Posts Tagged ‘Piracetam’


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


creatine hcl

  • energy
  • muscle building
  • muscle exertion
  • general cognition


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

cdp choline

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


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


  • immunity
  • anti-anxiety
  • sociability
  • reduce cortisol


  • general cognition
  • memory formation
  • neuroprotection
  • vasodilation

cod liver oil

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


  • 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

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


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 (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.



Piracetam: The Original Nootropic Drug

by adminadam in articles, videos

Piracetam is a water-soluble white powder originally derived from GABA with extremely low toxicity which has been shown to provide numerous benefits to the brain:

  • It reduces the symptoms of motion and altitude sickness.
  • It protects brain membranes under low oxygen conditions.
  • It enhances the uptake of acetylcholine in the brain, which can speed up information processing.
  • It enhances communication between the two hemispheres of the brain through the corpus callosum.
  • It enhances short term memory, verbal learning, and may boost attention and creativity in normal, healthy subjects.

On top of these myriad benefits, there are very few reported side-effects. In rare cases, hypersensitivity is reported.

Recommended doses range from 1.6 grams to 2.4 grams, two or three times per day.

My recommended supplier is New Star Nootropics. When taking Piracetam, I definitely noticed significantly better word recall and verbal fluency, in addition to substantial improvements in my focus. I also noticed more colors and details visually when interacting in my environment, occasional improvements in reaction speed (catching falling objects), and improved listening ability, especially in regards to appreciating the music I heard more so than I would normally.

Read more research summaries and analysis on Piracetam at


Beginner and Intermediate Nootropics

by adminadam in articles

Nootropics are “Safe” Smart Drugs, supplements which can help you think clearly and focus, remember things better, and boost your mood. These supplements — while admittedly less dramatic — are infinitely safer than adderall but with near-zero side-effects.

If you’re just entering into the field of Nootropics, or are considering taking something to boost your mood or cognition, please keep the following caveats in mind:

  • Don’t expect a miracle — this is rule number one. Many of these substances have subtle or gradually-building effects.
  • Don’t expect increased motivation — this should come primarily from inside yourself. I think visualization and meditation practice are much more powerful tools for increasing motivation and overall well-being than any of the nootropics listed below.
  • Don’t expect a dramatically different experience of reality — again subtle effects are common: Increases in visual information processing, listening comprehension, multitasking ability, reading speed, spatial awareness, feelings of calm, etc., may emerge.
  • Sleep, exercise, and diet are your primary Nootropics — don’t neglect these fundamentals.

Here is what I recommend for the curious, new Nootropics user…

The Racetams:

PIRACETAM — A water-soluble white powder which is thought to work by increasing acetylcholine uptake and cell-membrane fluidity in the brain. Dissolve 1 to 2 grams into a tall glass of fresh, clean water, stir once or twice, and imbibe.

Many users of Piracetam report noticeable boosts to their verbal fluency, short-term memory, reading comprehension or reading speed, and mental energy. It is also shown to be neuroprotective and can help alleviate the discomfort associated with altitude sickness. Maximum blood-plasma levels of piracetam are reached after one hour, but you may notice its effects within minutes. Up to 10-gram doses have been shown to be non-toxic, producing few side-effects, if any: perhaps a headache and, for some people, irritability.

My recommended doses range anywhere between 1 and 2 grams. (It’s very forgiving stuff.) You can take it two or three times a day as well. I usually recommend redosing every 6 hours or so. My recommended suppliers are Powder City ($12.50 per 100 grams) and New Star Nootropics ($17 per 100 grams). If you take 3 grams of it every day that should last you just over a month (33 days).

ANIRACETAM — A fat-soluble white powder this time, which is thought to work on acetylcholine uptake like piracetam, but also has mood-bossting effects due to its AMPA-kine-type qualities. It re-sensitizes your brain to to neurotransmitter glutamate, hypothetically leading to reduced excitoxicity and more balanced signaling in the brain. It is seen as an anxiolytic racetam, meaning it reduces anxiety, boosts your focus, and calms you.

To consume aniracetam, either mix the powder in with olive oil or some other kind of oil — or else put the powder straight into your mouth and gulp it down with a bunch of water. This is the quickest way because it’s not water-soluble. Keeping it under your tongue momentarily before washing it down is likely to accelerate bioabsoption and lead you to experience the boost in cognition quicker.

Aniracetam has a half-life in the body of 1 to 2 hours, versus Piracetam’s 7 to 8. Aniracetam is significantly more powerful, however, for promoting anxiolysis and short-term memory performance. The ideal starting dose, I feel, is around 800mg; although, I often take 1 or even 1.5 grams at a time. Some researchers may tell you otherwise, but it does not need to be consumed with a source of fat (despite that it is a fat-soluble supplement). Taking it 3 or 4 times a day may be best due to its short half-life. Recommended suppliers are: Powder City ($28 for 100 grams) or New Star Nootropics ($36 for 100 grams) — in either case roughly a 40-day supply.

OXIRACETAM — A water-soluble white powder like Piracetam. Recommended dosages for this one are 800mg to 1.2 grams. It is noted most often for its boosting of spatial awareness and logical thinking, moreso than other Racetam-type compounds. The half-life is 7 hours. Take it two or three times per day.

Oxiracetam is significantly more expensive than the others, however, some users prefer this over piracetam, reporting that it helps more with complex, information-dense tasks. Note: Mileage may vary. I bought 50 grams, a month’s supply, to try from New Star Nootropics for $31. It’s also available from Powder City at $25 for 50 grams.

Oxiracetam, Aniracetam, and Piracetam are my three recommendations for you if you’re just beginning to explore the field of Nootropics. If you notice their effects and feel neutral or even positive in terms of your mood after taking them then this is a good sign. If you feel significantly more anxious, then perhaps the Racetams aren’t for you. But don’t despair — there are many more safe and effective cognition-enhancing supplements under the sun! (See ‘Besides the Racetams’ below.)

Testing out the Racetams:

After taking one of these three entry-level Racetams for the first time, try the following:

  • Listen to a song whose words you don’t know by heart — Can you easily pick out the words?
  • Try skimming a news article to get the gist — Can you read it while skipping lines or sets of words? Can you read and comprehend it any faster than usual?
  • Try going outside and looking at the plants and trees and animals — Do you notice more details than you would normally?

If you don’t notice anything and still feel fine emotionally (i.e. not anxious), try a few more times later on (8 hours later, or the next day). Consider increasing the dosages by 50% or so for your next attempt if you feel fine but don’t notice anything yet. Aniracetam dosage should be increased perhaps by only 10% at a time in my experience; a little bit seems to go much further than with the others.

A little more scientifically…

Many researchers and students of nootropics test and train their cognitive abilities through tasks such as Dual N-Back (about: wikipedia). Try for yourself if you are interested in seeing what these tests are like: Lumosity, Brainscale, Brain N-Back (android app), Dual N-Back (iOS app). These can help you understand and hone your memory over time, regardless of whether you are taking any nootropics.

Besides the Racetams, what else is good for me as a beginner?

Other excellent nootropics include Choline Supplements to accompany the Racetams, L-theanine to accompany caffeine if you’re a coffee drinker, and the Amazing, Adaptogenic Herbs: Ashwagandha, Bacopa, and Rhodiola.

CHOLINE SUPPLEMENTS such as CDP-choline and Alpha-GPC help your brain to be able to produce more acetylcholine, an essential neurotransmitter. These are often most beneficial when taken with one of the Racetams like I’ve described above, although even these alone can boost verbal fluency and short-term memory. Take 200 to 300 mg of these substances two times a day for best results. Note that overdoing it can lead to some depressive symptoms potentially. Highly recommended if you have little choline in your diet — if you never eat eggs, for instance. Good to combine with Piracetam, Aniracetam, and/or Oxiracetam. The idea is that the Racetams rev up your engine, while Choline supplementation keeps the ‘acetylcholine gas tank’ full.

Fine to combine. In case you’re wondering… Yes, it is okay to consume different Racetams simultaneously if you wish to experiment further. Many researchers do. Each one is purported to act on subtly different mechanisms in the brain. I would still advise you to test them out individually first to get a feel for their different effects, however.

L-THEANINE is a compound in green tea (and other teas) which is relaxing and anxiety-reducing and helps to ameliorate the side-effects of caffeine, namely: anxiety and muscle-tension. I find it helps me remain calm and stay focused when I consume a lot of caffeine. It is recommended that you take two times more L-theanine than caffeine, though, in order to derive the greatest benefits from this powerful combination. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a supplement that contains both ingredients in this 2:1 ratio. I like Natural Stack’s Smart Caffeine. It has 200mg L-theanine and 100mg caffeine per capsule, which is perfect. You should notice greater focus and reduced jitteriness and muscle tension if you typically consume caffeine. Smart Caffeine is around $20 for 60 capsules, but most likely is the highest quality supplement of its kind. Powder City also sells capsules with these same ingredients and proportions. They sell 90 capsules for just $10. I’ve used the Powder City capsules too and they work just as well.

ASHWAGANDHA is an anxiolytic adaptogen (an anxiety and stress-reducing herb) much lauded in Ayurveda. It is also said to increase virility and male fertility, and boost the immune system. It seems to reduce my anxiety and encourage more pro-social tendencies in me, like sustained eye-contact. I use Nutrigold (Ashwagandha Gold). It is $18 for 90 capsules, organic, with a high-potency standardized extract, KSM-66. Very cost effective if you ever get nervous or anxious in social situations. Take two per day.

BACOPA MONNIERI is another ayurvedic herb shown to boost memory and help you fight anxiety. It is one of the most studied herbal nootropics, and one that is a key part of my stack. NOTE: Memory and cognition enhancement aspects of this supplement may take up to 8 weeks of daily use to kick in. Anxiolytic (calming) effects should be apparent early on (similar, but likely less pronounced in this regard, to Ashwagandha). I use the Bacopa with the standardized BaCognize extract from Swanson Superior Herbs. This costs $12 for 90 capsules. Take two per day.

Bacopa and Caffeine with L-theanine are probably the safest bets overall. Very cost effective, too. They’re well-supported in research for memory enhancement (Bacopa) and sustained focus (Caffeine/L-theanine) in non-elderly (and also elderly) populations. Click on the links at the beginning of each respective paragraph to read more research on them from

RHODIOLA ROSEA is a Traditional Chinese Medicine and Scandinavian adaptogenic herb used to fight fatigue and exhaustion. It is a potential neuroprotective agent, and has been shown to boost longevity in animal studies. It is serotonergic, meaning it acts upon serotonin receptors in the brain, and it is reported to enhance general subjective well-being and cognition through its anti-depression and anti-fatigue-type effects. I found this helpful when I hadn’t slept enough; it gave me a boost of energy and also seemed to help me keep my stress levels low. I recommend NOW Foods Rhodiola Rosea. 60 capsules for about $8.50. If you find you like other brands more, just make sure they contain the active compounds at these percentages: 3% Rosavins and 1% Salidroside. This ensures potency. With all Rhodiola supplements, take just ONE dose in the morning. BONUS: Rhodiola may help reduce the symptoms of cessation of smoking. Additionally, some users report it helps them to cycle or go off of caffeine.

Intermediate Nootropics:

After exploring L-theanine, the Racetams, choline, and the adaptogenic herbs, I might consider testing out some of the following newer, and more powerful Racetams:

NOOPEPT is a highly-potent piracetam analogue. It is said to increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Nerve Growth Factor. This means increasing neuro-plasticity, potentially. It is often recommended that you take it for a period of time and then cycle off of it, for instance, two months on, and then one week off. A friend of mine said he noticed some personality changes in himself with noopept: He became much more serious and focused, yet less fun-loving in his own estimation. I feel that noopept is stimulating and helps me to focus on whatever I’m doing. I believe it is helping me retain more information in my short-term memory. It is also said to be neuroprotective and immuno-restorative. Doses of 10mg to 30mg are recommended, twice daily. I got mine from Powder City. If you take 30mg a day, a 1 gram container will last you for a month — and it costs only $5! I believe this one stacks particularly well with aniracetam — where noopept stimulates me and promotes quick and logical thinking, and aniracetam keeps me calm and encourages creativity.

COLURACETAM is a newer piracetam-analogue with the potential for longer-lasting effects on memory. Even tinier doses are used than noopept this time: 3 to 10 mg is suggested for coluracetam for each dose. Research indicates it promotes High Affinity Acetylcholine Uptake, indicating it more directly affects and increases the activity of cholinergic neurons. There is scant evidence of nootropic benefit to healthy populations at this time, but it has been shown to preserve choline uptake into neurons when they are otherwise impaired. A number of intrepid and daring nootropic adventurers who’ve tried it self-reported and indicated they felt similar cognition-boosting effects as with other racetams. Some noted a mood-boost and increased motivation as well. I tried a batch of Powder City’s coluracetam a while back and felt similarly about it, but knowing of its unproven track record and uncertain safety profile, I’ve set this one aside until future studies can substantiate the hype and settle some of the questions surrounding it.

PRAMIRACETAM is a another piracetam analogue, this time with minor evidence of memory-enhancing and neuroprotective effects. It may promote High Affinity Acetylcholine Uptake, but no clinical trials have been conducted on human subjects at the time of this writing. As the editors at note, it has structural similarities with both piracetam and choline, and so may break off into these two compounds or similar compounds after crossing the blood-brain barrier. Some users report that this Racetam is amongst the best for sustained focus and concentration. Typical doses are 300 to 600 mg twice a day. WARNING: Do not consume the powder form directly — it burns your mouth and tongue terribly. I recommend you mix and dissolve it into olive oil or another vegetable oil for a couple of minutes, and then maybe drink it down with milk or some other fatty beverage — yogurt could work too, I suppose. (The taste is absolutely wretched!) I got some from Powder City to try. It was $40 for 25 grams, a 20-day supply.

Further Resources:

  • Want more suggestions? If you’ve tried all of these and are looking for other suggestions of things to experiment with, hit me up at 84adam [at] thrivenotes [dot] com.
  • Wondering about certain combinations? See Reddit’s StackAdvice subreddit if you’re planning a combination of various Nootropics to take and want feedback from the community there.
  • Tell me more about it all! Check out Reddit’s /r/Nootropics’ A Beginner’s Guide to Nootropics for reliable suppliers, safety information, and more. Highly recommended reading!
  • Got feedback? If you’ve got feedback or an experience report for one of the supplements I’ve listed then please comment below!

Happy Experimenting! : )


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]
      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:]
      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.