13 Nootropics to Unlock Your True Brain

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Nootropics – sometimes called smart drugs – are compounds that enhance brain function. They’re becoming a popular way to give your mind an extra boost. According to one Telegraph report, up to 25% of students at leading UK universities have taken the prescription smart drug modafinil [1], and California tech startup employees are trying everything from Adderall to LSD to push their brains into a higher gear [2].

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.

They did, and I’ve been a big fan of certain cognitive enhancers ever since.

I’m wary of others, though. The trouble with using a blanket term like “nootropics” is that you lump all kinds of substances in together. Technically, you could argue that caffeine and cocaine are both nootropics, but they’re hardly equal. With so many ways to enhance your brain function, many of which have significant risks, it’s most valuable to look at nootropics on a case-by-case basis. Here’s a list of 13 nootropics, along with my thoughts on each.


1) Modafinil (Provigil), armodafinil (Nuvigil), and adrafinil – focus, motivation, clarity, memory

I started taking modafinil while getting my MBA at Wharton. I was also working at a start-up that later sold for $600 million in value, so you can imagine how busy I was. I wanted a way to keep my brain running. 

When I first started taking modafinil, I felt more like myself than I had in years. I took it just about every day in varying doses for 8 years (with a physician’s prescription). It gave me energy and changed my life. I would not be the biohacker I am today without modafinil.

When I worked on the Bulletproof Diet book, I wanted to verify that the effects I was getting from Bulletproof Coffee were not coming from modafinil, so I stopped using it and measured my cognitive performance while I was off of it. What I found was that on Bulletproof Coffee and the Bulletproof Diet, my mental performance was almost identical to my performance on modafinil. I still travel with modafinil, and I’ll take it on occasion, but while living a Bulletproof lifestyle I rarely feel the need.

There’s a slight risk (about 5 in a million people) of having a life-threatening immune reaction to modafinil. It’s the same reaction that happens with ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), so if you know you don’t react well to NSAIDs, talk to your doctor before taking modafinil.

One reason I like modafinil is that it enhances dopamine release, but it binds to your dopamine receptors differently than addictive substances like cocaine and amphetamines do, which may be part of the reason modafinil shares many of the benefits of other stimulants but doesn’t cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms [3,4]. It does increase focus, problem-solving abilities, and wakefulness, but it is not in the same class of drugs as Adderall, and it is not a classical stimulant. Modafinil is off of patent, so you can get it generically, or order it from India. It’s a prescription drug, so you need to talk to a physician.

You can also try armodafinil, which is a more purified form of modafinil with only biologically identical molecules in it. It has nearly identical and sometimes stronger effects. It’s very expensive without insurance.

If you don’t want to get a prescription, there’s adrafinil, which your liver converts to modafinil in about 45-60 minutes. You can buy adrafinil without a prescription, and in my experience it feels very similar to modafinil, but I wouldn’t recommend taking it regularly because it stresses your liver a lot.

Normally prescribed modafinil dose: 50-200 mg, taken in the morning (unless you want to be awake all night)

Normally prescribed arrmodafinil dose: 100-200 mg, taken in the morning

Adrafinil dose: 300 mg, taken in the morning


2) Racetams – mental turnover, public speaking, learning, memory

The racetam family contains dozens of related compounds, including a few well-known nootropics. The best studied one is piracetam, but the most effective nootropics are aniracetam and phenylpiracetam, so you’ll read about those here.

There was an explosion of racetam research between 1968 and 1972, but many of the racetams are off patents, so pharmaceutical companies are studying racetam analogs that they can patent and sell.  We still don’t fully understand how racetams work, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that they’re excellent nootropics. The best studied racetam is piracetam, and its analogs work well too.

  • 400 mg phenylpiracetam taken daily for a year significantly improved brain function and cognition in people recovering from a stroke [5].
  • 200 mg phenylpiracetam taken for 30 days improved neurological function by 7% in people with brain damage [6], and by 12% in people with epilepsy [7].
  • Aniracetam improves memory and counters depression in rats [8].
  • A single, small study of piracetam in healthy adults found that after 14 days it significantly improved verbal learning [9].

I like aniracetam more than piracetam because it’s the only member of the racetam that has a stress-lowering effect and also increase memory IO (getting memories in and out of your mind). I take aniracetam every day, as well as for public speaking. I find I speak more fluently (no “ums” or “ahs”) and I don’t have to grasp for words. I find that phenylpiracetam improves my learning, memory, and energy, too.

I don’t use piracetam or oxiracetam because they’re weaker forms of phenylpiracetam and aniracetam. I suggest you try racetams alone at first – not in a pre-made stack – because ones that work for other people may not work for you. For example, I feel nothing from noopept (a very strong derivative of piracetam), but I know plenty of people for whom it works very well. 

Racetams are very bitter, so it’s best to get them in capsules. In some people they deplete acetylcholine [10], which can cause headaches. If that happens, try adding in a raw pastured egg yolk to give your body the materials to make more acetylcholine. You can also try lowering doses; too much can make you irritable.

These nootropics sound a little unusual, but I’ve been on them every day since 1997 and they’re a core part of my nootropic stack. It irritates me that they’re in a regulatory gray zone.

One last thing: these phenylpiracetam, aniracetam, and noopept are all fat soluble, so take them with a meal or a fat source (like your morning Bulletproof Coffee) to increase their absorption.

Phenylpiracetam dose: 100 mg, 1-4 times daily

Aniracetam dose: 750 mg, 1-2 times daily

Noopept dose: 30 mg, 1-2 times daily


3) Nicotine – focus, mood, motivation

Nicotine can be a powerful nootropic if you take it carefully and sparingly. Here’s a full guide to using nicotine as a nootropic, complete with pros and cons, risks, dose recommendations, and advice about what form of nicotine to use.

I do NOT recommend smoking cigarettes or using tobacco to get your nicotine. I’m talking about very small doses that are far lower than you’d get from smoking. Nicotine has a direct effect on your mitochondrial energy, and just about anything that increases mitochondrial function is going to make your brain work better.


4) Amphetamine (Adderall) – focus…but with high risk and several drawbacks

Big Pharma has recommended amphetamine (Adderall) for ADHD sufferers for years now. It’s also popular on college campuses around exam time. Too bad, because there are much better choices.

Amphetamine has substantial risks. In healthy adults, it improves attention, focus, motivation to work, and short-term memory, all by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine release in your prefrontal cortex [11,12]. Amphetamine also decreases fatigue, but it makes you jittery and can increase anxiety.

What worries me about amphetamine is its addictive potential, and the fact that it can cause stress and anxiety. Research says it’s only slightly likely to cause addiction in people with ADHD [13], but we don’t know much about its addictive potential in healthy adults. We all know the addictive potential of methamphetamine, and amphetamine is closely related enough to make me nervous about so many people giving it to their children. Amphetamines cause withdrawal symptoms, so the potential for addiction is there.

If you want a stimulant, drink coffee. If you want something stronger, try a racetam or talk to your doctor about modafinil. If you do decide to take Adderall, you’ll need a prescription – but I really recommend avoiding it. There are many better options out there.


5) L-theanine – calm alertness, reaction time, mental endurance

L-theanine is a major component of black and green tea. On its own, theanine promotes relaxation [14], alertness, and arousal [15].

Theanine also works synergistically with caffeine. Together, the two increase reaction time, memory, and mental endurance [16].

You can get your theanine from a capsule, or you can drink a cup or two of green tea. If you decide to do the green tea, look for tea that’s grown in the shade, because shade-grown green tea typically has much higher levels of theanine.

L-theanine dose: 200 mg. You can take it with your morning coffee, or you can take it at night, like me.


6) Bacopa monnieri – attention, mood, stress, memory

Bacopa monnieri is a small water plant native to India. Bacopa is an adaptogen – it helps your body adapt to stress. It also improves memory in healthy adults [17] and enhances attention and mood in people over 65 [18]. Scientists still don’t fully understand how Bacopa works, but they do know it takes time to work; study participants didn’t feel its memory-enhancing effects until they’d been supplementing with it daily for 4 weeks, so if you try Bacopa, stick with it for a month before you give up on it.

Bacopa suppresses sperm production in male mice, so you may want to skip it if you’re trying to conceive [19]. It didn’t affect the mice’s testosterone or sex drive, though.

A lot of nootropic companies include Bacopa in their stacks, but they often don’t use enough to give you real benefits. You want at least 750 mg daily. Take Bacopa with a fat source to increase its absorption.

Bacopa monnieri dose: At least 750 mg daily, taken with a source of fat


7) LSD – creativity, mood, empathy, focus

Yes, we’re talking 1960s, Jimi Hendrix, psychedelic LSD. Dr. Rick Doblin and I have discussed the use of psychedelic medicine on Bulletproof Radio before. Now, Silicon Valley tech employees are reporting benefits from using LSD as a nootropic, but it has a history of being misused by both governments and partiers. (In fact, Bulletproof Radio guest Jan Irwin has published lots of research showing that much of the psychedelic movement is at least partly the result of government initiatives.)  

The key to using LSD as a nootropic, according to the Silicon Valley techies, is getting the right dose. They say that when they take microdoses – about 1/10th of a recreational dose – they experience increased positivity, creativity, focus, and empathy.

LSD as a nootropic may not be as crazy as it sounds. It’s certainly a mind-expanding drug, and studies suggest that it’s less risky than its reputation suggests. Even at a full dose (again, 10 times a microdose), researchers ranked LSD the 4th least dangerous common recreational drug – far below alcohol and nicotine [20] – and historically not a single person has died from LSD overdose [21]. It’s possible to react poorly to LSD’s psychological effects, but microdoses are below the dose that usually causes hallucinations [22]. LSD does increase your suggestibility, so you should be extra aware of making big decisions if you are using it as a nootropic.

LSD dose: 10 micrograms, taken in the morning, every 3 days. (This is probably illegal where you live. It’s experimental but shows great promise from anecdotal reports. I look forward to the day when it’s legal for researchers to actually determine how impactful this is. Until the government allows this kind of research in your country, the only option is to wait, or to be your own guinea pig. Be safe if you experiment with anything.)


8) Unfair Advantage – energy, clarity

Unfair Advantage supports your mitochondria, the power plants of your cells, with two different ingredients:

  • CoQ10 enhances cellular energy production in your mitochondria, giving you both a mental and physical boost [23]. (The dose of CoQ10 is low, but it’s in a colloidal form which potentiates delivery of the PQQ)
  • ActivePQQ™ is a novel form of PQQ that does not get inactivated by stomach acid.  PQQ promotes the growth of new mitochondria and also helps your body clear out and replace old mitochondria [24].

You have the highest density of mitochondria in your brain’s prefrontal cortex, which helps to explain why I feel Unfair Advantage in my head first. You have the second highest density in your heart, which is probably why I feel it in the center of my chest next. Mitochondrial energizers can have profound nootropic effects! At higher doses mitochondrial energizers also make for an excellent pre-workout supplements.

Unfair Advantage dose: 1-4 ampules, taken any time


9) KetoPrime – energy, stress

KetoPrime is another powerful nootropic. It contains oxaloacetate, a neuroprotective agent that can shield your brain from environmental toxins. Oxaloacetate also decreases brain inflammation [25].

Common environmental toxins – pesticides, for example – cause your brain to release glutamate (a neurotransmitter). Your brain needs glutamate to function, but when you create too much of it it becomes toxic and starts killing neurons. The oxaloacetate in KetoPrime protects rodents from glutamate-induced brain damage [26]. Oxaloacetate also promotes brain recovery after stress or trauma [27, 28].

KetoPrime is a great way to give your brain a little extra protection from stress and toxins. In animal studies, it also modifies the Krebs Cycle, shifting the ratio of NADH to NAD+, which makes mitochondrial energy production more efficient.

KetoPrime dose: 1 capsule, taken in the morning

10) Forskolin & artichoke extract – memory, focus, learning

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 [29].

I have used forskolin for more than a decade.

Forskolin is especially effective if you combine it with artichoke extract. Artichoke extract inhibits PDE4, an enzyme that breaks down cAMP. PDE4 inhibitors make cAMP more available, and when you add in artichoke extract’s cAMP-enhancing effects, you get a significant boost to learning, memory, and motivation.

Or you get a headache and an energy crash when you “come down.”

That may be because upping cAMP uses more dopamine than your brain usually would. It affects different people differently. You only know if you try it.

Bulletproof carries CILTEP, the first commercial combination of artichoke extract and forskolin. 

CILTEP dose: 1-3 capsules, taken in the morning on an empty stomach


Stuff you should know

When you first start taking nootropics, sometimes you’ll feel like nothing is happening. That’s what I experienced. Then, a week later, I quit taking them, and noticed their absence immediately. This is because when your brain works better, it feels so natural that it’s hard to notice unless you have a great degree of self-awareness. On the other hand, sometimes you’ll feel a great cognitive boost as soon as you take a pill. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. I find, for example, that modafinil makes you more of what you already are. That means if you are already kind of a dick and you take modafinil, you might act like a really big dick and regret it. It certainly happened to me! I like to think that I’ve done enough hacking of my brain that I’ve gotten over that programming and that when I use nootropics they help me help people.

You can also get profoundly depressed. One of the nootropics I did not write about here, Lucidril, has superb anti-aging and cognitive benefits for some people, but others get deeply sad after taking it. After three days on Lucidril I felt entirely hopeless about my life. Fortunately, I’d done my research and I stopped taking it immediately.

There is inherent risk in experimenting with pharmaceuticals, or illegal drugs like LSD. The risk is greater than it is with most natural substances. You can have a psychotic experience if you take too much LSD; you’re more likely to get a big headache if you take too much of a choline-stimulating herbal substance.

It also pays to check the purity of your nootropics. I’ve seen some companies promoting pre-made nootropic stacks that contain ingredients like blue agave (fructose!), food coloring – even pieces of metal. Read your labels!

I have great hope that medicine will wake up to the amazing benefits of nootropics and begin to incorporate them into society. Many of them not only increase your quality of life, they make your brain more resilient to the environment around you. We could all use a little more that.

Before you try nootropics, I suggest you start with the basics: get rid of the things in your diet and life that reduce cognitive performance first. That is easiest. Then, add in energizers like Brain Octane and clean up your diet. Then, go for the herbals and the natural nootropics. Use the pharmaceuticals selectively only after you’ve figured out your basics.

The truth is that, almost 20 years ago when my brain was failing and I was fat and tired, I did not know to follow this advice. I bought $1000 worth of smart drugs from Europe, took them all at once out of desperation, and got enough cognitive function to save my career and tackle my metabolic problems. With the information we have now, you don’t need to do that. Please learn from my mistakes!

Want more on nootropics? You’ve got options:

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Click to read the complete list of references.

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/10341013/Smart-drugs-rife-at-Oxbridge-say-students.html
  2. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/how-lsd-microdosing-became-the-hot-new-business-trip-20151120
  3. http://www.jneurosci.org/content/29/9/2663
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23934211
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21626817
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16608112
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18646385
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11959085
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/826948
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1372342
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25499957
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25591060
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18384709
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802
  15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
  16. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18006208
  17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22747190
  18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153866/
  19. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19041444
  20. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/2/4/e000774.full.html#T1
  21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19040555
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13497365
  23. http://www.jbc.org/content/280/22/21295.long
  24. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19861415
  25. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263972650_Oxaloacetate_Activates_Brain_Mitochondrial_Biogenesis_Enhances_the_Insulin_Pathway_Reduces_Inflammation_and_Stimulates_Neurogenesis
  26. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24149933
  27. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129535
  28. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24149933
  29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16924422
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By Dave Asprey

  • SatoriHeart

    Regarding Forskolin, it’s important to emphasize a few key points.

    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.

    The second point is that by raising cAMP, Forskolin has a similar effect as Cholera on the GI tract. It can cause diarrhea by dumping chloride into the intestinal lumen via intracellular cAMP. I really wouldn’t recommend it, in that respect, for people suffering from IBS.

    And LSD? That’s a risky sugggestion, at best. Though… there’s a fellow by the name of James Oroc whose hobby is purportedly down-hill skiing on nootropic doses of LSD.

    • Luc Hebert

      Massive headaches were the case for me with ciltep! I actually ended up the hospital. The doctors diagnosed me with viral meningitis but I have a feeling it wasn’t the case.. Definitely use caution!

  • Tage Harris

    Great article Dave! Thank you, and keep up the good work you do.

    • Nate Brady

      Tage, I gotta ask.. especially because you seem to enjoy Dave’s posts and the BP way.. why is your profile picture of Starbucks!?

      • Tage Harris

        LOL, Thanks for pointing that out! I put that for my profile pic about 9 years ago and haven’t thought of it since. The starbucks logo was actually a 3′ X 3′ painting of the logo that I did for an auction to help someone with cancer. I think now is the time to put up my face or to find something new. Thanks, I appreciate it!

        • Nate Brady

          Well, that’s certainly a great answer for having it!

  • Craig Crawford

    You can also combine sulbutiamine and coffee.

    • Ricardo Hernandez

      Do you mean Sibutramine?

  • Dave – This is great info. I take CILTEP regularly along with some other things but nothing to supplement acetylcholine. I have Choline Force sitting on my shelf. I guess I’ll start taking it! I’m guessing the frequency recommendation would be when/at the same time I take CILTEP?

  • David

    Hey Dave, I’m a little over 330 pounds, and bought your book the Bulletproof Diet just a while ago, it’s been transformational, I really have woken up my brain! I’ve tried bullet proof Coffee and Love it too.I’ve also tried Artichoke Extract and Forskolin and even the variation with Zembrin! (It works a little better in my experience) anyway, Just wanted to say thanks so much for posting this!!!!!!! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Thanks for helping ME! 🙂

  • Claire

    Have you ever looked at the benefits or harms of using small doses of Deprenyl (Selegiline) as a nootropic/anti-aging drug? There’s a fair bit of discussion on forums like longecity but would like to get Dave Asprey’s opinion

    • Ashley Michele

      I have been taking Selegiline for 5 years (as well as every other ADHD medication on the market) and Selegiline has been life changing for me! I work with a bunch of psychiatrist and psychologist, and I only know one who is familiar with using Selegiline for cognition.

  • Alice Ihde

    Thanks for this link. I’d read it a long time ago, but it’s a great refresher!

  • Alice Ihde

    It would be enormously helpful to link us up with sources for the various nootropics/hacks, as many of you have done. Saves a lot of time looking up whatever one might be interested in pursuing.

  • Alice Ihde

    Also, how does ine find a doc who is more or less open to discussing/prescribing whatever?

  • Ian

    Hi Dave! Have you tried Ritalin? Works fantantic for me.

  • Bob

    I recently got a script from my Doc for Modafinil (aka Provigil) due to chronic obstructive sleep apnea.

    I started with 100mg of modafinil. About 30-40 minutes after taking, and at like 10 AM? I got real tired/sleepy and ended up taking a 3 hour nap. One of the best naps I’ve had in a long time. Anyway, once I woke up, then I noticed the effect of the drug. And was pretty alert til 1 or 2 AM. I slept well and felt fine the next day.
    So I tried it again a week later. Same exact response. Long nap after ingestion and then good focus for a several consecutive hours.

    Ironic that this drug is used to counteract daytime sleepiness?

    Anyone else have this?

    • Chris

      No just alertness. Helps with my apnea too. Sounds like it can be had no RX here though. I also found a HUGE price difference between pharmacies. As in $50-$900 per 30 days.

    • Dr Tamsin Lewis

      Yep – Made me sleepy. Big nap and then alert. This drug does not effect people the same. It can exacerbate depression, make people borderline psychotic or just hyper-emotional.
      Use with caution is my advice

      • Bob

        Exactly. That’s why I started with half a dose.

        I really want to like pharmaceuticals…haha…but my experiences with them have not been all that great, so far. And I’ve tried a few.

        So I am definitely a little leery of ingesting any man-made chemical hatched in a lab. Racetams included.

        More power to the people who are exploring this brave new frontier.

  • AnnapolisGator

    Since many things seem to stimulate the brain, I wonder what their effect is on the adrenal glands? Stressed adrenals seem to be a common reason people are tired to begin with.

    • TrustServe

      I have thought the same. i experimented with the naturual herbal nootropics. Combining all sorts of pills I could get at my health food store. I had to stop almost all of them because I found the the extra stimulation gutted my adrenals. DMAE, Ginko, etc all screwed with my adrenals. I have some pretty severe adrenal fatigue though.

    • Erika

      I had insomnia when I took piracetam, so I am wondering the same.

  • Kelly G

    I think Magnesium L-Threonate should be on this list! I’ve been taking it for about 12 weeks now, and never have I felt more alert and present as an adult (feels like the mind clarity I remember having as a teenager!) I do wonder about the long-term use side effects however.. Displacing calcium perhaps? Great post – thanks again!

    • Bill Thomas

      For your body to even use calcium you have to have magnesium. A good source for magnesium is avocados.

    • Antony Reed

      No worries. It is extremely rare to develop a calcium deficiency. Usually we have quite the opposite problem.

  • Chris

    How do you get modafinil sans an RX? I was able to get it due to Apnea but the general population needs an R

  • Seth Morris

    $49 for 30 generic PROVIGIL at COSTCO… Dave Asprey just in case you wren’t already aware of this BARGAIN!!!…

  • Antony Reed

    Dave, writing a review including the products you developed and sell is a bit off… We have to assume bias since you profit from them.

  • irlisomg

    Hi Dave!

    The effect of modafinil is very strong for me and very similar to amfetamine. Im quite loose when it comes to performance enhancing drugs but taking modafinil every day for 8 years sounds crazy to me! I have only tried really low doses but half a pill feels just like taking a line of speed. Dave I love your work but are you not worried when recommending this to people? Sure it is performance enhancing, memory enhancing, focus enhancing but so is amphetamine. You can use amphetamine every day for 8 years sure it it will seem like you get energy from it but I would be concerned that what you are actually doing is tapping into your reserves of chi/life force/energy reserve. I would be worried about this especially being a part of a living for a long time community.

    That being said using modafinil / amphetamine for short periods of time to get your brain back on track and loose weight might be beneficial.

    were do you think the energy you get from modafinil is coming from?

    Love your work!

    • Rain

      its not addictive, I am scared to eat modafinil because I am afraid I lose focus to my surrounding (ex friends, fun stuff). Its different with other drugs where you love the drug more than any other else.

  • irlisomg

    Hi Again Dave!

    Also, of the nootropics/psychedelics that I have tried, one that really helped me out was Ketamine. If you have experience, information about this one I would love your perspective.

  • Ricardo del Cid

    Very interesting articucle, how do you order Modafinil without a prescription? And how do you get Aniracetam?

  • Skip all of these and take Moringa. Have you tried it Dave ?

  • Victor Amsterdam

    Great article thanks! Can anyone advise me where to order modafinil online? I am from Amsterdam, Holland.

  • inshapevape

    You fogot L-tyrosine :). For me tyrosine is life or death. 1500mg a day and I am golden. From what I have read it is a precursor for dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. I have also suffered multiple concussions which is why I need l-tyrosine so much.

    • Luke Bent

      That with dmae

  • Gigi Goldfinger

    I love your work. Thank you for it. I used Modafinil for about a year in 2000. It worked so well for me. It was given to me by a friend who never told his source. Recently, someone gave me a weeks dose, and I was convinced that this was what I should be doing again. I asked my doctor about this, who was actually insulted by the suggestion, and I’m not interested to procuring it illegally. Is there anyway to get this, trouble free in Los Angeles, CA? Thank you again.

    • Mark Bowlings

      I also used Modafinil, was pleased, however found it too hard to acquire. Ive been using Nootrobrain as a cognitive supplement for about a year now and Im very happy with it. Its much more easily available.

  • Thomas Jones

    Anxiety! What do you recommend? Thanks.

    • Luke Bent

      L Theaniene
      Passion flower
      Phenibut works best but not an every day thing

      • littleblacksnake

        Had terrible anxiety a few months ago. L theanine did nothing for me.

        • Luke Bent

          Try it with passion flower and relora.
          Phenibut i find was the main one that really works, you just need to get the dosage right and remember you cant take it all the time

  • I was initially a bit unsure about using a smart drug, but after reading this article and the reviews about various sellers, I decided to contact modafinator dot com. There were still some queries pricking me, but the support representative was extremely helpful.

    It was really easy to place the order. But, the best part was the delivery time. My package got shipped within 24 hours of order placement, and I received it in 8 days (I live in Australia). I couldn’t have expected more. The product is genuine and I’m very happy with their services.

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  • Sandy Davis

    I’ll stick with ASEA.

  • Tomasz Bara?ski

    I use Piracetam 1200 mg (1 capsule per day) only a month i noticed improve good mood and “explosion” of motivation to do something, and better focus to learn. Piracetam is cheap 19$ for 60 caps. I’m not have a side efect.

  • David kasper

    I could use some help. What are the things in diet and life that decrease cognitive performance?
    I really need to focus on this subject but a long way away from where I should be.

  • Sanzhar Kazymov

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I really found your work benefitial and helpful. There is one fact that made me confused. In the beginning, you are saying that you ordered almost $1000 worth of smart drugs from Europe, but at the the end of your work there is written that you bought $500 worth of smart drugs from Europe. Can you clarify this discrepancy?

  • Sanzhar Kazymov

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I really found your work benefitial and helpful. There is one fact that confused me. In the beginning, you are saying that you ordered almost $1000 worth of smart drugs from Europe, but at the the end of your work there is written that you bought $500 worth of smart drugs from Europe. Can you clarify this discrepancy?

  • Sanzhar Kazymov

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I really found your work benefitial and helpful. There is one fact that confused me. In the beginning, you are saying that you ordered almost $1000 worth of smart drugs from Europe, but at the the end of your work there is written that you bought $500 worth of smart drugs from Europe. Can you clarify this misunderstanding?

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  • Matthew Fox

    My daily stack: Nicotine, coffee, ginseng, ginkgo, panax ginseng, quercetin, ascorbic acid, magnesium oil, cacao nibs, hemp oil, coconut oil, green/white tea, peppermint, methlycobalamin

  • Michelle Meek

    Even though I eat a very healthy diet and get adequate sleep, I still struggle with low energy and find it it difficult to focus. I am going to try exercise & meditation, and adding a nootropic to my daily regime. I think that will do the trick. Thanks for the very informative article!

  • Sylvia

    Is there a danger of increasing cortisol levels? I have a muscle weakening condition and I need to hold onto as much muscle mass as possible.

  • Abi Blanchett

    I am on bulletproof coffee and remain in ketosis, being Keto adapted has given my energy back but I still live with my ADD symptoms, they still get the better of me. I’m really unproductive, due to unorginisation, only difference is I’m clearer headed about it now. I want to be on ADHD meds (Ritalin) but I get anxiety coming down. I have to carb cycle on Keto to avoid depression and anxiety.
    So need dopamine and serotonin. What do you recommend, anyone?

    • TrannyMelania

      For Serotonin, take Probiotics, 90% of your serotonin is produced in your gut, a healthy gut equals more serotonin production. If you dont know what probiotics are, which would be strange, just wiki it. Besides the serotonin bonus, out of all of the multivitamins I take, probiotics have the most pronounced (or, benefits I directly notice) benefits.

      • Abi Blanchett

        Thanks! Yes just got some advanced probiotics and some aloe biotics. Had to come off keto and bulletproof coffee tho as my heart rate got so high and got a nasty infection that required 3 lots of antibiotics to clear. On keto you have to have heaps of water and I couldn’t keep up this winter, couldn’t flush sodium out of kidneys efficiently I guess. Also bulletproofing your caffeine with mct octane oil must raise the heart rate/blood pressure too. I’m on GAPS at mo, then will slowly get back on bulletproof when my heart has slowed down. Detox time.

  • Great posts, very comprehensive summary of a wide range of nootropics, definitely some good points on making sure of purity, its a dangerous world out there, that’s why we make sure all our nootropics are certified for that very reason.

  • saqibkhan

    My personel experience is that Dhea when consumed on just cloudy day (not rainy) stimulates brain regions that are resposible for romance love and music, after consumption on specific day and listen to some romantic music it increase stimulation pleasure memories love 100x,
    so this is my personal experience on dhea i am 23 i find my self too young using dhea thats why i am carefull consuming it just taking on specific day & occasionally

  • Ricardo Hernandez

    I was started on Nuvigil for shift work d/o. I use it when I’ve been doing many days in a row and I jump from first shift to 3rd shift from one day to the next. I can say it is a great med. keeps me focused on task but after 2-3 days of use and I start my days off, my body will respond to the fact I didn’t take it. I will actually “crave” it. So dependence is highly possible with these meds. Being an MD myself, I agree with you 100%.

  • James H

    I tried a Caffeine 100mg + L-Theanine 150mg Capsule from
    LiftMode, and wow, combining it with caffeine is worth the try. It
    definitely stopped the typical jitteryness of caffeine, and made for a
    much cleaner buzz.

    I also found that there was no crash, which
    surprised me. It kind of reminded me of having three cups of green tea,
    but even more relaxing. Overall L-Theanine is a great nootropic. I’d
    give it a A rating. If your interested in a cheap and worth while buy,
    then I’d recommend checking out LiftMode’s capsules.quality stuff

  • HarrietTheSpy

    What about DMAE bitartrate? I read that it was a precursor to choline but after taking for about a month I started to get severe mood swings and anxiety. Is this because of too much choline or the DMAE bitrarate itself? Since Choline Force is also choline precursors, could it have a similar effect?

  • Scott K

    The Aniracetam is out of stock for the provided link. Are there any other sources of where to get a good Aniracetam from?

  • robinvik1 .

    Examine recommends 300 mg Bacopa monnieri if it’s total bacoside content (the active compound) is 55% of the extract, and 750-1,500mg if you use leafs or powder that are typically 10-20% bacoside. Are you suggesting a 750 mg-dose because you assume people are gonna use leaf/powder rather than extracts?

  • Larry Williams



    Contact Wickr app (petrovkiril) or Surespot app (petrovkiril)

    HOW TO CONTACT? Download and install the app from your

    playstore, then add me (petrovkiril)

    Text – 646-461-4665

  • Dr Jerry Peck

    Ok. I’m on day 3 with the morning dose from modafinil world. Along with Morning Bulletproof Coffee plus Brain Octane Soft gell. Yes more focused and less clouded haze. No 7AM to 11PM brainstorming, bookwriting, and college thesus preparing…..at least not yet.

    • Dr. Todd Burn

      WWW MODAFINILWORLD dot COM is definitely my only choice. They are reliable and ship out within 24 hours which is unbelievable!

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  • Panayiotis Nikolaou

    I used modafinil after learning about it from Dave and i can say it works as he says. I was less stressed, more focused, happier and calmer than before. Also zero need for sleep for a long period of time. I recommend it but also for me it works best when i have enough sleep. I take it with my Bulletproof coffee 🙂

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  • 1) Thank you!
    2) I’d take them one at a time. How nootropics work for you depends on your unique brain chemistry. If you throw 13 in at once you’re going to have quite a time figuring out which ones benefit you and which ones don’t.

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  • Stacey

    Would be good to update the article to say that Modafinil, Adrafinil and Phenylpiracetam are on the WADA prohibited list – couldn’t see it mentioned.

  • Decorticator

    Thanks for a great overview. A few words on my personal experience. I seem to develop a tolerance to the ‘afinils within two days of use at normal dosages. I took a gram of adrafinil a few times and felt nothing. Armodafinil makes me feel a little more hyper (i.e., tense or high-strung) than modafinil but even that doesn’t affect me hardly at all, even with 1-3 days of abstinence in between doses. Hence, considering the financial cost, the afinils are worthless to me.
    Additionally, the feeling of tension that stimulants (including the ‘afinils) can sometimes produce (i.e., when they do ‘work’ at all for me) can negate the nootropic benefits to some extent. For example, when I feel hyper from a stimulant, I make more typing mistakes and my mind jumps around rather than focusing better.
    I think I get very similar beneficial effects to the ‘afinils from chewing 1-3 fresh cola nuts, although they too are expensive and not real easy to come by. I do like them for physical activity and recommend trying them as a nootropic aid for those who like to experiment.
    As noted, everyone’s body is different and may respond differently to a given substance. I’ve taken Ritalin, Adderal and Dexedrine for over a year in the past (in my 30’s at the time) and played around with meth occasionally as a teenager. I experienced a pretty rapid decline in quality of life while on the amphetamies, as I would get little sleep and even though I was taking stimulants, I became lazy and gained weight. They also tend to make me obsess on sex, which, along with lack of sleep, can become a problem over time. Sometimes I wonder if my poor response and tolerance to the ‘afinils may be due to a “shot” dopamine system from my earlier escapades, but who knows.
    In any event, I’m just relating my personal experience, for what it’s worth. I do take fish oil, phosphatidylserine, ginseng, ashwaganda, eleuthero, l-theanine and loads of green and pu-ehr tea every day. People have often remarked with amazement at my recall of events from long ago, saying “Wow, you have a great memory.” Whether that has anything to do with my supplement regimen, I don’t know.

    • Allison McMahan

      I’ve been on Dexedrine for years, and it’s by far my favorite drug that I’ve used for my ADD. I’m curious if you were taking all of the supplements that you listed (“fish oil…pu-ehr tea….”) while taking the -afils and/or the stimulants? For me, what I mix with stimulants can quickly make me very shaky, agitated, and irritable.

  • Alice Ihde

    Thanks so much, Dave, for this comprehensive, yet simple to understand information!

  • Andrew Campbell

    Has anyone tried Qualia from the Neurohackers collective?

    • Alice Ihde

      Hi, Andrew!  I believe that Sarah Owen, plus several others have tried it.  Look the the  Bulletproof biohackers on FB. Alice

  • viaswiss

    Hey Dave, I have very sensitive adrenals due to taking 5-ar inhibitors (saw palmetto, propecia) so stimulants crash me. Are any on this list non-stumulatory and good to take with adrenal issues?

    • S. W. Sted

      L theanine works, in part, to up your GABA. It’s found in green tea, but it’s not a stimulant. It’s promoted often times as a calming or relaxing aid. GABA is one of your primary neurotransmitters and plays a part in regulating mood. Too much GABA, though, can make a person sleepy. Soo with that info, I would suggest it as a candidate non-stimulant for you to research more specifically as to its mechanisms of action how it would affect your particular condition.

  • Megan

    Hi, I just wanted to know if anyone can give me a legit online company to go through to purchase nootropics from?

    • Monty Stratton

      Shoot me an email Megan and I will get you some info! LiveTheLVLife@gmail.com

    • S. W. Sted

      I’d recommend powder city. Wide variety, cheap prices, buy in bulk, deliver is quick and I got great customer service when I received the wrong quantity once. The site quotes wikipedia and those government papers so (like with anything) do your own research before committing to and taking a supplement, but hands down its a legitamate company, has that lab analysis for each powder on the site, and everything seems professional and high quality. It was my source for 4 of the things listed above.

      • Alex Fraser

        Powder City has now closed… any other recommendations?

        • Check out the reliable vendors list at the nootropics subreddit.

  • Sonia Acharya

    So I take Keppra and am better faster stronger on it. My memory and concentration powers are acute. But it interferes with sleep so I have to titrate.

  • Nic Sigala

    There is a new competitor releasing a nootropic on Tuesday.

    • Lizz Schmitz


      • lesama1216


      • Nic Sigala

        Indeed it is!

  • Mia Lucas

    I’m a big fan of improving the mind and body with modafinil. Anyone who says it’s cheating — well, I’ll laugh while I leave them in the dust. Buying my stock from BUYAFINIL . COM for quite some time now. Not only are they cheaper than all other vendors but also very reliable.

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  • Pete

    Has anyone tried Qualia by Neurohacker?

    • David Russell

      I tried the trial which is only half of the formula, wasn’t blown away but still optimistic about the effects the full formula could have, especially if taken consistently.

  • Otavio

    witch ones are the “natural” ones?

    • Caffeine, nicotine, CILTEP, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Psilocybe mushrooms, et, al,

    • Check out Bacopa, Rhodiola, Ginkgo, Ginseng, L-Theanine, Acetyl-Carnitine, Fish Oil, and Melatonin. And occasionally pair them with Caffeine.

  • Hans

    Does anyone know where can I buy nootropics in Germany? I’m having trouble finding reliable source.

    I heard some guys did some sort of artificial intelligence for nootropics, called Nootbot.
    Has anyone tried it? Did it recommend legit vendors?

    Thanks for your help

    • I’ve tried Nootbot. It’s a cool idea. It’s limited for now, but if they keep working on it then it might become something really useful.

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  • Great article, I’ve experimented a little here and there. Qualia from Neurohacker Collective is my favorite!

  • Sharon Streger

    What if you get sleepy on Adderall? I’ve tried the Brain octane but did not feel significant difference. need help with motivation and energy as well as Focus and comprehension.

  • Rich Gunn

    Looking to get started with Nootropics for supreme focus and motivation all day on the phone as a commercial insurance broker. Any suggestions? I was looking at Nootrobox and also came across Thrivous. Thanks everyone.

    • For premade stacks, I highly recommend evidence-based high-value formulas. So far as I know, Thrivous is the strongest option on the market.

  • Kevin Oldham

    I’ve enjoyed taking PowerUp PowerDown for three months. The Up version helps me focus while the Down helps me be a more present and chill dad.

    I’ve always told people I have two speeds 0mph and 200mph. I guess PowerUp PowerDown has given me a throttle.

  • how about Nootropil 400 mg tabs its also called Piracetam reading good things as it is derived from GABA seems legit and safe or not “strong”enough?

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  • Eric Kozak

    KetoPrime or Bacopa monnieri for a first time nootropic?

    • Bacopa is a good pick if you’re looking for an evidenced-based option for improving memory.

      • iamnothumanme

        I’m a rookie starting Nootropics I want focus, motivation and energy. What should I start with? And can I take more than 1 type of enhancer at a time ie, a tablet for focus and motivation and a different tablet for memory and learning?

  • Alex Benson

    Great read! Thank you Dave Asprey!

  • Clint Hanks

    Fantastic! You have shared a very informative blog. I think you should add NeuroGum in the list. Currently It is quite popular in US.

  • iamnothumanme

    I’m a rookie starting Nootropics I want focus and energy. What should I start with?

    • Yeah. You can stack multiple nootropics. Usually, it’s a good idea to add one product at a time, so you know what to remove if it doesn’t work for you. I recommend Bacopa for memory and Rhodiola for focus. Some products are available that contain both.

  • iamnothumanme

    does anyone know of a good supplier in the UK for Modafinil that have a good reputation?

  • disenter

    Just starting out. Thanks for the article, you obviously have plenty of experience.
    What do you think of Meldonium?