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The Best Nootropic Drugs (smart pills)By Adam Sinicki
Adderall is a supplement that’s great for concentration, originally used to control hyperactive children and treat ADHD, it has since gained popularity with students using it to improve their performance in tests and coursework. The Germans describe the feeling it produces as ‘sitzfleisch’, meaning the ability to work without distraction.
Technically Adderall is an amphetamine (as is speed) which increases dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin which together create a relaxed but focussed state of mind. Unfortunately it’s a class B drug and possession is illegal – the only way you can obtain it legally is through prescription if you can convince your doctor you suffer from ADHD. Ooh a fly…
Alcohol is normally known for it’s ability to leave you drunk and wasted in a gutter and is considered by most to be the opposite of a nootropic drug. You’re all familiar with the ‘bell curve’ however; where your performance on the pool table increases after one pint then rapidly tails off after the third one? Well that’s because as a depressant, alcohol can calm nerves and quiet that little voice in your head goading you to miss the pocket. One glass of beer or wine can be a great method for taking the pressure off in certain situations then – think ‘meeting your girlfriend’s parents’ rather than ‘driving test’ and you’ll be fine (and definitely not ‘ice skating date’, trust me). The good news is that it’s also the most fun of all nootropics, woo! I'm drunk now and I'm loving it! (Okay I'm not really... don't judge me...)
I am currently Berocca’s biggest fan. A multivitamin/mineral tablet, it contains vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folacin, vitamin B12, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium and zinc, with vitamins B and C in particularly high doses. For me this has improved everything from my morning wakefulness (from abysmal to terrible) to my complexion and I look forward to my dose every day. While most people don't need these extra vitamins as such if they have a normal diet, almost anyone will benefit from them and you'll find you just feel... better. Unlike other nootropics and health tablets these are all completely natural nutrients that you should be getting in your diet so you can feel good aboout taking them too. Furthermore, the high amounts of B and C mean that it’s also great as an energy booster. Vitamin Bhelps us to extract the energy from good and is also used to carry information around the brain and improve muscle function. Vitamin C meanwhile boosts the immune system keeping viruses at bay. Berocca is marketed partly as an energy booster and it is a great pick-me-up. The only downside is the taste but it does grow on you.
Beta Blockers can be used to help keep you calm under pressure if you have an upcoming deadline or presentation. In low doses they have been used to improve symptoms of social anxiety and other anxiety disorders and are also used to treat heart problems and high blood pressure.
Beta Blockers can only be obtained via prescription however who might suggest them for anxiety or heart problems. This is just as well, as you really shouldn’t be relying on a drug to deal with nerves – this is something you should be able to tackle yourself. If you resort to drugs you’ll never improve in these highly important and useful social abilities. Attack the problem at the route man, the route!
Caffeine is probably the most popular nootropic drug there is, and probably around 80% self medicate every day with our early morning cup of coffee or tea or our afternoon coke. To go more hardcore it’s also possible to buy supplement pills containing caffeine for a quick boost. Cheap and freely available, caffeine will fight off fatigue and increase attention and memory at the same time. The down side however is that it can put a strain on your heart and lead to a subsequent crash when your body realises that yes, it does actually need sleep. Some people can experience even more obvious side effects experiencing trembling, headaches or a racing heart. For these reasons I recommend you leave the caffeine pills alone and stick to your mourning/evening cuppa. For a more pleasant alternative to the tablets try Guarana.
It sounds cool because it’s all letters and numbers. It’s also cool as it’s cutting edge stuff, currently undergoing testing before being permitted for use by the general public and because it was designed for use by soldiers (so Incredible Hulk…). These work to heighten your alertness, allegedly without side effects, by helping your neurons to communicate more efficiently. An ‘ampakine’, CX717 is essentially a hyped-up caffeine without the jitters.
Guarana is a herbal alternative to Caffeine that also gives you a slower more extended supply of energy as opposed to the sudden kick that caffeine will give you. It’s not as noticeable but is certainly far more pleasant. Furthermore, like caffeine it’s been shown to additionally improve concentration and short term memory. Due to it’s metabolism-speeding properties it’s also marketed as a fat burner.
Nicotine, yes the stuff found in cigarettes, has recently been discovered to have nootropic benefits for attention and short term memory by affecting the hippocampus making it another useful one for cramming before an exam. Obviously I don’t recommend taking up smoking, but if you chew some nicotine gum from time to time you’ll also benefit from the refreshing properties of the mint flavouring. Just don’t get hooked.
Piracetam, also known as Nootropil, improves memory and leaves you feeling upbeat and on the ball. It was actually developed to help Alzheimer’s and reports have suggested that it can improve performance in exams. Piracetam is very similar to GABA (read the review on the site) which means it increases oxygen flow to the brain by increasing blood flow around the brain. It’s completely legal and can be purchased fairly cheaply online or from health stores. However there have been few studies looking into the long term affects, so are you prepared to boldy go?
Provigial will improve your working memory so affecting your problem solving and planning capabilities. Originally designed to help with sleeping disorders, it’s also prescribed to fight off lethargy and keep people focussed and task oriented. It does this by increasing levels of Dopamine (or rather preventing its natural removal) so increasing concentration and preparation skills. You can buy it online or get it prescribed for sleeping disorders, though it is illegal in sports.
Thermogenics are best known for there alleged fat burning properties, however they also improve wakefulness, keeping you alert through long meetings/Rocky marathons. They work by boosting your metabolism, raising your heart rate and body temperature and stimulating your brain. The hardcore ones also contain ephedrine which is fine to purchase but illegal to re-sell. You can buy these online or from gyms and health stores. Well known products include Thermobol and Ripped Fuel.
Metabolism boosters I find can lead to problems if used to regularly. They can put a strain on your body and ruin your body clock. Personally I wouldn’t recommend going this heavy weight – if the meeting’s that long and stressful it’s probably better to just call in sick…