Author’s Note: Before you leave any angry comments, please understand that I am only conveying my personal experiences here, and I am not claiming, nor would I ever claim, that nootropics don’t work for other people. The dosages I took were based on a review of online information, and the expectation of an immediate effect is based on the many testimonials from users of these substances. The talk of UFOs and Daniel Boone is meant to entertain and not to cast aspersions on nootropics, which I still find interesting. While your experience may differ, this is just an account of my own, and an attempt to make sense of it. Thank you.
Readers of Daisybrain may be aware that I have been experimenting on my own brain for the good of the blog. I wanted to see if I could produce more inspired blogging through brain-enhancing foods and supplements. My first attempt involved ingesting every natural brain enhancer I had collected over the years in my vitamin cabinet – various extracts, pills and teas that contained ginkgo biloba, rosemary, and other traditional brain foods. The results were negative; my freshly stimulated brain did not burst forth with brilliant new blog post ideas. I continued the next day with more traditional brain foods and various brain exercises. Still no brilliance. And so, I took the experiment a step further, ingesting Creatine, a so-called nootropic, alleged to enhance cognitive abilities. To have some reliable way of measuring changes in my brain’s abilities, I tested myself on the Lumosity game Memory Matrix before and at various times after taking Creatine. The Creatine was a bust for me.
Which bring us to this last stage of the experiment. A nootropic supplement that is talked about a lot in online forums is Piracetam, and another, suggested by a Daisybrain reader, is Pramiracetam, which is supposed to be at least 8 times stronger than Piracetam. Both are supposed to work better with the addition of Choline. Piracetam came in the mail first. Would it make me smarter as measured by Memory Matrix? I kept a careful log of my nootropic consumption and my Memory Matrix scores. For the sake of a quick read, I will condense the results as follows:
Before nootropics, my Memory Matrix score was about 3,855; up and down a bit, but not much improvement over time. The dosages I list below were inspired by researching the internet for testimonials from other people who had taken these nootropic supplements.
- Over the course of the first day, I took a total of 6,400 mg Piracetam with 1,050 mg Choline. My scores at Memory Matrix did not improve.
- The next day, I consumed 4,800 mg Piracetam, 700 mg Choline and added 3,000 mg Creatine. No improvement.
- About a week later, Pramiracetam arrived in the mail. I tried Memory Matrix before taking it and scored fairly well – 6,395. So, that is the number to compare to subsequent trials.
- Started with 900 mg Pramiracetam along with 3,000 mg Creatine and 700 mg Choline. Scored a little better on Memory Matrix (7,695). About 2 hours after taking Pramiracetam, I scored a new high in Memory Matrix, 12,785. That sounds pretty good, but in reality it’s only slightly better than usual. Memory Matrix requires remembering a pattern of tiles that are briefly shown to you and the higher score reflects the fact that I remembered where 13 tiles were. This is something I rarely achieve, but not amazingly better than my usual performance.
- I was not feeling especially witty, and no ingenious ideas for blog posts emerged.
- Later that day, my scores dropped considerably, even below my usual level.
- That night, I took an additional 600 mg of Pramiracetam and an hour later did fairly well in the game again, scoring 14,085
- The following day, I ingested more Pramiracetam and periodically measured my success at Memory Matrix. Again, I noticed an improved score about 2 hours after taking Pramiracetam. But if it was the nootropic causing the higher score, the effect wore off quickly and my scores would drop down to normal or below.
Of course, there’s the possibility that I am already as smart as any human being can be and that no “smart drug” can hope to improve my brilliance. I suggested this possibility to my wife and she did not concur.
All of this reminds me of the fact that nothing mystical or magical, and at this point I’m including nootropics in that category, ever works for me. As a kid, in the 70s, I experimented with “pyramid power” but was unable to produce the razor-blade sharpening or apple preserving effects that the backs of magazines promised. Numerous attempted seances did not achieve communication with the ghost of Daniel Boone, even though I acknowledged that he was both a doer and a dream-comer-truer. I was unable to be hypnotized by a professional hypnotist, even though I tried, I really tried. Later, I helped create a documentary about UFOs, wanting to believe, but after I interviewed a man who had collected hours of footage of UFOs that he had summoned through telepathic communication, I was able to reproduce the “UFOs” by videotaping out-of-focus flying insects.
So life is just life, I guess. I don’t seem to be wired for mystical experiences. I’m not a debunker; I’m extremely open-minded and willing to believe that anything is possible. But nothing out of the ordinary ever comes to pass for me. No ghosts, no UFOs, no magic pills that make you smart. I guess I’ll have to make do with the mundane reality of mult-dimensional universes, anti-matter, black holes, quarks, immortal jelly fish, double rainbows, and sunsets over cloud-shrouded mountains whose beauty takes your breath away.
The genesis of the Daisybrain experiments lies beneath this daisy: