Natural Smart Drugs
Posted on 10th April 2012, by Tero.

Natural Smart Drugs

Have you seen the movie Limitless? It’s a decent Hollywood flick starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, with quite an interesting subject: smart drugs. I think smart drugs (aka nootropics) are an extremely intriguing topic, especially for people interested in the potentials of the human body, and self-leadership. In this post I’ll try to give my two pennies’ worth on the topic.

I’ll start with some context. What is the purpose of life? Well, there are thousands of valid answers (e.g., love, helping others, survival, making babies), but in the modern world I feel that many people’s lives are very success driven. Thus, they tend to have two objectives:
1. Aim to live your life to your fullest potential.
2. Improve yourself in order to be better, faster, and stronger.

Now let’s talk about smart drugs. Nootropics can be drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, or functional foods that improve mental functions such as cognition, memory, intelligence, motivation, attention, and concentration. In brief, they aim to improve your cognitive capabilities. They usually affect the brain’s supply of neurochemicals such as enzymes and hormones by enhancing oxygen supply or nerve growth.

Nootropics come in many forms, but here’s a quick laundry list for you:

  • - Illegal drugs like amphetamine, LSD, and cannabis.
  • - Legal prescription drugs. I’m not going to list them here, to avoid advertising. You can Google up dozens of them in ten seconds. Note that some otherwise illegal drugs can be also be obtained by prescription, and then legally, properly used under a doctor’s care. An example would be amphetamine, through products such as Adderall.
  • - Legal stimulants like caffeine and tobacco.
  • - Supplements like omega-3 and B-vitamin products. Also, increasing intake of vitamin E and folic acid has been proven to help.
  • - Many whole foods. Here is my TOP 5 list of the most amazing natural foods you can use to think smarter…
  • 1. Lion’s mane
  • 2. Panax ginseng
  • 3. Cacao
  • 4. Spinach
  • 5. Chia

Now, I think it’s clear that the benefits of smart drugs are very much in line with the objectives of the Modern Man. The growing demands of the 21st century push people to look for new options, and drugs often seem to be the “easiest way out.”

Credit: Stewart / Flickr


I’m not an MD, but from a common man’s point of view, I have noted the following takeaways:

  • - Labeling all smart drugs as demonic is pretty naive. As you can see from the list, even coffee could be labeled as a cognitive-enhancing smart drug. Because even natural products can produce these results, one should look into the subject before labeling it as a complete fraud.
  • - Dosage makes a difference. Basically, everything in this world is toxic, if the dosage is high enough. You can eat too many apples. At the same time, smaller dosages of synthetic products can be good for you. It’s all very relative.
  • - It’s all linked to your objectives. Some smart drugs might not be the most sustainable solution on the planet, but they might help you perform better. Because of this, it boils down to your objectives. How high do you want to go? Are you willing to pay the price to get there?
  • - Not all risk-profit ratios are the same. Some things just have a bigger downside than others, without actually providing such great benefits. The interesting part is, of course, the opposite – things with truly great benefits and small downsides.
  • - Do your research. Even though history has shown that research results turn out to be wrong more often than not, that doesn’t mean you should not look into a subject before making a decision. That way, you have made a conscious choice – making it easier to bear the responsibilities later.
Credit: sidewalk flying / Flickr


Personally, I would not use synthetic smart drugs – but I am already using several natural products. This is where I draw the line. If it comes from nature, it can be good. Even then, it isn’t always good. I would consider a synthetic version only in extremely severe circumstances, linked more to personal health than improving career-linked performance. Call me a traditional guy, but because of this, “cheating” with smart drugs is not necessary.

Wishing you a smart upcoming month!


Cover photo: Veggiefrog / Flickr

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