Ever heard of nootropics? You probably have. In today’s world, more and more people are beginning to rely on nootropics to increase their mental abilities and energy. Celebrities are not left out as some of them have openly admitted to using modafinil and other smart drugs.
There has been a subtle yet glaring change in the way people view the use of this class of meds. Previously, the administration of nootropics was secretive. However, today, it has become popularised, and a large number of famous figures such as Barack Obama and others are willing to admit to it.
What Are Smart Drugs or Nootropics?
Whether you’re shopping at a pharmacy or reading a newspaper, there’s a huge chance that you’ve come across nootropics or articles about them. But what exactly are they? In simple terms, nootropics (popularly known as smart drugs) are medications taken to enhance brain performance and cognitive function. Today, a lot of people are comfortable with the idea of popping a pill to improve their mental abilities. However, others still have concerns and questions about them. How do they work? Are they prescribed by a doctor?
At this stage, it is important to note that there are two major types of nootropics: prescription drugs and over-the-counter ones.
As the name implies, the prescription type is usually prescribed by a doctor or medical practitioner to cure specific medical conditions. In most cases, these kinds of nootropics are stimulants and, like any other type of prescription medications, should be taken with caution and according to the doctor’s instructions. Some examples of such drugs include modafinil (also known as Provigil), Adderall, and so on.
On the other hand, over-the-counter nootropics are less rigid and do not need a prescription. Experts have suggested that almost everyone takes some form of smart drug without even knowing it. This is because OTC nootropics are usually used in everyday life. Some examples of such meds include caffeine, L-theanine, omega-3 fatty acids, and so on.
So, if you were wondering if you’ve ever used any before, chances are you probably have.
A large number of celebrities have equally taken nootropics including modafinil to enhance their cognitive abilities. Wondering which famous figures fit into this category? Here are some of them.
Ray Kurzweil, Inventor and Futurist
Ray Kurzweil is a popular inventor known mainly for his technological inventions and predictions of technological change, which are relatively accurate. However, a few years ago (2016), Kurzweil was in the news for something other than technological inventions and predictions. He released a book, Transcend, in which he gave tips for longevity and a healthier life.
According to Kurzweil, he takes about 250 dietary supplements in a day, some of which include nootropics. These meds are aimed at improving his overall brain performance and cognitive function.
“Although my program may seem extreme, it is actually conservative – and optimal (based on my current knowledge). [My doctor] and I have extensively researched each of the several hundred therapies that I use for safety and efficacy. I stay away from ideas that are unproven or appear to be risky.” – Ray Kurzweil in The Singularity Is Near .
Some of the nootropics included in Ray Kurzweil daily dietary supplements comprise:
- Fish oil. It is a great supplement for enhancing neurological functions. However, it isn’t used as a sole enhancer. Rather, it serves as a foundation for building your nootropics stack. A large percentage of the human brain is made up of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFA). In the same vein, the most dominant ω-3 PUFAs in our brain are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and arachidonic acid (AA). What does this have to do with fish oil? It’s simple. Fish oil contains a huge amount of DHA and EPA, thus playing a hugely supportive role in neurological enhancement.
- Ginkgo biloba. Ever heard of a magical herb that could improve your memory and speed up learning? Ginkgo biloba is a plant that has loads of nootropic and neuroprotective effects. It contains flavonoid glycosides that help increase dopamine, acetylcholine, and noradrenaline levels. As such, this plant is a great solution for people who want to improve memory retention.
- L-theanine. If you’re a lover of green tea, you’ve definitely experienced the effects of L-theanine. It is a non-dietary amino acid found in green tea that helps increase alpha brain waves and promote attention and relaxation. It could also help lower your blood pressure and rejuvenate you.
- Melatonin. It helps regulate sleep and provide deep and restful slumber. It is a naturally occurring hormone. However, it is usually sold in capsules whose effects can be felt 30 minutes after ingestion.
Although Ray Kurzweil uses the aforementioned nootropics, he also recommends a few others such as phosphatidylcholine.
Joe Rogan, the Great Podcaster
For Joe Rogan, dietary supplements are a huge part of his daily life. In an interview with Bryan Callen , he says that he has been taking supplements for a large part of his adult life in order to boost athletic performance, cognitive functions, and overall well-being. He says,
“I believe absolutely whole-heartedly in supplements.”
Rogan takes a wide range of supplements daily, including nootropics. According to him, his journey to smart drugs began when he used the supplement, Nutrition53 Neuro1, a powdered drink mix. Ever since then, he got hooked and has used a large number of different nootropics. Here are some of the cognitive enhancers he takes currently:
- Four Sigmatic Lion’s Mane Elixir Mix. This is one of Joe Rogan’s favorite brands. As a matter of fact, it is a sponsor of the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. He learned about this supplement from a mushroom expert, and ever since then, he has incorporated it into this daily routine. Rogan takes this supplement in capsule form as it helps improve memory and concentration. However, it can also be used in other forms. For example, it can be added to coffee or tea during breakfast for people who aren’t comfortable with the idea of taking it in capsules.
- Nutrition53 Neuro1. As stated earlier, this supplement was Rogan’s first introduction to nootropics. This powdered drink mix was created by Bill Romanowski, a former NFL player who was having problems with his memory as a result of a concussion. Nutrition53 Neuro1 helps users concentrate and remember as well as focus on things. It also aids memory retention.
- Onnit Alpha BRAIN. If you’ve heard of Joe Rogan, you’ve probably heard of Alpha BRAIN as well since it is one supplement usually associated with this famous podcaster. Alpha BRAIN was created based on his suggestion and is available in both capsules and an instant drink mix. This nootropic supplement helps users focus. It equally promotes cognitive functions and memory. Joe Rogan has been using this supplement consistently for over 9 years and has never missed a day of use.
Joe Rogan is a consistent user of top-tier nootropics and has even mentioned some of them on his podcasts.
Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States
When it comes to the ex-president of the United States of America, there is no concrete evidence as to whether he used nootropics or not. However, there have been speculations that Barack Obama may have used some form of nootropics while in the White House. On his mandatory medical report, an undisclosed pharmaceutical drug was mentioned, which helped him deal with jet lag and fight off sleepiness while performing his duties. Although no one knows the exact drug in question, a lot of fingers have been pointed at modafinil (Provigil). According to the director of the Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston,
“If they’re going to give him something to wake him up, Provigil is the way to go.” 
Hillary Clinton, American Politician
Surprising, right? However, there have been rumors that Hillary Clinton may have used modafinil to combat the stress and pressure of the 2016 election. This speculation stems from the fact that Clinton’s personal doctor was asked to research the effects of Provigil in 2011.
Although these claims may be false or factual, it is a well-known fact that modafinil helps fight stress, anxiety, and fatigue. It also helps its users stay alert and focused.
Tim Ferriss, Author and Researcher
Tim Ferriss, the popular author, has experimented with different types and forms of nootropics over the years. Initially, he started out with the pharmaceutical forms of smart drugs. However, in recent years, Ferriss has decided to switch to more herbal ones that help in improving cognitive functions.
Wondering what Tim Ferriss’ favorite nootropics are? In 2016, he released a blog post/video  titled “My favorite smart drugs”, where he listed and recommended some of his favorite cognitive enhancers. Here are some of them:
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Yamabushitake). It is a popular solution for people who want to improve their mental abilities and prevent cognitive decline. Ferriss uses this nootropic in a relatively unconventional way. He combines it with Chaga and instant coffee. Although Ferriss is a huge fan of this type of smart drugs, he recommends starting with only half a dose, especially if you are sensitive to it.
- Yerba mate. This is tea gotten from a flowering tree found in South America. Although yerba mate is used for increasing alertness, there are claims that it also burns fat and reduces/suppresses one’s appetite. Tim Ferriss’ favorite brand of yerba mate is Cruz de Malta. He advises that people who choose to drink this tea should consume it properly.
- Creatine plus ubiquinol. For Tim Ferriss, this is the ultimate combination. He recommends this combo for people who have Alzheimer’s or other related diseases. This combination helps enhance performance and increase energy production.
While this list may seem exciting, Tim advises people to use nootropics properly and correctly.
Dave Asprey, Founder of Bulletproof
Like many others, Dave Asprey – the influential entrepreneur – is not left out from the nootropics train. According to him, he has spent over $300,000 on smart drugs within the last 15 years . However, he completely believes that they are worth it. Asprey occasionally uses modafinil in addition to some other nootropics. In fact, he is considered as a huge fan of the drug since he has written several articles about it. According to him,
“The stuff is amazing. I took it every day for 8 years. I started taking it as I had “brain fog” working at a startup that we sold for $600 million, so high performing. Your ability to focus goes way up, and you just feel more like yourself.”
Some other nootropics, which Asprey takes in addition to modafinil, include L-theanine, nicotine, and racetams.
It is important to note that Asprey equally uses several other cognitive enhancers that are not mentioned here.
Barry Bonds, American Professional Baseball Player
Many athletes rely on nootropics and other enhancement drugs to keep up with the demands of their career, and Barry Bonds may not be left out. There have been several speculations that Barry, one of America’s professional baseball players, may be using nootropics and asteroids to boost his performance. However, these claims have not been proven. In fact, Bonds denies taking any drugs, but the speculations that he uses modafinil to enhance his focus still remain.
Rick Rosner, Television Writer
Rick Rosner, the second smartest man in the world, has admitted to taking pills that can enhance his cognitive abilities and create a healthier, longer life for him. According to Rosner, he takes about 50 pills each day. Some of them are mere supplements, while others are nootropics. Some of the smart drugs Rosner takes are mainly over the counter such as coffee and Omega-3 fish oil capsules.
Kelli White, American Former Sprinter
Kelli White, one of America’s top sprinters, was caught using modafinil during the World Championship in 2003. As a result, she was banned from the competition and stripped of all her medals . The reason for the penalty lies in the fact that although modafinil can be used to treat several conditions, it helps enhance power and concentration, thereby giving an edge over other competitors.
Buy Smart Drugs Safely and OTC
From the list of famous people who use modafinil and other nootropics, it can be seen that these drugs have amazing effects on the brain, alertness, and cognitive functions. So, if they took nootropics, shouldn’t you give it a try?
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- The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Ray Kurzweil. Published: September 26, 2006.
- Joe Rogan Experience #1269 - Bryan Callen. Published: March 21, 2019. Youtube.com.
- My Favorite “Smart Drugs”. By Tim Ferriss. Retrieved: November 26, 2019. Tim.blog.
- This Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Has Spent $300,000 On 'Smart Drugs'. By Taylor Lorenz. Published: January 26, 2015. Businessinsider.com.
- Kelli White. Retrieved: November 26, 2019. Wikipedia.org.
- The White House Mystery Drug. By Barbara Kantrowitz. Updated: July 14, 2017. Thedailybeast.com.