5 years ago I took an IQ test and scored 129, I took the same test this August and got a 144, which is a pretty massive increase, and I felt it very specifically change in a certain period of time.
I started taking nootropics last December, and when i once found an 18 credit hour semester nearly impossible, I found it easy this spring, and I even added other activities on top of it that I never could have done before, and the gains were most certainly cumulative. Here is a rough description of my stack, and keep in mind I’m a big guy:
Piracetam 3-4g a day when I take it (been thinking about dropping to 2g) (I don’t always include, after 6 months straight of it I started to feel a bit negative when taking it, likely due to one of a few possible minor effects over time (such as encouraging growth of red blood cells)).
Aniracetam 1g - I like the racetams. i’d try the others but these two are really all I could afford, I’m expecially interested in oxiracetam.
Sulbutiamine 250mg-650mg - more than 500mg and I don’t get tired to sleep. It is a neural-specific vit B1 which prevents brain fatigue. Works wonderfully to that end and helps focus
Picamilon - B6+GABA in a neurospecific form. Helps with energy, focus, and prevents fatigue, and also relaxes the muscles and brain a bit so I don’t feel too wound up from the stack.
Choline Bitartrate - I prefered the stronger forms, but since this is what I can afford its what I use. I vary the amount based on need, and how often I’ve eaten eggs recently.
Lion’s Mane Extract - 450mg/day. Causes the body to release Neural Growth factor, has been proven to improve plasticity. Take on days you are going to be productive, as plasticity can be a bad thing if you are being lazy
Bacopa - 750-850mg/day. Has a mild anxiolytic effect and and has been proven to improve short term memory over time.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) - 600 mg/day - helps prevent runny nose, coughs, protects liver, helps avoid toxicity in the body, is a great general thing to take with some mild brain benefits
Omega 3 supplement - a solid generic that doesn’t have a rancidity problem, in a common dosage. Good for the brain and the body.
Methylcobalamin - neurospecific vitamin b12
Green Tea Extract with high ECGCs - 400mg - energy and weight control
L-theanine - 250-300mg - help relax, calm down the body and modulate the effects of the caffeine in the Green Tea Extract
Vitamin C, D, E supplements - good for mood, anti-oxidant effects, brain growth/function
I played around a lot with dosages before settling roughly where I am, and if I had the money I would be trying new things and mixing it up to see what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t have any negative effects when on this stack daily for months on end, with the exception of the piracetam after 6 months, but now that I’ve graduated and looking for work I’m not doing much so I only take the stack on days I have interviews or important/interesting things to do.
I’ve noticed my working memory get a lot better, I can remember things I learned in class far better with less studying, problems just seem to solve themselves more quickly and easily in my head than they did before. Before I started nootropics I had to do all the problems to practice for a test, really get them down. This spring I didn’t do anything to prepare and just went in, and somehow did all the problem solving and learning I normally do in 8-10 hours of studying right there in under an hour. It was amazing. If I heard something once, I remembered it with ease henceforth.
I also felt a lot better when I took a complete B-complex vitamin along with that stack, as the neurospecific B-vitamins don’t overlap much and only cover a narrow part of the B-Spectrum that is so important for energy and brainpower, but I ran out of those a while ago.
I took PQQ for a two months, just enough to help, because I found too much thinking seemed to rapidly deplete my brain energy. I didn’t notice a big effect, but I didn’t get the waves of exhaustion from thinking to hard anymore, so I’d count it a success. Unfortunately it is quite expensive and should be paired with the also expensive CoQ10 to be truly effective to any meaningful level.
I tried Adrafinil, because it was legal and affordable, but it was hard on my liver. I only had 15 day supply and spaced it out, but when I used it man was it amazing. If you use a low enough dose early in the morning it doesn’t affect sleep, it kept amazing focus throughout the day and motivation to do work and get the things done I’d been putting off. It makes me wish there was something like it that was safer and legal and cheap, like a low dose of modafinil if the FDA got out of people’s business and generics weren’t suppressed so strongly.
I take 10mg melatonin at night, partially to help with sleep and partly as a prophylactic against cluster headaches, which it helps keep at bay.
Bottom line, people are complicated. My approach with nootropics was to find a way to provide my body/brain with what it needs to function at very high levels (the brain-B vitamins, anti-oxidants to prevent stress from high workloads, mitochondria helpers like PQQ, CoQ10, basic vitamins, Omega-3s, etc), and then find substances that are as safe as possible that have nootropic effects that I value and add them on top. The result is a complex stack, unique to the individual, but it was deeply worth it. I’ve never been smarter in my life, and I hope that once I find work in my field I can afford to buckle down on my efforts once again in self improvement. It is a worthy pursuit, but no 1 substance or even 2-3 is going to produce massive changes in intelligence. It takes a stack which encourages long term neuro-plasticity towards improved function, short term improved function, and supplementation with the vital needs of the brain and body to get things working and keep them that way.