Nootropics For ADHD: Can Nootropics Help with Focus and Attention?

Nootropics For ADHD: Can Nootropics Help with Focus and Attention? - Lucid™

Nootropics, or “smart drugs” that interact with the brain and nervous system, have been touted for their ability to improve focus, boost productivity, and even support memory, learning, and various other brain functions. Many nootropics are naturally, which makes them substantially safer than some prescriptions prescribed for the same things. 

That brings people to question whether you can use nootropics for ADHD and concentration issues that come along with the diagnosis. Moreover, can nootropics replace ADHD medications, which often come with uncomfortable side effects?

For now, natural nootropic medications are not approved to treat ADHD and related conditions. However, they may still have some benefits that make them advantageous for those suffering from inattentiveness, low-energy, brain fog, and more.

Let’s dive into what makes nootropics useful for those with ADHD and how to use them most effectively, with or without regular ADHD medications.

Key Takeaways

Nootropics help alter the neural environment, similarly to the way that ADHD medications work.  

Many nootropics can be paired together to enhance their cognitive benefits. 

A high-quality nootropic stack may be the most convenient and cost-effective way to reap these focus-enhancing benefits. 

What are nootropics?

We mentioned that nootropics are known as “smart drugs,” but we want to elaborate. Nootropics are a class of substances that are known to enhance cognition in many areas. There are many different types of nootropics, ranging from herbal supplements to pharmaceuticals designed to treat conditions like ADHD. Different nootropics have different effects, and some target memory, wakefulness, focus, or endurance more so than others. 

For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on nootropic supplements that specifically target common ADHD-related issues, like focus, memory, and stress. If you’re interested in seeking prescription options, talk with your doctor. For many consumers, though, natural nootropic supplements can have a positive impact on their daily lives with far fewer side effects than the pharmaceutical alternatives. 

How Do Nootropics for ADHD Work?

We mentioned that there are many different nootropic supplements on the market, and they each have different (though sometimes overlapping) effects. For now, researchers don’t always understand the underlying mechanisms behind natural nootropics, especially when it comes to managing ADHD, because most have not been independently researched in this way. 

Still, we can turn to some of the medications that are designed to treat ADHD to better understand which mechanisms help to manage ADHD symptoms. For instance, Adderall, the medication that is most commonly prescribed for treating ADHD, helps to improve focus and reduce impulsivity by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Dopamine and norepinephrine are two neurotransmitters that are associated with motivation, attention, alertness, and focus. 

Although many supplements have not been researched to evaluate their impact on ADHD, we do know that many have similar mechanisms. 

For instance, some natural nootropics are also known to boost dopamine and norepinephrine levels. Others work by improving blood flow in the brain, which can help to speed neural processes and have a positive impact on overall cognition. Others may even help to support nerve growth or the production of neurons that carry out cognitive processes. 

Because they each have unique effects, you may find that combining a selection of nootropics is the best way to enhance cognition from all angles. Many products already take this approach of combining several nootropic supplements to offer a synergistic, multifaceted blend of brain-boosting supplements. 

Lucid beverages contain a blend of brain-boosting nootropics + powerful mushrooms designed to unlock your brain's full potential so you can zone in on what's important. 

Ready to become lucid?  Check out our starter kit. 

Which Nootropics Help With ADHD?

First and foremost, we want to reiterate that nootropic supplements are not approved by the FDA to treat ADHD. You should not use natural nootropic options to replace ADHD medication or to self medicate without talking to your doctor. 

However, there are many natural nootropics that may have benefits that apply to ADHD symptoms. The most common nootropic focus enhancer supplements include:


Caffeine is the most commonly used nootropic in the world. It may seem obvious, but caffeine works by promoting alertness and helping you wake up and stay awake, which can have a positive impact on focus. More specifically, it blocks adenosine production, a neurochemical known to promote sleep drive. 

Caffeine can be very effective for some people, but experts disagree on whether it's useful for those with ADHD. While some people with ADHD claim that caffeine helps boost their attentiveness, others suggest that it has a very odd effect–it makes them feel tired. 

Experts aren’t sure what may cause this anomaly or whether caffeine is good or bad for ADHD symptoms. While small doses of caffeine may be complementary to many nootropic supplements and come without side effects, caffeine can have side effects in large doses. For instance, it is addictive and it’s easy to become dependent on it. Plus, consistent use of caffeine or the use of large doses of caffeine can cause side effects, like high blood pressure, anxiety, or adrenal fatigue. 

For this reason, it’s important to use caffeine with intention. Caffeine can be combined with other nootropics to help amplify its effects without increasing dosage. 


L-Theanine is an amino acid that is commonly found in tea leaves–another natural compound that’s been studied for its potential use in improving cognitive function. In recent years, there has been growing interest in using L-Theanine as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) because of its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect the brain's neurotransmitters. 

More specifically, it may help to boost neurotransmitter levels, including dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Dopamine is particularly relevant to ADHD as it is involved in the brain's reward system and plays a role in attention, motivation, and executive function.

In a small study conducted in 2011, L-Theanine was found to improve cognitive function and increase alpha brain wave activity in children with ADHD. Alpha brain waves are associated with a relaxed but focused state of mind and are thought to be beneficial for individuals with ADHD. The study also found that L-Theanine reduced symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity in the children.

A 2019 study found that L-Theanine supplementation improved attention and reduced hyperactivity in adults with ADHD. The study also found that L-Theanine reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is often elevated in individuals with ADHD.

While these studies are promising, it's important to note that they were small and conducted over a short period. More research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of L-Theanine for ADHD and to determine the optimal dosage and duration of treatment.


While there’s currently less data to link L-Tyrosine to ADHD treatment, there’s good reason to believe that it may positively impact cognitive performance. 

The original sentiment behind L-Tyrosine for ADHD stemmed from the belief that children with ADHD had low levels of tyrosine in the brain. While this claim has only been substantiated in half of the research available, there’s definitely some interest surrounding L-Tyrosine’s potential ability to improve cognition, especially in cases of stress. 

According to a review of 15 studies, taking tyrosine supplements may improve memory, particularly in challenging situations such as extreme weather or high cognitive load. Another 2015 study also found that tyrosine supplementation could enhance cognitive function in the short term during stressful or demanding circumstances. 

Yet another study in 2015 revealed that taking tyrosine supplements may enhance cognitive flexibility in high cognitive demand situations. These studies involved healthy adults, however, and not adults with ADHD. 

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri, commonly known as water hyssop, is a traditional Ayurvedic herb used to improve memory and enhance brain focus, among other uses like mood enhancement and treating seizures. 

Modern research has unearthed new ways this herb may be used, like to help prevent brain damage and protect against age-related neurodegeneration. It may also help to regulate the production of important neurochemicals– serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and acetylcholine– to help the brain work more effectively. 

Although evidence is still lacking in many areas, researchers agree that the cognitive enhancing effects of bacopa monnieri are significant. In fact, bacopa was found to be superior to two other nootropic supplements–ginseng, an herbal supplement known for increasing energy  and modafinil, a medication designed to promote alertness in people with narcolepsy. 

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China that has been used with medicinal intent for centuries. Historically, it is known to promote blood flow throughout the body, which may be the cause behind its potential cognitive benefits. 

One of its primary uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine was as a cognition enhancer for older adults. There are also reports of Ginkgo being used by young, healthy subjects to enhance creativity and concentration. 

For now, research is limited and mostly looks into ginkgo’s potential ability to protect against age-related decline. A 1996 study, for instance, found a Ginkgo extract to be effective in treating Alzheimer’s Disease. Another trial the following year offered a similar conclusion–the same Ginkgo extract was shown to be effective in stabilizing and improving cognitive function in dementia patients. 

More research is needed to fully understand its potential impact, but ginkgo is usually well-tolerated and can be found in many nootropic stacks designed to enhance concentration. 


Alpha-GPC, (also known as L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) is an essential lipid that helps to make up cell bodies. It plays an essential role in the regulation of various cellular processes, including the production of choline, which is necessary for nearly all neurological functions. 

Research shows that Alpha-GPC can increase acetylcholine levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that helps carry out all basic memory and learning functions. 

Furthermore, new evidence suggests that choline, among other nutritional compounds, plays a larger role in ADHD than we initially realized. 

One study evaluated the effects of choline supplements on cognitively delayed children suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a neurological condition that’s described as a leading cause of ADHD in children. At a four year follow up, the children who received choline supplements were reported to have “higher non-verbal intelligence, higher visual-spatial skill, higher working memory ability, better verbal memory, and fewer behavioral symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than the placebo group.”

Because of its positive impact on memory and working memory, research has found that alpha-GPC supplementation may be useful for improving the symptoms of dementia, which is why alpha-GPC-based medications are routinely prescribed to treat dementia in many parts of Asia. 

However, one study found that increased choline intake may be linked to improved cognitive performance even outside of dementia. The research saw improvement in four areas in healthy adults: verbal memory, visual memory, verbal learning, and executive function.

For those ADHDers relying on caffeine to fuel their focus, Alpha-GPC may overwrite those benefits, too. One study comparing the impact of caffeine and alpha-GPC found that alpha-GPC supplementation was associated with an 18% increase in the performance speed of young adults carrying out various physical and mental tasks.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is a medicinal mushroom that was once obscure, but is now holding the spotlight as the “mushroom for the mind.” More specifically, it’s touted as a cognitive enhancer that can help promote nerve growth and improve cognition over time. 

According to one study, Lion’s Mane is one of three different functional mushroom extracts that may help stimulate the growth of nerve cells within the brain, spinal cord, and retina. This could help the brain to create new neuronal connections, increasing your processing speed and efficacy over time. 

Increasing nerve cell growth may mean that Lion’s Mane can help to prevent or heal damage to the brain tissues caused by injuries or environmental circumstances. Another study puts this into perspective, claiming that the use of Lion’s Mane speeds nervous system recovery by 23-41% in animal subjects.

Research has also found Lion’s Mane to be potentially useful in healing damage that leads to age-related cognitive impairments. In one study, consuming Lion’s Mane daily for four months was associated with a significant increase in cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairments.

In most research, the effects of Lion’s Mane end shortly after subjects stop taking the mushroom, so daily supplementation is best for consistent cognitive benefits. 


MCT oil is a nutritional supplement made up of medium-chain triglycerides, or a type of fat molecule that is easier for the body to digest. Essential fats are crucial to brain function, and many healthy adults don’t actually get enough of them. 

Therefore, MCT oil may have some serious benefits for boosting brain function. For instance, taking MCT oil daily is associated with an 8 to 9% increase in brain energy. MCT oil can help to prevent cognitive aging by helping to support the repair of brain tissues. 

It may even have a positive impact on gut health, which has an undeniable impact on brain health. Good gut bacteria helps to produce many of the neurochemicals needed for healthy brain function.

Taking MCT oil daily is associated with countless health benefits, from improved mood to weight loss and more. It is not usually found in nootropics stacks but is easy to find and affordable, so you can work it in as a separate supplement. Since it is only a nutritional fat, it’s safe to take alongside most other supplements. 


Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a group of compounds that have antioxidant effects. Antioxidants help to protect the body from free radical damage, which is a primary cause of age-related neurodegeneration. Resveratrol is naturally found in the skin of red grapes, peanuts, pistachios, blueberries, and cranberries. It is the primary reason that red wine is sometimes framed as “heart healthy.”

Some evidence suggests that resveratrol can help to reduce age-related cognitive decline by supporting the health of the hippocampus, or the portion of the brain responsible for memory functions. 

While resveratrol doesn’t work on its own to promote focus, it may help to soothe brain inflammation, which may help improve cognition overall. It’s generally safe to take alongside other nootropics, so it makes a good “team player” for increasing the efficacy of other cognition enhancers. 

How to Use Nootropics for ADHD

Once you’ve reviewed all the natural nootropics out there, you may be wondering: “Now what? How do I use nootropics for ADHD?”

First, we recommend talking to your doctor. They should be able to help you evaluate the benefits and risks of using nootropics to treat ADHD. This is especially important if you take ADHD medication since discontinuing these medications can cause withdrawal. Plus, some nootropics may interact with certain medications, so it’s always best to discuss these changes with your doctor first. 

If you decide to proceed with a natural nootropic regimen, you’ll want to understand how nootropics are commonly used. For instance, nootropics are often stacked together to create a more full coverage cognitive-supporting regimen as opposed to taking one-off doses or using a single supplement. 

You’ll also need to consider the dosage and best time to take each supplement you choose. Luckily, choosing a premade nootropic stack may take some of the guesswork out of nootropic dosing. 

Nootropic Stacks

Nootropic stacks are unique blends of two or more nootropic supplements chosen for their synergistic effects. A nootropic stack usually contains an array of nootropics with unique mechanisms to create a sort of multivitamin for your brain. 

All nootropic stacks are different, but they end up being more convenient than trying to independently source each nootropic supplement you’d like to add to your personalized regimen. 

Plus, a high-quality nootropic stack manufacturer will have already considered the dosage when creating the formula, which means you can use the dosing information on the label to your advantage. 

Nootropic Quality

When choosing a nootropic supplement, make sure that you go for quality. Remember that supplements are not as well regulated as prescription medications are in the U.S. You’ll need to check the quality of the supplement you choose. Make sure that you buy from a high-quality, cGMP compliant manufacturer who uses third-party testing to prove the quality of their product. 

Our Lucid mushroom+nootropic stack is made with 100% USDA certified organic, fruited body mushrooms, that are hot water extracted (meaning both extracting and activating those health boosting compounds) so every sip you take delivers the goodness your body loves.

Conclusion: Which Nootropics Help ADHD?

There are a number of nootropic supplements that may help to improve focus, but none that have been approved to treat ADHD. You may still find that certain nootropic supplements are beneficial for managing the symptoms of ADHD, but always talk to your doctor before self medicating. 

If you and your doctor decide to try nootropic alternatives for ADHD, you may want to consider looking for a high-quality nootropic stack–a blend of nootropics designed to enhance cognitive function from all angles. There are many of these out there, but our Lucid beverages bring something new to the table (or teacup). 

Lucid is a synergistic blend of medicinal mushrooms and nootropics designed to enhance focus and support a healthy brain, but it also does much more. Balancing on powerful therapeutics like Maitake, Lion’s Mane, Alpha-GPC, and more, Lucid beverages target whole-body wellness. Our unique ingredient blend helps to boost immunity, improve physical and mental performance, reduce stress, balance mood, and more. 

Read “What’s in a Lucid Stack?” to learn more. 


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