Nootropics, or “smart drugs”, consist of various dietary supplements that promise to improve one’s brain cognitive function. This includes creativity, memory, thinking, decision-making, and motivation. They’re also used to enhance levels of naturally occurring hormones and enzymes in the body like NAD. You can find more info on NAD here. Nowadays, many pharmaceutical companies and researchers are working to develop these supplements. Some of these popular supplements consist of a combination of phytochemicals and antioxidants, primarily derived from plants that have been linked to improved brain function.
However, there are always two sides to every coin. Side effects always accompany the benefits. Sure, effortlessly taking pills or tablets to improve your brainpower is enticing. But there are still gaps in the research regarding nootropics—including their long-term effects on the body. If you’re reluctant, opt for nootropics with natural ingredients. Before delving into nootropics, you must know the benefits and side effects.
- It Has Neuroprotective Effects
Besides boosting mental capacity, nootropics may also protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. Rhodiola Rosea, also known as roseroot, helps regulate neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, which causes the consumer to have a positive mood. According to research, it contains antidepressant properties but helps alleviate the cell response to stress.
- It Can Treat A Medical Condition
Prescription nootropics are usually used to treat people with medical conditions like narcolepsy or sleepiness and improve focus and attention in people with ADHD.
People with sleep disorders or obstructive sleep apnea are prescribed by their doctors to take Modafinil. This type of drug boosts one’s wakefulness and alertness.
ADHD medications include Methylphenidate, Lisdexamphetamine, and Dexamfetamine. These drugs were initially used to treat symptoms like chronic fatigue and psychosis linked with depression. Now, it’s used to treat impulsiveness, inattentiveness, and restlessness in ADHD patients.
- It Boosts Mental and Physical Performance
Creatine is a nootropic popular among athletes because it may boost exercise or training performance. Creatine is an amino acid essential for building protein. It may also have some effect on mental capacity as it appears to help enhance short-term memory and reasoning, according to 2018 research.
Aside from prescription nootropics, there are also over-the-counter nootropics, either natural or synthetic, used as a supplement that improves mental performance. For example, the weight loss effect of mushrooms can be an added bonus in addition to the fiber, protein, and antioxidant properties it provides.
Another example is caffeine, mainly consumed in beverage forms like coffee or tea. It promotes the alertness and wakefulness of the consumer.
Risks and Side Effects
- It Can Cause Addiction
Whether it’s prescribed or over-the-counter, excessive use of nootropics may lead to addiction. Caffeine, for example, causes consumers to become physically dependent on it because they may experience headaches or brain fog if they skip their morning coffee dose. Even if it has a low potential for abuse, it must be consumed in moderation. Most nootropics that are sourced from natural ingredients are relatively safer to consume. Side effects of alpha brain are minimal so overdosing is not a concern.
Amphetamines, or drugs used to treat ADHD, are stimulant drugs. They make your brain chemical travel faster between your brain and body. As a result, the person is more alert and physically active. Some people use these drugs to keep them awake on the job or as a study aid. It can also release dopamine which causes euphoria to the user.
- It Can Induce Memory Loss
One of the adverse side effects that a nootropic can cause is memory loss. Piracetam, a medication for the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, affects the brain by changing the neuroplasticity of the brain’s ability to fix itself. But the long-term effects of this drug are being studied, and so far, many users have reported they have neither felt any cognitive improvements nor psychedelic effects. Still, don’t consume this drug without your doctor’s prescription.
- It Causes Insomnia
Certain nootropics that are wakefulness-promoting agents or prescribed medication for treating narcolepsy can induce insomnia. It works by increasing dopamine, norepinephrine, and histamine levels in the brain. Caffeine is also associated with insomnia as it blocks adenosine receptors, promoting wakefulness, especially if it’s taken late in the day.
Nootropics consisting of various types of supplements and prescribed medications are known to possibly boost one’s cognitive function. While some of these drugs can improve brain function, it’s only exclusive to people with certain medical conditions. There’s still a lack of research on the effects of these drugs on people without disorders. You might think it’s helping you improve your performance, but it might just be a placebo effect.
Before partaking in nootropics, you must weigh the advantages and disadvantages and decide what’s best for you. You should also consult a doctor first to ensure the medicine you’re consuming is safe for you.