brains! Brains! BRAINS!

The Great Daisybrain Brain Experiment, Part II

The results of the previous (Daisy) Brain Experiment having been inconclusive at best, I have moved on to the field of nootropics, which I only just discovered. It turns out that there’s a whole movement of people out there looking for brain enhancing foods and supplements. Forget my lowly ginkgo tea and lecithin – these people are ingesting natural and designer “smart drugs” that are alleged to quickly and dramatically improve cognitive performance. I went to our local health food shop but the only popular nootropic I could find was Creatine, which athletes take to build muscle and is said to have some brain enhancing properties. It is found in especially large concentrations in meat and so may be useful for a vegetarian such as myself to take as a supplement. It does not appear to be known for any dangerous side effects, especially in short-term use. So, here is tonight’s Creatine experiment:

I have been playing brain games on Lumosity, and I thought this would be a good measure of Creatine’s effects. My performance in one particular game seems to be pretty consistent and, to me, disappointing. It’s called Memory Matrix and involves remembering which squares in a grid have been briefly flipped over and flipped back again. I can easily remember the pattern of 6, 7, or 8 squares. I start having problems at 10 and only very rarely remember 13. My success does not seem to increase from repeated sessions of the game. So, I will eat some Creatine and test myself at Memory Matrix.

The Experiment:

6:00 pm Took three 1,500 mg tablets of Creatine Monohydrate (Now Sports).

6:05 Took the dog for a walk & felt quick-witted.

6:25 Trying “Memory Matrix” game…. Performance not improved.

6:30 I noticed that the package suggests taking the Creatine tablets with fruit juice or other sweetened beverage and I had taken them with water, so I drank about three ounces of fruit juice.

6:32 Played game again. Did slightly better (made it to 11 a couple of times).

6:45 Playing again…. No improvement.

6:51 Looking online for suggested dosages of Creatine for nootropic effect. Some say 5 grams… Some say 27 grams for the first 5 days. I took 4.5 grams at 6:00.

6:55 I am now taking an additional 3 grams.

7:00 Playing again…. No better.

Went out to eat dinner at a bad Irish pub. Did not drink alcohol.

9:01 Playing one more time…. Did slightly better; got up to 12 tiles. But not a big enough of an improvement to prove anything to me.

Plan: Take a bigger dosage tomorrow & see if it has a noticeable cognitive effect.

The next day…

8:40 am 950 grams w/a little juice.

9:20 Trying the game again…. No improvement. In fact, a bit worse performance than normal.

I went ahead and played all the games in the usual circuit of Lumosity brain training and I did a little worse than normal in just about all of them.

9:40 One last attempt at Memory Matrix…. Exactly the same mediocre performance.

10:10 OK, one last, last time, exactly 1 1/2 hours after ingesting Creatine…. No improvement.


Creatine didn’t appear to work for me. I’m just as dumb as before. Perhaps my readers versed in nootropics can explain to me how I didn’t take it correctly or needed to combine it with another nootropic. In the meantime, I have ordered some other experimental brain boosters, and I’ll report on them as soon as they arrive.

 More (daisy) brain experiments lie just beneath this flower:

9 Responses to brains! Brains! BRAINS!

  1. Proceed cautiously: I can tell from here your brains are now more delicious.


  2. Ramsay Harik says:

    Your brain is plenty rich. I signed onto lumosity, paid my $, on your recommendation, and now I know just how stupid I am. Thanks a lot, Eric. On memory matrix, for instance, I start to falter at 7 tiles. If you’re getting 13, I’m afraid that adding creatine to the mix will be overkill.


  3. I’m also interested in nootropics, but haven’t experimented much due to their costs and my skepticism about their effectiveness. Have you read the “Life Extension” book? They might have some hints for you.

    I love playing games on Luminosity, and am best at Word Bubbles and Speed Match. Memory Matrix isn’t one of my best games. It’s like memorizing longer and longer number sequences. Apparently, I don’t have the attention span. It drives me crazy, I’d like to get past level 4


    • EricIndiana says:

      The only game I really like is the one where you complete words starting with a 3-letter sequence. No surprise that I like word games. The math bubble ones give me a lot of anxiety but are probably the most beneficial for me.


  4. Toby says:

    It seems like you expected an immediate effect but all reports say that you need to take creatine for a while for it to build up in your system and for the benefits to become clear, or if you want to speed it up, take that loading dose of 30g for a few days before switching back to 5g. Creatine is cheap as chips and doesn’t taste like anything so it’s worth supplementing, for both fitness and mental health.


  5. EricIndiana says:

    Update: at 2:55 in the morning, after drinking a few beers and eating popcorn and chocolate for dinner (wife’s out of town), I did better than ever before on all of the Lumosity games in my Lumosity training circuit. No Creatine, unless it took a day to kick in. So, I don’t know what that means, if anything.


  6. […] brains! Brains! BRAINS! « Daisybrain says: February 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm […]


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