With any dietary supplement that you take, it is always worth remembering that safety often far outweighs the promised benefits. It’s no different from taking brain enhancement products, more commonly known as nootropics. There is a world of safety considerations you need to make to ensure that you’re benefiting from the supplement and not harming your body.
Natural supplements generally offer a safer option to prescription drugs or synthetic nootropics when it comes to cognitive health and performance. These ingredients include certain B vitamins, omega-3 fats found in fish oil, and herbal extracts such as ginkgo biloba and bacopa monnieri, to name a few.
Here are a few general guidelines when taking supplements such as natural nootropics:
Take the Supplement As Directed
It’s important to pay careful attention to the recommended daily dosage stated on the product label. It’s also important that you read the label for potential interaction of the supplement with any food you’re eating or medication you’re taking.
You might wonder: how can I get the best absorption? Some nootropics are best taken with food. Others may be taken on an empty stomach. Fat-soluble vitamins, for example, should be taken with a meal that contains a type of fat in order to aid absorption.
Certain vitamins and minerals can interact with specific medications, such as antacid, antibiotics, and anticoagulants. Read the labels of both your supplement and prescription medication, and discuss with your doctor any way that they might interact.
Take It in the Right Dosage
Make it a point to follow the dosage recommendations on the supplement label.
Remember that the nutrients in a nootropic add to the nutrients that you are already getting from your everyday meals. Balance is key in supplementation as in everything else in life; be conscious that you aren’t getting too much of certain vitamins or minerals than what your body needs.
Heed what your body tells you; side effects are some signs that you’re having too much of something. Mineral overload in your system, for instance, can lead to toxicity and cause symptoms ranging from fatigue to nausea to organ problems.
Just what are these potential reactions? Some things to watch out for include feelings of being jittery, high body temperature, increased activity, irregular or rapid heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, and unusual weakness, to name a few. While these are more frequently associated with synthetic formulas, it’s best to listen to what your body is telling you and to speak with your doctor if the effects persist or get worse.
Be a Savvy Label Reader
Reading supplement labels carefully is a crucial step in ensuring your safety while taking nootropics. Frankly, labels can get quite confusing. Some people think they can claim to treat or cure diseases, which they cannot. A sincere nootropic maker will also provide appropriate ingredient and nutrition labeling.
How do you know when something is too good to be true? For starters, the promised benefits or outcomes are unrealistic or border on being a quick fix or miracle cure. Next, a supplement should provide accurate and up-to-date information on composition, ingredient lineup and potency, added ingredients, and other aspects of the formula.
Start One Supplement at a Time
Avoid a mixture of many different supplements, particularly if you’re using all of them for the first time. The more ingredients, the greater the likelihood of risk, especially if the brand doesn’t live up to its promise of safety and efficacy. Mixtures will make it difficult for you to figure out which specific substance is causing a side effect.
It is recommended to start one product at a time and take note of any unwanted reaction you’re experiencing while taking it.
Store and Take the Supplement Properly
Prevent accidental ingestion by storing your nootropic stacks in the right place and properly labeling them. Keep them out of children’s reach, and always put them back to their proper place every time you use them.
While the nutrients in your supplement can be helpful as a supplement to your diet, they should not replace a real-food, healthy, wholesome diet. Nootropics work best when you pair them with smart lifestyle strategies, from a balanced diet to regular exercise to proper stress management.
Buy Only From a Reputable Source
While supplements generally aren’t regulated, you can take control of the safety and quality you’re getting by choosing a manufacturer known for high-caliber products. Many companies do not go through the entire process of quality control to ensure that the label matches the product, or that the ingredients in the bottle are all pure.
Nationally known brands — or those that have high customer and business ratings online — are generally better at doing this quality control than smaller and one-off companies.
Third-party verification on the bottle attests to quality control. Look for certification by USP or NSF International, or third-party testing credentials that a manufacturer will definitely boast on the label.
Brain enhancement supplements can make a world of difference in your cognitive wellness and offer a huge roster of benefits, including memory boost, reduced anxiety, enhanced cognition, better mood and emotional stability, better sleep, and protection from age-related brain conditions.
Safety, however, always comes first. Stick to a brand that maintains a reputation for quality and excellence, using only high-quality ingredients and adhering to the highest production standards. Bank on a brand that offers GMP-certified products manufactured in a FDA-registered laboratory.