Nootropic Basics Part 4: Side Effects and Therapeutic Effects


Side Effects

Almost all nootropics are gentle, and will improve cognitive function without noticeable side effects. However, a few can have effects on specific body systems. Keeping these effects in mind will be helpful in preventing or, if necessary, diagnosing, the cause of side effects.

Racetams, especially when taken by themselves in high doses, have the potential to induce headaches. This is likely a result of their stimulating effect on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Pairing racetams with a choline supplement will prevent headaches in most cases, and some racetam supplements include choline as part of their formulation. Racetams differ in their types of solubility, and can have different effects as a result. Piracetam is water soluble, which means the body will absorb it from liquid and pass it out in urine. This may result in an altered urine smell. Oxiracetam and pramiracetam are fat-soluble, which means they must be taken either with food or in a drink with milk or cream. They will remain in the body longer, stored in fat deposits, and may have greater absorption rates due to their fat solubility.

Creatine, a nootropic that has been shown to increase problem-solving and pattern-recognizing abilities, as well as causing increases in muscular energy, can also have the minor side effect of small increases in water retention.

Consumption of excessive choline can have an unpleasant but harmless effect on odor, producing a fishy smell. In the event that this occurs, scale back choline consumption until it goes away. Again, only truly large dosages can cause this effect.

Sulbutiamine, a high-strength stimulant and memory-enhancer, can cause stomach aches in high doses. In sufficiently high doses, it also has the potential to cause undesired erections in male users. More potent nootropics such as sulbutiamine should be used with care, starting with small doses and gradually increasing if necessary.

Finally, large doses of various nootropics can cause general gastrointestinal distress several hours after consumption. Side effects can range from discomfort to diarrhea and vomiting, but this tends to only occur with massive doses. A good nootropic stack usually includes multiple supplements in one pill or powder, preventing the digestive side effects that can result from taking numerous pills or towering scoops of powders.

If experiencing undesirable side effects on a specific system of the body, simply scale back or temporarily discontinue your regimen. Most nootropics have no side effects, but several can act on parts of the body in specific ways. A basic awareness of these effects will make it easier to choose an effective supplement and diagnose potential side effects that may arise.                                 

Therapeutic Effects

In addition to their often-touted cognitive effects, some nootropics also have long-term therapeutic effects. If looking for an alternative to a potent prescription medication, nootropics may be the right choice. Possible benefits are wide-ranging and substantial, but can vary from person to person. Careful experimentation is always best when trying out a new treatment.

Many users of piracetam have reported decreased depression as a result of their regimen. Piracetam often results in long-term increases in energy, general feelings of well-being, and motivation, but can take some time to achieve its full effect. Piracetam has also been demonstrated to prevent and treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and may be used as a gentle therapeutic drug for managing this condition. Similarly, it has shown promise in helping patients restore cognition after suffering from a stroke. Piracetam, known for its many uses, can even aid in the treatment of learning disorders such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD, and ADHD.

Various nootropics including vinpocetine, hydergine, piracetam, and picamilon have the effect of dilating blood vessels in the brain, and can help combat vasospastic disorders (where blood vessels become overly constricted, reducing blood flow).

Aniracetam, in addition to its beneficial cognitive effects, can have a therapeutic effect on mood. It is often used as a treatment for PTSD, various mood disorders, and sleep conditions related to mood.

Many nootropics, including but not limited to vinpocetine, centrophenoxine, and dipeptide has known antioxidant effects, and can have significant therapeutic benefits relating to brain function and general health over time. By combating the effects of oxidative stress, nootropics promote psychological and biological well-being.

The potential therapeutic effects of nootropics are only beginning to be discovered. Scientists’ knowledge of the various beneficial effects of these supplements will likely grow dramatically in the coming years. These brain-enhancing substances have significant promise to help patients deal with various conditions, both acute and chronic.

Nootropic Basics Table of Contents

Part 1: What are Nootropics

Part 2: Alternatives to Nootropics

Part 3: Choosing the Right Kind of Nootropic

Part 4: Side Effects and Therapeutic Effects

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