Adderall has a mix of vegan and non-vegan ingredients, making it a gray area for vegans wanting to avoid animal products. So, if you’re strict about maintaining a completely vegan diet, you should find alternative ways to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy.
What’s In Adderall?
Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that combines amphetamine and dextroamphetamine to treat ADHD and the sleep disorder narcolepsy. These substances increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters in brain cells, which helps improve focus, attention, and mood.
The medication has two main forms: immediate-release (IR) and extended-release (ER).
Adderall is generally considered safe when used as prescribed by a doctor, but it can have adverse effects on some individuals, particularly if abused or taken without a prescription.
Non-Vegan Ingredients in Adderall
Adderall’s main components — amphetamine and dextroamphetamine — are man-made and don’t come from animals. However, some “behind-the-scenes” ingredients might not be vegan-friendly.
The inactive ingredients in Adderall include:
- Silicon dioxide
- Corn starch
- Magnesium stearate
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Saccharin sodium
However, the exact ingredient list differs depending on the manufacturer and if you’re taking immediate- or extended-release. Adderall IR typically comes in tablet form, while Adderall ER is in a capsule.
One sneaky non-vegan ingredient found in Adderall XR is gelatin, which comes from animal collagen and helps bind — AKA hold — the medication together. Plus, some types of Adderall might have lactose, a sugar from milk.
To ensure what’s in your Adderall, it’s important to chat with your doctor or pharmacist about the specific ingredients in your prescription.
Natural Adderall Alternatives for Vegans
While you might be out of luck if you’re vegan and need to take Adderall, several natural supplements and lifestyle changes can help improve cognitive function and manage ADHD symptoms.
- Ginkgo Biloba: This natural supplement has been used for centuries to improve memory and cognitive function. It works by increasing blood flow to the brain, which can help reduce brain fog and improve focus.
- B Vitamins: B vitamins, particularly B6, B9, and B12, are essential for brain health and cognitive function. A balanced diet rich in B vitamins or a supplement can help improve cognitive performance and mood.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These essential fatty acids are crucial for brain health and have been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce ADHD symptoms. Incorporate foods rich in omega-3s, like flaxseeds or chia seeds, into your diet, or consider a vegan omega-3 supplement.
- Mind Lab Pro: This supplement contains a blend of ingredients, including maritime pine bark extract, lion’s mane mushroom, and bacopa monnieri, which have been shown to improve cognitive performance and memory recall.
- NooCube: This natural cognitive enhancer contains ingredients like oat straw, cat’s claw, and L-theanine, which have been shown to improve mental clarity and focus.
The Bottom Line
Adderall might not be completely vegan, but other vitamins and supplements may help improve the lack of focus and concentration experienced by those without animal-derived ingredients. Talk to your doctor before trying something new, especially if you already take medication.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.