Categories: Supplements

Having Trouble Focusing? Legal & Healthy alternatives to Adderall

As someone diagnosed with ADD I have spent years looking for alternatives to the most commonly prescribed ADD medication, Adderall.

This has been a process that has been 6+ years in the making but fortunately I can say that I have found some great alternatives that work more effectively with less side effects than what your doctor would give you.

I decided to call it quits with Adderall after having issues with appetite, sleep and anxiety.

Here is my list for the top 5 ADD supplements(with my personal experience interjected ) you can get without a prescription, hopefully it will help others out.

In each description I’m also giving a rating for the following categories.

  • Strength: –  how noticeable the effect of the substance is overall
  • Focus – how well does this help focus
  • Mood – how well does this help mood
  • Fatigue – how well does this increase energy
  • Safety – how safe this is (can you talk too much or are there interactions with drugs).


NALT (N-Acetyl L Tyrosine) is an amino acid that is a precursor to Dopamine in your brain. You see, your body constantly is creating and destroying neurotransmitters and they are used to power your noggin. Interesting enough, in times of stress or in the cases of genetic deficits(ADD?) sometimes your supply of neurotransmitters is too low to effectively power your brain. This is where NALT comes in. By ingesting what your brain needs to create your dopamine you increase the supply that is available to the brain. This means in times of high workload and stress your brain and properly function when it normally would be “worn out”. It also helps increase memory in these times as well.

I use NALT when I need some “crunch time”. It seems to provide me a stimulating effect which is reminiscent of stimulants without being over bearing and having any sort of comedown.  I recommend taking 250-500mg a day.

  • Strength: 5/10 – This is subtle but defiantly present.
  • Focus: 6/10
  • Mood: 5/10
  • Fatigue: 5/10
  • Safety 10/10 – No known interactions

4. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a herb from traditional Chinese medicine. It is an “adaptogen compound” (Which means it helps counter the negative effects of stress and fatigue on your body). It has been revisited in research recently and we have discovered it indeed has a reliable effect in reducing fatigue in individuals by the means of inhibiting the MAOI enzyme in your body. This is the enzyme in your body that breaks down neurotransmitters in your brain to recycle and reuse them. By partially inhibiting them your brain will have more neurotransmitters lying around the end result being an effect similar to Adderall: more dopamine activation in your brain. It also increases “Well Being” and lower anxiety as shown by a double blinded study.

I like to use Rhodiola Rosea when am having a long week and need to keep myself awake and focused. The benefits of Rhodiola Rosea really come out when it is used for multiple days in a row which has been confirmed by research. I recommend taking 250-500mg a day for a few weeks.

  • Strength: 8/10
  • Focus: 6/10
  • Mood: 8/10
  • Fatigue: 10/10 – This is proven in numious clinical trials to be effective for this purpose
  • Safety 6/10- This is a “weak” MAIO inhibitor. Do not combine with other stimulants(NALT+Ephedrine), cough medicine, or many pharmaceuticals. If you want to learn more click here.

3. Uridine

Uridine a substance found in surprisingly high levels in beer, is essential in the functioning of RNA, one of the building blocks of your cells. This supplement has a surprising number of mechanisms in which it helps ADD. First off Uridine activates the P2Y2 receptor, which helps with neurite outgrowth. This is important because a common issue with people who are diagnosed with ADD is a lack of BDGF (these is the underlying way your brain grows). Again back to dopamine, uridine reliably increases the activation of the dopamine receptor.
In addition it also helps decrease depression. In your body Uridine breaks down to CDP-Choline which has numerous benefits such as increasing memory and focus.

I highly recommend this product. I get a strong boost in mood in energy and take it intermittently when I need a boost. I recommend taking 250mg a day.

  • Strength: 8/10
  • Focus: 8/10
  • Mood: 9/10 – Always puts me in a great mood
  • Fatigue: 5/10
  • Safety: 10/10

2.Lions Maine

Lions maine is a supplement I take every day. Its has an incredible effect on increasing focus and energy. It operates though a naturally occurring compound in this mushroom called Beta-Glucan. Beta Glucan is a natural promoter of NGF(Yamabushitake has been noted to increase mRNA expression of nerve-growth factor (NGF) ) in the brain. NGF(nerve grown factor) is one of the primary mechanisms that determines the rate at which neurogenesis happens in your brain. In laymens terms this allows your brain to form more stronger and more powerful connections which would theoretically increase memory and brain function.

I highly recommend this product. I feel a very distinct improvement in my mood and energy when taking it. I usually take it every morning. I recommend taking 1g of extract every day.

  • Strength: 7/10 – Subtle but there
  • Focus: 8/10
  • Mood: 10/10
  • Fatigue: 10/10 – Always wakes me up


The grand daddy of them all is Ephedrine. Once a potent fat loss supplement it was removed from use in supplements by the FDA due to overuse and overdose by people taking more than the recommended dose on their fat burning product. Again, this is a very strong supplement : treat this like a medication. It should be used in moderation and in the correct amounts. Ephedrine is very similar to the structure of Adderall and likewise has similar effects such as focus, euphoria and energy. If considering use of this make sure that you are not taking anything that may interact(other stimulants, MAIO inhibitors(Rhodiola Rosea)) and start at only 12.5mg(look for Ephedrine HCL content on label) at once. This may be increased to double that after you have assessed your bodies reaction.  This is one of the supplements I use when studying for a test or “crunch time” when I really need to sit down and focus for hours on end. It is also a decent fat burner and appetite suppressant.

If this looks interesting to you I would recommend reading What Is Ephedrine and How Does It Work? for more information on dosage and safety.

This is not available online but behind the counter of a pharmacy under the brand “BronkAID”, it doesn’t require a prescription to buy and is a similar process to buying cold medication.

This is one of the most effective products when looking for a “legal adderall alternative”. I use it intermittently and sometimes as a pre-workout. However this is not something that you would want to take daily.


I aspire to make myself stronger every day. Fresh college grad with a degree in Computer Science @ NCSU.

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