What are the best nootropics for ADHD? This is a surprisingly common – and specific – question which we see coming up again and again on nootropics forums, as well as in the comments on our best nootropics rankings page.
ADHD is a growing problem, particularly in the United States. While new disease discoveries always, by definition, lead to a sharp rise in diagnoses, it seems that ADHD is a pervasive and steadily spreading issue. More children are diagnosed with some form of ADHD every year, and the rate of growth of diagnoses doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
The prevalence of ADHD is indeed a serious problem. Having an entire cohort of the population struggling to stay focused while in the most important years of education is going to be incredibly damaging for the productivity, creativity, and prosperity of society.
In the US, most cases of ADHD are treated with a combination of Adderall and behavioral therapy. But die to the dangers of Adderall use, more and more people are seeking to attenuate the symptoms of with natural supplements like nootropics.
Natural nootropics can make a significant difference to the life of someone struggling with symptoms of ADHD. While natural supplements should not be used in place of medicine prescribed by a doctor, nootropics represent a far safer alternative to drugs like Adderall for people who do not have diagnosed ADHD.
This is important, as many people today use drugs like Adderall not to treat ADHD but to promote focus, learning, and productivity. Students, traders, and developers all use Adderall to be better workers, learners, and doers. But the side effects of Adderall can be drastic.
So, a better alternative is to use natural nootropics to treat ADHD, or at least the worst symptoms of ADHD in people without that condition. The best nootropics and smart drugs on the market can greatly improve overall cognitive performance while helping to control symptoms of ADD/ADHD. A small number can even claim to be natural alternatives to Adderall.
In this article, we’ll go through the best nootropics for treating ADHD-like symptoms. We will stick to natural nootropics rather than focusing on drugs like Adderall or Ritalin.
15 Best Nootropic Supplements For treating ADHD Symptoms
Treating ADHD-like symptoms with notropics means finding those nootropics which most effectively promote focus, concentration, mental stamina, and information processing.
The nootropics most effective for ADHD symptoms according to scientific research are:
- Mind Lab Pro
- Huperzine A
- R-Lipoic Acid
- Vitamin B6
- Ginkgo Biloba
Below is a more detailed explanation of what these nootropics and smart drugs do for ADHD and how they work.
Vyvamind is, hands down, the best nootropic to use if you have signs or symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder but you do not want or have the ability to use prescription ADHD drugs like Adderall, Vyvanse or Focalin. Vyvamind was purposefully designed to replicate all of the most important nootropic benefits of ADHD medications, but without the same adverse side effect risks or the need for a doctor’s prescription.
Vyvamind is a 100% natural stack combining 6 clinically proven nootropic ingredients. When taken together, these ingredients deliver massive benefits to people wtih ADHD, including:
- HUGE increase in dopamine for motivation and behavior control
- Rapid increase in mental energy and reduced fatigue
- Sharper focus and improved concentration
- Faster information processing speeds
- Better working memory function
- Reduced anxiety and brain fog in stressful situations
The best thing about Vyvamind is that it delivers all of this without causing any side effects to speak of. This is extremely rare for such a potent neurostimulant, and it is down to the precision dosing of caffeine anhydrous and theanine by the manufacturers (SAP Nutraceuticals). Stacked with Tyrosine, Pyridoxine (B6) and Citicoline, these ingredients quickly ramp up natural dopamine, acetylcholine and norepinephrine production, replicating all of the benefits of ADHD medication without the downsides.
Learn more: Vyvamind review.
Use our link for up to 30% off: Vyvamind.com.
NooCube is another fantastic nootropic for helping with ADHD symptoms. Although designed as a more comprehensive and longer-term nootropic than Vyvamind, NooCube delivers exactly the kind of brain function support that someone with ADHD-like symptoms might be looking for.
NooCube combines several nootropic ingredients which have been clinically proven to improve focus, reduce distractibility and poor impulse control, and help calm the brain. These ingredients include Huperzine A, Tyrosine, Vitamin B6, and L-Theanine. This makes it one of the most complete nootropic stacks for helping the ADHD brain stay focused and calm while in class or at work. It also makes NooCube one of the best nootropics for people with ADHD too.
Using this nootropic stack every day can help you remain focused and alert throughout the working day without leaving you with any kind of energy crash or a feeling of burn out at night. NooCube has no real side effects and does not interfere with sleep in any way. it is easily one of the best value nootropics on the market, and we think it will help anyone struggling with ADHD or ADD symptoms.
Learn more: NooCube review.
Modafinil is a synthetic nootropic, and it is probably what most people are imagining when they think of a “brain pill”. Modafinil and its analogues (Armodafinil, Fladrafinil, etc.) arguably come closest to replicating the kind of intense focus and motivation seen in the movie Limitless.
While there is much to learn about how Modafinil works exactly, what is clear is that it has a tremendous effect on focus, motivation and mental stamina. People who take Modafinil typically experience a dramatic increase in concentration and mental energy within about 90 minutes. Their perception of time is distorted, they feel like they have boundless mental stamina, and their motivation complete mundane or complicated tasks goes through the roof.
Modafinil’s ability to lock you into an intense state of hyper productivity and focus makes it one of the best nootropic supplements for ADHD. Adderall is obviously the go-to drug used by physicians to treat ADHD. But a small number of ADHD cases – those resistant to typical ADHD medication treatment – have reportedly responded well to Modafinil. Clinical trials ahve found Modafinil to be effective for treating ADHD in certain cases; something which cannot be said about many other nootropics on this list!
4. Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is a completely natural nootropic stack thought to be highly effective for helping with learning, memory function, focus, and brain energy.Like other nootropics on this list, Mind Lab Pro works primarily by boosting neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and dopamine, making it a good nootropic for ADHD.
Mind Lab Pro is not a stimulant and is therefore non-toxic. It enhances memory, attention span, and cognitive function, while the antioxidant component protects the brain against toxins and stress. Independent scientific studies back it and it is free from artificial additives or GMOs. To ensure safety, the supplement has been subject to a number of safety and quality tests.
Citicoline, also known as CDP-Choline, cytidine diphosphate-choline or cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine, is a cholinergic now commonly used in high-spec nootropic stacks. It rapidly increases choline availability in the brain, which means you can synthesize more acetylcholine; the brain’s primary executive neurotransmitter. More choline also means you can make more phosphatidylcholine; an important component of brain cell membranes.
Citicoline supplementation has been found to be highly effective for improving cognitive performance across all measures: focus, working memory, verbal fluency, and information processing. Furthermore, it is well tolerated and usually side effect-free. This makes it ideal for use as an ADHD treatment, when long-term daily use is ideal.
6. Huperzine A
Huperzine A has a similar effect to citicoline, but it works in an almost completely opposite way. Rather than donating extra choline to the brain to make more acetylcholine, Huperzine A prevents the destruction of acetylcholine once it has been used to send messages between neurons.
Huperzine A inhibits an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is responsible for destroying used acetylcholine. By inhibiting the enzyme, Huperzine A causes a steady buildup of acetylcholine in the brain. This means more messengers for inter-neuronal communication, which means more raw processing power. Huperzine A is fast-acting and has a short half-life, so it is great for short-term, acute focus-enhancement.
We probably don’t need to tell you why caffeine is such a good nootropic for ADHD. Caffeine is an extremely powerful stimulant and a nootropic with diverse, immediate effects.
Caffeine primarily works by binding to adenosine receptors. Adenosine is the body’s sleep pressure – adenosine builds up steadily throughout the day and this makes you feel drowsy. By binding to the receptors, caffeine stops you from registering your adenosine levels, and cellular activity speeds up (as though you have just woken up from a nap). Caffeine also triggers the release of norepinephrine to some degree, heightening alertness and boosting mental energy. All of these effects make caffeine an ideal natural nootropic for fighting ADHD and related symptoms.
To most of you, Tyrosine is probably a surprising choice for an ADHD-focused nootropic. But it really isn’t. Tyrosine is perfect for enhancing cognitive performance during times of acute mental strain, including intense distractability and mental fatigue (two signs of ADHD).
Tyrosine increases dopamine levels in the brain. This makes you significantly more motivated, focused, and determined to complete tasks. It also supports mood. This is why Tyrosine has been found to be highly effective at improving cognitive performance in people subjected to intense mental and physical stress, such as sleep deprivation and cold exposure – distracting, fatiguing situations. This is why Tyrosine is a great nootropic for natural ADHD treatment; it improves cognitive performance in people who are mentally fatigued and promotes motivation and focus. It doesn’t matter whether you use L-Tyrosine or NALT, the benefits are essentially the same.
9. R-Lipoic Acid
This is a more long-term focused nootropic treatment for ADHD symptoms, but it is just as effective as the brain supplements listed above. R-Lipoic Acid is an enantiomer of Alpha Lipoic Acid, the omega 3 fatty acid. The primary function of R-Lipoic Acid in human cells is to act as a co-factor in your mitochondria, where it activates enzymes that are essential for carbohydrate metabolism. R-Lipoic Acid also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your mitochondria from damage.
What has that got to do with nootropics and ADHD? Well, having more efficient, better functioning and altogether healthier mitochondria will significantly improve brain cell energy metabolism, which means more brain ‘horse power’, and with it, enhanced cognition across the board. Taking care of your mitochondria will not yield immediate fruit like caffeine or citicoline, but it will improve focus and mental energy over the long-term.
L-Theanine is an amino acid and easily one of the best all-round natural nootropic compounds to take for ADHD symptoms. Theanine has several different effects on the body and brain which all help improve focus, reduce compulsive behaviors and calm the mind – all key to controlling the symptoms of ADHD. Theanine works primarily by influencing the GABA system in the central nervous system. In simple terms, theanine increases the levels of GABA in the brain, which acts as a brake on the central nervous system. In practice this means reduced tension, lower blood pressure, and a calmer, clearer mind. Studies show that theanine reduces brain fog and supports sustained focus, especially when combined with caffeine.
Because it counteracts many of the side effects of stimulants, including caffeine and amphetamine, theanine is the perfect nootropic to take alongside any stimulant medications or supplements you might be taking to help manage ADHD symptoms.
While Noopept is typically seen as a nootropic for anxiety and long-term brain health, it is also a highly effective nootropic for treating ADHD symptoms. Like Modafinil, Noopept is a synthetic nootropic. It was developed as a more potent alternative to Piracetam (although it is not a racetam owing to its different structure). Noopept primarily works by boosting levels of BDNF in the brain. This encourages neuron growth and development in the long-term, and improved memory, focus and learning in the short-term. Combined with BDNF’s positive effect on anxiety levels and brain fog, this makes Noopept one of the best nootropics for ADHD on the market.
Most of you know nicotine as the incredibly addictive drug responsible for keeping people hooked on tobacco. This is true, but nicotine is also a phenomenally powerful nootropic capable to significantly reducing the signs and symptoms of ADHD, including compulsive behaviors, ticks, inability focus, irritability, and intrusive thoughts.
Nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant. It is one of the most powerful stimulants in the world; just a few micrograms are enough to produce noticeable effects. As a powerful CNS stimulant, nicotine has similar effects ot many stimulant-based ADHD medications such as Adderall, Straterra and Vyvanse. Nicotine also spikes dopamine in the brain. Dopamine boosts motivation and improves mood. Using low doses of nicotine throughout the day can help sustain motivation levels and suppress anxiety, both of which will help a lot with ADHD symptoms.
13. Vitamin B6
Vitamin is not to be underestimated as a nootropic. Supplementing with B6 can have dramatic effects on overall cognitive performance and long-term brain health. It is also vital for maintaining good brain cell function in people who use stimulants on a daily basis, making it a must-have for people being treated for ADHD with medications like Adderall and Vyvanse.
B6 is needed for energy metabolism. Low levels of B6 mean your brain cells can’t generate any energy, leaving you feeling fatigued and frustrated. B6 is also necessary for the synthesis of dopamine from L-Tyrosine. So having low B6 not only leaves you with brain fog and fatigue, but it will also sap your motivation and lower your mood. Supplementing with B6 ensures these things don’t happen!
This phospholipid is a key active ingredient in all of the best nootropic stacks. Phosphatidylserine is found in large quantities in the brain. It is a vital component of brain cell membranes. Studies show that supplementing with phosphatidylserine improves memory retention, increases attention span, and improves general cognitive processes. These benefits make phosphatidylserine a suitable alternative to prescription drugs in those without an ADHD diagnosis.
15. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a common component in daily brain health supplements. This nootropic herb has been used to improve short-term memory and boost mental energy levels for years. Recently, research has found that Ginkgo biloba significantly increases brain blood flow, oxygenating your brain cells and increasing nutrient delivery to all areas of your brain. This effect is why studies show Ginkgo biloba noticeably improving brain fuction in healthy adults with mild cognitive impairment. The same mechanism which makes it a great cognitive enhancer in older adults makes it highly effective for treating the main symptoms of ADHD.
TL;DR: What is the strongest nootropic for ADHD?
The single most powerful nootropic for treating ADHD symptoms is probably Modafinil. Stimulants like caffeine and methylliberine are definitely the closest thing you’ll find to actual ADHD medications like Ritalin and Vyvanse in terms of how they feel, but Modafinil is the strongest nootropic for actually reducing ADHD symptoms. Many clinical practitioners prescribe Modafinil to theur patients when traditional ADHD drugs do not work or are not suitable due to side effects and safety risks. Modafinil is one of the strongest nootropics in existence.
What causes ADHD?
The exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood. A great deal of research has gone into understanding what causes ADHD and the most likely explanation is that it is the result of multiple different factors. Different people will develop ADHD due to different factors, and in some cases ADHD may develop from many factors converging at the same time.
Based on the clinical evidence available right now, ADHD is predominantly caused by genetic factors. Certain people are simply born with particular brain architecture which makes them likely to develop ADHD. In some cases, people with ADHD may display reduced development in certain areas of their brain; typically areas associated with behavior control, focus and motivation. Other people may have atypical neurotransmitter levels which causes them to find it very difficult to concentrate on a single thing for anmy length of time.
What must be noted here is that while there is a statistically significant inheritance link with ADHD, the way the condition is passed down is not clear. Parents and siblings of people with ADHD are more likely to have ADHD or (in the case of siblings) develop it later in life, but the link is not direct or very strong, nor is it clear how ADHD may be inherited.
Brain Injury/Development Issues
Some people with ADHD have it because they suffered some sort of brain injury. This injury may have happened in the womb, or it may have been a particularly traumatic brain injury later in life. In either case, we know that suffering a brain injury can result in people exhibiting classic symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Interestingly, people with epilepsy are more likely to have ADHD than the broader population.
Similar to brain injury, developmental issues are increasingly being linked with ADHD symptoms in later life. Babies which, for whatever reason, are prevented from developing normally in the womb or shortly after birth can grow up to show signs of ADD/ADHD. For example, those born prematurely are much more likely to develop ADHD than those who are born at full term. This makes sense, since stunted neural development would produce the same effects as genetic traits than inhibit brain development in those areas linked with focus and behavior control.
Can nootropics help with ADHD?
Can natural nootropics really help treat ADHD?
The answer is a definite “yes”. High quality natural nootropics can help reduce symptoms of ADHD. People who have ADHD will find that the best nootropics can help them focus better, concentrate on one task for longer, and stay motivated in class or at work for hours, all without having to rely on stimulant-based ADHD medication.
For those of you who don’t have ADHD but suffer with many of its symptoms, natural nootropics represent an ideal way to improve your productivity and mental performance without the health risks associated with using Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, etc. without a prescription.
The main way nootropics help with ADHD is by fixing the neurotransmitter imbalances that can cause ADHD. By boosting key neurotransmitter such as acetylcholine, dopamine and GABA, natural nootropics can ramp up cognitive performance, increase motivation to complete tasks, and soothe the CNS all at the same time.
Some nootropic stacks work in a similar way to ADHD medication – by stimulating the CNS through the use of stimulants. But rather than amphetamines like you get from Adderall or Vyvanse, over the counter nootropic stacks for ADHD use natural stimulants with far better side effect profiles. Examples include caffeine, theacrine, methylliberine and nicotine.
Of course, the most effective nootropic for ADHD will combine these approaches into a single, comprehensive stack covering all the most important bases.
Can you treat ADHD with nootropics alone?
In very mild cases of ADHD, nootropics alone may be able to adequately treat the symptoms enough for you to lead a normal, productive life. Of course, this depends entirely on the severity of the ADHD being treated and whether or not there are other mental health conditions or learning difficulties in play.
A stack consisting of caffeine, theanie, tyrosine, citicoline and lion’s mane mushroom is likely to be enough to treat very mild cases of ADHD that do not meet traditional diagnosis criteria.
Congtrolling ADHD Without Medication: Tips & Tricks
Besides using nootropic compounds, there are ways you can control your ADHD symptoms without using medication. These techniques are espcially important to utilize if you do not actually have a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but are instead looking at drugs like Adderall, Vyvanse and methylphenidate-based stimulants to enhance cognition.
Here are some tips for treating ADHD symptoms natually without medication:
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water in the day will help you stay focused and keep your energy levels up without you having to rely on powerful stimulants.
- Exercise: Exercising is probably the single most effective way to control ADHD symptoms long-term. Both anecdotal reports and clinical data attest to the fact that regular physical exercise helps reduce the intensity of ADHD symptoms and helps improve overall cognitive performance.
- Spend time outdoors: Getting away from screens, work and school can actually help you calm down and get things like compulsive behaviors, twitches and hyperactivity under control. Studies also show that spending time in nature helps to reduce anxiety and calm the mind.
- Art therapy: Creative or expressive therapies (collectively referred to as art therapies) have been found to be extremely effective for treating people with mild cases of ADHD, especially adults and adolescents.
These strategies can dramatically improve your ability to focus and stay productive while also reducing the kind of nervous anxiety that comes with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
When you combine these natural treatments for ADHD with a powerful nootropic built for purpose, the results can be very impressive.
Using Stimulants To Treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The standard treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is stimulant drugs.
The most common stimulants used to treat ADHD are:
- Adderall XR
These drugs are mostly based on amphetamine (including lisdexamfetamine) or methylphenidate. These are the two most widely used stimulants for the treatment of ADHD and relatd conditions. The various forms of these stimulants listed above can be short or fast acting (often marked with XR) depending on the exact molecules used as active ingredients.
If you do not have an ADHD diagnosis, you should not be using these drugs! If you are looking to use stimulant medications to enhance cognitive performance or boost productivity, you should look to natural supplements available for purchase over the counter instead.
Natural Stimulants vs ‘Smart Drugs’ For ADHD
There is obviously a huge difference between using natural nootropics or herbal supplements and using powerful pharmaceutical medications designed specifically to treat a medical condition.
Stimulant medications are always going to be more effective at treating severe cases of ADHD than natural supplements. If you have serious ADHD then Vyvanse and Concerta are always going to be better for you than the likes of phosophatidylserine and caffeine (assuming you have a prescription for those drugs from a doctor).
On the other hand, natural stimulants have the benefit of being generally safer than prescription stimulant drugs. While being much more powerful than natural stimulants, synthetic nootropics or “smart drugs” also come with much more severe adverse side effects. They also have a far greater risk of addiction.
Best Over-the-Counter Nootropic Stack for ADHD
So what is the best over the counter nootropic for ADHD?
Obviously, if you have an ADHD diagnosis, you should follow the advice of your doctor and use any ADHD medications they prescribe. But if you want to avoid using ADHD medications but still need help combatting the symptoms of ADHD, we recommend using a natural nootropic stack you can legally buy over the counter without a prescription.
There are hundreds of nootropics out there, and unfortunately the vast majority of them either do nothing or are complete rip-offs. But there are a few that can actually help with ADHD while also representing good value for money. Here are our two top rated nootropics effective for treating symptoms of ADHD. Both of our recommendations have slightly different things to offer, so choose which one is right for you.
Best Stimulant Nootropic For ADHD: Vyvamind
There’s no doubt that the best nootropic for people with ADHD on the market right now is Vyvamind.
This potent, broad spectrum study aid has been specifically formulated to provide many of the same benefits as prescription ADHD medications without posing any of the same side effect risks and without the need for a doctor’s prescription.
The benefits of taking Vyvamind on a daily basis include:
- Rapid increase in mental energy and stamina
- Enhanced focus, concentration and learning
- Faster processing speeds
- Quicker reaction times
- Better working memory
- Reduced anxiety
- Huge increase in motivation and drive
If you don’t have an ADD/ADHD diagnosis but you struggle with many of the symptoms of ADHD, such as poor concentration, distractibility and irritability, then Vyvamind mind be the best nootropic for you. The precise dosing of the caffeine and theanine in this nootropic make it suitable for everyday use, and it means you get a real energy kick without having to worry about crashes or jitters.
Learn more from the official website: Vyvamind.com.
Best Nootropic For ADHD Without Caffeine: NooCube
NooCube is our current top rated nootropic overall and it is a fantastic natural nootropic stack for ADHD.With a comprehensive formula combining 10 of the most effective natural nootropics – all with hard clinical evidence backing them up – NooCube offers broad cognitive enhancement and brain health support. This is designed to be your all-in-one, daily nootropic regardless of your particular goals. However, NooCube also acts as a fantastic natural ADHD remedy when used correctly.
The benefits of using NooCube every day for 8 weeks or more are substantial, and include:
- Significant improvement in memory retention and recall
- Better learning capacity
- Faster information processing
- Sharper focus and reaction times
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Better brain health
NooCube supports long-term brain development and protects brain cells from oxidative stress. It may even help prevent the accumulation of beta amyloid plaques which are linked with memory loss in old age. While this may not sound like a nootropic built for people with ADHD, long-term brain support can have a huge impact on your ability to focus and stay productive over months and years.
NooCube also has immediate effects due to the sizable doses of Huperaine A, Alpha-GPC and Tyrosine. When used in combination, these ingredients deliver noticeable increases in motivation, concentration, and overall cognitive performance.
Learn more from our detailed review: NooCube review.
See latest deals from the official website: NooCube.com.
Nootropics for ADHD FAQs
Can nootropics replace Adderall?
While many nootropics are considered legal Adderall alternatives, no over the counter nootropic can ever replace Adderall if it has been subscribed by a medical doctor.
Do nootropics work for people with ADHD?
While nootropics work well for people with ADHD, it is not recommended to try to treat your ADHD yourself with over the counter nootropic supplements. Some nootropics may interact negatively with ADHD medication.
What is the best natural stimulant for ADHD?
Some of the best natural stimulants for treating ADHD symptoms include caffeine, nicotine, and theacrine. These stimulants can help with some symptoms of ADHD.
Does Modafinil help with ADHD?
Modafinil has been deemed potentially effective in reducing problematic symptoms of ADHD. However, the FDA has not approved the use of Modafinil for the treatment of ADHD.
Which nootropic is most like Adderall?
The nootropic most similar to Adderall in effects is Vyvamind. This supplement is esigne to immitate smart drugs such as stimulant-based ADHD medication, but without the same side effects or need for prescription.
Learn more about ADHD:
- Mind Lab Pro for ADHD
- Alpha Brain vs Adderall
- Adderall weight loss
- Adderall tolerance
- Best supplements to take with Adderall
Learn more about the best nootropics:
- Best nootropics for energy
- Best nootropics for BDNF
- Best nootropics for depression
- Best nootropics for anxiety
- Best nootropics for creativity
- Best nootropics for motivation
- mental disorders
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children
- brain supplements
- brain energy
- powerful nootropic
- nutritional supplement
- cognitive processes
- over the counter nootropics
- cognitive enhancements
- cognitive function
- neurotransmitter balance
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.