Alpha Brain vs. Modafinil | A-Z Guide

Tomas Thorne

Last Updated: February 2, 2023

Alpha Brain vs Modafinil

Alpha Brain vs. Modafinil.

If you’re curious about which nootropic is best for you, then this is the guide for you. Today, we’ll compare and contrast two of the most popular smart drugs in the world.
Both of these nootropics have found mainstream acceptance these days.

Alpha Brain is a worldwide bestseller and more people are trying Modafinil every month than ever before.

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

While both these products get the job done, they’re quite different.

Modafinil is a generic pharmaceutical drug that is approved by the FDA and other regulatory agencies around the world. It is a wakefulness agent that is usually used to treat sleep disorders.

Alpha Brain, on the other hand, is a drug-free, over-the-counter product you can easily purchase without a prescription. Rather than being a single substance, it’s made up of a blend of ingredients that include several well-known natural nootropics.

So, how do you choose between them? How can you compare Alpha Brain vs. Modafinil?

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Disclaimer: The contents of are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Modafinil or related nootropics. Your access to is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

What is Alpha Brain?

Before we dive too deep into Alpha Brain alternatives, let’s talk about what this nootropic is and why it’s become so successful.

Alpha Brain is a natural nootropic developed by Onnit Labs in 2011. It’s a dietary supplement, meaning it contains no drugs, and it has become known as one of the premier over-the-counter (OTC) cognitive enhancers in the world.

Overall, Onnit Labs Alpha Brain achieved its goal.

They created one of the best OTC smart drugs around. This nootropic works extremely well [1, 2]. Not only that, but Alpha Brain also has numerous celebrity endorsers and has been scientifically proven to be one of the best brain supplements around [1].

One study found that the users of Alpha Brain experience vast improvements in measures of memory (verbal recall) and executive cognitive functioning. There were significant differences found between those using Alpha Brain and those in a placebo control group [1].

So Alpha Brain ingredients are definitely effective. Users report a ton of other great benefits, including:

  • Better Focus
  • Improved Memory and Retention
  • Enhanced Mood
  • Better Sleep Quality
  • Increased Cognition Function

So, overall, Alpha Brain works for most individuals. If you take this product, you’re going to find cognitive enhancement and improved focus.

But it’s not Modafinil. This nootropic won’t take you from slacker to genius simply by popping a magic pill. To be fair, Modafinil isn’t magic either, but we’ll get onto that later…

Still, Alpha Brain is beneficial and overall, a very safe nootropic to use. Many beginners to the world of smart drugs will love it.

Modafinil vs Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain Side Effects and Safety

So Alpha Brain is an effective nootropic … But is it safe? What are the Alpha Brain side effects?

Alpha Brain is generally considered very safe. However, there are some minor side effects that people have reported that you should be aware of [1, 2].

  • Nausea. It is common to experience some mild nausea the first time you use Alpha Brain, although this is generally very minor. We’ve never heard of anyone experiencing severe nausea.
  • Headaches. Our team has never experienced this, but we’ve heard reports of people experiencing this. Headaches seem to be caused by dehydration, so make sure to drink lots of water when you take this nootropic.
  • Jaw pain. Again, we haven’t experienced this, but we’ve heard of people that have. It could be because all the focus comes with some jaw clenching. Relax and stretch your jaw to avoid this one.
  • Body Odor. Some of our team members did experience this one. It’s definitely not a severe side effect, but it’s a little weird nonetheless. Just make sure you take some deodorant with you wherever you go to work.
  • Vivid dreams. None of our team members experienced this one, but we’ve heard reports of some people having vivid dreams. Some people also say they get nightmares. Our advice: take it in the morning so that it wears off by the time you’re going to bed.
  • Jitters and anxiety. Like coffee, Alpha Brian is a bit of a stimulant. Taking too much can lead to feeling a bit jittery.
  • Sleeplessness. Again, since it’s a stimulant, you don’t want to take this one too close to bedtime… or you may not be able to get to sleep easily. It starts winding down after 4-6 hours, so don’t take it at dinner time.

So basically, Alpha Brain is quite safe. It has very few side effects, and they occur only rarely. And, if you make sure to stay hydrated, not take too much, and not take it too late in the day, you can avoid most of them.

Overall, Alpha Brain side effects aren’t that bad.

What is Modafinil?

Is Alpha Brain better than Modafinil?


Modafinil is, in our opinion, the absolute king of nootropics.

Let us explain.

Modafinil is a type of drug known as a ‘eugeroic’ which means ‘wakefulness-promoting agent’. It was developed in France during the 1970s and 1980s and initially released under the brand name ‘Modiodal’ in 1994. Since then it has been approved by the US FDA and other regulating agencies around the world for treating a number of ailments like [7]:

  • Narcolepsy.
  • Sleep Apnea.
  • Shift work sleep disorder.

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

Soon, every hustler, student, and entrepreneur, wanted to take Modafinil to gain a competitive advantage. Why? Because Modafinil works.

But don’t take our 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 [8].

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.

Modafinil vs Alpha Brain

Modafinil Side Effects and Safety

Great, so Modafinil is effective. But what are Modafinil side effects? And is Modafinil safe?

First, it’s important to note that Modafinil is generally well-tolerated. That means that the vast majority of people that use it do not experience severe side effects. According to researchers from Oxford University [8, 9]:

Modafinil is the world’s first safe “smart drug.” … For the first time, we have an agent without serious side effects showing the benefits which we haven’t had before.

These same researchers concluded that Modafinil is safe to take with few side effects and no addictive qualities [9]. So, yes, it’s pretty safe.

However, there are some side effects that people can experience, and some of them are a little uncomfortable. So let’s go through them.

  • Sleeplessness. Modafinil was developed to be a wakefulness agent [10]… so it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the side effects is difficulty sleeping. And it lasts a long time: 12-15 hours in some cases. It’s best to take it early in the morning – unless you want to stay up all night.
  • Anxiety / Nervousness. This one isn’t consistent, but some users seem to report feeling more anxious after taking Modafinil. One study has said that this might be dose-dependent… meaning that if you take lots of it, you might feel more anxious [11] (kind of like caffeine).
  • Diarrhea. Again, this doesn’t affect everyone, but some people definitely notice it. However, in people that experience it, it tends to be mild rather than severe [12].
  • Headache and Sinus Pressure. This one is well-researched. It turns out that two of the neurotransmitters that help you stay focused are also associated with headaches in large amounts. Modafinil also gets you to focus… which means you may forget to eat and drink throughout the day. So it can result in headaches [13, 14].

What about Modafinil side effects over the long term?

Well, the longest studies have looked at Modafinil use for over nine years. That’s not a super long time, so it’s difficult to say what the effects could be over a lifetime of use.

Still, the research that does exist suggests that, at least over 9 years, it’s safe. There were no signs of dependency or addiction observed [15, 16].

So, yes, Modafinil has some side effects. You should be aware of them. But in general, most researchers consider it a very safe drug.

Alpha Brain | Benefits and Uses

What about their benefits? 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 [1]. 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.
  • Solid Beginners’ Smart Drug: Basically, Alpha Brain is an ideal introduction to the wide world of smart drugs. If you’ve never tried nootropics, we highly recommend this product.
  • Short Half-Life: Alpha Brain seems to last anywhere from 5-7+ hours when we take it. We’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 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.

Overall, Alpha Brain does a good job delivering potent nootropic benefits. It’s not the strongest product on the market, but there’s no denying it works.

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Modafinil | Benefits and Uses

Modafinil is the strongest smart drug in the world — bar none.

The stuff is potent and powerful. Here’s a deeper dive into the vast benefits of Modafinil:

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 Modafinil kicks in. Besides Adderall, which we would not recommend that you take, you’ll find Modafinil is one of the strongest cognitive enhancers out there. It’s certainly stronger than any other smart drugs we have tried and tested.
  • 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. While cramming isn’t the best way to study… if you need to do it, you may as well stay focused and alert. That being said; Modafinil is not meant to be a replacement for sleep. Your mind and body need sleep and depriving yourself can have numerous long-term consequences for your health. It’s best to take Modafinil early in the morning and be super-productive during the day.
  • 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 put you into hyperdrive mode for 12+ hours.

If you’re looking to go all-out and take the strongest nootropic around, Modafinil is what you want.

Modafinil is the “king” of nootropics for a reason…

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Downsides to Alpha Brain?

What are the downsides to Alpha Brain? Well…

  • 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: We’re huge fans of Alpha Brain, but we use it when we 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 be strong enough for you. It’s like telling a steroid user who is used to injecting testosterone to start using a milder steroid like Anavar. It’s great but it won’t do quite as much.

Overall, Alpha Brain is exceptionally safe. You’ll enjoy hours of nootropic benefits and enhanced cognition when taking this product.

It’s just not as strong as Modafinil.

Downsides to Modafinil?

What about downsides to Modafinil?

It’s definitely our favorite smart drug, but it does have some downsides. Here are a few common issues:

  • Some Side Effects: While Alpha Brain has very few side effects, Modafinil has a few. We 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 like you can Alpha Brain.
  • Sleeping Can Be Tough: Unless you take Modafinil early in the morning, you may find it tough to fall asleep at your normal bedtime. Modafinil will typically keep you up for over 12 hours after you take it.

Overall, Modafinil is for people who are serious about cognitive enhancement. It’s for individuals who have never tried other nootropics before.

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

Alpha Brain Vs. Modafinil | Verdict

So which one is better?

Well, one isn’t “better” than the other⁠—they’re just different. You need to look at your situation and decide which one is right for you.

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

Modafinil is 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 should be your smart drug of choice.

If you’ve tried other nootropics, maybe Alpha Brain or Adrafinil, and want to move up a level, then 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 newcomers to the world of cognitive enhancement; it’s one of the more accessible Modafinil alternatives. If you’ve never tried a nootropic before, then Alpha Brain is ideal.

If you’re more concerned about your sleep than getting stuff done, we’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.

Either way…

Both these nootropics do a damn good job offering cognitive enhancement!

Modafinil vs Alpha Brain


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