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Are Nootropic Smart Drugs Safe? How to Find The Right Brain Booster

So you’ve heard nootropics can boost your brain and improve your life. 
 
GREAT.
 
Now the reason you haven’t tried them yet is because you’re still wondering
“… but will they make my skin fall off?"
 
The good news is…. you get to keep your skin! 
 
But before you get too excited about flexing that brain and having your skin, it is important to remember that there are many nootropics out there, and different nootropics can be VERY different—from plant extracts to synthetic powders made in a lab. That means there can be a big range in effectiveness and safety. 
 

You’re probably already familiar with some nootropics—even if you didn’t realize it! Caffeine and L-Theanine, for example, are two nootropics that can be found in green tea and are very safe (when consumed responsibly, of course). The amount of each of these in tea is relatively low, but when combined at the proper dosages, they improve focus and alertness without the jitters and crash that you would experience with coffee.

But Are nootropics safe?

While there are some nootropics, like phenibut, that should be taken with caution (more on that later), the vast majority of nootropics are very safe for healthy adults when purchased from a regulated source and used responsibly. That said, there are a few important details that you need to keep in mind.
 
To start: what is a "regulated source" and what does "used responsibly" mean?
 
A regulated nootropic is not the same thing as a legal nootropic. Legal simply means that it's allowed. Regulated means that the government verifies and ensures the safety and quality. Surprisingly, nootropics can be legal without anybody actually verifying their safety or quality, and this is the case with nearly all nootropics made in the USA.
 
Used responsibly sounds like common sense—just follow the instructions on the label... right? If the product that you're buying is not regulated, then neither are the label or the instructions. Nootropics made in the USA only need to include that magical disclaimer, "these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA..."

Here's what you need to know:

The biggest risk is often when consumers buy from unregulated sources, since nobody verifies quality, contents, or claims made by vendors. The problem is that basically all suppliers in the USA are unregulated, since the American FDA does not regulate nootropics or dietary supplements—they only step in after the fact if a product is found to be contaminated, spiked, or otherwise dangerous. So even if a nootropic made in the USA is legal to sell because it is labelled as a food or dietary supplement, that doesn’t mean that there was any quality control or safety measures behind the formulation and production of the product.
Canada, on the other hand, requires that Health Canada approves all products before they even start retailing. That means the product’s safety, the effectiveness, the claims on the label, and the production process are verified and strictly monitored, so that the product actually contains what the label says (and nothing else). Indezone Energy is one of the few nootropics that is actually approved by Health Canada and regulated.
Canada

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REGULATED AND UNREGULATED NOOTROPICS?

1. unregulated nootropics and supplements have high rates of adulteration or "spiking" with dangerous, illegal, or banned substances.

While the FDA does nothing to prevent spiking of dietary supplements and nootropics, they do keep a list of the ones that have been reported. Since 2007, that list has grown to a whopping 937 dietary supplements on the market that have been found to be spiked. Some of the hidden ingredients include prescription drugs like Prozac, steroids, painkillers, and tranquilizers.
 
If that isn't enough, according to the FDA:

"This list only includes a small fraction of the potentially hazardous products with hidden ingredients marketed on the internet and in retail establishments. FDA is unable to test and identify all products marketed as dietary supplements on the market that have potentially harmful hidden ingredients."

American Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Yikes. While you would certainly feel the effects (and side effects) of these undisclosed hard drugs, keep in mind that the point of nootropics is not to get high. The more you know about the product you're taking, the safer and more productive your experience will be.

2. Unregulated products have a track record of contamination

Contamination is sort of like spiking without trying. It’s when suppliers have dangerous additives that they don’t know about, or simply turn a blind eye to. In other words, they don’t invest in quality control to make sure that what they sell is what they say it is. This is especially dangerous when they order cheap untested ingredients that have dangerous levels of heavy metals like lead, mercury, or arsenic. Heavy metal poisoning can cause a range of health effects, from anxiety to kidney damage, brain damage and cancer. Trace amounts of these heavy metals often come up in our diet and environment— it's when the levels get dangerously high that side effects start to show. That's why Health Canada recommends not exceeding 150g of tuna (about 1 can) per week, since tuna has been shown to contain high doses of mercury. 
 
Is this a serious issue? Let’s take ashwagandha as an example, for two reasons:
 
1) Ashwagandha is a common nootropic that is natural and widely considered to be safe, and
2) It has a fun name.
 
The problem is that most people aren’t actually getting just ashwagandha.
 
After complaints that Ashwagandha from India contained dangerous heavy metals, one study decided to double check that and compare it to manufacturers in the USA.
 
21% of Indian products contained these toxic metals. What's more shocking is that the rate of heavy metal contamination in American products was even higher at 22%. All contaminated products exceeded at least one limit for acceptable daily intake of heavy metals.
 
95% of these were sold by US websites, and 75% of these websites claimed to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)! 
 
In other words, when products are not approved or verified, nootropic supplements can cause more damage than benefit to brain health and cognitive performance.
banned supplements

Since the industry is unregulated in the USA, there is nothing stopping brands from cutting corners to make a quick buck. When you decide to dive into the world of nootropics to elevate your brain function, read the research, not the marketing, or simply order your nootropics from credible sources.

Where can I buy nootropics that are regulated for safety and quality?

To avoid contamination and ensure that your nootropics are verified for safety and quality, look for products that are made in Canada and approved by Health Canada. Indezone Energy is recommended as a starting point because it is approved by Health Canada with a health claim, "Helps to Enhance Cognitive Performance," and was developed to support natural healthy brain function. Indezone is an ideal "introductory" nootropic for regular use. The patent-pending formulation contains natural active ingredients (like caffeine and theanine, found in green tea), and is made in Health Canada licensed facilities with the strictest testing and quality standards.