Not all nootropics are created equal.
Some are more effective than others; some are more legal than others.
The legality and “gray areas” of nootropics have caused the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warning letters against some nootropic manufacturers for false claims or possibly dangerous ingredients.
It is possible, though, with a little self-education and research, to use the best nootropics, safely.
Drugs vs Supplements
A supplement can be created in a lab, just like a drug.
The best supplements are naturally derived, from foods and herbs.
A drug like aniracetam can only be created in a lab. It’s in the racetam family, like piracetam. In Europe, aniracetam is classified as a drug, most often prescribed for muscle twitching. Common drug names include Ampamet, Draganon, Memodrin, Referan, and Sarpul.
In the US, aniracetam falls into a gray area. It is not listed as a drug and can be sold as a supplement. Supplements get classified as food by the FDA, so they fall under the heading Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). So while it isn’t exactly food, it gets the same categorization as food-based supplements.
Aniracetam is a stimulant. But then, so is caffeine. But not all stimulants are created equal.
Some manufacturers claim that aniracetam helps with such conditions as motion sickness, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease. Most of these claims have not been backed by scientific evidence.
In animal studies (of mice and pigeons), aniracetam made no difference in memory or learning. One study, however, did show improvement in anxiety in mice.
As with all medications, aniracetam has some potential side effects, including:
- Interactions with other medications, possibly increasing the risks and side effects of those medications
Due to these side effects, and the high number of potential medication interactions (including over-the-counter medications), it is recommended that anyone considering taking aniracetam seek professional medical advice before beginning.
Nootropic supplements, on the other hand, so long as they are derived from foods, herbs, and other natural ingredients, fit GRAS definitions. Any side effects would generally be tolerable or easily adjusted. For example, vitamin C on an empty stomach can irritate the digestive system, so taking with food prevents the problem. Too much caffeine, an ingredient in many nootropics, can cause sleep problems or irritability. So reducing other caffeine sources (like coffee), consuming caffeine-containing supplements earlier in the day, or taking nootropics without added caffeine are possible solutions to such problems.
In taking any supplement, do your own research and pay attention to side effects and dependency. Get help from a medical professional, if needed.
Also in the racetam family, piracetam was previously used as a nootropic. However, due to a high incidence of psychological side effects, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia, piracetam was banned in the US and is not permitted to be sold in the UK (though possession is not illegal, only selling it).
Independent studies of nootropics, however, have found piracetam still being sold on the internet. What’s more, many products contained vastly more piracetam than on the label or inconsistent amounts. Meaning even if a consumer knows they are taking piracetam, they might be taking far more than they think.
No real action has been taken against companies selling piracetam, so consumers themselves must be informed and avoid it.
Another stimulant, adrafinil, has also been removed from the market in the UK, but sometimes gets sold in the US as a supplement.
While adrafinil has not been banned in the US, it is banned for use in athletics by the World Anti-Doping Agency. For non-athletes, adrafinil is readily available over-the-counter (OTC).
Adrafinil is not without risks. It converts in the body to modafinil. Modafinil side effects include:
- dry mouth,
- upper respiratory tract infection, and
While, generally, the adrafinil that converts to modafinil has milder effects than straight-up modafinil, watching out for such side effects is a good idea if you take adrafinil.
It is possible to get the brain-boosting positive effects of nootropic supplements, without the potentially alarming side effects of lab-created drug nootropics.
Our proprietary blend of herbs and vitamins contain only the most effective supplements, without the harmful drugs. It’s like having a custom stack in every single pill.
If you’re looking for a natural stimulant, check out MindTech, a fast-acting cognitive-enhancing formula to get you firing on all mental cylinders.