I recall the first time that I started experimenting with nootropics—I was 18 years old and was looking to get an edge in trading the stock market. I heard that execs from silicon valley and Harvard Law students were popping smart pills to get the best of their competitors.
It wasn’t long until I realize that not all nootropics are created equal, however. As I embarked on my endless quest to find the best nootropics out there, I invariably encountered some of the worst.
I spent literally thousands of dollars trying out different supplements claiming to increase my intelligence, and I’ve compiled a list of the best nootropics (in my experience) for you down below. I hope you enjoy.
First, I would like to say that you should always check with your doctor before you consume any of these supplements (don’t sue me). Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s biology is different, so what works really well for me might not work really well for you.
Any internet marketer out there who promises that not a single person has had bad results from their drug is lying through his teeth. Not all of our brains were created equal; some of us have different levels of different neurotransmitters, and consequently different drugs work better for us.
That being said, 97% of people that I’ve talked to have had killer results with the following smart drugs, and they are, in my opinion, the best nootropics in existence.
Perhaps the crown-jewel of smart drugs, this little white pill was originally made to treat narcolepsy. It was created as a “wakefulness enhancer,” as a way to prevent narcoleptics from falling asleep on the job.
Little did its creators know that it would become one of the most potent smart drugs of all time. Just half of one pill, and you’re set for the entire day.
After reading that modafinil is one of the best nootropics of all time, I decided to get my hands on some. After executing my well-thought-out plan, I had successfully convinced my psychiatrist that I needed modafinil to focus. I had gotten a prescription to take 200mg daily for the next month, and I was hyped.
I rushed to the pharmacy and gave them my prescription. “That’ll be a 30 minute wait, Mr. Anthony.” Are you fucking kidding me? I wanted it then, and I wanted it there.
“Whatever,” I said. I sat down on a bench nearby and scrolled through underground online forums talking about the effects and what to expect. I heard all kinds of crazy shit:
It was pretty clear from what I read that modafinil was one of the best nootropics to ever be created. I was shaking in my chair when I finally heard the pharmacist shout out: “Mr. Anthony? Your prescription is ready!”
FINALLY! I popped 200mg as soon as I got my hands on it, and rushed home. It was about noon, and I had a couple trades set to go off if the market dipped below a certain level. I got home to my multi-screen set-up and set a timer. I wanted to see how long it took to kick in.
An hour later, I felt nothing. 2 hours later, nothing. 3 hours later, nothing. What the fuck? Had I been scammed? I decided to call it quits and take a cold shower—and when I emerged, what I saw was glorious.
Colors were a little bit brighter—it was like I was seeing my own house for the very first time. I noticed the textures all around me on various items; it almost felt like I was high on weed, but without the mental fogginess. I walked into my office and looked at my computer screen. “I have to learn more,” I said to myself.
I then literally spent the next 14 hours absorbing information like a fucking sponge. It was 5AM, and I couldn’t stop—I felt like my brain was running on all cylinders for the first time in my entire life.
I was literally watching two videos at once on my dual-monitor set-up. One was on the gold market and the other was on analyzing for supports and resistances (stock market terms). I was scouring through blogs, watching YouTube videos, and analyzing the market…at the same time.
I then went on to have one of the most successful trades of my life. After hours of scanning through endless data, I placed an order for KORS. It went up 25% in two months. I went from having $4,000 in the market to having $5,000 in the market in just 60 days. Compared to the average Wall Street trader, who only makes a 10% increase per year, that’s a fucking ton.
I still use modafinil to this day. I’ve built up a bit of a tolerance, but it’s one of my favorite smart drugs. I still get a huge boost in cognition from it; it helps me write and get shit done at a blisteringly fast pace. I’ll be writing a lot more about it in the future, but for now let’s focus on the big two questions:
You could order it online, but this would be illegal, so I can’t recommend this. Instead, get a prescription from your doctor. I wrote about how to do this here.
It’s relatively quick and easy, plus you’re guaranteed to get the real stuff. It’s cheap as dirt, too—I think I pay like $4 for a month’s supply, which is NOTHING for the benefit that it gives me.
I recommend taking 100mg your first time—unless you want to be up for the next 48 hours reading Shakespeare and learning a new language. If you’re sensitive to stimulants, try taking it with some food, WITHOUT caffeine.
I personally take 100mg first thing in the morning with my coffee, and then another 100mg four hours later. I find that this keeps the effects much more stable, rather than a peak and a crash, but you’ll just have to experiment with what works for you.
Something magical happens when you mix L-Theanine, an amino acid derived from green tea, with coffee, one of the world’s oldest and best nootropics.
L-Theanine has a synergistic effect with coffee, for reasons unknown, and enhances the focus and clarity that coffee gives you. It also makes you calm and collected by minimizing the cortisol spike that comes with coffee.
In short, it makes you calm, collected, and laser focused. Coffee in and of itself is great, but when you mix it with L-Theanine, it’s like you’re Neo in the Matrix.
But let’s not stop there—I’ve found bulletproof coffee has given me tremendous success in the past. I do what’s called bulletproof intermittent fasting, which helps you get lean and shredded, while staying focused all day long.
Basically, the idea is that you have bulletproof coffee (a combination of coffee, butter, and MCT oil) first thing in the morning and don’t eat for another 8 hours. Sounds weird, right? Well, here are some of the benefits:
If you’re going to drink bulletproof coffee, I recommend doing the bulletproof diet. It’s by far the best diet for overall health and wellness.
If you don’t want to do the bulletproof diet, that’s fine. Simply have regular coffee with L-Theanine. Just having a simple cup of black coffee with around 200mg of L-Theanine will have a profound effect, as well.
Fortunately, L-Theanine is completely legal in the United States. I prefer to get it in powder form. This way, I can personally tweak the dosage to see how much works for me—I’ve found that a 1:1 ratio is great. For every cup of coffee (which has 120mg caffeine) I have around 120mg of L-Theanine.
But, they sell pill form too, which is certainly more convenient. Just have a cup of coffee, pop a pill or two, and let the ride begin. You can play around with the dose, but too much will make you too relaxed, which makes it hard to get work done.
The recommended dosage is to take 200mg of L-Theanine per cup of coffee. So if you’re drinking 16 ounces of coffee, you’d take 400mg of L-Theanine, and so on. Personally, when I use the powder form, I just mix it in with the coffee, because it doesn’t add any taste.
But if you like, you can just use the “plug and chug,” method where you scoop it into your mouth, swish some water around, and swallow it. If you use the pill form, just have a pill or two with each cup.
I first started taking Alpha Brain when I was about 18 years old. I had heard about it through Joe Rogan’s podcast and wanted to learn more. He’d given it pretty good reviews himself, and everyone seemed to like it, so I decided to buy a 30 day supply and try it out.
The results were astounding. Sounds were more crisp, I was a lot more focused, and best of all, I felt like it helped me string together eloquent sentences without really trying. I actually kept a 2 week journal of my experience with it, to see if it was placebo or not…and it definitely wasn’t placebo.
In addition to this, Onnit (the company that makes Alpha Brain) has recently released several double blind, placebo studies, proving without a doubt, that Alpha Brain does in fact have a statistically significant affect on the following:
Another great thing about Alpha Brain is that it technically isn’t a nootropic, but rather a “cognitive enhancer.” What this means is that it gives you brain the nutrients it needs to be better, so in other words, it’s safe to combine with some of the best nootropics out there.
Combine it with kratom, combine it with bulletproof coffee and L-Theanine, combine it with modafinil…you can combine with pretty much any nootropic out there. Remember though, always consult with your doctor before you take anything (I’m serious, don’t sue me).
You can order it online from either Amazon or Onnit. Personally, I prefer to order it from Onnit, because I don’t want some weird third party Chinese merchant scamming me (this actually happened to my friend). But, if you’re willing to take the risk, I guess you can get it from Amazon.
To get the full effect, I recommend taking 2 capsules first thing in the morning—you’ll start to feel the effects almost immediately, and they’ll peak after a week of regular use. If you want to get the crazy lucid dreams that people talk about, take 2 before going to bed.
Don’t take more than 2 per day, though. I prefer to take 1 in the morning and 1 at night, to get a little bit of the cognitive benefits, as well as the dream-enhancing effects.
In general, modafinil is the strongest, but has the biggest potential for side effects. Alpha Brain and the Coffee/L-Theanine combo are safer, but are still incredibly effective.
As a side note, I also experiment a lot with “stacks,” or combinations of smart drugs. I wouldn’t do this at first, because you want to figure out how your body responds to each one individually, but here’s an example of one stack that I use:
The thing to remember is that everyone is different, so what works well for me may not work well for you. That being said, I can almost guarantee that my top three best nootropics will work for you. I know that my mind feels clean and crisp when I use them, and it’s been a huge help in getting shit done. I hope that you get the same results that I have.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, let me know—I also love hearing about new nootropics recommendations, so if you have one, leave a comment down below. And, as always, I’ll see you next time.
After learning to successfully trade the market, build a six pack, start a social circle from scratch, and increase his IQ by 15 points, Jon Anthony has decided to teach others how they can, too. He plans to move to Las Vegas next year to invest in real estate and live it up.