^ Jump up to: a b Sattler, S.; Sauer, C.; Mehlkop, G.; Graeff, P. (2013). “The Rationale for Consuming Cognitive Enhancement Drugs in University Students and Teachers”. PLoS ONE. 8 (7): e68821. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068821. PMC 3714277 . PMID 23874778.
I’ve been actively benefitting from nootropics since 1997, when I was struggling with cognitive performance and ordered almost $1000 worth of smart drugs from Europe (the only place where you could get them at the time). I remember opening the unmarked brown package and wondering whether the pharmaceuticals and natural substances would really enhance my brain.
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The paper hints at a coming debate over the ethics of smart drugs. Currently, people require psychiatric diagnoses in order to be prescribed any of these pills. But if these medicines are ultimately found to be safe, and they work for almost everyone, should anyone be able to take them?
Sahakian says the best way forward is to get the drugs trialled, tested and licensed, so that there will be specific products that people can use safely, in the same way that they would drink black coffee. “I have tried to advocate that I would like the government to get together with a company and say let’s look at this long term and through a study and see if it is effective and safe,” she said. Unfortunately, this is a low priority for regulatory bodies, because they are focused on cures for diseases, not enhancement of the well, she added.
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Long-term use could result in increased strain on hepatic function and could lead to liver damage. This is similar to drugs like Tylenol, which need to be metabolized by the liver in order to be effective.
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Dehydroepiandrosterone (pronounced dee-hi-dro-ep-i-an-dro-stair-own) or abbreviated to DHEA, is a steroid hormone produced naturally by the adrenal gland, and is the most abundant steroid found in the human blood stream. Research indicates that DHEA has significant anti obesity, anti cancer, cognitive enhancement and anti aging effects. DHEA levels naturally decline as we get older, and there is strong reason to think that DHEA supplements may extend life span and make us more youthful. Dosage: Women 10 – 25 mg daily, Men 25 – 50 mg daily.
Cerebrolysin is a nootropic in the category of “extreme nootropics.” This nootropic is pretty much impossible to get your hands on, but is supposedly the most potent drug for mental abilities there is. Only downside?
According to documentation distributed by Teva Pharmaceuticals, one-third of participants in clinical trials reported experiencing headaches; 11% reported nausea; other negative side-effects such as nervousness, diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, and gastrointestinal problems were reported by fewer than 10% of participants.
Check this: Nature magazine reported that 20% of their world scientist readership admitted to using smart drugs (and you thought great idea breakthroughs were the just the product of hard work) – read here.
Despite diverse biological functions and chemical composition of the nootropics, the main goals of using them are the enhancing and protecting the brain functions such as concentration, memory and learning, facilitating the interhemispheric information flow, increasing the increase in the performance of the cortico-subcortical control mechanisms and also overcoming cognitive deficit conditions (Malik et al., 2007.) The proven efficacy of nootropic is attributable to their pharmacological…
THE FIRST IS THAT IT IS AN EFFECTIVE ACETYLCHOLINESTERASE, AND DEPENDING ON THE POTENCY OF THE FORSKOLIN PRODUCT, IT COULD VERY EFFECTIVELY LOWER ACETYLCHOLINE LEVELS IN THE BRAIN. THIS IS A PROBLEM FOR PEOPLE WITH GENES THAT PREDISPOSE THEM TO LOW ACH (I.E. RISK FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE). THE LATEST CILTEP STACKS INCLUDE ACETYL L-CARNITINE AS AN ACH ENHANCER EXACTLY FOR THIS PURPOSE, BUT IF YOU HAVE A MUTATION IN THE CHAT GENE, IT MAY NOT BE ENOUGH, AND FORSKOLIN COULD CAUSE ANTICHOLINERGIC LIKE EFFECTS (THIS HAPPENED IN MY CASE). HUPERZINE A OR GALANTAMINE ARE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO COUNTERACT THIS EFFECT, BUT YOU SHOULD WEIGH THE PROS AND CONS OF STACKING AN ACHEI AND FORSKOLIN TOGETHER.
Out of all cognitive processes, modafinil was found to improve decision-making and planning the most in the 24 studies the authors reviewed. Some of the studies also showed gains in flexible thinking, combining information, or coping with novelty. The drug didn’t seem to influence creativity either way.
Pregnenolone may be one of the most effective, broad ranged and yet one of the safest anti-aging therapies at our disposal today. With its decades of safe and efficacious clinical use, the scope of treatments have included, alleviating stress, improving and extending energy levels, reducing arthritic inflammations, enhancing memory and acting as an antidepressant. The reason that pregnenolone can have such different uses is because it is the first sterone derived from cholesterol. In fact it is the grandmother of all the steroids and neuro-steroids, it forms their basic material (it is a precursor). Without plentiful pregnenolone availability there is likely to be an “imbalance” of other steroids. For example estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and DHEA are all “sourced” from pregnenolone. Dosage: 10 – 100 mg daily.
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In this article I’m only going to be focusing on cognitive enhancers that I actually have experience with myself. I’ll break down and compare their benefits, side effects and my final take on each one.
Forskolin has been a part of Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. In addition to being fun to say, forskolin increases cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a molecule essential to learning and memory formation. 
And I can’t help thinking about Johann Hari. We’ve all done stupid things, made poor judgments. My suspicion, and it’s only a suspicion since he won’t talk to me about it, is that he doesn’t know what role modafinil played in his own cautionary tale. Did the small white pills have an effect on his behaviour? Did the gorgeous temptress play a role in his downfall? Or was it an accessory after the fact? It’s impossible to know. But I’m not tempted to continue my own experiment.