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Nootropics, brain fog, and my routine for optimal brain
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Nootropics, brain fog, and my routine for optimal brain

  #1 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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Nootropics, brain fog, and my routine for optimal brain

The following is a stack that I take to help improve my mental functioning, reduce brain fog, etc. It is not a recommendation, and one should consult their doctor before starting any new programs. I just notice these ingredients seem to help. If one has brain fog or problems with daytime drowsiness then one should insist on getting checked for sleep apnea, too and for men getting hormone levels checked, as well.

Modafinil (Prescription required in US, rare serious side effects possible)
Creatine (Loading more seems to work better but do not track exact amounts. Noticed it may exacerbate existing allergies).
Generic nootropic pill (I found one by 1 Body Brain Support to work well but take others too)
Blue berries / black berries (take in shake with whey protein and creatine. The whey protein is to reduce hunger to improve focus. These are required.)
Black coffee (no sugar, seems consuming it slowly might work better-- alternative might be a Zipfizz)
Water (drink more)
Fish oil (testing)


I found also a routine of very intense but brief rowing, body weight squats (trying the 'super brain' yoga form, basically just a body weight squat while holding ears and breathing deeply-- even if it doesn't work then research suggest any coordinated physical activity can be beneficial), and wall push-ups. I recommend doing this is in the morning as most important. And, in addition, I will run this set at regular intervals throughout the day. The entire routine can be accomplished in as little as 2-4 minutes or extended out to 10 minutes if desired. I tend to run through the routine every few hours. I tend to do everything in multiple sets of 4 or 7 for rhythm. I am considering setting a reminder so I know I get this routine in every say 2 hours or whatever.

I welcome other ideas, suggestions, or anecdotes too! Hope it helps.


Last edited by tpredictor; September 9th, 2018 at 03:05 PM.
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  #2 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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one thing to add/try would be to meditate, I've started meditating 2-5 mins every hour and when I start to get worked up about a trade and so far it has been amazing. It actually helps me throughout the day to keep emotions at bay and see things clearer weather that be trading or everyday life.

I will agree with you on the creatine, I use to take in the morning before the session and it defiantly had a small effect.

0.02


-P

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Market Wizard
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Thanks. I agree that the key to using practices such as meditation or mindfulness training might be keeping them brief but to do it on a routine basis in the way that you are doing. It might also hold true for the brain games. The benefits of the creatine are more observable when fatigued or after long hours of study. I used to use it for studying insane amounts of hours with minimal fatigue; combined it with brief naps. After years of cycling it with no side effects, I started to notice a correlation in specific form of side effects which was the only reason I quit using it. But, so far no side effects this time.

There is another practice I have been using for a few years now. I listen to all podcast and recordings at 2x and higher speed. I started off slowly but the rates have gradually gone up. I think around 2.5x to 3.5x is my comfortable listening rate. But, occasionally I have tried to see how fast I can go and it is easy to go up to 4x speed but even with effort and knowing the material, I found it difficult to comprehend at over 4x speed. Sure, I can up to 7x-8x but some words are lost and it is more of a training exercise. Because it is easy to get to 4x and some words are lost at higher speeds, I started to think that 4x might represent some sort of natural limit. However, very curiously recently in a non-training session I was able to comprehend at 15x speed! I would need to repeat this several times before I am convinced it wasn't just something to do with the source material or my state of focus at that moment. Based on some of the research by Posit Science and just the general importance for the brain to understand the world, I suspect that such practices could lead to structural changes correlating to specific areas of IQ improvement.

One of my questions I have myself is how often I need to be doing the physical fitness exercises to obtain maximal benefit. I feel like the optimal might be as much as 2-3 minutes per every 1 to 2 hours. Of course, this is because I do sit a lot. I have sit/stand desk. Yet, I am not sure it is working for me because I tend to sit or stand too much. I think the better approach might to have sit and stand stations and just move among them.


Last edited by tpredictor; September 11th, 2018 at 07:13 PM.
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tpredictor View Post
Thanks. I agree that the key to using practices such as meditation or mindfulness training might be keeping them brief but to do it on a routine basis in the way that you are doing. It might also hold true for the brain games. The benefits of the creatine are more observable when fatigued or after long hours of study. I used to use it for studying insane amounts of hours with minimal fatigue; combined it with brief naps. After years of cycling it with no side effects, I started to notice a correlation in specific form of side effects which was the only reason I quit using it. But, so far no side effects this time. .

Creatine is a great nootropic. I use creatine daily for fitness purposes (5 grams per day: half a dose before going to the gym and the other half after) and it's the best pre workout I've ever consumed. In addition to giving extra energy to exercise, my brain actually works much better under the effect of it. In the initial phase (loading) you REALLY notice the nootropic effects. At this stage I take 20 grams divided by 4 times a day. The nootropic effects are excellent and the only side effects was the lack of appetite (in my case).

The most common indication is that you have to take a lot of water daily while using creatine to not overload the kidneys.

Best


Last edited by calafrius; September 11th, 2018 at 08:19 PM.
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tpredictor View Post
I welcome other ideas, suggestions, or anecdotes too! Hope it helps.

I used to be prescribed sulbultiamine for fatigue, it's available as a supplement now. It seems to be the most effective supplement I've found. I also took acetyl-L carnitine regularly as a child during my most productive years, though correlation does not imply causation. In my university days, both of these went into my single "stack" along with a few others:

- sulbultiamine
- acetyl-L carnitine
- citicoline
- L-theanine
- ubiquinol
- alpha lipoic acid
- pramiracetam
- L-tyrosine

I also added milk thistle as I was told that several of these supplements were hard on the liver and that it helped with liver health, though I had no scientific basis for that. This combination had no adverse effects for me, though YMMV and I'm obviously not a medical professional. I'd have tried substituting citocoline with alpha GPC and adding huperzine, though I didn't get that far.

Nowadays I'm taking nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene as my own trial, since there's no much evidence to support these. I haven't taken the above stack because I'm going for more work-life balance.

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Market Wizard
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Something curious is that I notice even small words start to be lost at around even just 3x to 3.5x speed listening, i.e. words like "is", "at", etc. I really felt like that I was able to comprehend at around the 10x-14x level though in that one moment -- wasn't sure the exact speed but it was way more then anything normal. But, I have to yet to repeat it and my normal top training speed is 7x to 8x on trained material with still many words not being able to be even heard.

What is curious is that is relatively easy to be able to comprehend much material at up to 4x speed, and I figure many people could get to this level with bit of training. However, comprehending at faster levels starts to get exponentially more difficult. It might have something to do with some research that indicates that brain takes in information at around the 200-400 ms level and then turns off outside processing or cycles back and forth. Granted, when I first started speed listening 2x sounded too fast to be comfortable and now my comfortable listening rate is around 3x to 3.5x on most material just slowing down on certain difficult parts. But, you do not find many reports of people listening faster then 4x.

Some techniques I have been trying to go faster are randomly switching to higher speeds for very brief periods or even very low speeds or ramping between speeds, i.e. from very high to slower or slow to lower. Also trying play and pause techniques. Trying different techniques to see if any particular technique leads to any new insights.

What is curious is people say the brain is an information processing machine. But, here is the catch either the brain is not an information processing machine or a computer is not an information processing machine. Why? Because both statements cannot be true because there is no such thing as information to a computer, yet!


Last edited by tpredictor; September 12th, 2018 at 08:22 PM.
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  #7 (permalink)
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tpredictor View Post
Something curious is that I notice even small words start to be lost at around even just 3x to 3.5x speed listening, i.e. words like "is", "at", etc. I really felt like that I was able to comprehend at around the 10x-14x level though in that one moment -- wasn't sure the exact speed but it was way more then anything normal. But, I have to yet to repeat it and my normal top training speed is 7x to 8x on trained material with still many words not being able to be even heard.

What is curious is that is relatively easy to be able to comprehend much material at up to 4x speed, and I figure many people could get to this level with bit of training. However, comprehending at faster levels starts to get exponentially more difficult. It might have something to do with some research that indicates that brain takes in information at around the 200-400 ms level and then turns off outside processing or cycles back and forth. Granted, when I first started speed listening 2x sounded too fast to be comfortable and now my comfortable listening rate is around 3x to 3.5x on most material just slowing down on certain difficult parts. But, you do not find many reports of people listening faster then 4x.

Some techniques I have been trying to go faster are randomly switching to higher speeds for very brief periods or even very low speeds or ramping between speeds, i.e. from very high to slower or slow to lower. Also trying play and pause techniques. Trying different techniques to see if any particular technique leads to any new insights.

What is curious is people say the brain is an information processing machine. But, here is the catch either the brain is not an information processing machine or a computer is not an information processing machine. Why? Because both statements cannot be true because there is no such thing as information to a computer, yet!

What app/podcast software are you using? The app I use currently doesn't have a function like this and I wouldn't mind trying this out.


-P

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  #8 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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The one I am using currently is a free plugin to Chrome. See link below,

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/video-speed-controller/nffaoalbilbmmfgbnbgppjihopabppdk?hl=en

I am not exactly sure the algorithm it uses. But, there are a few modern approaches. For example, removing empty space and time stretch; and I have thought of some more advanced approaches as well that might make it possible to go even faster then around the 4x soft limit, i.e. 5x is possible on some material but from 4x to 5x is much more difficult then from 2x to even 3.5x. My current top conscious rate is around 5x but my comfortable rate is around 3x-3.5x but adjust as needed.

PS,

I think there is probably a value in thinking slow and fast and switching gears. Most conscious processes require integrating information from several brain regions which tends to be slower while faster operating at a lower level tends to be associated with better overall IQ and functioning. So, switching between very fast and slow processes and learning ways to challenge both might be effective. It appears also complexity plays a role as some conscious processes can be very fast if they are simple enough.

As for why their might be a speed limit, it might be (1) the synchronization between brain regions is too slow, i.e. the global processing needed for conscious integration isn't possible or (2) the periodic scanning between sensing and thinking is too serial and/or slow to go beyond a certain speed.


Last edited by tpredictor; September 13th, 2018 at 12:11 AM.
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B-12

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  #10 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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I have added to this routine some of Wim Hoff's breathing methods which include breathing and cold water exposure. His breathing technique, with instructions and risk warnings can be found on the youtube & web, which is similar to Tummo yoga without religious imposition. I had known it before but didn't understand that it might have greater benefit. I do use the visualizations from Tummo yoga. In addition, I use a very brief form of dynamic yoga, chaotic breathing, followed by a breath hold.

The cold water exposure, I had used before. However, Hof's philosophy I find gives me a different appreciation which is more about remapping conditioned autonomic responses and how it is approached.

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