Alpha Brain vs. Modafinil | Smart Drug Showdown

If you’re curious which nootropic is best for you, then you’re in the right place. Today, I’m going to compare and contrast two of the most popular smart drugs in the world. Yep, it’s time to take a look at Alpha Brain vs. Modafinil.

Both of these nootropics have found mainstream acceptance these days. Alpha Brain is a best seller on Amazon and more people are trying Modafinil every month than ever before.

Why? Because both these nootropics work. And honestly, they do a damn good job offering impressive cognitive enhancement and so much more.

While both these products get the job done, they’re quite different. Modafinil is a generic pharmaceutical drug, while Alpha Brain is an over-the-counter product you can easily purchase without a prescription.

So, how do you choose – Alpha Brain vs. Modafinil?

Well, that’s pretty easy. Modafinil is significantly stronger but has a couple more side effects. Alpha Brain is over-the-counter and almost free of side effects.

But there’s a little more to it than that. So, let’s dive into this smart drug showdown and see which nootropic is right for you.


P.S: Truly, this should come as no surprise. But I’m a blogger. I’m no a doctor or a lawyer, folks. Just a dude with a laptop who tests a lot of nootropics. As such, this is not medical or legal advice whatsoever. Always consult a medical professional before you consume any nootropic, like Modafinil or Alpha Brain. Oh, and read my disclaimer, too. 


What is Alpha Brain?

The premier over-the-counter nootropic on the market, Alpha Brain quickly rose to popularity after being released in 2011.

Made by Onnit Labs, the smart drug is popular in many circles due to ringing endorsements from Joe Rogan and other celebrities.

But make no mistake about it, the real reason this nootropic has found popularity is because it works.

Alpha Brain offers vast benefits like:

  • Increase memory and retention
  • Enhanced focus
  • Improved productivity 
  • …And more!

Not only that, but Alpha Brain has been scientifically proven to work (Source).

Suffice to say, this smart drug is ideal for people new to nootropics and looking for something a little stronger than a cup of coffee. Alpha Brain is ideal when you want to enhance your mind.

What is Modafinil?

On the other hand, Modafinil is a pharmaceutical drug. Developed in the late 1980s in France by the name of Provigil, this nootropic was originally created to be a wakefulness agent.

Initially, doctors prescribed Modafinil for ailments like (Source):

  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep Apnea

Yet it didn’t take long for CEOs and grad students to find out about Modafinil’s off-the-label benefits.

Soon, every hustler and they mama were taking Modafinil to gain a competitive advantage. Why? Because Modafinil works.

But don’t take my word for it. Just look at what one published study from the University of Oxford found:

When more complex assessments are used, modafinil appears to consistently engender enhancement of attention, executive functions, and learning (Source).

Not too shabby of a study from one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

If you want 12+ hours of cognitive enhancement and laser-like focus, then Modafinil may be the best thing to take. Point. Blank. Period.

Alpha Brain Vs. Modafinil

Now, there’s a little more it than that. Alpha Brain vs. Modafinil may seem pretty simple on paper, but once you dive deeper – we start to see significant differences between the two smart drugs.

So, let’s get into this smart drug showdown and differentiate which of these cognitive enhancers is better for your needs:

~ Alpha Brain Benefits ~

  • Proven Cognitive Benefits: Alpha Brain has actually been proven to work in multiple scientific studies (Source). What does “work” mean? Well, it means Alpha Brain will enhance cognition and help your mind function better overall.
  • Easy to Buy: You can buy Alpha Brain on Amazon and at certain Whole Foods. It’s pretty easy to get your hands on this stuff these days.
  • Almost Zero Side Effects: While some experience minor side effects with Alpha Brain, most find almost zero issues when taking the smart drug.
  • Solid Beginners’ Smart Drug: Basically, Alpha Brain is an ideal introduction to the wide world of smart drugs. If you’ve never tried nootropics, I couldn’t recommend this product enough.
  • Short Half-Life: Alpha Brain seems to last anywhere from 5-7+ hours when I take it. I’d say the strongest effects are experienced for 4-5 hours. Compared to Modafinil, that’s a pretty short half-life.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: While Modafinil can make it nearly impossible to sleep if not timed and dosed properly, Alpha Brain actually improves sleep quality for many users and some experience vivid dreams, too.
  • Ideal For Everyday Use: If you wanted to take a smart drug Monday through Friday, then Alpha Brain is ideal. The nootropic offers minimal side effects and you shouldn’t need to cycle it too much. Maybe a month on, a week off.

~ Modafinil Benefits~ 

  • World’s Most Popular Smart Drug: There’s a reason Modafinil is so damn popular. It’s a beast and truly works. You will feel like you have a superpower when the Modafinil kicks in. Unless you’ve taken Adderall, you’ll find Modafinil is a stronger cognitive enhancer than pretty much anything else.
  • 12+ Hours of Focus: If you want to work 12-14+ hours straight, then Modafinil is the smart drug for you. The half-life of Modafinil is 12+ hours, with many users still kicking after 15 straight hours of productivity.
  • Ideal For All-Nighters: Modafinil was originally developed as a wakefulness agent. This means it was created to keep you awake. If you take Modafinil in the evening, you will be wide awake all night long.
  • Stronger Than Alpha Brain: Overall, Modafinil is just far more powerful than Alpha Brain. Where Alpha Brain gives you an extra kick for 5-7+ hours, Modafinil will have you in superdrive for 12+ hours.

~ Downsides to Alpha Brain ~

  • Not Ideal For All-Nighters: Alpha Brain will not keep you up all night. It just won’t. If you need to pull an all-nighter, this isn’t the nootropic for you.
  • Great, But Not Powerful: I’m a big fan of Alpha Brain, but I use it when I need a little boost. The stuff isn’t akin to Modafinil, which is more like rocket fuel for the brain.
  • Not For Smart Drug Veterans: If you’ve tried other smart drugs, like Modafinil, then Alpha Brain may not seem strong enough for you. It’s like telling a steroid user to try this new pre-workout. It won’t do much.

~ Downsides to Modafinil ~

  • Some Side Effects: While Alpha Brain has very few side effects, Modafinil has a few. I find Modafinil side effects to be fairly mild, but there’s no denying this smart drug has more of them than Alpha Brain.
  • Harder to Get Your Hands On: You either need a prescription from a doctor to buy Modafinil at a pharmacy or you have to order it from an online vendor. You cannot buy Modafinil on Amazon or at Whole Foods.

P.S: Learn more about the legalities of Modafinil here.

  • Sleeping Can Be Tough: Unless you take Modafinil early in the morning, you may find it tough to fall asleep at your normal time. Modafinil will typically keep you up around 14-15+ hours after you take it.

Alpha Brain Vs. Modafinil | In Comparison

From a comparison standpoint, it basically boils down to this…

Modafinil much stronger than Alpha Brain. If you need to work 12+ hours in a single day and aren’t worried about a few minor side effects, then Modafinil is your smart drug of choice.

If you’ve tried other nootropics, maybe Alpha Brain or Adrafinil, then moving up a level to Modafinil is a good idea.

Modafinil is the king of smart drugs because it’s far more powerful than anything not named Adderall. Modafinil just works!

Alpha Brain is ideal for beginners to cognitive enhancement. If you’ve never tried a nootropic before, then Alpha Brain is a perfect start.

If you’re more concerned about your sleep than getting stuff done, I’d stick with Alpha Brain. Modafinil can mess up your sleep schedule, whereas Alpha Brain can improve your sleep.

Plus, it’s super easy to get your hands on Alpha Brain by ordering it on Amazon. So, that’s a big benefit for many people.

How to Cycle Nootropics

Personally, I’ve used Alpha Brain and Modafinil. But I prefer to cycle my nootropics.

So I’ll take Modafinil 1-2 days a week. Then I’ll take Alpha Brain 1-2 days a week.

I prefer taking Modafinil on days I don’t go to the gym and Alpha Brain on days I do, as I’ve found Alpha Brain doesn’t hinder my gains life other smart drugs have.

If you’re cycling smart drugs, you’ll have to figure out what works best for you. It’s an experiment, but I do recommend having both these nootropics in the rotation.


Alpha Brain Vs. Modafinil | Overall

Overall, it’s hard to say what’s better – Alpha Brain or Modafinil. For some people, they need the superpowers that come with Modafinil. Others are just looking for a little brain boost and Alpha brain works better.

Find what works for you. Just be yourself. Make it do what it do, baby. Oh, and click here to buy Alpha Brain or…

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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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