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Ask HN: Do You Take Nootropics?
25 points by break_the_bank 46 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments
What do you think about them?

Which ones do you take? How long have you been taking them for?

Old HN post from 2015: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9242379

Modafinil and armodafinil (not at the same time) -- 1/4 pill a few days a week, for a few years. Also a heavy coffee drinker.


- On good days, it would help with a sort of focus where I sit down and the day just whizzes by. I could often get a lot of grunt work done, or deep dives that don't require a lot of outside thinking.

- I'm pretty reserved, and I felt more chatty when taking.


- Works well as an appetite suppressant. I already have trouble gaining weight, so this is obviously bad. And along with the coffee I drink, it just wrecks my stomach.

- Maybe I'm misremembering/misattributing, but my mood seemed worse

- I'd often feel either spaced out or rushed. This usually means my entire day is shot, given the drug's half-life

Give yerba mate a try. I receantly switch from coffee and it a lot better, plus you can take it all morning

Does modafinil require a prescription?

In many countries including the US, yes. There are analogs and prodrugs that do not, however. Just to add Adrafinil is probably the most popular. It’s a prodrug metabolized in the liver. I’ve read about slight hepatotoxicity, but I’ve never had any issues when I took 600-900mg for a few weeks. There are also a number of related RCs I unfortunately cannot recall the names of (some of them sound a bit strange though). Not sure how much I’d trust them. I’ve always been weary of RCs for a variety of reasons.

Officially. For any future readers: don't buy these drugs from random, faceless sellers.

Unless you're going to personally verify the composition of the pills you receive, you're taking mystery pills from a person/company that's already knowingly breaking the law. For what -- coding productivity? If you feel you need medication, consult a professional.

I think that there is no free lunch in the human brain. If you take something, your brain will adapt to an equilibrium, down-regulating whatever transmitters you are manipulating. Strategies like drug cycling, minimal use, etc can all be used to partially mitigate this. But in the long run, sleep, exercise, diet, sex, and social relationships are the contributors to a healthy brain.

Yup, the body is so complex that sleep and good diet and low stress are abstractions that evolved over millions of years to simply “make us better” at doing what humans do.

Over the long term, nothing beats it.

But there are performance enhancers in pure performance and also in spiritual/mental aspects that can make you see problems in different ways.

Best of the former is adderall, a good one of the latter is shroom microdose.

Anti oxidants are sort of a free lunch. Reducing inflammation that is very common will tremendously boost brain power.

Most of the nootropics guides also say this - the best nootropic is sleep, diet, exercise, but the drugs are a bonus.

I wouldn’t think any sort of indirect manipulation would have immunity to a down regulation effect.

I only sometimes take Magnesium & Vitamin D3. Lions Mane and Vegan Omega 3 DHA & EPA is nice too. Sometimes psychedelic mushrooms (although not strictly a nootropic).


I don't take it as a supplement, but I also eat lions mane.

I use L-Theanine fairly regularly. There are some other supplements I take (like Ashwaghanda) that aren't necessarily considered nootropics.

Have tried Ashwaghanda didn’t feel much impact.

How is L-Theanine?

It's hard to quantify that, since this is all so subjective and I don't really put a lot of effort into trying to make my observations about it rigorous / scientific. But my subjective perception is that it does help me focus and function a bit better. The combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, along with 5-HTP on occasion, usually seems to correlate with periods when I'm very productive. But, again, this is all pretty subjective. And even if there is a positive effect, it could just be placebo effect for all I know.

Interesting, I wonder if you notice a difference of caffeine alone vs Theanine+ Caffeine or is the overriding benefit from the caffeine?

I take quite a variety of supplements and nootropics. I started experimenting several years ago.

I haven’t taken anything insane, but the biggest thing I have noticed is being able to be more consistently productive. Your sleep metrics dictate your day’s performance.

Coffee + L-Theanine is beginner friendly and very good.

For improved performance also avoid inflammation. Vitamin C, Fish Oil, and NAC can be taken throughout the day for a noticeable cognitive boost. Avoiding sugars and artificial things is very helpful.

For information on all sorts of things, Leo and Longevity has great blog articles and YouTube channel.

I had for a little bit been taking adrafinil mod-late last year when my sleep schedule was completely out of order and I was going two or three days with only a few hours of sleep. It helped reset me there, can’t speak to any supposed cognitive effects because I wasn’t looking for them at the time and the effects are generally pretty subtle.

NMN+Quercetin (6 months)

70% DHA fish oil (long time)

D3+MK4 (long time)

Micro magnesium (years on and off, I swear taking magnesium makes my muscles twitch more than they already do)

Phenylpiracetam maybe once every 1-2 weeks for acute effects (2-3 years)

You should look into Vit. K MK7, it's generally considered better than MK4.

Can you explain why it’s better? What dosage do you like?

Noticing anything from NMN? Why not NR?


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