Perhaps you were prescribed Adderall and can’t stand the side effects anymore. Or, maybe you want to clear your head and get motivated without the risks of illegal drug use.
Natural nootropic supplements are a safer way to boost your brainpower when you’re dealing with a poor attention span or lack of motivation. Some ingredients act as stimulants by increasing neurotransmitters; others protect and regulate brain cells (neurons).
Let’s look at some of the best nootropics that can act as over-the-counter Adderall.
- Best Overall – Mind Lab Pro
- Best for Key Ingredients – Performance Lab Mind
- Best for Fast Results – NooCube
- Best for Brain Nutrition – Qualia Mind
- Best Circulation Boost – BrainPill
Best Overall – Mind Lab Pro
Product or Service
Price per bottle
Doses per bottle
No. of ingredients
Mind Lab Pro
Performance Lab Mind
$119.00; $69.50 first bottle
22 (28-day cycle)
Best Overall – Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is the best overall when it comes to nootropics, thanks to its all-around cognitive benefits. As our Mind Lab Pro review explains, this natural Adderall alternative contains 11 ingredients to enhance the production of dopamine and other neurotransmitters, boost brain regeneration, and protect the neurons you already have through antioxidant support.
Adderall vs Over the Counter Adderall
Adderall is a prescription pharmaceutical used to manage attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall is not sold over the counter, as its side effect profile makes it unsafe. Some people buy Adderall or similar stimulants illegally as “smart drugs”, even if they have no ADHD symptoms .
Among college students, who is more likely to misuse Adderall?
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a legal amphetamine, containing both D- and L-amphetamine. In chemistry terms, D- and L- versions of molecules are mirror images of each other and have different effects as a result. While D-amphetamine is more potent, L-amphetamine lasts longer in the body .
Adderall works by increasing your brain’s levels of dopamine and noradrenaline to help you stay focused and motivated. Dopamine increases the amount of effort you’re willing to make in order to achieve something. Even if you enjoy something, low dopamine can wipe out your motivation to do it .
Restoring levels of the neurotransmitter can therefore leave you feeling much better, as you’re able to work towards your goals more effectively.
What Is Over the Counter Adderall?
As a prescription-only drug, you can’t buy Adderall over the counter. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also classifies Adderall as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. This is because of its addictive potential and presence on the black market as a study drug .
What’s the Closest Thing to Adderall Over the Counter?
The closest and safest thing to buying Adderall over the counter is a class of supplements known as nootropics. These are natural Adderall alternatives with more positive side effects, such as an increase in brain regeneration rates or antioxidant support, and fewer (if any) negative side effects. The effect of nootropics on cognitive functions is, overall, milder yet broader.
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are nutrients, herbal remedies, and some pharmaceuticals that are chosen or designed to boost brain function. Most earn a place in this category by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin .
How Do Nootropics Work?
Some ingredients in nootropic supplements have other benefits, too. These include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, which protects neurons from the everyday damage that can build up over time. Others increase the rate of natural brain regeneration, boost blood flow, increase cellular energy production, and balance brain waves.
What Are the Natural Ingredients in Nootropics?
Some of the best ingredients in nootropics include:
- Rhodiola rosea.
- Ginkgo biloba.
- Bacopa monnieri.
- Coenzyme Q10.
- Vitamin B12.
Citicoline is a safe supplemental version of choline, used to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Clinical studies show improved performance on cognitive health tests, in both accuracy and reaction time, as well as brain wave patterns that indicate better focus. These same brainwave patterns are used to differentiate between people with and without ADHD .
Rhodiola rosea is a herbal medicine gaining popularity in the West as part of nootropics for energy. The natural substance increases levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, and acetylcholine while reducing the stress hormone cortisol. In human clinical studies, rhodiola shows the ability to improve concentration, mental energy, and mood .
L-tyrosine is an amino acid used to produce dopamine and noradrenaline, making it a direct natural Adderall alternative. Most clinical trials show beneficial effects of tyrosine on cognition, although some only demonstrate short-term improvements that are not sustained after supplementation ends .
Ginkgo biloba is a popular inclusion in nootropics for memory. It can improve blood flow to the brain, as seen on imaging studies during both short-term (four weeks) and long-term (eight months) supplementation. Healthy younger volunteers and those with age-related cognitive decline have shown improvements in focus and memory retention.
As for ADHD, ginkgo may be a useful ingredient in natural Adderall alternatives. Two clinical studies have shown improvements in symptoms, alongside better circulation to the brain and increased levels of neurotransmitters including noradrenaline .
Bacopa monnieri can boost focus alongside cognitive processing speed. Its effects on the brain include an increase in dopamine, acetylcholine, and GABA, along with decreased cortisol. This is the main stress hormone that impairs cognitive function.
A standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri has been shown to relieve some symptoms of ADHD, possibly demonstrating itself to be an Adderall alternative. Inattention, poor self-control, impulsivity, and restlessness all were relieved by Bacopa monnieri extract .
Phosphatidylserine has shown benefits for brain functioning, specifically in cases of ADHD. Short-term memory, impulsivity, and inattention all improved in one study of phosphatidylserine, with no negative side effects. It increases the brain chemicals dopamine, glutamate, and acetylcholine, all essential for cognitive performance .
Additionally, phosphatidylserine is one of the long-term cognitive enhancers, as it improves brain regeneration. Research shows that it assists nerve growth factor transport through neurons, supporting their repair and growth .
Coenzyme Q10 is essential for cellular energy production and acts as an antioxidant in the mitochondria. These are the energy-producing centers of the cell and are perhaps exposed to more oxidative stress than any other part of the body. What’s more, coenzyme Q10 could even support the production of new neurons.
Much of the age-related decline in cognitive function is caused by impaired brain regeneration, which falls by 80% from young adulthood to older age. It’s made even worse by the destructive plaque seen in Alzheimer’s disease, too. Coenzyme Q10 may rescue neural stem cells in this situation, by acting on genes important for cellular survival .
Vitamin B12 supports neurotransmitter production by aiding homocysteine metabolism, which prevents inflammation and oxidative stress. Even better, vitamin B12 assists in myelin synthesis. This is the fatty sheath that protects brain and nerve cells and allows them to efficiently communicate .
The Five Best Over-the-Counter Adderall Alternatives
With so many supplements out to boost brain performance, we thought we’d review five of the best brain supplements.
Mind Lab Pro – Best Overall
$69.00 per bottle
Energy production, neurotransmitters, neuroprotection, circulation, brain wave regulation, and regeneration
Dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA
With lion’s mane and phosphatidylserine
Evidence supplied to customers
Referenced on website
- All-round nootropic support for cognitive enhancement.
- Ingredients demonstrated efficacy in healthy and chronic illness states.
- Includes lion’s mane extract to enhance brain regeneration.
- No “single task” ingredients.
- No proprietary formulas; complete transparency.
- Cost is over $4 per daily dose.
- May contain subtherapeutic doses of some ingredients.
Mind Lab Pro leaves no stone unturned. All ingredients have multiple functions; for example, ginkgo biloba provides cellular protection and boosts blood flow, while L-theanine is able to modulate brain waves and support neurotransmitter production.
This list of benefits makes Mind Lab Pro one of the best Adderall alternatives, particularly if you are looking to boost your overall performance. As L-theanine is a calming ingredient through increased GABA production, you can also enjoy a more relaxed mood and improved sleep . Adderall, on the other hand, can cause insomnia and irritability .
Mind Lab Pro is the best Adderall alternative to improve brain health and enhance cognitive function. With support for brain regeneration, stress-relieving properties, and more, the side effects of Adderall are replaced with side benefits.
Performance Lab Mind – Best for Key Ingredients
Neurotransmitter support, neuroregeneration, brain wave regulation, and antioxidant protection
Dopamine, noradrenaline, and acetylcholine
Evidence supplied to customers
Evidence described but no reference given
- Lower cost per dose, at a little over $2 per day.
- Powerful antioxidant support with maritime pine bark extract.
- Dopamine and noradrenaline support.
- Citicoline for brain wave regulation.
- No references provided for science behind ingredients.
- No explanation for superiority of Ajipure tyrosine formulation.
A more streamlined supplement with only four ingredients, Performance Lab Mind is still one of the best natural Adderall alternatives. Including the amino acid tyrosine to boost dopamine and noradrenaline production and support for neuroregeneration and antioxidant status, it is our second pick. Learn more in this Performance Lab review.
Protection through antioxidant support and the promotion of brain cell regeneration can make Performance Lab Mind your go-to OTC Adderall if you’re coming off the drug. Adderall withdrawal, possibly including missing or taking your next dose a little later, increases levels of the stress hormone, cortisol . This damages the brain cells and impairs cell regeneration .
With antioxidant power, stress relief, and pro-repair effects accompanying neurotransmitter support, Performance Lab Mind may help you recover from the effects of long-term Adderall use.
NooCube – Best for Fast Results
Neurotransmitter support, antioxidant action, and brain wave regulation
Dopamine, noradrenaline, GABA, and acetylcholine
No direct support
Evidence supplied to customers
All ingredients represented in a full reference list
- Ingredients have shown clinical benefits in healthy volunteers and those with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Broad-spectrum cognitive benefits through neurotransmitter stimulation.
- Calming effect of oat straw and L-theanine.
- Powerful antioxidant effect of cat’s claw extract.
- Contains gluten from oat straw.
- No direct brain regeneration support.
With some of its neurotransmitter-boosting benefits taking effect in hours, NooCube may be one of the closest natural Adderall replacements. For example, green oat extract has shown to improve performance speed, executive function, and word recall after just one dose in people with mild age-related cognitive decline .
If you’re looking for speedy relief from brain fog, you may have come to the right place with NooCube—unless you’re gluten intolerant.
Qualia Mind – Best for Brain Nutrition
$119.00 (after first bottle)
Antioxidant support, neurotransmitter production, neuroregeneration, brain wave regulation, boosts circulation, and cellular energy production
Acetylcholine, dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin, and GABA
Evidence supplied to customers
Scientific evidence available for some ingredients on a separate page
- Broad-spectrum cellular energy production support with B vitamins and more.
- Range of neurotransmitters supported, including several ingredients for acetylcholine.
- Powerful antioxidant ingredients for cellular protection.
- Higher doses required to reach therapeutic levels for the large number of ingredients.
Qualia Mind aims to do everything, with its longer ingredients list and higher dosage. Individual ingredients often have more than one benefit each, including the powerful antioxidant pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ). Not only is it stronger than vitamin C, but it may also boost brain regeneration via nerve growth factor and reduce cortisol .
It is this cortisol reduction that makes Qualia Mind another potentially helpful Adderall alternative, especially if you are coming off the drug and wishing to increase your mental and physical energy.
Qualia Mind takes acting as a brain food supplement to the next level with its comprehensive ingredient list.
BrainPill – Best Circulation Boost
Neurotransmitter support, neuroregeneration, brain wave regulation, cellular energy production, brain wave regulation, and antioxidant support
Dopamine, noradrenaline, GABA, acetylcholine, and serotonin
Evidence supplied to customers
No links to peer-reviewed articles; scientific evidence listed only.
- Essential B vitamins involved in neurotransmitter and cellular energy production.
- Support with mental clarity and memory retention with acetylcholine-boosters.
- Anti-inflammatory effects of DHA and antioxidants in ginkgo.
- Contains titanium dioxide, which has a questionable safety profile .
- Little transparency available with scientific evidence.
Brain Pill contains many of the natural herbs, essential vitamins, and other nutrients commonly found in natural alternatives to Adderall. Vinpocetine, however, is a unique ingredient of Brain Pill, which has demonstrated the ability to enhance circulation and cellular energy production in neurons. This includes clinical studies on post-stroke patients, where circulation has been interrupted .
Brain Pill shines in its broad support for neurotransmitter production and circulation. However, poor ingredient transparency and the inclusion of titanium dioxide knock off a few points.
Other Adderall Alternatives
Certain diet and lifestyle changes, energy supplements, and even prescription medication can act as good Adderall alternatives, alone or alongside nootropic supplements.
Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
Certain nutrients boost brain health over time. For example, omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish can significantly improve ADHD-related symptoms, such as poor attention span and impulsivity. Omega-3 fatty acids benefit cell growth and signaling, as well as dopamine and serotonin production .
Overall, a Mediterranean dietary pattern may improve mental cognition and is the best way to prevent cognitive impairment. A diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, and herbs can give essential antioxidant and neurotransmitter support. It is not powerful enough to be a natural alternative to Adderall alone, so is best used alongside natural nootropics .
Some energy drinks contain B vitamins for neurotransmitter production, alongside other energy boosters and caffeine for a short-term boost in mental performance. However, choose these with caution, as many contain high levels of sugar, too.
Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is a non-amphetamine ADHD medication that slows the removal of dopamine and noradrenaline, much like how SSRIs work with serotonin in depression. Peak levels of Ritalin appear in the blood from one to three hours, so it does not last as long as Adderall .
This may mean you can control the side effects more easily, by timing the dose to when you need it most.
Here is some more information on OTC Adderall and natural alternatives.
Can You Get Over the Counter Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription-only drug and categorized as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. It is therefore illegal to sell over the counter as a smart drug. As an alternative, nootropic brain supplements like Mind Lab Pro are available to purchase without a prescription.
What Medication Is Closest to Adderall?
Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is one of the best Adderall alternatives when it comes to pharmaceutical drugs. Like Adderall, it increases levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. It is one of the shorter-acting smart drugs, with its levels peaking in the body at one to three hours .
Can You Get Adderall Without a Doctor?
As you require a doctor to write a prescription first, it is not possible to get Adderall without a doctor, unless your prescription includes refills. Some people illegally purchase Adderall as a smart drug through others who can get a prescription or obtain it through other means. This can be extremely dangerous, as you may have a serious adverse reaction but have no access to medical support.
Can You Buy Over the Counter Adderall in Walmart?
You cannot buy Adderall over the counter in Walmart, because it is prescription-only.
There are many OTC Adderall alternatives on the market today, aimed at stacking a range of ingredients to maximize cognitive performance and overall health benefits. Mind Lab Pro, followed by Performance Lab, NooCube, Qualia Mind, and Brain Pill, are standout natural supplements that can be used as a smart drug.
Their comprehensive formulations don’t stop at the support for dopamine and noradrenaline they need to act as alternatives to Adderall. They also add in brain regeneration boosts, cellular protection, improved brain energy production, and regulation of brain function.
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