Monday, September 3, 2018

Lion's Mane: The Nootropic Mushroom

Lion's Mane Mushroom

Lion's Mane is a mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is native to North America, Europe and Asia, and can be identified by its long quills. Many recent studies show it to have both neuroprotective and neuroregenerative effects. This is owed to its apparent ability to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF). Thanks to this, it is gaining a massive following from people who are seeking cognitive enhancing supplements.

In 2009, researchers at the Hokuto Corporation and the Isogo Central and Neurosurgical Hospital conducted a small clinical study. They gave lion’s mane to 30 patients with mild cognitive impairment. This resulted in significant benefits to cognitive function, so long as they continued to consume the mushrooms.

Recently, mice injected with neurotoxic peptides were challenged in a standard “Y” maze, a test designed for testing memory. As the peptide caused plaque to develop in their brains, the mice lost the ability to memorize the maze. However, when the mice were fed lion's mane for 23 days, they regained the ability to memorize the maze at almost the same capacity as before.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Boost Brain Power With Sound: Music and Binaural Beats 🔊

I love nootropics, but I also like to look for other great ways to increase my brain power. Things that I can do instead of, or in addition to, taking supplements. For instance, eating well, getting good sleep at night, and enough exercise during the day, all have an immensely positive effect on your thinking capacity, and overall mental health. Another way to give your brain a boost involves the use of sound.

The Mozart Effect 🎼

Some of you may have heard that listening to classical music can make you smarter. The concept has been dubbed "The Mozart effect." However, there have been no actual studies suggesting that listening to music can make you smarter in the long-term. What does exist is a study done in 1993, in which college age students showed significantly better spatial reasoning skills after listening to Mozart for ten minutes. But this effect was limited to spatial reasoning, and did not last longer than 10-15 minutes.

Playing Music 🎹

One study of Albert Einstein's brain found that both his left and right hemispheres were "unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance."  His mother, who was an expert musician herself, had Albert playing music from an early age. “Music helps him when he is thinking about his theories,” said his wife Elsa. Einstein himself even said that if he had not been a scientist, he would have certainly been a musician. “Life without playing music is inconceivable for me, I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music … I get most joy in life out of music.” Einstein's love of music could have had a lot to do with his superior mental capacity.

Many studies link musical training to improved brain function and higher academic achievement in children. Psychology Today writes: “Practicing a musical instrument regularly engages all four hemispheres of your brain at an electrical, chemical and architectural level which optimizes brain power. Musical training also improves focus, reduces stress, and could be an antidote for the pressure that children feel to do well on standardized testing as part of No Child Left Behind and the Common Core Standards.”

Getting your children to learn an instrument early will result in benefits such as improved verbal memory and literacy, greater communication skills, improved white matter connectivity, improved executive function, greater thickness of grey matter in the cortex, and more. Playing an instrument as an adult also has many benefits, including improved brain plasticity in later life, superior multi-sensory processing skills, increased blood-flow to the brain, and counter-acting age related decline.

Binaural Beats 🎧

Binaural beat therapy is a form of sound-wave therapy in which both the left and right ears listen to two slightly different frequency tones yet perceive the tone as one. In 1837, physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove discovered that listening to certain tones could actually induce different states of mind. The binaural beat that a person hears is the difference in frequency between the left and the right ear, so headphones are required. If you listen to a tone of 410hz in your left ear and 400hz in your right ear, your brain will make up the difference and hear an imaginary tone of 10hz. That tone is what is referred to as a binaural beat. When your brain makes up this imaginary beat, your brainwaves sync up to that beat, thus creating an altered state of mind.

The common frequency patterns to achieve different mental states are as follows:

Delta Patterns - frequencies between 0.1 and 4 Hz
Associated with dreamless sleep.

Theta Patterns - frequencies between 4 and 8 Hz
Associated with meditation, creativity and REM sleep.

Alpha Patterns - frequencies between 8 and 13 Hz
Associated with relaxation.

Beta Patterns - frequencies between 14 Hz and 100 Hz
Associated with concentration and alertness. Best pattern for studying. However, higher end of frequency may also increase anxiety.

Here is a sample of a binaural beat (make sure your headphones are on):

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Nootropic Tea for Focus and Concentration 🍵

When I take an herbal remedy or supplement, if taste permits it, my favorite method of comsumption is in tea form. I feel that it works better and quicker this way. It might not actually work any better at all than other methods, but I think it does, and that's what matters. Studies have shown that some placebos are more effective than others. For instance, an injected placebo works better than a capsule, and two placebos work better than one. This same principle is sometimes taken into account to make real medicines more effective. Therefore, so long as I think drinking tea works better than swallowing a capsule, IT DOES! Now here are my favorite nootropic teas.

First, Matcha

Matcha Green Tea
Matcha is ground up green tea powder from shade grown plants. Its use in Japanese tea rituals goes back centuries, and its renowned for its ability to calm the mind and increase concentration. Growing the tea in the shade stunts the plants growth, which results in increased concentrations of caffeine, L-theanine, and other alkaloids. Because it is in powder form, the whole leaf is consumed. Higher levels of L-theanine is reputed to be what is responsible for the increased concentration and calmness attributed to Matcha, and it is also credited with preventing the jitters usually caused by caffeine.

Second, Guayusa

Guayusa Leaves
Guayusa is a species of tree, native to the Amazon Rainforest, whose leaves are used for tea by Amazonian natives, for both its medicinal and stimulant properties. The leaves contain both caffeine and theobromine as stimulants, as well as small amounts of L-theanine. Users say guayusa tea gives them the same amount of energy as coffee, but without the jitters.

Third, Ginseng

Fresh Ginseng Roots
Ginseng is an herbal root used for a variety of purposes in traditional Chinese medicine. It is well researched, with many clinical trials showing evidence for small improvements in areas such as memory, cognition, endurance, the immune system, and more. It is part of a class of herbal medicines known as adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbal medicines thought to help the body and mind adapt to stress.

Lastly, All of the Above

Sometimes I like to go crazy and mix all three of the aforementioned teas together into one. I put guayusa and ginseng in a tea infuser and steep it in boiling water for a couple minutes. Then I remove the tea infuser and add about a teaspoon of matcha. The ingredients in the tea infuser can still be used for a second cup of tea later. Then, borrowing from Dave Asprey's Bulletproof Coffee idea, I add a teaspoon of coconut oil, and use a milk frother to emulsify the oil and stir the matcha. Lastly I add some creamer to make it easier to drink down. This honestly doesn't taste too bad and makes my mornings nice and smooth.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What is PRL-8-53?

PRL-8-53 chemical structurePRL-8-53 is a synthetic nootropic that was first synthesized by medical chemistry professor Nikolaus Hansl. It is alleged to have noticeably positive effects on memory in humans. Users often claim to experience results that are far more impressive than Piracetam or related compounds. However, only one study has ever been done on humans.

In a double-blind trial of PRL-8-53, a variety of cognitive effects were measured on 47 healthy volunteers. 5mg of the drug was administered orally 2-2.5 hours before the study tasks. Subjects were given 12-item word lists to memorize as part of the trial. While initial word acquisition performance on PRL-8-53 was only 107.46% of baseline, subjects recalled words at 132.5-142.7% of the baseline rate 24 hours after testing, and at 145.2-146.2% after a week. Stronger effects were noted in the bottom 60% of subjects (who recalled 6 or fewer words on placebo at 24h), with 24 hour retention improved to 187.5-191% of baseline, and one week retention to 200-205%. Subjects over 30 displayed even more substantial results, with improvements to 208-222% and 236-252% of baseline performance at one day and one week respectively.

Those are pretty outstanding results! Read more about the study here:

In the 80's, Chicago based band Phil 'n' the Blanks produced a song and music video about the drug, with its name as its title. They probably expected this drug to become more widely known than it did.


Selected Experiences

"I've been taking 20 mg per day for the last 3 days. There haven't been any notable changes, positive or negative, except for one big difference. I am easily remembering, without effort or error, numbers that I always had to reference from written notes in the past. The first time this happened I was talking on the phone with someone and needed to give them an 8 digit number that previously I have always had to look up in my notes. I was astonished when I just spoke it to her while I was still looking for it in my notes.There have been about 6 instances of this instant recall since I started."
"I originally bought PRL 8-53 on a whim to supplement my stack of phenlypiracetam and noopept. At first I didn't take it too often and never by itself. I only really started to use it when I ran out of phenylpiracetam. After a few days I realized that my attention and especially my recall were on a level I hadn't experienced in quite a while. I was right in the middle of a web coding bootcamp at the time and believe me, there was a lot of new info swimming around in my brain. Even small details came to me easily. It made a believer out of me. Tastes like hell but I still take it every day."
"I have great success with PRL. I work in customer service and it helps me communicate easier and more effectively. I also like to take it before a night out with friends because it helps coversation flow. I find myself much more open in regards to topics that I’m comfortable talking about, too. I highly recommend."

Saturday, July 28, 2018

What is Celastrus Paniculatus?

Other Names: Intellect Tree, Intellect Plant, Malkangni, Jyotishmati, Black Oil Plant, Climbing Staff Tree

Celastrus Paniculatus is a climbing shrub that grows throughout India at elevations up to 1,800m (5,900ft). It's use in Ayurvedic Medicine as a brain tonic goes back centuries. Hence the name nickname "Intellect Tree". Consumption of the seeds, or their oil, appears to enhance cognition and memory. Neuro-protective, and anti-depressant effects have also been observed in mice.

Here are some of the relevant studies:;year=2016;volume=48;issue=6;spage=687;epage=693;aulast=Bhagya

To experience cognitive effects, a user typically ingests 15-20 crushed seeds, or 5-10 drops of seed oil.

Celastrus Paniculatus


My Personal Experience

I experimented with this interesting and natural nootropic in two forms: ground up seed powder, and seed oil extract. The experience with both felt pretty similar, however, the crushed seeds seemed to have a more pronounced effect. This might have just been the nutmeg-like taste of the powder waking up my senses.

The effects were a quick increase in my ability to focus, and a lighter, happier mood. Now I can say that I've tried many different nootropics, but this is the first time I experienced a natural substance with effects that can be compared to Adderall, or similar ADD/ADHD meds. The experience felt much less euphoric, and was shorter lived, but it was definitely similar. Strong enough of an effect to appreciate, but not enough to likely be as habit forming as Adderall. That is probably a good thing.

Other Experiences

Here are some outstanding reviews from people across the web:
"I had never felt so in tune with my mind in my life! Things seemed very easy to remember and recall. It was like my mind was formerly a chest with a closed lid and someone had just opened it wide! Anyway, I graduated magna cum laude and took these gel capsules throughout my time there. After I left I stopped taking them and felt myself return to normal. I strongly believe that this product is the sold reason that I graduated second in my class. I've tried all sorts of racetams since and nothing has been even close to the Damascus!"
"I've tried stand alone celastrus and had great results with daily use. I've been learning Spanish and a comparing 1 month on celastrus versus the month previous and month after being off of it, the rate at which I learned and incorporated new vocabulary was enough that I had many people make comments about it. It has a solid effect of potentiating stimulants such as dmaa or 2amino in my experience and I know some people who personally notice a solid focus component to it."
"Personally the effect I experience is a relaxed state of clarity, undeniable increase in verbal communication abilities. I am able to focus on whatever I choose and my many thoughts on many things are replaced with many thoughts on whats at hand. I have used every racetam commercially available, none have yielded a result equivalent to these intellect beans. My daily protocol is 15-20 seeds which I grind up by chewing with front teeth. After enduring about five minutes of seed to oral mucosa exposure I wash the pulp down with a drink. The onset of effects seem to begin nearly immediately with a shift in mood towards the positive. Absolutely one of my new favorite noots."