Nootropics FAQs: Everything You Need To Know

Nootropics FAQs

Nootropics FAQs

In this article, we will discuss 5 most common nootropics FAQs

What Are Nootropics?

Nootropics are also known as Smart Drugs or Cognitive Enhancers. To put it simply, Nootropics are a type of drugs or supplements or any other substance which are known to improve cognitive function in a healthy and functioning individual, focusing on the executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation. Some examples of Nootropics would be caffeine, nicotine, amphetamine, and also several other healthy nootropics formulations.

The rise in fame of Nootropics in recent times has also to do a lot with the obsession of Silicon Valley disrupting everything, including our brains. The mere marketing strategy that Nootropics or any such supplementary drug plays with is a simple age-old premise: “Take one pill to achieve what you didn’t till now and become a better and smarter version of yourself.” And well, it works!

How do Nootropics work?

The impact that Nootropics has on the brain has been studied widely. Nootropics are known to affect brain performance through several mechanisms. Nootropics as drugs, enhance cognition in healthy people and also unhealthy people to some extent. It stimulates the brain, increases the rate of firing neurons, and amplifies its functionality and responsiveness. 

Barry Gordon, a neurology professor from John Hopkins Medical Center says, “Certain people might benefit from combinations of certain things. But across populations, there is still no conclusive proof that substances of this class improve cognitive functioning.”

What are the various kinds of Nootropics?

There are a few types of Nootropics that can be found in the market and it is important to know these classifications.

  • Drugs – This can be further classified into,
  1. Central Nervous System Stimulants, like amphetamine, methylphenidate, eugeroics, caffeine, and nicotine.
  2. Racetams, Cholinergic, like Citicoline, Choline Bitartrate, and Alpha GPC.
  • Nutrients and dietary supplements, like Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, etc.
  • Prescription Nootropics, like modafinil, Adderall, and memantine.
  • Herbs, like Bacopa monnieri, Panax ginseng, Salvia officinalis, etc.

Uses of Nootropics:

One of the most commonly used and widespread Nootropic is caffeine. Along with caffeine, the use of other prescription and also non-prescription stimulants is most prevalent among students. Surveys suggest that most of the students that use Nootropics are college students and its use is widespread among the younger section of college campuses.

Of all the students that indulge in Nootropics, a significant amount of them seems to take these drugs to enhance their academic performance rather than as recreational drugs. It is pertinent to note that Nootropics don’t play any role in treating any disease; on the flip side, it quickens memory retention, mental capacity, grasping power, and the other brain functions that are known to make an individual more efficient and effective. 

Do Nootropics have any side effects?

There hasn’t been much in-depth research in the line of Nootropics and hence experts are unsure if they can predict the safety of the products per se. A few studies show that nootropics supplements can affect the brain. But it’s not proven that these consistently work properly and are safe.

A report was released not so recently on cognitive enhancers which established the fact that there are not many hard-bound shreds of evidence to point towards the safety and effective nature of Nootropics for healthy people. This being said, long term safety instances are unavailable for Nootropics, but as it is a pharmaceutical drug, its list of undefined adverse effects remains to be the primary concern.

Evidence suggests that a few common side effects of prescription Nootropics include high blood pressure,  fast heart rate, addiction, insomnia along with other sleep-related disorders, and trouble with one’s vision. 

Do Nootropics work?

Nootropics are classified as dietary supplements by the Federal Law in the United States and the type of claims that are allowed to be made by the supplement companies are almost always pretty vague. Without sufficient and accurate proof, the supplement companies market their products by saying that they promote brain health. So, efficiency can be questioned.

Dietary supplements seldom require Placebo-controlled, pharmaceutical styled human studies before they are shipped to the markets and hence there’s not much on the companies to guarantee the claims that are made. In theory, Nootropics might be life-changing but the truth is that in reality these supplements might not live up to a bit of what was advertised, or might work as a placebo.

Societal perspective:

Due to false advertisement and unproven claims that were made by the manufacturing companies regarding Nootropics, the FDA and the FTA voiced their concern over possible fraud. Furthermore, Nootropics, regardless of how widespread it is amongst the students and the youth of various countries and the world, it remains as a taboo for the previous generation for obvious reasons. 

While it might not be potent, or might not make you get dangerously addicted to it, it comes under the category of “smart drugs”, and that’s all the trigger that one needs to question its validity and intake. There have been rumors that a few products from certain manufacturers also got the illegal status as they didn’t align with a proven safety or efficacy test for the recommended doses. 


It is the rule of nature and a known fact, something that doctors all around the world will suggest that the best way to enhance the functioning of the brain would be to get adequate sleep, indulge in exercise, have a healthy and nutritious diet, and a lifestyle which is in line with managing stress.

With this being said, there are millions of people out there who want to supplement their cognitive functioning, and for them, Nootropics is a good idea, but in certain cases and limited amounts. Just like any other prescription drug, Nootropics should not be taken without the consultation of a healthcare professional as it might be harmful to the body in various ways.

If one feels the need to opt for supplements, one must make sure that they purchase these products from reputable companies, as they undergo Independent product testing. One must always keep in mind that any such product, along with the positive side of enhancement of cognitive functioning, also harms the body. One must factor in both these aspects before deciding on indulging in Nootropics.