Humans have long been trying to find ways to boost brainpower, make ourselves more efficient, and generally push the limits of both the human brain and body. While there is no super serum or a special pill, as in the movie “Limitless”, there is actually a growing community of people who do take certain supplements to improve cognition and brain function.
Nootropics are a group of herbs, nutritional supplements and synthetic drugs that are taken to improve cognitive performance. These can affect mental state in a variety of ways; some increase wakefulness and alertness, others fight anxiety and stress, and some nootropics are taken to enhance memory, thinking and creativity.
Most people are likely familiar with common mainstream nootropics like caffeine and nicotine, but the term also encompasses many popular dietary supplements like ginseng and ginkgo biloba, as well as some prescription drugs like Adderall.
There are also several unscheduled drugs that are being increasingly used off-label as cognitive boosters. Some of the most notable examples are: piracetam, aniracetam, phenylpiracetam, noopept and adrafinil.
In this fast-paced world, more and more people are turning to psychostimulant nootropics, like adrafinil, to offer them a temporary boost or keep them awake when pulling an all-nighter. Let’s take a deeper look at this substance…
What is Adrafinil?
Adrafinil is a synthetic chemical compound that was developed in France by a pharmaceutical company called Lafon. It is a psychostimulant substance that promotes wakefulness and alertness. It was initially used as a treatment for narcolepsy; a condition where one is unable to regulate sleep-wake cycles and is characterized by tendency to suddenly fall asleep.
Although adrafinil is no longer used as a prescription treatment (a related compound, modafinil, has replaced it), it is now primarily used as an OTC supplement to increase wakefulness and focus, especially for people who don’t get enough sleep or those staying awake for prolonged hours.
Why Take Adrafinil?
The primary appeal in taking adrafinil supplements lies in its ability to keep one awake, boost focus, and even improve memory and other cognitive functions in some users. These benefits are all rooted in how adrafinil reduces fatigue and sleepiness. Lack of sleep can cause a total brain fog, limiting your ability to focus on tasks and remember important information.
For people not getting adequate sleep, adrafinil may provide a remarkable boost in cognitive performance and improve efficiency at work. No wonder that night shift workers in particular are stacking adrafinil in addition to other similar nootropic supplements.
Adrafinil has also been associated with an improvement in mood, and although this effect has not been definitively proven, some users reported experiencing an uplift in mood and motivation.
Unlike caffeine and other stimulants, adrafinil normally has no associated crash. Furthermore, unlike amphetamine-based drugs, such as Adderall and Ritalin, adrafinil has very few and usually unnoticeable negative side effects, and does not develop dependence or addiction.
How Does Adrafinil Work?
Adrafinil’s pharmacological effects are attributed to its main metabolite; a compound called modafinil, which in its own right is sold as a prescription treatment. Several scientific studies investigated the mechanism of action of both adrafinil and modafinil, but failed to come to a conclusive answer.
It is thought that the drug’s effects are related to stimulation of histamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Norepinephrine and histamine in particular are chemicals naturally triggered in the body to increase alertness in times of danger.
How Safe is Adrafinil?
When used in moderation and as directed by either a doctor or the manufacturer, adrafinil is a generally safe supplement. Some users may experience minor side effects that include: nausea, headache, excitement, irritability, anxiety and/or insomnia. These side effects are more likely to be noticed in case of an overdose.
It is important to stick to the recommended dosage and avoid consuming adrafinil in very high doses. It should also not be taken as a daily supplement. Because adrafinil is broken down in the liver, high or constant doses can overtax the liver’s ability to break down other toxins, such as alcohol.
Both adrafinil and modafinil have been shown to reduce the efficacy of hormonal birth control, and so women on these medications should be careful if they choose to take adrafinil.
All in all, adrafinil is well tolerated and is not associated with any worrying side effects if used properly. People who are already taking other stimulants or psychoactive drugs should talk to their doctor before taking adrafinil. The same goes for people who suffer from mental disorders, liver disease, heart problems or high blood pressure.
Where to Buy Adrafinil?
Although adrafinil can be purchased without a prescription, you probably won’t find it at most dietary supplement stores, whether locally or online. Popular online retailers like GNC and Amazon don’t carry nootropic drugs like adrafinil and racetams because they do not really fall under any category of dietary supplements.
Consumers can buy adrafinil from many specialty online stores that sell nootropics. Check out this Reddit guide to find some reliable nootropics suppliers and also take a look at this list of reliable adrafinil vendors.
An important thing to keep in mind when ordering adrafinil and other nootropics from the internet is to make sure that your country laws allow you to import such products from abroad. Some countries have strict laws, certain requirements or limits on imported supplements and drugs, so make sure you comply with those if any applies to you.
Another thing you should pay attention to is whether the product you are buying has been tested for purity or not. Most reputable vendors provide a certificate of analysis (COA) for each product, which should show the results of the lab test and confirm the purity of the product.