Nootropics-for-kids-adhd

Best Nootropics for ADHD & ADD

David Tomen
Author:
David Tomen
21 minute read

Key Takeaways

  1. B-Vitamins and multivitamins are crucial for brain health and neurotransmitter synthesis.
  2. Acetylcholine’s role in ADHD can be supported with nootropics like ALCAR and CDP-Choline.
  3. Nootropics like Ashwagandha and Bacopa Monnieri help repair damaged neuroreceptors in ADHD.
  4. Noopept enhances cognition, memory, and provides neuroprotection.
  5. Combining specific nootropics with essential vitamins can optimize brain function for managing ADHD symptoms​​.

Depending on the severity of your ADHD symptoms, you may be able to use nootropics as an alternative to prescription stimulants like Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse and their variations.

I experimented for a year by using nootropics in place of the 20 mg of Ritalin I had been using 3-times a day for several years. And for the most part, I was successful in taming my Adult ADD symptoms.

Adult ADD Nootropic Stack

The ADD/ADHD stack I use includes:

During my one-year stimulant holiday, the ingredients in Mind Lab Pro along with L-Tyrosine, CDP-Choline,  and ALCAR (included in Performance Lab Energy) kept my dopaminenorepinephrine, and acetylcholine levels high enough to maintain focus, motivation and improve my memory. Vinpocetine kept my brain blood flow at optimal levels. And Aniracetam and Sulbutiamine improved my mood.

But after a year I decided to go back to using 20 mg of Ritalin twice per day. Because my workload had me writing 10 hours per day. And maintaining working relationships with 2 or 3 clients at once.

By adding Ritalin back to my stack I was able to reduce the time it would take to complete a project from 3 days to 1 ½ days. Proof to me that my overall brain health couldn’t make it with nootropics alone.

The beauty of continuing to use L-Tyrosine, CDP-Choline, and ALCAR even after I started using Ritalin again was that I avoided the stimulant “crash” that is so common late afternoon when using stimulants. And I was able to reduce the original 20 mg Ritalin 3-times per day down to only twice per day.

And I have not experienced building up tolerance to Ritalin that is so common when using stimulants to treat ADD or ADHD.

Your situation may be different, or ADHD symptoms not as severe. Only you can decide if nootropics can replace ADHD meds. The  stack I describe on this page is designed to be used with or without stimulant meds.

Whether you use this stack with meds or without, you’ll need to discover for yourself what dosages of each nootropic are ideal for you. Because the amounts that work for me may not work as well for you. You may need less NALT and/or ALCAR.

Experimenting is the key to success with nootropics. And knowing as much as you can about what’s going on in your brain that needs to be fixed. But after many years of recommending this ADHD nootropic stack to people just like us around the world, we know this works.

smart-drugs-vs-nootropics-for-adhd

Prescription “Smart Drugs” vs. Nootropics for ADHD

This post is in response to many emails and questions I’ve been getting about how to treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) with nootropics.

So if you are dealing with ADHD, hopefully this post will help. Especially if you are using stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall, Vyvanse, Focalin, or any of the other stimulant prescribed for ADD/ADHD. Or you are trying to deal with ADHD naturally by avoiding prescription stimulants.

This information can also help if you are a student or executive who uses prescription “smart drugs” like Adderall or Modafinil to boost productivity.

Here we’ll dig into the causes of ADHD or ADD in your brain. Symptoms associated with ADHD. And what you can do using nootropics, or nootropics stacked with stimulants to correct ADHD symptoms.

I’ll also include ways to potentiate the effectiveness of prescription stimulants with nootropics so they work better.

If you’ve never ‘officially’ been diagnosed with ADHD, but some of this resonates with you, you could be ADHD or ADD. And this may point you to some answers.

I’ve been ADD all my life. (ADD is ADHD without the hyperactivity). But it wasn’t until about 16 years ago, that a very wise psychiatrist identified what was going on. And why I had been struggling with focus and other problems with behavior. That no amount of self-help books on focus and management could ever correct.

Ritalin turned the lights on for me. And completely changed my life for the better. This was the seed that sprouted my interest in neuroscience and nootropics. And ultimately launching Nootropics Expert®

What is ADHD & ADD?

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are associated with attention and executive function in your brain.Nootropics for ADHD Innattentive

Your prefrontal cortex directs behavior, thought and feeling which are all associated with working memory. This fundamental cognitive function is what most “healthy” people take for granted, are what make up executive function.

This executive function and working memory give you the ability to:

  1. Regulate your attention
  2. Inhibit inappropriate behavior and thought
  3. Monitor your actions
  4. Plan and organize your future

If you can’t focus on the task at hand, blurt things out at inappropriate times, have little control over your emotions or actions, and can’t seem to stick to that careful set of goals you wrote down, you may be ADHD.

The Role of Norepinephrine and Dopamine in ADHD

Norepinephrine and dopamine are the primary neurotransmitters involved in ADHD because they play an essential role in attention and thinking.[i]

The “inattentive” type of ADHD is related to issues with the norepinephrine, and the “hyperactive and impulsive” type of ADHD is linked to dopamine dysfunction.

These two neurotransmitters work in concert to maintain alertness, increase focus, sustain thought, effort, and motivation. The only difference between the two is the presence of a hydroxyl group. And dopamine is the precursor to norepinephrine synthesis in your brain.[ii]

Much of what we read about ADHD focuses on dopamine’s function in your brain. But norepinephrine (NE) plays a critical role in activating your reaction to events. And how you respond to the event.[iii] NE is essential for collecting information coming in through your senses. And then modulating your brain’s response.

Any disruption in this NE system can result in ADHD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders and more.[iv]

For example, NE working with postsynaptic α2-adrenoceptors (α2-AR) in your brain play an essential role in helping you focus and eliminate distractions when you’re paying attention to something.[v]

This is just one example of what goes wrong with ADHD brain function. My point in bringing this all up is not to overwhelm you with neuroscience.

But to make clear that simply suggesting too much or too little of a single neurotransmitter like dopamine cannot explain the complexity of ADHD.

So using a nootropic like L-Tyrosine to amp up dopamine in your brain is often not enough to take care of ADHD symptoms. Or using Adderall with someone who has a problem with alpha2-receptor binding with norepinephrine may not get much benefit.

This is the reason that experimenting with various stimulants and/or nootropics is often the only way to find a long-term solution to keeping ADHD under control. And why some respond better to a drug like Ritalin and not as well to Adderall. Or vice versa.[vi]

And recent research shows serotonin and acetylcholine are involved too. Mostly the “hyperactivity” part of ADHD which includes movement, inattention, and impulsivity.[vii]

Smart Drugs Used to Treat ADHD Symptoms

If you are truly and clinically ADHD or ADD, it is unlikely that optimizing your diet, getting plenty of sleep, using nootropics, and exercising regularly will get the symptoms of ADHD under control.Noopept ADHD

The most severe forms of ADHD often benefit from using prescription medication. Otherwise known as “smart drugs” in some circles, these meds are typically amphetamines or methylphenidate.

The amphetamine-class of ADHD prescription drugs includes Adderall (75% dextroamphetamine salts and 25% levoamphetamine salts), Dextroamphetamine, and Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine).

The methylphenidate-class of ADHD medications includes methylphenidate (Ritalin) and its variants like Concerta, and Focalin.

Adderall and Ritalin both work with dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. But through different mechanisms of action.

Ritalin is a pure uptake inhibitor of dopamine and norepinephrine without any other presynaptic activity.[viii] Adderall on the other hand, has additional presynaptic activity, releasing dopamine and norepinephrine from presynaptic neurons.

The idea for the last 60 years or so, has been if we could boost dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, ADHD symptoms would go away. As long as we’re taking the medication.

Why Prescription Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Meds Often Don’t Work

Nootropics for KidsIn an ideal world, taking one pill 2 or 3 times a day to treat ADHD would put your life back on track. And help you function like a ‘normal’ person.

But real-world results often don’t work out as well as theory. For several reasons. For example, what if there’s not enough dopamine or norepinephrine in your brain in the first place? Then stimulants will not work as well as planned because they haven’t the neurotransmitters in place to work with.

You could also have problems with not enough or damaged neuroreceptors. Natural aging processes can slow blood flow or inhibit the production of neurotransmitters. A lack of acetylcholine could prevent your neurotransmitters from doing what they were designed to do.

This is where nootropics can help save the day in treating the symptoms of ADHD.

Optimizing Dopamine & Norepinephrine

Nootropics for ADHD redditOne of main culprits contributing to ADHD symptoms is a lack of dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) in your brain. Or your brain is not using the available DA and NE effectively.

Stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin work to boost levels and use of these two critical neurotransmitters.

Production of dopamine and norepinephrine in your body and brain follows this metabolic pathway:

Phenylalanine → Tyrosine → L-DOPA → Dopamine → Norepinephrine

Dopamine is converted to norepinephrine by the enzyme dopamine β-monooxygenase, with O2 and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) as cofactors.

Norepinephrine can be further converted into epinephrine by the enzyme phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase with SAM-e as cofactor.

Nootropics to boost dopamine and norepinephrine include:

  • L-TyrosineL-Tyrosine is the precursor to the synthesis of dopamine in your brain. L-Tyrosine enhances working memory, executive function, creative flow states, reduces stress, improves mood and is anti-anxiety.Suggested dosage of L-Tyrosine or NALT for ADHD is 350- 500 mg twice per day. I successfully stack 500 mg of NALT or L-Tyrosine 3-times per day. Once each time I dose with Ritalin, and a last dose mid-afternoon to prevent a stimulant crash later in the day.
  • Mucuna Pruriens (L-Dopa) – Mucuna works as an antioxidant and heavy metal chelator, improves memory & cognition, reduces depression and boosts libido.L-Dopa is also the direct precursor to dopamine. Suggested dosage of Mucuna Pruriens is 250 – 500 mg per day. But if you’re just starting out with nootropics, I highly recommend using L-Tyrosine or NALT instead of Mucuna Pruriens. Because Mucuna can be more difficult to dose since it directly stimulates the production of dopamine. L-Tyrosine and NALT are more ‘forgiving’ when it comes to dosage.
  • N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)NAC is an amino acid that regulates the amount of glutamate and dopamine in your brain.NAC can be used to address the symptoms of ADHD. And may even help eliminate some of the negative side effects associated with prescription ADHD stimulants. Suggested dosage of NAC is 600 mg 3-times per day.
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS)PS can help improve alertness, attention, cognition, memory, recall and mood, and lower anxiety. All issues associated with ADHD.Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid component of the membrane encasing every one of your brain cells. PS helps maintain the fluidity and permeability of brain cells. Improving the flow of dopamine and acetylcholine. Suggested dosage of PS is 100 mg 3-times per day.
  • Pine Bark Extract – Pine Bark extract helps prevent decreases in dopamine and norepinephrine. And the glutathione (GSH) and GSH-disulphide reductase (GSSG-R) ratio. Neurotransmitter problems which contribute to hyperactivity in ADHD.Pine Bark extract also helps boost blood flow in the brain by increasing nitric oxide which helps dilate blood vessels. And it helps reduce oxidative stress, membrane damage, DNA damage, inflammation, and glycation.I’ve found one of the most potent forms of Pine Bark extract comes in both Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® Mind.

A word of caution here in boosting the catecholamines dopamine and norepinephrine. Too much of either is not a good thing. In fact, excess levels of either will throw your neurotransmitter levels out of balance. And can cause anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks.

Taming Hyperactivity with Nootropic Supplements

The “H” in ADHD stands for hyperactivity. Boosting levels of dopamine and norepinephrine can help balance out hyperactivity. And help calm and focus your mind. But often simply boosting or balancing these neurotransmitters is not enough.

Recent studies show that serotonin and dopamine interaction also play a role in ADHD.[ix] Serotonin is involved in the uptake, synthesis and breakdown of dopamine in your brain. Problems with serotonin seem to contribute to behavior and impulse control.

Much more research needs to be done in this area of ADHD. But we can help control and balance serotonin with nootropics.

  • 5-HTP – This amino acid is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan. And 5-HTP is the immediate precursor to serotonin in your brain.5-HTP can help relieve anxiety and depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines and likely the hyperactivity, depression and anxiety associated with ADHD. Suggested dosage of 5-HTP is 50 mg up to 3-times per day. Please see my dosage notes and warnings before you try supplementing with 5-HTP.
  • GinsengGinseng helps calm anxiety, and boost attention, concentration and memory. Ginseng provides neuro-protective effects on the dopaminergic-pathway which can help with ADHD. And ginseng is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).Suggested dosage of Ginseng is 100 – 400 mg per day.
  • L-TheanineL-Theanine commonly found in green tea helps boost alpha and theta brain waves, is anti-anxiety, boosts cognition and memory and reduces insomnia.L-Theanine also helps boost GABA, serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain. Suggested dosage of L-Theanine is 150 mg 2 – 3-times per day.
  • Rhodiola RoseaRhodiola Rosea helps improve alertness, energy, memory and mood, is anti-anxiety and antidepressant, reduces fatigue and boosts memory and concentration.Rhodiola influences serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain. Suggested dosage of Rhodiola Rosea extract is 150 – 200 mg per day.
  • SaffronSaffron acts as a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Similar to how Ritalin works.  A randomized double-blind study was conducted with 54 children 6-17 years old who were given 20 – 30 mg methylphenidate or 20 – 30 mg Saffron per day for 6 weeks. At the end of the study researchers concluded, “Short-term therapy with a saffron capsule showed the same efficacy compared with methylphenidate.”Suggested dosage of Saffron is 30 mg per day.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)Vitamin B6 helps your brain make serotonin, norepinephrine and melatonin. Suggested dosage of B6 is up to 100 mg per day.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)Folate (NOT folic acid) as a nootropic helps your brain make dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Suggested dosage of Folate is 400 mcg per day.
  • Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) – is a cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters acetylcholine, dopamineGABAnorepinephrine, and serotonin. Suggest dosage of B12 is 100 mcg per day.

B-Vitamins are Critical in Controlling ADHD

Take note that several of the B-Vitamin group are involved in the production of the neurotransmitters involved in ADHD. I recommend adding a good B-Vitamin Complex that include methylfolate (not folic acid) and methylcobalamin (not cyanocobalamin) to your stack. Both in a pure nootropic stack as well as when using any of the ADHD prescription stimulants.

But it’s not only the B-Vitamins that are required for a healthy, fully functioning brain. We also need each of the 13 vitamins and 13 minerals needed for everything from blood flow, neurotransmitter synthesis and release, brain signaling, and neuroprotection.

I’ve found the easiest way to make sure my ADD brain gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs every day is to also use a multivitamin/mineral supplement.

The best I’ve found so far is the multivitamin called Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi. It’s better than the “raw-food” multi I was using for years. And makes a difference I can actually feel.

But please note that this multi is in addition to a B-Vitamin Complex because the ADHD brain needs more of these critical nutrients than what is normally in any good multivitamin.

The Role of Acetylcholine in ADHD

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center discovered that there are three types of ADHD.

We’ve already covered the “inattentive” type that is related to issues with the norepinephrine transporter gene. And the link to the dopamine transporter gene in the “hyperactive and impulsive” type.

But the research team now report that a variation in the choline transporter gene is associated with a “combined” type of ADHD. Symptoms include both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

Choline is required to synthesize acetylcholine (ACh) which is needed for memory, motor-control, focus, learning, concentration, and cognition.

If you have the “combined” type of ADHD it’s likely due to a mutation in this choline transporter gene variation.

Nootropics to boost acetylcholine include:

  • ALCAR (Acetyl-L-Carnitine)ALCAR donates a methyl group in the presence of Coenzyme-A for the synthesis of acetylcholine. And it’s also a shuttle transport for fatty acids through brain cell membranes. It shuttles fatty acids into mitochondria for ATP synthesis, and shuttles toxic byproducts out.

Research from the Linus Pauling Institute shows ALCAR will restore mitochondrial function, replenish age-related changes to mitochondrial structure, and helps replenish acetylcholine levels to your brain and body.

And other studies show that ALCAR stimulates nerve growth factor. Helping support survival and growth of neurons. Which is particularly important for the ADHD brain and especially when using prescription stimulants that may be tough on neurons.

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-LA)Alpha Lipoic Acid increases acetylcholine production by activation of choline acetyltransferase and increases glucose uptake. This process supplies more Acetyl-CoA for the production of acetylcholine.

Alpha Lipoic Acid enhances insulin-stimulated glucose transport and metabolism for better brain cell performance. And R-Lipoic Acid provides strong antioxidant support because it helps regenerate and recycle existing antioxidants in your brain including Vitamins C & E, glutathione, and CoQ10.

I’ve since switched the ALCAR supplement in my ADD stack to Performance Lab® Energy because this pre-formulated energy stack contains my preferred dose of ALCAR. But note that I also take another 500 mg of ALCAR with L-Tyrosine late afternoon to prevent a stimulant crash.

Performance Lab® Energy also contains Alpha Lipoic Acid and ALCAR which helps my ADD brain produce acetylcholine.

  • CDP-Choline (Citicoline)Citicoline helps synthesize phosphatidylcholine (PC), a major phospholipid found in brain cell membranes. And provides choline for the synthesis of acetylcholine while providing antioxidant activity.

The CDP-Choline (Citicoline) in my ADD stack is supplied by Mind Lab Pro® which is the base of my nootropic stack.

But a suitable alternative to MLP is Performance Lab® Mind which contains the branded form of citicoline called Cognizin®.

Performance Lab® Mind and Mind Lab Pro® also contain L-Tyrosine, Phosphatidylserine (PS), and Maritime Pine Bark extract.

Repairing Neuroreceptors Needed to Control ADHD

One of the issues with neurotransmitters and ADHD are damaged or non-existent receptors. Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin have less receptors to bind to for cognition and mood control.Best nootropics for ADD

Once again, nootropics come to the rescue in helping control ADHD. You can add one of these nootropics to your stack to help boost neuron and receptor health.

  • Ashwagandha – This adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps reduce anxiety and depression. And helps reconstruct axons, dendrites and synapses involved in neurotransmitter signaling in your brain.Suggested dosage of Ashwagandha extract is 250 – 500 mg per day.
  • Bacopa MonnieriBacopa helps boost memory and cognition, improves mood, and reduces stress. This adaptogen affects brain levels of acetylcholine needed for neurotransmitter signaling.And the two active components of Bacopa Monnieri called bacosides A and B not only improves signaling of electrical impulses between neurons in your brain. Bacosides also help rebuild damaged neurons. Suggested dosage of Bacopa is up to 450 mg per day.
  • Lion’s ManeLion’s Mane Mushroom is known for stimulating Nerve Growth Factor, improving cognition and memory, and relieving depression.Lion’s Mane stimulates the repair and creation of neurons in your brain. Neurons needed for dopamine and norepinephrine to control ADHD. Suggested dosage of Lion’s Mane Mushroom starts at 500 mg per day. Note: that there’s an effective 500 mg dose of Lion’s Mane full-spectrum fruiting body in each dose of Mind Lab Pro®
  • NoopeptNoopept helps boost cognition, memory, learning, perception, logical thinking and mood. Noopept increases Nerve Growth Factor, and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) critical for neuroplasticity and Long-Term Potentiation critical for long-term memory.Noopept also prevents the release of excess glutamate in your brain. Providing potent neuroprotection for neurons and reducing damage. Suggested dosage of Noopept is 10 – 30 mg per day.

Please note that I haven’t linked through to supporting clinical studies for each of the nootropics I listed above. But you can click through to my full review of each nootropic for extensive research supporting each supplement.

Nootropics for Kids

ADHD and ADD is most often diagnosed in children. The latest statistics (2011) from the CDC in the USA shows about 11% of children 4 – 17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed ADHD.[x] And that’s just for the USA.Nootropics-for-kids-adhd

Although ADHD is usually first diagnosed in children, it often lasts into adulthood. I sometime wonder how my life would have been different if I had been declared ADD when I was a kid.

But it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that the American Psychiatric Association formally recognized ADHD as a mental health disorder. I wasn’t declared Adult ADD until much later.

The thing is many parents are wary about putting their children on powerful, prescription ADHD meds. Kids’ brains continue to develop until your early 20’s. So is it a problem messing with brain chemistry at such a young age? Only time will tell and if the benefits outweigh any potential risk.

Hence the reason why parents are looking for ‘natural’ alternatives like nootropics to treat ADHD in children. But are nootropic supplements any safer than prescription stimulants?

Common sense tells me that using L-Tyrosine could be safer than Ritalin for boosting dopamine. And Rhodiola Rosea could be safer than stimulants or antidepressants for taming hyperactivity.

But many children with ADHD, natural supplements may not be enough. I’m not a doctor, and don’t even play one on TV. I’m an ordinary biohacker who has learned as much as I can to help myself. And fix my own cognitive performance issues. Including Adult ADD.

So I highly recommend you find and work with an open-minded psychiatrist with your child. You may be pleasantly surprised to find you may be able to reduce or eliminate prescription ADHD meds altogether to enhance cognitive functions. And maybe not. But the long-term health of your child could be worth the time investment to find out.

In Summary

I’ve been wanting to write this post since I started Nootropics Expert®. If you are ADHD or ADD, I hope you found this useful. And I’d appreciate your feedback, and share your experience with treating ADHD with nootropics in the comments section of this post below.

Please share this post with anyone you think would benefit. Including discussions about nootropics for ADHD on reddit or Longecity.

One final note. Neurotransmitter balance is key to taming ADHD. I strongly caution you to take it slow if you’re just starting out with nootropics. Carefully read each of the extended articles in the List of Nootropics you are considering trying.

You need to be careful about side effects, prescription drug interactions, dosages and how your body reacts to each supplement to ensure healthy brain function.

But I’m confident that with careful planning and a long-term commitment, your cognitive enhancement will be just as successful as I have been in living and thriving with my Adult ADD.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Arnsten A.F., Li B.M. “Neurobiology of executive functions: catecholamine influences on prefrontal cortical functions.” Biological Psychiatry. 2005 Jun 1;57(11):1377-84. (source)

[ii] Pliszka S.R., McCracken J.T., Maas J.W. “Catecholamines in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: current perspectives.” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 1996 Mar;35(3):264-72. (source)

[iii] Aston-Jones G., Rajkowski J., Cohen J. “Role of locus coeruleus in attention and behavioral flexibility.” Biological Psychiatry. 1999 Nov 1;46(9):1309-20. (source)

[iv] Berridge C.W., Waterhouse B.D., “The locus coeruleus–noradrenergic system: modulation of behavioral state and state-dependent cognitive processes” Brain Research Reviews Volume 42, Issue 1, April 2003, Pages 33–84 (source)

[v] Franowicz J.S., Kessler L.E., Borja C.M., Kobilka B.K., Limbird L.E., Arnsten A.F. “Mutation of the alpha2A-adrenoceptor impairs working memory performance and annuls cognitive enhancement by guanfacine.” Journal of Neuroscience. 2002 Oct 1;22(19):8771-7. (source)

[vi] Zametkin A.J., Karoum F., Linnoila M., Rapoport J.L., Brown G.L., Chuang L.W., Wyatt R.J. “Stimulants, urinary catecholamines, and indoleamines in hyperactivity. A comparison of methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine.” Archives of General Psychiatry. 1985 Mar;42(3):251-5. (source)

[vii] Oades R.D. “Role of the serotonin system in ADHD: treatment implications.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2007 Oct;7(10):1357-74. (source)

[viii] Wilens T.E. “Effects of methylphenidate on the catecholaminergic system in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2008 Jun;28(3 Suppl 2):S46-53 (source)

[ix] Oades R.D. “Dopamine-serotonin interactions in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” Progress in Brain Research. 2008;172:543-65 (source)

[x] “Key Findings: Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States, 2003—2011” Centers for Disease and Prevention cdc.gov (source)

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Join The Discussion - 782 comments

Tiago
September 3, 2020

Do you take aniracetam at the same time as ritalin? Is there any problem in taking 30mg of ritalin, 800mg of Piracetam, life extension 1 caps b-complex and 500mg of L-tyrosine, at the same time?

    David Tomen
    September 3, 2020

    Tiago, I do and it works amazingly well for me.

      Tiago
      September 3, 2020

      Great! But is there any problem in taking 30mg of ritalin, 800mg of Piracetam, life extension 1 caps b-complex and 500mg of L-tyrosine, at the same time?

        David Tomen
        September 4, 2020

        Tiago, there’s no problem with that stack if you also add 300 mg Alpha GPC or Citicoline.

LM
August 26, 2020

I’m new to the world of nootropics. Currently take a daily dose of vyvanse, fish oil, and performance labs multi vitamin (that I bought based on your recommendation).

I noticed you talk about adding B vitamins to your stack, but you don’t have B vitamins in your ADHD stack. Do I get enough B vitamins from the Performance Labs multi-vitamin or should I take more?

    David Tomen
    August 29, 2020

    LM, it depends on your age and how well you absorb these vitamins. I use an additional B-Complex on top of the Performance Lab Multi. Just to be sure I have adequate B-Vitamins in my system.

    Likely a good idea for anyone over the age of 45.

Jacob
August 21, 2020

Hey there!

I am taking 40mg of vyvanse daily and noticing lack of motivation and focus throughout my days. I have just ordered L-tyrosine and already have been taking ALCAR with Alpha GPC. My question is how safe would it be to take ALCAR and L-tyrosine + L-theanine to calm anxiety from vyvanse. I work long hours and need the focus and motivation throughout the day.

    David Tomen
    August 21, 2020

    Jacob, the stack described in detail in the post above was designed to support the use of stimulants like Vyvanse. And make it more effective with less of the negative side effects.

Beth
August 20, 2020

My 9 year old daughter has severe ADHD in that for her it is beyond not focusing in school- she has a very difficult time with her emotional regulation. Because emotional regulation isn’t recognized as part of ADHD she was also diagnosed with high anxiety.

When she came home from school in March I realized it was the perfect time to try and deal with her ADHD/emotional disregulation w/o the prescription pills. I can deal with her inattention, but her emotional outbursts are debilitating for both of us so Ive been trying to find a way to get her out of what seems like a perpetual fight/flight situation.

To that end, over the past 6 months Ive been slowing adding suppliments.

Her current protocol is:

Morning:
Lithium Orotate 4mg (liquid)
Inositol 1500mg
2 MedPro pills
Niacin 500mg
B-12/Folic Acid/B-6

Evening:
Lithium Orotate 4mg (liquid)
Inositol 750mg
Vitamin D liquid 1000IU
Magnesium 200mg
Niacin 500mg

So far this is working Ok in that her outbursts are shorter than they used to be. It really seemed to change after she started the Inositol.

Ive been thinking about trying SAM-e and switching her individual B vitamins into one good B vitamin complex pill that has folate.

I was wondering if you think Im missing anything or overdoing anything. Again, my main concern is her inability to control her emotions when she gets upset, and she is always upset. She SCREAMS as if someone is cutting off her leg and often cusses, which is clearly not ok. Im desperate to help her because she clearly can’t help it and wants to be able to not be scared and unhappy all the time :(.

In addition, now that virtual school is starting back up again, I am going to try the Vyvanse again to see how things go because although the MedPro is good, it isn’t enough for all day school work and if she takes it in the afternoon it keeps her awake.

Thanks!

    David Tomen
    August 21, 2020

    Beth, this is going to take more that one comment from me from the looks of it. First, switch the B-Vitamins to Life Extension BioActive B-Complex: https://amzn.to/2E8lqcy.

    You likely saw good results from Inositol because it helps boost serotonin and dopamine receptor density. Improving the effectiveness of serotonin, GABA, glutamate and dopamine neurotransmitters in her brain. Scroll back up and read this section, “The Role of Norepinephrine and Dopamine in ADHD”.

    This type of ADHD has problems with norepinephrine and how it’s used in the brain. It’s why some prescription stimulants help because they have an effect on dopamine AND norepinephrine. Both the availability of neurotransmitters as well as influencing how receptors and transporters work.

    I think what’s missing in your stack is anything that directly boosts dopamine and acetylcholine. Supplements like L-Tyrosine and CDP-Choline.

    Have you considered putting together a stack like I describe on this page? Because it works for thousands of people dealing with ADD and ADHD.

    If you think you could use more help, consider scheduling an hour with me. And we’ll work through it together. https://nootropicsexpert.com/personal-consultations/

Ron
August 18, 2020

Hi David, i have ADHD too, but stimulants don’t work for me, it’s make me speedy but unable to concentrate. I try white strain Kratom few time and it’s help big time with concentration and tame my ADHD in general. When i take it firs time i say myself something like: “ha, thats how normal people can concentrate.” But unfortunately Kratom have too many bad side effect and have really short halflife.

Can y please help me and give me some advice for nootropicks whitch can have similar impact like White Kratom for me.

    David Tomen
    August 19, 2020

    Ron, Kratom affects serotonin and norepinephrine pathways and dopamine D1 receptors which would explain why you had some success with it. Have you tried other strains of Kratom?

    There are a couple of other herbs that act like SNRIs as well. Ginseng comes to mind. And Rhodiola Rosea and Turmeric/Curcumin act like MAOIs. I suggest you use the search function or just scroll through the list of nootropics here on Nootropics Expert. And look for nootropics that affect the dopamine and serotonin pathways in your brain.

    There’s more than one kind of ADHD. Dr. Amen has used brain scans to identify 7 different types. And each type may respond to different supplements. But they’ve all got problems with dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin one way or another.

Wendy
July 31, 2020

hey David: My son 16 y/o son was diagnosed with ADD about 4 years ago. he was on Vayarin and now Accentrate – his pediatrician (and I) wanted to avoid dugs as he is also on meds for anxiety. As I was just going to reorder his Accentrate I came accross your article and am wondering if the Mind Lab Pro may be a better option for him. Any advice?

Thanks!

    David Tomen
    July 31, 2020

    Wendy, I found this Accentrate product you referred to. And all it contains is:
    Omega-3s EPA & DHA
    L-Methylfolate
    Vitamin B6 / Vitamin B12
    Vitamin D3
    Riboflavin

    While beneficial to ADD brain they’ve completely missed supporting dopamine and acetylcholine.

    Mind Lab Pro is far better from the ADD brain. All you need to do is add a good DHA supplement. Like Mega DHA from Nature’s Way. He needs 1,000 mg DHA per day.

    My recommendation for complete ADD support is the stack I detailed in this post. I’ve been using it daily for 12 years while using Ritalin and it completely takes care of my Adult ADD symptoms. I also experimented with a one year holiday from Ritalin just using this nootropic stack. And it worked as well.

    Thousands of other ADD and ADHD people are using this stack as well. With great success. It should work for your son too.

      Wendy
      July 31, 2020

      Thank you SO much David! I am going to order today and see if we can tell a difference. I appreciate your help!

    Alf
    August 12, 2020

    Hi, David! Great article!
    I am a 50-year-old man from Norway. I have experienced the classical signs of ADD without having a diagnose. I recently have tried to use:

    – L-Tyrosine
    – NADH
    – CoQ10
    – Vitamin B12

    All in the morning before food. I feel much better but not completely well.

    I have seen a lot of your videos and read some of your articles. Thank you for the great work!

    I thinking about buying Performance Labs:
    – Multi for men
    – Stim
    – MTC
    – Energy
    and Mindlab Pro.

    Witch supplement in addition to these do you recommend

    and can you recommend a specific brand?

    Best
    Alf

      David Tomen
      August 12, 2020

      Alf, for ADD I recommend the stack detailed in the post above – including Mind Lab Pro, ALCAR, L-Tyrosine, Alpha GPC, and DHA. Aniracetam and Sulbutiamine are not critical to this stack.

      If you get Performance Lab Energy you can eliminate 1 or 2 doses of ALCAR per day.

      Performance Lab Stim should be used “as needed”. Definitely recommend the PL Multi for men

        Alf Samson Jossang
        August 13, 2020

        OK, thank you very much for the quick and good answer!

        I can get Alpha GPC and ALCAR at Iherb, but not Vinpocetine to Norway. Is Vinpocetine critical?

        I also use Solaray L-Tyrosin 500 mg, not NALT.

        Alf

        David Tomen
        August 14, 2020

        Alf, Vinpocetine is only ‘critical’ if you need more blood flow in your brain. I notice a difference when I use Vinpocetine. Keep in mind that more blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to brain cells.

        An alternative to Vinpocetine for blood flow is Pine Bark Extract which may be easier for you to get in Norway.

        Alf Samson Jossang
        August 13, 2020

        Sorry forgot one thing,

        If you use Mind Lab Pro and Energy, it is no need for extra ALCAR and NALT?

        Specialty if you use Stem sometimes as well?

        Alf

        David Tomen
        August 14, 2020

        Alf, great question! Check my dosage recommendations. You should be using ALCAR and NALT 2 or 3-times per day for ADHD.

        Which means the you can skip the ALCAR and NALT dose each time you use Mind Lab Pro and PL Energy. But you may need to add a little NALT to make up the 500 mg dose. And the same with ALCAR. Then use the full recommended dose of NALT and ALCAR when you’re not using MLP and PL Energy.

        Performance Lab Stim is used “as needed” and I don’t consider it a part of my regular stack.

Ruby
July 30, 2020

Hi David,

I’m a midlife NZ mum, working, parenting and living with ADHD and recently found your work. I’ve also been toying with tons of these things for years on top of MPH and it’s great to learn a few new tricks that I’m going to try adding to my stack – great work!

My question is one of pragmatics and I haven’t been able to find a comment on this yet but it is simply re TIME! I’ve been manually creating similar stacks for myself and my daughter for several years now and it currently takes about a 4 hrs pr month to create 2 x 4 Webster packs for 4 weeks of all these pills! And every now and then I get interrupted and lose track which can be a big problem. Oh to be able to put them all in 1 pill!!! Then of course there’s the issue that some of these need to be on empty stomach, some with food, I actually need a webster pack with 6 slots / 7 days rather than the 4 I’ve got.

So for a busy mum (and hey, aren’t we all busy) – I would LOVE to hear any tips / your routine of how you speed up getting all these things into your system every day.

Thanks again for your work and I may pop in again with some more questions once I’ve trawled through all these comments!

Ruby

    David Tomen
    July 31, 2020

    Ruby, I’ve simply developed a routine where I know exactly goes into my Adult ADD stack at 8 AM, noon and 4 PM. It’s such a habit now I could do it in my sleep I think. And maybe I have. Need to ask my wife about that one.

    That’s the thing about pre-formulated nootropic stacks for specific health issues. The trouble is each one of us has unique biology and what dosage of each supplement works for me may not work for you.

    And I solved the fat-soluble vs water soluble problem years ago. I use a tablespoon of unrefined coconut or MCT Oil each time I take my supplements. That helps fat-soluble delivery into cells. And does not interfere with the water soluble ingredients. It saves me needing to worry about taking anything with food. And I don’t need to worry that some of the amino acids I’m taking as supplements will fight over the same transporters that the amino acids from my food want to use.

anonimo
July 30, 2020

do I not take the risk of a serotonergic syndrome by taking these nortropics?

    David Tomen
    July 30, 2020

    There is nothing in this stack that is contraindicated with most meds. But please check the side effects of each one which you will find in the linked, complete review of each nootropic. Just to make sure you don’t get into trouble.

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