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Are Nootropics Safe During Pregnancy?


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Nootropics can include anything from traditional herbs and mushrooms to chemicals like caffeine, L-theanine, and alpha GPC. While some can be very beneficial during pregnancy, as with all supplements and this topic, it is crucial to ensure the supplements you are getting are actually good for you.

Because of this, we crafted this small guide to let you know which nootropics are safe during pregnancy, which ones you should avoid, and some possible risks around these compounds. 

 

Key Takeaways

  • Nootropics are substances that can help cognitive functions and can provide nutrition to your body.
  • Some nootropics can be safe during pregnancy, specifically minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients in the correct dosage, like zinc, calcium, iron, and vitamin B, which are all available in products like lion’s mane.
  • The prudent use of nootropics with medical supervision can lead to several benefits, from aiding with nutrition and providing support during bone and fetal development to the alleviation of discomfort like nausea.
  • There are other ingredients that should be avoided, including excess vitamins A and E, Dong Quai, mugwort, ginkgo biloba, and excess caffeine.

 

What are Nootropics?

To put it simply, nootropics are substances that can help you boost certain cognitive functions, help with mental tasks like memory, provide nutrition, and overall support your brain performance. Sometimes, they are referred to as “smart compounds” as they can help with memory, attention, creativity, motivation, and support your day-to-day activities.

There are many types of nootropics, from legendary ancient mushrooms like reishi or lion’s mane to compounds that can naturally help you with the production of neurotransmitters, like L-theanine, caffeine, and even ancient roots used in traditional medicine like ashwagandha or ginkgo biloba.

Overall, these nutrients can help your mental performance and have been part of traditional medicine systems such as Chinese, Japanese, and Aryuvedic practices. So, while recently they’ve become one of the most popular supplements in the wellness space, they have been part of human history for a long time.

 

Are Nootropics Safe During Pregnancy?

Now, this is a little complicated to check because nootropics is an umbrella term that encloses all types of compounds, from all-natural products and ingredients like mushrooms and roots to caffeine. 

So, with that in mind and before we proceed on some nootropics that could be taken during pregnancy, always consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting any supplement.

There are some nootropic ingredients that you can use during your pregnancy, and are relatively safe to use. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.

  • Choline: This chemical can be produced by alpha GPC, a naturally found chemical that can then help your nervous system and overall brain health.
  • B Vitamins: Folic acid and other B vitamins like biotin could potentially help with your nutrition, and it is especially recommended by literature as they can be consumed during your pregnancy.
  • Calcium, Zinc, and Iron: These are essential minerals that can help with bone health and general wellness and were found to improve infant development and growth.
  • Vitamin D: Arguably, this is one of the most important vitamins users report to help in pregnancy, with some public health systems recommending at least 10mg of this vitamin to help with regular wellness.
  • Magnesium: This essential mineral can be found in certain nootropic ingredients, like Lion’s Mane. Magnesium plays critical roles in different parts of your body, from the immune, muscle, and even nerve functions.
  • Ginger: Ginger has been known to treat frequent nausea and vomiting, which can be pretty common during pregnancy.

Can You Take Nootropics While Pregnant?

Yes, you can take some type of nootropics while pregnant, but it is recommended you stick to the compounds that your doctor approves, especially nootropics that lean on the nutrient side, like minerals and vitamins. 

Some vitamins and minerals can be potentially nurturing and may support your everyday activities, like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron.

Other known ingredients can also help with nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms that can be quite common during your pregnancy. This is also the same case with certain vitamins that are helpful in diets for pregnant people, like different types of vitamin B that can support anemic cases and other micronutrient deficiencies

So, while the term nootropic can detail different items, ingredients, and supplements, it is key you learn to differentiate between the ones that can provide a benefit and those that can have side effects or risks. That aside, it is important to always consult a medical expert before starting any supplement, especially during pregnancy.

 

Potential Benefits of Nootropics During Pregnancy

There are a few potential benefits of using nootropics during pregnancy, but it is important to check with your doctor first to ensure you are getting the required nutrients. With that out of the way, here are some benefits that would potentially benefit you during your pregnancy months.

  • Folic acid and B vitamins can potentially prevent birth defects: Research suggests that certain types of vitamin B may be helpful in preventing birth defects, helping with better nutrition and forming of the baby, and even preventing NTDs.
  • Vitamin D could help bone and fetal development: This vitamin is essential for the human body and its general health, but it can certainly help during pregnancy. This study on nutritional vitamin D through pregnancy showed it was vital for fetal and bone development, and the deficiency of it is often attributed to smaller babies and low infant birth weight. 
  • Potentially treating nausea and vomiting: Two of the most common symptoms during pregnancy include nausea, dizziness, and other types of acid reflux, which can lead to vomiting. This systemic research showed how some nootropic ingredients like ginger may potentially act as a therapeutic agent to prevent nausea and vomiting. 
  • Choline can help with general nerve and brain help: Choline, produced by the nootropic alpha GPC, can be very important during the physiological processes during the prenatal period. Research suggests that additional choline may improve several pregnancy outcomes and protect against certain neural and metabolic issues.
  • Calcium, zinc, iron, and other essential nutrients can support nutrition: These minerals are essential for your body, and they have the potential to aid with nutrition during this period. This research showed that the supplementation of these three minerals and Vitamin D could improve infant development and growth in the correct dosage.

 

Nootropics to Avoid During Pregnancy

There are a few ingredients that you might want to avoid during your pregnancy, especially since not all ingredients work the same during the pregnancy months. With that in mind, here are some common nootropics that you should avoid.

  • Vitamin A and vitamin E: While both compounds are essential micronutrients in the human body, due to the lack of research on the total effects and dosage, an excess of it can lead to malnutrition.
  • Dong Quai: Also known as female ginseng, has been used for more than one thousand years as a spice, tonic, and even palliative in traditional medicine systems, especially in China, Korea, and Japan. However, this product can be terrible as it can cause miscarriage.
  • Mugwort: This popular folk medicine herb can help with anti-inflammatory effects, but it can also have adverse secondary effects if taken too frequently. It is also sometimes taken as a natural abortive.
  • Ginkgo biloba: While this root can help with energy in normal circumstances, this traditional Chinese root can be problematic during your pregnancy.
  • Caffeine: While caffeine is generally safe to consume, it is usually advised to restrict the intake of this compound up to 200mg per day. Low-caffeine beverages are recommended during this period.

Navigating through pregnancy means being extra cautious with what you ingest, as it can affect both the mother and your child. The mentioned nootropics above may pose risks during pregnancy, and due to the lack of solid research and known adverse effects, it’s wise to avoid these substances and always consult a healthcare professional before use.

 

Potential Risks of Taking Nootropics During Pregnancy

Now that we’ve covered some nootropics that you should and should not take, there are a few risks to take into account while looking at different nootropics. First of all, ginkgo biloba could potentially increase the risk of bleeding and overall affect your blood pressure, which can endanger your health.

Vitamin A and vitamin E can also be dangerous during pregnancy; while they can be essential for maintaining the metabolic function in your body and help with antioxidants, they can also increase the risk of preterm birth, abdominal pain, and increased oxidative stress.

Mugwort can also cause problems like uterus contraction, stimulate periods, or even lead to a natural miscarriage. It is important to stay on the safe side and avoid its use completely during the gestation period. This is the same case of Dong Quai (female gingseng), which is traditionally used to relieve cramps and irregular menstrual cycles, but it can also produce miscarriage.

Always consult with your doctor about any supplement you intend to try. While some can have minor side effects like headaches, some might contain ingredients that can cause uterus contractions or problems while breastfeeding.

 

Final Thoughts

We’ve come to an end to our guide on nootropics and safety during pregnancy. And through it, we have encountered some beneficial compounds that can help with your health and nutrition regime. From the use of ginger to quell nausea to the consumption of certain minerals found in mushrooms like lion’s mane, there are several nootropics that can be beneficial if taken with medical supervision.

Now, there are also certain herbs and supplements that you should avoid, like mugwort or Don Quai, which are big-no during this period due to the possible side effects. Because of this, it is key that you ask your doctor before starting any supplement, especially to know the correct dosage of each of the minerals and vitamins you need for your daily intake.

 

Are Nootropics Safe During Pregnancy: FAQs

Can I Take Focus Vitamins While Pregnant?

Before you take focus vitamins, it is important to consult with your doctor to ensure the supplements you wish to take are safe. That said, some supplements like folic acid, iron, vitamin D, and calcium can be beneficial to take during your pregnancy.

What Supplements are Not Safe During Pregnancy?

The supplements and vitamins that you should avoid include vitamin A, vitamin E, Dong Quai, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, kava, St. John’s wort, and Yohimbe, according to this article that’s been medically reviewed. 

Can You Take Lion’s Mane When Pregnant?

Taking lion’s mane is generally considered safe for pregnant women due to the vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, iron, and especially vitamin B12 that can affect your pregnancy. That said, it is important to check with your doctor before starting any supplement.

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