Nootropics: How Safe Are They, Exactly?

In a competitive workforce and academic sphere, employees and students are more desperate than ever to gain an edge on the competition. Several believe that nootropics — drugs specifically designed to enhance cognitive function — represent that edge. Proponents claim that nootropics are highly beneficial and 100 percent safe, but a growing body of research suggests otherwise. Read on to learn more about these drugs — and why experts are sounding the alarm.

Defining Nootropics

Much of the danger surrounding nootropics lies in the struggle to define and classify these substances. Depending on whom you ask, nootropics could include dietary supplements, homemade concoctions, or even FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs. What these varied substances share is a purported ability to improve brain function. Depending on the drug, this could mean allegedly reduced anxiety, increased alertness, or greater creativity.

The Dangers of Nootropics

Proponents swear by nootropics’ alleged ability to boost concentration and minimize anxiety, but little empirical evidence is available to back up these claims. Rather, most existing clinical evidence suggests that common nootropics are either ineffective or downright dangerous, depending on who uses them and in what context. For example, a Cochrane review of published studies indicates that the popular nootropic piracetam provides minimal benefits for young users with dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment. While select studies suggest piracetam can sometimes help seniors with age-related cognitive issues, it’s not meant for young, already healthy individuals who simply want to boost brain function.

Unfortunately, piracetam is arguably among the safest nootropics. Often, supplements do not provide the benefits they suggest — but they do produce all kinds of problematic side effects. An especially concerning study indicates that one in three vitamins and supplements are fake. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional.

If you have suffered due to supplements or products marketed as nootropics, it’s time to stand up for yourself and seek recourse. Regan Zambri & Long PLLC may be able to help — get in touch today to learn more about our personal injury services.