How do you usually start your day? Every person on this planet has her or his own set of morning routines that get them started for the day. Whatever yours is, one thing is for sure, there will always be room for improvement and better self analyses. So why not biohack your way into the future and make current you the new you.
This is where the concept of nootropics as a diet, as brain enhancing nutrients, and as a lifestyle for persistent and constant improvement comes in.
Nootropics are a type of supplement, food, lifestyle or biological hack aka biohack that improves your overall brain health, particularly cognitive function, which includes memory, focus, creativity, mood, concentration, learning ability, and energy level. Nootropic supplements are also known to have anti-aging benefits and help address symptoms of depression, fatigue, and anxiety.
We’ve done our homework to take the guesswork out of nootropics for you with our daily formulas Mind and Mend. Still, many will desire further experimentation on their own, which is what we are all about. Read on to see if you are making common mistakes when it comes to biohacking and nootropics. These pointers will help push you in the right direction to ask yourself the tough questions, and to continue to improve as it pertains to cognitive output, productivity, and goal realization.
Here’s the thing, no matter how beneficial nootropics are for your brain and body, you may not be taking full advantage. Believe it or not, there are many people who are using the supplements wrong. If you’re one to just take the pills as they are and aren’t seeing any improvement in your cognitive function, then there is a higher possibility that you are committing one – or more – of the mistakes enumerated below. Don’t worry. By the end of this post, you will be able to correct those mistakes and make the most out of nootropics.
Check out our list of nine common mistakes committed with nootropics and biohacking and what to do to fix it:
Mistake No. 1: Not doing sufficient research about nootropics.
The World Wide Web will constantly bombard you with tons of information about nootropics, which type is ideal for a particular cognitive function, and the countless supplements available at your disposal. Instead of drinking what you’re told to drink, take advantage of the information online, starting with finding out what nootropics are.
Research and learn about the different types of natural and synthetic nootropics, the best ingredient for each particular brain function, the right dosage, studies to back up the claim for each nootropic, and even the dangers of taking nootropics supplements. Consequently, find out how nootropics work and the ingredients that won’t work.
In case you plan to take supplements, make sure to research about the top supplements and the legitimate companies that source, manufacture, and supply nootropics before settling with one that may not be so good for you. Read reviews and personal experiences of people who have been taking and experimenting with different nootropics.
If it helps, list the information so you won’t forget. Writing down important information can serve as a checklist and guide for you to loop back.
Mistake No. 2: Stacking too many nootropics together.
More isn’t always better or more effective. Some think the more you stack, the better the effects will be on your brain. The truth is not all the time.
One of the most common mistakes committed with nootropics is over-stacking or putting too many nootropics, usually well-known nootropic compounds, together for consumption. Unfortunately, this type of practice won’t yield better results. Worse, you might put together nootropic compounds that cancel each other out; thereby cancelling the positive effects of either ingredient.
What should you do? Read up to find out the best combinations, or which nootropics actually stack well together. There is tons of anecdotal reports on the internet, but you should then follow those up with looking at any available research studies on those specific ingredients to determine potential effects. Keep in mind that stacking is not as simple as combining different nootropic compounds and then praying that the results are good. You need to know what combination works to be able to enjoy the brain-boosting benefits.
Below are some of the more common combinations of nootropics you can supplement:
- Caffeine and L-theanine
- Piracetam and Alpha GPC
- Aniracetam, Alpha GPC, and Lion’s Mane mushroom
- Gingko Biloba and L-Theanine
- Green Tea, EGCG, L-Theanine
- Huperzine A, Alpha GPC, Phosphatidylserine
Each nootropic stack targets a specific brain benefit. Identify what you are trying to improve at that particular moment before you throw everything together. Remember that more isn’t always better.
Mistake No. 3: Relying only on nootropics – and doing nothing else.
Yes, nootropics can give your brain health a boost. In fact, you read countless studies about the benefits that convinced you to give it a try. You follow the instructions carefully and religiously to make sure you get the most out of the nootropics supplements.
Here lies the problem: you rely too much on the supplement itself. Because you are so convinced that nootropics can improve your cognitive functioning, you became dependent on the supplement.
Unfortunately, taking nootropic supplements is just one part of the equation. You need to do something more than just drinking smart drugs to make you smarter, livelier, and more energetic. If you want to make sure that your brain health is in tip-top shape, you need to include the following in your routine, together with nootropics of course:
- Get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night.
- Eat healthy, especially brain-healthy foods like blueberries, avocados, nuts, seeds
- Include physical exercise in your routine.
- Keep your brain working by engaging in challenging mental exercises.
- Read as much as you can.
- Listen to music, Take mental breaks from your grind
- Avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits such as drinking alcohol and smoking.
In other words, it’s a give-and-take relationship between nootropics and your body. Take care of your brain and body and nootropics will do the same.
Mistake No. 4: Flexibility is not in your vocabulary.
How long have you been taking nootropic supplements? Have you noticed any changes or differences with the way you function; how much sleep do you need, have you been more productive, how well do you organize and plan your day? Asking yourself general and specific questions to spur analysis will only benefit you further. Are you experiencing greater mental energy, which could translate into longer durations of uninterrupted focus or more hours of productivity? If yes, then you’re most likely on the right track. Otherwise there might be something wrong with your nootropic stack, dosage, or even the timing and application of energy, or even how you plan your day.
Human nature dictates that people will accept what other people will say, especially if you are not that familiar with a particular concept. The same goes with nootropics. You follow what other people and articles say but you may be failing to look at the most critical component: yourself.
Therefore, be flexible when taking nootropics. Remember that every person’s brain chemistry is different from others. In fact, what works for others may not always work for you. Somedays benefits will be experienced to a greater or lesser degree depending on your diet, sleep schedule, and physical activity level. If you noticed that you always feel less energetic despite taking nootropics, then stop and consider switching it up. It could be the dosage, the nootropic combination, or the frequency of your intake. You might even have to add or remove an ingredient until you find the perfect combination.
You can try the following changes:
- Replace piracetam with other types of racetams such as oxiracetam, pramiracetam, or aniracetam.
- Add a new nootropic supplement to your mix, especially if you noticed that there are no changes.
- Consider changing your choline source. Alpha GPC is preferred.
- Different anxiolytics and sleep aids work better for certain people, these are not only popular but effective: zinc picolinate, melatonin, phenibut, huperzine A, 5-HTP, valerian root
Mistake No. 5: Taking higher doses of nootropics doesn’t equal better effects
You already know that when it comes to nootropics, more isn’t always better, especially if you are stacking them wrong. Increasing your dose above minimal effective doses for the general population can be attempted first. However if you have not experienced an improvement you may want to consider adding different nootropics to your stack. This follows that taking nootropics in higher doses won’t necessarily equate to better effects for your brain and body. You need to find your minimum effective dose, the point at which the least amount of the ingredient provides the greatest effect. When we formulated Mind and Mend we wanted to help the greatest number of people possible.
Of course one size doesn’t fit all, but the majority of people using Mind and Mend are experiencing the benefits associated with optimal stacks in the right dosages. Of course there could be more of ingredient X, or Y. For instance some may need additional protein for their daily regimen, to which we happily say go ahead and add more protein, preferably beef collagen or an isolate. Need a little more energy to start your day, or to curb hunger pangs? Then try adding additional MCTs. Smoothie options are also endless, which is why we made Mind, our daily blend in powder form to be easily mixed with any beverage. If you need more caloric value in the morning before work, then simply add additional nootropic friendly foods; nuts like walnuts, almonds and/or additional greens like kale or spinach.
How will you know if you are taking the right dose of nootropics?
The key is to start low then eventually increase your dosage to normal. Take note of the normal and effective dosage and use it as a guide for your intake. You can use research studies to determine effective doses. You may also need to give it a little time. Especially when it comes to herbals. Your body will often need to adjust and gradually increase stores with daily consumption. So if you are taking normal doses and yet, there are no immediate changes with the way you function, do not immediately increase the dosage.
What should you do? Check your ingredients first since some nootropics cancel each other out. This is why it is important to know your nootropics first before stacking them together to make sure you make the most out of nootropics.
This leads you to another mental mistake.
Mistake No. 6: Taking other people’s anecdotal evidence as a means for efficacy.
Apart from lack of flexibility, one of the most common mental mistakes committed by people is automatically accepting what works for someone else. This can be a good way to start to learn, after all if you know nothing about nootropics, forums can be very helpful. The problem arises when someone nixes an ingredient because it didn’t work for them. To which you may find additional benefit just because it happens to work with your physiology better.
There’s nothing wrong with listening to what other people have to say, especially if they are experts in their respected fields. In fact, you can gain insights and information, which you can use and apply in your daily routine. Nonetheless, every person’s brain chemistry is different from others. What works for them might not work for you, no matter how much they swear by the way they stacked their nootropics. Most of the people in chat groups and forums on nootropics whether in FB, or reddit are novice users, with no background in medicine.
How can you fix this? Start with knowing the specific outcome that you’d like to achieve. Once you establish what you really want, take some time to research and experiment with different combinations. This will take time and you are likely to commit errors, but there’s no other way of finding the right combination unless you experiment and try for yourself. Just to reiterate, start with research, follow the advice of medical professionals and clinicians, then read chat forums to shore up any additional information, but ultimately you must test for yourself.
Mistake No. 7: Forgetting about co-factors when supplementing with nootropics.
Let’s say that after tons of research, you finally found the right combination to boost your brain health. That’s good. After taking it, you realized that the effects of these nootropics are not kicking in.
What went wrong?
Blame it on your poor memory, but this time, you forgot about co-factors. Co-factors play a critical role in nootropics because they give the main nootropic ingredients the boost they need to make them more effective. Cofactors or synergists are mutually beneficial ingredients that increase the effectiveness of all involved.
For instance, vitamin B5 synthesizes acetylcholine to help in taking cholinergic compounds. Also, racetams need choline to make them work. Additional nootropics that inhibit cholinesterase will further increase available stores of acetylcholine, a powerful neurotransmitter involved in brain and body function.
The bottom line is to know what co-factors work to make nootropic ingredients more effective. Learn about their mechanisms because this is the only way to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Mistake No. 8: Frequency of usage that leads to dependency from synthetic nootropics
Herbal nootropics are good and are very safe. Caution needs to be taken with synthetic nootropics because they have the greatest potential for dependency. When it comes to herbal nootropics, you either take them daily and increase available stores of natural chemical processes within your brain and body or you don’t take them and the stores deplete. The effects do not diminish over time as they do with synthetics.
Take note that anything in excess is bad for your body. Using synthetic nootropic supplements to self-medicate is never a good thing either. Despite the benefits it could bring, too much synthetic nootropics could lead to dependency and can lead to inhibiting important functions of your nervous system, especially as you cycle on and off. Try to identify certain triggers that are causing you to stress or are limiting your productivity. Sometimes some in depth analysis of yourself is all that is needed to identify problematic behaviors and errors in thinking. Correcting these even to a small degree can make a huge difference over time. Certain surroundings can alter your productivity, so try switching it up to determine your needs.
Mistake No. 9: Giving up is never the right answer. Iterate your life.
After weeks of taking nootropic supplements or making your own stack, you noticed that there are still no changes in your memory, level of energy and alertness, focus, and concentration. Instead of trying a different supplement or changing your nootropic contents in the stack, you decided that nootropics are useless.
No, nootropics are not useless. If you aren’t seeing the real life application for improvement repeat the steps discussed above. Iterate, and test until you find what works. Never give up easily.
You will read tons of articles about nootropics, but the best way to test their effectiveness is to try them and give it at least a month or two before you determine that you need to switch up your dose, ingredients, or time of day for application. There are certain compounds that take time – not overnight – to enable you to get the best effects. Relax, be patient, and give nootropics a chance. You’ll be happy when you start to gel in a new mindset.
Herbal nootropics will deliver and help in making your cognitive function better. Still, at the end of the day, your biggest hindrance in optimizing health is yourself. Keep track of the poor decisions you make and the things you do that beat down your immune system and health. Keeping your brain and body at a strong baseline can often be a win if you are routinely ingesting low nutrient value foods, drinking too much alcohol, and not exercising your mind and body effectively. Always focus on the big picture. Tying together nootropics with a healthy diet, proper sleep, and physical and mental exercise is a must to realize your goals.