Your personal safety should be the first thing on your mind whenever consuming any supplement including nootropics. Just because you read or hear somewhere that something is safe, does not mean it is. One should make their own choices based on scientific evidence on what is safe and what is not. Always do your research and evaluate the pros, cons and risks of everything.
So what about nootropics, are they in fact safe? The answer to this question can vary based on the type of nootropic as well as the person’s chemistry, reactions and sensitivity. Technically, a truly safe product would have zero side effects all of the time in everyone. Most substances do not fall into this category because they produce side effects in certain people even if it is rare. Nootropics are no different and they can cause side effects.
When evaluating the safety of a substance, you have to take risk factors into account. Nootropics are very low risk for causing serious side effects. On the flip side, many drugs can cause serious and even fatal side effects. These factors are all considered when looking at the true safety of a substance.
In the case of nootropics, there have been zero fatalities and extremely rare reports of hospitalizations from a nootropic alone. Nootropics have a very low risk factor and are considered to have a great safety profile in general.
On our blog we go over many of the common side effects with nootropics. The side effects can vary based on the type of nootropic, type of stacking and the chemical composition of the person. When we speak of nootropics and safety we are mostly speaking about the racetam and ampakine groups. For instance, adrafinil and phenibut do not belong to this group and are not considered to be true nootropics.
Below, we will answer some questions based around racetam and ampakine nootropics. These questions are common safety concerns however, like stated one always should make informed decisions based on medical research and advice. Always speak with a medical professional to get true advice. Our blog is not meant to supplement this.
Can I Damage My Brain?
One concern people have with nootropics is brain damage and neurotoxicity. Since different types of nootropics work on different neurotransmitters and mechanisms this question has to be answered separately. For racetams, one may worry about cholinergic acetylcholine receptor damage whereas people using ampakines may be worried about glutamate excitoxicity.
There is a lot of talk about acetylcholine receptor “overload”, “burn-out” and “depletion” with racetam nootropics. These words may sound scary and worry some potential nootropics users. Decades of study have shown racetam nootropics to be non-neurotoxic and safe on the cholinergic system, even in high dosages.
Some research has even shown positive results in racetams protecting certain damages to the acetylcholine/cholinergic systems as well as other parts of the brain. So do not worry about damaging your brain with racetam nootropics. Time and research are in on our side with racetam nootropics.
Glutamate excitoxicity has always been a concern with ampakines. Older racetams with ampakine mechanisms like aniracetam have been proven safe and non-neurotoxic. Newer racetams like sunifiram have also shown to be non-neurotoxic in advised dosage ranges. We still advise to stick with older and more studied nootropics as this area still needs more study.
Stacking Nootropics Safely
Racetams, acetylcholine boosters and ampakines are all types of nootropics that combine very well with each other. Side effects can occur when combining racetams and acetylcholine boosters due to the alleged synergistic effect however these side effects are considered to be low risk.
Combining racetams and cholinergics with other drugs have zero reported serious reactions at this time. Regardless, if you are on any medication or drug, speak with a doctor before combining a nootropic with the medication. This is always advised with any supplement or drug even though the risk profile may be low.