Side Effects of Nootropics


If you were given the opportunity to take a drug that could enhance the performance of your brain, would you take it? What if you were told that the substance is not addictive so you can stop using it at any point in time? Suppose you were even told that you do not need a prescription to get this drug? Would you consider it then? What if you know people who are actually using it? Would you change your mind then, especially if you do not see any evidence of a side effect?

Well, many people have considered using nootropics and are now taking daily doses or occasional doses of these substances. Drugs that are able to enhance your cognitive functions are referred to as nootropics. Although there are a wide variety of these drugs, the chances of a side effect occurring is quite low.


Common side effects

If side effects are experienced while you are using nootropics, it will actually be quite rare. Some of these rare effects are shown below.

Side effects after regular dosage

  • Headaches: This is the most common side effect of a nootropic. The racetam type nootropics are most likely to cause this side effect. The headaches that a user experiences result from the fact that the brain is working harder than normal. Because of this extra work, there may be an “over-excitement” of certain areas creating a headache.


This side effect is not extremely harmful and can be solved pretty quickly and easily. All the individual needs to do is add some choline to the dosage. Choline will provide the brain with the substance that it needs to relieve the headache.


  • Insomnia and fatigue: Nootropics are known to cause an increase in alertness and energy levels. It only follows that if you take nootropics before bedtime it will be quite difficult to fall asleep. When you do fall asleep, you may not be able to get the required hours of sleep and wake up feeling tired. Moreover, your brain may be very active while you sleep, and this may leave you feeling tired when you wake up.


It is very easy to avoid this side effect. If you are going to be using a nootropic, ensure that you do not take it too close to your bedtime. Otherwise, you may just end up with a sleepless night.


Side effects after extremely high dosage


  • GI tract issues: If you exceed the recommended dose for a nootropic substance, the body’s defense system may react because it doesn’t recognize the substance as being something harmless. Instead, it is considered a threat. To get rid of this threat, there are two effects that are possible:
  • Nausea occurs when the substance does not get very far into the intestinal tract. This means that it can be expelled via the mouth. Nausea is the urge to throw up (vomit), and sometimes it is actually accompanied by vomiting.
  • Diarrhea usually occurs when the substance is already very far into the intestinal tract. Because it is so far, it is easier to be expelled as diarrhea. This watery stool usually ends once the substance has been totally cleared from the system.


  • Anxiety/ nervousness: If you take too much of a particular nootropic or use a bad stack, you may overstimulate your brain. One negative effect of this is a feeling of uneasiness. Because you are so stimulated, your brain may be on overdrive and cannot settle on any one thing. This can leave you feeling nervous as your nervous system is receiving too much stimuli.


  • Restlessness: When you take nootropics, you can expect to get a boost in energy, both physical and mental. If this boost is too high, you may find yourself feeling very restless and even unable to remain still. This feeling is similar to a child who has had too much sugar and as a result is unable to rest or relax. If this occurs at night then you may end up with insomnia.


  • Rashes and skin irritation: As with any drugs, there will be individuals who will have allergic reactions when they use them. If you develop rashes or have any form of skin irritation that begins after you start a nootropic, it is recommended that you discontinue use immediately. Perhaps it is the combination of substances you used or there is a specific nootropic that you reacted to. Whatever the case, it is best to check with a healthcare professional to determine your options.


  • Increased blood pressure: Because some nootropics function by increasing blood flow to the brain, this side effect makes a lot of sense. If too much of the substance is in the bloodstream, it may result in way too much blood being pumped at once. This would lead to a buildup of pressure in the blood vessels. This is what causes an increase in blood pressure.


There are many types of cognitive enhancers available and the most dangerous ones are probably those labelled as smart drugs. However, true nootropics only cause side effects in very rare cases. Once the dosage is followed closely and caution is exercised when creating a nootropic stack, it is highly unlikely that a side effect will be experienced.

As you can see, most side effects occur when the dosage is too high. With a whole lot of benefits and a very low chance of experiencing side effects, nootropics are considered very safe to use.

It is important to note however that very little is known about the long term effects of nootropics as they are still being studied. This means that there may be side effects that we are currently unaware of that will only be evident in the long run. As with any other drug, the users of nootropics do so at their own risk especially if they use these substances without consulting a licensed physician.


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