Natural Adderall: Do Adderall Alternatives Work?

Many substances can be looked at as natural Adderall, but do they work? Adderall is a prescription medication that stimulates the brain. It is primarily used to treat people with ADHD, also known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Some natural supplements that are sometimes referred to as natural Adderall may help reduce symptoms of ADHD. These supplements can also help individuals without ADHD, as they provide improved focus and balanced stimulation.

Alternatives to Adderall

Before trying an Adderall substitute, such as a supplement, it is essential to first talk to your healthcare provider. Some natural alternatives to Adderall may interfere with other medications or may cause unexpected side effects. 


In the United States, citicoline is sold as a supplement. However, it is a pharmaceutical substance, and many countries require a prescription to acquire citicoline. Citicoline is identical to CDP-choline, a natural precursor to the phospholipid phosphatidylcholine, which is a major cell membrane. Phospholipids contain glycerol and fatty acids.

Studies have shown that phospholipids can help overall cognitive function and even help heal brain damage. Many countries use citicoline as a medication to help people recover from strokes. 

In 2014, a study noted that this supplement could help with disorders in the brain or nervous system such as dementia and glaucoma. The study also touched on citicoline helping reduce symptoms of ADHD.

This potential Adderall alternative does not have any apparent side effects, though it has not been studied at length. Overall, it is well tolerated but must undergo more research to call it a realistic form of natural Adderall.

Mineral Supplements

Many children with ADHD have lower-than-standard levels of specific mineral nutrients. A balanced diet typically supplies you with proper nutrients and minerals. Some children tend to be picky eaters, or a much smaller amount have medical conditions that don’t allow the child to absorb nutrients properly. In both of these cases, the child may be deficient in certain minerals.

Research shows that supplements can reduce symptoms of ADHD in some children. Researchers believe this is true since certain minerals are required for the brain to make neurotransmitters

Three of the supplements believed to reduce symptoms in ADHD include iron, magnesium, and zinc.


Another potential Adderall alternative is methionine. Methionine is an amino acid that our bodies use to develop brain chemicals. The active form of methionine is called S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe). This has been used as a form of natural Adderall to help treat symptoms of depression and ADHD. In 1990, a trial concluded that 75% of the trial participants with ADHD showed improved symptoms after being treated with SAMe.

Unfortunately, this potential Adderall substitute has side effects that are specifically bad for those with bipolar disorder. This supplement might increase manic episodes and anxiety, especially for those with bipolar disorder. 

Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium

Vitamin B-6 directly helps make a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a nerve chemical that is essential for mood balance and the basic feeling of calmness. It is believed that vitamin B-6 may work well in conjunction with magnesium to balance chemicals in the brain. 

One study found that children with diagnosed ADHD had fewer symptoms after eight weeks of taking vitamin B-6 and magnesium supplements. Researchers noted that hyperactivity, mental focus, and aggressiveness improved because of the Adderall alternative supplement. 


GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps calm the nervous system. This is generally used to lower levels of hyperactivity and excitability. This supplement may also ease stress and anxiousness.

GABA supplements may help both adults and children with ADHD that display symptoms of aggressiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. A study in 2016 expressed the role GABA supplements can play in reducing symptoms of ADHD in children and adults. 


Pycnogenol is an antioxidant registered under the trademark brand name of French maritime pine bark extract. The supplement is mainly used to help lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Because this supplement may lower inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, it has the potential to reduce ADHD symptoms. 

In recent years, researchers have continuously studied the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in relation to ADHD symptoms. Though there has not been complete, conclusive evidence that makes Pycnogenol a potential form of natural Adderall, several studies have had positive outcomes. 

One of the studies found that this supplement significantly helped reduce ADHD symptoms in children. The study details an improvement in hand-eye coordination, concentration, and attention over the four-week trial. 

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is marketed to improve blood flow and overall memory in older adults. This herbal supplement has undergone limited testing and is on the list of potential alternatives for Adderall. Though some studies report improvements in each test participant’s overall quality of life, the supplement requires more research and dosage testing before becoming an Adderall substitute. 

Combination Supplements

Certain combinations of herbs and supplements are sold as alternatives to Adderall. Some of the herbs used in these supplements are:

  • Aesculus
  • Aconite
  • Oenanthe
  • Humulus
  • GABA
  • L-Tyrosine
  • Gelsemium

Most of the supplements are said to not affect appetite or sleep, which is a significant side effect of Adderall for some people. Studies show that these supplements may help keep you focused and calm without increasing irritability and anxiety.

Is There an Adderall Substitute for Focus?

natural adderall

You do not have to have diagnosed ADHD to have issues concentrating or focusing. Many people without ADHD can benefit from natural supplements that have similar but more mild effects than Adderall. Some easily obtainable supplements that can help improve memory and focus include:

  • Flaxseed: Flaxseed provides omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients.
  • Fish oil: Fish oil helps with overall heart health, and it provides omega-3 fatty acids that help protect the brain.
  • Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 adds nutrients that help maintain and protect nerves in the brain.
  • Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to the brain, which provides several health benefits.
  • Mint: Mint and mint extract help improve memory.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary is known to improve alertness and memory.
  • Sesame seeds: Sesame seeds are an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6, which are beneficial for brain health. Sesame seeds are also rich in tyrosine, an essential amino acid.
  • Cocoa seed: Cocoa seed is a beneficial antioxidant.
  • Saffron: Saffron is believed to improve brain and overall cognitive function.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is an evolving mental health disorder. Brain structure and function play a large role in the development and specific symptoms of ADHD. People with severe ADHD show differences in physical brain structure compared to those without the mental health disorder. 

For example, children with diagnosed severe ADHD have a smaller frontal lobe. This area of the brain is responsible for motor activity, concentration, impulse control, and inhibition. 

Some common symptoms of ADHD include standard behavioral issues, poor concentration, fidgeting, and overactivity. Other signs of ADHD include:

  • Interrupting conversations
  • Difficulty completing tasks and concentrating
  • Inability to sit still, especially in calm environments
  • Acting before thinking
  • Lack of sense of danger

How Does Adderall Help?

Adderall helps improve exam performance and concentration in students with ADHD. Studies show that Adderall reduces impulsivity which, in turn, enhances the individual’s attention and focus. Researchers believe that Adderall and other similar medications do not increase the individual’s risk of addiction to these drugs. Though, people with ADHD are more likely to have addictive tendencies in general. 

Side Effects of Adderall

Adderall has many side effects, including:

  • Restlessness
  • Excitability
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dear
  • Anxiety
  • Tremor
  • Agitation
  • Weakness
  • Sleep issues (insomnia)
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sexual interest
  • Impotence
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

ADHD and Addiction

ADHD and addiction are common co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders, also referred to as dual diagnoses, are two or more mental health disorders occurring simultaneously. In many cases, co-occurring disorders play into each other to cause adverse outcomes if not treated properly. 

Studies show that individuals with moderate to severe ADHD are more likely to become dependent on substances than the general population. The following facts and statistics support the linkage between substance use and ADHD:

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is almost ten times more common in people with an alcohol use disorder.
  • A quarter of people in alcohol or drug treatment have ADHD.
  • Children and young adults diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to use substances in their teens.
  • Young adults with ADHD have a higher chance of using alcohol excessively compared to young adults without the disorder.
  • In general, people with ADHD have a higher chance of using substances at an earlier age, on average. 

Sana Lake BWC Can Help

Sana Lake BWC provides a recovery-oriented system of care. We take pride in creating personalized recovery plans for each and every one of our members. Whether you are dealing with mental health issues like ADHD or issues with substance use, we can help. At Sana Lake BWC, you are not just a member for a short time; you are a member for life. If you have any questions regarding our community or our services, please give us a call today.