Are Nootropics Safe?

It is not uncommon to see people throwing around terms like dangerous, or harmful when talking about nootropics. Often it just people with a lack of knowledge on nootropics creating panic amongst the users. However, some of the most common questions raised when talking about the subject usually revolve around whether nootropics are dangerous? Are they safe to consume?

So let’s dive deeper into the topic and find out if nootropics are safe or not.

What are nootropics?


Nootropics can be anything that boosts your brain performance. It can be a naturally occurring substance like Ginkgo biloba, American Ginseng, Bacopa monnieri, or synthesized from a lab like Modafinil, Piracetam. They are generally referred to as smart drugs.

Nootropic supplements work by enhancing the brain’s cognitive functions like memory, learning, focus, mood, energy. They help modulate neurotransmitters’ levels, which are responsible for cognitive functions and enhance overall brain development. Neurotransmitters are responsible for carrying messages from one neuron to another. They are often referred to as chemical messengers.

How safe are nootropics?


The answer is – it depends! 

No, nootropics are not safe if taken in high dosages without some expert advice. Also, nootropics don’t work wonders overnight either. 

Like many prescribed medications(Eg., antibiotics), which have to be used for a course of time to reap their benefits, Nootropics has to be used for a while before you actually see their potential. According to Neurolifts expert reviewers, a nootropic supplement has to be approximately used for 3-4 weeks to realize its potential fully. 

The safety of nootropics also depends on several factors such as dosage, nootropic combinations, and quality of nootropics. Substandard nootropic products can cause potential harm.

Dosage:

The recommended dosage of a nootropic supplement depends on various factors such as gender, age, medical history. For example, a senior citizen can’t take the dosage recommended for individuals aged 30 and claim nootropic supplements don’t work or have adverse side effects.

Nootropic Combinations:

Nootropics are often combined to make them more effective and sometimes negate certain nootropics’ side effects when taken on their own. PAO stack(piracetam, aniracetam, and oxiracetam) is an excellent example of combining nootropics. In this combination, each compound covers the deficiency of others.

However, one has to be careful before creating a nootropics stack. Certain supplements, when combined, interact to cause adverse side effects that could cause harm.

Quality of Nootropics:

Another essential factor that has to be considered before choosing a nootropic supplement is the quality of ingredients used. Nootropics with higher quality ingredients will almost have no side effects and are not harmful.

Synthesized nootropics should have some form of trademark, or nootropic brands should be backed by human clinical research and good reviews. Nootropic herbs should be safer to use because they contain a single active ingredient.

Studies that prove Nootropics are safe


Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is responsible for mood and happiness. A herb called Bacopa Monnieri(nootropic), when taken, modulates the levels of serotonin, thus improving mood and feeling of wellness. 

According to the study, Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri, this herb, which is a nootropic, has anti-oxidant abilities that provide neuroprotection, increase cerebral blood flow, and neurotransmitter modulation. 

Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease are common among older adults. According to Alzheimer’s foundation, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Nootropics are known to improve memory and learning, consequently helping Alzheimer’s patients to deal with the disease. According to a study called The Effects of Anti-Dementia and Nootropic Treatments on the Mortality of Patients with Dementia, combination treatment with anti-dementia and nootropics may prolong the life of patients with dementia.

We have also covered various other scientific researches that have proved the efficacy of different nootropics in this article. (Link to article nootropics science)

Do nootropics have side effects?


Nootropics have side effects when inferior nootropic supplements are taken. As mentioned above, it is advised to use nootropic brands that are backed by,

 

Also, some nootropic stacks produce side effects when combined. One has to be careful before using premade nootropic stacks or DIY nootropic stacks.

Conclusion


Anything taken in excess quantity harms the human body and brain, be it food or natural supplements. The same is the case with nootropics; when taken moderately, nootropics do wonders to your brain and body, like improving focus, energizing, enhancing mood and memory. The key to nootropic supplements is to use them moderately with expert advice and research.

With the current world around us, we must be smart, productive, and successful in life. Whether you are a working professional, student, stay-at-home mom, or senior citizen, a busy schedule or aging affects the brain’s normal functioning. The human brain is capable of healing itself, provided you supply it with the right supplements. Nootropics do this job for you as a cognitive enhancer.

Best Nootropics to Start With

Admittedly navigating the world of nootropics may be somewhat complex as a beginner. So many different products are being advertised with so many claimed benefits. This sometimes discourages those who have a new interest in nootropics and their wonderful benefits. 

Well, rest easy as we break down nootropics supplements into easy categories. You will also receive pointers on which nootropics are the best to start within each category and a few nootropic stack combinations that are bound to give you that boost you need.

Types of Nootropics


Herbs

What a lot of people don’t realize is that nootropics are not a recent invention. For over a millennia, cultures all over the world had already discovered the numerous mental and physical benefits of consuming certain herbs regularly.

Modern science has now explained how these nootropic herbs produce these beneficial effects on our brains. From memory-boosting to increased focus and even mood stabilization, the applications of nootropic herbs are almost endless.

Here are a few popular nootropic herbs you should try out:

Bacopa monnieri: Studies show that this herb has significant anxiolytic properties, boosts cognitive function, and may even reduce blood pressure.

Ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo is a popular herb that has been found useful as an anxiolytic, antidepressant, cognitive enhancer, and powerful antioxidant.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom: This herb is popular among beginners because of its tolerability. It has been linked with increased levels of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which aid in beaver cell regeneration and slow down degeneration due to aging.

Adaptogens

Some people classify adaptive as herbs, but they occupy a specific niche when it comes to herb lore. Adaptogens help your body and mind resist different types of natural and artificial stressors.

These stressors may come from chemical, physical, or even biological processes. They have been an integral part of various healing practices across cultures all over the world. Some have also been found to be powerful nootropics, which have significant cognitive benefits when utilized properly.

Here are a few popular nootropic adaptogens: 

Panax ginseng: This herb has shown some positive results in managing Alzheimer’s disease, memory improvement, and mood stabilization.

Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola is an adaptogen used for memory enhancement, stress-relief, and improvement of cognitive function.

Ashwagandha: This plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. As a nootropic, it has benefits in stress-relief, anxiolytic activity, memory aid, and neuroprotection.

Synthetic

Not all nootropics occur naturally. Some were discovered in laboratories or created for another function but were later discovered to have nootropic properties.

The effects of synthetic nootropics are usually better studied than natural nootropics and are more popular. Thus they are widely used as study aids or cognitive enhancers in demanding occupations.

Here are some popular examples:

Racetams: This class includes Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and Pramiracetam, all known to be memory enhancers and aid in concentration.

Modafinil: Modafinil was originally developed to treat a sleeping disorder called narcolepsy but was found to be useful as a stimulant, enhancing focus and executive functions. 

Methylphenidate: This is the active component of Ritalin and is a popular focus enhancer, stimulant, and mood stabilizer. It is also used to treat ADHD.

Antioxidants

Free radicals (or oxidants)  are naturally produced by various biochemical processes that occur naturally in the body. The body has certain safeguard mechanisms to deal with them, but they can lead to significant damage when they overcome these mechanisms.

Some nootropics are famous for their strong antioxidant properties and help mop up these excess free radicals from the body. This prevents premature cell aging, reduces inflammation, and improves mental function over time.

Here are some popular nootropic antioxidants:

Selenium: This mineral is an important part of about 25 proteins within the body, functioning as important antioxidants.

L-theanine: This is a glutamate analog that crosses into the brain and blocks certain glutamate receptors, reducing the negative effects of excessive glutamate action. It is also a good antioxidant.

N-acetyl cysteine: N-acetyl cysteine helps replenish glutathione, an essential antioxidant in the liver. It has also been popularly used to treat OCD and some forms of depression.

Vitamins

Most people fail to realize just how important vitamins are in maintaining homeostasis and carrying out vital biological processes. The chances of getting a vitamin deficiency are low, but most people still consume suboptimal levels of certain key vitamins.

Here are some important vitamin vitamins for brain function:

Vitamin B-Complex: These are a group of 8 vitamins that perform vital roles in the body and brain. Vitamins B12, B9, and B6 are essential for optimal brain function.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These essential fatty acids are found abundantly in fish oil and aid in memory, brain function, reaction time, and even slow down neuron degeneration with age.

Vitamin D: Vitamin is closely linked to optimal brain function, which is why getting some sunshine every day is great for your mental health. 

Aside from these popular nootropics, other nootropic drugs are worth mentioning for beginners to start with. Some of them include:

Amino Acids like N-acetyl L-tyrosine, taurine, acetylcholine-L-carnitine, and L-tryptophan.

Choline Sources such as citicoline, choline, and alpha-GPC choline.

Phospholipids like phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylcholine, etc.

 

Nootropic Recommendations for Newbies


 

Conclusion


The world of nootropic supplements is confusing at first, but these supplements are safe and very tolerable for beginners. Start simple with one or two trusted combinations, and then adjust your formula until you find the optimal blend for you.

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