Adderall is the common name for the combination of the two drugs Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine. This prescription medication is a stimulant and is typically used to increase attention, focus, and energy. Due to its ability to increase productivity, decrease tiredness, and keep your energy at high levels, adderall is often abused or taken without a prescription for it.

Although taken in low doses adderall is a safe medication, it has side effects and can become addictive. Research in holistic medicine and integrative wellness alternatives have shown many natural remedies that can act as a replacement to adderall, giving you the benefits without any of the negative side effects.

How Does Adderall Work?

Adderall works by changing the release of certain chemicals in the brain. Norepinephrine and Dopamine are responsible for the speed of brain activity and adderall increases their availability which in turn increases overall brain activity.

Adderall comes in many different dosages that range anywhere from 5mg to 40 mg. Available in both short or long acting tablets, adderall is taken by mouth up to two times per day. Adderall works best for treating ADHD, certain sleeping conditions, and other attention disorders. Typically the effects last from 4-6 hours and then brain function starts to slow down again.

Side Effects of Adderall

Just like any medication, adderall has a lot of side effects that can disrupt everyday life. Holistic alternatives to Adderall are beneficial because they can offer the same energy boost without the harmful effects. Some of the most common side effects of adderall include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Shaking/Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Addiction
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Psychosis

6 Best Natural Adderall Alternatives

For those looking to maintain high energy levels but avoid harmful and potentially addictive drugs, check out these natural alternatives that easily accessible at most health food stores or pharmaceuticals:

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is an herb that contains compounds that increase blood velocity and preserve neurotransmitters. By keeping brain chemicals at their optimal levels, Ginkgo Biloba helps to reduce symptoms of ADHD and avoids mental crashes.It increases the happy chemcials and has been shown to increase memory. Ginkgo also has a varying range of other amazing health benefits such as lowering inflammation, increasing heart function, and stabilizing immunity. With no negative side effects, this herb is a great swap for traditional adderall.


L-Theanine is an amino acid most commonly recognized for being found in green tea leaves. This alternative helps to balance the chemicals in the brain and create a state of focus and relaxation at the same time. Where Adderall often creates a jittery and anxious state of productivity, L-Theanine actually increases energy while lowering stress levels simultaneously. L-theanine can be taken in supplement pill form, powder form, or absorbed simply by having a warm cup of green tea!

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is found throughout the cortex and helps to maintain motor control, vision, and overall nervous system responses. Medications used to lower anxiety and increase productivity bind to the same neuron receptors as GABA, so supplementing to increase the levels of GABA in the brain in turn increases motor function, focus, and decreases anxiety.


Citicoline is a naturally occurring brain chemical that can be taken as a supplement in either IV form, pill form, or powder form. There have been many versions created to improve conditions such as Alzheimers, ADHD, Stroke, and Parkinson’s Disease. Citicoline works by improves circulation in the brain and increase a brain chemical called phosphatidylcholine which is crucial for brain function also decrease brain tissue damage when the brain is injured. Research has suggested that conditions that benefit from adderall could be linked to some form of brain damage or motor function disorder. Citicoline offers the same benefits plus potential long term repair and little to no side effects.


Many people don’t think of caffeine as a drug, however, caffeine is a chemical not naturally found in the body and it does alter the brain’s natural state. Caffeine is not the first recommendation because it is considered addictive (although it does not cause dangerous effects) and can cause digestive disorders.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A is a very popular herbal nootropic commonly used in chinese medicine that works to increase cognitive function. It’s classified as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor meaning its duty is to break down acetylcholine. Huperzine’s inhibitory properties allow larger amounts of acetylcholine to build up in the brain and enhances focus and attention. Studies on Huperzine A have shown reports of extremely high focus and attention levels with very minimal anxiety, making this an ideal substitute for Adderall.

Why Choose Holistic?

Adderall is a very specific combination of chemicals and none of these supplements are going to mimic it exactly. They can however offer you very similar benefits, additional health improvements, and less side effects.

These 6 supplements are just a few out of the hundreds of options for natural alternatives. Adderall could be the best route for some people, but overtime it has become overprescribed and often taken irresponsibly. People taking it without a perscription don’t know how to regulate their dosage and It comes with a whole host of side effects and can be addictive.

If you have severe ADHD, narcolepsy, or another condition that your doctor suggests adderall is the best option for, there is no problem taking adderall as prescribed. If, however, you just want the energy and increased focus, these alternatives are healthier and more sustainable options. Holistic alternatives are often overlooked, but are the best option for people looking to get their brains at an optimal level of function without introducing harmful chemicals or medications into their routine.

Even if you are prescribed Adderall but want to get off of it due to the negative side effects, slowly start to incorporate these supplements and you might find they work even better. By increasing motor functions, brain activity, and decreasing anxiety and inflammation, these holistic medicine options can actually benefit your health as a whole and long term.
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