Smart Pills: Not Worth the Risk


There are many new drugs popping up claiming to give you mental boosts such as “elevated memory” and “sharpened focus and clarity.”

These pills bring a few questions to mind. What are they and how do they work? Are they ethical to use as a student? Are they even legal? There is a wide variety of information and opinions on these brain boosting pills that would take an entire semester to review, but there are a few facts about these pills that can clear these questions up.

These drugs and supplements are called “nootropics” but they have adopted the name “smart pills.” Nootropic supplements range from a variety of chemicals and vitamins, but you will often find these pills in the form of a multi-compound capsule that will mix multiple nootropics together to give you the best effect you can get from them.

The average student immediately thinks of finals week when they discover these pills. There is a claim of only an 8 percent boost in mental performance, so students who use this aide would not have a huge advantage over anyone else. With this being said, using this drug should be considered ethical, but do morals matter if the product may kill us?

Many of the chemicals used in these pills have barely been studied and a few of the chemicals have little to no effect on subjects. Chemicals found in smart pills are the same chemicals you would find in an energy drink. According to Creating Genius Magazine, nootropics as just being “a glorified caffeine pill,” which seems to fit perfectly.

Some of the chemicals used in these products have potentially hazardous effects for users. The most common side effect you will find from these pills would be just a simple headache, but can range to far worse outcomes.

NeuroFuse, a popular nootropic, contains DMAE, which has shown to significantly shorten the lifespan of animals that were given the chemical. The long term side effects are not known for a large majority of these nootropics, so why chance it?

When it comes down to it, the ethics and legality of these pills don’t matter if there’s not a huge benefit and multiple potentially harmful side effects. The claims made on the websites selling these products have been shown to be very misleading and completely false in some cases.

On NeuroFuse’s website, every claim has a nice, little asterisk next to each one that leads right down to a notice at the bottom of the page that reads: “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

The effects of nootropics need to be studied a lot more before I can make a recommendation for them. As of right now, I can only recommend avoiding products like these. These benefits can easily be reaped with a meal and a good night’s sleep. A cup of coffee or an energy drink can also be a safer alternative. Don’t subject your health to potential dangers when there are better alternatives out there.