How Long Do Nootropics Last?

Updated on February 24, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
An exploration of the duration and impact of nootropics on cognitive performance.

How long do nootropics last in your system?

Nootropics, also known as “smart drugs,” are substances that enhance cognitive function, including memory, focus, and creativity. Many people turn to these supplements to improve productivity and overall mental performance. But the burning question on everyone’s mind is: How long do nootropic effects last?

In this article, we will discuss how nootropics work in your body in order to get a better understanding on how long the effects last for. 

How Nootropics Work 

Nootropics work by influencing neurotransmitters in the brain, which are responsible for communication between brain cells. These substances enhance brain function and cognitive abilities.(1) Nootropics stimulate the production and release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine, which play crucial roles in memory, focus, and mood regulation.

By increasing the availability of neurotransmitters, nootropics improve cognitive performance, including memory, attention, creativity, and learning abilities. They also promote brain health by protecting neurons from oxidative stress and boosting neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to adapt and form new connections.

Here is a brief summary of some of the best nootropics and their mechanisms of action:

  • Vyvamind: Enhances the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine
  • Modafinil: Stimulates dopamine and norepinephrine release
  • Mind Lab Pro: Increases blood flow to the brain and improves overall brain health
  • Lion’s Mane: Boosts nerve growth factor for neuroprotection(2)

These are just a few examples of the wide range of nootropics available, each with its own mechanism of action. It is important to remember that while nootropics provide cognitive enhancement, they must be used responsibly in order to avoid adverse effects. 

How Long Do Nootropics Last For?

The duration of nootropics’ effects varies significantly depending on the specific compound used and the specific time period of how long it takes for nootropics to work in your body. The half-life refers to the time it takes for the concentration of a substance in the body to decrease by 50%. For instance, if a nootropic has a half-life of 4 hours, its effects gradually diminish by half within that timeframe. This means the substance itself will typically last for up to 8 hours.

Here is a brief summary of the half-life and duration of some popular nootropics:

NootropicHalf-LifeDuration
Modafinil12-15 hours25-30 hours
Mind Lab Pro12-15 hours25-30 hours
Vyvamind4-6 hours8-12 hours
Lion’s Mane Mushroom30-40 minutes1-3 hours
NooCube10-12 hours20-24 hours
Feedamind12-15 hours24-30 hours

Nootropics have gained significant attention due to their potential cognitive-enhancing benefits.(3) However, it is natural to wonder just how long these effects last and plan accordingly. Understanding the duration of nootropics’ effects is imperative for optimal usage and effects.

Factors Influencing the Duration of Nootropics

How long do nootropics stay in your system? The answer depends on the specific nootropic and various factors, such as:

  1. Half-life: If you want to figure out how quickly nootropics work, then you need to understand the half-life. The half-life of a nootropic refers to the time it takes for half of the substance to be metabolized and eliminated from the body. Some nootropics have a short half-life, lasting only a few hours, while others last a whole day or longer.
  2. Dosage: The dosage of a nootropic influences its duration of effects. Higher doses lead to longer-lasting effects, but it’s crucial to follow recommended guidelines to avoid potential side effects.
  3. Tolerance: Just like with any substance, the body develops a tolerance to nootropics over time. This means that with regular use, the effects may diminish, and a higher dose may be required to achieve the same results.
  4. Individual Differences: Each person’s body chemistry is unique, which means that the duration of nootropic effects can vary from individual to individual. Factors such as metabolism, overall health, and lifestyle choices play a role in how long the effects last.
  5. Stacking: Some individuals opt to combine multiple nootropics in what is known as “stacking” to achieve synergistic effects. The duration of the stack’s effects will depend on the specific combination of nootropics used.
  6. Metabolic Rate: Metabolism also impacts the duration of nootropics. Individuals with a faster metabolism may experience shorter-lasting effects, as the body processes the substance more quickly. Conversely, individuals with a slower metabolism may feel the effects for a longer period of time.
  7. Weight: Body weight is another factor to consider. Generally, people with a higher body weight may require a higher dose of nootropics to achieve the desired effects, which can also prolong the duration of the substance in their system.
  8. Age: Age affects how long nootropics last as well. Older individuals may experience a longer duration of effects due to potential changes in metabolism and body composition.

It’s crucial to consider these factors when using nootropics to ensure the desired effects are achieved and the duration aligns with personal preferences.

How Long Do Nootropics Stay in Your System?

When it comes to taking nootropics, many people wonder how long these substances stay in their system. The length of time that nootropics remain in the body can vary depending on several factors, including the specific compound, dosage, and individual differences. The effects of most nootropics typically last for several hours, but the elimination of half-life significantly differs.

What is the Elimination Half-life?

The elimination half-life refers to the time it takes for half of the substance to be eliminated from the body. It’s an important measure that helps determine how long a drug remains active in the system. After one half-life, 50% of the substance is eliminated, and after two half-lives, 75% is eliminated, and so on. It’s important to note that it typically takes around five half-lives for a substance to be completely cleared from the system.

Nootropics and Drug Testing

If you are wondering whether nootropics can be detected in drug tests, it’s important to understand the methods used for drug testing and how different substances are detected.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Urine Test: Urine tests are commonly used for drug testing and detect the presence of certain substances. However, most standard urine drug tests do not specifically screen for nootropics. They typically target common illicit drugs such as opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana. Therefore, it is unlikely that nootropics would show up on a routine urine drug test.
  2. Blood Test: Blood tests are another method used for drug testing, particularly in certain situations such as accidents or incidents involving impaired driving. While blood tests detect a wide range of substances, including prescription medications, it is unlikely that they would specifically screen for nootropics unless there is a specific reason to do so.
  3. Hair Test: Hair tests are less common but can detect the presence of drugs and substances over a longer period. The use of nootropics might not be specifically targeted in hair tests, but it’s possible that they could be detected as a general screening for unknown substances.
  4. Specific Nootropic Testing: If there is a specific reason to test for the presence of a particular nootropic, such as in cases of athletic doping or certain professional settings, it is possible to screen for the use of specific substances. However, this type of testing is not typically part of routine drug tests.

It’s important to note that the regulations and requirements for drug testing vary depending on the organization, profession, or specific situation. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules and policies in your particular circumstances.

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long nootropics last. It varies depending on the specific substance, dosage, individual factors, and other variables. It’s essential to research and understand the properties of each nootropic and consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating them into your routine.

While the effects of most nootropics typically last for several hours, the exact duration varies depending on the specific compound and individual factors. As for drug testing, routine tests typically do not target the presence of nootropics unless there is a specific reason to do so.

Remember, when considering the use of nootropics or any supplements, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure their safe and responsible use.


Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Malík, Matěj, and Pavel Tlustoš. “Nootropics as Cognitive Enhancers: Types, Dosage and Side Effects of Smart Drugs.” Nutrients vol. 14,16 3367. 17 Aug. 2022, doi:10.3390/nu14163367 
  2. Lai, Puei-Lene et al. “Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International journal of medicinal mushrooms vol. 15,6 (2013): 539-54. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30 
  3. Malik, Ruchi et al. “Towards better brain management: nootropics.” Current medicinal chemistry vol. 14,2 (2007): 123-31. doi:10.2174/092986707779313408 
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