HomeNootropicsNootropics vs Caffeine: Types, Benefits And Side-Effects

Nootropics vs Caffeine: Types, Benefits And Side-Effects

In this review, we are going to compare nootropics vs caffeine regarding their similarities and differences and much more. However, first, we need to understand caffeine and nootropics.

Caffeine and nootropics are substances that activate brain functioning and improve the span of attention and concentration of consumers. Caffeine is a natural substance and contains stimulating properties on the other hand nootropic is a synthetic substance or a drug that increases cognition. Both contain their potential benefits and adverse effects but nootropics are more effective and less harmful for consumers. 

However, a deep understanding of Caffeine and nootropics require a thorough understanding before we can compare them. 

What Are Nootropics?

Nootropic has undoubtedly been a phrase that you’ve heard a lot lately. Right now, it’s a popular word. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a nootropic as a drug that improves cognition, memory, and learning. Informal dictionaries erroneously refer to them as “smart drugs.”

The terms “nous” and “tropein,” which both mean “thought,” and “to bend or turn,” respectively, are the roots of the word “nootropic.” Nootropics, also called “smart medications,” belong to a group of pharmaceuticals that increase brain functioning. Some people refer to them as drugs that improve cognition or memory. Medicines with stimulating effects and prescription nootropics are available. The signs of illnesses can be mitigated including Alzheimer’s disease, narcolepsy, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Types Of Nootropics

The most common form of nootropics is found in dietary supplements. consistent with the researcher’s review, ginseng and ginkgo are found to be effective supplements. However, other types like CDP-choline, creatine monohydrate, L-theanine, huperzine A, Bacopa monnieri, and vinpocetine are found to be effective for consumers.

Another class of nootropics is the racetams, which include the drug piracetam. These substances have been shown to act on neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and improve cognitive function in the elderly. Modafinil is an additional class of prescription stimulants (Provigil). It is FDA-approved for the treatment of narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and shift work disorder, although studies have shown it may benefit memory and cognition in healthy individuals.

Benefits of Nootropics

Short-term benefits

Performance-driven cognitive skills including concentration, short-term memory, stress tolerance, and others that serve to offer a more immediate advantage to productivity, intensity, competitiveness, deadline, examinations, etc.

Long-term benefits

Supports memory, age-related cognitive decline, mood, and mental clarity far into old age by promoting healthy brain structure and function during the aging process.

Side Effects of Nootropics

An excess of nootropics can change your brain’s structure and blood flow, as well as your cognition and sleep habits, all of which can lead to insomnia. In addition to altering metabolism, possible nootropics can potentially produce gastrointestinal disturbances.

About Caffeine 

Natural substance caffeine has stimulating properties. More than 60 different items include it, including coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, guarana, and yerba mate.

The central nervous system, the heart, the muscles, and the areas that regulate blood pressure are all stimulated by caffeine. Caffeine is most frequently used by people to increase mental alertness, relieve pain and improve memory, sports performance, and obesity. Additionally, it is used to treat depression, ADHD, low blood pressure, asthma, and gallbladder disease.

Types of Caffeine

Here, we go a little more into the many forms of caffeine from both natural and artificial sources, beginning with the most well-known.

  • Caffeine in coffee. One of the first things that come to our minds when we think of caffeine is coffee, and for good reason too! Coffee aside, caffeine is present in over sixty other plants, such as cocoa beans and tea leaves, proving that it is not simply a one-trick pony.

  • Caffeine in tea. Contrary to popular belief, tea is more stimulating than coffee and has lower amounts of caffeine. About 75 mg of caffeine is found in a cup of tea. White tea comes in second at 55mg per cup, while green tea is slightly lower at 60mg.
  • Caffeine in energy drinks. Despite being one of the primary components in terms of ratio, caffeine is not the only stimulant included in energy drinks. Energy drinks are often made with a mixture of caffeine, other plant-based stimulants like guarana, simple carbohydrates like glucose, amino acids, herbs like ginseng, and vitamins.

  • Caffeine in chocolate. A little amount of caffeine and other naturally occurring compounds found in dark chocolate may aid to elevate mood and give you an energy boost. Because cocoa butter and cocoa solids do not contain caffeine, you may determine the quantity of caffeine in chocolate by looking at the cocoa content and level of blackness.

  • Caffeine in supplements. Unless it contains a good amount of sugar, some folks simply don’t enjoy the flavor of coffee or tea. Because they offer an energy boost without adding calories, caffeine tablets may be a better option in this situation.
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Benefits of Caffeine

Caffeine’s stimulating properties have been linked to several health advantages including:

  • Increased alertness
  • Better results in sports 
  • Improved mood
  • Elevated metabolism 
  • Headaches from tension 
  • Boosts mental activity
  • Heart disease prevention
  • Reduces diabetes

Side Effects of Caffeine

Up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is generally not dangerous. Caffeine can harm your health if you consume or consume it in excess.

  • Unrest and trepidation
  • Insomnia
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • speedy heartbeat
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety
  • You need to take more caffeine to achieve the same effects due to dependence.

Nootropics vs Caffeine – Similarities And Differences


Caffeine and nootropics are two different types of drugs, still, both have potential benefits that increase cognition, such as increased brain activity. Along with boosting alertness, they both also elevated anxiety and enhanced focus. Caffeine is present in certain nootropics, though. However, it isn’t frequently utilized as the primary component. To further boost brain activity, certain brain boosters contain trace amounts of coffee.


For those wishing to improve memory and alertness, Nootropics vs. Coffee contrasts two well-known cognitive enhancers. 

You can frequently use brain supplements called nootropic substances to improve your cognitive function. it is a natural drug that has no or few side effects.

Contrarily, coffee has several bioactive chemicals that are advantageous for cerebral blood flow, cognition, and psychomotor functioning. It is also a natural substance but contains acute and chronic adverse effects. Some individuals are more prone to the substances in coffee than others, but coffee can enhance cognition and boost energy levels. As a result, it is well recognized to produce jitters, crashes, withdrawal, and insufficient sleep in many people. 

Nootropics are found to be more effective for cognition than caffeine due to their non-tolerance properties and fewer risk factors and also can be taken regularly as dietary supplements. 

Although caffeine is more harmful than nootropics, still mostly consumers take it on a regular basis. 

Other different substances such as tea, coffee, and chocolate contain caffeine. On the other hand, nootropics can only be found in dietary supplements and perceived drugs. 

Which One Is More Beneficial?

The efficacy of caffeine and nootropics have shown conflicting findings. According to the research, caffeine is superior to brain-boost drugs like nootropics in terms of effectiveness. However, alternative nootropics are shown to be beneficial and have fewer side effects than caffeine.

Beneficial nootropics are made from natural substances that have minimal to no negative side effects and improve cognition. They often don’t include stimulants like coffee, which have negative consequences. This is why they are better for cognition than coffee.

Although coffee may be a good temporary mental and physical energy booster, the adverse effects may not be worth it when compared to naturally occurring nootropics or natural cognitive enhancers, which have practically no adverse effects.

Which One Is More Harmful? 

Caffeine can be detrimental for a brief period if taken in doses of 600 mg or more, but if these doses are exceeded, persistent health problems such as dependence, sleeplessness, migraines, and irregular heartbeat may result.

Headaches, heightened motor activity, a rapid heartbeat, nausea, and tremors can be symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Combining any other substance with caffeine might be fatal for the consumer. Caffeine itself is highly addictive and easily becomes tolerant due to its energizing properties and high risk of acute cardiac problems. Although coffee might influence your ability to absorb nutrients, avoiding it for an hour before and after taking your supplement ensures that there won’t be any bad effects. 

On the other hand, true nootropics are typically side effects free but potential risk factors or adverse effects can occur if it is taken in high doses or supplements or taken these drugs illegally. Adverse effects include high blood pressure, palpitations, insomnia, addiction, and problems in the circulatory system.

Thus, the aforementioned statements provide us a clear understanding of the drug that is most likely to be hazardous, which is caffeine. Caffeine may cause several acute and long-term health issues without exceeding recommended doses, which ultimately has an impact on your quality of life. 


In the end, nootropics can improve cognition while posing a lower risk of negative side effects than coffee. Despite being a potent, energetic beverage full of bioactive components for a rapid cognitive fix, coffee isn’t exactly sustainable.

Both have their benefits and drawbacks, but it’s vital to realize that whether you’re using coffee or nootropics, you should use caution because an excessive amount or an addiction may have serious negative consequences on your health. A healthy lifestyle can help you achieve higher performance and more positive results.

Kristie Leong
Kristie Leong is a medical writer, researcher and a blogger with 13+ years of experience. She maintains her own personal health blog as well. She owns knowledge base that covers a wide range of medical fields and she loves to express her health knowledge through her words. Expert in medical marijuana, CBD oil, Kratom, Kava, Matcha and other botanical.

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