If you are out shopping for nootropics, don’t bother looking for synthetic ones, such as adrafinil, on the shelves of your local Walmart, CVS or any other health store — you won’t find it there! Even all-encompassing online retailers like Amazon have banned this type of unregulated supplements/drugs.
That limits your buying options to a handful of small-scale online shops that specialize in selling nootropics. Some vendors in this field have been operating for several years and have a good reputation. New vendors pop up every now and then, then disappear overnight.
The following is a summarized review of five of the best places where you can safely buy pure adrafinil in capsule or powder form.
Note: There are other popular outlets and brands that offer this substance, but they aren’t necessarily reliable. I tried to only include sellers that have decent product quality, customer service and business practices.
Before You Buy: Adrafinil is most beneficial for people suffering from fatigue, sleepiness and low energy as a result of poor/lack of sleep. It may not work for everyone.
This is a small business run by a few people who appreciate their customers and provide outstanding service.
Pure Nootropics sells many synthetic and natural nootropics with each batch of raw materials tested for purity in a third-party lab.
Their adrafinil inventory is refreshed every few months, which sometimes goes out of stock for a short while before they restock it.
Lab Testing: 3rd-party; COA’s available on the website.
Ships to: USA + several other countries.
This one-stop shop is currently the largest US-based supplier of nootropics on the Internet. They have excellent quality control and service.
The owner of Nootropics Depot is active on Reddit, and the company is very reputable among the community there.
Lab Testing: In-house; COA’s available upon request.
Ships to: USA + Worldwide.
A long-time supplier of bulk nutritional supplements with a good reputation for their products’ quality and low prices.
They have recently added many nootropics to their product catalog, and they are quickly rising to one of the top brands in this niche.
Lab Testing: In-house; COA’s available online and via QR code on the label.
Ships to: USA + Worldwide.
This is the online branch of a Brunswick County-based health food store called Live Oak Nutrition. Their online store specializes in selling nootropic supplements and formulas at very competitive prices.
They may be a lesser-known brand among the online community, but they offer many fine quality products that are worth giving a try.
Lab Testing: Done by the supplier; COA’s on their website.
Ships to: USA and Canada only.
Double Wood Supplements
DWS is a small company that manufactures and sells various nutritional products with a focus on brain-enhancing supplements.
They only carry adrafinil from the synthetic drugs, so you won’t find any racetams here. They use gelatin (non-vegan) capsules.
Service is prompt and prices are a little higher than other vendors, but they offer free domestic shipping.
Lab Testing: 3rd-party; COA’s available online.
Ships to: USA only.
Is it Legal to Buy Adrafinil Online?
Adrafinil is an unscheduled and unregulated drug. So that means yes, you can legally buy it from local or online suppliers for your personal use.
However, keep in mind that adrafinil is not an approved treatment, so it should not be used to treat any health condition. For diagnosed disorders, like narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness, your doctor will probably prescribe you modafinil (adrafinil’s metabolite), which is a prescription-only medication.
What is Adrafinil?
Adrafinil is a drug which promotes wakefulness. In technical terms, it is a member of the eugeroic group of drugs. It was discovered in the 1970s by a pharmaceutical company in France called Lafon.
After going through various test and trial processes it was approved for marketing under the brand name Olmifon, which was discontinued in 2011, about a decade after Lafon was acquired by Cephalon. Adrafinil is now being sold in generic form, and there are some branded generic versions of this drug on the market as well.
Benefits of Adrafinil
The following are the primary benefits and results that adrafinil may deliver:
- May improve alertness.
- May reduce feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
- May reduce the tendency of drowsiness.
- May improve the ability to concentrate mentally.
- May improve memory and learning.
- May boost mood and motivation.
- May improve psychomotor performance.
These effects have been mostly observed in clinical trials that involved participant suffering from narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Although adrafinil is widely used as a “nootropic” supplement to boost cognitive functions and mental performance, there is no evidence that it helps healthy individuals who do not suffer from sleep-wake problems.
For an overview of clinical trials and an in-depth scientific analysis of adrafinil’s actions and benefits, check out this reference research paper.
Mechanism of Action
Adrafinil’s pharmacological and physiological effects are attributed to its primary active metabolite: modafinil. In other words, both of these compounds seem to have the same effects and mechanism of action in the human body, although efficacy and tolerance of each compound may vary from one user to another.
Adrafinil stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), and it is thought to have multiple effects on the working of the brain through different mechanisms. Several hypotheses have been studied, but no single mechanism of action has been established yet.
Most of adrafinil’s effects have been linked to its possible potentiation of different neurotransmitters and systems involved in alertness, wakefulness and other cognitive functions, including: histamine (HA), norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA), adrenergic and orexin systems.
It seems to positively affect the levels of orexin, aka hypocretin: a neuropeptide that is responsible for the regulation of wakefulness and arousal. At the same time, increased levels of orexin/hypocretin cause raised levels of other neurotransmitters, like dopamine and histamine.
Other studies attributed adrafinil’s stimulant and neuroprotective effects to its positive impact on the brain’s metabolic rate. There are some indications that it may increase production of brain energy by increasing synthesis of glutamine synthetase and various other enzymes.
Uses of Adrafinil
Adrafinil and its metabolite, modafinil, are gainfully used by different people in various situations. Most common users include:
- Shift workers can benefit from increased alertness and reduced fatigue.
- People who don’t get enough sleep or who need to stay awake for prolonged/odd hours may find it helpful.
- Students may benefit from the nootropic effect, which may help them stay focused and better retain information, but don’t count on it really!
- People with poor attention may see improvement in symptoms and behaviors.
At present, adrafinil is an unapproved, over-the-counter drug in the USA and worldwide in general. It can be bought as desired without a doctor’s prescription, and it is treated as a supplement.
Generic adrafinil supplements can be purchased online from many nootropics sellers, and it is available in powder form as well as capsules (usually in standard 300mg doses).
Adrafinil is not a controlled or scheduled substance, so buying and importing it is legal for personal use or research, but because it is not approved by the FDA, it cannot be sold, nor should it be used, as a treatment for any illness or disease.
Starting dose can range from 100 mg to 300 mg, with 300 mg being the standard daily dose. Because everyone’s body responds differently, a higher dosage may be needed by some individuals to achieve remarkable results. The dose can be gradually increased to a maximum of 1,200 mg a day.
It is safer to keep your daily consumption within the 300-600 mg range. In case you reach 1,200 mg and still don’t notice effects, then you are probably a nonresponder, and increasing the dosage beyond 1,200 mg may be futile and potentially risky.
How to Use Adrafinil
Adrafinil powder has low solubility in water, but small amounts may completely dissolve in warm water. If you use the powder, you can mix the required dose with water or some citrus juice to mask the bitter taste of the substance.
Alternatively, capsules are more convenient to use as all you have to do is swallow the tasteless capsule with some water.
Many users reported best results when the dose is taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You can try different timings and see what works best for you. Food is optional, but keep in mind that heavy meals may reduce the absorption and effectiveness of the drug.
Continuous long-term use is not recommended because of a possibility of developing tolerance, and potential side effects.
Tolerance means that the body may get used to the drug and give a reduced or no response at all with repeated use. Weekly on/off cycles are recommended. That is, take it 3-4 times for a week and abstain for the following week.
There are also some concerns about liver toxicity associated with prolonged use and overdosing. Adrafinil – like many other drugs, alcohol and toxins – is broken down in the liver. This process causes a rise in liver enzymes needed to metabolize the drug.
Taking adrafinil daily for a long period of time may make your liver less efficient at breaking down other drugs, alcohol and toxins. But again, this also applies to alcohol and any other substance that is metabolized in the liver.
Adrafinil should be taken sparsely and only when needed. This may not be the best choice for an everyday supplement.
It is always preferable to speak with your physician before embarking on long-term use of any nootropic drug.
Possible Side Effects
Like all drugs, adrafinil has some potential side effects. Most common side effects may include:
- Sleep issues
- Decreased appetite
Some less common side effects are:
- Getting bruised easily
- Heart palpitations and/or chest pain — any such feeling must be taken seriously and discussed with your physician.
- High blood pressure — people with cardiovascular disease should be extra cautious.
Liver disorders may result from long-term use. Liver function should be monitored regularly. Patients with pre-existing liver disorders should avoid taking adrafinil without consulting with their physician.
There was also one reported case of a facial movement disorder called orofacial dyskinesia that seems to have been induced by adrafinil.
Adrafinil is a relatively safe stimulant nootropic with very few and mild side effects, but that does not mean you shouldn’t use it with caution.
A More Natural Alternative
Not everyone may be comfortable with consuming a synthetic chemical substance, especially one that has not been thoroughly studied for efficacy and safety, such as adrafinil.
While adrafinil has been proven to have short-term benefits for some users, not very much is known about its long-term adverse effects on the brain and body. Add to that the fact that adrafinil needs to be metabolized in the liver, which could stress out this vital organ and possibly lead to liver damage in the long run.
It is fine if you take adrafinil occasionally, but if you are looking for a supplement you can safely take everyday for a long period of time, then this probably isn’t the one.
One of the best natural substitutes is no other than the (in)famous caffeine! You are not likely to find any other natural stimulant and energizing supplement that is more powerful than caffeine.
The biggest drawback of caffeine, however, is the unpleasant jitters, anxiety and other side effects that come with it. But there is a simple solution to some of these, and that is to combine caffeine with l-theanine in one supplement.
L-theanine is an amino acid that is naturally found in green tea and other plants. It is what gives green tea its relaxing and soothing effects. It reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes relaxation without causing sleepiness.
L-theanine works synergistically with caffeine, i.e. it enhances its benefits while reducing the unwanted side effects. This has become a popular combo that is used to boost energy, focus and alertness.
I strongly suggest that you try caffeine with l-theanine before you try adrafinil, and if it works for you then definitely stick with it. The stimulant effect of adrafinil isn’t that much stronger than caffeine’s.
I’d recommend caffeine + l-theanine capsules by Nootropics Depot.