Nootropics – Are They Really Safe to Take?

Are you taking a nootropic merely because you are curious or because your peers are already taking them?

Nootropics, like many of the latest diet fads and supplements, have caught the attention of the performance-driven professionals and students. These ‘smart drugs’ can not only enhance our performance and output but also improve our mood. However, none of these gains are without a few but serious side effects when used recklessly.

What are Nootropics’ Long-term Side Effects?

Brain hackers and enthusiasts probably don’t question the safety profile of a nootropic when going for it, as they are often blindsided by the apparent gains of using a nootropic. However, a nootropic can have permanent mind and behavior altering impact on our brains.

One research points out: “The misuse of nootropics—any substance that may alter, improve, or augment cognitive performance, mainly through the stimulation or inhibition of certain neurotransmitters—may potentially be dangerous and deleterious to the human brain, and certain individuals with a history of mental or substance use disorders might be particularly vulnerable to their adverse effects.”

One should always remember that taking nootropics is an area regarding which research is still going on. Also, buying nootropics from online vendors is not a very wise thing to do, as there is no definite way of knowing what substances it may comprise and how it may react with any other medicine or supplement that you are using.

We have compiled a brief list of possible side effects that nootropics:

Brain Fog

Some people experience an unanticipated side effect, something exactly opposite to what they aspired for, after consuming a nootropic, i.e., having a brain fog instead of the brain working more clearly and sharply. This haziness in one’s cognitive functions tends to make it hard for one to talk, study, drive, in short, do any task that requires one to concentrate for long. One possible explanation of this unlikely side effect is that some nootropics tend to make one hypoglycemic, which can lead to lightheadedness.

A Headache

When making your mind work in a smarter manner, a nootropic will also make your mind work harder and faster. All this cognitive stimulation and functioning sometimes impact the mind in a negative manner and can create a nasty headache. Some users complain about experiencing pressure in their frontal lobe when taking racetams or Piracetam.

Likewise, a research reports that “Ampakines have also been found to cause headaches, somnolence, and nausea.”


Since one’s stomach tends to be sensitive to the workings or over-working of the mind, one of the unpleasant side effects of nootropics is the tendency to come down with an upset stomach. Certain Vitamin B types such as vitamins B6, B9 and B12 have this tendency.


Sometimes, overstimulation of the mind may manifest itself as insomnia in the latter part of the day. Some nootropics may lead to lucid or disturbing dreams during the sleep and diminish the quality of your sleep.

Mood Imbalances

Some rare but possible side effects of a nootropic are mood imbalances like anxiety, jitteriness, nervousness, restlessness, crankiness, and depression. Piracetam is reported to cause the aforementioned side effects in certain people. Although nootropics are non addictive, some people experience a manifestation of depression after they stop using them.


Some people who have taken Noopept reported experiencing an energy slump after the initial phase of activeness. They reported experiencing significant difficulty in going about the activities of the day and a strong desire to sleep or simply rest, which had a significant impact on their overall productivity.

What to Consider Before Taking a Nootropic?

Before starting any nootropic, you should consider a few things: which aspect of your life you mind to improve and why. Are you taking a nootropic merely because you are curious or because your peers are already taking them? If so, then these aren’t good enough reasons.

Young adults who have a history of psychological problems shouldn’t take nootropics as it is. Also, since the brain is in a developing phase during adolescence, taking a nootropic may impact the natural formation and processes of the neurons and neurotransmitters negatively.  If you are in your adulthood and even the senior years, you should consider factors like your existing health problems and the possible reaction of the nootropic with other medicines or supplements you are taking. Perhaps, the wisest thing to do is to consult your doctor before attempting to use a nootropic on your own. The last thing to remember is that nootropics are not meant for a long time usage.


  1. Talih, Farid, and Jean Ajaltouni. “Probable Nootropicinduced Psychiatric Adverse Effects: A Series of Four Cases.”Innovations in clinical neuroscience 12, no. 11-12 (2015): 21. Retrieved from
  1. Wezenberg, Elke, Robert Jan Verkes, Ge SF Ruigt, Wouter Hulstijn, and Bernard GC Sabbe. “Acute effects of the ampakine farampator on memory and information processing in healthy elderly volunteers.” Neuropsychopharmacology 32, no. 6 (2007): 1272-1283. Retrieved from
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