Nootropics Side Effects: Should You Be Worried?

nootropics side effects

Are nootropics side-effects free? Are there any exceptions? And what should you do if you experience issues with nootropics?

Your inception recommends

Nootropics are by definition free of side effects

Most nootropics leave no adverse side effects

Your Inception does not recommend

You have to follow the guidelines

When I started researching nootropics, I quickly realized they are the “next big thing” in the supplement industry.

Why was I so convinced?

Well, compared to all other supplements, nootropics should leave no adverse side effects. [1]

Why are we talking about side effects, then?

Because the original definition is not entirely true.

If it were, I would never experience any issues with nootropics.

But I did – it happened a few times I had headaches, digestive problems, and insomnia.

So, where is the truth?

Do Nootropics Have Side Effects?

No, by definition, nootropics are free of side effects. However, there are exceptions. Most common side effects are:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain and bloating
  • Brain fog
  • Mood changes
  • Sleep issues and insomnia

Nootropics are a great example of how a real-life situation differs from a theoretical study and findings.

Nootropics are free of side effects only when:

  1. You follow the guidelines
  2. You don’t mix them with other nootropics
  3. You buy high-quality nootropics

Let me explain further.

nootropic drug side effects

Dangers Of Nootropics

As I said before, nootropics side effects are non-existent under certain conditions. 

By following the conditions, taking nootropics is not dangerous. 

1. You Have To Follow The Guidelines

The first rule is the most important rule if you want to avoid any issues with nootropics – follow the guidelines and regulations.

This means that you should always check out the recommended daily dosage, you should store your nootropic supplements safely in the right environment, you should always take them as prescribed (usually with food in the morning), etc.

But do we do that in real life?

I would say no. At least the majority of people doesn’t completely follow the guidelines.

I’m not saying that if nootropics are stored in a slightly warmer room then recommended, you will experience all mentioned side effects.

But it’s a good starting point that something will go wrong.

So, before you start supplementing them, always check the recommendations and guidelines.

Another important note – many nootropics do not have established recommended daily values. 

How is that possible? Because we are still very early in the research phase.

What can you do then?

  • Well, first of all, always check how they were used in history.
  • Secondly, check the anecdotal tolerability, but don’t rely on it.
  • Thirdly, talk to the experts.

That’s how you can minimize the risks of side effects.

2. You Don’t Mix Them With Other Nootropics

Wait, what? Are you saying that nootropic stacks are bad? Greg, but you are continually promoting nootropic stacks.

Well, I do promote nootropic stacks, and I believe they are AMAZING!

However, in terms of side effects, nootropic stacks provide a much higher risk.

Think of it like this: Instead of taking one nootropic at a time, you take 5, 10 or even 28+ (like in some nootropic stacks).

Yes, you heard it right, some nootropic stacks contain 28 nootropics mixed in capsules.

While I do prefer nootropic stacks because they are much more effective, they possess a higher risk of side effects.

And the simple reason for that is the fact that we don’t know what will all those mixed nootropics do to our body and brain.

Based on my experience, most people report side effects with specific nootropic stacks that contain under-researched ingredients.

If you buy a high-quality nootropic stack, you shouldn’t worry about side effects too much.

But otherwise, you can never be sure.

3. You Buy High-Quality Nootropics

I’ll be very straight-forward with you: Most nootropics (and nootropic stacks) are NOT high-quality.

Not even close.

How do I know? My team does a lot of research, testing, do the background checks, and much more.

The result? I avoid about 75-80% of all providers on the market.

And by following those guidelines, there are no "dangers of nootropics."

But how can you ensure that you'll buy high-quality nootropics?

nootropics review side effects


And by experts, I mean REAL experts, not just to fake bloggers and other people who pretend they are experts.

That’s how you can save time and work by finding high-quality nootropics.

But if you want to double check the recommendations, here are a couple of things to do.


You want to take the highest-quality ingredients possible. And you should be willing to pay a fair price for them.

There are ways to save money on nootropics, but never save money on the quality of ingredients.

Here are a couple of reasons why should only go for high-quality nootropic herbs:

  1. Cheap nootropics are usually harder to absorb and digest, which generally brings digestive issues
  2. Cheap nootropics are typically grown in toxic environments; the efficacy of such ingredients is usually lower, so you intentionally (or unintentionally) increase the dosage past the tolerability point, hence the side effects
  3. Cheap nootropics are generally not organic, are NOT GMO-free, and might be even more dangerous than we all believe

So, how do you find high-quality ingredients?

  • Again, my recommendation is to listen to the experts you trust and let them do the work for you
  • Otherwise, search for standardized nootropic herbs which are safe and reliable
  • Use natural-identical minerals and vitamins, which absorb better than synthetic vitamins and minerals
  • Search for branded nootropics (like Cognizin®), which have been optimized and improved to ensure highest-efficacy and safety
Nootropic side effect


As we already know, every nootropic formulation should contain high-quality ingredients.

But’s that not all.

Many nootropic stacks contain:

  • Artificial colors – may have neurotoxic properties
  • Artificial preservatives – may disrupt the gut’s microflora
  • Carrageenan – triggers colon inflammation
  • Soy – possible side effects
  • Gluten – may cause digestive side effects
  • Other hidden ingredients that might cause issues

Sometimes it’s tough to figure out the real quality of nootropic supplements.

That’s why I’ve created a list of best nootropic stacks which are approved by YI, have been tested and carefully researched.

But if you want to save money, premade nootropic stacks might not be the best solution for you. In this case, DIY nootropic stacks might work better.

However, you have to ensure you still buy high-quality ingredients.

Here you can find the list of best nootropic stores


It’s recommended to buy nootropics and nootropic stacks that are manufactured in the GMP certified manufacturing facility.

GMP stands for the Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations promulgated by the US Food and Drug Administration. [2]

GMP regulations the following issues:

  • Record keeping
  • Personnel qualifications
  • Sanitation
  • Cleanliness
  • Equipment verification
  • Process validation
  • Complaint handling

But let’s say you for whatever reason experience side effects. Which are the most common and what should you do next?

Side effects of nootropics

Nootropics Side Effects

I’ve seen people reporting all kind of side effects from taking nootropics.

But there are a few that are most common.

Before we check them out, let me share with you what to do in case your experience side effects.

  1. Immediately stop taking all nootropics you are talking
  2. Try to figure out what caused the effects (follow the previously mentioned rules)
  3. Drink a lot of water
  4. If side effects persist, consult your doctor

So, let’s check the most common side effects more in details.


Based on my experience, headaches are the most commonly reported side effects of nootropics.

I never experienced extreme headaches or migraines, but when I encountered them, they were far for being pleasant.

Since most nootropics influence our neurotransmitters, having a headache is quite logical side effects.

If it happens, don’t freak out and follow the rules.

The headache should be gone in a couple of hours.

Stomach Pain 

Another common side effect is stomach pain.

Based on my experience, it’s not as common as headaches, but it already happened to me several times.

It usually starts with bloating, then cramping comes, sometimes even diarrhea.

While it’s impossible to say what exactly causes it, you should be able to avoid it by following the rules.

One of the things that I noticed was that most people that experienced issues with stomach pain were either gluten or soy intolerant or allergic.

So it wasn’t the actual nootropics causing the issues, but rather a soy and gluten hidden in the formulation.

If you have a preexistent issue with gluten or soy, always check the label on the nootropic supplement.

Brain Fog

Brain fog isn’t a typical medical condition, but it is a serious issue. It means that you feel slightly confused, or you are just struggling to focus and work. [3]

It’s a widespread side effect of supplementing nootropics.

The funny thing about brain fog is that you take nootropics to avoid it.

But taking the wrong nootropics can be counter-productive.

For example, stacking Panax Ginseng with caffeine, and a choline source turned out to bring brain fog based on my experience.

The result? I wasn’t able to focus for a couple of hours.

So if you experience brain fog as a result of supplementing nootropics, do check what kind of nootropics you are taking.

Mood Changes

Most nootropics make you feel more energized, relaxed, calm, and also happier.

Work becomes more relaxed and more fun.

That’s why so many people take nootropics.

But what if you take the wrong nootropics or at least the incorrect dosages? Well, your mood can change, and you quickly become irritated, unable to focus, possibly even tired.

One great example is if you take a caffeine pill (or a nootropic stack that contains caffeine) without L-theanine.

You’ll get an initial energy (and mood) boost which will quickly turn you into an irritated person. Not cool!

So be careful.

Sleep Issues And Insomnia

While many nootropics help with sleep and insomnia, others can cause it.

The main reason for insomnia is if you take the wrong nootropic (nootropic stimulants) in the afternoon or before going to bed.

That’s why I recommend taking most nootropics in the morning with your breakfast.

That’s how you will avoid Insomnia and other sleep-related issues.

Your Inception Final Recommendation

Your Inception Guarantee

If you follow the rules, there is nothing to worry about.

Nootropics are safe and won’t cause any side effects.

But if you like to be a guinea pig like me and love testing different stuff, then my honest recommendation is to do it slowly & smartly.

That’s how you will be able to avoid most side effects.

And if you do get a headache or a stomach pain, then you know you crossed the border.

Just don’t be stupid ?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to reduce nootropic side effects?
To reduce nootropic side effects, always check the quality of nootropics, follow the guidelines, and never experiment without proper knowledge. It’s recommended listening to experts who will make sure you will avoid all side effects of nootropic.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !