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Exploring the Best Nootropics for ADHD: Stacking Your Stack

Julia Ovcharenko, CEO of Numo
January 16, 2024

Existing with ADHD is like a never-ending arms race against yourself as you try to come up with new and innovative ways to keep its pesky symptoms at bay.

One of the more researched solutions? Nootropics

Sounds spooky… 👻 but it isn’t! 

In fact, nootropics:

  • (some) can be bought without a prescription
  • have reduced risk of side-effects and complications
  • are scientifically proven to work

Obviously, you still need to exercise caution and restraint and know how to pick best nootropics for ADHD.

And this is what we’ll be helping you with today 💪

So, stick around as we dive into this world of smart drugs. 

[What are Nootropics?] What are Nootropics?

Nootropics, often referred to as "smart drugs" or cognitive enhancers, are substances meant to boost your brain performance. 

Initially, the term was coined to describe chemicals that met very specific criteria. Now, it's used more broadly to cover any natural or synthetic substance that may positively impact mental skills.

As such, we can roughly split these thingamajigs into three main categories: 

  • Dietary Supplements: Including herbs like ginkgo biloba and nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Synthetic Compounds: Like the widely known modafinil, a prescription drug for narcolepsy.
  • Prescription Drugs: Used primarily to treat conditions like ADHD and Alzheimer's disease, but also used off-label to enhance cognition.

With that said, let’s take a gander at how exactly these wonders work. 

[How Nootropics Work] How Nootropics Work

The mechanism of action varies depending on the substance. Generally, they act on the brain's neurochemicals, influencing neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones, thus improving cognitive function. 

A lot of 🤓words going on over here, but, trust me, it isn’t as complex as it sounds.

  • Modulating Neurotransmitters: Many nootropics, such as Piracetam, work by modulating neurotransmitters like dopamine1. Enhancing the production or limiting these chemicals' degradation improves communication between neurons, leading to better memory and focus.
  • Blood Flow and Oxygen Uptake: Substances like Ginkgo biloba improve blood flow to the brain, increasing oxygen and nutrient supply, which is crucial for optimal brain function.
  • Brain Protection: Nootropics like Bacopa monnieri help repair and protect brain cells from damage.
  • Brain Energy: Compounds like creatine provide more energy to brain cells, enhancing cognitive processing and reducing mental fatigue.
  • Balancing Brain Chemicals: Adaptogens, such as Rhodiola Rosea, help balance the neurochemicals in the brain, which is beneficial in reducing stress and improving mood and focus.

[Nootropics and ADHD Management] The Role of Nootropic Supplements in Managing ADHD

Now, let’s get it out of the way: stuffing nootropics into an “alternative medicine” club would be incorrect, as they are proven to work 1

Heck, few of the more frequently prescribed ADHD prescriptions - Ritalin and Adderall - are, in fact, nootropics. 

So, what gives?

Well, besides your ol’ reliables mentioned above, there is a whole gamut of nootropics - from non-stimulant medication to herb-based medicine - we can use as alternatives to medicine.

Unlike traditional ADHD medications, nootropics aim to improve cognitive function with a lower risk of side effects. They enhance neurotransmitter activity, promote neural health, and boost brain function, thus offering a promising avenue for those seeking natural remedies.

Granted, we should be wary of those claiming nootropics have some magical qualities. They can help, but how much is the answer only proper trialing and consulting with your healthcare provider can offer. 

With that said, let’s look at some of the more promising nootropics you should take a look at.  👀

[Top 3 Natural Nootropics for ADHD] Top 3 Natural Nootropics for ADHD

  • Ginkgo Biloba: A popular herb known for improving blood circulation to the brain and enhancing cognitive functions like memory and concentration.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish oil and flaxseed oil, these essential fatty acids are vital for maintaining brain health and have been shown to improve mental clarity and reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Panax Ginseng: An ancient herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, it has improved memory, mood, and subjective feelings of calmness.

[Top 3 Synthetic Nootropics for ADHD] Top 3 Synthetic Nootropics for ADHD

  • Modafinil: Originally used to treat narcolepsy, this powerful wakefulness-promoting agent has gained popularity for enhancing cognition, memory, and focus in healthy individuals.
  • Noopept: Known for its potent nootropic effects, Noopept is believed to enhance memory and cognitive ability and has neuroprotective properties.
  • Piracetam: One of the first synthetic nootropics, Piracetam has been studied for its potential to improve memory and cognitive functioning in people with cognitive impairments and as a cognitive enhancer in healthy individuals.

[Top 3 Prescription Drugs Nootropics for ADHD] Top 3 Prescription Drugs Nootropics for ADHD

  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin): Primarily used in the treatment of ADHD, this stimulant is well-known for its ability to improve attention span and concentration and control behavior problems.
  • Donepezil (Aricept): Commonly used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, it works by increasing neurotransmitter levels to improve memory and awareness.
  • Modafinil (Provigil): Although it's also a synthetic compound, Modafinil is included here as it's primarily used in a prescription capacity for narcolepsy. Its off-label use for cognitive enhancement - and treatment of ADHD symptoms2 - has been extensively studied over the past year. 

Obviously, there are a lot more of those that we have listed. Still, these should give you a general idea of where to start your nootropics journey and then experiment further, depending on how you’re feeling. 

[How to Choose the Best Nootropic Stack] How to Choose the Best Nootropic Stack for ADHD

Creating the best nootropic stack for ADHD is a personal journey. It involves experimenting with different combinations of supplements to find what works best for your needs. 

I’m sorry. You just wanted cookie-cutter recipes, but recommending precise dosages and substances in these scenarios can do more harm than good. 

Your best ally here would be your healthcare provider, who can guide you towards safe experimentation routes and also tell you if there would be any interference with whatever prescriptions you’re on.

P.S. Really, don’t take nootropics advice from Instagram influencers, please.

[Incorporating Nootropics into Your Routine] Incorporating Nootropics into Your Daily Routine

Adopting nootropics for ADHD is more than just taking supplements is all about integrating them into a holistic approach to wellness. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and mindful practices such as meditation or yoga.

Yes, sorry. You can’t just pop a pill and solve all your problems. 🙄 I wish it was like that, but alas. 

So, yeah. Don’t forget to eat healthy, don’t forget to sleep well and…don’t forget to take them. 

Nootropics are least effective when they’re just gathering dust on your shelf, so it seems like a perfect opportunity to shill our ADHD app that will give you plenty of ways to organize your headspace - Numo.so

 Besides being, obviously and objectively, the best ADHD planner app on the market, we also have another cool thing here - our squads and tribes. This is where all of the cool ADHD kids hang around and where you can ask all the questions you have…including those about nootropic stacks and how to pick and choose the one right for you 🤯

So, if you are still on the fence about the whole shebang, then hop on in, and we’ll overwhelm you with the power of science 🧑‍🔬 and memes 🐈

[Conclusion] Conclusion: Navigating the World of ADHD with Nootropics

The journey to finding the best nootropics for ADHD is as unique as you are. 

With the right combination of supplements, lifestyle changes, and professional guidance, managing ADHD symptoms can become more manageable and less overwhelming. 

As we continue to explore the potentials of nootropics, the future looks promising for those seeking natural and effective ways to enhance their cognitive function and quality of life.

Sources

1 Non-Pharmacological Treatments for ADHD in Youth - PMC (nih.gov)
2 Cambridge Core. Meta-analysis of the Effect of Modafinil in Children and Adolescents with Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder
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