything, please be cautious and listen to your body. Stop taking any supplements if you feel an adverse reaction.
Hopefully, one (or a combination) of the nootropics above can help!