How Long Do Nootropics Last: Acting-Life and Onset Information

Nootropics with long-term benefits tend to take several weeks to kick in and act very differently compared to their fast-acting counterpart.

Fast-acting nootropics tend to kick in within minutes, providing you with an instant mental boost, however, the effects of these nootropics do not provide ongoing benefits.

Those new to nootropics or those interested in trying them often wonder how long do nootropics last and how soon do they kick in? This can depend on many factors including the type of nootropic you’re taking, your body weight, and how your unique brain chemistry responds to it.

Nootropics with long-term benefits can provide you with a natural increase in energy, improved mental focus, improved brain health and more.[1] These drugs or supplements tend to take several weeks to kick in, but the results are often worth the wait.

How long do nootropics last? This will depend on the type of nootropics you normally take.

Certain nootropics must be taken daily and will begin to take effect once you’ve accumulated a specific load in your system.

Fast-acting nootropics will begin working in as little as five minutes up to two hours and have an active life that ranges from two to ten hours.

This is all heavily dependent on the following factors:

  • Type of nootropics
  • Your weight
  • Whether the nootropic was taken on a full or empty stomach
  • Your age
  • Tolerance or sensitivity
  • The half-life of the drug or supplement
  • Whether the nootropic is fast-acting

As you can see, there’s no real clear-cut answer to these questions. So, before you buy nootropics, make sure you do a little research, find out what the active ingredients are, the average half-life, and whether or not the supplement or drug is fast-acting.

There are many types of nootropics to choose from, each of which can cause a different response or reaction based on a person’s unique brain chemistry. Read on to learn more about nootropics and how they work.

Real Cognitive Enhancement

Nootropics work by improving cognitive function, boosting energy levels, and improving mood, focus, and memory.[2] They’re also designed to improve brain health and power and are considered totally safe when used correctly.

But many new users or people interested in trying a nootropic are very curious to learn how long do nootropics last and how long they typically take to kick in.

Some types of nootropic agents can begin to take effect in as little as ten to fifteen minutes, while others can take days or weeks before you feel the full effects. This can all depend on the product’s active ingredients.

Here, we’ll delve a little deeper into the onset times, duration of the effects, and the half-life times of many of the world’s leading nootropics, so you can learn just how nootropics work and how they can help to really provide your brain with the type of fuel it needs to work more efficiently.

Nootropics Onset

There are plenty of nootropics to choose from. Some are used to treat dementia, and others are designed to help prevent or slow down cognitive decline.[3]

Some types of nootropics are simply meant to help improve your mental focus or give you a natural energy boost.

They’re generally used to enhance cognitive functions including motivation, intentional thinking, memory recall, memory formation, physical energy and they can help to maintain or improve mental energy.[4]

Some types of nootropic agents have been researched for several years in order to verify purity, potency, and performance, while others are still undergoing testing, or there has been no study conducted at all.

So, on average, how long does it take for a nootropic to take effect?

This typically depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of drug or supplement.

In most cases, research is still needed in order to fully understand the full effects of nootropics and their mechanisms of action, in addition to a full look at the many benefits they offer.

However, there is plenty that is known regarding how they work and what you can expect in regard to a boost in your physical and mental performance.

There are several types of nootropics to choose from:

  • Dopaminergic: These nootropics can boost dopamine production
  • Serotonergic: Increases serotonin levels
  • Glutamatergic: These nootropics affect AMPA and NMDA activity
  • Stimulants: Boost alertness and increase wakefulness
  • Herbal extracts: Affect a variety of neurotransmission activity

Every type of nootropic supplement or drug can cause different types of effects on specific pathways in the brain. While some types of nootropics are designed to take effect immediately, others will begin to take effect once they build up in your system.

As an example, one of the most popular nootropics, Vital Brain Booster, can take effect in as little as five to fifteen minutes.

Other types of nootropics can take longer in order to be fully absorbed from the gut and make their way to the bloodstream where they will then cross through the blood-brain barrier and finally, into the brain.

Some types of nootropics will first need to go through a process called hepatic metabolism in order to take full effect.

Piracetam, one of the most popular types of nootropics, has a slower than average onset of effects mainly because it’s not efficiently absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract. It will typically take one to two hours after it has been ingested before you’ll feel the full effects.

As I mentioned earlier, other types of nootropics will need to first build up in the body over a period of days or weeks in order for you to experience any effects.

These are the nootropics that require a loading period before they are able to produce any type of cumulative effect that will eventually become evident after regular use.

Another popular nootropic, an herbal extract called Bacopa Monnieri is often used in order to improve cognitive function and mental focus.

This nootropic works by including the neuron connection, which causes the cells in the brain to communicate at a faster rate. This supplement can take anywhere from one to two months before it takes effect.

The Lasting Effects of Nootropics

The half-life of a nootropic refers to the amount of time when precisely half the amount of the drug or supplement has been taken and detected in your body.

Half-life is typically what researchers and pharmacists use to determine how fast a drug or supplement is broken down and absorbed.

Some nootropics will have a half-life of just an hour, these are usually the fast-acting nootropics. Others may have a half-life of five or six hours.

This isn’t to say, a nootropic that has a half-life of just an hour will stop working in an hour. This means that it’s very strong and you’ll begin to feel many of the effects of the supplement or drug in an hour.

With a one-hour half-life, the nootropic will have been absorbed and transformed, with only half of the nootropic detected in the blood in its solid form.

Some studies have shown that when a nootropic is fully absorbed and metabolized into other types of compounds it can have a major positive effect on the brain and your performance.

Now that you know about a nootropic’s average half-life, you can correctly conclude that a supplement or drug with a five-hour half-line can work for a period of ten hours or more.

You may still feel the effects of the nootropic beyond the acting time, but it will not be anywhere near as powerful as it was once it made it over the half-life hump.

Racetam Longevity

Racetams are by far the most popular type of nootropic. Nootropics in this category affect similar systems in the brain, working to increase the activation of receptors for acetylcholine, a type of neurotransmitter.

Acetylcholine is an excitatory chemical found in the central nervous system. This complex system consists of tissues and nerves and it facilitates the signals between the neurons that are responsible for cognitive functions, attention, focus, and thinking.

This neurotransmitter is crucial for certain cognitive functions such as memory recall and learning new information, in addition to performing complex calculations, problem-solving, and analyzing information.

Generally speaking, racetams work to increase neurotransmitter activity located in the hippocampus by including the high-affinity choline uptake process. They also work to efficiently increase the rate in which the nutrient choline is used to produce this chemical messenger.

Different types of racetams will cause different effects. The majority of them will work to increase cholinergic activity in the brain.

Other types of effects you can expect include improved blood circulation to the brain, protecting the brain against oxidative damage, enhancing neuron fluidity, and positively impacting levels of certain neurotransmitters.

Some racetams are water-soluble, meaning the body will only use as much as it needs, while the rest will escape through sweat and urine. Other racetams are absorbed rapidly, swiftly moving across the blood-brain barrier.

On average, many racetams will have a lasting effect of two to six hours, depending on how quickly they’re able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Factors that Affect Nootropic Longevity

As you now know, depending on the type of nootropic, the acting time can vary. But it can also depend on numerous other factors that are unique to every person.

Some of these factors that affect how long it can take for a nootropic to work and how long the nootropic will last include:

  • Individual sensitivity
  • Individual tolerance
  • Food consumed prior to taking the nootropic
  • A person’s weight
  • Cognitive function
  • Physical fitness of the user
  • Bodyweight
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Current health
  • State of hydration

Again, keep in mind, many types of nootropics can cause a cumulative effect over time. Many people who are new to nootropic use will mistakenly believe that a product is not working, not knowing that they must take it for a period of several days or weeks before the supplement has built up in their system.

Related Questions

Can You Make Nootropics Work Faster?

Yes. There are some ways you can make nootropics work faster. The most common way is to stack a variety of nootropic supplements together in order to enhance their effects.

You can also try combining fast-acting nootropics with certain compounds that take several days or weeks before they take effect.

I’ve Been Taking Nootropics for Three Months with No Results

If you’ve taken a nootropic for the recommended amount of time, or for at least one to three months and you haven’t felt any effects, then you may want to consider switching to a different type of stack.

Not all nootropics will work for everyone. This isn’t to say the product isn’t any good, it’s just not the right choice for you.

Will Nootropics Keep Me Up All Night?

They can if you take a stimulant nootropic too close to bedtime. Read the label, do some research, and find out more regarding a product’s active time before you take it. This way, you’ll be able to correctly time a dose and prevent it from interfering with your sleep schedule.  Learn more about nootropics and sleep.

How Long Does it Take for Modafinil to Wear Off?

Modafinil has a long half-life of approximately 12 to 15 hours and the effects of modafinil normally disappear after 16-22 hours. However, modafinil can remain in your body for up to four days after the initial dose.[5][6]

Will Modafinil Show Up on A Drug Test?

Yes, but only if they are testing for it specifically. Most employers don’t test for Modafinil.  Modafinil is usually tested for performance-enhancing sporting events.

Final Thoughts

Nootropics with long-term benefits are the drugs or supplements that will take several days, or weeks before you feel the full effects. There are so many nootropics to choose from, pinpointing a time frame in which one will last is basically impossible and depends on so many factors.

How long do nootropics last? This will all depend on the type of nootropics and how long it takes to kick in.

Certain nootropics are meant to be taken on a daily basis, so you’ll have a constant flow of the nootropics in your system, which can provide you with ongoing benefits.

Others are fast-acting and can kick in within minutes and provide results from two to ten hours, depending on the type. Often, a product’s lasting effects will depend on its active ingredients.

Taylor Bates

Taylor is a neurohacking expert who has been in the world of nootropics since it gained popularity almost 10 years ago. He overcame his ADD, procrastination and lack of focus with nootropics. Now, he is sharing his knowledge and experience here at to help others navigate the world of cognitive enhancement.
How Long Do Nootropics Last: How Nootropics Work
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How Long Do Nootropics Last: How Nootropics Work
How long do nootropics last? This will depend on the type of nootropics. Some take effect immediately while others take weeks. They are also dependant on several factors.
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