Pills and supplements that boost brainpower seem an attractive deal if you are a college student looking to ace in your exams or a busy professional striving for better performance or an elderly patient suffering from dementia. Such pills are known as Smart drugs or Nootropics, which are cognition enhancers. There is a huge demand for such drugs, but are they safe? Based on the usage, smart drugs are categorized into two types: Prescription Nootropics and Non-prescription Substances. Most of the health experts around the world agree on taking the prescription smart drugs for FDA-approved diseases like Alzheimer or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, however, using the drug for any kind of cognitive enhancer in a healthy person is controversial.
Non-prescription substances like caffeine and creatine are considered as Nootropics, which don't cure mental diseases but have effects on thinking, alertness, and memory.
Prescription Smart Drugs
Diseases such as narcolepsy, dementia, Alzheimer or such similar mental conditions require amphetamine stimulant drugs for the treatment. Nootropic contains amphetamine substance, thus doctors may prescribe it to treat such medical conditions. Some of the prescription smart drugs are:
- Provigil - This drug helps in controlling drowsiness caused by narcolepsy.
- Adderall - This contains amphetamines, and thus treats attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD).
- Ritalin - This drug manages both narcolepsy and ADHD.
- Axura - This is one of the most prescribed drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease.
These listed drugs may treat medical conditions; however, one should not take it without prescription. Any kind of overdose may lead to addiction and severe side effects. One should follow the prescription and doctor's guidelines before taking any of the smart drugs.
Common side effects of prescription smart drugs:
- Fluctuations in blood pressure.
- Palpitation and faster heartbeats.
- Insomnia and sleep disturbance.
- Blurry vision and sight interruption.
- Drug addiction to impulsive behaviour.
Doctors and healthcare providers who prescribe smart drugs closely follow the patients for improvements and side effects.
In non-prescription nootropics, natural and synthetic substances are included that help in boosting mental performance.
- Caffeine: Common beverages like tea and coffee contains caffeine. A regular cup of coffee helps in boosting mental focus. The recommended amount of caffeine by the FDA is 400mg per day. Caffeine pills and tablets are available which needs monitoring intake. High dosage may be fatal.
- L-Theanine: One of the prominent components in black and green teas, which boosts alpha-waves in the brain. L-theanine supplements are also available and work best when combined with caffeine. One must follow FDA'S caffeine guidelines before combining it with l-theanine. It is recommended to take 100-400mg of l-theanine supplement in a day.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These polyunsaturated fatty acids are brain enhancers, and are found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements. Omega-3s are important for nervous system functionality. Supplements should be taken with a doctor's prescription.
Do Nootropics Work?
Small studies show that nootropic supplements have effects on the brain, boosts the performance and alertness. However, the lack of evidence from large group and studies fail to prove if the nootropic supplements work consistently and safe in usage.
Nootropics have a risk of side effects and overdosage interactions. Thus, it is recommended to follow the doctor's instructions and purchase supplements from reputable pharmaceuticals.
The best way to boost the brain, and for alertness, one must have adequate sleep, exercise regularly, follow multiple brain activities, eat healthily, and manage stress. In case one is interested in taking supplements for boosting brain performance, it is recommended to talk to a doctor for nootropics.