Category Archives: Health and wellness

Introduction to nootropics

Introduction

Your brain needs more than just energy molecules like glucose or ketones to run.  Neurotransmitters are depleted by use, for example.  While they can be synthesized to an extent, your brain will work more efficiently if you consume them or their precursors.  There are others, like acetylcholine, that you cannot completely synthesize, and have to consume.  Baseline amounts from a basic balanced diet will keep you going, but getting spike doses can help clear thinking.  Most generally defined, a nootropic is a cognitive enhancer that is not a stimulant and has very low toxicity.

Other supplements may not be found in a natural diet but will enhance or feed existing metabolic pathways.  L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine is more readily absorbed (though it’s found in milk so it’s not entirely unnatural).  Dimethylaminoethanol is man-made, very easily absorbed, and is methylated in the brain to produce choline.  Choline is one of the most essential building blocks of a nootropic regimen, and often has a significant effect alone.

Some may be concerned with a distinction between supplements and drugs.  As noted above, synthetic substances that produce effects identical to natural substances are readily found, and many will know that natural substances that produce effects outside of necessary metabolism are readily found in nature (caffeine and THC are good examples).  The natural/synthetic thus seems a poor line to divide “supplements” from “drugs”.  For the purposes of these discussions, the “natural effect” versus “synthetic effect” line will be used, when any distinction is made.  It is necessarily informal, and individual distinctions may later be found to be incorrect.  If you have qualms about drug use, thoroughly research the compounds before you use them and make the decision for yourself.

Choline Sources

As a near direct goal of most nootropic supplementation is to increase neural activity in the brain, increased consumption of essential nutrients used to make neurotransmitters is necessary.  Choline is one of primary concern.  One issue of note with choline is that it competes with protein to cross the blood brain barrier – thus spike choline supplementation should be done on an empty stomach.  Generally, an adult male’s adequate intake of choline is about 550 mg/d, slightly less for most females, but significantly higher for pregnant or breastfeeding females.  Listed amounts of the supplements target the ingestion of 100 mg of choline.

Dietary: eggs, chicken, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, milk, fish, and liver, in increasing levels, contain significant amount of choline (varies).

Lecithin (3000 mg): usually available from an all natural source such as soy or sunflower oil.

Choline Bitartrate (1500 mg): Synthetic

Alpha GPG (L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine) (1200 mg): Hard to find now, but very effective.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) (1200 mg ?): Dosages not as well documented, but presumed from structure.  Tested and know to be safe well past 1600 mg/day.

Centrophenoxine (1200 mg): Not well documented.

Citicholine (cytidine diphosphate-choline, CDP Choline) (1200 mg): More expensive but one of the best sources.

Racetams

Racetams seem to work by activating glutamate receptors that are colocated with cholinergic receptors, increasing the firing of the cholinergic receptors.  The specific mechanisms are generally not well understood.  They all seem to increase working memory, memory recall, and cognition to various degrees.  Racetams are synergistic with choline sources – that is, the results of taking both is improved when they are used concurrently.  It is important to note racetam solubility.  It varies, and consuming a racetam with a small amount of food with which it is soluble will significantly increase uptake.  For example, consume a dose of a fat soluble racetam like aniracetam with 8 oz of milk.  Each is listed with solubility and a commonly recommended starting dose.

Piracetam: Improves cognition and working memory through increased cross-hemisphere communication within the brain.  Half life is 4-5 hours.  (water, 1000 mg 2bd)

Oxiracetam: Improves cognition, logical performance, memory, and spatial awareness. (water, 750 mg 2bd)

Aniracetam: Improves cognition, more potent and easily absorbed than piracetam or oxiracetam. Half life is 1.5-2 hours.  (fat, 250 mg 3bd)

Pramiracetam: Similar to piracetam. Half life of 4.5-6 hours.  (fat, 50 mg 1/2bd)

Nefiracetam: Antidepressant effects, may improve cognitive function and memory.  Reduction in testosterone and sperm motility associated with extremely high doses.  Half life 3-5 hours. (fat, 600 mg 2bd)

Stimulants

Mild stimulants are regularly used.  Caffeine, in the form of tea, coffee, and soft drinks, is consumed almost universally.  Most mild stimulants are plant alkaloids.  They often show synergistic effects with other compounds.

Caffeine: Practically ubiquitous.   Dosing with pills may be more effective in order to minimize uptake competition and standardize dose.

Ephedrine: More difficult to find due to FDA meddling.  Look for Ephedrine-HCL or Ephedrine Sulfide in Bronkaid or Primatene at a pharmacy.

Nicotine: Improves cognition and working memory. Generally taken as a transdermal patch.

Other

Some compounds show significant benefit but are not members of families with similar marked benefit.  Theanine, for example, has a mild psychoactive effect and appears to improve cognition and mood.

Theanine: Improves cognition and mood.  Found in tea, especially green tea (~10 mg per 8 oz serving) or isolated in pills.

Ginkgo biloba: Improves memory, concentration, and reduces the effects of vertigo.

Stacking

Taking supplements with synergistic effects or precursors is called stacking.

Simple stack

Below are the components of a very simple stack that will result in moderate improvements of cognition, memory, and energy.  It is important that these be taken with a small amount of milk or almond milk or other food (about four ounces of milk is all that is necessary).

800 mg piracetam
1200 mg lecithin
200 mg theanine
100 mg caffeine

Take that twice a day on an empty stomach.

Basic nootropics

So you want to feed your brain what it needs to think faster?  These are compounds that

Cognitive Function

Racetams

Piracetam – Increases cognitive function, memory recall.  500-2000 mg

Aniracetam – Increases memory storage but causes a “sleepyhead” or dream-walking feeling in some.  100-500 mg

Pramiracetam – More concentrated piracetam.  20-50 mg

Nefiracetam – ?

Choline

These make your brain burn more choline than normal.  You’ll want artificial supplements.  Take these on an empty stomach, otherwise the liver will hijack them for glycogenesis.  The choline in 1200 mg of lecithin matches what is needed for about 800 mg of piracetam.

Lecithin – cheap and available.  1200-3600 mg

Alpha GPC – more expensive.

CDP-Choline – even more expensive, but crosses the BBB easier. 200-800 mg

Other

Caffeine – causes increased cognitive function, but can cause jitters and nervousness. 100-500 mg.

L-Theanine – Synergistic with caffeine, found in green tea too.  Reduces physical and mental stress. 50-200 mg.

Fish oil – provides base nutrition.  1000-4000 mg.

Sleep

Melatonin – hormone associated with sleeping. 3-6 mg.

Valerian root – promotes sleep. 500 mg.

Advice to Young Men from an Old Man

Found on the internet.  Has some naughty language, don’t read it if four letter words make you piss your panties.

1. Don’t pick on the weak. It’s immoral. Don’t antagonize the strong without cause, its stupid.
2. Don’t hate women. It’s a waste of time
3. Invest in yourself. Material things come to those that have self actualized.
4. Get in a fistfight, even if you are going to lose.
5. As a former Marine, take it from me. Don’t join the military, unless you want to risk getting your balls blown off to secure other people’s economic or political interests.
6. If something has a direct benefit to an individual or a class of people, and a theoretical, abstract, or amorphous benefit to everybody else, realize that the proponent’s intentions are to benefit the former, not the latter, no matter what bullshit they try to feed you.
7. Don’t be a Republican. They are self-dealing crooks with no sense of honor or patriotism to their fellow citizens. If you must be a Republican, don’t be a “conservative.” They are whining, bitching, complaining, simple-minded self-righteous idiots who think they’re perpetual victims. Listen to talk radio for a while, you’ll see what I mean.
8. Don’t take proffered advice without a critical analysis. 90% of all advice is intended to benefit the proponent, not the recipient. Actually, the number is probably closer to 97%, but I don’t want to come off as cynical.
9. You’ll spend your entire life listening to people tell you how much you owe them. You don’t owe the vast majority of people shit.
10. Don’t undermine your fellow young men. Mentor the young men that come after you. Society recognizes that you have the potential to be the most power force in society. It scares them. Society does not find young men sympathetic. They are afraid of you, both individually and collectively. Law enforcement’s primary purpose is to suppress you.
11. As a young man, you’re on your own. Society divides and conquers. Unlike women who have advocates looking out for them (NOW, Women’s Study Departments, government, non-profit organizations, political advocacy groups) almost no one is looking out for you.
12. Young men provide the genius and muscle by which our society thrives. Look at the Silicone Valley. By in large, it was not old men or women that created the revolution we live. Realize that society steals your contributions, secures it with our intellectual property laws, and then takes credit and the rewards where none is due.
13. Know that few people have your best interests at heart. Your mother does. Your father probably does (if he stuck around). Your siblings are on your side. Everybody else worries about themselves.
14. Don’t be afraid to tell people to “Fuck off” when need be. It is an important skill to acquire. As they say, speak your piece, even if your voice shakes.
15. Acquire empathy, good interpersonal skills, and confidence. Learn to read body language and non-verbal communication. Don’t just concentrate on your vocational or technical skills, or you’ll find your wife fucking somebody else.
16. Keep fit.
17. Don’t speak ill of your wife/girlfriend. Back her up against the world, even if she’s wrong. She should know that you have her back. When she needs your help, give it. She should know that you’ll take her part.
18. Don’t cheat on your wife/girlfriend. If you must cheat, don’t humiliate her. Don’t risk having your transgressions come back to her or her friends. Don’t do it where you live. Don’t do it with people in your social circle. Don’t shit in your own back yard.
19. If your girlfriend doesn’t make you feel good about yourself and bring joy to your life, fire her. That’s what girlfriends are for.
20. Don’t bother with “emotional affairs.” They are just a vehicle for women to flirt and have someone make them feel good about themselves. That’s the part of a relationship they want. For you it is a lot of work and investment in time. If they are having an emotional affair with you, they’re probably fucking someone else.
21. Becoming a woman’s friend and confidant is not going to get you into an intimate relationship. If you haven’t gotten the girl within a reasonably short period of time, chances are you won’t ever get her. She’ll end up confiding to you about the sexual adventures she’s having with someone else.
22. Have and nurture friendships with women.
23. Realize that love is a numbers game. Guys fall in love easily. You’re going to see some girl and feel like you’ll die if you don’t get her. If she rejects you, move on to the next one. It’s her loss.
24. Don’t be an internet troll. Got out and live life. There is not a cadre of beautiful women advertising on Craigslist to have NSA sex with you. Beautiful women don’t need to advertise. The websites that advertise with attractive women’s photos and claims of loneliness are baloney. All they want is your money and your personal information so that they can market to you. The posts on Craigslist by young “women” seeking NSA sex, and asking for a picture are just a bunch of gay troll pic collectors. This is especially true if the post uses common gay lexicon like “hole” as in “fuck my hole” or seeks “masculine” men, or uses the word cock (except in the context of “Don’t send a cock shot.”) There are women on Craigslist. They are easily recognizable by their 2-5 paragraph postings. Most are in their 30′s or older.
25. When you become a man in full, know that people will get in your way. People who are attracted to you will somehow manage to step in your path. Gay guys will give you “the look.” Old people will somehow stumble in front of you at the worst time. Don’t get frustrated. Just step aside and go about your business. Know that these are passive aggressive methods to get you to acknowledge their existence.
26. Don’t gay bash. Don’t mentally or physically abuse people because of who they are, or how they present themselves. It’s none of your business to try to intimidate people into conformity.
27. If your gay, admit it to yourself, your parents, your friends and society at large. Be prepared to get harassed. See rule 14. If someone threatens you or assaults you, call the cops. Have them arrested. You have no obligation to self sacrifice because of who you are. As a gay person, you’ll have more social freedom than straight men. Use it to protect yourself. Be prepared to get out of Dodge if your orientation makes your life unbearable. Move to San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, or New Orleans. You’ll find a welcoming community there.
28. Don’t be a poser. Avoid being one of those dudes who puts a surfboard on top of their car, but never surfs, or a dude with a powder coated fixed gear bike and a messenger bag, but was never a messenger. Live the life. Earn your bona fides.
29. Don’t believe the crap about the patriarchy. More women are accepted and attend college. More degrees are awarded to women than men. Women outlive men. More men commit suicide. Men are twice as likely to be victims of violence, including murder. If you consider sexual assaults in prisons, twice as many men are raped as women (society thinks prison rape is funny). The streets are littered with homeless men, sprinkled with a few homeless women. Statically, women are happier than men. The myth that girls are being cheated by are educational system is belied by the fact that schools are bastions of femininity, mostly run by and taught by women. Girls outperform boys in school. It is the boys in school getting fucked over, and prescribed ritalin for being boys. Real wages for men are falling, while real wages for women are rising. Just because someone says something enough times, doesn’t make it true. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
30. Remember, 97% of all advice is worthless. Take what you can use, and trash the rest.

I took a zolpidem tab last night

Yeah, ambien.  Apparently I was still talking to people after I fell asleep.  Sorry about that.  I’ve been having coughing fits and not sleeping well, and I needed to be up early in the morning so I guess I had a good reason to take one.  I’m going to get some serious natural sleep in tonight, though, I tell you what.

The fog cover from my office is awesome.