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Nootropics--Billion dollar placebo scam?

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#1 justwalkingaround

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 03:46 AM

I am beginning to believe that the majority of the so-called 'nootropic' market is merely an attempt to fatten the wallets of said marketers. Ah, yes, the wet dream that some of us can step closer to the top 5% of our elite counterparts (with any statistical significance, that is) with IQs in the 130s and beyond, simply thru the use of supplements, pharmaceuticals, special 'music', meditation, and mental exercises (dual n back)!!!

It has become quite tedious to try to ferret the truth, if there is any to even be found.

Undoubtedly there are some very experienced and intelligent users of this forum, and I am hoping to appeal to their noblest senses, and ask them to share some opinions, opinions derived by their extensive readings, both scientific and anecdotal, preferrably identifying said opinions accordingly.

Some have asked similar questions, only to be 'gently' rebuked for lack of specificity (e.g. something about asking some body builder how to get big lifting weights or whatever).

In particular, I am not convinced that double-blinded, controlled human studies on 'supplements' that have been classified as nootropics. More specifically, I am referring to the facilitated acquisition of new knowledge/information.

I will try to be more specific: Let's assume we are 'normal', middle-aged adults returning to college without diagnosed mental or physical ailments, and that we are now faced with taking 15 semester units of traditional college work, along with part-time employment. Our goal is to try our best to earn the best grades possible, while not testing positive for amphetamines or otherwise having a fair chance of having obvious personality changes, e.g. aggressiveness. If that is an end result, please let us know clearly, and if you can, suggest possible alternatives alongside your recommendation.

This scenario will thus be best served by being motivated/driven, alert/vigilant, while simultaneously being desirable to move information more efficently through working memory, short term memory, and long term memory, so that we might be able to learn large amounts of information and pass various testing formats (multiple choice, essay answer, etc). Ideally there should only be one recommendation per 'area' (motivation, alertness, memory facilitator), as to not be a walking pharmacy, deal with potential complex interactions, etc etc. Three or four 'substances' or less would thus be ideal.

The suggestions should incorporate dosage and instruction (with food? adrafanil must be taken 1hour before food), length of time (tolerance issues, breaks, etc), availability online (nubrain, the pharmacy express, whatever), and any other special instructions or anectdotal experiences.

From what I have been able to gather, I have not been able to find ANY supplement of any kind that has been scientifically proven/accepted to be benefical, or probably beneficial for the beformentioned scenario (I remain skeptical on the racetams, and one could argue whether it, along with huperzine, should even be classified as supplements).

It does seem that regular N-back training as described by Jaeggi is 'probably' beneficial for working/fluid memory. This trickles down to being able to learn information faster, in particular beneficial for complex understanding/information.

For alertness, it seems that military governments use amphetamine and modafinil. Since adrafanil is uncontrolled and modafinil's precursor, it seems to be the best medication for alertness. Other suggestions most welcome. Amphetamine and related medications probably should be avoided due to sympathetic effects that result in changes in mood/character (anger), blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, positive urine tests, etc.

But when it comes to motivation/driven-ness, I initially came up with Sulbitiamine, but Animal has suggested downregulation amongst other complex issues, that now steers me away from it. I dont know if Pyritinol is an alternative, or if any supplement or medication even exists for humans (for us males, i guess free sex with a hot babe would motivate us, but it would be nice if we could get this in pill/powder form, you know?).

When it comes to 'learning' actual information, moving it from working memory into short term and long term memories, it seems that hydergine and deprenyl may be possibilities? Obviously hydergine has the fibrosis and valvular issues, but if it is possible to only take it 3days a week for 2 years, what are these statistics? Or perhaps just for 3 weeks at the end of each semester may be a better approach?

As for deprenyl, I believe it may be amphetamine related, but it may be only one of our two choices for probable real-world effects on acquiring new information?

I would be most grateful, as I imagine other lurkers and lurkers to come would be too, if some of the most well-read, informed, and bashful yet brilliant contributors of this forum would share their insights with us learners, please?

I do hope this has more specificity than previous inquiries.........
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