Nootropics are effective compounds to boost brain function and deliver potent cognitive results. They are not however without their downsides. Finding a reliable nootropic requires many weeks and months of experimentation, and even then – you will most certainly experience side effects in some form or another. Some side effects are mild while others are downright unpleasant. At the end of the day, you determine if the boost you get from nootropics are worth the side effects.
Here are 10 side effects I’ve personally experienced while taking nootropics throughout the years.
Headaches are the most common side effect. Nootropics work by altering neurotransmitters in the brain. They can effect blood flow, oxygen levels, all of which contributes to the cognitive boost and energy you feel. If you get headaches, try dialing back the dose and drinking more water. Racetam type compounds are notorious for causing headaches. The solution most of the time is increasing Choline supply with something like Alpha-GPC.
Depression is one of the more serious side effects of nootropics. Excess Cholinergic depression from too much Choline is well known to lower your overall mood and blunt emotion. Luckily these side effects are short lived. If I’m feeling low, I like to add something which burns through Choline like Piracetam or Phenylpiracetam. If I’m feeling manic or too energetic, I add Choline. Choline seems to level over energetic moods but too much can certainly induce a depressive state.
3.) Memory lapses
I remember taking 4 grams of Aniracetam one day – way too much considering a regular dose is closer to 750mg. I was talking with a client on the phone and completely forgot my own phone number when he asked to call me back later. Wowzers! Sometimes these nootropics can have opposite effects entirely.
Some nootropics are so strong it’s difficult to sleep. Nootropics like Piracetam deliver so much mental energy, you’re constantly absorbing information and processing new ideas like never before. This will keep you up at night. Stimulating nootropics are best taken earlier in the day so you can hit the sack at your normal hour.
Another common side effect with stimulating nootropics. For me, caffeine gives me the jitters and crazy levels of anxiety. Modafinil is another one you’ve got to be careful with. In fact, any stimulant should be taken with caution if you’re prone to anxiety.
This is a side effect you don’t hear discussed too much. I can get very impatient at times on particular nootropics, especially with slow moving people. I get impatient if I’m disturbed from doing work, or while I’m in the middle of some mundane task like grocery shopping with roommates. Slow moving people in the aisles blocking the way, slow moving lines, people not knowing how the self checkout works, people taking forever to decide between store or name brand etc. Things that normally don’t bother me, bother me tremendously.
7.) Detached mood
I first noticed myself detaching from reality on Sensoril (Ashwagandha.) Aniracetam produces a similar side effect. I become so chilled and relaxed I can just sit for hours not doing anything, or thinking about much. Conversations don’t interest me. People don’t interest me. Interesting indeed.
8.) Funny urine odor
If you’re bi-polar, consider steering clear of Modafinil and the racetams. They can really throw you into a full blown manic state. At least, this has been my experience. These nootropics are best used when on the down swing of a cycle, during a depressive episode. They work wonders to boost you from even the darkest depressions.
10.) Funny changes in Libido
Some nootropics turn you into a complete horn dog. I’ve noticed this effect with ALCAR, Ashwagandha, and Modafinil. Other nootropics wipe out libido completely.
Be aware of these side effects before taking nootropics. Side Effects from nootropics are rarely serious but definitely worth taking note of. As a general rule, start out with a low dose of whatever you’re taking and then work your way up from there. Best of luck!
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