Taking a stimulant, like Ritalin, can seem like a tempting hack to max out your brain power.
But it comes at a cost to your health and pocket. Which is why many of the nootropic community are trying to find natural alternatives – to improve mental performance, without feeling like sh*t.
Looking to enhance your cognitive performance naturally?
Take a look at the top natural alternatives to Ritalin, and which supplements we recommend that feature the best formulations in this article.
If you want to skip the reading, here’s the quick answer to your brain fog:
You can stack them together to form a natural nootropic stack that’s more effective than Ritalin.
Table of Contents
What is Ritalin?
Ritalin is a powerful stimulant and prescription (over the counter) medication that is formulated to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
It works by stimulating the central nervous system, affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain that contribute to hyperactivity.
Although it can support ADHD treatment, Ritalin has a high abuse potential.
Like Adderall, Ritalin is consumed by a multitude of non-ADHD individuals for its cognitive-enhancing effects, to achieve sharper focus and performance.
Why Avoid Ritalin?
It’s always best to avoid prescription medication unless you are taking it as directed by a healthcare practitioner. As many take Ritalin for its cognitive effects, it is often unregulated and misused by individuals that may not necessarily need it.
Ritalin can be highly addictive, with a risk of strong withdrawal symptoms when stopped.
It can also lead to an array of detrimental side effects.
As it is an addictive medication with a potential negative impact on your health, always try natural alternatives first before consuming prescription stimulants.
Like most prescription drugs, Ritalin comes with a lengthy list of noted side effects. Although everybody reacts differently, taking Ritalin may cause the following:
- Fast heartbeat
- Body pain/joint pain
- Chest pain
- Digestive issues
- Skin rash and hives
- Muscle cramps
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
Ritalin is commonly misused by athletes, professionals and students to boost cognitive performance and productivity. However, taking Ritalin frequently is likely to lead to addiction.
As Ritalin produces feelings of euphoria due to its effect on neurotransmitters, taking just a few doses can quickly turn into a pattern of dependence. In particular, Ritalin works by raising norepinephrine and dopamine levels, which are both feel-good hormones that commonly spike up with addictive behaviors.
Once you get into the habit of taking Ritalin, quitting can cause serious withdrawals. Individuals that stop taking Ritalin may have withdrawal symptoms including:
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Sleep disturbances
If you are looking for natural alternatives to Ritalin (minus the side effects), keep on reading to discover the top ingredients to enhance brainpower.
7 Natural Ingredients for Cognition
There are many tried-and-tested natural cognitive enhancers on the market. Here are the best ingredients to rev-up your brainpower safely and effectively:
A popular ingredient in high-quality nootropics, citicoline has many benefits on brain health. Citicoline can increase the production of acetylcholine, a brain-boosting neurotransmitter.
Regular consumption can promote blood flow to the brain, enhance cell signaling, and increase the production of dopamine to improve mood.
2. Bacopa Monnieri
A powerful Ayurvedic herb, Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) can significantly boost the brain’s activity and memory.
The bacosides in Bacopa are the main bioactives responsible for its studied health benefits. The bacosides are thought to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain, promoting focus, concentration and memory retention. The herb is also a powerful antioxidant, protecting the brain from oxidative stress that can lead to cognitive impairments.
3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Possibly the most beneficial mushroom for cognitive health, Lion’s Mane is packed with nootropic bioactives – hericenones and erinacines.
Both bioactive groups are neuroprotective, enhance cognitive performance, and relieve anxiety symptoms.
A nootropic essential, phosphatidylserine the ultimate brain-boosting multitasker.
It can enhance cellular energy production, increase feel-good dopamine levels, and optimize cell signaling to sharpen response and attention.
5. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
Tyrosine is required for the generation of brain-boosting neurotransmitters – such as dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is a superior form of higher bioavailability, shown to also increase the synthesis of acetylcholine. Taking N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine can enhance memory and cognitive processing as a result of the increase in neurotransmitters in the brain.
A natural amino acid that is commonly taken for its calming effects, L-theanine is a must-have in a nootropic formula. By stimulating alpha brain waves, L-theanine supplementation can relieve anxiety and promote focus and creativity.
L-theanine can also increase the production of mood-boosting dopamine and serotonin.
7. Pine Bark Extract
An antioxidant supercharger, pine bark is packed with brain-protecting OPCs (proanthocyanidins). These bioactives can cross the blood-brain barrier to prevent cognitive impairments and improve circulation.
Enhanced blood flow to the brain ensures maximum nutrient and oxygen uptake into the cells, fueling cognitive performance.
Best Natural Nootropic Alternatives to Ritalin
So, you’ve discovered some natural alternatives to Ritalin. It’s now time to find some supplements that put all the puzzle pieces together to form the ultimate nootropic.
The top two nootropics that feature these brain-boosting ingredients are Mind Lab Pro and Performance Lab® Mind.
Mind Lab Pro®
One of the best nootropics ever made, Mind Lab Pro is a winner for many reasons. It contains the most potent cognitive-enhancing ingredients, is 100% natural, and hits top scores for value and quality.
It is designed with all the ingredients mentioned above, which work synergistically to provide 100% brainpower.
Let’s take a closer look at the formula.
Featuring patented, certified and quality-approved ingredients, Mind Lab Pro is definitely a top-tier nootropic. The formula is equipped with the most bioavailable ingredients, including L-theanine, Bacopa monnieri, Lion’s Mane, Maritime Pine Bark and much more. The patented formulations are worth the money, because of their superior quality and high absorption rates.
All the herbs and nutrients fit into a natural vegan capsule for easy and clean consumption. All doses are precisely measured and listed on the bottle for your safety and convenience.
Two capsules of Mind Lab Pro provide:
- B6 – 2.5mg
- B9 – 100mcg
- B12 – 7.5mcg
- Citicoline (Cognizin®) – 250mg
- Bacopa monnieri – 150mg
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom – 500mg
- Phosphatidylserine (Sharp PS® Green)– 100mg
- N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – 175mg
- L-Theanine (Suntheanine®) – 100mg
- Rhodiola Rosea – 50mg
- Maritime Pine Bark – 75mg
How to Use:
It is suggested to take up to 4 capsules of Mind Lab Pro per day. You may wish to split up the doses by taking 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon.
If you are trying Mind Lab Pro for the first time, start with a 2 capsules per day dose. For many, this dose is sufficient to feel health effects.
Once you are accustomed to the dose, you can increase it to 3-4 times daily to achieve the maximum effect.
With only natural herbs and nutrients in the Mind Lab Pro formula, it is a safe and trusted supplement. Every ingredient has been tested in human clinical trials for safety.
Mind Lab Pro has no noted side effects. If you are taking medication or have an underlying health condition, it is best to inform your healthcare practitioner before taking any supplement.
Performance Lab® Mind
Another clean, potent and popular nootropic, Performance Lab® Mind includes a similar formula.
Performance Lab® Mind is the ultimate cognitive enhancer, curated to accelerate mental recovery and boost focus, energy, speed and memory.
One capsule of Performance Lab® Mind provides:
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract-75mg
How to Use
It is recommended to take Performance Lab® Mind first thing in the morning with a meal to maximize absorption. Start with 1 capsule of Mind a day and increase to 2 capsules if required.
A perfect combo to boost absorption and cognitive power is to take Performance Lab® Mind with MCT.
Like Mind Lab Pro, Performance Lab® Mind only uses ingredients that have been tried-and-tested by research trials for safety.
Performance Lab® Mind does not have side effects. If you are taking medication or have an underlying health condition, it is best to inform your healthcare practitioner before taking any supplement.
Best Nootropics Stack that’s better than Ritalin:
Mind Lab Pro with Stim OR Performance Lab Mind with Stim
For that extra edge, pair Mind Lab Pro or Mind with Performance Lab Stim.
Stim is a balanced caffeine supplement with added L-theanine to provide a sustained power surge with zero crashes. Combine this with a powerful nootropic and you’ve got yourself a sharp, unbeatable focus for maximum cognitive performance.
Each capsule of Stim provides:
- Vitamin B2-500mcg
- Vitamin B6-750mcg
- Vitamin B12-2mcg
- Natural Caffeine (from Coffea robusta seeds)-50mg
- Suntheanine L-theanine – 100mg
- Ajipure L-Tyrosine -250mg
The caffeine content in Stim is buildable depending on the amount of stimulation you require.
At 50mg doses per capsule, you can take up to 5 capsules per day if necessary. So you can increase your caffeine intake sensibly if you want, but never be at risk from jittery side effects.
Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin can be highly addictive and cause detrimental side effects.
For clean, natural and safe cognitive enhancement, supplement with high-quality nootropics instead. Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® Mind feature brainpower supercharging ingredients, such as citicoline, pine bark extract and L-theanine.
For an extra kick of stimulation, these nootropics can be stacked with Performance Lab® Stim. Clean, caffeine-enhanced brainpower.