Nootropics are drugs that are used by many people to improve brain and cognitive functions. They help people to increase their productivity, perform better and meet their full potential. Many nootropics are “neuroprotective agents” meaning that they preserve cognitive and brain functions. Several age-related issues can be reduced or solved by the use of nootropics and they work as a cure for some neurodegenerative diseases as well. Although nootropics have an overall positive effect on the human mind and brain they can produce some side effects, especially when taken over a long period of time. Nootropics are considered to be safe; however, research into nootropics is still new and the long-term effects, and how they react to certain medical conditions and medications is still unknown. It is important to remember that not all of nootropics side effects have been discovered and results, both positive and negative can vary greatly from person to person.

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Nootropics & Fatigue/Insomnia

Many nootropics improve alertness and increase energy level and this is one of the most common reasons that people take them. Common side effects of nootropics that offer an energy boost are insomnia and fatigue. Insomnia generally occurs when the nootropic is taken too close to bedtime which leads to your brain being overstimulated and unable to rest. Provigil and similar nootropics can also force your central nervous system to stay active for longer than is healthy and essentially force you to stay awake. As a result of not receiving a proper night’s sleep, you may feel tired the following day. To avoid Insomnia you should take your energy boosting nootropics early in the day. To help ensure a proper night’s sleep and proper sleep cycle a sleep-promoting nootropic such as inositol, melatonin, phenibut or l-theanine can be added to your regimen later in the day. In addition to insomnia, another nootropic side effect can be fatigue. If excessive doses of energy-boosting nootropics are taken than there may be a rebound effect similar to the burnout associated with caffeine. To avoid the “crash and burn” effect take smaller doses and space them out to provide steady energy.

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Nootropics & Headaches

Headaches are the most commonly reported side effect of nootropics. It is believed that nootropics cause headaches because they encourage the brain to work harder and use more acetylcholine than the body has available. The easiest way to avoid headaches associated with the use of nootropics is to add a source of choline to your daily regimen.

Nootropics & GI Tract Issues

Many nootropics, particularly in doses higher than recommended, can cause GI Tract problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. To reduce the risk of this side effect start with a small dose of the nootropic and build up to the recommended dose. If you begin to experience GI issues reduce the daily dose being consumed. If reducing the daily dose does not alleviate the issue that it may be necessary to stop using the nootropic.

Nootropics & Memory Damage

Recent research has shown that benzodiazepines and other depressant drugs can lead to dementia in humans. Although these drugs are not specifically nootropics there is some research to suggest that long-term use of nootropics drugs may cause similar memory issues and damage especially when taken in doses higher than recommended.

Nootropics & Dependence

Some research has shown that long-term nootropic usage causes a person to begin to need the nootropic to do tasks and perform effectively. Users become so dependent that they start to work ineffectively and their functioning becomes impaired if the proper amount of drugs is not provided to them.

Nootropics & Alterations In Brain Chemistry and Neurotransmission

All nootropics alter the brain’s chemistry, this is one of the ways that it provides neuroprotective and cognitive benefits. The brain’s neurotransmission is a very delicate system that can be easily damaged. Some drugs, taken over a long period of time, can deplete the neurotransmitters in the brain. It is not yet known what nootropics long-term side effects are or how suddenly stopping nootropics after long-term use affect the brain or body.

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Other Possible Nootropic Side Effects

There are many side-effects you may experience due to the usage of nootropics. These side-effects don’t seem much dangerous at first and may be easily dismissed as unrelated to the use of nootropics. Some of these side-effects are dizziness, migraine, skin rashes, fatigue, body pain, and headache. If any of these side effects occur and cannot be relieved by over the counter remedies you should consult your healthcare professional.


Nootropics aren’t dangerous if they are taken properly and not carefully. To use nootropics safely and responsibly keep these key factors in mind.

Dosage – The dosage of any drug is very important. PET scans show that the effects of nootropics can vary based on the dosage taken by a person. There are guidelines for each nootropic which must be followed. Unfortunately, when some people find a drug useful, they like a drug so much that they take more than is recommended thinking that it will enhance the beneficial effects. In reality, the body and mind become dependent on the high dosage and the drug has more control over the body. As a result, there are fewer benefits with greater risk. Always start with a small amount of nootropics and slowly build up to the recommended dose but do not exceed it.
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Age – It is considered that if you take a drug before your brain is fully developed, you become more addicted to its usage. A human brain is generally completely developed by the age of 25. If you take a nootropic before the age 25, you may experience more changes in brain function. It is less risky to take nootropic drugs after that age.
Duration – The duration of nootropic intake matters a lot. The longer you take a drug the greater it has the power to control your brain. When you use a substance daily for years, it teaches your nervous system and brain to become reliant on it. In order to minimize the dangers, the duration of a nootropic must be short.

Different people have different experience related to the same nootropic. Some people will not experience any side-effect during the use of a drug whereas some will. So before starting any nootropic don’t just rely on other peoples experience. Ask your doctor whether that nootropic is safe for your body and mind.

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