Who wouldn’t want a genius brain that performs at its peak?
But with the use of mind-altering substances, comes certain risks.
Fortunately, natural nootropic supplements are generally safe. They can be as effective as a medication, but without the dangerous, even life-threatening consequences of misusing a medication.
That being said, not all supplements are created equally, and there are some risks when taking even natural supplements. Also, not all nootropics are natural, and those drugs come with additional risks and side effects.
Read on to learn more.
Are Nootropic Supplements Safe?
Not to sound alarming, but just for fully informed disclosure, supplements do come with certain risks. Mitigating those risks includes being informed.
- Inconsistent manufacturing – Manufacturing and labeling of ingredients is a trust system, and independent tests of supplements have revealed inconsistencies in ingredients between products otherwise labeled identically. For this reason, it’s important to use a trustworthy supplement company.
- “Food” status, even if not food – Supplements are not FDA regulated. While a reporting system for adverse side effects exists, it is up to users, doctors, and the supplement companies themselves to self-report any adverse effects. Supplements fall under the same category as food, Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Since many supplements do contain food-based ingredients, that makes sense. But many supplements are lab-manufactured or drugs. A recent example is the “jellyfish supplement,” which, in fact, contained potentially dangerous, lab-created, inconsistent ingredients.
- Interfering with medications – While many food-based supplements would be no different than eating those foods, certain ingredients can interfere with medications. An example is St John’s wort, which has been shown to be an effective supplement to help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, St John’s wort can also interfere with anesthesia in surgery. Anyone taking medications or undergoing surgery should speak with their doctor about possible interactions with supplements one may be taking.
- Digestive upsets – Most supplements will not cause digestive issues. However, if one does experience gastric distress, such as burping or gas, after taking supplements, there are two possible solutions: take supplements with food, not on an empty stomach, and/or consider taking a digestive enzyme, in addition to any other supplements. If you experience any prolonged or severe digestive distress with a supplement, discontinue use and consider seeing a healthcare practitioner. It is possible for one to have an allergy to an ingredient in a supplement.
While there are very few risks involved with taking supplements, these are important points to consider.
It is also possible to get too much of certain vitamins, particularly fat-soluble supplements. If you take too much vitamin B, it is water-soluble and so your body just disposes of the extra. If you take too much vitamin A, however, you can get a headache, rash, or other symptoms.
If you want to take a high-quantity vitamin for a prolonged period, do your research and find out if it is possible to get too much of that supplement. A simple blood test can check your blood levels of those vitamins and determine the appropriate dosage.
Look for Safer Ingredients
The risks of supplemental nootropics are far fewer and milder than nootropic medications.
The biggest risk of nootropic drugs is that they are often taken off-label and without a proper prescription.
While all medications have side effects, taking a medication off-label and without a prescription is both illegal and very dangerous.
Remember in the section above about GRAS labeling? Some nootropic drugs in the US do not require a prescription, or they can be imported from countries where they are not regulated. However, these “supplements” are still drugs. They get through FDA regulation because they are marketed as supplements, but they still come with the risks associated with other drugs.
Yet nootropics come with so many potential benefits–better focus, improved mental function, enhanced memory, increased energy, and so much more! So what can one do, if you want nootropics benefits without nootropics risks?
It is possible to get the benefits you seek, without the potentially dangerous side effects.
Read on to discover natural alternatives to several popular nootropic drugs.
Aniracetam – a popular nootropic stimulant, despite a lack of scientific evidence for outperforming placebo. Aniracetam side effects include:
Consider instead: B vitamins and L-theanine. B vitamins fuel the adrenal glands, the energy sources of the body. They are also used by the brain to help regulate both mood and energy–so you get the energy without the irritability. L-theanine is an amino acid which stimulates energy, without dangerous side effects.
Phenylpiracetam – Though sometimes used in the UK to treat Parkinson’s disease, this drug can be obtained in the US without a prescription. Users claim it has neuroprotective benefits, but these benefits have not been proven by research. Side effects include headaches, memory loss, and diarrhea. Why take a drug for your brain that may cause memory loss?
Consider instead: Vitamin C and ashwagandha. Vitamin C is used by every cell in the body, to boost the immune system but also to protect the cellular structure. Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine (the traditional medicine of India) and has been shown in studies to reduce stress and anxiety, while increasing energy and functioning as an adaptogen, protecting the body from oxidative stress. For this reason, more recent studies have continued to research the neuroprotective benefits of ashwagandha.
Adrafinil and Armodafinil – These drugs have been promoted as “wakefulness drugs” because they are used in some countries to treat narcolepsy (daytime sleepiness). Side effects include headaches, nervousness, agitation, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
Consider instead: Vitamin D and Rhodiola Rosea. The vast majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, so taking it boosts immune function, energy, mood and so much more. Rhodiola Rosea has been studied extensively and may help boost immune function, energy, and health. So, with these supplements, you can get the energy boost you seek, without the anxiety and other side effects.
At Nootropic Technologies we are dedicated to sourcing the best, most effective ingredients for safe, natural nootropics.
It is possible to boost energy, promote wakefulness, enhance cognitive function, improve memory, and all of the other nootropic benefits you seek, without taking drugs which come with a host of undesirable side effects.
Check out our shop and get firing on all cylinders today!