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No Doz vs. Adderall: Choosing the Best Study Supplement

You've got a big exam coming up and will need to spend time burning the midnight oil. Some of your friends have prescriptions for Adderall, and you've seen No Doz at the store. Now you're wondering which will give you an edge, No Doz vs Adderall. Which will keep you awake and focused?

NoDoz and Adderall are popular among the college crowd because they increase cognitive performance, enhance mental cognition, and help students deal with the insane stress of university life. Those suffering from brain fog or mental tiredness seek out solutions.

We're here to break it down for you. First, we'll dive into each product individually, how each stimulant affects your body, and what precautions to take.

Then, we'll offer a natural Adderall alternative. HELO Air is a caffeine diffuser available over the counter, works fast and has fewer side effects.

Prescription Adderall

Two customers paying at the cashier in the pharmacy store.

Before we start, you should know that Adderall is only available with a prescription. While you may have contacts offering to sell you Adderall off the street, buying or selling prescription stimulants without a prescription is illegal and can place you in considerable danger.

Taking one of your roommate's friend's pills just this once is a terrible idea. Purchasing from someone who has a prescription is tempting, but again, a bad idea. You never know what you will get.

If you decide that Adderall could help with focus and concentration, please visit and chat with your healthcare practitioner. They will look at your health as a whole and advise whether Adderall is safe for you, recommend the proper dosage, evaluate potential drug interactions, and prepare you for any side effects.

With any prescription medication, you need to be aware of how it affects your body. You may love the effects on your cognitive function and mental capacity, but it may affect you in other worrisome ways.

NoDoz for an Extra Boost of Energy

A man and a woman studying at the university grounds while each holding drinks.

Taking NoDoz is the equivalent of drinking one to two cups of coffee — it contains 200 mg of caffeine, about half the daily limit for a healthy adult. NoDoz has no calories and only one active ingredient: caffeine. It's convenient enough to pop in your purse or pocket and take with a glass of water.

NoDoz has been around for decades and is used by many to get through their college studies. It can provide mental energy and focus as long as it's taken responsibly.

Depending on your tolerance to caffeine, you may feel mild boosts in energy or excessive jitters from NoDoz. Caffeine may increase cognitive ability for a short while. Long-term use may lead to caffeine dependence and, eventually, tolerance. Remember to get a good night's sleep and don't rely on any type of caffeine supplement on a long-term basis.

Aside from caffeine, NoDoz has a few inactive ingredients, including carnauba wax, benzoic acid, FD&C blue #1, cornstarch, light mineral oil, hypromellose, polysorbate 20, microcrystalline cellulose, propylene glycol, povidone, sorbitan monolaurate, simethicone emulsion, sucrose, stearic acid, and titanium dioxide. (To compare, HELO Air vapes have a fraction of the ingredients — and they’re easier to pronounce.)

Limit your intake of NoDoz to two pills per day. The recommended dose is 1/2 to 1 caplet, not more than every 4 hours. Taking more than 400 mg daily can lead to adverse effects, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, stomach ulcers, or liver disease.

Seek medical attention if you have difficulty breathing or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat. NoDoz can also cause sleep problems, tiredness, drowsiness, restlessness, or loss of appetite.

Adderall: A Prescription Pep-Up

Adderall is a prescription medicine available through your healthcare provider. Commonly used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Adderall contains amphetamine salts, which are much stronger than caffeine.

Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine stimulate the central nervous system, contributing to hyperactivity and impulse control. They both affect brain neurotransmitters, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This results in increased alpha brain waves and increased blood flow to the brain.

Often referred to as the "study drug," users say it gives them laser focus and helps them be more productive. Adderall comes in two versions. One is fast-acting and wears off after a few hours. The extended-release version lasts up to ten hours. (One of the things customers like about our HELO Air vapes is that they are faster-acting, and don’t last as long. Perfect for a short term energy boost.)

Those taking Adderall run the risk of becoming dependent on the drug. As with caffeine, those taking Adderall can develop a tolerance to its effects. This can result in a temptation to take higher doses, eventually leading to its ineffectiveness.

Adderall should not be taken lightly. Side effects can include mood swings, heart problems, increased blood pressure, and a fast heart rate. While a doctor prescribes Adderall, it's a close relative of methamphetamine or "meth," a highly addictive street drug.

NoDoz vs. Adderall vs. The Best Natural Alternatives

Laptop, pad of paper, and a cup of coffee on a wooden table.

If you don't have a prescription for Adderall or your doctor has advised you to explore another natural Adderall substitute, NoDoz is just one of many caffeine supplements on the market. Consider these alternatives to help you focus.

Caffeine Pills

NoDoz, Alert, Pep-Back, Stay Awake, and Vivarin are all in the same class of caffeine pills. The caffeine dose will help you stay alert or feel more awake.

The danger is that they are easy to take, and the potential for overdose and drug interactions exists. During exam week, you might pull all-nighters and reach for more pills than recommended or follow up with other forms of caffeine.

The average person should stick to two to four caffeine pills daily, but that might not seem like much when looking for an edge. Additionally, the effects of even the best caffeine pills vary from person to person. How caffeine affects a person depends on what they eat and drink, their general health conditions, and how much caffeine their body is used to.

The chances of adverse reactions increase if you don't know a few simple rules:

  • Caffeine recommendations of 400 mg daily include ALL caffeine sources, such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks.
  • Caffeine messes with your regular sleep schedule, which your body needs to regenerate.
  • Caffeine pills should not be taken with grapefruit juice or some cold or allergy medicines.
  • Watch for signs of caffeine addiction or overdose, including a fast heartbeat, nervousness, irritability, or trouble sleeping.

Energy Drinks

Many energy drinks on the market have a caffeine content of up to 350 mg per can. The drawback is that some of them have lots of sugar and other additives that are not very healthy for you.

The good news is that they are readily available from the grocery or convenience store, come in various strengths and flavors, and are effective.

The same precautions mentioned about caffeine apply to energy drinks as well. Keep your intake under 400 mg daily and know how it affects you before drinking too much.


Black or green teas provide potent antioxidants as well as L-theanine. These provide alertness, mental focus, and clarity without the bothersome jitters of other caffeine sources.

Like tea made from a different plant, yerba mate is a great natural alternative to coffee. Yerba mate has between 30 and 180 mg of caffeine per serving, depending on how it's brewed.

Peppermint tea is another beverage that can boost your energy. Plus, it's excellent for digestion, sinus problems, and headaches.

A Healthy Diet

Spinach salad in a wooden bowl.

If you have maxed out your recommended caffeine intake, eat foods that provide more energy. Bananas provide healthy carbs, natural sugars, potassium, and vitamin B6, all of which increase stamina.

Spinach provides 24 mg of magnesium and potassium, which can help refuel your body. Nuts have protein and fats, which keep up your long-term energy levels.

A lack of B vitamins can have you feeling run down and lethargic. Great natural sources of B vitamins are sunflower seeds, tuna, and avocado. If your diet lacks these items, add a supplement regularly.

Dehydration can cause low energy levels, and affect mood, concentration, and performance. No matter what form of caffeine supplement you choose, pair it with plenty of water.

Herbal Supplements

Several vitamin and mineral supplements will give you energy. Some you've seen as ingredients in energy drinks, but by themselves, they can increase mental performance more naturally.

Check with your doctor or a naturopath for drug interactions or precautions. Like all supplements or medications, whether prescription or not, you should research to determine if they are right for you.

  • Ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries for heart health and brain function. It may improve mental performance in healthy adults.
  • Maritime pine bark contains bioflavonoids which help with brain health and facilitate oxygen uptake to improve memory. It's also been used to fight fatigue.
  • Ginseng helps with brain functions such as memory, behavior, and mood. Studies also show that it may fight tiredness and increase energy levels. It is often found in energy drinks.


Nothing beats a good night's sleep to improve brain health, enhance mental processing speed, and beat mental exhaustion. Part of the college experience is teaching yourself how to manage workload and the stress that comes with it.

You are handed a syllabus at the beginning of the semester — use that to plan your calendar. Don't wait until the last minute to write that paper or study. Parties are fun, but you are there to learn and prepare for life.

A good night's sleep and a wholesome diet will give you energy. Use safe and effective caffeine products such as HELO Air to enhance your healthy lifestyle.

HELO Air: Caffeine in a Breath of Air

A single box of HELO Air Caffeine Diffuser in berry Pink Lemonade flavor.

Ok, we are getting off the soapbox now and back to reality. You are human and may need a boost from time to time.

More convenient than a caffeine pill, and one of the best natural Adderall alternatives is Helo Air Caffeine Diffuser. HELO Air is a fast-acting caffeine delivery system with a simple blend of natural caffeine, organic vegetable glycerin, and your choice of natural flavors.

A dose of 5-10 inhales provides a jolt of energy, alertness, and mental clarity. Within 10-15 minutes, if not sooner, you'll feel the effects of HELO Air. No more waiting for caffeine pills to be absorbed into your system.

HELO Air comes in 12 fabulous flavors, so you can have a variety to stimulate your taste buds. It's also designed to be one of the safest vapes on the market, with no nicotine, vitamin E acetate, or propylene glycol.

Finally, HELO Air is cost-effective. NoDoz runs you a little over $18 for 120 tablets. Adderall depends on your health plan. Off the street, prices may vary.

A caffeine diffuser from HELO Air runs $14.99 for 400 inhales. That's 18 to 37 cents per dose, depending on how many inhales you prefer. (Check out our list of the best places to buy caffeine vapes here.)

NoDoz vs. Adderall vs. HELO Air

NoDoz is one of several over-the-counter medications that contain a dose of caffeine. Adderall is a prescription medication available from your doctor. If you have ADHD symptoms, you might be able to convince your doctor of the need. Otherwise, you need to seek out natural Adderall substitutes.

HELO Air is an all-natural caffeine diffuser available without a prescription. It's easy to use, works fast, and doesn't leave you with a caffeine headache. It's one of the safer natural alternatives to Adderall and NoDoz. Be alert and be safe with HELO Air. You got this!

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