cognitive performance

Side effects of nootropics

The use of cognitive-enhancing drugs, or nootropics, has been a controversial topic for decades. Whether they are harmful to the brain or provide an immense boost in cognition is still being debated today. In this blog post, we will explore both sides of the argument and see if it’s possible to find some common ground on this issue.

What are nootropics?

The notion of popping a pill that improves your brainpower may appear appealing to anyone, whether you’re a college student preparing for an exam or a busy professional looking for a raise. So it’s not surprising that the use of nootropics, also known as cognitive enhancers or smart drugs, is on the rise. But do they work? And are they safe?

The term “nootropics” first referred to chemicals that met very particular standards. However, it is now used to describe any natural or synthetic substance that may improve mental abilities. In general, nootropics can be divided into three categories: dietary supplements, manufactured chemicals, and prescription medicines.

Although experts are in agreement that taking a prescription nootropic for a permitted purpose (such as Adderall or donepezil if you have Alzheimer’s disease) can be beneficial, the use of any type of cognitive enhancer in healthy people is highly contentious.

Tips nootropics

Most individuals, regardless of whether they are aware of it or not, consume a nootropic, according to D’Adamo. He’s referring to coffee when he says this natural stimulant may improve cognitive skills. It doesn’t just make you feel more awake; caffeine also enhances the number of chemicals (neurotransmitters) in your brain that aid with short-term memory and learning, according to D’Adamo.

Most smart drugs users, however, are not sticking to coffee or tea. They’re expanding their horizons by trying dietary pills. Some supplements, such as ginseng and ginkgo, have not been proven effective. Others – including CDP-choline, L-theanine, creatine monohydrate, Bacopa monnieri, huperzine A, and vinpocetine – may still hold out hope.

Racetams, including piracetam, are another class of nootropic. In the United States, these artificial chemicals are available over-the-counter, but they’re restricted medicines in other countries. According to D’Adamo, these chemicals that act on neurotransmitters like acetylcholine have been studied in people older than 60 with declining mental abilities. He doesn’t propose them for most youngsters or healthy individuals.

Prescription smart drugs are often stimulants that may be found in ADHD medications. Although these drugs help many individuals with ADHD, they are not suggested for others who simply want to enhance their attention and focus. Many college students use these medicines illicitly, although they may appear to assist in the short term. Insomnia, blurred vision, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, circulation issues, and addiction are some of the side effects.

Modafinil (Provigil) is another type of prescription nootropic. It’s FDA-approved to treat narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work disorder, but some research suggests it may help with learning and memory in healthy individuals. Modafinil seems less harmful than other stimulants when used appropriately, according to preliminary studies.

Natural nootropics

cognitive performance

Natural nootropics do not cause side effects, you can buy them at every pharmacy. Also, you do not think about using them daily.

Natural nootropics are:

  • Caffeine
  • L-Theanine
  • Creatine
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Panax Ginseng
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Nicotine

Prescription nootropics

They, in turn, can cause side effects. Let’s talk about these smart drugs:


Armodafinil, an R-isomer of racemic modafinil, is a wakefulness-promoting medication. Modafinil is a drug that has a widespread neuroexcitatory impact. The hypothesis behind its action is to boost glutamate concentration and lower gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the posterior hypothalamus. Armodafinil’s wakefulness-promoting effects have been demonstrated in patients with excessive sleepiness caused by treated obstructive sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Despite being the R-isomer of modafinil, armodafinil has a distinct pharmacokinetic profile and may lead to increased alertness throughout the day as compared to modafinil.

Adverse effects. Despite improving wakefulness, armodafinil’s adverse effects commonly include headache, nasopharyngitis, and diarrhea.


Piracetam, which is often used in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related memory loss,11 is a form of GABA that is technically derived but has little resemblance to this neurotransmitter. It binds as an allosteric modulator to the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptor in six distinct positions and may have effects on NMDA receptors and glutamate receptors. Piracetam is a type of nootropic that has been shown to enhance memory and cognitive function. It can be purchased over-the-counter and is typically used for mental acuity and memory improvement. Piracetam has also been found to play an important part in improving membrane flexibility, which contributes to enhanced neuroplasticity and neuroprotective effects.

Adverse effects. Piracetam users have reported symptoms of psychomotor agitation, dysphoria, tiredness, dizziness, memory loss, headache, and diarrhea. Many users reported having neither felt any cognitive improvement nor psychedelic effects after taking piracetam.


Cerebrolysin, a mix of low-molecular-weight peptides and amino acids from porcine brain tissue, has been found to have neuroprotective and neurotrophic qualities by alleviating sensory impairments and promoting the synaptic formation and cholinergic fiber regeneration. It is now being used to treat ischemic strokes in China and Russia. Cerebrolysin appears to be well tolerated when combined with recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator or cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil or rivastigmine.

Adverse effects. Adverse reactions to Cerebrolysin include vertigo, agitation, and feeling hot.


Ampakines are a type of medication that binds to the glutamate-based AMPA receptor, increasing its activity and possibly triggering long-term potentiation and learning, cognition, and alertness improvement.

Adverse effects. Ampakines have also been found to cause headaches, somnolence, and nausea. Despite the enhancement of long-term cortical neural potentiation with the use of ampakines, shifting cortical neural plasticity in favor of long-term potentiation could lead to impairments in spatial memory and perhaps motor function


CDP-choline is a choline derivative that has both neuroprotective and cognitive benefits. It regulates acetylcholine, dopamine, and glutamate, as well as phospholipid metabolism and membrane integrity. Citicoline has been found to improve memory in people with dementia and reduce brain damage following traumatic brain injury or stroke.

Adverse effects. Citicoline has been found to cause gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, insomnia, myalgias, restlessness, fatigue, and tremors

Are they working?

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Many nootropics, depending on the amount and frequency of usage, are likely to be effective. Several studies have shown that natural nootropics, for example, can boost brain health by using a variety of methods:

According to a 2007 study, nootropics improve blood flow to various regions of the brain by dilating or vasodilating blood vessels.

Because nootropics dilate blood vessels in the brain, they allow more glucose (energy) and oxygen to reach various regions of the brain, according to a study conducted in 2000.

According to 2012 research, nootropics can help reduce inflammation and prevent brain cell aging.

Are nootropics safe?

mental health

It hasn’t yet been decided whether supplements are okay to enhance cognitive abilities. Safety is contingent on a variety of factors, including the health and mental well-being of the user as well as whether they are taking other medicines that could interact with nootropics. It’s also worth noting that some individuals may misuse prescription nootropic medications like Adderall.

Taking nootropic drugs cognitive enhancers, on the other hand, may lead to unpredictable and hazardous effects for individuals who have mental illnesses.

For example, there have been several reports of cases of a bad reaction after taking nootropics, including:

  • Experiencing psychosis and paranoia
  • Hypomania
  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety

Exacerbation of major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder.


Do nootropics have side effects?

Yes, many nootropics have side effects. The most common are headaches, nausea, and insomnia. However, the severity of these side effects varies from person to person.

Can nootropics be bad for you?

Yes, nootropics can be bad for you if they are not taken in the right dosage or if they are mixed with other medications. Some nootropics can also cause adverse reactions like vertigo, agitation, and feeling hot.

Are there any long-term risks associated with taking nootropics?

Unknown. There is very little research on the long-term effects of taking nootropics. More research is needed to determine whether there are any long-term risks associated with taking these supplements.

Do I need a prescription to take nootropics?

No, most nootropic cognitive enhancers do not require a prescription. However, some people may misuse prescription drugs like Adderall by taking them without a prescription.

What should I do if I experience side effects after taking nootropics?

If you experience any adverse reactions after taking nootropics, stop taking them and consult a health care professional. Do not take any more nootropics until you have talked to your doctor.

Are there any people who should not take smart drugs?

Yes, there are some people who should not take nootropics. These include pregnant women, people with mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and those who are allergic to certain ingredients in the supplements. Nootropics can also interact with other medications, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting to take them.


Medical experts, in particular those dealing with mental health and drug addiction, should be aware that the use of nootropics is a little-known and developing problem. In situations of abrupt or inexplicable mental sickness exacerbations in patients who have been stable and committed to therapy, the usage of nootropics should be considered. It’s also worth noting that most nootropics aren’t detected in typical toxicology screenings. We have virtually no clinical data on how nootropics interact with psychotropic medications (or other drugs) and lead to potential physical and mental dangers. Finally, because nootropics are frequently bought from free legal sources like online retailers, it’s conceivable that the advertised nootropics were replaced by alternative psychoactive substances. Young people, in particular those who have a history of mental illness or substance abuse, may be more vulnerable to negative effects from nootropics usage, and they should be aware of the danger of nootropic misuse.



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