Last updated: November 27th, 2019
Nootropics are smart drugs or cognitive enhancers that are generally safe, easy and effective to use. If you have ADHD, then using nootropics can be a great supplement to your lifestyle.
I’ve used a number of different nootropics throughout college and ordinary adult life. And, I can assure you that good nootropics work well for people with ADHD.
So, this article lists the very best nootropics for ADHD that you’ll find. But first, let’s cover some of the basics of using nootropics…
What are nootropics?
According to Wikipedia, nootropics are drugs, supplements or other substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, creativity, motivation or memory.
Nootropics are commonly used by competitive athletes, university students, business people, executives and other high-performing individuals.
Most nootropics are readily available over-the-counter for anyone to purchase. However, some nootropics are considered controlled substances (depending on your jurisdiction), and may require a prescription from a doctor.
When used responsibly, many high-quality nootropics will help you reduce stress, boost productivity, feel happier, and improve your overall quality of life.
Why are certain nootropics effective for people with ADHD?
I wasn’t prescribed ADHD medication when I was in college.
Therefore, I did my best to source over-the-counter nootropics that would work almost as well as something like Vyvanse or Adderall.
During my extensive five-and-a-half year college career, I managed to try everything from piracetam (not recommended), to noopept (this one is pretty good), to many other kinds of nootropics.
I ultimately found that some nootropics are definitely life-altering for people with ADHD.
While most nootropics aren’t going to work as well as stimulant-based ADHD medication, some nootropics come close to giving you something that resembles a light Adderall kick.
So, nootropics can work extremely well for certain people with ADHD, especially if the following situations apply to you:
- You want to improve your grades while in school
- Your job is demanding, and you’d like to supplement with something that gives you a cognitive boost
- You’re searching for an alternative to using ADHD medication
- You already eat, sleep and exercise well, but find that you still have trouble focusing when it matters most
Regardless of the reason, many people with ADHD find nootropics to be extremely effective for their unique situation.
The 7 best nootropics for ADHD
Based on my extensive first-hand experience with nootropics, I’ve managed to narrow down the 7 best nootropics that may help you take the edge off your ADHD symptoms.
The following nootropics can help you stay alert, feel energized, and be super productive while dealing with ADHD.
1. Rhodiola rosea
Gaia Herbs Rhodiola Rosea (Amazon) is an excellent source of rhodiola rosea.
Rhodiola rosea is one of the very best nootropics for people with ADHD to use, because it’s a natural brain adaptogen that regulates brain chemicals, boosts your mood, and helps you deal with stress. When I recommend rhodiola to friends with ADHD, they almost always have good things to say about it.
Taking rhodiola rosea can actually feel similar to using a very light dose of dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) – which is commonly prescribed to treat ADHD symptoms.
Plus, many people also experience less anxious thoughts and feelings while taking rhodiola rosea. So overall, rhodiola rosea is an amazing 100% natural nootropic that can help most people combat ADHD symptoms.
Bulksupplements Pure Sulbutiamine (Amazon) is a high-quality source of sulbutiamine in powder form.
Sulbutiamine is a derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1) that gives you an instant rush of energy, improves your sense of focus, and even supports sexual health.
Just as a fair warning, sulbutiamine tastes pretty bad in powder form. It has a really bitter flavor that’s hard to describe. And, you’ll also need to use a good milligram measuring spoon or milligram scale to get an accurate dosage when you take sulbutiamine powder.
But, if you’re willing to work with these slight obstacles, I think there’s a really good chance that you’ll love using sulbutiamine. I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise.
I normally use sulbutiamine as a pre-workout powder. I mix 200mg of sulbutiamine powder with some orange juice or a similarly strong flavor-masking beverage, chug the mixture, and then hit the gym. This helps me have amazing workouts. I also use sulbutiamine when I know that I need to do a few hours of intense work. Taking sulbutiamine immediately gets me “in the zone” whenever I need to focus. Sulbutiamine is ultimately a great nootropic that you’ll be able to feel within minutes of using.
Note: If you’d prefer to take sulbutiamine capsules (and avoid the bad taste of the powder), Double Wood Supplements Sulbutiamine 200mg Capsules (Amazon) is another great option to consider. Sulbutiamine capsules will take a little bit longer for your body to digest. But, you’ll be able to avoid the bad taste of sulbutiamine powder this way.
3. ADHD medication
ADHD medication is without a doubt one of the best “nootropics” that people with ADHD can use.
Surprisingly, stimulant-based medications like Vyvanse and Adderall are known to help people with ADHD feel calm and focused when a therapeutic dose is administered.
If you have ADHD, and you’re searching for a good nootropic, then you just might have to connect with a local doctor to gain access to the crème de la crème of nootropics – ADHD medication.
The only potential issue with ADHD medication is that it might not technically be considered a nootropic, since certain ADHD medications may have potential adverse effects when used excessively.
But, the good news is that using a therapeutic dose of ADHD medication is more than likely safe for long-term use. Amphetamines have been studied quite well throughout the past century. And, most research suggests that therapeutic doses of ADHD medication provide far more pros than cons for people with ADHD.
4. Natural caffeine
Genius Caffeine (Amazon) is my favorite source of natural caffeine in capsule form.
As you probably know, caffeine is the most popular psychoactive drug in the world. This means that caffeine is also the world’s favorite nootropic.
Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee and tea (which I love dearly).
But, since cutting back on my coffee consumption, I tend to use Genius Caffeine quite a lot.
If you’re fine with drinking coffee or tea to get your caffeine buzz, that’s perfectly OK. You can carry on with business as usual.
However, there are times when it definitely helps to have natural caffeine capsules on hand. For example, I’ll sometimes drink a giant 32 oz vegetable smoothie first thing in the morning, and I’ll still crave caffeine afterwards.
But, after drinking so much liquid, the last thing I want to do is drink a coffee.
So, that’s the perfect type of situation where I’ll pop a capsule of Genius Caffeine to wake up and feel alert, rather than drinking coffee.
You might encounter a similar situation in your life, too.
Jarrow Formulas Ashwagandha (Amazon) is a trusted source of ashwagandha that I use consistently, and highly recommend.
Ashwagandha is one of my all-time favorite nootropics because it’s safe, natural and extremely beneficial to use.
The anti-anxiety benefits and light stimulation that you experience after taking ashwagandha is outstanding.
Best of all, ashwagandha is an adaptogen that lowers your cortisol (reduces stress), makes you feel calm, improves your physical strength, boosts your immune health, and more.
If you’re looking for an all-around healthy nootropic that enhances your mood and takes the edge off your ADHD or anxiety – then ashwagandha is the nootropic I recommend to you.
6. Beet juice powder
Beet Beet Beet Organic Beet Juice Powder (Amazon) is a powerful organic nootropic that’s made from one of the greatest vegetables on earth…
I drink beet juice at least two or three times per week.
Drinking beet juice gives you one of the greatest natural energy boosts that you’ll ever experience, primarily because of the special nutrients and antioxidants found in beets.
For example, beet juice floods your body with nutrients that boost your level of nitric oxide, and therefore improve your body’s blood flow and oxygen delivery.
I’m a huge fan of this particular brand of beet juice powder, because it contains beets that are organically grown and processed on the West Coast of the United States.
When you supplement with Beet Beet Beet Organic Beet Juice Powder, you’ll enjoy using a nootropic that keeps you healthy, improves your focus, and gives you serious energy.
Modafinil is one of the most mainstream nootropics in the world.
Funny enough, modafinil largely rose to popularity because of the movie Limitless, which showcases Bradley Cooper taking a fictional nootropic pill called NZT-48.
In the movie, Bradley Cooper is able to use NZT-48 to beat the stock market, write a book, and learn multiple languages.
After the movie was released, many people started to compare NZT-48 to modafinil, which is a real-life “wakefulness-promoting agent” that makes you feel upbeat and alert without physical stimulation. Modafinil’s stimulation is entirely mental rather than physical, which makes it a unique option for treating ADHD symptoms (most ADHD medications stimulate you physically and mentally).
Now, modafinil obviously isn’t nearly as effective as the fictional NZT-48 pill from Limitless. But, many people do use modafinil to treat ADHD symptoms with great results.
I personally didn’t enjoy using modafinil for ADHD, because I was a hyper-responder to the medication. I couldn’t take a single dose of modafinil without having a severe case of insomnia the same night. But, I’m definitely the exception here, and not the rule.
The reality is that thousands of people find modafinil to work extremely well for their ADHD symptoms. So, you just might find that modafinil is the ideal nootropic for treating your ADHD symptoms.
However, if you live in the United States, keep in mind that you’ll need a prescription from your doctor to use modafinil. Modafinil is primarily prescribed for narcolepsy. But, it can be prescribed “off label” for ADHD too.
Can you use nootropics and ADHD medication at the same time?
You should always chat with your doctor before using any nootropics or dietary supplements in combination with your prescribed ADHD medication.
I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. Make sure to chat with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet, nutrition or lifestyle.
But, generally speaking, I don’t recommend that you use nootropics and ADHD medication at the same time.
ADHD medication is quite powerful on its own.
So, it’s a much better idea to supplement your ADHD medication with plenty of water, exercise, high-quality food, and sleep rather than nootropics.
However, I will say that I’ve used natural caffeine, magnesium, food-based multivitamins, fish oil and a few other “safe” nootropics in combination with ADHD medication.
Make sure to be careful, do your research, and consult with your healthcare provider before combining nootropics and ADHD medication.
Safety precautions to consider when using nootropics
It’s always a good idea to remember that nootropics are a relatively new field.
Some nootropics don’t have extensive clinical studies, scientific research, or safety standards that come with more mainstream dietary supplements.
In fact, many nootropic retailers have to label their nootropics as research chemicals which aren’t intended for human consumption.
Luckily, the 7 nootropics that I’ve listed in this article are absolutely safe for human consumption when they’re used as intended.
Just make sure to pay close attention to the instructions listed on your product’s packaging – or the instructions given to you by your doctor.
And, be sure to only take a minimal dose of your nootropic the first time you use it.
Be smart, consult with your healthcare provider before using nootropics, keep hydrated, and you’ll likely have no problems using high-quality nootropics to improve your ADHD symptoms and lifestyle.