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Nootropics Depot Review: Effective or Unsafe?

Nootropics Depot Review: Effective or Unsafe?

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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Nootropics Depot is the most popular nootropics supplier in the U.S. and arguably the world. They sell a wide variety of cognitive-enhancing supplements (“nootropics”), but also sell botanical supplements and products across a wide variety of categories including dermatology and pre-workout.

In this article we’ll review what makes Nootropics Depot different from other nootropics brands, highlight some of their top-selling products, explain our concerns with some of the products they sell, and conclude with why they’re one of the safest bets for purchasing nootropics online.

What Makes Nootropics Depot Different?

Most of the products Nootropics Depot sells are not an in-house blend, but rather a high-quality version of a popular supplement category. Consumers know that when they’re searching for an effective version of a popular supplement like l-theanine, Nootropics Depot is likely to have a version that’s accurately dosed and standardized based on medical research.

Essentially, Nootropics Depot is successful because they’re run by people who understand supplement science well and who are great at sourcing patented and effective supplements.

To understand why this is important, consider a botanical supplement like ginseng. There are a wide variety of ginseng products for sale online: liquids, powders, capsules, raw botanical material, extract material, standardized extract material, among many more options.

Most consumers don’t have the time or interest to review all of the medical literature and determine not only what is the most effective form of ginseng to take but also the best dose.

Nootropics Depot does this for you, because they almost always sell an effectively dosed and standardized product. They make the process convenient because consumers can just know what broad category they want (like ginseng), and trust that whatever ginseng product they’re buying from Nootropics Depot is likely to be effective.

The most popular ginseng product Nootropics Depot sells is a Panax Ginseng capsule product at a dose of 200 mg, which is an effective nootropic dose based on medical research. The product contains no harmful filler ingredients, and uses a patented extract called “GS15-4” which is proven to be better-absorbed than standard ginseng extract.

This is the type of quality Nootropics Depot generally offers across the board for many botanical and synthetic nootropics, and is why many consumers trust them.

Top-Selling Products

Nootropics Depot’s best-selling product is Alpha GPC at a dose of 150 milligrams (mg). This dosage seems slightly underdosed based on medical studies (that Nootropics Depot themselves link out to), but since it’s a single-ingredient supplement users can just titrate up the dose as needed.

Their second-best selling product is caffeine + l-theanine capsules, at two different doses. This combination is one of the safest and most effective research-backed nootropics, and the dosages offered are well within the medical reference range from studies.

Nootropics Depot’s third top product is l-theanine alone at a dose of 200 mg, and this dosage is exactly the amount used in most medical studies on l-theanine.

Without need for further examples, we can conclude that most Nootropics Depot products are effectively dosed and available in the effective form for nootropic effect. 

Nootropic products backed by research data are not common in the supplement industry, as we highlighted in our Prevagen review, so we commend Nootropics Depot for their formulations.

Safety Concerns

Some of the nootropics sold on the Nootropics Depot site don’t have a preponderance of evidence backing their safety.

“Nootropics” is a broad descriptor of any compound which can positively impact cognitive function, and this spans from botanical ingredients like panax ginseng which have been used for thousands of years, to newer research chemicals manufactured in a lab which may not have much long-term medical research on toxicity and safety.

As an example, Nootropics Depot sells a nootropic compound called coluracetam at a dosage of 20 mg. This is one of a popular class of nootropic drugs called racetams, which are mildly stimulatory in nature and modulate neurotransmitter function.

We can’t find a single human study on coluracetam proving it’s safety, and we recommend avoiding this product. When there are so many effective and safe nootropics available, it makes no sense to take one which may be unsafe or toxic.

Nootropics Depot also sells a botanical compound called magnolia bark extract. While this compound has been used traditionally to treat anxiety for centuries, its long-term addiction potential is relatively untested. A medical literature review from 2017 outlined the addiction potential of magnolia bark due to its ability to modulate GABA in the brain. This could cause it to lead to withdrawal symptoms after long-term use as well.

Nootropics Depot founder safety comments on Magnolia bark posted on Reddit

Nootropics Depot’s founder’s response to these concerns on Reddit, shown above, was that he had personally taken the product and then “stopped cold turkey without any issues”, so he deemed it safe. This is obviously a very biased and unscientific method of qualifying long-term ingredient safety.

Ingredients should only be used with extensive long-term safety and toxicity studies. The Reddit comment was from two years ago so hopefully their policies have changed, but this is a red flag in our opinion.

No Published Third-Party Testing

Nootropics Depot claims that all of their products are third-party tested, but their product images only show a spec sheet, which is a document a manufacturer provides showing what levels of contaminants are supposed to be in the finished product, not the actual test results.

Because of their membership in the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), and their public partnership with several testing labs, we believe they do probably conduct the third-party testing they claim to, it would just be good to provide proof.

We believe it’s in the best interest of consumers that Nootropics Depot publishes updated third-party testing results for each lot of each product. This is the only way for consumers to verify that the products they’re considering purchasing are accurately labeled and safe.

If they have the data, they should just publish it. For now, we can’t definitively say that their products are safe and accurately labeled.

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Nootropics Depot is the most popular nootropics company for a reason: they have a wide variety of nootropic products that are ideally-formulated for effectiveness.

Like Gorilla Mind, we believe Nootropics Depot prioritizes efficacy over safety, which leads to some minor safety concerns over a few products they sell without robust long-term safety and toxicity data.

That being said, we believe Nootropics Depot is one of the safest bets for consumers buying nootropics online. Even though they’re not perfect, and we don’t recommend them, their formulations are almost always backed by scientific research, which is a lot more than many nootropics suppliers can claim.

We hope that in the near future they publish third-party test results of their products, in which case we likely would recommend several of their formulations.

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