The term “cognitive enhancer” or “nootropics” denotes any supplement that has the potential to increase mental alertness, intelligence, focus, and/or clarity of mind. If you ever saw the movie or TV show “Limitless,” you can understand the possibilities inherent in such a product. Caffeine is the most popular drug in the world—partly because it makes you more mentally alert with a minimum of negative side effects. Yet, nowadays there are many cognitive enhancing supplements you can buy at your health food store or online. All you need is some money, some time to explore, and an open mind.
First the bad news. I will make many recommendations in this blog, but you should know that people react very differently to many of these supplements. I suggest that, when possible, you buy and try a very small amount of any of these pills and see what effect they have on you. Only by trying them out will you know exactly what they do for you. In addition, people vary a lot in terms of the amount of each drug or supplement that is the right dose for them. Case in point: when I drink coffee (which is rare), a full cup sends me on a wild productivity and emotional roller coaster for about 12 hours. On the other hand, some people drink 5 cups a day and barely register any effect. In general, start out conservatively and then if nothing happens, you can always take more.
Now the good news. There’s many great, safe, and legal cognitive enhancers to choose from. I’ll mention several of my favorites, along with web sites where you can purchase them. Yet, since there are so many, I suggest you google “cognitive enhancers” or go to the websites I suggest and do some research on your own. There are two cognitive enhancers in the “racetam” class I especially like. One is called “Aniracetam,” and the other is called “Pramiracetam.” Aniracetam is shorter acting, but maybe better at improving one’s mood, whereas Pramiracetam is longer acting, and more powerful when it comes to creating mental focus. You can buy both of these on many websites, including www.absorbyourhealth.com It’s best to try a small amount of each to see which one you might like better. A good guide to learn more about these supplements is the website: www.smarternootropics.com Once there, click on the free “The Complete Guide to Nootropics.”
As I mentioned before, people react differently to these pills. While they are considered safe, some people don’t feel them right away. Especially with Pramiracetam, you may have to take it for up to a week to feel its full effect. There is also some evidence that their effect is increased if taken in conjunction with 300 to 600 mg of CDP choline, or an Omega 3 supplement. I’ve enjoyed both. I find I can really focus better with either of them, and they can often help get me into “the zone” where my mind is both quiet and clear. Try them if you have the money and see what they can do for you.
Next, I want to discuss the wonders of Adrafinil. Adrafinil is a supplement that turns into Modafinil once injested in your body. Modafinil is a prescription medication the army uses to keep soldiers incredibly alert and focused for long periods of time. Adrafinil is non-presription, but also works quite well. My personal experience with both of these pills is rather intense. If I want to stay focused and alert for 12 hours, I take a half dose Modafini, or 300 mg of Adrafinil. If I want to simply be at my best throughout the day, I might take a quarter of the regular dose. Taking a supplement called Phenibut (250 to 500 mg) can be a nice addition to Adrafinil. When I needed to write 30 pages in a day for a book I was doing, I found that taking some Adrafinil and Phenibut made the job easy—and I had a great time doing it. Adrafinil is available for sale online, but don’t take it more than once or twice a week
If cost is a big factor for you, you can get supplements such as phosphatidyl choline or DMAE at Vitacost.com for very little money. My experience with these pills is that they are more subtle than the other things I’ve mentioned. However, both of these products are considered to be perfectly safe long term, and have been shown to have cognitive enhancing abilities if taken regularly. By the way, I have no financial arrangement with any of the companies I recommend. My motivation in recommending certain online sites is simply to help you gain more information and/or find these products at a reliable and inexpensive source.
Finally, I want to recommend the site www.webnutrients.com. This site has many innovative products of the cognitive and mood enhancing type that you can easily purchase. In fact, by filling out their online questionnaire, you can have your pills tailor made to meet your exact needs and desires. They have something called “Happy Caps” that indeed affect your mind and mood, something called “Real NZT” that’s a wild mental ride, and my favorite, a cap called “Focus,” that both gives me focus and blisses me out. If you’re interested in the field of cognitive enhancing pills, this site is worth checking out. Yet, know that you will have to go through a trial and error period to know what dosage and what pills work best for you.
If money is not a major limiting factor for you, there’s some new stuff always coming out that many consider the “Cadillac” of cognitive enhancers and dementia preventers. The web site: http://ForrestHealth.com has a lot of the latest and greatest brain supplements. I would recommend Brain Vital and Brain Vibrant Supreme, but Phos Cal 900, or Energy 1 and Energy 2 sprays are also worth checking out.
Lastly, I’ll talk about an old favorite—caffeine. The biggest problem with caffeine is the tendency towards developing a quick tolerance. Yet, if you know of other options for energy and focus beyond a cup of coffee, you can vary your supplementation so you don’t develop such a quick tolerance for caffeine. If caffeine can make you jittery, consider downing your coffee or energy drink with a supplement known as L-theanine. A lot of people report that the combo of caffeine and 200 mg of L-theanine is a nice, smooth, energetic ride without the caffeine crash at the end.
Rather than give you a thorough data dump of all the cognitive enhancers out there, my aim has been to introduce you to this fast developing and exciting field. Hopefully the information I supplied here is enough to give you a direction and starting point. Yet, if these pills intrigue you, start by buying a small amount and see how it goes for you. You can even “mix and match” until you find a combination that seems to really suit your needs. Once you find some pills that seem to have a truly positive effect on your mood and focus, and are also devoid of negative side effects, you got a friend for life.