What Are Nootropics: Benefits And Side Effects

Published on November 8th, 2022

Last updated on March 7th, 2023

nootropic peel between teeths

If we told you that you could improve your memory and mental activity thanks to one magic pill, you would probably say this is nonsense. But it’s no-nonsense. It’s nootropics. What is it? Nootropics are a group of drugs that positively affect the central nervous system. They are used to improve memory and increase mental activity.

These drugs have a specific effect on the integrative functions of the brain and can even save you from dementia. That is, they are used both for treating certain diseases and for everyday use to increase activity.

However, despite all these nootropics benefits, such drugs also have side effects. For example:

  1. dizziness;
  2. headache;
  3. nausea;
  4. overexcitement.

One of the most common side effects of nootropics is withdrawal syndrome. When drugs are abruptly withdrawn, the body begins to suffer. Because the body is used to drugs that facilitate the work of the nervous system, it is difficult to stop taking them due to addiction. Therefore, you need to know how nootropics work in the body and which types are better to take.

How Do Natural Nootropic Pills Work?

Nootropics are called enhancers of cognitive functions. They can improve intelligence, attention, and memory. Like most psychotropic drugs, nootropics’ exact mechanism of action is unknown. It is believed that they can:

  1. optimize energy exchange in brain cells;
  2. increase the regeneration of neurons;
  3. activate the function of the so-called memory proteins;
  4. improve mitochondrial functions;
  5. promote good blood flow to the brain;
  6. strengthen neural connections.

In addition, nootropics have antioxidant and anti-ischemic effects. In most cases, these drugs are well tolerated by patients, although they sometimes have side effects.

But who can have side effects? The fact is that the impact of nootropics on the body depends on their composition. If they are natural, such nootropics will not harm health since their natural composition is only beneficial and works as a health improvement for the body.

However, if they have additional psychotropic substances of unnatural origin, then side effects of nootropics are more likely to occur. Therefore, it is recommended to take nootropics such as liquid vitamins or supplements. They are entirely natural, so their nutrients and adaptogens can improve mental health and strengthen the immune system.

When Are They Used?

Nootropics are effective when there are functional or organic brain lesions. They are used for degenerative brain injuries, for example, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s. In addition, doctors prescribe nootropics for hypoxia or intoxication after suffering craniocerebral injuries and strokes.

They strengthen cognitive functions, accelerate learning abilities, and reduce the number of errors when solving problems. Moreover, using the best natural nootropic supplements can work as a preventive measure to speed up mental processes.

Natural Nootropics: Top 8

As you already understand, natural nootropics help us improve brain functions. These drugs are prescribed by a doctor and taken in specific doses. Therefore, it is essential not to overdo it with the dosage and follow the medical recommendations in this regard.

To make it easier to understand the purpose of smart drugs, they are divided into specific groups. So, medications with neurometabolic properties can be divided into polypeptides, amino acids, and neuropeptides. That is, they are different and have dissimilarities in their purpose. Therefore, keep the list of best nootropic supplements:

1. Caffeine


Caffeine is one of history’s oldest and most famous nootropics. Most of you know that coffee is the most caffeinated food product. We drink it to wake up, cheer up and concentrate.

But why do we get such nootropics benefits? It is because the caffeine content has a stimulating effect on the psyche, and it blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. This reduces the concentration of substances that accumulate during fatigue and cause the desire to sleep. In addition, scientists have revealed the following effects of caffeine consumption:

  • attention and observation improve;
  • the speed of reactions increases;
  • productivity enhances;
  • memory and the ability to make quick decisions become a little better.

Also, this caffeine tricks the brain into believing that the cells are not tired. It blocks adenosine receptors that signal our brain about instability. As a result, a person feels a surge of strength and productivity.

Side effects of nootropic caffeine: In general, caffeine is not characterized by strong side effects. But if you use it very often, you develop an addiction, due to which this nootropic stops blocking adenosine receptors. And if you overdose, it will cause intoxication with symptoms such as frequent urination, anxiety, and stomach upset.

2. L-Theanine


L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves. It helps people:

  1. reduce anxiety;
  2. improves concentration;
  3. protects the brain from neurodegenerative disorders;
  4. also, it comes in handy in our climate because L-theanine reduces weather dependence.

Therefore, people often take it independently for better well-being. L-theanine is one of the best nootropic supplements obtained from natural tea. It is better to choose green because it is less processed after harvesting than black.

Also, green tea contains more natural properties that can contribute to the excellent work of our cognitive functions and enhance immunity. That is why L-theanine quickly penetrates the blood-brain barrier and affects the concentration and behavior of critical neurotransmitters.

It behaves as a partial antagonist of NMDA receptors. Also, it suppresses the excitatory effects of our brains. In short, the main effects of theanine are sedative effects without causing drowsiness. Also, it can reduce stress, ease falling asleep, and have no side effects.

Side effects of nootropics L-Theanine: Side effects are infrequent. It usually occurs due to an irregular dose of such support or a sharp reaction in the body. The undesirable impact manifests as an allergic state, decreased blood pressure, nausea, and intestinal disorders.

3. Nootropics-adaptogens


These drugs affect GABA receptors and other agents from the hybrid class of nootropics, anxiolytics, and psychostimulants. They can enhance mental abilities and adaptogens. Mainly nootropics-adaptogens are designed to reduce the negative psycho-emotional symptoms of stress and anxiety disorder.

These medications also indirectly have a positive effect on the nervous system. Doctors say that such means have tranquilizing properties, and thanks to them they:

  • stimulate memory and learning;
  • increase not only intellectual but also physical performance;
  • improve sleep;
  • remove symptoms of asthenia;
  • eliminate stress and its consequences;
  • improve psycho-emotional stress and anxiety.

The content of adaptogens improves mental well-being thanks to their biological ability. Some nootropics-adaptogens can even overcome vegetative-vascular manifestations like headaches and feelings of heaviness in the head. Therefore, nootropics-adaptogens are the best nootropic supplements. They are natural and do not have harmful effects, making them one of the best nootropics.

Side effects of nootropics-adaptogens: If you take sleeping pills or anticonvulsants, consumption of nootropics-adaptogens can increase their impact and cause health problems.

4. Curcumin


Curcumin is a yellow powdery substance extracted from turmeric. It is, the main chemical found in turmeric, is believed to have many beneficial properties. It is often used as a digestive aid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Therefore, this plant plays an essential role in medicine:

  • It is an alternative treatment for many common ailments, injuries, and chronic conditions;
  • If we speak about health, this natural nootropic plays an essential role in improving the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Curcumin can reduce amyloid plaque deposition in the brain, which causes different disorders;
  • It has a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect, which protects the brain from degenerative processes.

So, scientists have proven that the essence helps to reduce anxiety, activates the growth processes of nerve cells, and increases the neuroplasticity of neurons. Doctors also consider such a nootropic the best natural one.

It restores the functions of mitochondria, which are responsible for cell energy production. In depression, nootropics can disrupt their work, but taking curcumin allows this failure to be neutralized.

Side effects of nootropic curcumin: develop when taking curcumin in excessive doses. Most often, people experience nausea and diarrhea. And also, if a person takes drugs to treat diabetes, there is a risk of developing hypoglycemia.

5. Centrophenoxine

Centrophenoxine formula

Centrophenoxine is one of the earliest and most studied nootropics. It has stimulating and neuroprotective properties. When the body absorbs centrophenoxine, nootropics break down into DMAE and pCPA. DMAE converts to choline, and the remaining pCPA circulates throughout the body. From here, the body receives the following nootropic benefits:

  • It enhances the absorption of glucose and oxygen by the brain;
  • Strengthens the effect of choline;
  • Increases neuronal RNA;
  • Reduces potassium deposits in the brain;
  • Reduces the accumulation of lipofuscin.

Another great advantage is that centrophenoxine removes free radicals. They are among the most harmful molecules present in the brain. They bind to fat molecules in the membranes of nerve cells and disrupt the control of substances entering and leaving the cells.

The disturbance of this control contributes to the development of neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. However, when centrophenoxine enters the brain, it destroys these free radicals and enhances antioxidant activity.

Side effects of nootropic centrophenoxine: this nootropic is entirely safe and non-toxic. However, excess acetylcholine can cause nausea, headache, digestive problems, and insomnia.

6. Gotu Kola

gotu kola

Gotu Kola is a plant common in tropical countries. It contains substances stimulating acetylcholine release and controlling the brain’s signal transmission speed. It is why it has a positive effect on mental abilities.

Scientists have conducted a small study to determine whether Gotu Kola extract and folic acid can improve brain function in people who have survived a stroke. Both funds turned out to be equally effective.

But Gotu Kola extracts from 800 to 1000 mg combined better with memory recovery. Therefore, the use of this nootropic reduces the symptoms of depression. It decreases anxiety and improves peripheral blood circulation. They are the best for good well-being, and such nootropic supplements have the following benefits:

  • reduce psycho-emotional tension and increase social adaptation;
  • improve mood, facilitate falling asleep and help normalize sleep;
  • increase mental capacity;
  • improve memory, and stimulate thinking processes.

Side effects of nootropic Gotu Kola: harmful impacts from taking Gotu Kola is infrequent. But they can still include skin allergies, itching when used externally, and headache, indigestion, nausea, and dizziness. Also, it causes extreme drowsiness when used internally.

7. Creatine


Creatine is considered one of the best nootropic supplements for brain activity because our body suspends many functions without it. Brain cells have a higher energy consumption. That is why our brain needs a sufficient amount of this nootropic. The delivery of creatine to the body’s tissues is a crucial aspect of the functioning of the brain of a healthy person:

  • It has a positive effect on brain function and neurological health;
  • In addition, creatine can increase dopamine levels and improve mitochondrial function;
  • Enhancing brain function can help alleviate or completely cure chronic neurological diseases.

A conclusion is formed – the more creatine the body has, the higher the brain’s functionality.

Side effects of nootropic creatine: this nootropic is harmless. However, if you don’t drink enough water while taking it, you can experience digestive upset and cramps.

8. Nicotine


Nootropic nicotine is best known in the tobacco industry, and people often benefit from it. Nicotine changes brain waves and stimulates the central nervous system, so its entry into the body positively affects mood.

When it reaches the brain, it binds to nicotinic receptors. Then, it activates pathways that control attention, memory, motor functions, and pleasure. Anxiety and worry decrease, and a feeling of relaxation comes. In addition, such a natural nootropic has several other good effects on the body:

  • Improves motor skills;
  • Increases attention;
  • Strengthens short-term memory;
  • Accelerates reaction time;
  • Protects against neurodegenerative diseases;
  • Suppresses appetite.

Side effects of nootropic nicotine: the worst impact of nicotine is addictive. When you use it for a long time, you can’t stop because you get so many benefits and pleasures. However, after a long period of nicotine use, its health-improving effects on the body are blunted. And on the contrary, nicotine can cause health deterioration.


As you can see, nootropic drugs or smart drugs have more benefits than harm. They are increasingly used in medicine, but the effect of each nootropic is different. Therefore, it is recommended to use natural nootropics that do not have side effects unless you use the wrong amount of them. And before taking them, it is better to consult a doctor to ensure they benefit you.

Neuroscience Basics: GABA Receptors and GABA Drugs, Animation


What are smart drugs?

Smart drugs are nootropic medicines. They are called so because they can influence peoples’ brains and improve cognitive functions. They enhance mental activity and help fight some diseases connected with brain injuries.

How long does it take for nootropics to work?

You need to wait 4-6 weeks to get the result. But each body assimilates such drugs differently, so everyone sees results in various periods. It also depends on what you are taking nootropics for, whether from an illness or for your health improvement. 

How many nootropics can you take a day?

Each doctor prescribes a different dose of nootropics. However, many scientists believe that the average daily dose is 1200 mg. So, you need to use 400 mg of nootropic drugs three times a day. But sometimes people need a larger or smaller quantity, so doctors prescribe a different dose for everyone.

Do nootropics need to be cycled?

Nootropics usually do not need to be cycled. Their powerful effect on the body can preserve benefits for a long time. However, there are exceptions when the doctor prescribes a repeat course of treatment. It includes nootropic drugs in the case of severe brain disease.

What is the best nootropic?

The best nootropics are those that do not cause any harm to health. That is, they must be free of toxic substances and be made entirely of natural components. Such nootropics include liquid, food, or ordinary vitamins intended for this purpose.

View all Articles