Packaging of so-called “brain aid” supplements Buyers are usually promised exciting results, such as clear mind, increased creativity and sharp memory. What you actually get from the bottle may be completely different.
For example, according to a new study, it may include drugs licensed in Russia for the treatment of brain injuries, or drugs used in Europe to treat stroke complications.
Analysis published on Wednesday Neurology Eight cognitive enhancement supplements and two exercise supplements were found to contain five effective drugs that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These are supplements, sometimes called nootropics, and can be easily purchased online.
These drugs have been licensed in other countries/regions, which have been used to treat diseases from stroke sequelae to traumatic brain injury. They include:
- Omberacetam (also known as Noopept): This research shows that it has been used in Russia (and animal models) to treat traumatic brain injuries.
- Aniracetam: According to a paper in 2002, it was used to treat stroke sequelae in Japan and Europe.
- Vinpocetine: Prescription drugs used to treat stroke and cognitive impairment in China, Russia and Germany. The FDA has been arguing about whether the ingredient should be allowed in supplements, but this has not been allowed since 201
- Phoenibu: A drug used to treat anxiety disorders has also been hyped as a research drug, which can lead to large amounts of overdose.
- Picamilon: Another Russian prescription drug used to treat neurological diseases.
Among the ten supplements studied by scientists, drugs such as Oberacetam, Vinpocetine and Aniracetam are listed directly on the label, although they are illegally used in supplements in the United States.
Among the two supplements, fenbite and picamirone are present, but not listed on the label-which means that consumers will never know they are there.
The lead author of the study, Pieter Cohen, a general physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston, was not surprised to discover that these drugs were in supplements. Cohen’s history has found that companies that sell supplements (from sports supplements to sexual energy mixtures) do not always accurately report what is in them.
“If you want to buy some of these supplements with these unapproved drugs on the label, they will be very easy to find,” Cohen said. inverse. “We can’t rest assured that the products sold to improve memory, clarity, and tact do not contain foreign drugs.”
He continued: “At present, we must avoid all supplements that are marketed as brain boosters.”
The risk of “helping others” – Due to the limitations of the chemical laboratory he collaborated with, Cohen did not have the brand name of the drug tested in the study. However, he found these supplements by cross-referencing the National Institutes of Health’s Supplementary Labeling Database and the Natural Medicines Database.
The research team searched for products that contained pyroacetamide (a type often marketed as a nootropic drug) and two analogs of the drug, which have similar chemical structures to Oxiracetam and Aniracetam. The search result has 10 results, and the scientists purchased these supplements online in the laboratory in 2019.
As indicated on the label, those tests revealed evidence of Oberacetam and Aniracetam. But the test also showed the labels of three drugs: Vinpocetine, Fenbit and Bicamirone.
Cohen said the presence of phenbutyl ether in these supplements is particularly concerning. Phenibut has the potential to create dependence. Cohen pointed out: “People are overdosing this.”
In addition to details, Cohen pointed out that mixing these drugs together may cause harm. A supplement contains three drugs: Oberacetam, Fennibuter and Aniracetam. The other is contained in a bottle, including four types: Oberacetam, Aniracetam, Vinpocetine and Bicamirone.
“These drugs are expected to enter the brain and produce Unpredictable impact…”
The dosage of these drugs can also cause problems,research shows. In some cases, these supplements (for example, usually one or two scoops of powder) contain more prescription drugs than the number of prescription drugs legally prescribed by the doctor.
This is the case with a “brain enhancement formula supplement”. The two recommended capsules will provide users with a 40 mg dose of Oberacetam, which is usually prescribed in a 10 mg dose.
Cohen said this situation is extreme, but the content of the other four drugs in these supplements is “within the prescription range.” Moreover, when taken in prescribed doses, these drugs may have side effects. For example, Phenibut may cause side effects, including nausea, vomiting, confusion, euphoria, hallucinations, or insomnia.
Cohen added: “Given our knowledge and ignorance of drugs, these drugs are expected to enter the brain and have unpredictable effects on the brain.”
What can you do for this? – Dietary supplements do not need to undergo clinical trials to prove that they are as effective or safe as drugs. The idea is that dietary supplements should contain something that you might have come from nature, which is why they are regulated like food, not drugs.
For example, this is the case with multivitamins, but this is not the case with supplements containing illegal drugs, as seen in Cohen’s research.
The problem started with supplements, striving to meet the advertised requirements, and turning to more effective prescription drugs to deliver the product. In this case, the FDA can issue a warning letter requesting that the supplement be removed from the market.
Some still pass through the cracks. A 2018 paper found that the FDA identified 776 adulterated supplements in the agency’s own database-some of which were contaminated with prescription drugs. However, the agency only issued voluntary recall letters to 360 of them, leaving more than half on the market.
At this moment, Cohen’s advice completely avoids supplements that are good for the brain.
He said: “The Food and Drug Administration did not enforce the law.”
method: Identified by searching for products labeled as containing Omepiracetam, Aniracetam, Benzylpyracetamide or Oxiracetam in 2 supplement databases (4 of which are not approved for use in the United States) Supplements. Purchase products online and use non-targeted liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry for analysis.
result: Among the 10 products tested, Oxiracetam and Aniracetam were detected, as well as 3 other unapproved drugs (ie, phenylbutyric acid, vinpocetine, and picamirone). By consuming the recommended serving size, consumers may be exposed to pharmaceutical-grade doses of drugs, including a maximum of 40.6±0.4 mg of Oberacetam (a typical pharmacological dose is 10 mg), and 502±0.8 mg of Alracetam (a typical pharmacological dose of 200 –750 mg), 15.4±0.3 mg of fenbitrate (typical pharmacological dose 250–500 mg), 4.3±0.1 mg of vinpocetine (typical pharmacological dose 5–40 mg) and 90.1±0.7 mg of picamirone ( The typical pharmacological dose is 50–200 mg). Several detected drugs were not declared on the label, and several declared drugs were not detected in the product. For those products for which the drug quantity is provided on the label, 75% (9/12) of the declared quantity is incorrect. When using a single product, consumers may be exposed to more than four times the dose of the drug, up to 4 unapproved drugs.
in conclusion: Over-the-counter cognitive enhancement supplements may contain a variety of unapproved drugs. The health effects of untested and unapproved drug combinations taken at unpredictable doses without the supervision of clinicians are unclear.