Jul 22, 2017

We’re all playing catch-up, thanks to the internet and social media. But living in the Post-Information Age, someone has inevitably discovered an appropriate hack.

Nootropics. The term has been around for quite a while now, with the practice exercised for even longer. These are supplements—also known as smart drugs—or substances that claim to enhance a person’s cognition, helping them perform daily tasks better. If you’ve seen Bradley Cooper’s movie Limitless, then you get the idea.

There are various forms of nootropics. Some, like arousal enhancer Modafinil, claims to make you feel more like yourself. Some, like LSD or acid, claim to “open the gates of your mind” and make you more creative. Some simply help you focus better, enhance your ability to retain memories, or help you learn a new language more efficiently.

Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is. These smart drugs, whatever shape or form, come with a number of side effects. Too much of any of these will lead to addiction. Too much LSD can make you hyper-suggestive, such as the case of a man eating another man’s face in public. Then, there’s Adderall.

Wildly popular in Silicon Valley, Adderall has made an example out of mentally healthy individuals who take cognitive enhancers intended for cognitively impaired individuals. Taking Adderall causes the opposite of its desired effect and, instead, slows or damages cognitive functions. That’s because that is what it’s supposed to do: make hyperactive-impulsive individuals languid enough to actually focus on one thing.

This is why successful biohacker and nootropic advocate Dave Aspray advises people to steer away from these smart drugs as much as possible. “Treat them like the big guns,” he wrote. His advice is to start with the basics, go natural, and treat these supplements as a form of last resort.

He recently introduced Bulletproof Coffee, a drink made with his special line of coffee beans, brain octane oil, and unsalted grass-fed butter. This, he claims, helps clear the mind, uplifts one’s mood, and improves mental focus. Completely natural and safe, it is said to be good for everyday consumption. What’s the harm in a cup of joe, right?

Apparently, heart disease. Not only is this specialty coffee expensive, it’s also bad for your cholesterol levels. While there are testaments to its desirable effects, doctors have noticed that people who drink Bulletproof Coffee daily have alarmingly heightened cholesterol levels. So Bulletproof Coffee? Good for the mind, but bad for your heart.

All in all, our take is this: Nootropics are the miracle lifehacks that they claim to be, but they don’t come without side effects. Our advice is to use them sparingly and wisely.

Header image courtesy of Unsplash.com

This story originally appeared in Southern Living and Northern Living, July 2017.

TAGS: acid Adderall Bulletproof Coffee drugs LSD nolisoliph Nootropics