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 on our top rated nootropics 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.
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.
Nootropics to treat ADHD
Treating ADHD-like symptoms with notropics means finding those nootropics which most effectively promote focus, concentration, mental stamina, and information processing.
Here are the best nootropics for ADHD:
- Huperzine A
- R-Lipoic Acid
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.
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.
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. There are two enantiomers in ALA; the R-(natural) and S-(unnatural) enantiomers which are mirror images of each other. R-Lipoic Acid is the most active isomer of ALA, which is a versatile antioxidant. 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.
Putting it together: Nootropic stacks for ADHD
The above list covers all the best natural nootropic substances to use if you struggle with symptoms of ADHD.
At this point we’d like to stress that you should listen to your physician first and foremost if you have an ADHD diagnoses; do not abandon their treatment plant o try and treat it yourself with natural supplements.
However, if you’re just looking to use ADHD drugs to enhance your performance in work or college, then you really should consider using a natural nootropic as an alternative to ADHD drugs like Ritalin or Adderall.
The best option is to use a stack which contains multiple ingredients which enhance focus, reduce mental fatigue, and promote motivation.
In our opinion, the best option for that is Performance Lab Mind. Check out our full review to learn more.