This is a post for those of you who are entering the world of biohacking and transhumanism and want another way to make the most of yourself as a biological lifeform.
Nootropics are supplements that improve or alter the body. Usually, it is to increase energy, focus, vibrancy, or intelligence. Side effects are considered uncommon. Many people use “stacks” to maximize the effects. This post is largely for increasing awareness about nootropics but there are a number of resources to explore further. Honestly, after reading this and clicking on all the wikipedia articles I’ve linked to below, I’d recommend starting with this reddit feed.
Some might suggest that certain illicit drugs can also provide an altered view of reality that serves similar purposes, but I will not be discussing them here. I’ll take you through the popular ones that I have personally used.
Modafinil or Armodafinil – This allows increased wakefulness and focus. It sort of turns off sleepiness (and some lucky people can use it to (relatively) safely skip a night of sleep). Many people enjoy it to stay awake throughout the day. Side effects: headache, body aches, and others. I experience the headache and body aches to the point that the few good hours at the beginning don’t justify the pain afterward. Drew, on the other hand, responds beautifully when taken occasionally.
Also, if taken too many times consecutively, it can cause an increase in the side effects, lack of sleep can be toxic to your brain and body, and it loses its positive effects. Although these are safe for most people, it is generally prescribed as a medication for narcolepsy and is a controlled substance. However, it is not illegal to possess or ingest even without a prescription.
Caffeine & Theanine – Either of these could be considered a nootropic on their own, but tend to work even better in tandem. Caffeine increases alertness and wakefulness, but can cause jitteriness, headaches, etc. Theanine is an agent found in green tea. It’s a relaxant and can work on its own to reduce anxiety. With caffeine, it generally takes away the negative effects of caffeine without taking away the benefits.
Piracetam & Choline (the latter found in DMAE) – Piracetam is the only supplement that might actually increase intelligence. It is usually understood that intelligence can not be raised; however, there is evidence to suggest that it may increase intelligence by and IQ point or two. So, it isn’t substantial, but may be substantial enough to be worth using. Choline is needed to work with it… it is found in DMAE, which also is said to make dreams more memorable and vibrant. I respond very well to this combination. It makes studying extra fun and thorough.
Vitamin D (this one some add in and others don’t; I obviously do) – This supplement is found in sunshine and eggs. It assists in keeping one’s immune system healthy and defends against cancer. Although too much sun is associated with skin cancer, the type of cancer Vitamin D may help prevent is worth the sun exposure. Or, to save yourself (or at least help prevent) from skin cancer too, you can just take a supplement and also use sunscreen. I don’t know if it strictly has to do with Vitamin D as there were other changes happening in my life, but I can report that in the time I’ve been taking it, I have not gotten seriously ill (whereas I used to get serious sinus infections 1-2 times per year.).
Creatine – This one is already popular among athletic types. You get more energy and stamina and it is often used before a workout to increase its effectivity. I definitely notice the increase in energy and stamina. I love it.
Melatonin (can add DMAE to this)- This naturally occurs in the brain when you get darkness before falling asleep. It was an evolutionary development to increase sleep quality, but was triggered by the setting of the sun (or increasing darkness). Because many of us don’t have the luxury of escaping light in the night these days, taking a melatonin supplement can improve sleep quality. Dosing depends on the individual as it can leave some groggy in the morning or unable to wake up at a normal time. I’ve found that .5g works well for me at a meager 5’1” and appx 110lbs.
There are plenty of others out there, but I wanted to share a basic introduction to those that I am personally experienced with. Another interesting reading source on a number of mind/body altering substances, as well other amazing info from a more advanced self-experimenter can be found here.