The idea of improving the brain’s cognitive functioning sounds enticing, which is why many people try nootropics. But while most users swear by their effectiveness, it’s still natural to have questions about these brain boosters.
Here at the possible benefits, side effects, and whether nootropics work. That way, you can make the best decision about your cognitive health and decide whether they are right for you.
How nootropics work
Nootropics, also known as smart drugs, are supplements that boost cognitive performance. They increase the level of blood circulation to the brain, and as a result, the brain gets adequate oxygen and nutrients (two components that help the brain generate energy). You can expect nootropics to increase memory, motivation, creativity, and attention by enhancing cognitive performance.
Are nootropics safe?
Nootropics are safe when users are aware of the risks involved and how to avoid them. The Federal Drug Agency regulates them, and most of these supplements have been proved safe through scientific studies on humans.
The only exception is unregulated nootropics. People with mental conditions such as ADHD, schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder are advised to seek medical advice before using. Consuming them could pose some serious side effects for those with mental conditions. Therefore, they should consult their doctor and do their own research beforehand.
What about the general side effects of nootropics? There are potential side effects that have been reported. These include:
To avoid the side effects listed above, start with small dosages to see how your body reacts. Adjust from there.
The Benefits of Nootropics
Nootropics have a wide range of benefits. With so many available on the market, each provides slightly different effects for users. So, before you grab the first supplement labelled as a nootropic, take a closer look at the intended use.
Here are some of the most common benefits that you’ll receive:
- Increased mental energy. The brain needs energy to function, and these supplements help supply the enormous demands of the brain. They optimise how brain cells use energy, increasing the oxygen and glucose supply in the brain. This means you get better mental agility and strength.
- Improved concentration. Nootropics improve your focus and enhance your ability to multitask or switch between tasks. Certain nootropics like piracetam have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. These suppress the immune cells and eliminate free radicals, which cause oxidation and harm the brain.
- Strengthens memory. It’s not just focusing on the here and now that improves; some also improve memory. One study revealed that creatine improves short-term memory. This is easy to imagine as its prescription counterparts treat Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Balances your moods. Nootropics stabilise moods and mitigate feelings of anxiety. This will improve the quality of your life and everyday performance. With anxieties eased and the body relaxed, they promote high-quality and restorative sleep. This translates to long-term healthy and well-balanced living.
- Healthier body. Benefits aren’t limited to the brain. These little wonders can help your overall health as well. Physical benefits include better vision, improved cardiovascular health, and protection of the nervous system. The analgesic effects can even help with pain management.
Are nootropics right for you?
Want to live an overall healthier life? The benefits offered by nootropics could be what you’re looking for. There are a wide range of supplements available on the market, so be sure to do your research beforehand. However, with this information in mind, you know what to expect when trying nootropics and more importantly if they’re right for you.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.