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Brain Health and Adderall

With finals rapidly approaching, students are looking for any means to improve their memory and concentration. Students who have issues focusing may find that nootropics are not enough and will turn to prescription strength study aids instead.  Unfortunately, some of these prescriptions come with unwanted side effects.

Take Adderall, for example. Adderall works by stimulating the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine to enhance your attention and focus. However, it is neurotoxic to the dopaminergic system, which is responsible for regulating the reward pathway in your brain, motivation, and more. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce neurotoxicity.

How to Reduce Neurotoxicity

There are a variety of supplements that can help you reduce or avoid neurotoxicity due to Adderall. The supplements below provide a variety of benefits. Some help remove Adderall from your body at a rapid rate, some potentiate Adderall making it just as effective at smaller doses, and some help reduce neurotoxicity.

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant that can halt molecule oxidization. It can also remove Adderall from your system faster by acidifying your urine [1]. Plus, your body uses Vitamin C to produce dopamine. This is especially helpful if you took Adderall late in the day and it is interfering with your sleep.

Magnesium Aspartate

  • Magnesium aspartate: Magnesium deficiency has long been linked with the onset of ADHD [2]. It is also an NMDA antagonist, meaning it may be able to attenuate tolerance to Adderall as well as protect against its neurotoxic side effects [3].

Curcumin and piperine capsules

  • Curcumin and piperine capsules: This combination potentiates Adderall to allow individuals to use a lower dosage with similar effects. It is able to do this because it is a CYP450 enzyme family inhibitor [4, 5].

NAC

  • NAC: Adderall use depletes glutathione, an important antioxidant found in cells. Glutathione also improves the effectiveness of neurotransmitters [6]. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) increases glutathione levels and can reduce neurotoxicity [7].

Melatonin

  • Melatonin: The stimulant effects of Adderall may keep you awake longer than you intended, but that is not why melatonin is on this list. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant and has proven to offset Adderall-induced neurotoxicity as it provides dopaminergic neuroprotection [8].

Fish oil capsules

  • Fish oil capsules: Omega-3 fatty acids increase dopamine levels and can naturally help improve your focus, meaning you could use a lower dosage of Adderall to achieve the same benefits [9, 10].

Uridine monophosphate

  • Uridine monophosphate: Uridine is able to create new dopamine receptors, particularly in brains with fewer receptors. Uridine can help balance dopamine levels altered by Adderall [11, 12]. When combined with DHA, uridine is able to boost mood as well [13].

By taking the proper precautions, you can significantly reduce the negative side effects of Adderall. Be sure to follow the proper dosage and usage guidelines to ensure the best results. Be sure to discuss any supplements with your doctor before taking them.

Sources

  1. http://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/68649-drug-criteria-outcomes-dextroamphetamine-amphetamine-adderall-for-adhd
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368235
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7690233
  4. http://m.dmd.aspetjournals.org/content/36/8/1594.full
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22185816
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23369637
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15234256
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19796048
  9. http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1476-511X-6-21.pdf
  10. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  11. http://ebm.sagepub.com/content/204/1/49.abstract
  12. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17035532
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15705349