Smart Drugs and Language Learning

Nootropics Update: Smart Drugs and Language Learning…

It’s been almost two months since I wrote Nootropics: Smart Drugs and Language Learning. As I’m fielding a number of emails on the subject I figured an update is in order.

Note: It can take a good six months to a year to get a handle on using Nootropics, so in no way am I professing to be an expert or even halfway there. This post is simply to share what I’ve learned, and where I’m at.

Additional note: I’m not interested in the speed-type Smart Drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, or Modafinil. Caffeine is the strongest I’ll take (and even with caffeine I have to be careful). My Nootropics adventure will mainly focus on the safe Racetams: Piracetam, Pramiracetam, Aniracetam, Sulbutiamine, Oxiracetam, and others.

A newbies guide to Nootropics…

There are many combinations of Nootropics (known as ‘stacks’), mentioned on the internet. One forum post will tout a certain mix, and yet another will pooh pooh the very same.

I’m not a chemistry major so I’m winging it like many others. And because of this, I won’t be surprised to be discover snafus in my regime (posted below), or even how I’m understanding it all.

From what I’ve read, a basic stack can consist of Piracetam, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and CDP-Choline (this is also debatable). The Choline is needed because (apparently) Piracetam depletes it from our systems, resulting in bad headaches. A switch, CDP-Choline gives me headaches so it’s possible that the eggs I consume already offer what I need.

A basic rundown on taking Nootropics:

  • Start out with a simple stack, adding one Nootropic at a time.
  • Different Nootropics do different things so decide your aim (language study, maths, music, memorization, motivation, whatever) and then trial suggested combinations, tweaking as you go.
  • Nootropics do work but you need to give your brain a workout at the same time. Study a language, memorise a script, learn new chess moves, whatever.
  • A mere 15 minutes of physical exercise before study can accentuate the effects of Nootropics.
  • Drink copious amounts of water (severe dry mouth and headaches are no fun).
  • Nootropics such as Piracetam are subtle so carefully observe and track your progress.
  • As previously mentioned, a Choline source alleviates the headaches caused from taking Piracetam (but this is not true with everyone).
  • Some say to take water soluble pills between meals and fat soluble during meals. Others say to take everything together with proteins, avoiding carbs. Up to you.
  • Some say to take caffeine, others say avoid it. Up to you.
  • Sleep is important (no surprise). If you are on a bad run of insomnia, taking expensive Nootropics is a waste, so mix your stack wisely.
  • Keeping healthy is advised, as is taking a multi-vitamin with decent range of B vitamins.

A given, I might have missed a few important pointers. If you know of others, go ahead and add them in the comments below. And if there’s a snafu somewhere, ditto.

Where to get advice…

For questions, there are several decent forums discussing Nootropics. This section on longecity.org covers quite a bit but there will still be a bit of confusion at first (I discover new information weekly): Nootropics thread index

My Nootropics trial: 1st Stack, 2nd Stack, and now the 3rd Stack…

Before Xmas I played around with Piracetam, Pyritinol, Vinpocetine, and Hydergine. Wanting to frolic, I took a break.

After the holidays I tweaked my stack to Piracetam, Pramiracetam, Pyritinol, Idebenone, Lion’s mane, Vinpocetine, Super Omega 3-6-9 1200, Huperzine A, Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa, and vitamins. Due to that darn bird I also took Melatonin (too much apparently) so after two weeks plus of not sleeping I switched to L-Tryptophan.

A month later I asked for a stack critique from Luke at Smart Nootropics (site is no longer live). Luke advised me to drop Idebenone and Vinpocetine, replace L-Tryptophan with Melatonin, and upgrade my multi-vitamin. I took most of Luke’s great advice but not all (forgive?)

Below is my third Nootropics stack (vitamins included).

With breakfast:

Caffeine (PepsiMax, CokeZero, tea or coffee)
Caffeine 50mg (ProLab 200mg cut into 4’s)
Piracetam 2 “00”
Pramiracetam 1 “1”
Hydergine 1 mg
Acetyl-L-Carnitine 499 mg
Methyl B-12 1000 mg
Super Omega 3-6-9 1200 mg
Lion’s Mane 300 mg
Multi-vitamin (Eve)

With lunch:

Piracetam 2 “00”
Pramiracetam 1 “1”
Acetyl-L-Carnitine 499 mg
Methyl B-12 1000 mg
Super Omega 3-6-9 1200 mg
Lion’s Mane 300 mg
Multi-vitamin (Eve)

With dinner:

Super Omega 3-6-9 1200
Multi-vitamin (Eve)
Probiotics

To help with sleep:

9pm: Bacopa Extract 225 mg x 3
10.30-11pm: L-Tryptophan 500 mg

Piracetam is relatively cheap but Pramiracetam and others can be expensive. To keep costs down, if I’m not studying that day I skip both Pramiracetam and Hydergine but take the rest of the stack. Depending, I also bounce around with caffeine pills.

To find the perfect study stack I plan on adding even more Nootropics to the above mix. In future posts I’ll discuss: Aniracetam, Sulbutiamine, Oxiracetam, Pyritinol, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Picamilon, Rhodiola, etc…

The Nootropic effects I’ve experienced so far…

Study: With my second stack I didn’t notice that much of a difference in my memory or motivation. It was only after I switched to my third stack, and later added Hydergine, that I felt a mega surge to study my language lessons.

And I mean a SURGE.

If I take Hydergine and a friend drops by I get antsy and want to race away, back to my lessons. And it doesn’t matter if I take Piracetam, Pramiracetam, or both together, Hydergine is the key.

Smarts: I might not be smarter but I think I am. Heh.

Get-up-and-go: My experience with Nootropics has opened me up to a bigger world; I’m no longer as introverted as before. Being body to body with hordes doesn’t bother me as much so I’ve gone for the Skytrain in a big way. Yes. Me. The “I only travel by taxi” lass.

Tedium: On a more mundane note, doing small chores is not longer as tedious. I usually resent doing dishes but now I find myself standing over the sink saying, “I’m not going to do dishes” … followed by … “Ok. Here I am. But I’m not going to wash them all”. Soon enough, POOF, the dishes get done.

Ah: And here’s another unexpected side effect (but in no way mundane). If you like sex then you are going to love love love Nootropics.

Nootropics: Smart drugs, memory enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers. Mighty fine.

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