Improve Attention Naturally with Stim-Free Brain Boosters
Have you ever felt like you were juggling ten thoughts at once -- but when you try to focus on one, they all disappear? If you have experienced this or other symptoms of adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), then you know how it can limit quality of life. Brain-boosting nootropic supplements can help.
Stimulant drugs are often used to treat ADHD, but they aren't right for everybody. Nootropics for ADHD represent a safe, natural and stim-free alternative therapy that may help to improve attention and more. In this article, we will share the best ADHD supplements and the nootropic ingredients that make them effective.
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a genetic mental health issue marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity.
Adults with ADHD symptoms may experience changes in brain performance associated with a range of cognitive and behavioral issues including:1
- Multitasking difficulty
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor planning
- Mood swings
- Diminished cognitive ability
- Trouble coping with stress
ADHD is relatively common. It also lasts a lifetime. If you have it, then you are likely familiar with ADHD's far-ranging negative impact across brain function, academics, professional productivity, personal relationships and social relations.
As frustrating as ADHD symptoms can be, there are options to help, including ADHD drugs and strategic supplementation with natural brain-boosting nootropics.
To understand how natural nootropics for ADHD might work, let's first delve into what is believed to cause attention problems in the first place.
ADHD's Brain Chemical Connection
While researchers do not yet know exactly what is behind ADHD, one popular hypothesis involves three thought-regulating neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) collectively known as catecholamines:
Norepinephrine: Manages attention, vigilance and sleep cycles
Dopamine: Drives motivation and reward/gratification functions
Epinephrine: Stimulates brain for sharp, quick thinking under stress
Unbalanced catecholamine levels are associated with ADHD.
This might be because healthy catecholamine levels are critical for our brains' ADHD-linked executive functions, including attention, working memory and impulse control.
Considering catecholamine neurotransmitters' specific impact on the brain's executive functions, it's easy to see how a disruption of the catecholamine system might affect focus, decision-making, mood, social interaction, and other ADHD (as well as ADD) markers.
"Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is believed to be a result of abnormalities... Underpinning these abnormalities are disturbances of catecholamine neurotransmission."2
How Might Nootropics for ADHD Help?
Conventional ADHD therapies typically target the catecholamines Norepinephrine and dopamine: the very same brain chemicals that are associated with attention.3
In theory, nootropics that support those same neurotransmitters might help with attentional performance, as well as other executive functions that may be affected by ADHD.
Catecholamine-optimizing nootropics may help to sharpen attention safely, naturally and without the use of stimulants.
L-Tyrosine may be among the best nootropics for ADHD because it is the primary building block for synthesizing catecholamine neurotransmitters.
In addition to supporting attention-related brain chemicals, nootropics may indirectly help with other ADHD-related mental performance issues like:
Let's check out some of the best nootropics for ADHD found in the world's greatest nootropic supplement: Mind Lab Pro.
Best All-In-One Nootropics Stack for ADHD:
Mind Lab Pro®
Disclaimer: Mind Lab Pro should not be used to treat ADHD symptoms without prior medical advice. It may help with symptoms associated with ADHD but it is not a cure. Please consult a medical professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Mind Lab Pro® is the world’s first Universal Nootropic™.
It contains tried-and-tested ingredients for ADHD, with no banned substances or stimulants.
See how the ingredients in Mind Lab Pro® work below...
PS is a multi-tasker for overall brain health and one of the best nootropics for ADHD, specifically.
Phosphatidylserine boosts neurotransmitters that are closely linked to ADHD, including acetylcholine and dopamine.
It also increases energy in brain cells by enhancing glucose metabolism. This may help support people who experience mental and physical fatigue in their ADHD symptoms.
PS is also a raw material for new brain cells. It is especially important in forming brain cell membranes membranes, where it maintains fluidity. This may be important for ADHD because brain cell membranes "fire" with catecholamines to enable sharp attention and healthy overall mental function.
PS is one of the few nootropics with research-backed benefits for ADHD, specifically.
In one small, early study, researchers suggested that PS appeared to be helpful for people with attention, hyperactivity and memory performance issues. Researchers proposed that PS seemed to work by activating brain chemicals that are associated with attention.4
Did you know? While ADHD is often associated with attention, is also has strong links to memory issues. Including short-term memory (recall) and long-term memory.
This is yet another reason why PS for ADHD may be a smart idea: Phosphatidylserine is perhaps the best nootropic for memory known to science.
In a literature review published in 2015, researchers suggested that PS appears to support various human cognitive functions, including:5
- Long-term memory organization & storage
- Short-term memory formation & retrieval
- Attention and concentration
- Reasoning and problem solving
- Language and communication skills
What is the best PS for ADHD?
Some soy products have been linked to ADHD. Despite this, many PS brain supplements are still made from soy. This is one reason why Mind Lab Pro® uses soy-free PS, made from sunflower lecithin.
The premium, sunflower-sourced PS in Mind Lab Pro is the best you can take for ADHD, especially when stacked with the formula's other ingredients.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Maritime Pine Bark Extract supplies a powerful complex of antioxidant cell-defenders known as OPCs. Maritime Pine Bark OPCs may be most known for their superior antioxidant activity, estimated to be 20X greater than that of vitamin E and 50X greater than vitamin C.
Because pine bark OPCs can cross the blood-brain barrier, they can exert their neuroprotective antioxidant activity in the brain. That's good news for brain health.
But let's get to the ADHD potential, specifically. Maritime Pine Bark is considered among the top nootropics for ADHD because of its ability to help sustain dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. In other words, it helps maintain neurotransmitters needed for sharp attention.
It is also known for raising levels of Nitric Oxide (NO). That's a compound that signals blood vessels to relax, thereby boosting blood circulation. Healthy circulation is key for cognitive performance.
Ginkgo biloba popularly known as a supplement for increasing blood flow to the brain. Maritime Pine Bark's NO-boosting effects are similar to those of ginkgo biloba. Optimizing blood flow may be associated with a range of cognitive function benefits.
Supplementation with Maritime Pine Bark Extract has been investigated for ADHD. Some early research suggests Pine Bark Extract may help with attentional performance, concentration and mental energy.
While it has not yet been studied for attention deficit, L-Tyrosine may ultimately shown to be helpful for ADHD.
A naturally occurring amino acid, L-Tyrosine is a building-block precursor that is needed for neurotransmitter synthesis, especially norepinephrine and dopamine. These are the key catecholamine brain chemicals that appear to be diminished in people with ADHD. In fact, L-Tyrosine is considered a master precursor for these neurotransmitters.
ADHD can be stressful. Stress, in turn, further diminishes sharp thinking. Due to its close ties to stress-related neurotransmitters, L-Tyrosine is believed to boost brain function in people who are under pressure.
In fact, it has been shown in human research to boost brainpower in individuals who are in stressful situations, enhancing working memory, mental multitasking, in harsh situations including sleep deprivation, extreme cold exposure, and combat training.6
Additional research seems to suggest that L-Tyrosine's other cognitive benefits for stress resistance, multitasking and overall cognition may bring support for a sharp, focused mindset in people with attention problems.7
Mind Lab Pro supplies L-Tyrosine as N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, the preferred, bioavailability-enhanced form of this nootropic.
Citicoline is most well-known for its brain energizing effects, which can promote sharp mental processing for anyone.
However, Citicoline also supports norepinephrine and dopamine, suggesting it may offer more issue-specific help for ADHD.
Although it has not yet been researched for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Citicoline's bioactivities and research-backed benefits for attention seem to position it as a versatile and promising nootropic for ADHD and overall mental performance.
Let's dig into citicoline's energy effects some more.
Citicoline (CDP-Choline) works in part by helping mitochondria -- the powerhouses of cells — to fire more efficiently.
In short, it supports cell energy. This is particularly important for the brain, a high energy organ with trillions of cells, each one densely packed with mitochondria to meet the brain's intense power demands.
Low brain energy is associated with ADHD.
Citicoline's ability to support brain cell energy production appears to hold potential for clearing ADHD-related brain fog.
Citicoline has been shown to improve attentional performance in well-designed human clinical research.8
Beyond its place as one of the best nootropics for ADHD, Citicoline is a leading nootropic for general cognition and overall brain health. It is suggested to support brain regeneration, as well as supplying neuroprotective activity to the brain.
This natural amino acid found in green tea is mostly known for its "wakeful relaxation" benefits, which result from its Alpha brain wave promoting activity. Basically it helps to sharpen focus without jitters or crashes that are sometimes associated with stimulants.
L-Theanine helps to raise Alpha brain waves naturally. Researchers have reported that Alpha brain wave activity is "known to play an important role in critical aspects of attention," and that further research on understanding the effects of L-Theanine on attentional processes is warranted.9
Like some of the other best nootropics for ADHD, L-theanine supports brain chemicals.
It is tied to neurotransmitters that have an overall "settling" effect on the entire central nervous system. These bioactivities would seem to hold promise for helping with ADHD.
L-Theanine has additional benefits for restful sleep which might be helpful for those with ADHD. Research has linked ADHD with sleep problems. And stimulant-driven smart drugs used to treat ADHD are notorious for their sleep-disruptive side effects.
L-Theanine has been studied in relation to ADHD, and has been shown in clinical research to improve sleep quality in ADHD patients.10 Additional early research has suggested that theanine may have a specific effect on the brain's attention circuitry.11
Overall, L-Theanine has been linked to a reduction of stress, calm relaxation, mental clarity and other brain function benefits that may help to support mental health.
If caffeine intake is part of your cognitive protocol, L-Theanine may help it work more effectively: It has been shown to help reduce stimulant jitters and other side effects.
Further, L-Theanine benefits seem tailored for helping those with ADHD to improve at tasks like studying, new learning, creative problem solving, art, or other tasks that require quiet contemplation.
B vitamins are good for general brain health. But some early research suggests that vitamin B6, in particular, may be one of the best nootropics for ADHD, specifically.
Researchers have reported that Vitamin B6 -- when combined with magnesium -- appears to have a calming effect on the nervous system in younger populations, suggesting it may be a promising alternative therapy for ADHD.
Specifically, researchers reported improvements in ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity, hyperemotivity, inattention and aggressiveness.
Interestingly, these symptoms returned when magnesium and vitamin B6 supplementation stopped.12
Vitamin B6 may influence attention because it plays a role in the production and conversion of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. Low levels of B6 have been suggested to affect neurotransmitter balance.
A traditional herbal supplement used in Ayurvedic practices, Bacopa monnieri is considered a nootropic and an adaptogen. That means that it has both brain-boosting and stress response regulating effects -- a potent combination for anyone struggling with attention issues.
Bacopa Monnieri is also among the leading nootropics for memory. Specifically it appears to be a memory multitasker, helping with working memory performance (also called short-term memory, which can be problematic in those with ADHD), new learning, and delayed recall memory.
In a clinical study of 81 healthy adults age 55+, researchers reported that Bacopa Monnieri supplementation for 12 weeks was associated with significant improvements across memory acquisition, recalling information after a delay, and verbal learning performance.13
Bacopa Monnieri has also been studied for ADHD, specifically. Early research has focused on children with the attention disorder. While it is important to remember that children should never take supplements unless under the direction of a doctor, the Bacopa ADHD research is worth mentioning in this article.
Standardized Bacopa monnieri extract has been suggested to help ease some ADHD issues.
In one open-label study, 31 children between the ages of 6 and 112 received 225 mg of Bacopa monnieri (standardized) for six months. At the study's conclusion, the children's symptom scores reflected a 78% reduction in learning problems and 67% reduction in impulsivity. Overall, 74% of the young ADHD patients showed up to a 20% reduction in total symptoms. Researchers concluded that standardized extract of Bacopa monnieri appeared to be effective in easing some symptoms.14
Additional Potential ADHD supplements
Mind Lab Pro supplies some of the top cognitive enhancers for attention issues. If you want to add to your ADHD stack with more nootropic supplements, here are more research-backed options to consider.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are important for the brain, and may be considered nootropics for their ability to fight cognitive decline, promote brain injury recovery, support mood balance, and nourish overall brain wellness. DHA is found in mother's milk and is crucial for the early development of the brain, eyes and nervous system.
Research has revealed that ADHD patients have lower blood levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which has spurred interest in these brain-healthy fats as a possible therapy for attention problems.
In one scientific review of seven studies totaling 412 subjects (children) with ADHD, researchers reported that Omega-3 supplementation appears to improve clinical symptoms and cognitive performance.
Researchers also reported that the subjects showed a deficiency in Omega-3s at the study's beginning. According to the researchers who performed this review, the findings support the use of Omega-3s as a potential therapy for helping with ADHD.15
Traditionally, Omega-3 fatty acids are obtained via consuming fish or fish oil supplements. Today, however, there are many vegan options that make getting Omega-3s easier and more palatable than ever, without the eco-destructive impact of fishing.
Plant-based Omega-3s may be found in foods and supplements including flaxseed, oats and algae.
A High-Quality Multivitamin Supplement
Some vitamins and minerals are considered nootropics for their ability to support the brain. But many people are falling short on getting adequate intake of these essential nutrients. Suboptimal or deficient statuses of some nutrients have been linked to ADHD.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamins B2, B6 and B9
We have already covered Vitamin B6 as one of the best nootropics for ADHD. Let's look at some research behind the additional essential nutrients that may hold promise for attention problems:
Magnesium + Vitamin D: In one early study, researchers suggested that a combination therapy of vitamin D with magnesium may improve behavioral function and mental health in children with ADHD.18
Zinc: Researchers have noted that study subjects with ADHD are significantly deficient in zinc when compared to control subjects. Intriguingly researchers in one study suggested that zinc supplementation, while not effective on its own, appeared to reduce reliance on stimulant drug dose by about one-third.19
Iron: In one early study with young children subjects (ages 5-8), researchers reported that after 12 weeks of supplementing with 80 mg of iron per day, there was a progressive and significant reduction in the ADHD rating scale. Researchers concluded that iron supplementation appeared to help improve ADHD symptoms in children with low iron levels.20
Essential vitamins and minerals combine to support healthy brain function.
Considering the widespread suboptimal nutrient intake many people are contending with today, it makes sense to take a multivitamin every day. Doing so can help ensure that the brain gets what it needs for overall health. And promising scientific evidence suggests that some of the micronutrients in a multivitamin may also help with the symptoms of ADHD.
Q: What are nootropics?
A: Nootropics are cognitive enhancers that may also help to improve brain function and overall brain health.
Q: Do nootropics work for ADHD?
A: Research suggests that some of the best natural ADHD supplements may indeed work. Some may boost brain performance. Others may help to promote relaxation and mental clarity. The potential benefits of these supplements have been linked to their ability to support dopamine (and other neurotransmitters), promote brain energy, optimize circulation to the brain and more. Some nootropics have shown promise in clinical research studies on ADHD, specifically. Scientific interest in nootropics and brain supplements for ADHD appears to be rising. Several clinical studies on nootropics for ADHD are underway, with more planned for the future.
Q: What are the best nootropics for ADHD?
A: Among the best nootropics for attention deficit disorder are phosphatidylserine, vitamin B6, L-Theanine, Maritime Pine Bark Extract, and citicoline. Omega-3 fatty acids have also shown promise for assisting with attention problems. Some vitamins and minerals, including B-Complex, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin D, and iron have also been the subject of scientific study and reported to hold promise for helping with ADHD.
Q: What is the best nootropic stack for ADHD?
A: Mind Lab Pro is the best. It supplies several of the best nootropics for ADHD in one formula. It is also a clean, premium-quality and stimulant-free supplement that nourishes the brain for long-range health while supporting overall cognitive enhancement.
Q: What is the difference between smart drugs and nootropics for ADHD?
A: Smart drugs as a class will include prescription drugs, especially stimulants, that are known for treating ADHD. They are considered the most traditional ADHD treatments, and can effectively manage symptoms. One drawback of so called smart drugs is the potential for counterproductive side effects. Nootropics tend to be associated with natural supplements (although some synthetic nootropics exist as well) that can help to support healthy brain performance. It is important to remember that ADHD drugs and nootropic supplements are not the same thing. Treating ADHD with stimulant smart drugs should only be done with doctors or wellness professionals who have made the ADHD diagnosis and are in charge of your prescription medication.
Q: Can children with ADHD take nootropics?
A: Possibly. Some nootropics discussed in this article, the Omega-3 DHA for example, have a strong, research-backed track record of safe, tolerable and effective use in children. But when it comes to children, it is always a best practice to only take supplements, including nootropics, under the close supervision of your doctor.
Mind Lab Pro® supplies research-backed nootropics for ADHD along with extra support for focus, mood and memory.
Attention problems can hold you back in your life. Prescription medications, including stimulants that boost dopamine, are often a first-line therapy for ADHD. But for some people, the side effects of these therapies may outweigh the benefits.
There are many natural approaches to sharpening attention, such as maintaining a healthy diet and adequate sleep. And increasingly, nootropic supplements are considered as a supportive therapy that can help to naturally nourish the brain and optimize its function. For those seeking alternative therapies for managing ADHD symptoms, lifestyle changes and nootropics may be a smart choice.
Single-ingredient nootropic supplements are widely available, but taking multiple products can be both expensive and inconvenient.
For these reasons, nootropic "stacks" that combine many brain-boosters into one product are rising in popularity for many cognitive concerns, including ADHD.
Mind Lab Pro includes several nootropics that have been studied for their potential to assist with ADHD. In combination, these brain-boosters may deliver noticeable improvements in attention. But ADHD can impact so much more, including issues with stress, mood problems, spotty memory and other cognitive functions.
The first Universal Nootropic™, Mind Lab Pro® is designed as a whole-brain optimizer supplement. That means it may help with all kinds of cognition: Memory, learning, stress resistance, mood, focus, motivation, and yes, attention.
This is an exciting advancement because not only does Mind Lab Pro directly address ADHD problems, but also provides complementary support that goes beyond attention to enhance whole-brain cognitive performance.
Mind Lab Pro is also a premium-quality supplement, expertly formulated and clinically studied, with millions of bottles sold. Clean, safe, and free of side effects, it delivers the exact combination of cognitive benefits, tolerability and brain health support that many people with attention issues are now actively seeking.
- Prince J. Catecholamine dysfunction in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: an update. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008 Jun;28(3 Suppl 2):S39-45.
- Hinz M. ...of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with monoamine amino acid precursors and organic cation transporter assay interpretation. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011; 7: 31–38.
- Hirayama S, et al. The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2013 Mar 17.
- Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015 Jun;31(6):781-786.
- Reimherr FW, et al. An open trial of L-tyrosine in the treatment of attention deficit disorder, residual type. Clinical Trial Am J Psychiatry 1987 Aug;144(8):1071-3.
- Neri, DF, Wiegmann D, Stanny RR, Shappell, SA, McCardie A, McKay, DL. The effects of tyrosine on cognitive performance during extended wakefulness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995 Apr;66(4):313-9
- E. McGlade, A. Locatelli, J. Hardy, T. Kamiya, M. Morita, K. Morishita, Y. Sugimura and D. Yurgelun-Todd, "Improved Attentional Performance Following Citicoline Administration in Healthy Adult Women," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 6, 2012, pp. 769-773.
- Nobre AC, et al. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 01/2008; 17 Suppl 1:167-8.
- Lyon MR, et al. The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Altern Med Rev. 2011 Dec;16(4):348-54.
- Gomez-Ramirez M, et al. The deployment of intersensory selective attention: a high-density electrical mapping study of the effects of theanine. Clinical Trial Clin Neuropharmacol. Jan-Feb 2007;30(1):25-38.
- Mousain-Bosc M. Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res. 2006 Mar;19(1):46-52.
- Morgan A, Stevens J. Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Randomized Controlled Trial J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jul;16(7):753-9.
- Dave UP, et al. An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Clinical Trial Adv Mind Body Med. Spring 2014;28(2):10-5.
- Chang, JC., Su, KP., Mondelli, V. et al. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Youths with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials and Biological Studies. Neuropsychopharmacol. 43, 534–545 (2018).
- Villagomez A, Ramtekkar U. Iron, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Zinc Deficiencies in Children Presenting with Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Published online 2014 Sep 29.
- Landaas ET. Vitamin levels in adults with ADHD. BJPsych Open. 2016 Nov; 2(6): 377–384.
- Hemamy M, et al. The effect of vitamin D and magnesium supplementation on the mental health status of attention-deficit hyperactive children: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Pediatrics volume 21, Article number: 178 (2021)
- Arnold LE, Disilvestro RA, Bozzolo D, et al. Zinc for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: placebo-controlled double-blind pilot trial alone and combined with amphetamine. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2011;21(1):1-19. d
- Konofal E, Lecendreux M, Deron J, Marchand M, Cortese S, Zaïm M, Mouren MC, Arnulf I. Effects of iron supplementation on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Pediatr Neurol. 2008 Jan;38(1):20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2007.08.014. PMID: 18054688.