Comprehensive Guide to Nootropics

Answers to All Your Nootropics Questions

You must have heard about Nootropics and are curious about this brain supplement. What is it? What does it do? Is it safe? Is it legal? Are there side effects? Do they work? Do you need it? And much more. We have anticipated all the questions you might have about Nootropics and we are answering them to the best of our knowledge.

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are supplements for the brain. They are designed to help healthy individuals get smarter by boosting their memory, improving their focus, increasing their creativity and intelligence. It even helps with motivation so you can stay on track to finish your task.

What are they Made of?

Natural nootropic supplements are made of one or more natural ingredients. Some of these are ginkgo biloba, panax ginseng or Asian ginseng, bacopa monnieri, rhodiola rosea and caffeine, the most popular nootropic substance in the world.

How does it work?

Nootropics work across the multiple pathways of the brain. They optimize the brain’s different structures and functions by:

  • Supporting brain energy – Nootropics bring oxygen to the brain. They also help enhance the metabolic activity of the mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of the cell, by bringing fatty acids to the brain to fuel to mitochondria.
  • Optimizing neurotransmitters – Neurotransmitters are “information” carriers. Neurons receive information and relay this information to the brain for processing. The type of information transmitted are those pertaining to memory, learning, mood, pleasure, relaxation, satisfaction, attention, focus, energy and calmness. Nootropics help supply the needed brain chemicals, enhancing the receptor’s sensitivity and by protecting against breakdown.
  • Supporting cerebral circulation – Nootropics help relax the blood vessels, protect against damage and prevent blood cells from becoming sticky or prone to clumping.
  • Helping brainwaves – Nootropics can help raise certain brain waves. Alpha brain waves, for instance, help achieve an alert yet relaxed state which is necessary for productivity and creativity.
  • Support neuroprotection – Nootropics help fight the formation of irregular protein clusters. It also clears the brain of neurotoxins and guard against the adverse effects of stress.

What is it for?

People take nootropics to improve their memory, increase mental awareness, help them with concentration and boost wakefulness. Typical users are college students who need to stay late studying for exams, professionals who work long hours hoping to get a promotion and adults who are wary of dementia.

What Will I Feel When I Take Nootropics?

Every nootropic product gives a different feeling based on the ingredients. Some products contain just one ingredient that targets just one cognitive function. Another product may have two or more ingredients that target other functions. You may even stack ingredients based on your needs. And if you’d like, you can even get a product that combines all the natural ingredients for a whole-brain enhancement.

Are Nootropics Effective?

A lot of nootropics are effective. To be sure that what you’re getting will be effective, read the product label well. Check the ingredients, their quality, and how much of each ingredient there is in the product. For as long as the ingredients are of good quality and they are properly dosed, your nootropic is bound to be effective.

Are there Side Effects?

A true nootropic has no side effect, per definition of its founder, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea. But things happen from the time the herb is planted to the time it becomes a supplement. Prior to taking a nootropic, check its history of human use. Has it undergone clinical trials on humans? What is its record on tolerability?

Next, check the ingredients. There are nootropics that don’t go well together. There are inferior manufacturers who may mix ingredients together without adequate research. There are also do-it-yourselfers who create their own stacks not knowing what they’re doing. This may result in ineffective and unsafe nootropics. Another consideration is quality of ingredients. Are the herbs grown in organic conditions?

To avoid side effects, get a product that uses premium ingredients and that uses Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Always look for the GMP seal when buying.

A good nootropic that is taken properly should not cause any side effect. Should they do, the side effects may include:

  • Lack of mental energy, clarity and focus, or what we refer to as “brain fog”
  • Headache
  • Digestive issues
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Strange and/or Lucid dreams

Are they Psychoactive?

Nootropics are not psychoactive drugs. They will not cause hallucination, paranoia, and any other such symptoms.

What’s the Right Way to Take Nootropics?

It takes a few minutes up to a few hours for nootropics to kick in. Take them at least an hour prior to the event/situation you need them to work for.

Avoid using nootropics excessively. Taking too much at once may overwhelm the brain and body. Always stick to the “serving size” suggestion that is indicated in the product label. You may also “cycle” your nootropic supplement. Some users go on a 4 week on, 1week off cycle. Or 5 days on-2 days off. See what works best for you.

Are Nootropics Addictive?

True nootropics are not addictive. They’re not supposed to make you dependent. Choose nootropics that are made of quality, all-natural and stimulant-free ingredients. Also, nootropics are not stimulants. Some natural nootropics may imitate the positive effects of stimulants without the negative side effects. Be careful though because some manufacturers sell products that contain stimulants that can cause adverse side effects.

Aren’t they “drugs”?

Sadly, there are marketers who sell synthetically-made pills or smart drugs that contain stimulants as nootropics. These pills require prescription, otherwise they are illegal to use. Be careful in choosing the product you will buy. As always, do your research to be on the safe side.

Are Mushrooms Nootropics?

Some mushrooms are nootropics, but not the psychedelic ones that can cause hallucination. Lion’s Mane mushroom is one of the most popular nootropics. 

Are all Nootropics the same?

Not all nootropics are the same. There are some that use low-quality ingredients and therefore less effective. Always read the product label and do your research before buying. Check the reputation of the manufacturer and read product reviews.

Is it Safe for Everybody?

Generally, nootropics are safe for all healthy adults. Those who are on medication for other illnesses must consult their doctor first. The same applies to those who have mental health problems including substance abuse.

When are Nootropics Bad for You?

Nootropics can be bad for you is you misuse it. Use them as directed and always adhere by the recommended “serving” size. Take clean, natural nootropics that are dosed properly to be on the safe side.

Are Nootropics Legal?

When you choose the product you’re buying, read each label carefully and do your research. Make sure that the manufacturer is reputable. Check if there is no hidden or misnamed ingredient/s. If you are buying online, avoid black markets.

Nootropics are generally legal, particularly natural nootropics. Rules may differ though depending on where you are. For instance, in Australia and other European nations, synthetic nootropics like racetam require a prescription. In the US, nootropics are considered as dietary supplements, meaning, they’re considered safe until proven otherwise.

Are they banned by the NCAA?

The NCAA has banned stimulants that are synthetic smart pills that scrupulous marketers are selling as nootropics. They are always careful of dietary supplements because they may omit putting on their labels certain banned ingredients. If you’re an athlete, choose nootropics that are labelled as free of WDA (World Doping Association) banned substances.

Are Nootropics All-Natural?

Nootropics are supposed to be all-natural, but there are manufacturers who put additives, synthetics and other ingredients. These are artificial colors, artificial preservatives, gluten, soy and carrageenan. Artificial colors may have neurotoxic properties. Artificial preservatives may be harmful to the gut, Gluten causes digestive issues to people who are gluten intolerant. Soy may have hormone-related side effects. And, carrageenan may cause colon inflammation.

Is it just Hype?

A lot of people may be talking about nootropics, but its popularity can be backed by facts. Nootropics are real and their effects can be verified. There are scientific researches that can vouch for the effectiveness of nootropics that are seconded by product reviews. Just remember that nootropics are not a magic pill that can suddenly turn you into a genius. It helps optimize brain functions, but they will not give you superpowers.

Are Nootropics Expensive?

Price ranges between $35 and $75 for a one-month supply. Some are more expensive because they are of better quality. You can always watch out for deals where you can get quality nootropics at a special price.

Is it Worth the Price?

You will be wasting your money if you buy an inferior product. If you choose one that is of high-quality albeit pricey, it’s worth every dollar spent.

Can Nootropics Cause Depression?

Nootropics do not cause depression; they even help improve cognition when one is depressed. Note though that they do not treat depression, so do not take them alongside any depression medication unless advised by your doctor.

What about Anxiety?

Nootropics do not cause anxiety, and just like with depression, they can help improve cognition when one is anxious.

What about ADHD?

L-Theanine, a natural nootropic, helps with concentration. It follows then that it can help with ADHD. Again, like with other medical conditions, check with a doctor first if s/he will recommend nootropics.

What about Dementia?

There are nootropics that can help optimize memory. There are even studies that show improved cognition among dementia patients. It doesn’t follow though that nootropics can cure dementia. Again, if you are taking medications, ask your doctor first if you’re allowed to take nootropics

Are Nootropics Cognitive Enhancers?

Nootropics are meant to improve cognitive processes like memory, focus, mood balance and motivation. This is particularly helpful to aging men and women when it comes to focusing on a task, learning new skills, remembering names and other information and controlling their reactions.

Are Nootropics Energy Boosters?

Depending on the ingredients, quality and dosage, nootropics can give you energy. Unlike caffeine and stimulants though, the energy you get from nootropics is the alert yet relaxed type. It will not make you jittery the way too much caffeine can make you feel.

Can It Help With Weight Loss?

No, nootropics are not a weight-loss supplement. They can help in a way by helping you focus and stay motivated on your weight-loss goal.

Will it Break a Fast?

If you are on intermittent fasting, you may take nootropics without any worries that they will break your fast.

Are Nootropics Approved by the FDA?

Nootropics are classified as dietary supplements and as such, they do not require FDA approval. In the US though certain nootropics like piracetam are sold as medicine and not as dietary supplement. You can buy nootropics over the counter.

Are Nootropics Vegan?

While some nootropics are vegan, most are not. A lot of nootropics are packed in animal-based capsules. Vegan nootropics are packed in plant capsules that are made from naturally fermented tapioca.

Are They Safe During Pregnancy?

Nootropics are not recommended for women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Will it Show Up on Drug Tests?

Natural nootropics should not show up on common drug tests. There may be false positives, although it hasn’t happened yet. Drug tests are usually for cocaine, PCP, amphetamines, THC and opiates.

Where Can I Buy Nootropics?

A lot of nootropics are sold online on selling sites like Amazon. You can also find them in health supplement stores and drugstores. If you are looking for high-quality nootropics, you may get them from their own website. Reputable manufacturers usually sell their own products to avoid association with run-of-the-mill competition.

Do I Need a Doctor’s Prescription?

If you are going to buy natural nootropics, you don’t need a doctor’s prescription. A prescription is needed for synthetic nootropics.

Do they Expire?

Yes, nootropics have an expiration date indicated in the label. Store nootropic supplements in a cool, dry place.

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