Smart Pills: Do they really exist?
28 January 2020
It seems every few weeks there is a pre-made nootropic stack (unique blend) coming to the marketplace. Many have no real merit, others little, and a few stand out above the rest in their popularity and success.Often times, as we have discussed with Onnit’s Alpha Brain and Nootrobox, this is a result of shrewd business, fundraising, and PR. All of which are perfectly acceptable and worthy of recognition, but make it difficult to analyze based on merit.
An older nootropic stack called truBrain has achieved some level of notoriety and success with a unique approach. They have combined above-board marketing and PR with grey area nootropic compounds. Although they may help some people, it might also garner the wrong (FDA) attention. We will review truBrain, try to separate fact from fiction, and give you a final verdict on whether the Nootropic Drug is worth the money. Our conclusion at the end might surprise even the most skeptical nootropics user. The term “nootropic” was derived by a Romanian scientist in the 1960s who synthesized a compound called piracetam. Since then, the drug (and derivatives like oxiracetam) have grown in popularity within the nootropic community on Reddit and Longecity. Popular figures like Dave Asprey and Tim Ferriss have even mentioned taking these racetam drugs, but until truBrain, these were not mainstream.
Of course, truBrain making racetams mainstream is a double-edged sword. While there is fear regarding the attention they attract, there are some benefits of truBrain and associated ingredients. The truBrain drinks have the following ingredients: The truBrain drinks dosage is low in a few areas. Piracetam is colloquially used in doses of 2400 – 3600 mg, but probably requires more like 6 – 9 grams according to most research. As you can see, the truBrain drinks only have 1000 mg and then 800 mg of oxiracetam. While there are synergistic mechanisms going on between oxiracetam, piracetam, acetyl-L-carnitine, and CDP choline, the drinks could probably use a little more piracetam to get the true effects (assuming someone only drinks one per day).
There are merits of the truBrain formula despite the flaws. For one, the focus on the ingredients and adequate dosages is encouraging. Most evidence suggests caffeine and L-theanine should be combined in a 1:2 ratio for optimal focus and concentration (without the side effects). Magnesium is a major deficiency and notoriously incorrectly dosed. Magnesium glycinate is one of the best / most bioavailable options. N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) is one of the most valuable ways to optimize dopamine levels for focus and concentration (it is safer than mucuna pruriens in the long-run, but more effective than basic tyrosine). Another misconception we’d like to point out is the subjective “feeling” that comes with nootropics and specifically truBrain. Although we know the mental feeling of caffeine, which includes alertness, focus, and increased mood, not all nootropics provide this benefit. Much of the truBrain formulation is built around cholinergic compounds, which are purported to support learning ability, memory formation, and general cognition. If you buy truBrain and expect to feel like Adderall or modafinil, you are missing the point of the stack.