Posts Tagged ‘Modafinil’

17
Dec

Minimal Effective Stack, v3.0

by adminadam in articles

Minimal Effective Stack

1. creatine hcl — 750 mg, AM
2. noopept — 10 mg, AM-12-PM
3. cdp choline — 300 mg, AM-PM
4. modafinil — 200 mg, AM
5. ashwagandha — 600 mg, AM-PM
6. bacopa — 300 mg, AM
7. cod liver oil — 1000 mg, AM-PM
8. melatonin — 500 mcg, PM

Benefits

creatine hcl

  • energy
  • muscle building
  • muscle exertion
  • general cognition

noopept

  • extreme focus
  • verbal fluency
  • absorb information
  • memory retrieval

cdp choline

  • memory retrieval
  • verbal fluency
  • eye health
  • general cognition

modafinil

  • extreme focus
  • energy
  • wakefulness
  • stimulant, non-jittery

ashwagandha

  • immunity
  • anti-anxiety
  • sociability
  • reduce cortisol

bacopa

  • general cognition
  • memory formation
  • neuroprotection
  • vasodilation

cod liver oil

  • positive mood
  • general cognition
  • vitamin d
  • vitamin a

melatonin

  • sleep quality
  • sleep onset
  • antioxidant
  • general cognition

Additional Recommendations

  • nicotine (1-2mg a day)
  • probiotics
  • raw unmodified potato starch
  • zinc-copper
  • citrulline malate
  • l-theanine
  • rhodiola
  • turmeric/curcumin-piperine
  • l-tryptophan
  • aniracetam
  • oxiracetam
  • piracetam
7
Dec

Minimal Effective Stack, v2.0

by adminadam in articles

The Stack

  1. Creatine — 5g powder, AM
  2. Noopept — 10mg capsule, AM/noon/PM
  3. CDP-choline — 400mg capsule, AM/PM
  4. Modafinil — 100-200mg tablet, AM
  5. Ashwagandha — 570mg capsule, AM/PM
  6. Rhodiola — 500mg capsule, AM
  7. Probiotics — one capsule, AM
  8. Cod Liver Oil — three 650mg soft-gels, AM/PM
  9. Nicotine Gum — 1mg gum, PM
  10. Melatonin — 1mg tablet, Night

Changes Since Version 1

I have switched out piracetam for noopept. My main reasoning is to reduce the quantity of both powders and capsules that I consume. So I can cut my total piracetam powder levels from what they were previously — about six grams per day — to just three 10mg capsules per day of noopept.

I have added CPD-choline back in. While I have never experience an acetylcholine-depletion headache from taking racetams, I have heard that CDP-choline helps maintain cognitive abilities under sleep deprivation and also can help with dry eyes, both of which I experience at times.

I have removed Bacopa and added Ashwagandha. This was a hard choice which I took a long time to arrive at. Bacopa is lauded as the only effective, cheap, and safe way to truly improve your memory from a young-healthy subject baseline. But it made me excessively sleepy and caused me extreme stomach upset whenever I consumed it without food. These simple hindrances were what led me to cut it from my stack. While I enjoyed its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, I had experienced stronger effects of that nature from Ashwagandha, an all-around resiliency-enhancing herbal supplement also from the Ayurvedic tradition. Ashwagandha improves immunity, reduces stress, and reduces insomnia in many subjects. I have experienced reduced stress and anxiety. Other effects are questionably related to many of the supplements I take, like Modafinil and Creatine for enhanced energy and motivation. Ashwagandha may also be contributing to these positive outcomes.

I have changed from Fish Oil to Cod Liver Oil. Cod Liver Oil is said to contain more Vitamin A and D. I take these soft-gels in ample quantities, sometimes up to nine a day, if I feel like I need the Vitamin D for enhanced immunity or serotonin production in the winter months.

I dropped Lion’s Mane Mushroom after listening to a podcast on the medicinal mushroom industry. It seems that the quality of many of these supplements is suspect, with the greater-guarantees-of-quality brands costing an arm and a leg. I’d prefer to save the money.

I have added Melatonin to the list. In fact, I have always used Melatonin to get to sleep faster, fight insomnia, and serve as an anti-oxidant. Now that I’m using lower doses of 1-2mg per night, I feel more refreshed waking up than I used to when I took between 3mg and 6mg. Research shows that 0.5mg to 1mg is the most effective dose. Melatonin is especially helpful if you are in front of bright screens with blue light in the evening, or if you drink lots of caffeinated beverages, or if you take modafinil mid-day or — heaven forbid — late in the day.

What I’ve Kept the Same

Creatine is a godsend for athletes. I am running regularly now, in addition to lifting weights, and I find I have the energy to give an extra push at the end of nearly all of my workouts because of Creatine. It is also said to boost cognition in individuals with low natural levels of Creatine in their diets.

Modafinil keeps me productive and emotionally-intelligent after late nights spent hanging out with my brother or my girlfriend, or after working to the wee hours of the morning on Linux projects. Speaking of which, check out my new blog: Kernelmastery.com. You might say Modafinil is the Mascot for Kernel Mastery.

Rhodiola I would never abandon. It enhances immunity, fights stress, and helps you fight fatigue. It is a tried-and-true resiliency supplement.

Probiotics for the gut; a healthy gut for a healthy mind.

Nicotine Gum eases my stress, wakes me up on my long drives home from work, and reboots the cognitive engines after a long work day. With Nicotine Gum, I can avoid drinking large quantities of caffeine in the afternoon. Most gums come in two- or four-milligram sizes. Because one milligram is plenty for me, I simply buy the two milligram version and cut the pieces in half. Easy and cheap!

11
Jul

Minimal Effective Stack

by adminadam in articles

The Stack

  1. Creatine
  2. Piracetam
  3. Modafinil
  4. Bacopa
  5. Rhodiola
  6. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  7. Probiotics
  8. Fish Oil
  9. Nicotine Gum/Patches/E-Cig

Reasoning

A smaller stack is cheaper and more convenient to travel with. It’s also fast to prepare and consume. Here are the steps:

  1. If creatine and piracetam are in powdered form, mix with water (and perhaps sea salt) first thing in the morning and imbibe. If in tablet form, take in Step Two instead — perhaps still with sea salt. Salt really is key support for staying hydrated while on modafinil, and/or if you are doing a ketogenic diet. Creatine boosts executive function while piracetam enhances verbal fluidity, short-term memory, and focus.
  2. Drink more water with your modafinil and rhodiola. Modafinil boosts executive function and allows you to obliterate fatigue and physical exhaustion for up to 12 hours. Rhodiola is a super-herb from the Arctic regions of the world: Alaska, Canada, Siberia. It has been a treasured (and well-guarded) medicinal herb for millenia for its adaptogenic and resiliency-enhancing properties. As it may be somewhat stimulating, take it only in the morning.
  3. Wait a minute. Eat some fat (butter, bacon, avocado) — maybe with salt on it — and then proceed to step 4. Fat fuels your brain and aids in the absorption of nutrients and supplements, especially bacopa. Protein is good too, of course. Do not take bacopa on an empty stomach. It will give you nausea and diarrhea, I can guarantee it.
  4. Drink more water with your bacopa, lion’s mane, probiotics, and fish oil. Bacopa and lion’s mane both boost memory. Bacopa may act as a vasodilator (increasing cerebral bloodflow). Bacopa reduces cortisol and thus may make you sleepy. If so, you are advised to take it only in the evenings before bed. Lion’s mane mushrooms boost Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and likely boost the immune system too, as most mushrooms are adaptogenic and confer their resiliency to us when we consume them. Probiotics and fish oil will make you smarter and happier as well (happy gut; happy mind). These provide healthy gut bacteria, healthy fats (omega 3’s, EPA/DHA), and vitamins A and D.
  5. Take a “smoke” break if you get sleepy after lunch. Nicotine — if you so choose to use it — may help you retain focus and boost cognitive function if you experience afternoon sleepiness, and is less prone than caffeine to disturb your sleep at night. I use the 2mg Nicotrol gum, cut in two. Usually one piece per day, two at most. If you are not used to nicotine, I recommend you spit out the gum or remove the patch as soon as you feel its effects. Should be a kind of bright buzzing stimulating energy in your brain after ~5 minutes of chewing the gum. If you overdo it be prepared to get dizzy and vomit. Start small and also watch for nicotine cravings.

Where to Buy, Dosages, Pro-Tips

  1. CREATINE — Creatine Monohydrate Micronized Powder from Powder City; BioCreatine Capsules from Natural Stacks. Take between 2.5 and 7.5 grams first thing in the morning. Note: BioCreatine has Himalayan salt in it; adjust morning ‘salting’ routine accordingly.
  2. PIRACETAM — Piracetam Powder (100g tub) from Powder City; Piracetam Capsules (1-month supply for $29.66 if you take x6 per day like me) from Powder City. You can take up to 10 grams a day of piracetam and feel no negative side effects. Lower LD50 than salt, apparently! I recommend 2-3 grams three times per day for optimal results.
  3. MODAFINIL — Modafinil/Provigil from ModUP.net (33% discount if you pay with bitcoin). Take 1/2 pill (100mg) if starting for the first time on modafinil. It can be quite intense and cause irritability, upset stomach, dehydration, and headaches if you take too much for your body or if you don’t stay hydrated and remember to eat. Remember to eat! Modafinil suppresses the appetite. Lasts around 12 hours. Does not usually prevent you from sleeping after 8 hours, although it may be difficult. You are advised to take 1/2 to 1 pill immediately upon waking. Then chug a gallon half-gallon of water — with salt!
  4. BACOPA — Bacopa Monnieri Capsules from Swanson Superior Herbs. Take bacopa with food. 250mg twice a day. Just once at night if you get too sleepy taking it during the day time.
  5. RHODIOLA — Rhodiola Rosea Capsules from NOW Foods. Take one per day upon waking.
  6. LION’S MANE MUSHROOM — Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules from Swanson Superior Herbs. Take one AM, one PM.
  7. PROBIOTICS — Primal Defense ULTRA Capsules from Garden of Life. Take 1-2 capsules per day.
  8. FISH OIL — Organic Lemon-Zest Fish Oil from Barlean’s; Cod Liver Oil Softgels from NOW Foods. Take 1 tbsp fish oil or 2 capsules cod liver oil per day.
  9. NICOTINE — 2mg Nicotine Gum from Nicotrol. Use as needed.

###

16
May

My Current Stack, v3.0

by adminadam in home

Nootropic Stack — Version 3 — May 2015

BENEFITS ACTIVITIES AMOUNTS FREQUENCY NOTES
anxiolysis, focus Meditation 10-15 minutes weekday mornings breathing exercise: nose 5 sec. in, mouth 10 sec out. repeat x10.
memory, focus Study Japanese 15-20 minutes weekday mornings helps discipline in other areas
energy, focus, muscle tissue, immune support, balance, flexibility Taekwondo & Muy Thai one hour classes two times per week self-defense, sparring, board breaking, weapon training, and “forms”
anxiolysis, focus, muscle tissue, balance, flexibility Slacklining 5-30 minutes once a week on average, more in the summer excellent for core and leg strength and balance
BENEFITS SUBSTANCE AMOUNTS FREQUENCY NOTES
wakefulness, executive function Modafinil 200-300mg tablet weekday mornings upon waking drink lots of water. add salt to maintain electrolytes.
wakefulness, anxiolysis Matcha Green Tea [buy] 4-6 grams powder, mixed in water from waking through early afternoon works with cold water.  contains calming L-theanine.
anxiolysis, immune support, hormonal balance Ashwagandha [buy] 500mg capsule with 300mg KSM-66 standardized extract and 200mg whole root powder twice a day calming and pro-social
anxiolysis Tianeptine Sodium 12.5mg powder three times a day powerful depression and anxiety relief
anxiolysis, energy Bromantane 75-100mg powder weekday mornings upon waking powerful anxiety relief
anxiolysis, energy, immune support Rhodiola Rosea [buy] 500mg capsule, 3% standardized extract once a day upon waking best on empty stomach
energy, executive function, muscle tissue Creatine Monohydrate 5 grams powder once a day upon waking increased muscle definition. slight initial muscle bloating.
energy, muscle tissue L-citrulline, DL-malate (2:1 powder) 3 grams powder once a day upon waking and after taekwondo in the evening reduces muscle cramping and soreness
focus, verbal fluency Oxiracetam 800-1200mg powder four times a day subtly stimulating and anxiolytic
focus, memory CDP-choline 400mg capsule three times a day helps with verbal fluency
memory, anxiolysis Bacopa Monnieri [buy] 250mg capsule, standardized to 45% bacosides twice a day take with food. memorizing names and kanji quicker.
memory, anti-demetia and cognitive function, myelination Lion’s Mane Mushroom [buy] 500mg capsule twice a day just started taking in May. waiting to see effects.
 memory, reaction speed Vinpocetine [buy] 10mg tablet two or three times a day subtly stimulating. increases cerebral blood flow.
anti-inflammation Turmeric Root 1-2 tbsp powder once a day upon waking helps fight and prevent sinus infections
turmeric bioavailability Black Pepper 50-100mg once a day upon waking helps with turmeric absorption. reports of modafinil tolerance reduction.
serotonin production, immune support Vitamin D two liquid drops = 4000 IU once a day upon waking take extra when a cold is coming on
fluoride detox, metabolism Iodine [buy] three liquid drops = 7-8mg once a day upon waking fluoride detox symptoms, albeit temporary, suck: acne, fever, nausea
gut health Raw Unmodified Potato Starch [buy] 1 tbsp twice a day mixes with water. causes flatulence initially.
electrolyte balance Pink Sea Salt 1/2 tsp two or three times a day increases thirst and water retention
electrolyte balance, muscle tissue Potassium (Citrate/Aspartate) 99mg capsule once a day as needed helps prevent muscle cramping after workouts
sleep quality Magnesium Glycinate 2 grams powder once a day before bed calming. increases amount of dreams at night.
muscle tissue, immune support L-glutamine 2-4 grams powder once a day upon waking and after taekwondo in the evenings reduces muscle cramping. reports of anxiety reduction.
gut health Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic [buy] 750mg capsule once or twice a day healthy gut, healthy mind!
vitamin A/D, omega 3’s Cod Liver Oil [buy] two 650mg softgels = 5000 IU vitamin A, 600 IU vitamin D, 30mg EPA, 30mg DHA once a day upon waking take extra when a cold is coming on
sleep quality Melatonin [buy] 3mg 20-30 minutes before bed increases number of dreams at night
joint health Glucosamine and MSM [buy] two 1500mg tablets = 1500mg glucosamine hydrochloride, 1500mg MSM once a day upon waking helps my wife fight arthritis
immune support, anti-inflammation Oregano Essential Oil [buy] one to two drops, 83% carvacrol one to three times a day helps fight colds, infection, parasites, viruses
immune support, heavy metal detox Chlorella Powder two to three grams once or twice a day reports of reduction in allergy symptoms
BENEFITS SUBSTANCE AMOUNTS FREQUENCY NOTES
19
Sep

My Current Stack

by adminadam in articles

Nootropics are substances which either boost some aspect of your cognition and mental performance or stabilize your mood — all with either negligible or zero negative side effects. Think of them as safe smart drugs if you wish. Most of the substances in my stack (i.e., daily regimen) below are considered to be nootropics. While some aren’t generally thought of as “smart”, others aren’t necessarily considered to have negligible side effects either. I include them in the interest of transparency. All together they help me perform better at work and at home.

Hey, that’s not a nootropic!

Some nootropic enthusiasts and researchers would object to my including Modafinil or Activated Charcoal in the list. Just as a quick example, in Modafinil’s case, going by the ‘Safe’ criterion of the definition of nootropics, it’s a pretty easy one to discount. Just look at this short, incomplete list of possible side-effects:

  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpilations
  • Irritability
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Nausea
  • Etc. (The list goes on…)

Surely it should be used with discretion. Activated Charcoal on the other hand, simply has very few effects in general, and likely very insubstantial and/or indirect impacts on cognition and mental performance. One might say it’s not so ‘Smart’, although it’s definitely a ‘Safe’ one. I use it for detox from various substances such as gluten and sulfates, certain pathogens, and to treat nausea and indigestion — and this absolutely helps me perform better when I eat or drink something that’s not good for me, for instance.

Iodine is another one that may not have proven cognition-boosting effects for the general population either, but it’s really good for fluoride, bromide, and chloride detox. So if you’re exposed to high amounts of these guys, iodine might be helpful for you, especially in terms of thyroid and metabolic health.

Now for the list… Debate away in the comments if you object to any of what I include. And feel free to ask questions, either in the comments or via email! I can be reached at 84adam [at] thrivenotes [dot] com if you want to speak with me one-on-one.

SECTION I — What do I take?

My current stack includes the following:

  1. ModafinilModalert, 200mg, weekday mornings. Sometimes 100mg if I slept 8 hours the night before.
  2. Caffeine/L-theanineNatural Stacks’ Smart Caffeine, with 100mg Caffeine and 200mg L-theanine per capsule, three or four times per day.
  3. Decaf Bulletproof CoffeeUpgraded Self, blended with 1 tbsp. organic, grass-fed butter and 1 tbsp. MCT/coconut-oil, mornings.
  4. Additional L-theanineDoctor’s Best Suntheanine, 150mg, three or four times per day, whenever I have caffeine, including when taking Smart Caffeine.
  5. AniracetamPowder City powder, 1 gram, every 3-4 hours.
  6. NoopeptPowder City powder, 30mg, two to three times per day, every 6-8 hours.
  7. Bacopa MonnieriSwanson Superior Herbs (BaCognize), standardized to 45% baccosides, 250mg, two or three times per day.
  8. AshwagandhaNutrigold Ashwagandha Gold, 300mg standardized KSM-66 extract with 5% withanolides, plus 200mg whole root powder, two or three capsules per day.
  9. VinpocetineSource Naturals, 10mg, twice per day.
  10. IodineLugol’s Iodine 2.2% Solution, 4 drops with a glass of water, once a day in the morning.
  11. Butter Oil / Cod Liver OilGreen Pastures, BLUE ICE™ Royal Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend, two 750mg capsules each morning.
  12. Organic Turmeric Root Powder — 1-2 tbsp. mixed with water in the morning, sometimes with black pepper for better absorption.
  13. MelatoninSchiff’s Melatonin Ultra/Knock-Out, 3mg, one or two capsules, 30+ minutes before bed. Also contains L-theanine, GABA, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Chamomile and Valerian Root extracts.
  14. Activated CharcoalNature’s Way, one or two capsules as necessary, with lots of water, usually in the evening.

AND DON’T FORGET…

  • Exercise: At least 20 minutes per day. I do various body-weight exercises, push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, planks, squats, and lunges, plus 3-5 minutes of splits-stretch each morning. I also run or walk for 10-12 minutes every morning. I occasionally hop on the slackline too.
  • Sleep: I sleep 6.5 or 7 hours per week night on average, 8-10 hours on weekend nights.
  • Meditation/Relaxation/Relationships: I meditate on affirmations and gratitude for a couple minutes on most days. I also do deep and slow belly-breaths as needed, between 3 and 5 in a row when I am feeling anxious or stressed. In all my interpersonal interactions I focus on positive, appropriate eye-contact, and respectful personal boundaries, namely: not making assumptions about anyone/anything; waiting for people to say what they want to say; stating my needs effectively; and generally being affirming for others as well as for myself.

SECTION II — Why do I take it?

NOTE: Please click the name of each compound to see general information from Examine.com, including information on the supplements’ efficacy, typical dosages, interactions with other drugs, and side-effects. Exceptions include Bulletproof Coffee, Butter/Cod Liver Oil, and Activated Charcoal: Bulletproof Coffee links to the Bulletproof Exec page which tells the story behind the development of the coffee and the inclusion of the butter and coconut oils; Butter Oil and Cod Liver Oil links to the Weston A. Price Foundation page on the benefits of Cod Liver Oil; and Activated Charcoal links to the Nature’s Way product page again.

  1. Modafinil — Modafinil is a very powerful anti-fatigue, anti-exhaustion drug. It’s used by pro-athletes who want to exercise harder, top-executives who want to work longer hours, and college students who want to pull all-nighters. It is used more and more around the world because it basically allows you to not feel the effects from not sleeping enough. On top of that, it’s safer than many alternatives, namely: Adderall and Ritalin. As I stated earlier, however, it does have a number of possible, negative side-effects, like heart palpitations and insomnia. For more warnings, see r/Nootropics’ Modafinil Warnings. For me the worst thing that happens is if I don’t drink about 2 liters of water in the first half of the day, or let’s say within 6 hours of taking my 200mg modafinil tablet, I get stomach pain from dehydration. I really demands of you that you chug your water. As for the benefits, with modafinil, I can work 11-13 hour days as a teacher, stay focused, and get home with enough energy to spend quality time with my wife, make and eat dinner, and get ready for bed. It’s really astonishing how much my work capacity has increased since starting taking modafinil. Initially my main problem was simply trying to stay focused for 12 hours of straight work per day. Now I can do it just fine, but really it was an emotionally taxing endeavor for the first year or so. This has more to do with my growing into my job and learning how much I love exercise and sleep and their benefits, however. Since becoming more accustomed to my job, and since beginning daily body-weight exercise, and maybe eating a bit better (more fat and less carbs and no sugar or gluten), I have the emotional staying power to fully take advantage of what modafinil brings to the table. Since I know it is a drug to which one can become tolerant, I take breaks on the weekends and during breaks from school. Usually I do 5 days on of 200mg. Sometimes I’ll make one of those days a 100mg day, but only when I feel fully rested and healthy. A final point on the benefits — it also seems to make me more confident and serious in my work. These are positive outcomes for me, however, I have seen studies in which participants taking modafinil were shown to be overestimating their own abilities at a statistically significant level above placebo/control-group. If I can track it down I’ll link to the study. Just be aware that it could have this confidence/arrogance-boosting effect for you, too!
  2. Caffeine/L-theanine — I used to drink coffee all day long every day, up to 8 strong cups. I had a lot of nervous-energy and muscle tension. Over the last 6 months I’ve cut back significantly by switching to Smart Caffeine and by paying attention to my caffeine intake. Smart Caffeine, or caffeine taken with L-theanine, doesn’t lead to the same jitteriness or muscle tension because L-theanine basically counterbalances, or negates, the negative side-effects of caffeine. The result for me is much greater focus when I need to get work done. I’m not as antsy. I am happy to report that with this I’ve cut my caffeine from an average of probably 800 to 1000mg daily to 300-400mg daily. My sleep quality is improving with this, too.
  3. Decaf Bulletproof Coffee — Since adding this to my stack in the past 3 months or so, I’ve noticed more mental energy, and a rush of it at that, when I drink this while taking my other nootropics. The coffee here is free of mold-toxins and full of antioxidants. When combined with the fats in the form of butter and coconut oil it not only tastes good, but it also feeds healthy gut bacteria while giving your brain ample energy in the form of ketone-bodies, the most easily absorbed form of energy which your brain can immediately put to good use. I usually forgo breakfast because the fats provide my brain with enough fuel that I don’t feel hungry. I’m effectively doing intermittent fasting every day because of this; I eat dinner, go to sleep, wake up, drink bulletproof coffee, and then don’t eat again until lunch (around 18 hours fasting). This allows healing to take place throughout my body as it’s not digesting food. See Dr. Mercola’s Intermittent Fasting Infographic for more on this aspect. For those who are curious, yes, I do use the Upgraded Brain Octane Oil, which is basically super-concentrated MCT oil with just the C-8 MCT, a specific Medium-Chain Triglyceride found in coconut oil which is most easily utilized by the brain. Supposedly this makes it 18 times more powerful than regular coconut oil.
  4. L-theanine — I take extra L-theanine for added calm and to balance out the fact that modafinil sometimes makes me irritable. Also, knowing that L-theanine has a short half-life, I take extra to help account for caffeine’s long (6-8 hour) half-life. This is also nice to have on hand in case I’m out drinking caffeinated coffee somewhere.
  5. Aniracetam — One of the most important nootropics in my stack. It greatly reduces my anxiety, wakes up my brain almost immediately, and helps me focus and remember things. Some users report that it helps them with creativity as well. When I take it I fill a 1 gram scoop with the powder and place it under my tongue for about 30 seconds or a minute before drinking it down with water. Holding it under the tongue allows it to take effect more quickly as it can absorb through the gums. If you read more on aniracetam you will certainly hear about its awful taste. Personally, while I didn’t particularly like the taste, at this point it’s no different than say white flour to me. I guess I’m just used to it. As far as its mechanism of action, it is thought to increases acetylcholine uptake in the brain, as well as to reduce desensitization to glutamate at AMPA receptor sites. This amounts to (temporarily) greater information processing abilities, enhanced memory, and a reduction in social anxiety and stress. The effects last for about 2-3 hours, so I take it numerous times, perhaps up to 5 times per day.
  6. Noopept — A Russian compound based on Piracetam and used to treat age-related cognitive decline. Noopept seems to stimulate NGF and BDNF in animal studies, but has not conclusively been shown to produce the same effects in humans. For me it seems to improve my focus and short/medium-term memory. It also gives me a boost in mental energy, albeit in a more subtle and targeted way than caffeine or modafinil; I feel ready to process more information. Visual information processing is also increased for me; text seems to pop or jump off of the pages. Like with aniracetam, I hold the powder under my tongue for a minute before drinking it down. This one doesn’t really taste like anything. I believe noopept pairs well with aniracetam. Noopept is more brainy and aniracetam more zen, but they both enhance cognition generally. They are both neuroprotective and, additionally, are potential stalwarts against depression, according to the acetylcholine-depression hypothesis. Basically, the -racetams (aniracetam, noopept, piracetam, etc.) rev up your brain and cause it to use more acetylcholine. Depleting acetylcholine more quickly this way could potentially lead you to feel happier overall.
  7. Bacopa Monnieri — Bacopa is a safe and effective herbal supplement shown to enhance memory. It is also thought to be an anti-oxidant, a weak acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, a cerebral blood flow activator, and a neurotransmitter modulator (especially for serotonin). This means that it can potentially help you deal with stress, increase blood flow to the brain, and maintain good levels of important neurotransmitters like serotonin (mood-boosting) and acetylcholine (helps with information processing amongst other things).
  8. Ashwagandha — A powerful anxiolytic herb (stress/anxiety-reducer), it also can help boost testosterone levels and general immune function. I noticed that eye-contact became easier after I started taking it. Generally, my social anxieties have been greatly reduced since beginning taking Ashwagandha, Aniracetam, and L-theanine. Exercise helps a lot with this issue too, of course!
  9. Vinpocetine — Increases cerebral blood flow. When taking it the first few times it feels like an intense rush of blood to the head. Knowing to expect this, having heard about it from my friend, it was exhilarating taking it. After about a week the intensity of this feeling dropped off; now it’s just energizing.
  10. Iodine — Iodine is essential for thyroid function and detox. Specifically, it helps oust nasty halides (fluoride, bromide, and chloride) from your glands, bones, and fatty tissues. Good for pineal health and metabolism. May prevent hypothyroidism and help with fatigue and sluggishness too.
  11. Butter Oil / Cod Liver Oil — My wife and I take this for Omega 3’s, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D. Also, good fat is brain fuel!
  12. Turmeric Root Powder — Contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which aids in digestion.
  13. Melatonin — Helps me fall asleep quickly even after having taken modafinil and/or caffeine. Also a powerful antioxidant.
  14. Activated Charcoal — Helps with detox from things like sulfates in wine and inflammatory substances like gluten (which allows for a lot of allergens and other toxins to enter your system through your gut lining). I take one or two when I feel it’s needed with lots of water, but never along with other nootropics, as it can potentially interfere with their absorption.

SECTION III — Future Possibilities

I may add some new substances over time. I see great potential in the following two supplements, based on the reading I’ve done:

  • N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antioxidative supplement which boosts glutathione levels in the body. This promotes effective detox, even of substances which are difficult to get rid of, like acetaminophen in the liver. Glutathione is a cancer fighting molecule as well. In addition to taking an NAC supplement, you can boost your glutathione levels with food. The cruciferous family of vegetables is one of the richest food sources of glutathione. The most potent vegetable is Brussels sprouts. Others include: cauliflower, broccoli (particularly the flowers, not the stem), cabbage, kale, bok choy, cress, mustard, horseradish, turnips, rutabagas, and kohlrabi. I may consider buying an NAC supplement in the future to do some extra liver detox. I can also just eat more Brussels sprouts, of course! (Good thing I like ’em!)
  • Creatine — According to Examine.com, it just works. Creatine provides your body with phosphocreatine, which in turn is converted into ATP to power your cells and your brain. Strenuous exercise and stress can deplete ATP quickly, so it can greatly improve stamina, recovery time, and energy levels to supplement creatine. I have taken a creatine supplement in the past and it seemed to boost my endurance quite a bit when doing P90x3 and T25 workouts. I would like to try it again in the future, maybe with a powder from the Hard Rhino brand. 20 grams each day for the first week followed by 5g each day afterwards is the quick way for you to reach maximal effect with creatine. I will likely try this after a couple of months as I’m just starting to get used to my current stack — plus I may want to tweak some things here or there before adding a 15th supplement.

Thanks for reading!

23
Jan

Nootropics, i.e. “Safe” Smart Drugs

by adminadam in articles

Nootropics (say “New-Trow-Pics”) are drugs that provide some form of cognitive enhancement and yet are shown to be, if not neuroprotective, at least non-toxic and safe to use. These drugs work by A) making certain neurochemicals more available in the brain, B) by increasing the brain’s oxygen supply, or C) by stimulating nerve growth.

I first became interested in smart drugs (and subsequently nootropics) when a friend in college told me she took Adderall occasionally to boost her productivity (a non-ADHD-related use). She told me she could easily stay awake for 24+ hours and feel alert, clean her dorm room from top to bottom, write a paper or two, and so on. It should be noted, however, that in speaking of nootropics, we should not include Adderall, because it has numerous potential side-effects that may stem from non-prescription use: addiction, heart problems, depression, nausea, etc. (source: webmd)

A powerful and commonly-used smart drug these days is Modafinil. It is a “wakefulness promoting agent”, meaning it keeps you awake and alert, and is prescribed generally for narcolepsy and other sleeping disorders, in addition to ADD. It is has been used by soldiers on long missions and even by Canadian astronauts serving on the International Space Station. As noted by Andrew McMillan, a Journalist for Rolling Stones (Australia) who experimented with the drug, while it may not be addictive, after three consecutive days on the drug — staying up for 79 out 90 hours:

I felt as though I’m not making sense, and that those around me are acutely aware of this. I feel in control, but my mind is racing faster than my mouth can keep up. … Around 2am, I note that I’ve got an impending feeling of doom going on. Like I’m riding this too far, and it’s about to start doing some serious damage.

After sleeping a full-night’s sleep and erasing some of his sleep debt, he remarks further:

I reflect on how my views toward modafinil have veered between utter devotion to, now, in the cold light of day, a realisation that it’s probably not a good idea to be taking that shit on consecutive days.

Despite the illegality of off-label use in most places, one study in the journal Nature estimated that up to 25% of students at some campuses had taken neuroenhancing drugs like Modafinil in the past year. Many students have reported that it helps them to stay alert and perform — both mentally and physically — and that when final exams approach, the temptation to ‘take something’ can be overwhelming.

It seems that, as it may not be a safe long-term solution to the desire to enhance cognitive function, perhaps it is best to look at other (and more legal) options for those that would like to improve their memory, accelerate their learning, or simply be able to work longer each day. These nootropics should all be milder, safer, and more effective over the long-term, according to my research:

      1. PIRACETAM + CDP-CHOLINE — Piracetam is a safe and effective cognitive enhancer that is thought to restore membrane fluidity of compromised neuronal cells (helping with neuro- transmission, protection, and plasticity). It was first used in the 1960’s to combat motion sickness. Its companion (I’ve listed them together intentionally) is CDP-Choline, which is a choline supplement, so it increases the amount of choline available to the brain. (Choline, or Acetylcholine, more properly, is one of the primary neurotransmitters in your brain; without sufficient choline, your brain can’t function well.) [Read more about both of these substances, including how they work together, at SmarterNootropics.com]
      2. ANIRACETAM + CDP-CHOLINE — Similar to Piracetam, being in the “racetam” family, but this is a fat-soluble version, so it won’t dissolve in water. Aniracetam is purported to have an anxiolytic (read: anxiety-reducing) effect as well as the memory and word recall-boosting effects like that of piracetam. [See more here: smarternootropics.com/table-of-contents/aniracetam/.]
      3. PYRITINOL — Pyritinol is a modified form of vitamin-B6. It is two B6 molecules combined together so that — when broken down by your body — they can easily cross the blood/brain barrier to help with neurotransmitter synthesis. It has been shown to improve reaction time in individuals in time-based tests and is used to help treat dementia in some places in Europe. It has been in use as a nootropic since the 1990’s. (Interesting to note that it is also known as an effective “hangover cure”.)
      4. MAGNESIUM L-THREONATE — While magnesium is apparently one of the most deficient minerals in the American diet, eating foods high in the mineral and taking supplements is unlikely to positively impact your brain for the reason that these forms of magnesium cannot easily pass through the blood/brain barrier. With this challenge and the knowledge that in-brain magnesium is vital to synapse density, recognition memory, and spatial working memory, MIT sought to find a form that can easily get where it needs to go, hence: Magnesium L-Threonate, or MgT. In lab animals given it it led to 18% improvements in short-term memory and 100% improvements in long-term memory. It is currently being tested in human trials.

There we have it — four nootropics for the uninitiated to look into! Please let me know in the comments if you have insights into (or experience related to) these or other cognitive enhancers.