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The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
The following article is an excerpt from Ben Angels Unstoppable 2nd Edition, which is now available from Entrepreneur Press. Buy it on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Bookstore.
No matter where you look, the latest and greatest nutritional supplements are advertised on all sides of the internet. However, before buying a brand just because it cites some scientific studies, it's important to dig deeper to see how a particular health protocol – or, in this case, a nootropic – can affect you.
1. Treat the cause, not the symptoms
As with antidepressants, which make people feel comfortable for a while but the underlying physical causes (e.g. malnutrition, inflammation, toxicity, overgrowth of bad gut bacteria, hormones, or food sensitivities, to name a few) cannot be addressed , nootropics can also mask the symptoms while they cannot fix the actual problem. The day I drank ketone esters I felt amazing. I showed no signs of vitamin D deficiency, either physically or mentally, but I was still severely exhausted. Nootropics and medications can help you feel better temporarily, but your symptoms may appear differently later. It is important that you contact a working doctor to find out the underlying cause. And as in my case, more than one factor may need to be addressed before you can become unstoppable and achieve your goals. Also, make sure you do your research online and speak to your doctor about possible drug interactions before trying nootropics. If you're still concerned, look for nootropics that are naturally found in everyday foods rather than using supplements.
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2. Refuse to join the hype and safely conduct your own experiments
Just because a nootropic works for an influencer, or even me, doesn't mean it will work for you. If you want to experiment, be sure to do so and write down your daily experiences in a journal to see if you notice any difference in overall performance. Some of the most important observations to make include:
Quality or influence on sleep Ability to concentrate and concentrate All energy crashes (especially due to caffeine) Digestive symptoms (upset stomach / constipation / gas) General mood (excited / calm / focused / intense / happy / sad) Optimal dosage (symptoms can occur when you overdose on anything – find your sweet spot) Stimulatory effects (stimulates to the point where you cannot sleep or feel anxious and unable to concentrate)
While I have carefully curated and reviewed the following nootropics keeping in mind the safety and risks involved, your own observations are critically important in helping you fine-tune the features that are right for you. I recommend testing any nootropic for at least 30 days before deciding whether it's a winner or a waste of time. Whichever you choose, if you're also dealing with inflammatory junk food and want to stay up late every night, don't expect any positive effects. Nootropics are only part of a healthy lifestyle. To find out what works best for you, start with just one nootropic and isolate your experiments whenever possible. Avoid overlapping or stacking them in the initial stages, especially if you are new to nootropics.
3. Be aware of the risk of addiction
Just like with medication, you can develop a tolerance to nootropics. In this way your body seeks homeostasis so that your internal functions remain in a stable state. When people first take nootropics, they can feel the effects immediately through a process known as "physiological surprise" in which the nootropic disrupts homeostasis and the nootropic benefits take effect. If you consistently take nootropics, your body will adapt to them and the response will become numb over time. Does this mean that nootropics can be addicting? For some, the answer is yes; for others no. This is one of the reasons I prefer nootropics that are naturally found in foods like L-tyrosine, L-theanine, and L-carnitine.
One exception is nicotine, which I use in incredibly low doses and take a break on weekends. I also carefully keep track of how much I use. Most people naturally use caffeine, which is highly addictive and its benefits diminish over time with constant consumption. Because of this, you need to drink more coffee or tea now to experience the same level of energy and alertness as you did on the first try. Then there are nootropics like psychedelics, which have a high potential for abuse. These should only be used in a clinical study. For all of these reasons, you should carefully choose which nootropic to use and cycle it so you can continue to feel the benefits. This can mean taking a nootropic like L-tyrosine Monday through Friday, taking a break on the weekend, and then consuming it completely for a week every few months. Daily observation will tell you when the benefits wear off. This is your signal to take a short break so it can regain its effectiveness.
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4. Look at your identity type and start slow and low
Catalysts should only require fine tuning. You are already in optimal physical and mental state, so you may only need small doses of nootropics to feel a difference. Since your total energy is constant, you may be taking too much, resulting in a decrease in your return. Your goal can be to support your body and brain during stressful and busy times.
The goals of synergists can be to support the brain, memory, and energy. Begin your experiments with a lower dose than the one recommended on the bottle and only scale to the recommended dose if a small dose is ineffective. If the recommended dosage overwhelms you, drop it again. Your organic individuality plays an enormous role in your reaction. Be wary of introducing nootropics that contain too much caffeine as you will want to avoid afternoon crashes.
Defenders and guardians should avoid all nootropics with caffeine for reasons I mentioned earlier and focus on simple one-ingredient nootropics instead of nootropic stacks first. Do this in conjunction with cleaning up your diet, relieving stress, and improving sleep, and always follow your doctor's recommendations.
Are nootropics the only way to get into the zone? Not at all! But many are full of other beneficial vitamins and minerals that contribute to well-being and awareness. Others, however, require a warning label and should be avoided. So proceed carefully and in good health.