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Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities.

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Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2009, 15:08
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There is a lot of talk obviously about which books to follow and what prep course to take etc but I havent read any mention of supplements or anything else that would help a person to stay focused, alert, motivated etc. Hence I will be sharing some of my own here.


1. Piracetam is from the racetam family and like all the other forms work! It is not a miracle overnight thing and its not addictive. What will it do for you? Within about a week you will start noticing that you can stay focused longer, your sharper, overall you feel less drained, overall better mood and your scores will definately go up. Yes it will help you absorb information quicker, process it quicker and recall it quicker and clearer. However obviously you still need to study and put in the effort but you will notice the clearity, focus and increase i your cognitive abilities and stamina.
Proven in numerous studies to work.

2. Vinpocetine. Increases blood flow and hence nutrients oxygen etc. Again proven to help.

3. Huperzine A. Helps with cognitive abilities and protects protects the brain whilst also increasing growth factors.

4. Choline in its various forms best of them being Choline Citrate and Alpha GPC. This is an essential building block and must definately be used with above. Its a prevursor to the neuro transmitter acetylcholine but the above especially racetams need it. This in conjunction with the above work quite synergistically.


Just taking the above 4 you will begin to "feel" the benefits coming on within a week. If you really want to see the difference get baselines just like we do for our gmat prep so that you can see and measure the increase in your abilities.
They are even used to help with degenerative diseases and are proven to work even in healthy people. And best yet is long term use of 6-12months shows results and changes within the brain that last years later.


6. the "drugs" such as ritalin(stimulant), adderal, provigil. Best of these with least side effects jitteriness and crashing etc is provigil(modafinil). Though it doesnt technically make you "smarter" on its own it does allow you to for example sleep 3 hours a day and feel like you just woke up from a 10hour sleep fully rested and ready to go more. Hence you could stay awake longer which means longer studying time. Though strictly not addictive it can be habit forming if abused over a long period of time.


7.Caffeine, Guarana etc. We all know about this so no need for an explanation.

8. Fish oil, Lecithin, Omega 3s and 6s. Self explanatory and good for you.

9. Good multivitamins and lots of vitamin c. all the latest research shows that you cant NATURALLY AND REALISTICALLY consume enough Vitamin C in a day. Vitamin C is now shown to be extremely important in almost everything.
eg research shows that consuming 1500mg+ vitamin c daily will reduce chances of gout by 45+ percent, dramatically increase immune system health, collagen production, adrenal gland functioning, healing, bone and teeth density and strength and is a powerful and needed antioxidant. of course you would need to consume it in intervals during a day rather than 1 single dose.

10. Idebonone which helps like the omegas overall in the long term and is good for you.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2009, 16:27
I stick with the old reliables:

1. Consistent and un-interrupted sleep pattern of at least 8 hours a night.
2. Diet low in sugar, stimulants.
3. Cross training with weights/high aerobic activity 3-4x week.

IMHO, if you need Adderral or Provigil, you need to change your lifestyle before you look like you are 50 when you are 30....

In terms of supplements for concentration I suggest L-Theanine, Relora, magnesium, and GABA, ....

Omega 3s, DHA, for overall brain health.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2009, 23:41
well spgny doctors will tell you that being fit and healthy is the first step only.

exercising itself creates circulation and blood flow to your brain.

scientifically speaking the racetams, vinpocetine and choline specifically alpha gpc have been documented in lots of studies and definately will do the trick as they are used with alzehemiers etc as well.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2009, 23:43
Guest wrote:
well spgny doctors will tell you that being fit and healthy is the first step only.

exercising itself creates circulation and blood flow to your brain.

scientifically speaking the racetams, vinpocetine and choline specifically alpha gpc have been documented in lots of studies and definately will do the trick as they are used with alzehemiers etc as well.


ps .its my post.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2009, 04:30
IMO, many people have cognitive deficiencies because they are neglecting the basics. They think all their answers will be solved by supplements, especially Adderrall and Provigil. However, if you are not getting adequate sleep, and have stress, hyped up on carbs/caffeine, high BP, etc...a supplement or drug is not solving the underlying problem. First foundation step is to get good sleep, exercise, diet, meditation. If your lifestyle is killing you, change your job, etc, before you have a heart attack at 50. Titles, bonuses are no good if you are dead.

I do believe in supplements, and not discounting MM's suggestions. Just my $.02 and perspective.
When I was in the CFA program I used to take Jarrow Neuro Optimizer, http://www.jarrow.com/product/188/Neuro_Optimizer. But it was killing my wallet. Also took Ginko, but I think this supplement is losing its luster.

BTW, I was thinking of starting a thread like this, thanks mm.......
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 10 Apr 2009, 02:50
Wow. Performance-enhancing drugs - not just for baseball anymore.

No doubt that the workload of bschool can mean that you're not able to get your solid 8 hours of sleep a night, but IMO if you're going beyond multivitamins and caffiene, you need to take a step back and think about what you're doing to your body. Ritalin, adderal, etc. are serious drugs, and should be taken only to treat real medical conditions - not just to give you that 'edge' at school. Any doctor that prescribes those drugs to a healthy person deserves to lose their license, IMO.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 10 Apr 2009, 08:23
Jerz wrote:
Wow. Performance-enhancing drugs - not just for baseball anymore.

No doubt that the workload of bschool can mean that you're not able to get your solid 8 hours of sleep a night, but IMO if you're going beyond multivitamins and caffiene, you need to take a step back and think about what you're doing to your body. Ritalin, adderal, etc. are serious drugs, and should be taken only to treat real medical conditions - not just to give you that 'edge' at school. Any doctor that prescribes those drugs to a healthy person deserves to lose their license, IMO.


I'd have to agree. Although we would all enjoy the freedom to sleep less and be more focused, I don't think drugs are good solution.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 10 Apr 2009, 10:10
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The only substances you need in b-school are:

1. Caffeine
2. Alcohol (optional).

B-school isn't some Asian prep school where you get a bunch of overanxious kids trying to outscore their peers by 0.001%.

It doesn't work that way. Even with schools that don't have grade non-disclosure.

B-school and business by extension is about people first and foremost. Relationships. Conversation. Spending time with people in group situations - whether at work or play.

You don't have to drink at all, but you have to be comfortable in social situations where people are drinking.

Business school can be hectic but not in the academic sense. You don't need to be hopped up on supplements. The most important things in b-school:

(1) Be a team player. Give more than receive. Help others. If you have a rep for being helpful to others, karma has a way of paying you back. You attract people. People love being around helpful individuals. This isn't about smarts or cognition, it's about your attitude. You'll be amazed what your fellow classmates will do for you if you get a rep for being a helpful person yourself - you WILL save yourself a lot of time on academics because of this. Again, no matter which school you go to, your classmates will be very supportive of you if you are supportive of them.

(2) Don't be a douchebag. Don't be that annoying person sitting in the front of the class pestering the prof with ridiculous and unnecessarily detailed questions, holding back the class discussion because you want some miniscule issue clarified for your own sake or to show that you're like "smart". Don't be the guy who can't see the forest from the trees. Don't be the guy who tries so hard to impress himself on guest speakers/recruiters that you are known as a shameless brownnoser.

Follow these two things, and it trumps your smarts or your grades. Moreover, you just need to put in a reasonable amount of effort to get okay/decent grades (and the experience ain't about grades). None of these things has anything to do with your cognition -- it's about character.

In business school more than any other grad school perhaps -- your classmates value your character far more than your smarts. You'd think that MBA programs are the Church of Capitalism, but at many b-schools it feels like a hippie commune :-D And at certain points it starts to look like one when a number of the dudes stop shaving and grooming becomes optional.

Remember that MBA students often get job leads from their fellow classmates. So even during recruiting, don't think that somehow that it's about your cognitive abilities or getting that extra boost. It's about being that person that people want to help out because you've been that helpful guy in the past.

Save the supplements for the Japanese cram schools, Chinese "buxiban", and Indian JEEE exam prep.

In b-school, so long as you're eating relatively well, sleeping okay, and drinking water, you don't need performance enhancing supplements.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2009, 00:51
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People stay on track please.

This is not about what its being made out to be and it certainly is not about already being at a top MBA school and simply wanting to be the know it all.


This is simply a list of things that would improve your concentration, focus, cognitive abilities and if need be reduce your need for sleep to cram more.


Skip the adderal,modafinil point and all the rest are simply supplements or over the counter and actually good for you, in the long term actually reduces your risks of contracting degenerative brain diseases and keeps you sharp.

And since most of the discussion on these and other like minded boards are about how to study or do better in the gmat etc
WHY not take supps etc that will not only make you focus better, retain much more, increase your cognitive abilities and overall let you study longer and better?

And unlike ritalin, adderal etc modafinil is not a stimulant that will leave you crashed exhausted and jittery. Its not even like caffeine and most of us certainly dont think caffeine is necessarily evil or bad and may gulp down gallons during uni, exam times, gmat prep etc. Modafinil will leave you rested and focused and will reduce your need for sleep (as caffeine/coffee/energy drinks do) without the jitters, exhausation, temper etc. And with a healthy diet/lifestyle and getting those other supps you would not even need modafinil unless your pressed for time(out of ur hands) or have bad time management skills(in which case you might want to reconsider B-school).
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2010, 00:10
Just ran into this old thread. Interesting information. Not sure if these drugs do really help in enhancing concentration and staying sharper, atleast for a shorter while. If they do, its worth trying. Anyone with more real world experience on these ?

Do energy drinks like Redbull help in staying focussed ?

Do products like Brain Quicken work - a product made popular by Tim Ferris of 4 hour workweek book.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 17 Apr 2010, 03:49
mousymouse wrote:
There is a lot of talk obviously about which books to follow and what prep course to take etc but I havent read any mention of supplements or anything else that would help a person to stay focused, alert, motivated etc. Hence I will be sharing some of my own here.


1. Piracetam is from the racetam family and like all the other forms work! It is not a miracle overnight thing and its not addictive. What will it do for you? Within about a week you will start noticing that you can stay focused longer, your sharper, overall you feel less drained, overall better mood and your scores will definately go up. Yes it will help you absorb information quicker, process it quicker and recall it quicker and clearer. However obviously you still need to study and put in the effort but you will notice the clearity, focus and increase i your cognitive abilities and stamina.
Proven in numerous studies to work.

2. Vinpocetine. Increases blood flow and hence nutrients oxygen etc. Again proven to help.

3. Huperzine A. Helps with cognitive abilities and protects protects the brain whilst also increasing growth factors.

4. Choline in its various forms best of them being Choline Citrate and Alpha GPC. This is an essential building block and must definately be used with above. Its a prevursor to the neuro transmitter acetylcholine but the above especially racetams need it. This in conjunction with the above work quite synergistically.


Just taking the above 4 you will begin to "feel" the benefits coming on within a week. If you really want to see the difference get baselines just like we do for our gmat prep so that you can see and measure the increase in your abilities.
They are even used to help with degenerative diseases and are proven to work even in healthy people. And best yet is long term use of 6-12months shows results and changes within the brain that last years later.


6. the "drugs" such as ritalin(stimulant), adderal, provigil. Best of these with least side effects jitteriness and crashing etc is provigil(modafinil). Though it doesnt technically make you "smarter" on its own it does allow you to for example sleep 3 hours a day and feel like you just woke up from a 10hour sleep fully rested and ready to go more. Hence you could stay awake longer which means longer studying time. Though strictly not addictive it can be habit forming if abused over a long period of time.


7.Caffeine, Guarana etc. We all know about this so no need for an explanation.

8. Fish oil, Lecithin, Omega 3s and 6s. Self explanatory and good for you.

9. Good multivitamins and lots of vitamin c. all the latest research shows that you cant NATURALLY AND REALISTICALLY consume enough Vitamin C in a day. Vitamin C is now shown to be extremely important in almost everything.
eg research shows that consuming 1500mg+ vitamin c daily will reduce chances of gout by 45+ percent, dramatically increase immune system health, collagen production, adrenal gland functioning, healing, bone and teeth density and strength and is a powerful and needed antioxidant. of course you would need to consume it in intervals during a day rather than 1 single dose.

10. Idebonone which helps like the omegas overall in the long term and is good for you.


Thanks for the great information.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2010, 07:22
Lecithin is said to be a good "brain" supplement and absolutely harmless. I tried it many times for several weeks (1,2 gram doses per day for a period of 4-6 weeks). But personally didn't see any improvements as far as memory and brain capacity are concerned. Nonetheless, I've read recently that if you want to see real improvements, you have to increase your daily intake to 2.4 grams per day.

Also, as others on this thread have already said, wholesome food, healthy daily regime, and plenty of exercise are essential.

Nonetheless, I'd like to hear from folks that have taken lecithin and to know their experience with it.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2010, 09:19
Hi all!!!

First time poster here!!! :-D

I had to chime in on the supplements/smart drugs topic. I used Piracetam/Ginkgo/Vitamins with a clean diet with lots of rest mixed in with intensive cardio while undergoing my b.s. several years ago with much success!!!!
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 17 Jun 2010, 09:31
IMO sticking to a healthy diet, good exercise and sufficient sleep should suffice for most people.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2010, 15:29
I find that sleep > caffeine (which I suppose goes without saying). Throw in some exercise and some reading and I feel sharper in the morning :)
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 20 Jun 2010, 05:05
AceofSpades wrote:
IMO sticking to a healthy diet, good exercise and sufficient sleep should suffice for most people.


Agreed, but I think the discussion was about what people used when their schedule did not allow time for exercise or sufficient sleep. There were definitely stretches of time (e.g. recruiting season) where there was no possible way I could have fit in 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 21 Jul 2010, 15:50
mousymouse wrote:
There is a lot of talk obviously about which books to follow and what prep course to take etc but I havent read any mention of supplements or anything else that would help a person to stay focused, alert, motivated etc. Hence I will be sharing some of my own here.


1. Piracetam is from the racetam family and like all the other forms work! It is not a miracle overnight thing and its not addictive. What will it do for you? Within about a week you will start noticing that you can stay focused longer, your sharper, overall you feel less drained, overall better mood and your scores will definately go up. Yes it will help you absorb information quicker, process it quicker and recall it quicker and clearer. However obviously you still need to study and put in the effort but you will notice the clearity, focus and increase i your cognitive abilities and stamina.
Proven in numerous studies to work.

2. Vinpocetine. Increases blood flow and hence nutrients oxygen etc. Again proven to help.

3. Huperzine A. Helps with cognitive abilities and protects protects the brain whilst also increasing growth factors.

4. Choline in its various forms best of them being Choline Citrate and Alpha GPC. This is an essential building block and must definately be used with above. Its a prevursor to the neuro transmitter acetylcholine but the above especially racetams need it. This in conjunction with the above work quite synergistically.


Just taking the above 4 you will begin to "feel" the benefits coming on within a week. If you really want to see the difference get baselines just like we do for our gmat prep so that you can see and measure the increase in your abilities.
They are even used to help with degenerative diseases and are proven to work even in healthy people. And best yet is long term use of 6-12months shows results and changes within the brain that last years later.


6. the "drugs" such as ritalin(stimulant), adderal, provigil. Best of these with least side effects jitteriness and crashing etc is provigil(modafinil). Though it doesnt technically make you "smarter" on its own it does allow you to for example sleep 3 hours a day and feel like you just woke up from a 10hour sleep fully rested and ready to go more. Hence you could stay awake longer which means longer studying time. Though strictly not addictive it can be habit forming if abused over a long period of time.


7.Caffeine, Guarana etc. We all know about this so no need for an explanation.

8. Fish oil, Lecithin, Omega 3s and 6s. Self explanatory and good for you.

9. Good multivitamins and lots of vitamin c. all the latest research shows that you cant NATURALLY AND REALISTICALLY consume enough Vitamin C in a day. Vitamin C is now shown to be extremely important in almost everything.
eg research shows that consuming 1500mg+ vitamin c daily will reduce chances of gout by 45+ percent, dramatically increase immune system health, collagen production, adrenal gland functioning, healing, bone and teeth density and strength and is a powerful and needed antioxidant. of course you would need to consume it in intervals during a day rather than 1 single dose.

10. Idebonone which helps like the omegas overall in the long term and is good for you.


Great post - considering the fact that work has been pretty hectic and I will be taking the GMAT next Saturday, I'm tempted to get some extra boost during my last week or so of prep. Will be taking the day off prior to D-Day. I just bought a box of the Acai berry mix from Costco and it works pretty well - not a big coffee drinker, but I do exercise regularly. I've heard about Provigil back in college but I've never used it - any thoughts on its effectiveness/side effects? I tried a quarter of a pill of my brother's Adderrall back in high school and it was a kick (as far as concentration, but I had some jitters).
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities. [#permalink] New post 13 Aug 2010, 17:02
Personally I like:

1) good sleep
2) weight lifting
3) lean proteins + veggies
4) multivitamin
5) fish oils

I've always wanted to try some of the good stuff though.
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Re: Smart Drugs. Supplements. Boosting cognitive abilities.   [#permalink] 13 Aug 2010, 17:02
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