The 7 Best Natural Modafinil Alternatives in 2022

Benjamin Martin  - 7 December 2022

modafinil alternatives

Modafinil is a very popular ‘study drug’, also sold under the name Provigil. According to The Tab, up to 20% of UK students have used it to get better results.

It is, however, illegal to sell modafinil in the UK, and it can cause some nasty side effects. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best natural modafinil alternatives, including caffeine, panax ginseng and more.

Read on to find out about natural modafinil alternatives that are safe, legal and just as effective when used properly. We’ll also tell you about our choice for the best natural modafinil alternative that costs less and is made right here in the UK!


  • Adrafinil
  • Caffeine
  • L-Theanine
  • Panax Ginseng
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • Choline
  • The Best Modafinil Alternative
  • Conclusion

1. Adrafinil

Adrafinil is the most similar nootropic to modafinil on this list. It's also the only synthetic nootropic.

We decided to include adrafinil in this list because it is similar to modafinil in the way it works but is legal to possess in the UK without a prescription.

Like modafinil, adrafinil was developed to treat narcolepsy but has since been hijacked by students, professionals and academics looking to boost their energy and brainpower.

Although adrafinil is cheaper than modafinil, doctors started prescribing modafinil instead, as adrafinil is metabolised in the liver and can lead to serious side effects.

Adrafinil works by breaking down and forming modafinil in the body. The recommended dosage of adrafinil is 300mg to get the same effects as 100mg of modafinil.

Nootropic Speed (Adrafinil) | What Do We Know About Adrafinil?

Take our quiz below to see what’s the best modafinil alternative for you!

2. Caffeine

Caffeine is near-ubiquitous in our society.

There's a good reason why many people drink coffee: caffeine increases alertness and wakefulness levels and may be considered a cognitive enhancer by some.

However, too much caffeine can cause problems.

You're probably familiar with many issues caffeine use can cause: jitters, anxiety, increased heart rate, etc.

This is why caffeine is best used in moderation, particularly if you're trying concentrated caffeine pills.

modafinil alternatives

3. L-Theanine

L-Theanine is another natural nootropic that works very well with caffeine.

Theanine is an amino acid that may have beneficial properties for your brain and is suitable for boosting brain power while helping with mental clarity and focus.

Importantly, theanine makes you more resistant to the adverse effects of caffeine.

For this reason, a caffeine-theanine mix is the simplest and most popular nootropic, improving your wakefulness and cognitive performance without the downsides associated with a triple espresso.

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4. Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is another widely-used nootropic. It's a herbal remedy from China and has a reputation for stimulating brain function and increasing energy.

Ginseng is also believed to regulate glucose levels in the brain, which can, in turn, help cognitive performance.

Modafinil natural alternatives

5. Acetyl L-Carnitine

Acetyl L-Carnitine (found in asparagus) is a mitochondrial energy optimiser that supports energy production at the cellular level.

Furthermore, Acetyl-L-Carnitine is an antioxidant that can help mitigate oxidative damage to the brain.

Brainzyme Focus Pro is a great nootropic alternative

There is a supplement you can take that is a ‘supplement stack’ containing many of the modafinil alternatives on this list! Check out Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ to learn more. 

6. Choline

Choline is an essential chemical in your brain because it works in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Acetylcholine helps regulate mood, intelligence and cognitive processes - and it's frequently taken alongside nootropics or on its own to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain.

7. The Best Modafinil Alternative   

Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ is the best modafinil alternative on the market anywhere in the world. There are four main reasons why it is better than modafinil: it is effective, safe, legal and great value for money.

Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ has been scientifically proven to support concentration, cognition, energy, memory and mental performance. It works fast, within an hour, and only uses 100% plant-powered ingredients that are legal in the UK.

Modafinil natural alternatives

It is also great value for money, starting at 40p per capsule - much cheaper and more effective than a daily cup of coffee, other supplements or pharmaceutical study drugs, including modafinil.

Modafinil's mechanism of action (by a large degree) is to act on the brain neurotransmitter ‘dopamine’.

If you want a powerful and natural modafinil alternative that works on the same neural pathway (and therefore has similar results), you should try Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™.

Please see the table below for a direct comparison of all the features of modafinil and Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™.


Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™


  • Helps concentration, motivation, and wakefulness.
  • Works fast (within an hour).
  • Helps concentration, motivation, energy, and memory.
  • Works fast (within an hour).

Side effects

  • Headache & dry mouth.
  • Sweating.
  • Tapping/restlessness.
  • Feeling antisocial – may be impatient/irritable.
  • Anxiety if not doing what you want to do.
  • Some reports of feeling thirsty.


  • Keeps you awake for a long time. Potentially longer than you want to.
  • Difficulty switching off.
  • Helps maintain wakefulness and alertness for up to 8 hours.


  • Laser focus, which can be on the wrong task. You may end up playing computer games, reading about other topics, etc.
  • Can be detrimental to studying.
  • Helps give you the motivation and will to work, and aids in reducing distractions.
  • Assists in maintaining a natural and strong sense of focus.


  • Highly stimulating, causing agitation in some individuals.
  • Calms and focuses the mind with feeling motivated.


  • May cause tolerance, needing increased doses to have the same effect.
  • No issues with tolerance.


  • Only available by prescription.
  • May be screened for in sporting drugs tests.
  • Readily available to buy & legal for sporting use.
Brainzyme Focus Pro is a great nootropic alternative

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As you've just read, many natural modafinil alternatives are better for you in the long run.

Despite its popularity, we'd advise against using modafinil as a study drug, as it is illegal in the UK and can cause unpleasant side effects. This is why we'd recommend natural alternatives that also work on the dopamine pathway, giving you a strong focus and concentration boost.

Considering all of the above, we would not recommend using modafinil unless it is prescribed by a medical professional. The severe side effects overshadow any short-term benefits you may get from using the drug.

This is why you should look into good alternatives. For a natural modafinil alternative to be effective, it must meet the following criteria:

  • Better value for money than modafinil.
  • Equally or more effective than modafinil.
  • Fewer side effects than modafinil.
  • Legal to use over the counter.

There are plenty of great alternatives available that meet all of these requirements and cost less than modafinil. However, as a 100% plant-powered, non-pharmaceutical, UK-made nootropic, Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ has been specifically designed to help improve your focus, energy, motivation and memory. 

Therefore, our top choice for a natural modafinil alternative is Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™, and it should be yours as well!


Silva-Brenes, D.V. et al. (2022) Out-smarting smart drug modafinil through Flow Chemistry, Green Chemistry. The Royal Society of Chemistry. Available at: (Accessed: November 11, 2022). 

Modafinil for cognitive neuroenhancement in healthy non-sleep-deprived subjects: A comprehensive review, Battleday RM, Brem AK. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.07.028. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(11):1865-1881

Pro, M. (n.d.). Nootropics Benefits | Research-Based Results from the Smartest Brain-Boosters Benefits of Nootropics was retrieved from

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast

Benjamin Martin

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast who has tried every type of performance-boosting supplement under the sun. He uses his expertise to produce educational content for the Brainzyme® blogs.

Based in Edinburgh, Benjamin loves spending his free time in nature whenever he gets the chance.

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