Smart drugs: All-natural brain enhancers made by mother nature | Dave Asprey

Posted by

Since this is Big Think, let’s talk about
the things that help you think big. And you might think, oh, great, this is going
to be a Tony Robbins discussion. No. This is a discussion around nootropics, or
what’s known as smart drugs. I have been using smart drugs for more than
20 years, both the pharmaceutical side and the natural side, where you have lots of plant
compounds. I’ve even formulated some for my company,
where it puts together things — oh, look, there’s studies on rosemary. There’s studies for this extract of seaweed
— good studies that show that these are increasing your ability to get things in and out of your
memory, or making your brain work better. And it turns out Mother Nature apparently
wants us to be higher performance, because she makes a couple of really potent smart
drugs, and you might even have used one or both of them. The most commonly consumed cognitive enhancing
substance on the planet is coffee. Now, yeah, Bulletproof coffee — I probably
have a bias for saying that — nut no, seriously, 90% of people drink coffee, and caffeine is
a very well-studied performance enhancer, at least over the short period. You can’t drink coffee for three days straight
and expect to perform well at the end. But could we go deeper than that? And by the way, coffee itself, at this point,
I feel comfortable saying it’s an anti-aging substance, given the preponderance of studies. All of the big four killers and things like
that, they seem to get better. So you have a cognitive enhancer that looks
like it’s beneficial in many different aspects. I’m all-in on that one. But what about nicotine? Well, is that a cognitive enhancer? It turns out that nicotine actually, since
1988, has been studied and shown to be an anti-Alzheimer’s agent. What? I actually interviewed a guy — I call him
Dr. Nicotine — his name’s Andrew Newhouse — on Bulletproof Radio. And he’s the guy who wrote the first paper
in 1988 at Vanderbilt University, and has been studying nicotine ever since. Smoking is bad for you. Chewing tobacco is bad for you. Vaping is bad for you. However, a little bit — we’re talking micro-dosing
— of oral nicotine is a potent cognitive enhancer. You feel one milligram, which is about 5%
to 10% of a cigarette’s worth; you feel it a lot. And so I will tell you, Super Human was written
with the aid of both coffee and nicotine. However, the recommendations in Super Human
for nicotine are, you don’t want to be using a lot of nicotine, because a lot of nicotine
isn’t good for you. And smoking is never good for you. To say tobacco and nicotine are the same thing
is not a good idea. So I tell people, look, if you’re over 40,
one milligram a day might be a good idea, because it enhances mitochondrial function,
and because we don’t want to get Alzheimer’s as we age. And maybe over 50, you want two milligrams
a day, so just a little bit. But trust me. You’ll like that one milligram a day, because
it feels good. In fact, nicotine can improve typing speed
by up to 15% in healthy people. That’s a lot, especially if you’re writing
a book like Super Human. I typed faster. Not really. I dictated a lot of it. But what are some of the other things you
can do? One of my favorite drugs that I write about
is called aniracetam. And it is a pharmaceutical substance. It’s spelled A-N-I-R-A-C-E-T-A-M. It’s been around for about 50 years, and it
was pioneered in Russia. This is something that’s neuro-protective,
and it enhances the ability to get things in and out of your memory. They call it memory I/O. So when I’m sitting here, talking, saying,
what was the name of that study, how do you think I do that? Well, I did do the research. But I also use cognitive enhancers in order
to make my brain work better. Because you know what? It feels really good to have a brain that
works, especially as you age. And it’s entirely possible to do this just
from food. But there’s another level that you get when
your diet’s dialed in, when your sleep is dialed in. It’s OK to then add the plant-based, naturally
occurring cognitive enhancers. And if you still wanted more, look at the
pharmaceuticals that have a very high upside, and maybe no downside or very small downside,
and to decide if they’re part of the equation for you.


  1. Ladies & gents smart drugs work. This guy was a retard before he took them, look @ him now…..certified bull shit artist.

  2. I suddenly recalled a sketch in which a guy buys a very pricey "cure for stupidity". Took it, looked at a price tag again and yelled "God damnit!" then said "Wow!" and bought another one.

  3. Matcha tea (best green tea of any tea) so much better for this than coffee, but before any intake of best quality (on a steady basis) you need like 7 to 9 hour sleep on a daily basis.

  4. Why doesn't the U.S or other military use these substances? I know sometimes practice lags behind science but you said some of these are decades old in their research.

  5. Coffee not only helps me focus it also keeps me alive

    So I don’t know how much it actually helps me focus because I haven’t gone long enough without it to really know

  6. Lol This guy is such a joke! I’ve seen him get wrecked in so many debates by qualified practitioners and scientist. He’s just a sales gimmick.

  7. Talk about caffeine nicotine and THC, the holy trinity of natural metabolic and brain enhancing drugs. Possibly the driving forces behind the vast array of pharmacopeia that lead to enhanced performance productivity and creativity throughout human history? I'm way to high off cigarettes, coffee and weed this afternoon, I can't even see the words that are being written down on the 50 inch flatscreen 5 feet away from my face.

  8. Drinking coffee, infusing nicotine and THC. , CBD. and other related beneficial substances ( Mary Jane ). win win win, lol.

  9. I took brain enhancers for 7 years, and I have a totally trashed memory and changed my personality. Don't buy into hype. No one knows what these chemicals are doing in your heads. They might be setting you up for dementia. I know I am heading there and I am only 54 years old.

  10. I use nicotine gums for a long time now even though I never smoked. I didn't know it was mind enhancing but I always felt I can concentrate and learn better.

  11. Strange isn't? Coffee is a drug the same way Marijuana is…
    … but thru cultural development by accident one is illegal and the other is legal.
    Its just so hard to me to REALLY look to coffee as a Drug… but yeah, it is.
    Thats so crazy.

  12. ??Smert drugs ?? Dm•ass peephole

  13. Well this was a bit disappointing. Nothing novel. Didn't even present a holistic overview!…Here, I put something of one together for anyone interested in as much:

    Sufficient quality + quantity of:
    1) Sleep, 2) Exercise, 3) Food sources.
    Literally those 3, in their function, are the absolute baseline, 'minimum system requirements' so to speak, for you to perform optimally (physiologically and cognitively).

    Specifically with each, something like…
    1) 7.5-9hrs quality sleep.
    2) Varied, aerobically moderate-moderately high-intensity exercise (as well as some anaerobic). Excessive or even infrequent-yet-long periods of sedentary activity – negate this function. Meaning for example, if you perform hardcore exercise for 2hrs but otherwise throughout the day sit at a computer without standing up and moving your body around every hour or so, you're failing.
    3) (Preferably) non-processed, plant-based food sources (spanning all 3 macronutrients, including healthy fats like those found in cacao butters, nut butters and avocados, as well as complex carbohydrates), low in artificial and added sugars, high in all of the requisite micro-nutrients.

    Note that certain food sources and beverages contain naturally-occurring cognitive-enhancing compounds (e.g., blueberries, cacoa – high amounts of which is in various dark chocolates) or implicate such effects when consumed in a particular form (e.g., a glass or 2 of a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir for their high concentration of reservatol and other flavonoid content fused with the moderate level of alcohol).

    Then, yes, nootropic substances can supplement even better performance. Again though, the source and associated substances matter. E.g., with caffeine, green matcha tea or plain black coffee > red bull and virtually any marketed "energy drink". Similarly with ginseng, gingko biloba, bacopa, heck – even something like hericium erinaceus (aka lion's mane mushroom) – in the sense of product provider and supply chain reliability, the source matters. Anyone intent on simultaneously consuming multiple different extracts, compounds, substances whatever – needs to know that 1) this can be lethal depending on the concurrent complex reactions, and 2) not every brain has an identical neurochemical environment nor will it necessarily behave predictably per others based off of the same combination of certain consumed nootropic substances…Basically exercise extreme caution and deliberate research prior to deciding on anything you're unsure of (certainly before throwing together some random DIY nootropic stack lol).

    Btw, nootropics are sometimes so-called due to anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, etc.-type effects. Aka not cognitive-enhancement as much as cognitive-degradation prevention…As a 'best practice', I would argue that logically someone's approach should reflect sustainable methods aligned with optimal health, followed in priority by performance enhancement. Safeguard i.e. secure, then enhance.

  14. Why not invent a stimulant pill that combines caffeine & nicotine to enhance your memory and gives you more energy?

  15. The disclaimer at the end is important. Take care of the basics first. 7-9 hours of quality sleep should be priority number one. If you got this and you also eat well, move your body, get fresh air and sunlight every day, meditate, have meaningful relationships and a sense of purpose in your life, and took care/are taking care of any potential psychological problems, THEN should you consider nootropics of any kind. These drugs can be helpful, but they cannot make up for a poor lifestyle or fix deeper psychological problems that can also cause brain fog and concentration problems.

    That being said, I personally get absolutely no benefit from Aniracetam. It just makes me nauseous, even when mixed with a Choline source. Apparently, that can happen to people with naturally high Acetylcholine levels.

  16. DO NOT TAKE RACETAMS it is not natural and addictive. The best nootropic is acetyl-l-carnitine. It is a 100% natural amino acid and very powerful. You have to take it in the morning or you will be awake all night.

  17. Ah, getting things out of your memory. Many of our combat traumatize veterans would probably be very interested in a drug that has this ability Thanks..

  18. "Mother Nature wants us" to use the drugs that Dave sells?
    Seriously, Big Think? What is this bullshit?
    I liked to party as much as the next guy, and like most software developers I often boost with caffeine and other legal drugs (natural and otherwise), but there is no free lunch. This video is crap.

  19. I wouldn't be surprised if this Newhouse guy is sponsored by tobacco industry. Can't even be arsed to do the research and the study is in recruitment process…

  20. I don't believe in censorship, but I really wish people other than himself would stop promoting him on their platforms. All of his bulletproof and keto stuff is dangerous to the public. Obviously, it's on anyone who follows it, but it's ridiculous how much he's blown up for the nonsense that made him renowned.

    Now, the blue light blocking glasses, go for it! That's good advice! Caffeine on the other hand – and yes, Dave, there is a bias for your Bulletproof® Coffee – is a drug that can have more physiological cons than pros. What caffeine does is fill the spot in your brain where your adenosine receptors normally take in adenosine. What adenosine does is make you tired; it works in line with your circadian rhythm to make sure you're functioning properly so you can get restful sleep. The most beneficial rest hours of sleep are between 10 PM and 2 AM. Caffeine generally sticks around in the body for 6 hours, but everybody's bodies work differently (lifestyle differences). What caffeine essentially does is promote workaholism; you don't feel tired like your body is trying to tell you, and sleep deprivation is a thing of the past! But wait.. what's all of this about melatonin being the most beneficial antioxidant (that's also naturally occurring if we let it) for the body?

    When we drink caffeine past the 10 AM to 2 PM window, we're essentially negatively impacting our body's ability to produce melatonin in its natural way. You can take melatonin supplements, but anything over 300μ (micrograms, 1/3 of a milligram) is excreted, and even has been shown to be toxic in some cases. So yes, you can drink coffee, tea, take caffeine supplements (not advised), but do your research before mindlessly chugging a monster, drinking coffee late into the afternoon, or using caffeine to pull an all-nighter. Also, you'd be wise to skip the Bulletproof® bulls–t; your heart will thank you. Butter in coffee. Only in America. Or wherever this guy reaches.
    (Note: there's a TED talk on how store-bought coffee, no matter what 'quality' is basically dead and loses a lot of its health benefits within a week of being produced. It's traditionally meant to be consumed upon cooking the beans.)

    Nicotine is its own 'demon', I mean I can't say for sure because I've never tried oral supplementation as per his recommendations, but I am a former smoker. It would also be wise to skip nicotine inhalation of any kind, such as smoking, hookah, or vaping, but that's entirely your choice.
    It's pretty common knowledge that both caffeine and nicotine and anxiety-inducing. Caffeine will leave you unnerved into the late hours when your body should be winding down to rest. Nicotine will do the same if you smoke or vape, and I'm sure taking nicotine too late would be just as anxiety-inducing. Now, nicotine actually does naturally reside in a lot of plant foods. Nightshades like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc. all contain an amount of nicotine that would likely give you the same benefit as taking synthesized nicotine. Tobacco is a part of the nightshade family, but Native Americans used/continue to use tobacco properly in their ceremonies. Cigarettes were shown to be useful in the workplace, because it makes you anxious initially which helps you get a 'pep in your step', but there is a strange phenomena where excessive amounts of nicotine will make you groggy, tired, almost docile, and sometimes irritable. Sort of went off on some tangents there, but there's some things to look into if you're curious.

    I'm a firm believer that our Western culture has long been corrupted and damaged by big businesses such as the tobacco industry, coffee industry, corporate influence that leads to excessive consumerism, and modern animal agricultural practices, just to name a few. We as a society need to take a step back and realize how damaging all of these things are to our mental and physical health. We're not Bulletproof® like this man might have you believe.

  21. Been taking/eating lionsmane mushrooms for a while. Reishi is another that is good for the immune system (supposedly) and has anti cancer properties.

  22. Micro-dosing??? What if a tiny micro-dose of any drug delivers a full dose of the placebo effect? Scientists know to always be suspicious of simple cure-alls. Watch out for pseudo-science, especially with known psuedo-sciences like naturopathy.

  23. LOL those people who dont agree with what he has to say are brainwashed by their conventional GP docs. This is the future people. Get on the train or gtfo

  24. I remember back in the early 90's this duder was going door to door selling 'smart drink' mixes but old boy didn't know wtf nootropics were whatsoever. Maybe I creeped him out though at jump street starting off trying to suss out if he could hook me up with some vasopressin and all, lolz.

  25. Good studies. oh well then, it must be true. However, there are No links to those studies. Could it be this is just another person selling bogus herbal remedies? On Big Think? Gee, say it isn't so.

  26. LOL! He has been using smart drugs for so long but doesn't even remember the name of the guy he interviewed on that nicotine topic. He is Paul, not Andrew
    What a good example of the "effectiveness" of smart drugs

  27. If he sells us his nootropics or smart drugs as scientifically proven, where are the links on all the "preponderance of studies" he mentions all the time to prove his words?
    As far as I know, there is not a single drug scientifically proven to enhance cognitive abilities in healthy people.
    If anyone knows such studies, I'll be really grateful for the links

  28. so coffee and nicotine? how about ginkgo biloba, matcha tea and green tea? he didnt clarify if its the caffeine in the coffee causing the effect or if coffee beans have some special brain power.

  29. Caffeine restricts bloom flow in the brain, impedes sleep, for these reasons it is detrimental to brain health and long term cognitive well being.

  30. I will gladly try anything that has the potential to enhance my brains or my body. As long as it is safe and I have done the research, I could not care less if the substance is natural or not. Or legal or not. Transhumanism all the way. Now, dependency is something to be avoided. Although a big portion of the world population consume things like coffee daily and are addicted to it, but nobody seems to be. If you can afford something and it doesn't have negative effects on you, is dependency a bad thing either?

  31. No drugs used but, A plant based diet seems to be working for me. Kale, tofu, and water. Mix with exercise in the morning and you should be good. Avoid oils from fried foods.

  32. 'Mother Nature' also makes viruses, bacteria, hurricanes, tsunamis, poisonous mushrooms, spiders and ticks with lyme. 'Mother nature' doesn't care if seaweed has nootropic benefits.

  33. Please discover the universes next to our universe
    You can discover multiple universes through distant photons
    Because there is a wide difference between distant photons and those near photons
    Nearby photons are photons captured from cosmic background radiation
    So the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago
    We need to capture those distant photons because they are photons that go beyond the cosmic background
    Photons from far distances from cosmic background radiation 13.8 billion years ago
    These distant photons will be strong evidence of the existence of universes adjacent to our universe
    That is why a new satellite must be created to capture those distant photons
    A powerful device must be created to capture those photons that are beyond the cosmic background radiation photons
    You must look for a way to capture the photons of universes next to our universe
    Please communicate my letter to the space research team and technology scientists

  34. Technically, any stimulant that fires neurons is healthy for memory but it's the side effects that you have to watch out for. Like steroids, you can have quick growth but the consequences are stunted growth.

  35. Ok, fine. But how do you get an oral micro dose of nicotine?
    I’ve heard great things about LSD too, but how do you buy micro doses?

  36. Aniracetam, only the selected medium chain fatty acids, collagen enriched coffee and pro gamer shades just like mother nature intended.
    You're wondering how I could remember all of that? Better gobble up 5 Adderall next time you watch big think aka big brain.

  37. This guy isn't a doctor. He isn't qualified to be giving out this dangerous advice. He doesn't even recommend speaking to your doctor. This is irresponsible as all hell.

  38. "Mother nature wants us to be high performance"
    Meanwhile, mother nature: a majority of plants are not meant to be consumed by mankind and can kill them or cause great discomfort.
    Humans: forced to bend the will of mother nature and artificially grow and select crops for human consumption.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *