I may have written this before, but I am going to make it more clear here: nootropics are no cure for an underlying health issue that can cause cognitive impairment.
Think about nootropics in the way that a small segment of athletes use performance enhancing substances.
These athletes are typically at the peak of their health and they do everything in their power to make sure their bodies can do exactly what they are needed to do. When these athletes reach this peak condition, they take what they need to in order to get the edge over the competition.
While most people who can benefit from nootropics may not be facing direct competition in the way a competitive athlete would, they are challenged mentally every day. For one, every single conscious decision you make takes a small sliver of willpower away from you each day.
Secondly, if we’re bombarded by media of all forms from left and right, it also takes a toll on our mental willpower and can drag down other aspects of our lives.
Before you consider nootropics, you first need to consider the foundations that are your mental and physical health. Otherwise you’re not reaching your true potential.
Get your physical health in line
That silly maxim of “brains over brawn” seems to have engrained its way into this specialized society. Instead of seeing the interconnectedness between all fields of knowledge, we miss the forest for the trees and pick one little extremely narrow field of study to work on, almost to the complete neglect of everything else.
Same goes for physical health. Though there appears to be as much correlation as causation, if your body is weak and unfit, your mind is going to be weak and unfit too. 1 2 3
Therefore, exercise of some form is pivotal to ensuring optimal physical health. Normally I recommend a strength training program like Starting Strength or Body of A Spartan since weight training programs have multiple benefits to men, including maintaining testosterone and improving your looks.
Barring access to a gym or weights, calisthenics and high-intensity short sprints can also help.
Aside from fitness, “you are what you eat” is something you should remember in regard to your health.
Pesticide-laden foods eaten by mothers can have an impact on the child’s IQ down the line. 4 Even if you’re not a developing fetus or an expectant mother, pesticides of this variety still have measurable effects on nervous and endocrine systems.
Since pesticides like this are considered standard practice in the agriculture industry, and simple rinsing of the food isn’t going to remove them, it’s imperative to avoid them where possible due to their toxic properties.
Selecting foods that are Certified Organic or non-GMO 5 is a helpful way to avoid these pesticides, since only these two categories of produce are going to be largely free of those chemicals.
Secondly, lots of fresh produce goes a long way. If you don’t have time to cook or eat fresh fruits and vegetables all day, learn about juicing and its benefits. Juice it, drink it, and reap the benefits.
Lastly, not every diet is perfect, and a lot of us have some kind of nutrient deficiency. This is where supplemental nutrition can cover your weak areas. The nutrients that most people are going to be missing in a typical diet include magnesium, zinc, the B vitamins, and more.
I cover the above and more health-promoting habits in my e-book, Male Health Protocol.
Discipline and condition your mind
Your brain is like a muscle: the neurons in your brain grow and change in time and with certain stimuli.
Fluid intelligence, the ability of the brain to learn and deal with novel situations on the fly, can be enhanced by a variety of challenging activities:
- Reading a book (BuzzFeed articles and blogs do not count)
- Learning to play a musical instrument
- Learning how to draw
- Learning a new language
- Playing games of skill – Chess, puzzle and problem-solving games
Basically anything you can think of that requires critical and analytical thinking and challenges you to learn and master something new could be considered a suitable exercise for your mind.
Second (and possibly most importantly), not overstimulating your brain can help you save your mental energy where it’s needed the most. Making little micromanaged decisions about everything, ruminating on certain things, and having to filter distractions and noise out can make your mind lethargic.
To spare your mental energy, start with the following:
- Eliminate or limit anything with excessive advertisement or useless fluff — magazines, news, blogs, television, social media, and so on
- Spend a little time optimizing anything that seems to be inefficient — your devices, work and living spaces are great places to start
- Form better automatic habits so you don’t have to consciously remind yourself what to do
For the discipline of habit-forming, 30 Days of Discipline is a good guide to start with, and is designed around the fact that it only takes a little more than 3 weeks of a repeated behavior to become a subconscious habit. This is not unlike how people in boot camp are trained to master certain actions and behaviors despite stress and sleep deprivation.
Forming great habits, doing things automatically and keeping distractions and time-wasters out of your life will help you ensure your mind is ready to tackle bigger and more important things at a moment’s notice.
Making nootropics work for you
Think very carefully about why you want to use nootropics. They aren’t a magic solution to mental lethargy, poor health or a substitute for discipline and good habits.
However, when used correctly, certain nootropics can easily be incorporated into a disciplined lifestyle, and can help reinforce good habits as well as improve mental performance.
When you’re ready, do a little research to see which nootropics are right for you. My personal preferences are Noopept and Pramiracetam.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Can Physical Activities Improve Fluid Intelligence? | Psychology Today|
|2.||↑||[Intelligent quotient of obese children and adolescents by the Weschler scale]. – PubMed|
|3.||↑||Is obesity associated with a decline in intelligence quotient during the first half of the life course? – PubMed|
|4.||↑||Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and IQ in 7-year-old children.|
|5.||↑||“Some crops have been genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate (i.e., “Roundup Ready”, also created by Monsanto Company)… Soy was the first “Roundup Ready” crop.”|