View Full Version : Nootropics/Smart Drugs

Monday, February 28th, 2005, 07:24 AM
Most of these pharmaceuticals were originally used to treat a disease such as dementia or for something completely different than brain enhancing, like controlling your bladder. Even though studies these drugs and their effects have been available for over a decade now their use among healthy individuals has not been widespread. Some of the pioneers of the field, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, have been promoting smart drugs since the seventies, but the movement didn't become a bandwagon until the late 80's. Since then at least four popular books have been published on the subject, scientific research interest has escalated and mail order firms have been popping up by the dozen.

Some pharmaceuticals are called 'smart drugs' because of their ability to enhance brain's functions, not because they're smart genetic drugs or nanorobots. Smart drugs aren't addictive either (not in the physical sense anyway) and some of the stuff is not even medicine (see Smart Nutrients). A better word for chemicals that can boost your brain performance would be nootropics (from Greek, 'acting on the mind'), but as it's not nearly as catchy or marketable we're stuck with 'smart drugs' for now.

A very short introduction to your brain

Smart drugs can basically do three different things to your brain:
- minimise the damage to the brain and the natural deterioration of one's brain functions
- repair some of the damage already done
- or enhance brain functions above usual levels.

Human nervous system deteriorates with age through natural ageing process and sometimes due to drinking or smoking. This deterioration is usually caused by an oxidation process, which destroys brain cells and form free radicals that cause further havoc in one's brain. Even though brain cells likely cannot regenerate, it is possible to deactivate free radicals and repair some of the other damage (such as low levels of electric current transmitting chemicals in the brain). And this is can be achieved with smart drugs and some nutrients, such as vitamins.

It is also possible to enhance the brain's natural properties with smart drugs by helping the brain to build new connections. Neurones (brain cells) are connected to thousands of other neurones, which together form a huge neural net. The more connections you have the easier it is for one neurone to send information to another neurone, thus the better your brain works. It is possible to help the brain to grow more of these connections by taking smart drugs.

As these connections are formed when new memories formed, one can actually memorise and learn new things easier if a chemical is there to help your neurones to connect. Smart drugs can also enhance one's mental functions by feeding the brain with more oxygen or increasing the levels of neurotransmitting chemicals that carry electric signals from a neurone to another.

The great smart drugs debate

It's all terribly mind boggling to know that one's brain is working more efficiently (while actually wearing out less) while on smart drugs, but what does it all mean in practise? Will you be able to memorise the whole R&S discography in 20 seconds or calculate cube roots in a snap? No you will not. Even though memory enhancement can be significant in some cases, the reality is often far less glorious.

People report effects ranging from: "It changed my life" to "I got a funny sort of buzz out of them", but not all of the effects are scientifically validated. Although the process of how neurochemicals and smart drugs work is somewhat agreed upon, scientists haven't agreed on whether smart drugs really are effective in healthy people. Many of the test have been done with animals and with mentally dysfunctional patients (esp. those suffering from dementia or Parkinson's disease), but studies on healthy adults also exists. For example, a double blind study on late-middle-aged test subjects showed increase in mental functions after four weeks of taking Piracetam. Studies showing benefits from other drugs in normal test subjects also exist.

Still many researchers and doctors are willing to claim all of the above bogus and encourage people not to self-medicate themselves. But if we keep in mind that the earth was once flat and that even scientists do make mistakes, we might as well look into these drugs and their supposed effects. After all some of these drugs are so cheap and safe that trying them out for yourself might not be a bad idea at all.

What brain boosting substances are there?

Smart drugs are basically of three different variety: drugs, nutrients & herbs. One would think that the definition is clear as anybody can tell an aspirin from a hot dog, but that's not the case really. Many nutrients are classified as drugs when they are potent enough and in some cultures the difference between a medicine (usually synthetic) and a herb (natural) is very hazy. But all of this doesn't really matter that much, if you know the effects, correct dosage and precautions about each product. When you know these things you can quite safely take some of these substances on your own. It is advisable to contact a doctor before starting medicating yourself, even though open-minded and knowledgeable doctors may be hard to find.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Monday, February 28th, 2005, 08:35 AM
Think of all the money we could make selling this drug at Stormfront?

Monday, February 28th, 2005, 02:11 PM
Nootropics or "Smart Drugs" is the blanket name for the variety of drugs that improve the brain's utilization of glucose, stabilize intracellular EC, improve left/right hemisphere communicability, among many other things

Just for a sample...
Piracetam (improves left-right brain hemisphere intercommunicability. Hydergine (improves the brain's ability to utilize oxygen, can even freeze cell death due to hypoxia, hospitals treat drown victims with it to halt brain damage)
Vinpocetine (improves brain's utilization of glucose IIRC)
and there are many more, some are just more powerful analogues of similar siblings (pramiracetam is "super" piracetam)

There are a few websites about them, and a Newsgroup too rec.drugs.smart (whether it is still about these days i do not know now)

The only thing I take these days is Melatonin in a desperate attempt to keep insomnia at bay. They are all a pretty pricey group of supplements, so obtaining sufficient quantity of an adequate array (alot of them work synergistcally, so it's best to use them in sync) is draining on the hip pocket.

the FDA's position these past years has been that Nootropics have no discernible effects for better or worse and are little more than placebos, that's why they are freely available still. I am happy for them to maintain that attitude, if they ever realize that they do work, and quite well indeed, then they'll ban them quicker than a cut snake.

My 2 cents

Friday, March 4th, 2005, 07:32 AM
Think of all the money we could make selling this drug at Stormfront?
Is that a prescription, Herr Doktor? :shadesdip

Friday, March 4th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Omega 3 is also very good for improving your learning skills ...
an article found on BBC ( I have seen the documentary some weeks ago on "Canvas")http://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifThe Omega wave

Fish oils are supposed to boost our brainpower. But do the facts really stack up? We went in search of the evidence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/images/tv/humanmind/omega_three_elliot_mother.jpgElliot with his mother Sheila.

Elliot is nine years old. A year ago, he was falling behind in his schoolwork, particularly reading – which he found a struggle. He had little interest in studying and would crash on the sofa to watch TV when he got home from school.

But over the past year, a dramatic change has taken place in Elliot. He has soared through the Harry Potter books and now heads to the library after the school bell has sounded.

Elliot has been taking part in a scientific study on more than 100 children from 12 Durham schools. The children were required to take a course of capsules with their meals for the duration of six months.

“His reading jumped 18 months [over the trial period]. He’s just a lot more interested in everything. He’s even developed an interest in classical music,” says Sheila, Elliot’s mother.

Problems vanished

Over the course of the year, Elliot's academic problems disappeared.

Mark, 10, who is in the year above Elliot at Timothy Hackworth School in Shildon, Durham, experienced similar changes.

“When I first heard about it, I didn’t think Mark had any problems. He’d only been taking them a few weeks when I started to notice changes. His handwriting became better and his teachers said he was joining in more in class discussions,” says Mark’s mother Christine.

“At home, he started asking loads of questions. It was quite hard work for me.”

The capsules given to children in the trial contained oils high in Omega 3 fats, which are found naturally in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines and in some plant crops such as rape seed.

Omega 3s and another group called Omega 6s belong to a family of fats known as essential fatty acids. The right balance of these two types of fatty acids is important for the healthy functioning of many parts of the body.

Heart of the matter

Omega 3 fatty acids are known to help prevent heart disease and they can improve the condition of some patients with depression and bipolar disorder. But their effects on brainpower have not been investigated in the same depth.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/images/tv/humanmind/omega_three_schoolboy.jpgCan fish oils improve brainpower in some children?

The Durham trial was conducted by Dr Alex Richardson, a senior research fellow in physiology at Mansfield College, University of Oxford and Madeleine Portwood, a special educational psychologist for Durham Local Education Authority.

The results have not yet been published, but they are expected to show a statistically significant improvement in school performance in the group of children given Omega 3 supplements. This does not mean that every child benefitted from the treatment – many did not. But according to Portwood, about 40% of children showed some clear improvement.

In the dark

The children were selected on the basis that they were not fulfilling their potential at school, but their general ability was normal. They were subjected to regular tests to measure their co-ordination, concentration and academic ability.

The study followed an experimental method called a randomised double-blind controlled trial. Half the children were given capsules of Omega 3 fatty acids, and half given placebos. Neither the children nor those evaluating their progress knew which group was taking which treatment.

Richardson believes that conditions such as dyspraxia – characterised by poor physical co-ordination – dyslexia and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) form a spectrum of associated conditions with some of the same underlying causes.

“Clinically, there is about 50% overlap between dyspraxia and dyslexia,” says Richardson, “and both show a similar overlap with ADHD.”

The dramatic effects of Omega 3 fatty acids on the children in the Durham trial may hinge on several functions of fatty acids in the brain.

Relay race

Electrical signals travelling through the brain get passed from one brain cell, or neuron, to the next – much like the baton handed between runners in a relay race. In the changeover, a signal needs to leave one brain cell at a point called the synapse and cross a physical gap before entering the neighbouring neuron.

For signals to enter a neuron, they need to pass through the walls that surround them. These walls, known as cell membranes, consist almost entirely of fats. About 20% are essential fatty acids like Omega 3s.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/images/tv/humanmind/omega_three_synapse.jpgA synapse: Omega 3s may make it easier for signals to cross the gap between brain cells.

Embedded in brain cell membranes are structures called ion channels that open to allow the flow of electrical signals into the cell or close to prevent the flow. They perform this function by changing their shape.

One theory is that a specific Omega 3 fatty acid called Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) makes the membrane that holds these channels more elastic, making it easier for ion channels to change shape.

If there is not enough DHA available, the membrane substitutes it with a molecule called DPA (n-6), which cells regard as the next best thing. This substitute is almost identical to DHA, but a tiny difference in the molecular structure of DPA (n-6) makes it vastly less flexible.

The substitution of DHA for a less flexible substitute may make it harder for ion channels to change shape within the fatty membrane, hindering their control over electrical impulses entering the cell.

No substitute

This substitution may also affect structures called G-proteins that sit on the inside of the cell membrane and are a vital link in the transmission of signals between brain cells. G-proteins help molecules on the outside of the membrane communicate with molecules on the inside.

The substitution of DHA for DPA (n-6) can cause a one thousand-fold reduction in the ability of G-proteins to perform this function, according to Dr Joseph Hibbeln of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in Bethesda, US.

This effect may be particularly important before birth; when connections are being created in the brain of the developing foetus. It is here in the womb that the replacement of DHA with its less supple alternative may have its most far-reaching effects.

“A good analogy is if you’re building a new [road network] and you don’t have the right type of concrete, you might choose an inferior substitute,” says Hibbeln.

“You might choose to make inadequate roads. But if you have the optimal fatty acid, it’s like having the optimal concrete – you make the right roads in the right places first time round.

“If you get the right type of concrete later, you can rip things up and re-lay the road, but it’s more expensive.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/furniture/quote_top.gifhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/furniture/tiny.gifOmega 3s can improve brain function at the very simplest level, by improving blood flow - Dr Alex Richardson
Under pressure

But even if you’re prepared for the effort and expense, the benefits of repairing intrinsically flawed connections in the brain may be limited. The clearest indication of this came in 2001, in a study led by Dr Richard Weisinger of the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Weisinger’s team showed that laboratory rats deprived of essential fatty acids at specific stages in their development developed high blood pressure that remained elevated for the rest of their lives. The brain’s control over the autonomic nervous system and cardiovascular system was permanently affected.

However, studies such as the Durham trial suggest that all is not lost, and that boosting Omega 3 intake may still confer significant benefits.

The Omega 3 fatty acid used in the Durham trial was Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It may play an equally crucial role in brain function. EPA is found only at very low levels in the cell membranes; it seems to have a functional, rather than a structural role.

“It can improve brain function at the very simplest level, by improving blood flow,” says Richardson.

EPA helps the body manufacture important, hormone-like substances called eicosanoids. Some of these substances help improve blood flow around the body. They also seem to have controlling effects on hormones and the immune system, both of which are known to affect brain function.

Western diets contain very little Omega 3 fatty acid. Hydrogenation, the process used to give foods a long shelf life, removes them. But certain people may break down Omega 3 fatty acids faster than others. Some of the children who showed greatest improvement in the Durham trial might fall into this category.

But there is disagreement over which Omega 3 fatty acid would perform best as a treatment. US researchers such as Hibbeln tend to favour DHA, while British researchers, of which Richardson is one, mostly regard EPA as the best option.

But some quarters of the medical research community are deeply sceptical about the usefulness of so-called complementary therapies - the category of treatment in which fish oil supplements are often lumped.

Professor Richard Olson, a developmental psychologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder and an expert on the treatment of dyslexia, urged caution over a ‘quick fix’ syndrome towards the treatment of learning disorders.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/images/tv/humanmind/omega_three_supermarket.jpgStocking up: hydrogenation has helped drive Omega 3 fatty acids out of the western diet.

“I haven’t read the research, but I have a slight feeling of unease because in the field of dyslexia particularly, one quick fix after another seems to pop up and then fall by the wayside,” says Olson.

“I hope they’re right. I’m just sceptical of easy answers because there have been various schemes in the past and parents [with dyslexic children] go out and spend a lot of money on them. For many children with dyslexia, improvement can only be achieved with a lot of hard work,” he adds.

Clinical value?

Professor Maggie Snowling, a psychologist at the University of York also warned about the use of Omega 3s as a treatment for dyslexia.

“These studies tend to show statistically significant effects, but it’s not clear if there are any clinical effects or real improvements for the children involved.

"[Omega 3s] are not a treatment for dyslexia. They might have some slight benefit on children with attention disorder, and some of them might have dyslexia. But there are a lot of provisos,” says Snowling.

While researchers have yet to fully resolve how the balance of different Omega 3s affects brain function, one point on which they agree is that studies into their effects need to be widened beyond children.

“To my knowledge, there are no studies linking Omega 3s to improvements in cognition or neuropsychological function in otherwise healthy adults,” says Hibbeln.

Does he think this is a promising area for future research? Hibbeln answers plainly: “Yes.”

Monday, October 10th, 2005, 08:10 PM
* Piracetam

Piracetam is a smart-drug or nootropic. Nootropic means acting on the mind. It is a term first used by Dr. Giurgea to describe a substance found to have useful effects in the treatment of memory loss, age related memory decline and lack of concentration etc. That substance was piracetam (branded Nootropil®), not only was it beneficial, but it was also found to have so few side effects and contraindications that one biochemist described it as as safe as salt! Since then, nootropics have so-many beneficial affects on mental and memory capabilities, that they have come to be known as smart-drugs. One of the primary differences between nootropics and other memory enhancers is that nootropics have a beneficial effect upon the brain's Corpus Callosum. This area of the brain joins the two hemispheres, it links the logical side with creative side, hence ying and yang. This may be the major reason why creative individuals and brain workers find they can accomplish much more, when they are supplementing with nootropics. It is the most common smart drug out there, probably because it's not the most recent, it has a wide variety of uses and is quite inexpensive. It is used to treat several illnesses, like alcoholism, dementia and stroke, but should also improve memory and learning in healthy humans. It is supposed to increase the flow of information between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, thus helping in creative problem solving. It is sold as pills and the effective dose is 2400-4800 mg in three divided doses, although some sources report significantly smaller dosages ranging from 800 mg to 2400 mg.It has no know serious side effects, although insomnia, headaches, nausea and stomach disturbances are possible. As with any other smart drug it is the best to try and find out the dose that is good for you while keeping in mind the possible toxicity of the drug (Piracetam has no know toxicity meaning that one probably can't overdose it). Usual starting doses are considered attack at three tablets (800mg each) twice a day, lowering to one or two tablets twice a day after a month. Piracetam has a synergistic effect with DMAE, centrophenoxine, choline and Hydergine, which means that the effects of Piracetam are amplified when taken at the same time with these drugs. This product is even not contraindicated during pregnancy and nursing and may be taken by children. No interactions with commonly used pharmaceutical products have been found. There have been no reported cases of overdose. When in doubt, the patient is though advised to discontinue treatment. Piracetam is a prescription only drug in many countries, but is widely available via mail-order.

* Hydergine

Another well known smart drug is Hydergine, which is used to treat senility. It is also supposed to increase intelligence, memory and recall, and prevent various type of brain deterioration. Furthermore it is supposed to repair some of the damage done by free radicals. One of the strongest effects Hydergine has is it's ability to prevent damage to the brain caused by too little oxygen and therefor it is used as an emergency treatment for stroke patients. Known side-effects are mild nausea, dizziness and headaches, but Hydergine is considered virtually non-toxic. A danger of adverse reactions still exists at very high doses and people suffering from psychosis should not use it. An effective dose can be anything from 3 mg to 9 mg, even though doses as high as 12 mg have been tried on healthy humans with no side-effects. Hydergine pills range usually from 1 mg to 5 mg per pill. It is notable that the daily dose should be divided to three equal doses and that the effects may not be noticeable until after several months of use (unless a high dosage is taken). The legal status of Hydergine is similar to that of Piracetam.

* Vasopressin

Another prescription drug called Diapid (a trade name for Vasopressin) is widely known for its nootropic effects. Diapid is a brain hormone that is naturally present in your body and which helps in learning new information. It has been used to treat a form of diabetes, because it reduces the need to urinate. It has also been used to treat several conditions leading to memory impairment. Vasopressin is taken in the form of a nasal spray - 2 to four sniffs three times a day. Its effects are imminent and noticeable; clear headed feeling and increased attention are among reported effects. It is usually sold in c. 12 ml bottles and runs out very quickly if used continuously. Continuous use is also discouraged, because it may cause headaches, nose irritation or abdominal cramps. People with diagnosed hypertension or cardiovascular problems should also proceed with caution (if you don't know what these mean, ask a doctor first). After all this, it might be odd to say that Vasopressin is a generally safe drug, but it is just that. One has to keep in mind that milk or even wheat can produce unfortunate symptoms in a single individual even though most of the people in Europe consume them daily. Vasopressin is a prescription drug and available in many countries.

* Centrophenoxine

Centrophenoxine is know for its anti-ageing effect (increases the life-span up to 30% in laboratory animals) and for its intelligence boosting properties. It clears out cellular waste product called liposfucin that prevents the normal functioning of neurones. When taken (usually as pills) it breaks down to DMAE in your blood. The effects of these two drugs are believed to be very similar. Although Centrophenoxine is not sold in the US, DMAE is widely available from health food stores and pharmacists (see DMAE for more information). In Europe Centrophenoxine is a prescription drug and DMAE is less common.
*DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)

Also known as a drug under the name Deanol-Riker in Europe and widely available as a nutritional supplement in the US. DMAE increases intelligence, memory, energy levels and learning, extends the life span and even elevates mood. Its effects are usually noticeable within half an hour after ingestion (more quickly when taken as a liquid) and continue for a few hours. Some people have reported a build up of tolerance to DMAE after several weeks of use. If tolerance builds up it can be handled by discontinuing the use for a few weeks.

Getting a life through mail order

Smart drugs and nutrients can either be bought at a health store or from a pharmacy (usually with prescription), but the exact details vary from country to country. It is usually best to go and ask at your local pharmacy first and if you can't find it there then resort to mail order. Mail order is the most common form of obtaining smart drugs if the they are unavailable to you otherwise. There are dozens of places you can order drugs from, but as always there's a catch: depending on your country's legislation you may or may not import the drugs. Piracetam has not been approved by the FDA for use in the United States. This does not mean that it is illegal. It is legal to use, possess, and import piracetam on a 'personal use' basis. Overseas distributors have reported that they have very little trouble shipping to the U.S., and over the past few years piracetam has become available from a number of U.S. companies. What follows is a large excerpt taken from a text on the FDA web site http://www.fda.gov/ (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fda. gov%2F) circa 2003, covering various elements of legality like 'serious conditions' and 'personal use'.

"For many years FDA has permitted individuals to bring into the country small "personal-use" quantities of drugs sold abroad but not approved in the U.S. -- provided that the drugs do not pose unreasonable or significant safety risks, that their use will not be commercialized, and that they are for a serious condition for which there is no satisfactory treatment available in this country. The policy was designed to allow people to import through their personal baggage small quantities of medicines they may have been treated with while traveling abroad, and to allow individuals with serious conditions the ability to import through the mail personal-use quantities of unapproved drugs that they feel might be helpful in treating their conditions."

Discussion forums on Nootropics:

AvantLabs (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fforum.av antlabs.com)
Immortality Institute (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.immi nst.org%2Fforum%2Findex.php%3Fs%3D%26act %3DSF%26f%3D169)

Nootropics descriptions:

Offshore Pharmacy (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smar t-drugs.com%2Fproduct-info%2Finfo-alphabetical.htm)

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011, 04:18 AM
This thread lead me to research and further reading and has inspired me to look into these substances. I fully support using every means available to us to create more superior humans and these look promising. I am going to start a supplement regimen that will look something like this:

DHA Supplement
B Complex

I'm not sure of the dosages but I will probably start with the manufacturer recommendations and then play around with them as needed.