While prescription stimulants and other medicines may provide a boost when you need to concentrate or focus on a large project at work, doing so might be risky.
"If you take a prescription medication without first receiving directions and monitoring from a healthcare professional, and then take it as you like, you're going to cause some harm," Guirguis added.
In the case of stimulants, Guirguis stated, "there is a very significant chance of dependence." "If you don't take the drug, you'll feel bad; you'll want to go back and take it again; you'll want to take more of it; there is an aspect of addiction here."
Many people who take these medications on a regular basis run the danger of permanently changing their minds. It is plausible that frequent usage can have a significant cumulative effect, Guirguis added, particularly if these medicines are used when the brain continues to develop, as is the case with students.
"I hesitate to use the term brain damage since it is such a broad term, but I would say there is a possibility of a loss of brain plasticity," Guirguis added. "If these medicines are given to healthy developing brains — during adolescence, to adolescents — they can lose their plasticity, impairing learning, impairing brain functions that determine behavior, and resulting in addictive behaviors."
Additionally, the negative effects of these drugs are unknown when they are used illegally in healthy people. According to the Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark review, adverse effects may include an increased risk of suicide, psychotic illnesses, and cardiovascular disease.
Even the most widely used nootropics have undesirable side effects and can result in dependence and withdrawal symptoms. While many of us rely on coffee to jumpstart our mornings or perk up our afternoons, caffeine can trigger jitteriness or anxiety in certain people. Nicotine is a legitimate stimulant, but it is troublesome because it constricts blood vessels and increases heart rate, which can result in cardiovascular problems and complications during pregnancy.
How much caffeine is considered excessive?
The FDA has recommended 400 mg of caffeine per day for healthy adults—roughly four or five cups of coffee—as a dose that is not frequently associated with harmful or negative effects. However, there is considerable diversity in how sensitive individuals are to caffeine's effects and how quickly they metabolize it (break it down).
Certain medical disorders and drugs can increase a person's susceptibility to the effects of caffeine. Additionally, if you are pregnant, attempting to conceive, breastfeeding, or have a medical condition or are on medication, we recommend speaking with your healthcare professional about whether you should limit your caffeine use.
Although the FDA has not established a limit for children, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions children and adolescents from using caffeine and other stimulants.
Is caffeine harmful to your health?
The FDA estimates that quick administration of around 1,200 milligrams of caffeine, or 0.15 teaspoons of pure caffeine, can cause hazardous symptoms such as seizures.
Caffeine products that are pure or highly concentrated pose a substantial public health risk and have been linked to at least two deaths in the U.S. in recent years. (The FDA took action in April to safeguard consumers from these items.)
Such frequently commercially available supplements contain pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid form and are commonly packaged in bulk with multitudes of servings per container, going to require the consumer to split out a safe serving from what could have been a toxic or even lethal quantity of bulk product.
Caffeine overdose risk increases with increasing caffeine concentration in a product, which means that even tiny doses of a concentrated substance can have severe effects. One tablespoon of pure powder caffeine has the caffeine equivalent of 28 cups of coffee, whereas a half cup of liquid concentrated caffeine contains and over 20 cups of coffee. These are hazardous levels that have the potential to cause major health repercussions, including death.
NOOTROPICAL RISK FACTORS
While purchasing a vitamin and mineral combination over the counter is unlikely to offer significant risks, it is prudent to ensure the product is manufactured by a trustworthy source. According to a 2018 review published in the journal Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, supplements are not adequately regulated and may interact with other medications or cause toxicity.
"The majority of herbs include hundreds of phytochemicals – compounds that have the ability to influence our bodies and alter our physiological activities. And are they thoroughly vetted? Certainly not, "Guirguis explained. These phytochemicals may have adverse effects, such as interfering with the way prescription medications are processed by our systems. "If a person is taking frequent medications for any chronic ailment, such medications may interact and produce toxicity."
If you're considering taking any one of these brain booster pills, be sure to read the contents carefully and seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist regarding the active ingredients.
"When we say "brain booster," we are actually altering the balance of those neurotransmitters in the brain. And if you augment it significantly beyond the baseline, you risk creating an imbalance "Guirguis explained. "Always consult a pharmacist or your physician. However, do not assume that just because something is herbal or organic, it is safe."