12 Best Adderall Alternatives: Natural Over the Counter ADHD Substitutes

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Natural Adderall Alternatives

Article Contents
1 – Natural Substitutes for Adderall
2 – What Is Adderall and Why Is It Dangerous?
3 – Best Natural Over the Counter Adderall Alternatives 2018
3.1 – Ginkgo Biloba
3.2 – Bacopa Monnieri
3.3 – Caffeine
3.4 – L-Theanine
3.5 – Rhodiola Rosea
3.6 – Phosphatidylserine
3.7 – Omega-3 Fish Oil
3.8 – Alpha GPC
3.9 – Huperzine A
3.10 – L-Tyrosine
3.11 – 5-HTP
3.12 – GABA
4 – Final Thoughts on Natural Adderall Alternatives for ADHD
5 – References

Adderall. It’s a word that will either make you cringe or make you smile, depending on who you ask. The prescription medication’s intended use is for treating ADHD. Outside of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, doctors also prescribe Adderall for narcolepsy. Now, the drug is famous for its off-label use as a study aid and a quick fix for motivation problems.

Students and Wall Street executives in search of a limitless pill often turn to Adderall. Its widespread misuse brings ample negative press and college campus horror stories. Adderall-induced addiction, depression, and derailed lives are only the beginning. With a prescription “smart drug” epidemic looming, renewed awareness has come to light.

Natural Substitutes for Adderall

ADHD can be a challenge to manage. You may experience impulsivity issues and inattentiveness. It may be difficult to learn and socialize. General inefficiency leads to productivity problems that are tough to overcome. But, you don't always need prescription medications to function.

There are several natural over the counter (OTC) Adderall alternatives to control symptoms. Herbal Adderall substitutes for treating ADHD are healthy and effective for long-term use. They are a legal and safe method for reducing your symptoms in 2018.

Natural remedies for ADHD are especially significant for parents. The side effects of amphetamine-based stimulants may cause children more harm than good. We also recommend non-prescription alternatives for adults. These focus supplements boost concentration so you can be more productive each day. Before we dive into our list of natural supplements for ADHD, let’s take a closer look at the truth behind Adderall.

What Is Adderall and Why Is It Dangerous?

Adderall is the brand name for a potent Schedule II controlled substance. This drug shares a remarkable amount of similarities with methamphetamine. Unfortunately, most Adderall users are unaware of this frightening fact. A common and dangerous misconception is that Adderall is safe since it’s FDA approved. The medication is legally prescribed to children by licensed physicians. Just like candy, right? Hardly.

When taken as prescribed by your doctor, Adderall can help reduce ADHD symptoms. Ritalin, Vyvanse, and other pills can be effective as well with responsible use. Even so, these drugs have health risks. Adderall itself contains both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Its chemical attributes make it highly addictive. Long-term use has shown to be detrimental to your CNS (Central Nervous System).

Adderall Adderall works by stimulating several neurotransmitters in your brain to unnaturally high levels. The neurotransmitters in question include dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), serotonin, and norepinephrine. The rush of “feel good” chemicals boosts alertness and enhances energy and motivation. On paper, the immediate mental benefit sounds good. But the constant flood of “reward” signals can leave you wanting more. Tolerance development may ensue. The need to take more of the drug to feel the same effects can escalate to addiction and dependency.

Using natural alternatives to Adderall can help you avoid these adverse side effects. When it comes to your health or that of your children, long-term safety should be your priority. Treating ADHD with legal over the counter substitutes is the best decision you can make. It will not only benefit you, but it will help your children as well.

The natural brain supplements below help to improve focus, concentration, and attention. They also support mental energy levels and cognitive function. Here is our list of the 12 best natural Adderall alternatives for adults and children in 2018. Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri, Caffeine, L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, Phosphatidylserine, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Alpha GPC, Huperzine A, L-Tyrosine, 5-HTP, and GABA.

Best Natural Over the Counter Adderall Alternatives 2018


1. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba The most supplemented herb for brain health is Ginkgo Biloba. This nootropic has shown promise as a natural treatment for ADHD in children. Ginkgo works by preserving the balance of vital neurotransmitters in the brain. To elaborate, Ginkgo will maintain acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Its cognitive benefits improve attention span and help reduce impulsivity.

A double-blind, randomized controlled six-week trial linked Ginkgo to reduced ADHD related symptoms. The study's results prove Ginkgo Biloba is a suitable natural alternative for Adderall. Ginkgo is legal, safe, and obtainable over the counter.

Besides focus, this herbal supplement has a host of other mental health benefits as well. Ginkgo boosts memory retention, slows age-related cognitive decline, and enhances cerebral blood flow. These benefits make Ginkgo one of the most versatile natural ADHD treatments. It can also improve sleep quality and mental cognition. Ginkgo is a valid substitute for ADHD stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse, or Ritalin.

2. Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri Those looking for enhanced cognitive function often turn to Bacopa Monnieri (water hyssop). This traditional medicinal herb is an excellent natural substitute for Adderall. Like its prescription counterparts, Bacopa Monnieri interacts with the serotonergic and dopaminergic systems. The positive interaction on essential neurotransmitters enhances focus, alertness, and mental energy levels. Our ancestors used Bacopa not only for cognition but longevity as well.

Bacopa Monnieri also enhances neuron communication. It performs this vital task through the growth and maintenance of nerve endings in the brain. For this reason, Bacopa supplements can improve memory formation and mental cognition. Other studies prove Bacopa’s ability to enhance mood and increase attention span. This nootropic is available as a non-prescription homeopathic treatment for ADHD. You can buy the natural medication over the counter.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine Most of us are no strangers to caffeine, a legal OTC supplement. But, few would link a cup of coffee to a reduction in ADHD symptoms. Studies have shown that caffeine can improve focus and concentration for users. In small doses, caffeine is a safe and reliable natural Adderall alternative.

Caffeine is also a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant and a vasoconstrictor. Therefore, caffeine can boost dopamine production in the brain and shrink blood vessels. This effect is much like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin. Vasoconstriction reduces blood flow to overactive regions of the brain. Controlled blood flow allows for more predictable and stable neuronal communication.

We know that caffeine can enhance energy and reduce fatigue. Its stimulatory effect also makes it an excellent brain fog supplement. Adults and children with ADHD should consume caffeine during the morning hours, only. An early dosing schedule will help reduce sleeplessness or insomnia at night. Excessive caffeine consumption can be harmful to children and teens. Do not go overboard with this Adderall substitute.

4. L-Theanine

L-Theanine L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid with a variety of health benefits. It is abundant in green tea leaves from Camellia sinensis plants. Theanine is a safe and natural Adderall alternative that reduces stress and anxiety. It relaxes the mind and body by increasing GABA and glycine levels in the brain. GABA and glycine are inhibitory neurotransmitters that work to offset overactive excitatory neurotransmitters. Theanine promotes a state of relaxation and calmness within the user. By helping the brain achieve equilibrium, L-Theanine reduces ADHD related symptoms.

Studies support L-Theanine as one of the best over the counter Adderall replacements. In users diagnosed with ADHD, supplementing L-Theanine yielded notable reductions in cognitive impairment. Selective attention span also improved in another 16-week study.

This natural amino acid is an excellent nootropic to stack with caffeine. Theanine offsets the crash and jitters associated with caffeine. Together they provide smooth mental and physical stimulation. Theanine’s inhibitory and sedative effect also makes it an excellent sleep aid.

5. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea Rhodiola Rosea is a well-known Scandinavian herb. It possesses stimulatory properties like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin. This herbal nootropic lacks the adverse side effects of amphetamine-based ADHD stimulants. Rhodiola Rosea was a staple ingredient for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It served as a natural remedy for issues related to fatigue and cognitive impairment.

Several studies have demonstrated a link between Rhodiola Rosea and enhancements in memory. Mood stabilization through serotonin and dopamine regulation also occurred. There are many significant Rhodiola Rosea health benefits. Improved energy levels, sharper mental processing, and enhanced cognitive function are among them.

Rhodiola Rosea as a brain supplement is safe, and legal for OTC sale. Few studies exist that use Rhodiola for exclusive treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Still, its cognitive effects suggest it is an excellent natural substitute for Adderall.

6. Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine Phosphatidylserine benefits the brain by providing structural support and neuroprotection to cell membranes. This natural supplement is an essential phospholipid in the human body. Convincing documentation exists demonstrating the effects of Phosphatidylserine (PS) on cognitive function. PS aids in the formation and recollection of memories. It combats mood disorders and may reduce perceived feelings of anxiety and depression.

Phosphatidylserine is an excellent natural remedy for maintaining brain health. It’s also a safe and effective over the counter Adderall alternative. A double-blind 2-month study in children with ADHD supplementing PS showed promising results. There were notable improvements in impulsivity control and auditory memory over the placebo.

Further research linked PS to mental processing enhancements in healthy adults. These findings suggest that Phosphatidylserine is an excellent non-prescription alternative for ADHD. It's worth trying in place of medications Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin.

7. Omega-3 Fish Oil

Omega-3 Fish Oil The most popular health supplement on the planet might be Omega-3 fish oil. This pill is quite useful for natural ADHD treatment. Fish oil contains two primary fatty acids that benefit the mind and body. These fatty acids are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). EPA is excellent for reducing inflammation in the body. It can also improve heart health, and reduce anxiety and depression. DHA is more beneficial as a cognitive enhancer, used as a natural OTC substitute for Adderall.

Both types of fish oil provide many health benefits in adults and children. With that said, DHA-heavy supplements are more effective for treating ADHD. Studies found that fish oil higher in DHA led to improved working memory and attention span. DHA produces other reductions in behavioral problems related to ADHD as well. These include impulse control, hyperactivity, and mood swings. The effects of Omega-3 fatty acids amplify when stacked with Phosphatidylserine (PS). If you’re looking for safe, legal, and healthy natural remedies for ADHD, give fish oil a try.

8. Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC One of the best Adderall alternatives for over the counter sale is Alpha GPC. You may know this choline supplement by another name, Choline Alfoscerate. Research suggests that children with ADHD have reduced acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Alpha GPC works by crossing the blood-brain barrier and increasing acetylcholine levels.

Acetylcholine is the most prominent learning and memory neurotransmitter in the human body. For this reason, Alpha GPC is a safe and effective natural Adderall substitute. It is a reliable supplement to improve focus and concentration in the user.

The benefits of Alpha GPC go well beyond the treatment of ADHD and cognitive enhancement. Choline is equally as prevalent in the bodybuilding and fitness world. Alpha GPC can enhance growth hormone production and fat oxidation in healthy adults. Choline supplements assist in neuroprotection as well. They serve as excellent natural medications for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

9. Huperzine A

Huperzine A Huperzine A (Huperzia Serrata) is an herbal nootropic supplement renowned in Chinese medicine. It can improve cognitive function in both children and adults. This herb does so in a similar fashion to Alpha GPC. Huperzine A benefits the brain by enhancing levels of acetylcholine (ACh). While Alpha GPC has a direct impact, Huperzine has an indirect effect on ACh.

Here's how Huperzine A works. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is the chemical responsible for breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. Huperzine A is an AChE inhibitor. The classification means that Huperzine A inhibits AChE from breaking down ACh. Huperzine’s inhibitory properties allow more acetylcholine to build up in the brain. This cognitive benefit enhances learning, focus, and attention in the user.

Huperzine A is a reliable herbal Adderall alternative. It is legal and safe to use for the treatment of ADHD. Huperzine has a synergistic effect when stacked with Alpha GPC. Together, they are even more potent for boosting cognitive function. Alpha GPC increases ACh while Huperzine prevents its breakdown. Look for both ingredients in the same formula when buying natural remedies for ADHD.

10. L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine L-Tyrosine is an amino acid used to produce neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline. Under certain conditions, it is one of the best OTC Adderall substitutes. This natural supplement can enhance mental cognition during acute and uncontrollable stress. Studies show that Tyrosine may also improve memory and reduce feelings of anxiety. The mood-stabilizing benefit makes L-Tyrosine an effective homeopathic remedy for ADHD.

The effects of this Adderall alternative on alertness and wakefulness are noteworthy. Especially during regular bouts of sleep deprivation. Tyrosine can improve cognitive function without interrupting sleeping patterns. Another study linked L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP to reduced ADHD related symptoms in children. Still, L-Tyrosine is less useful for cognitive function in non-stressful situations. In other words, it may be an excellent natural treatment for ADHD if you experience high stress.

11. 5-HTP

5-HTP 5-HTP is the precursor to “feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin. It is a safe and effective natural substitute for Adderall. 5-HTP can function like prescription ADHD medications Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin. This natural nootropic has an anti-depressant effect in the brain. Heightened levels of serotonin can improve happiness and sense of well-being. Thus, supplementing 5-HTP rejuvenates focus and concentration, enhances creativity, and boosts mental energy.

Some users suggest taking L-Tryptophan as a natural remedy for ADHD instead of 5-HTP. L-Tryptophan is the precursor to 5-HTP. When supplemented, L-Tryptophan can also divert into protein construction or niacin. The diversion of Tryptophan means 5-HTP may be more potent for treating ADHD symptoms. 5-HTP serves the singular purpose of converting into serotonin.

5-HTP is an over the counter alternative to Adderall and legal for use without a prescription. Its high bioavailability allows it to go to work on serotonin production with ease. Keep in mind; tolerance development may occur with 5-HTP. It's important to always stick to the recommended dosage. If you’d prefer a subtle, yet still capable boost in serotonin, use L-Tryptophan instead of 5-HTP.

12. GABA

GABA GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is a self-regulating inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Often, GABA appears as an active ingredient in natural sleep aids. GABA's primary purpose is to help the brain maintain equilibrium. It achieves this goal by reducing the excitability and erratic over-firing of neurons. To be exact, GABA counters excitatory Glutamate receptors.

Studies have shown that GABA levels are much lower in those suffering from ADHD and insomnia. Unfortunately, GABA deficiencies can have an adverse compounding effect. Sleeplessness can worsen symptoms of ADHD. So maintaining healthy levels of GABA in the brain becomes crucial for mental health. This discovery has opened the door for using GABA supplements to treat ADHD. It's become a safe, natural alternative for Adderall in adults and children.

GABA, as a non-prescription remedy for ADHD, can help moderate neural activity. It increases levels of serotonin in the brain. Heightened levels of serotonin can control mood swings and reduce stress and anxiety. Supplementing GABA may even diminish irritability and aggression. GABA also benefits other behavioral problems like hyperactivity and impulse control. The research is not definitive on GABA as an Adderall substitute. But, studies suggest that it’s at least worth a try.

Final Thoughts on Natural Adderall Alternatives for ADHD

Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin are powerful CNS stimulants for treating ADHD. These are not genius pills or smart drugs. These prescription medications can be dangerous if abused. They are not the best options for long-term use, but they do work. We have new knowledge on safe and legal over the counter replacements. Let's take advantage of it.

There are many natural Adderall alternatives and substitutes to consider. It’s worth kicking the amphetamines to the curb in favor of a new ADHD remedy. What do you think is the best Adderall alternative in 2018? Let us know about your experience with these natural ADHD supplements.



Substantial progress toward better things can rarely be taken without developing new evils requiring new remedies.

~ William Howard Taft

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October 18th, 2017|