A few months ago I read a great article called “How to Write 10,000 Words a Day“. In the article, it goes through a process by which you can write 10000 words a day and get massive work done.
One of the things about making content is that the more you make, the better momentum you have. With writing this is also true, the more you write, the better you get.
Because I’m interested in productivity and writing, the part of the article that caught my attention was Mike’s use of nootropics.
I haven’t used nootropics before and thought it would be a good idea to finally give them a try after hearing so much about them.
What are Nootropics?
Nootropics are a class of drugs that are designed to improve cognitive function. They are also sometimes called “Smart Drugs” because they supposedly make you smarter or more alert.
Start looking into nootropics and you’ll go down a very deep rabbit hole of people on the internet arguing about what works best, how to get obscure drugs, and stories about being Bradley Cooper in “Limitless.”
Much of what I’ve read about nootropics seems like a bunch of bullshit. I wanted to keep it simple and limit what I’m getting to over the counter items.
In Mike’s article he mentions a specific stack of nootropics that he takes. This is what I experimented with:
- NAC 1200 mgs (Amazon)
- Huperzine A 200 mcg (Amazon)
- Vinpocentine 10 mcg (Amazon)
- Alpha GPC 300 mgs (Amazon)
NAC or N-acetyl Cysteine is a precursor to glutothione and a potent anti oxitant. When people go to the hospital for overdosing on tylenol, they give them NAC. NAC works great at detoxing the liver and as a result is a powerful intervention against many illnesses such as the flu, alcoholism, and bronchitis.
There’s also evidence that shows that NAC can help with anxiety and brain fog. By having a healthier liver, it frees up resources for the rest of your body to use.
Huperzine A is an extract from club moss that blocks the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is associated with memory and learning, so by inhibiting it’s breakdown, there is more available to you.
Vinpocentine is an extract from the periwinkle plant. It acts by increasing blood flow to the brain. With increased blood flow, your brain gets more oxygen and nutrients making it work better.
Alpha GPC is a bioavailable form of Choline. It works by giving your brain the ability to produce more Acetylcholine. This is similar to Huperzine A in that it allows you the use of more Acetylcholine, just by a different method.
I experimented with a few different ways to take the nootropics to get the best experience from them. The best results that I got was from this routine:
- Wake up and drink a water and take my frist 600 mg NAC pill.
- Go to the gym and lift weights.
- Get back and make a protein shake.
- Take the second 600 mg NAC pill, Huperzine A pill, Vinpocentine pill, and Alpha GPC pill with my protein shake.
I’ve been taking these drugs for about 2 months now and have found that the results vary from day to day greatly. The good days are really good, and the bad days I only experience a marginal difference in my cognitive ability.
On bad days, I’d say there’s maybe a 5% noticeable difference where I feel slightly better. Nothing drastic, but enough to be worth it.
On the good days, there is a 2-4 hour window where I’m really in the zone. I’m talking about being wired. This has only happened a handful of times, but when it does, it’s awesome.
On my “wired” days, I’ll be shaking my leg impatient with people and I’m able to just let my fingers fly. When I’m writing, I don’t even think about anything, what’s in my head just appear on screen. On these days, nothing is stopping me.
Negative Side Effects
I’ve experienced a few negative side effects from taking nootropics. They aren’t anything too bad, but when I experience them it’s a real bummer.
The first negative that you’ll have to deal with is having diarrhea. This happened to me a few times when I first started taking the drugs. I believe it was from the NAC as I’ve read a number of reviews on it saying it gave people the shits.
The way I got around this was to space out my dosing. Each NAC pill is 600 mgs, so when I woke up first thing in the morning, I’d take my first pill. Then after my gym session, I’d take my second pill with my protein shake. When I spaced it like this, I had zero difficulties with diarrhea.
Another negative side effect was massive headaches every now and then. I would take the drugs and about 20 minutes later I’d feel a headache creeping in. What’s interesting about this was this was usually also a sign that I’d have one of my really wired days.
This headache lasted a good portion of the day a few times. Other times, it would only last about 45 minutes and then it would either go away or I was so in the zone I stopped noticing it. Either way, it was something I could manage.
Another way around the headaches are to spread your dosage out. So go one day on, another day off. This seemed to alleviate the symptoms
The Best Nootropic Synergy
After taking all of these drugs, I’ve found that the best nootropic is still intense exercise. These drugs will give you a marginal push, but the best feeling is having pushed your body to the limit.
By exercising to the point of absolute exhaustion, it’s forcing more oxygen and blood to your whole body, especially your brain. With more blood flowing, you will be feeling absolutely incredible and it offers you the chance to have better absorption of any nootropics you want to take.
Here’s my nootropic synergy formula:
Nootropics + Intense weight lifting + Great Coffee = IN THE ZONE
Whenever I followed this formula it was pretty much guaranteed that I was going to be on point that day. Exercising gives you an endorphin rush and better circulation, mix that with the cognitive benefits of nootropics and a strong glass of coffee and you’ll be feeling incredible.
By doing this routine in the morning, you’re setting yourself up to have a very productive day.
I would recommend everyone give nootropics a try. There’s certainly a little trial and error involved, but once you get a system down, it really works wonders.
Sure, you could run into some negative side effects, but everything I’ve encountered was mild and was easily alleviated through cycling.
Part of the fun of nootropics is finding out what works best for you. Take this stack, add your own ingredients, subtract something not working over there, and figure out what gets you the most productive.