[ExI] Which nootropics work best?

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Mon Mar 14 00:03:08 UTC 2011

On Mar 13, 2011, at 1:02 PM, Max More wrote:

> I'm not certain my brain is working as sharply as it was 20 years ago. At the same time, I have to deal with decisions that are more weighty in their ramifications than they were 20 years ago. Of course I'm doing my best to optimize my nutrition and exercise, which should be good for my neurological function. However, I'd like to draw on the probably extensive knowledge of everyone on this email list to get suggestions on currently-available cognition-enhancing drugs (that lack significant undesirable side-effects, i.e. nootropics). My knowledge of these is a bit dated, so I'm interested in suggestions based on recent as well as older research.

I am 56 and I am quite certain that my brain does not work as well in some respects as it did 20 years ago.  There is not a doubt in my mind about that.   I have also gained in some areas, mainly of self-knowledge and more clarity of what is more important to me and what is less so.  But I am quite clear that my brain is hesitant in places it didn't used to be and that it is more difficult to do some types of cognitive tasks than it once was.    I did go in and get a reasonably full work up by an anti-aging clinic a few years ago.  Their work with me tuning up supplements, nutrients, and a some meds indicated by thorough blood work certainly made a large difference.  But there are still areas that don't come as easily as they once did. 

The best cognitive enhancing drug for me to date, after tuning up HRT and in my case, my thyroid meds,  was modafinil.  It is pricey as hell in the states.  But even paying full US prices and even if I took it every day (not always the best course) I am still talking less than the price of a cheap meal out.   I tried most of the standard nootropics without a lot of experienced benefit.   Deprenyl was of some help but not nearly as much so as modafinil.  

I was also on HGH for some time.  Very very pricey and not great benefit in my case.  Raising the dosage bit by bit still did not change the relevant blood work numbers very much.  There was a certain "smooth" increase in feelings of well being and some benefits combined with exercise.  But I didn't find them extensive enough to justify the high cost.

> For the record, I've tried several purported cognitive enhancers in the past. These include: vasopressin nasal spray, reputed to improve memory (though I didn't --15 to 20 years ago -- notice any substantial difference); hydergine (don't recall noticing a significant difference); provigil (definitely reduced need for sleep, but unsure whether it improved cogition); caffeine (no detectable difference, probably due to habituation); piracetam (definite improvement, but only at very high doses).
> I'd appreciate any pointers to reasonably current research on cognitive enhancers, and even personal experiences, and pointers to evidence-based web resources.

Me too.  Always interested in that next edge.  I think the best things for me to tune next are diet, exercise, sleep patterns and several internal psychological adjustments.  Oh, and leaving the computer and getting out the door more.  :)

- samantha

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