It’s a question that bounces around frequently in the health and wellness world: are nootropics safe? These cognition supporting herbal supplements are gaining fast traction. Why? Because they offer benefits that just about anyone can appreciate. Many dietary pills and capsules aim for specific objectives that usually relate to physical appearance. People take weight loss supplements because they want to slim down their physique for swimsuit season. Or they take testosterone to accelerate their muscle gains and build definition that shows. Otherwise, they might use an anti-aging serum to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
But nootropics aren’t about any physical change. Instead, these focus supplements work in unique ways to boost your brain function. This can prove critical to productivity and social interactions. Even if you don’t have a diagnosable attention disorder, there’s still a good chance you struggle to focus or hone in on tasks from time to time. Whether from lack of sleep, high stress levels or a general “wandering mind” we all have moments where it feels impossible to stay on task. For some of us, it might happen every day. And if it occurs frequently at work or when we’re trying to fulfill obligations, it can be extremely troublesome. Before asking, “Are nootropics safe?” let’s look at the alternative option.
Problems with Prescription Focus Drugs
There is a wide belief in the medical community that pharmaceutical drugs intended to help correct attention deficits have been vastly over-prescribed. These pills are usually medicinal stimulants, which can cause significant side effects in their efforts to jolt the system. Aside from dependency — which is a large problem among users of these drugs — there are more acute symptoms. These can include the following:
- Lack of appetite
- Malnutrition and problematic weight loss
- Dehydration and dry mouth
- Sleep cycle disruption
It’s one of those things where you have to wonder if the juice is worth the squeeze. Plus, you need a prescription from a physician to get these drugs legally (trying to acquire them in other ways is NOT advisable) and they tend to be rather expensive.
Are Nootropics Safe?
Unlike the above pharmaceuticals, which tend to include synthetic and sometimes dangerous components, these cognition supplements are usually all natural. Among the most common nootropic supplements are plant extracts like bacopa monnieri and ginkgo biloba. These products will also frequently feature amino acids. In order to deliver mental energy, they do sometimes offer stimulant properties, but in a more natural form. You won’t find amphetamines in nootropic supplements, but you might find caffeine delivered in a natural form, like through green tea extract.
There are seldom reports of nootropics causing milder versions of the side effects above. For instance, nausea and headaches affect a small fraction of users. But because of the natural composition of these herbal products, the occurrence of adverse reactions is far more rare. And there is no evidence that these products are habit-forming.
Do nootropics work? The jury is out on that as a general question. There are certainly plenty of people who find them very helpful, whereas others suggest the supplements don’t do much for them. But are nootropics safe? As long as you find a quality all-natural blend, the answer is very likely yes.