Alpha Brain vs Adderall

Here’s our Alpha Brain vs Adderall comparison. Before natural nootropics like Alpha Brain came onto the market, Adderall was the only option you had for boosting focus and managing ADHD. Nowadays, we’re lucky to have an abundance of nootropic supplements with unique mental benefits – that are safe and effective.

Alpha Brain is one of the most popular “nootropics” – or brain supplements – on the market. But how does it fare against Adderall? In this face-off, we look at their effects (and side effects!), safety, and cost amongst others to see which one we found to be better.

Alpha Brain vs Adderall SUMMARY: Alpha Brain is a natural nootropic supplement that you can buy at any time. Adderall, on the other hand, is only legally available through your doctor’s prescription if you have a clinical ADHD.

However, in our experience, neither of these are worth it. While Alpha Brain is our winner today – a safer and more natural option – it’s still far from a good nootropic. Alpha Brain is using proprietary blends which hide ingredient doses from you. As a result, it’s impossible to tell if the ingredients are effective.

Alpha Brain also uses Huperzine A, an ingredient that needs to be cycled. But doing so makes other ingredients less effective. Considering it costs over $79 per bottle, Alpha Brain is definitely not the best brain supplement we’ve reviewed.

What do we recommend?

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Alpha Brain vs Adderall: The Overview

Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement produced by the American company Onnit. This supplement is entirely natural and you can buy it online, aka, over the counter (OTC).

Alpha Brain is formulated with 11 different nutrients and plant extracts that can help you with:

  • Neurotransmitters & mood
  • Memory function
  • Information processing & recall
  • Focus and productivity

Alpha Brain contains 90 vegetarian capsules per bottle, with the recommended serving being 3 capsules per day. Its price – a hefty $79.95 per bottle – is one of the downsides of this supplement we’ll talk about below.

However, when you look at who promotes Alpha Brain, it’s easy to see why they’ve made it so expensive. Alpha Brain is backed by celebrities like Joe Rogan, and has one of the most powerful “marketing machines” out of any nootropic supplement company today.

But do its claims reflect reality? Will you really get the benefits Alpha Brain promises? And how does it compare against something like Adderall? Let’s find out.


Adderall is a medication developed to help with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It contains ingredients that work to boost dopamine and other catecholamine chemicals in your brain to make you more focused.

There are a few notes about Adderall, though. You can only get it as a prescription. So, you will need to be clinically diagnosed with ADHD to be able to legally obtain it. Secondly, Adderall’s active compounds are known to be extremely addictive and unsafe to take long-term. Even short-term use of Adderall is linked to adverse side effects in some cases (more on that soon).

Alpha Brain vs Adderall: The Ingredients

As we said, Alpha Brain can be bought directly online without a prescription. It’s a legal and natural dietary supplement, just like a multivitamin from your local department store.

Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain contains a blend of 11 ingredients, most of which are in proprietary blends. Here’s a look:

Onnit Alpha Brain Ingredients

The first good thing about Alpha Brain is that its ingredients are entirely natural. In addition, some of Alpha Brain’s ingredients – Alpha GPC, Bacopa Monnieri, L-Tyrosine, Phosphatidylserine and others – are amongst our favorite nootropics for memory, focus, mood, and motivation.

However, here’s the big issue with Adderall: you can’t see the doses of these ingredients. Most of the ingredients, including the ones we just mentioned, are inside what’s known as “proprietary blends,” which only show you the combined amount of ingredients on the label. As a result, you can only guess how effectively dosed these ingredients are.

It’s a shame because Alpha Brain really does have some excellent ingredients. Not knowing their doses makes it impossible to tell how Alpha Brain will work for you specifically.

This is not to say that proprietary blends are the only problem of Alpha Brain. This supplement unfortunately has a few. For example, Alpha Brain also uses several ineffective ingredients – such as L-Leucine and Oat Straw. These have no use in a nootropic supplement. If oat straw was a brain-boosting compound, we’d known by now because humans have been consuming oats for millennia!

The last and arguably the biggest issue with Alpha Brain is that it contains an ingredient called Huperzine A. This ingredient, while beneficial for memory in the short-term, it unsafe to take daily long-term, as it can lead to cognitive impairment and other side effects.

Taking a break from Huperzine A is important to avoid these side effects and to reap its benefits. But, and here’s the kicker, taking a break from using Alpha Brain will reduce the effects of other ingredients – assuming they’re dosed optimally in the first place.


Adderall fares no better than Alpha Brain, in our experience. Not only is it a prescription-only medication, it’s also highly addictive. Studies and research analyses have found Adderall to be detrimental for mental health with long-term use.

So, what’s inside Adderall that make it what it is? The active ingredients are amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which are powerful stimulants of your central nervous system. These increase the production of your stress hormones such as norepinephrine, as well as dopamine. Putting you into the “flight or fight” state where you have enhanced cognitive capacities.

Our Experience with Alpha Brain vs Adderall

All things considered, Alpha Brain wins out by being a safer and natural product, unlike Addereall. There are a few serious issues with Adderall that we didn’t feel worked out for us, even though we were able to get it through a prescription. Two members of our team have ADHD and, although Adderall was beneficial for them in the short-term, it only lead to more issues down the road.

With all of that being said, our experience with Alpha Brain was far from perfect either. It does have a few big issues, like using a proprietary blend, which makes it unreliable. It also has a number of ineffective ingredients. To top this off, Alpha Brain uses Huperzine A from which you need to take prolonged breaks – we feel these pauses from Alpha Brain made other ingredients less effective.

The current best-rated brain health supplements of the year blow Alpha Brain’s formula out of the water in terms of effectiveness and safety.

Alpha Brain vs Adderall: Side Effects

Since it’s mainly a vitamin/herbal supplement, Alpha Brain shouldn’t cause you negative side effects. That is, if you stick to the dosage recommendations, and cycle it on and off every few weeks. Why cycling? Because, as we mentioned, it contains Huperzine A which causes side effects with continuous use. These include:

  • Insomnia
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss (ironically)

WebMD states that Adderall is known to cause the following side effects:

  • Low-back pain
  • Fever
  • Bloody urine
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irritability
  • Increased tolerance to the drug

*Important note: Never take Adderall without your doctor’s prescription. You need to be diagnosed with ADHD by a qualified professional in order to qualify for Adderall. Never self-diagnose! Be sure to check with an MD before thinking about using a new supplement or a drug that is as powerful as Adderall.

Pricing & Availability

Adderall’s price varies, depending on your dosage and health insurance plan.

Alpha Brain costs $79.95 for a single-time purchase, but the price reduces if you subscribe to a monthly delivery of Alpha Brain – quite a commitment, considering the questionable effectiveness of this nootropic.

Final Verdict

While obvious, it’s important to drive home that there’s no natural Adderall. No food supplement can produce the effects of such a potent mix of amphetamines. Does this mean you can’t find safe, healthy, and effective alternative to Adderall? Not at all!

Alpha Brain is decent, but for the price, there are far better nootropic supplements available. You’ll find that these supplements, unlike Adderall, are fully transparent and disclose ingredient amounts on the label, and use prove and highly effective nootropics that are healthy for daily use.

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