Introduction 

Living in the 21st-century world, with all the advancements going around using Nootropic drugs as the “smart drugs” proved to be a really smart move. 

They have unbelievable positive effects on the brain. But with positivity exists negativity, therefore with some real positive and fast recovery rate, nootropics come with their side effects too. 

Nootropics are those drugs or supplements that enhance cognitive abilities, memory retention and facilitate efficient and effective learning. These drugs enhance brain performance and are sometimes called cognition enhancers or memory-enhancing substances.

They do not treat diseases but positively affect thinking, memory, or other mental functions. The idea of supersizing or speeding up human intelligence is a science fiction thought, but with plenty of real-world researchers and drug-makers working to develop Nootropic pills, these supplements are an idea coming in actual action. 

Some of the common Nootropics are Ginkgo Biloba, creatine, caffeine, omega 3-s, etc. 

Nootropics have some dangerous side effects like trouble with vision, high blood pressure, a fast heart rate, insomnia, other sleep disturbances, addiction, anxiety, etc. The benefits of Nootropics are however not instant, meaning the brain perks don’t emerge immediately after the intake. You need to be consuming nootropics for a prolonged duration to begin to experience an expansion in the brain and cognitive capacity. 

Healthy adults and hardworking students use them to improve memory, learning, focus, mood, concentration, attention, thought processing, and motivation. While older adults use them to support healthy cognitive aging. Natural nootropics like caffeine work subtly, enhancing mental performance in ways that feel good but require ongoing daily efforts to reach its peak effect. 

History of Invention of Nootropics

CORNELIU GIURGEAa Roman psychologist and chemist, coined the term Nootropic in 1972. He combined the Greek words for ‘mind’ and ‘turn’. Thus, if transliterating the meaning of “Nootropic” into English, it will be “mind-turner”. According to GIURGEA, substances with the following features can be considered as Nootropics:

  • Enhancement of learning acquisition
  • Absence of usual pharmacological effects of neuro psychotropic drugs
  • Facilitation of inter-hemispheric transfer of information
  • Enhanced resistance to brain aggressions
  • Increased tonic, cortico-subcortical control
  • Resistance to impairing agents

Today, humanity has already begun to explore new and improved techniques to modify cognition for purposes like religion, medicine, and recreation. Although the side effects need to be kept under check and nootropic consumers have to be kept in the loop regarding the supplements they consume. Nootropics can also interact with other medicines that you take and thus lead to health complications that would call for consuming a greater number of tablets.

Nootropic effects

Many doctors agree that the best way to boost brain functioning is to get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and manage stress. Additionally, they also advocate the use of Nootropics for improvement or augmentation of cognitive performance, mainly through the stimulation or inhibition of certain neurotransmitters. 

This is maybe potentially dangerous and deleterious to the human brain or certain individuals with a mental disorder making then vulnerable to the adverse effects. There are some strong pieces of evidence recorded throughout the world showing that nootropics lead to side effects when taken in excess or an incorrect manner. 

ADHD and Ritalin

There is some evidence that patients suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were taking pharmaceuticals qualifying as nootropics, such as Ritalin. They suffered from insomnia, hallucinations, seizures, heart trouble, addiction, and even sudden death.

Narcolepsy and Modafinil

According to the FDA, Modafinil Medicines is intended to bolster “wakefulness” in people with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work disorder. Part of the way modafinil works by shifting and regulating the brain’s levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters. Although it is not clear what leads to these shifts and builds a person’s health in the long run. 

Several researchers have suggested that modafinil can change the brain’s plasticity, which is associated with poor cognitive function.

Caffeine is a Stimulant

Caffeine pills and powders can contain extremely high amounts of stimulants. Taking them in excess can lead to caffeine overdose, and in rare cases even death. Women who are pregnant are suggested to limit their caffeine intake. Studies have found that consuming 4 or more servings of caffeine a day is linked to a higher risk of a failed pregnancy.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

These supplements although carry a low risk of side effects but they may interact with medications that affect blood clotting. This can lead to brain tumors or excessive blood loss during mild injuries.

Ginkgo Biloba

It is a tree native to China, Japan, and Korea. It is said to be potentially beneficial for improving brain function. However, researches suggested that effects occurring in people who took more than 200mg per day for at least five months were adverse and not safe enough. Also, with prescribed and doctor-monitored nootropics available, it may not be the safest or most effective option to take.

Overview

Chemically altering or changing the stimulations of brain cells artificially is going to cause harm. Nootropics are those artificial agents easily available at online vendors. We have little information on how nootropics may react with psychotropics and cause adverse physical and psychiatric side effects.

Most importantly, look for sellers and supplement dealers that make nootropics for the benefit of their buyers and not simply for monetary gain. Look for authorities that confirm the safety of these Nootropics. There are stamps, logos, and symbols on the main packaging of these nootropics that can indicate their legitimacy to some extent. 

Nootropics like Citicoline has been found to cause gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, insomnia, myalgias, restlessness, and fatigue. Whereas, Piracetam users reported symptoms of psychomotor agitation, headache, diarrhea, tiredness, dizziness, and dysphoria. 

Despite the enhancement of long-term cortical neural potentiation with the use of Ampakines shifting cortical neural plasticity, they could yet lead to impairments in spatial memory and perhaps motor function. 

Armodafinil’s adverse effects commonly include headache, nasopharyngitis, and diarrhea. All these common nootropic drugs or natural nootropic substances that are taken even in small quantities (regularly) can change aspects of the internal functioning of your body.

Conclusion

Healthcare providers in general should keep in mind that the unregulated use of nootropics is an under-recognized and evolving problem. Young adults, especially those with certain mental problems may be at particular risk of adverse effects from the use of nootropics. There are a bunch of students at varying levels of their educational journey who rely on nootropics. The sooner they are advised on consumption patterns and expected side effects, the better it is for their health and career.

Rather than opting for artificial cognitive performance enhancers, one must try to improve their cognitive abilities naturally. These methods won’t even cause any side effects on their brain performance or stimulants.

Natural ways to improve cognitive performance may include a balanced diet, proper sleep, routine, stress-free life, family and friends time, balanced working hours, and most of all a good and hearty environment. If all of these things are provided then one can easily perform well in studies, house chores, workplace, and life itself.

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