Nootropics

I’ve been interested in brain enhancing medication since my first bout of depression as a young teen, and since then I’ve continued to look into it from time to time. The idea that there are substances out there that I can take to improve my concentration, memory, mood, focus, and more is really intriguing to me. My desire to experience these effects only grew when I watched the 2011 movie, Limitless.

NZT-48 was a wonder drug that took a slacker that wanted to be a published author but lacked the drive and focus and turned him into a presidential candidate by the end of the movie. I couldn’t help but be envious, even if it was a fictional story. I sometimes feel like I’m competing with one arm tied behind my back as I manage my anxiety and depression, both of which drain me of my inspiration, focus, and energy.

I have taken anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants and found both to be lacking. Recently, in reviewing my Promethease Report that I had created after getting my genes sampled by 23andme, I found something interesting: I have several genes that decrease the effectiveness of many popular anti-depressants. The message next to the genes states:

7x less likely to respond to certain antidepressants. This version of a blood-brain barrier protein blocks many common antidepressants from entering the brain, including: amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil), and venlafaxine (Effexor). That makes those antidepressants 7 times less effective.

And guess what? As far as I can remember, all of the medication I’ve taken have been some kind of close relation or cousin of citalopram or venlafaxine. Maybe that’s why they aren’t very effective for me?

Anyways, back to Nootropics. What does Nootropic mean? Here’s what Wikipedia says:

Nootropics —also called smart drugs and cognitive enhancers—are drugs, supplements, or other substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. The use of cognition-enhancing drugs by healthy individuals in the absence of a medical indication is one of the most debated topics among neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and physicians which spans a number of issues, including the ethics and fairness of their use, concerns over adverse effects, and the diversion of prescription drugs for nonmedical uses, among others.

There is also a fairly active subreddit about Nootropics as well. I’ve been researching various things for a while, looking for something that has proven effective for someone with a similar background to my own. I don’t necessarily want to go to a doctor and have them prescribe me anti-anxiety medications or ADD medications. I know it is risky to experiment on myself, but knowing that there is potential for even a small increase in my focus seems too good to pass up.

While the drug I’m most interested in is Modafinil, it is listed as a Schedule F prescription-only medication. What is Modafinil? Here’s what Nootriment has to say about Modafinil:

Modafinil may sound like a wonder drug the first time any of us hear or read about it. Modafinil reviews state that this nootropic gives them increased energy during the day, leading to improved cognitive abilities and productivity. It is a member of the eugeroic class of drugs used to promote a sense of wakefulness without any of the jittery nervousness or jaw-clenching which often accompanies stimulant use. In addition, most users report an increased sense of motivation and drive, saying they are able to begin and complete projects with a steady unforced concentration and determination.

Here it is being covered a few years back on the news:

My Promethease Report has this to say about me using Modafinil:

rs4680(A;A) – More exploratory, lower COMT enzymatic activity, therefore, higher dopamine levels; lower pain threshold, enhanced vulnerability to stress, yet also more efficient at processing information under most conditions. Little or no response to modafinil

Despite this genetic setback, I am definitely still interested in persuing this idea that I can get more performance from my brain by taking a legal pill. There are many nootropic drugs, but the science on them is super limited. Is there a pill out there for me? I don’t know. Maybe all I really need is to be on the right ADD medication and take my vitamins to have better focus, concentration and performance in my job and hobbies. I guess like everyone, I’m searching for the easiest way to get ahead in an ultracompetitive world.

What do you think of nootropics, would you ever take a pill that may increase your memory, creativity, focus, and more?

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2 Replies to “Nootropics”

    1. Yeah, I’m not currently taking any medication, so drug interactions isn’t a concern here. I should definitely do a post on drug interactions at some point though… It is a huge topic and I am interested in it. 🙂

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