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Nootropics on your mind?

Two Marines shop for dietary supplements. Two Marines shop for dietary supplements. Many dietary supplement products are marketed as nootropics. Although scientific study of nootropics is ongoing, there isn’t enough reliable information available to say with confidence whether any specific nootropic agents are safe or effective. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frank Magni)

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Many dietary supplement products are marketed as nootropics. While some products contain vitamins, minerals, and plant-based ingredients, others contain drugs that are not legal dietary supplement ingredients.  

Nootropics – also referred to as “cognitive enhancers,” “smart drugs,” or “memory enhancers” – are substances intended to improve mental performance. They include drugs used to treat a variety of conditions that affect mental performance such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, schizophrenia, stroke, aging, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For example, drugs in the racetam family – such as piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam, and pramiracetam – are considered nootropics. Some nootropics are marketed for use as dietary supplements to enhance the mental performance of healthy humans. 

Nootropic products that contain any racetam or similar drugs are not legal dietary supplements as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although many also contain vitamins and other natural or synthetic dietary supplement ingredients. In the U.S., piracetam, aniracetam, pramiracetam, and oxiracetam are currently neither controlled substances nor FDA-approved drugs. FDA has issued statements indicating that piracetam-containing “dietary supplement” products do not fit the legal definition of a dietary supplement, since racetams do not occur naturally and are not derivatives of any natural substance. Not all products marketed as nootropics contain drugs. Be sure to check the label. 

Although scientific study of nootropics is ongoing, there isn’t enough reliable information available to say with confidence whether any specific nootropic agents are safe or effective. Studies that have examined the effects of these compounds on the mental performance of healthy humans have yielded mixed results, so further study is needed. 

Not all ingredients found in dietary supplements are legal, so read product labels carefully. For more information, visit FDA’s Dietary Supplement Products & Ingredients

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

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