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Piracetam, Noopept, Theanine and Caffeine: Hack your Brain for Increased Productivity

You’re going to run a marathon. You’ve already decided. Well, in your heart at least, because you still haven’t gotten off the couch to start that elaborate training routine you’ve come up with.

So what do you do in the meantime? Dream up how great it will be when you finally run. The adrenaline as you pass over the finish line, the cheers from your friend and family, the pride that you’ll feel. Dreaming big will make sure that you act big, won’t it? After all, you need concrete goals to get anywhere.

Take those big dreams, toss in some supplements for focus, maybe a few more supplements for concentration, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to succeed. Right?

Unfortunately some recent studies indicate not necessarily [1]. One study had some participants envision a happy resolution to a crisis in another country, while the rest were just asked to state the facts of the crisis. When later asked to donate $25 or more, it turns out the participants who only recited cold facts were much more likely to donate.

The results were repeated in two more trials. One used similar procedures (this time related to donating time to a charity) while the other replaced stating the facts with imagining wasting time — establishing that it wasn’t stating facts that increased will to act, but it was positive dreaming that reduced it.

The takeaway here is that, to a certain extent, positive fantasies reduce the amount of effort you’re willing to put into making that fantasy come true. The downside is that it’s not exactly easy to quit daydreaming. Every second you spend distracted from a task is very likely a second you’re going to spend imagining how great it will feel once you finish.

Fortunately with nootropics, it’s not just a matter of you trying to force yourself to focus. By adding a few crucial supplements for focus to your daily routine, you can watch your concentration skyrocket. Less time dreaming, more time doing — what more could you ask for?

Piracetam

Start off your pursuit of boosted concentration with piracetam powder, one of the oldest and most widely researched nootropics out there. Before we go any further on its concentration-boosting benefits, take a moment to consider that piracetam also shows promise for positive effects on cognition, learning, and memory [1]. If your area-of-needed focus is academic or otherwise cognitively oriented, you’re looking at added benefits from piracetam straight from the get go.

On to its benefits for focus and concentration: Piracetam has repeatedly shown itself to benefit both, allowing users to participate in tasks for longer, less interrupted stints — it makes cognitive flow easier. Piracetam, an AMPA modulator, induces this effect by increasing the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain [2]. Communication between brain hemispheres is boosted, manifesting as a feeling of focus and clarity.

Noopept

If piracetam isn’t quite cutting it or you’re just looking to up your edge even further, check out noopept. It’s actually derived from the racetam family, meaning that it has some similarities to piracetam. It’s definitely its own beast though, and you’ll find a clear cut illustration of the differences before you even start to read up on the effects. While a typical piracetam dose will run between 1 to 3 grams, noopept powder is about a thousand times stronger, working efficiently at doses as small as 10 mg [3].

This might make you think it’s simply a jacked up piracetam, but noopept has its own distinct effects. Noopept is touted for anti-anxiety benefits in addition to its cognitive gains [4]. The upshot of this is that you spend less time worrying — if you aren’t worrying, it’s a heck of a lot easier to stop working. Add in the facts that noopept has shown to be neuroprotective and that its effects actually build over time [5], and you’re looking at a very potent productivity aid.

Caffeine and Theanine

Last but not least, a knock-out combo that will see your morning coffee benefiting you in completely new ways. While both of the following are effective supplements for concentration on their own, mixing l-theanine and caffeine powder will produce a synergistic effect that goes well beyond what you’d get from taking either individually.

Theanine is actually an amino acid that you’ve probably come across before without realizing it: it’s found in green tea. Taken on its own, it affects both your GABA and glutumate receptors, and is well-documented for having calming, relaxing effects [6].

Caffeine on its own stimulates a whole slew of neurotransmitters, but leaves you feeling wired and sets you up for an eventual crash. Together? Theanine takes the edge off of caffeine, smooths out the comedown, and makes it much easier to focus. A trialed study found that participants on a combination of theanine and caffeine were much better at focusing on difficult cognitive tasks [7]. So next time you grab a coffee to give yourself energy boosts, add in some theanine – and unlock your full potential.

Focus and concentration don’t come easy, and even with nootropic supplementation require discipline and practice. With the right stack, though, it’s possible to “hack” your brain into increased productivity. Experiment with combinations and compounds, find what works best for you, and boot those endless daydreams out of your head!

Sources

  1. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201302/positive-fantasies-can-reduce-future-effort
  2. http://examine.com/supplements/Piracetam/
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12596521
  4. http://examine.com/supplements/Noopept/
  5. http://www.braintropic.com/noopept/
  6. http://examine.com/supplements/Theanine/
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681988

Nootropics and Creativity: How to Safely Boost your Artistic Side

Nootropics and Creativity

Whether you’re looking to kickstart your novel, paint the next Mona Lisa, or devise a brilliant business plan for your new start-up, creativity is important. It is also no secret that creativity can be a notoriously fickle thing—completely there one day, then gone the next.

It seems like sometimes no matter how devoted you are, no matter how hard you try, there’s just nothing there and everything you try to think up comes out feeling flat. Here’s where nootropics can offer you a quick edge.

Since nootropics are a class of smart drugs designed to benignly tweak your brain performance, there’s a good chance that there’s one out there that will pluck your creativity strings just the right way. Take a look at some of the best compounds for giving you an artistic boost when your muse just refuses to show up.

Aniracetam

Aniracetam is the next step up from Piracetam on the ladder of nootropics. It also produces very distinct effects. It’s cited as the best anti-anxiety nootropic, and as a nootropic that enhances creativity. How exactly does it accomplish this?

First off, Aniracetam is an AMPA modulator. This fact means that in one way or another it enhances the functioning of your AMPA receptors, which are excitatory receptors linked to mood and memory [1]. Secondly, it increases blood flow in the association context—the payoff being that holistic thinking becomes easier [1]. It’s also somewhat anxiolytic; reduced anxiety is something any stumped creative type could use [2].

There are also a few secondary effects that help creativity. Aniracetam can also make vision sharper and more vivid, boost literary fluidity (easier reading!), and make it easier to grasp abstract concepts [2]. Chalk it up to improved communication between brain hemispheres, which is one more way that Aniracetam enhances cognition [3].

The trade off? Naturally creative types may find their thinking taking on a more logical edge thanks to boosted right brain activity, while more literal-minded users will see their logical thought processes become a bit more abstract. It’s a great tool whether you’re looking to enhance your creative project, or just tackle it from a slightly shifted neurological perspective.

Phenibut

Phenibut doesn’t “cause” creativity, but it certainly primes you for it! One of the most important aspects of creativity is flow—the ability to shut everything out and focus entirely on the task at hand. Easier said than done. Your worst enemy? Outside thoughts, stress, worries, doubts…all the small grievances that you’re probably trying to get away from with creativity in the first place.

Phenibut benefits the aspiring artist in two ways. First, it hits your GABA-B receptors, which affect stress and calmness [4]. The overall effect is a soothed, tranquil, present feeling, the sort you might get from exercise or meditation. Studies have also shown that it decreases your inability to act in a negative emotional situation. Like, say, feeling stuck because you can’t generate a new creative idea [5].

Secondly, phenibut has been shown to stimulate dopamine [6]. Tweaked dopamine means a heightened sense of pleasure and meaning from all your sensory input. This is important to creativity in its own right, but dopamine has also been specifically proven to have a strong correlation to creativity. Evidence-based reports even cite phenibut as having mild benefits for memory recall: important if you’re working on an elaborate creative project [7].

Making sure you’re taking a safe amount of phenibut will ensure you aren’t left with a disrupted dopamine system the next day. Dose responsibly and cycle your phenibut often, and you’ll be on your way to having a sure-fire nootropic shortcut to a creative headspace. Dosing irresponsibly can result in many side effects.

Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is a thiamine derived compound created in Japan to combat asthenia, a chronic fatigue that is mentally, not physically, based [8]. Since thiamine is B-vitamin based, that’s exactly what sulbutiamine will reverse! After a safe dose, look for boosted levels of energy that’ll help you complete all your unfinished tasks, creative or otherwise. In other words, it’s been proven to be effective at reducing mental fatigue [9].

It’s important to consider more factors than just “feeling creative” when looking to enhance creativity — focus and energy are crucial even to the most creative mind. Thanks to sulbutiamine, you can make sure you aren’t too worn down to dream.

However, the list of creativity-specific benefits you get from this nootropic don’t stop there. It’s been shown to reduce psycho-behavioral inhibitions — in other words, it eases your conditioned fears [10]. If there’s something you avoid or get stressed by, sulbutiamine makes it easier to approach. So long writer’s block!

Coluracetam

Coluracetam is one of the newest compounds to hit the market, and is the latest iteration in the veritable racetam family. How does it help with creativity? It’s all in the name. Coluracetam is alleged to have ‘’sensory enhancing properties”—colors, for instance look richer.

It’s also alleged to enhance sounds, brighten vision, and thrust the user into an anxiety-dampened, creativity-free headspace. It achieves all this by being the first choline uptake enhancer; it makes the brain turn choline into learning-and-information neurotransmitter acetylcholine faster and more fully [11]. That means you are able to take in more sensory information at once, while simultaneously having more “raw data” to commit to memory.

While the anecdotal feedback on the substance has been very positive so far, it’s worth considering that coluracetam is a very young nootropic, and the clinical research on it is slim at best. While there are no indications that it will deviate from the racetam trend by being anything other than safe and non-toxic, it’s worth using some caution if you’re considering picking some up.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re too tired to focus, out of imaginative ideas, or just not quite as fired up about creativity as you used to be, nootropics offer something to benefit you. Read up on your substance of choice, take the recommended dose, and see for yourself how quickly you can get that brush back in your hand!

Sources

Aniracetam:

[1] – http://examine.com/supplements/Aniracetam/

[2] – http://www.braintropic.com/racetam-comparison/

[3] – http://www.smartdrugsforthought.com/what-is-aniracetam/

Phenibut:

[4] – http://www.raysahelian.com/phenibut.html

[5] – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17944107

[6] – http://www.phenibutforanxiety.com/thescienceofphenibut.php

[7] – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11830761

Sulbutiamine:

[8] – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10996447

[9] – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12973384

[10] – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10996447

Coluracetam:

[11] – http://examine.com/supplements/Coluracetam/

Freedom from Constraints: How to Boost Creativity

We are probably all aware of the fact that creativity can come in a number of different forms. Not only this, but there are all types of things and methods that lead to inspiration and the feeling of improved creativity. In many cases, people just simply wake up and the morning and have a sense of whether or not the new day will bring a sense of creative excitement. Other days, it might feel that there is nothing left in the proverbial creativity gas tank.

There is some interesting new research regarding creativity. A number of new studies have come out regarding the ways in which creativity can be enhanced. These studies reveal a number of interesting factors which should be given more consideration. The theme of this new data is darkness and freedom from constraints. Of course, there are also specific nutritional supplements that may improve or enhance natural levels of creativity.

Lighting and Creativity:

These studies did indeed show that lighting is one of the most significant factors in terms of influencing creativity. Bright lights tend to actually make people tired and are somewhat distracting. Obviously, this has huge implications for workplace settings. Interestingly, this also explains the fact why many bars and restaurants like to use dim lighting. Not that they are trying to enhance creativity, of course, but simply as a way of making people feel more comfortable and at home.

Lighting can actually create specific moods in people. There is evidence to show that different colored and different intensity lights can lead to effects ranging from a relaxing mood to one of anger and irritation. This certainly is in line with these recent findings.

Darkness and Freedom from Constraints:

While it may be a bit surprising to some, the studies actually showed that darkness was much more conducive to creativity than light. A good possible explanation for this might be that the dark induces a state or feeling of being freed from constraints and limitations. Even simply dimming the lights can lead to improved creativity.

The most interesting aspects of this study for me were the implications of this upon workplace productivity and effectiveness. One idea is to simply turn down the lights; even just a little bit can help. Another interesting idea would be to have a so-called ‘dark room’ (and not for photography) where employees could go for creativity sessions. These could even be scheduled times.

Supplements for Creativity:

Rather than relying entirely on darkened rooms for improving creativity this state can be helped by the creative (pun intended) use of nutritional supplements. For example, there are some Nootropics which can be effective, like Choline (CDP Choline, Alpha GPC, Centrophenoxine) and Piracetam. Others like L-Theanine and Green Tea (extract) can also be helpful.