Take My Brain, Please

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.

In conclusion:

Piracetam, Creatine and Choline didn’t have a measurable effect. Pramiracetam may have helped me to score a bit better at Memory Matrix but the effect was brief. It didn’t even enhance my cognitive abilities enough to get me to memorize how the thing is spelled; every time I type “Pramiracetam” I have to look at the label.

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:


10 Responses to Take My Brain, Please

  1. niceplum says:

    Nice of you to arrogantly bunch piracetam with UFOs. You didn’t use it properly, and therefore I am not impressed at your conclusion.

    Taking choline with piracetam will deplete brain cholesterol. Not good.

    Take 3x 5g of piracetam with fish oil every day for a _few months_.

    I don’t know what it is with people and their need for immediacy.


    • EricIndiana says:

      This is just my personal impression. I started out very hopeful, and I read everything I could find about piracetam and pramiracetam. As you know, there are tons of different suggestions for attack dosages, etc., so I tried what I thought was inline with the majority of what people were suggesting. I took the choline because a lot of sites strongly suggested that choline would enhance the effects and prevent headaches.

      I know that everyone will have different experiences. I wanted to use a way to measure mine, instead of relying on subjective impressions. That’s why I played the same brain game throughout the day. As far as immediacy, I was also relying on the numerous reports from people of immediate, profound effects.

      I actually don’t discount UFOs – they just haven’t appeared for me personally. Just like smart drugs, I am still very interested in them.


  2. I once had a mystical experience at the West Side Civic Center in Hobart, Indiana. This was around the time ‘pyramid power’ was still floating around the forefront of the greater human consciousness, circa 1977. My friends and I were there at the center to see a live performance by the local band “Mutha Goose”; a group of stoner, heavy psyche-rockers somewhere in the neighborhood of “Captain Beyond” meets “Blue Cheer”.
    Perhaps eighty people were there for the first set, which went well enough. The band took a break and then most of the crowd must’ve assumed the show was over and departed, leaving about fifteen of us.
    Twenty minutes later, Mutha Goose returned to the stage wearing wildly colored iridescent clothing and launched into a hard rock shuffle of sorts. Their vocalist was absent as the band played on.
    Suddenly, a door at the side of the stage opened and the singer struggled through in his huge pyramid costume, which was composed of some kind of silver tarps stretched over what I took to be aluminum tent poles, joined together to make the lower pyramid form. He was wearing some kind of clear plexiglass pyramid point that encased his upper shoulders and entire head. It related nicely to the rest of the outfit. The costume was very effective, especially considering this must’ve been a prototype. He then began singing their song “Pyramid Power” along with the rest of the band,. For us in the audience, this was about as much of a shock and surprise as aliens landing or Christ returning. We were reduced to uncontrollable, laughing madness, some of us collapsing. This remains my favorite rock-n-roll moment.


  3. MK Annah says:

    Brainwave entrainment is a method… Of the binaural beats technology. Since then Hemi-Sync has become somewhat of an industry standard within the brainwave entrainment…brainwave entrainment


  4. Mike says:

    Great scientific review !!! A one time Piracetam review with lumosity …Guess you are not really luminous huh xD


  5. Daniel says:

    Friend, I ask that you attempt a 300 mg dose of Pramiracetam, along with 250-300 mg of Alpha GPC. This seems to be the sweet spot for this particular -racetam. I hope you find this to be as effective for you as it is for myself and many others interconnected through the web. I also recommend you try the zinc, magnesium and vitamin b-6 combination commonly reffered to as ZMA. And even further down the rabit hole, you will find this Growth factor to be absolutely wonderful for sleep, sex, and general male energy. I cannot praise these enough. Good luck and God Speed you black emperor. http://www.amazon.com/Labrada-Nutrition-Humanogrowth-120-Count-Capsules/dp/B003FDPHSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330140890&sr=8-1


  6. Hi Eric,

    Good to see you using at least some form of scientific baseline (Lumosity’s Brain Game). Good stuff.

    If you’re interested: I’ve created a nootropic stack customized to (somewhat) closely match the physiology of each client we serve. I started this research in 1993. Co-founded a company in 1996, and sold it in 1998 (thank you Internet…).

    I picked up the pieces in 2008 and have really ramped up the insights regarding physiology, the unique and totally unreliable ways the brain is wired in individuals (I believe in one post you mentioned OCD – I know that one well – as another extreme of ADD/ADHD).

    If you’re interested, I’d like to offer you a custom blend of our nootropic stack for your perusal. It may or may not help clarify the subtle differences between your early test (above) and my client’s experiences with a custom stack.

    The areas where you may find the greatest benefit may not be directly associated with memory games. For your mental geometry, you may find the areas of expanded thought (lateral thinking – associative thinking), creativity, more relaxed focus (vs the do or die paralysis I have felt in my own OCD moments). And potentially an even more sunny outlook on life.

    Not to paint a perfect picture. But, as Roy Batty said in Bladerunner “I’ve seen things…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOphFl88U-g

    Kids getting off Adderall.
    Cocaine addicts getting a “healthy fix” and killing the monkey that almost killed them.
    Mom’s suffering depression, replacing Zoloft with something that actually improves their feelings – rather than deadens them.

    Let me know. If you decide you’d like to try these, just complete the form on the site, and remind me of this post. I’ll have them mixed up and sent your direction.

    Have a rockin’ Sunday,
    Mark Alan Effinger


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