What nootropics or other cognitive enhancements will I see a significant positive effect from if I take them?
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3.3k
2035
77%
dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) 5mg
72%
5mg methamphetamine qAM PO
60%
Increasing high quality fat and protein intake; reducing sugar, simple carbs, and grains. [this is not an aim to go into ketosis, no need to be extreme]
59%
Eat more complex carbohydrates (chickpea pasta, lentil pasta? - trader joes has some good lentil pasta, and goodles are a decent mac and cheese replacement).
56%
Cold water immersion. (Can be as simple as =>1min in shower under cold water)
55%
Intermittent fasting with an 8-10 hour feeding window, following the same scheduled hours each day. [even if your schedule is in flux, your fasting/feeding window should remain relatively constant]
50%
Chewing nicotine gum while learning new material
48%
Eat more vegetables
46%
Supplement to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral levels
46%
modafinil 50 mg 2-3 times per week (lowish dose; could go lower for less effect)
46%
Magnesium threonate. 1 capsule in the morning, one before bed. Result- need one less hour of sleep!
42%
Eat high quality fats
38%
Vitamin D3 - 2000 IU daily
30%
Drinking 2-3 cups of coffee daily.
26%
Drink enough alcohol to achieve ~0.075 BAC before working on tasks requiring creativity / lateral thinking

Answers can be anything that seems to have an end result of increasing my productivity or accuracy at cognitive tasks. For example, if a drug reduces my amount of sleep needed by 30% while leaving my waking behavior unchanged, that counts. I will also allow answers that aren't drugs at all, like exercise or a dvorak keyboard.

It must be an easily noticeable effect. If I have to do some complicated tracking and statistical analysis of my behavior in order to notice the effect, that doesn't count. (I may make an exception if I'm somehow still highly confident that the effect is real and worth the costs; the goal is to avoid borderline cases where a positive effect may just be placebo or measurement/statistical error.)

The overall effect must be positive. Negative health side effects are allowed, as long as the positive outweighs them. Cost is not a factor; if a drug is too expensive for me to regularly take it, I'll still resolve YES if I'm somehow able to test it and it works.

Answers should be specific. Don't submit "a brain-computer interface", submit the name of a specific item that I can purchase. Don't submit "exercise", submit "a half hour of brisk walking every morning". The idea is that I should be able to tell from the answer exactly what I should do, and tell from the probability whether it will work; if I have to do a bunch of extra research about how to implement the answer, that's not helpful.

I'll N/A answers that are not actionable or seem to be trying to exploit the system. (e.g. submitting garbage and betting it to almost 0% just to steal the subsidy.)

Each answer resolves if/when I try the intervention, after I'm confident it does/doesn't work. If I resolve an answer to NO and you think an alternative implementation might work, feel free to submit it as a new answer. (e.g. I try the standard dosage of a drug and resolve it to NO, but you think that a much higher dosage would work and still be safe, you can submit a new answer with the new dosage.)

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dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) 5mg

dex is one of the few nootropics/ chems to consistently outperform exercise, sleep, and nutrition (individually; but really you should get those in line). I'm sorry I don't know the proper dosages. if someone does, please comment and I'll edit it

@Stralor

I think the recommended starting doses are 5mg for the instant release tablet or 10mg for the extended release capsule.

Fwiw to anyone reading this, Dexedrine dosing is not 1:1 to Adderall. And neither are adequate replacements to sleep (or exercise or nutrition, just as Pat stated.)

Also also, some would argue that psychostimulants are not actual nootropics, but that’s not my argument to make. (However, I will say that I think their capacity to enhance performance is highly task-dependent, and there’s been some research indicating that stims can constrain one’s creative range.)

Drinking 2-3 cups of coffee daily.

This one is tricky. It has a lot of benefits, like reduced risk of all-cause mortality, depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cognitive decline and more. Since the market is about noticing positive effects and coffee mostly prevents bad stuff it's not that likely to resolve YES, but I definitely recommend giving it a try.


That said, it does have some more noticeable effects, like an ergogenic effect for intense endurance performance, increase of isokinetic strength or as an aid for muscle strength, so it could resolve YES.

Eat more complex carbohydrates (chickpea pasta, lentil pasta? - trader joes has some good lentil pasta, and goodles are a decent mac and cheese replacement).

okay I bet these back up but I recommend mindfully choosing ones with high protein and low filler ingredients which are often simple and counterproductive

Some notes:

  • My current diet is highly restricted; >95% of what I eat is plain pasta with cheese and butter. This isn't for any health reason, I just don't like other foods. (I'm also lactovegan.) It's been suggested that I might have minor health issues due to this. (e.g. not getting enough of various vitamins.)

  • I don't get a notable amount of physical activity daily, but I don't avoid it either; I'll go on short walks or do yard work from time to time, and I have a tendency to pace around the house. My stamina is very low; I'll get tired after just a few minutes of anything intense. I've tried explicitly exercising in the morning, but found it very unpleasant and didn't see any clear benefits from it.

  • I have a strong desire to not accidentally make my life worse, so I'm reluctant to try anything that could be addictive. There would need to be a lot of evidence in its favor before I take that risk.

@IsaacKing

Have you considered getting some elastic bands or a kettle bell and trying some functional strength training exercises?

@IsaacKing this is valuable info - the low hanging fruit is supplementation and if you're feeling cognitively sluggish I highly highly recommend a b complex shot (provided you're not ruling needles out). b vitamins will leave you depleted and within a day or two of having a b complex (or b12) shot I am certain you'd feel markedly better, particularly if you're not supplementing already.

fats are also the fuel of the brain. see if you can incorporate more fats into your diet. I guess I'll add these things to the market? but these seem like the obvious foundations imo

@IsaacKing

Also, I literally lol’ed (hard) at this. “My current diet is highly restricted; >95% of what I eat is plain pasta with cheese and butter.”

That may be the most stereotypically autistic thing I’ve ever read. (And I mean that endearingly. 💚)

Yes, I think that may play a substantial role in your health (or lack of) and any sense of unease you feel. (like everything from stamina to cognition to mood.)

If you desire making your life better, I wonder how much you’ve played around with vegetables as to make them less aversive.

For example, for myself, finding a good salad dressing made eating salad so much easier (or even tolerable). I can’t stand the texture of slimy roasted squashes, but I’ve learned that with olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe some other spices, I actually enjoy roasted carrots and green beans. I also like the crunch of roasted kale (I.e. kale chips). Fruit has become a convenient snack and also a nice way to add some flavor to oatmeal, yogurt, and honey. (An easy breakfast that I enjoy.)

And they all help you feel a lot better, which is a powerful and reinforcing motivator.

@shankypanky You can also take a b12 supplement orally. No infection risk, more diy, cheaper, convenient, …

🤷

@snazzlePop I'm aware of oral supplements lol I take them to maintain my levels (when I'm regimented with supps) but in NYC I was feeling off, found a clinic, went in for an injection, and it changed everything much more swiftly. and it was ~$50 without a need to do anything daily which for me is best. a bit disconcerting if a gluteal injection leads to infection but research the place you go I guess?

bought Ṁ11 of Drinking 2-3 cups of... NO

also I think it's absolutely clear nutrition is creating whatever gap you want to close. supps and devices and random chemicals aren't going to get you to a better or sustainable health state if you're not willing to make some shifts (or at least experiment) with nutrition unfortunately 🧡

bought Ṁ10 of Eat more complex car... YES

@shankypanky @IsaacKing this, 💯, absolutely this

>also I think it's absolutely clear nutrition is creating whatever gap you want to close. supps and devices and random chemicals aren't going to get you to a better or sustainable health state if you're not willing to make some shifts (or at least experiment) with nutrition unfortunately 🧡

Drink enough alcohol to achieve ~0.075 BAC before working on tasks requiring creativity / lateral thinking

Should be roughly 2-3 standard drinks for an average sized man.

bought Ṁ10 of Increasing high qual... YES

@IsaacKing i don’t actually suggest developing a stimulant habit, although I do think nicotine and even low-dose oral meth would give you obvious boosts (at least in the short-term).

What I do suggest is focusing on improving exercise (cardio & strength-training) + healthy diet + quality sleep. They’re more time-intensive than just taking a pill or supplement, but they’ll give you a way better ROI.

reposted

reposting this so you can help Isaac and selfishly so I can farm some suggestions here too 🧡

repostedbought Ṁ22 of Magnesium threonate.... YES

reposting this so you can help Isaac and selfishly so I can farm some suggestions here too 🧡

Magnesium threonate. 1 capsule in the morning, one before bed. Result- need one less hour of sleep!

I'm tempted to add L-Theanine since it did reliably help reduce my post-coffee anxiety, but I don't think it meets the "easily noticeable effect" criteria.

My issue with "easily noticeable effect" is that it may bias towards stronger stimulants (e.g. modafinil), which feel like they work but don't meaningfully improve my productivity long-term (first two days I felt great + got a lot done, but then I got into a pattern of being over-stimulated and only being productive in the evening when it had worn off).

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