Chapter 9 – The New Edge (Brain Nutrients)

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Chapter 9 – The New Edge (Brain Nutrients) 2016-11-23T15:35:03+00:00

Smart Drugs – The Nootropic Controversy

Popping pills to ace exams?

Imagine that in the future, you will pop a “brain pill” in the morning along with your daily vitamins and orange juice. Then, you will go to school, or work, and have the benefits of double or triple your natural intelligence level. This scenario may not be far away, and scientists are already experimenting with substances that affect the intelligence level of humans. These products, called nootropics – from the greek words that mean “acting on the mind.” – are a spinoff from research that was done primarily on drugs to alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. Nootropic compounds – smart drugs – are part of a subcultural movement known as the New Edge. With roots in science-fiction literature such as Neuromancer by William Gibson, the New Edge is an attempt at true cybernetics: The fusing of the human organism with the machine.

The original source of the New Edge movement (and the Rave culture) was the CyberPunk, the latest trendy social rebel, anarchist, and revolutionary all rolled into one, spawned and forged from the marriage of far-future science-fiction and the computer movement. However, the New Edge itself now encompasses many more people from more walks of life and, as OMNI tells us, its sympathizers – not synthesizers – “…run the gamut from computer nerds and cyberpunks to AIDS activists and life extension enthusiasts.” With regards to smart drugs (only a component part of the whole movement), the cybernetic theme is obvious: Increasing organic intelligence through the use of artificial – man-made – products. In this case, nootropic pharmaceuticals.

The demand for products that increase intelligence has been overwhelming in the past few years. Jerry Stahl, the author of an article on smart drugs, puts it succinctly: “The Nineties are about survival. And to survive, you have to be smart.”

[1] He gives an overview of the budding “Brain Gain” movement: Smart drugs… is the term for a vast new breed of cerebral aids. Some are high-powered pharmaceuticals; others are vitamins and nutrients…

They all aim to empower a populace as hell-bent on boosting brainpower as it once was on pumping iron. Say goodbye to rippling muscles, say hello to a souped-up cerebellum. It’s enough to make Nancy Reagan just say yes.[2]

Unfortunately for people interested on getting a piece of the action, the scientific verdict for all of this is not yet in. Divergent views make the smart drug movement a very controversial issue, and justly so: Drugs that can make you smart, might in fact make you sick. The lack of solid scientific proof that intelligence levels of normal, healthy humans can be boosted by ingestion of nootropic compounds is a testimony to the risks involved when experimenting with nootropics.

Flying in the face of medical opinion, proponents of nootropics swear by personal experience. “I’ll never quit taking Hydergine,” says Mark Rennie who is not only a lawyer but also a partner in Smart Products in San Francisco.[3] Tony (no last name), the bar-tender at a Smart Bar – establishments that serve beverages and other products that contain nootropics, so-called “Smart Drinks” – says that smart drugs “…help to improve short-term memory and concentration. They do work. I take them all the time.”[4]

What exactly are smart drugs and what do they do to you?

The rationale behind why nootropics work is this: They increase the speed at which your brain processes information, and therefore make you “smarter.” In the analogy of the computer, it is like installing a faster microprocessor. John Morgenthaler, co-author with Ward Dean of the “bible” of nootropics Smart Drugs & Nutrients, says it is “…not a software installation; it’s better, faster, more powerful hardware.” In other words, your brain is not working better because you learned a memory technique – such as that described in chatper two – but has been accelerated and improved biochemically. Physically. Another book, Mind Food & Smart Pills, by Ross and Taffy Pelton, says that nootropics:

  • Increase the level of neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Improve brain cell metabolism
  • Optimize the action of certain enzymes
  • Increase the supply of oxygen to brain cells
  • Dissolve and remove cellular garbage deposits from cells
  • Improve the level of electrical activity in the brain

These, then, are the general benefits that may be achieved through the use of “cerebroactive compounds,” or smart drugs. Let us examine each point in more detail. I will attempt to keep the technical jargon and concepts to a minimum for simplicity’s sake.

Firstly, we have an increase in the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that the body uses to transmit information between neurons – or the wiring in your body. For example, to transmit a command from the brain to a finger, neurons throughout your body pass messages to and from each other via neurotransmitters. The rationale behind increasing the amount of neurotransmitters in the body (and thus the brain) is that more of these chemicals will be available for neurons to “fire” (send messages) and thus the overall speed of neural communication will be increased. When your brain “thinks” it also fires neurons within itself, much like a microprocessor’s circuitry has electrical charges surging throughout its structure.

Improvement of brain cell metabolism means that the individual cells in the brain are able to process their biochemical activities more efficiently. Every cell is a basic unit of life, and by helping them do their job better, the overall result should be improved cognitive performance.

Optimization of certain enzymes in the brain will likewise accelerate chemical reactions that lead to faster brain response time. Enzymes are biological catalysts, or substances that speed up chemical reactions.

Increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain is probably the easiest to understand. The human body requires oxygen for all of its functions. By increasing the amount of oxygen available to the brain, the nootropics attempt to raise this ceiling on the upper levels of brain performance. The reasoning is that chemical and neural activity cannot be accelerated unless more oxygen is available for their successful metabolism.

Enhanced removal of cellular “garbage” from the brain cells helps again to minimize the bottlenecks in neural activity. If waste residues “block” the cells’ activities, then the higher performance of the brain is obstructed. Finally, by elevation of electrical activity in the brain, nootropics should, in essence, give the brain more power or energy, to operate.

The above lines of reasoning towards improved cognitive functions are logical, and sound feasible. Indeed, it is surprising that anyone would fail to grasp the obvious significance of these advantages. However, the major caveat to nootropic theory is that these drugs are not approved and not tested for such uses. It would be an easy decision to make, if they were harmless. People would simply try them out, and if they worked, then they would continue the regime of ingesting them, otherwise they would stop.

Unfortunately, the situation is not so cut and dried. Although certain smart drugs have been demonstrated to be relatively safe in even large amounts on a short term basis, there is no solid scientific proof that there are no long-term ill effects. In other words, even though people don’t immediately suffer from nausea or neural damage, there is no evidence to suggest that long term damage does not occur. In fact, damage that might occur may be so invisible to cursory examination, that it is overlooked or ignored in the zest towards higher mental function. Granted, the lure of super-intelligence is a large temptation indeed, but the real horror is the possibility of lowering of intelligence (or damaging the body) through the use of these products. Like a multiple-choice exam where there is a penalty for wrong answers, it is not a strategically wise choice to guess haphazardly.

To Be Or Not To Be – The Nootropic Dilemma

Just say… maybe?!

Perhaps the anguish of the decision to take nootropics is relieved by government action. The Food and Drug Administration – the FDA – in the United States has put a ban on many of the known nootropics. Most of the substances are not available in the USA, but smart drug advocates make use of a loophole in federal law that permit individuals to order or import a small amount of drugs from other countries.[5] However, this importation is actively discouraged by the FDA to the extent that shipments are simply returned to their countries of origin. This “nootropic censorship” has sparked a huge controversy, with white-hot issues of individual rights versus public safety. Proponents of both sides of the argument stand fast, and refuse to budge, each with evermore compelling arguments. Neutral observers hedging their bets find themselves drawn first to one side, then the other. The situation seems hopeless.

However, I have found an optimum method of balancing the benefits and risks related to nootropic compounds. The entire category of smart products can be classified, somewhat arbitrarily, into two groups: Harder Smart Drugs, and Softer Smart Nutrients. The smart drugs – SDs for short – are usually unavailable in North America. However, the smart nutrients – SNs – are available easily over the counter at health stores. Many SNs are, in fact, familiar products such as ginseng, with a few esoteric compounds such as ginko biloba, and gotu kola. I have found that SNs are both approved by the government, and usually “proven” safe through the use by millions of people over the centuries. Ginseng is the obvious example. The Chinese have been taking it for a long, long time, and the only side effects reported have been beneficial ones. We will leave discussion of the “harder” SDs until later in this chapter. For the moment, I wish to draw your attention to the safer and more convenient smart nutrients.

NOTE: Our examination of these compounds – both SDs and SNs – will be concise. I will present only the major substances and just enough information to describe their usage and benefits. For indepth coverage, please refer to the sources indicated at the end of this chapter, and Appendix B.

Smart Nutrients – The Mighty Vitamins

A more natural way towards higher brain power

The most readily available of all smart nutrients are the vitamins. Of these substances, the one most familiar to everyone is probably Vitamin C. This chemical, known also as ascorbic acid, has a myriad of uses. In fact, it is probably one of, if not the most, remarkable substances you can take. Vitamin C speeds healing of wounds, reduces the duration and severity of some types of infection, helps protect against cardiovascular disease, is a very potent detoxifier, reduces anxiety, promotes restful sleep, and in addition to many other benefits it also enhances mental function.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. That means, it cannot be stored in the body, unlike the fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are expelled from the body easily, through normal bodily cycles. Therefore, it is necessary that people have a constant daily intake of this vitamin. (Another water-soluble vitamin is Vitamin B.)

Because Vitamin C is so easily lost from the body – and in fact its effects only last for about six hours after ingestion – the vitamin must be replenished in the body regularly, at specific times during the day. Popular belief is that a daily vitamin pill (containing, among other things, Vitamin C) in the morning suffices. In fact, the amounts of vitamins present in these multi-vitamin pills are so minute, that for the most part, the pill is ineffective when it comes to the specific substances that improve mental function and overall health. The reason why multi-vitamins have such miniscule amounts of these vitamins is that the RDA (recommended daily allowance) stipulates such small amounts. In fact, there has been some controversy in general medical circles – unrelated to the nootropic movement – that the RDA levels are too low for good health, and should be raised. In any case, we are not concerned with these general guidelines and commonly set levels of vitamin intake. The benefits of nootropic enhancement are realised only at higher-than-normal levels of SN intake.

To return to Vitamin C, the required amount for mental enhancement (in addition to general health improvement) is from 1000 mg to 3000 mg daily. It is advisable to gradually increase your consumption of the vitamin over a period of several days in order to find your bowel tolerence. This is the level of intake at which you feel soft stools (slight diarrhea) and is exactly a little above the optimum level you should take. This bowel tolerence level varies among individuals. You should experiment to find yours.

Taking this increased amount of Vitamin C should benefit you with sharper mental function, and general wellness. One important point to note is that once you go on this programme of high-level Vitamin C intake, you must not suddenly stop. Your body manufactures larger amounts of certain enzymes when you are on a high-level Vitamin C regime, to make better use of the extra Vitamin C now available. If you suddenly drop the supplementation level, your body experiences a rebound effect, and your immunity level will drop sharply, and you will suddenly be very susceptible to colds and infections. If you must stop, then do so by gradually reducing your intake levels over a period of two weeks. A tip from me concerning the timing of Vitamin C intake is that you can purchase timed-release versions of this, and other nutrients. Usually, the caplets release their vitamins over a period of 12 hours. Therefore, you need only take them in the morning, and before retiring at night, and your body will be constantly replenished with Vitamin C throughout the day.

Another vitamin you may be interested in is Vitamin B. In fact, there are many sub-divisions of this category of vitamin, from B-1 to B-12. It would take too long to describe all the benefits associated with every type of Vitamin B. Suffice to say that this vitamin helps with the regeneration and maintenance of nerve cells, and is critical in proper cellular metabolism. The suggested daily dosage is about 1000 mg of a caplet with a Vitamin B-Complex formulation. Both of the above vitamins are of the water-soluble variety. They are easily lost from the body. On the other hand, we have the fat-soluble vitamins. These are stored by the body in fatty tissues, and are therefore easier to retain. However, there is a danger associated with experimentation with fat-soluble vitamins: You can overdose on them.

The danger is checked by the fact that even though it is theoretically possible to overdose on fat-soluble vitamins, the reality is that it hardly ever happens. Harder as it is to lose these vitamins compared to the water-solubles, lose them your body will, on a daily basis. Following directions on the containers of these vitamins will guarantee safety. Nootropic levels generally do not exceed these recommended levels when it comes to fat-soluble vitamins. (Perhaps it is proper to mention here that there is a fat-soluble form of Vitamin C, called Ascorbyl Palmitate, but since it is virtually impossible to overdose on Vitamin C – only – there is really no need to be alarmed.)

One of the more important fat-soluble vitamins is Vitamin E. It offers excellent protection for your tissues and brain cells against the ravages of free radicals – substances that damage body cells. Vitamin E also retards cellular aging, in addition to many other benefits. The nootropic level of intake is from 400 IU to 800 IU daily. (Vitamin E is measured in International Units, and not in Milligrams.)

The final vitamin that I want to present to you is Vitamin A. It is also available in the form of Beta Carotene. Both these substances offer cellular protection and have anti-aging properties. Your body converts Beta Carotene into Vitamin A, and therefore it is more efficient to take Beta Carotene instead of Vitamin A. Besides, Beta Carotene is harmless even at high concentrations in your body. Vitamin A can be toxic if overdosed. The nootropic level of Beta Carotene is from 10,000 IU to 35,000 IU daily. To gauge the optimum level of Beta Carotene intake, lower the amounts when you observe a yellow-orange discolouration of your palms and soles of your feet. This effect is called kerotenosis and is harmless, and will disappear when Beta Carotene levels are decreased.

We have covered four of the vitamins involved in nootropic enhancement. There is much literature on these, and other vitamins. Please refer to the sources in Appendix B for further information.We now turn to the topic of smart nutrients in the form of herbs.

Ginko Biloba – The Invincible Tree

The magic tree from ancient China

The most famous nootropic herbal product is ginko biloba. Usually it is available as the extract, in pill or liquid form, of the leaves of the ginko biloba tree. The leaves themselves were widely used in Chinese history as a herbal medicine. Its nootropic properties have been heralded throughout the world. Ginko biloba trees are the most primitive trees on this planet today. They have been dated to 300 million years ago. Each ginko biloba tree may live a thousand years or more. The traditional Chinese use for ginko biloba is as a brain tonic. Nowadays, over a million prescriptions are dispensed daily in Europe by doctors, to stimulate circulation in the body (and the brain).

Ginko biloba acts to produce several effects: It is a vasodilator, increasing circulation in the body; it prevents free-radical cellular damage; it prevents cellular damage due to low levels of oxygen (hypoxia); it enhances the brain’s ability to metabolize glucose (the main “fuel” in the body); it increases nerve transmission; it helps repair lesions in cellular membranes caused by free-radicals. These are but some of the many other properties of ginko biloba. The bottom line is, it fits many of the criteria for a safe and effective nootropic compound. It is perhaps the best and most effective nootropic compound available, at least for now.

All these benefits do not come easily. Ginko biloba is quite expensive. An average bottle with 60 tablets (almost a month’s supply) goes for $30. There are other formulations that cost less, but the most effective type is one with 24% concentration of bioflavonoids – the “active ingredients” in the plant – at a 50:1 production ratio – meaning fifty units of ginko biloba were used to make one unit of final product. There are other products with lower concentrations and lower production ratios, but they are not worth your while. Ginko biloba is also available in liquid form, as a sublingual – a liquid that is primarily absorbed through the soft membranes of your mouth, going directly into your bloodstream. Sublinguals are supposed to be more effective because of their direct path to the bloodstream, but I have yet to come across one that tastes good. Most sublinguals need quite a bit of getting used to, and I find that sometimes I skip my daily dosage when using sublinguals. Therefore, I recommend a high-quality pill form instead. The daily dosage of ginko biloba is 3 tablets a day, taken in the morning, noon, and night (for a total of about 160 mg daily). If you cannot afford that regime, the absolute minimum is one tablet daily, but a compromise can be reached at two tablets per day.

The effects of ginko biloba are not immediate. On average, you may begin to experience stimulated circulation in several days, and a sharper sense of mind in about a week. My personal experience has been very fruitful with ginko biloba. I used to suffer from cold hands and feet during the winter months, especially during sports such as skiing, because of poor circulation. The problems disappear when I start taking ginko biloba. Combined with other nootropics, ginko biloba is a powerful health and mind enhancer.

Gotu Kola – The Supercharger

Fuel-injected power for the brain

In my opinion, the second-most important smart nutrient is gotu kola. This herbal extract is not discussed at all in Smart Drugs & Nutrients, and is only briefly mentioned in Mind Food & Smart Pills. However, I have found that gotu kola is the only natural nootropic compound out there that gives almost immediate results.

After taking gotu kola, immediate effects can include a “hot” but not uncomfortable “energizing” of the brain. When I take gotu kola, during a period of high mental demand, the substance acts to “clear” any mental blocks because of overload, or mental fatigue. It is a refresher, and energizer. I have recommended gotu kola to many people and almost all of them report increased mental activity. Their dreams on even the first night after taking gotu kola appear to be more vivid and intense. Of course, these effects are highly subjective, and individual results vary from person to person. In India, where its properties have been well-explored, gotu kola has been used for a very long time, as a folk remedy and tonic. In the rest of the world, gotu kola is very popular in both Asia and Europe.

Gotu kola is available in several forms, but the best I have found is a liquid extract by Herbs, Etc. The liquid is added to a drink – for example a hot cup of herbal tea. There is no set daily intake level for gotu kola. I use it whenever I need to. However, for long term benefits, it is perhaps desirable to ingest at least one dosage of gotu kola per day (e.g., one cup of herbal tea with gotu kola added).

Note that I have recommended a herbal tea preparation. Do not use normal tea, for it contains caffeine. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not a good stimulator for mental functioning. In fact, it – and other harmful stimulants such as nicotine – can have intelligence-reducing effects.[6] One of the key benefits of nootropics is a minimization of the confusion and anxiety experienced during memory recall. Caffeine and nicotine act to increase this anxiety and confusion, and create what is commonly referred to as tip-of-the-tongue phenomena. Stimulants such as these also inhibit restful sleep – interrupting your deeper delta and theta cycles – and therefore make you feel not as rested as you might have otherwise been. It also takes a long time before your body completely rids itself of these stimulants – it can take up to 24 hours for complete elimination. In addition, these harmful substances deplete your levels of beneficial chemicals such as Vitamin C, as your body deploys the anti-oxidants to protect your cells from the damaging effects of caffeine and nicotine. Therefore, during tasks that require higher mental function, refrain from coffee, tea, and cigarettes. Even the so-called “decaffeinated” products contain a small but very potent amount of caffeine. Substitute these products for natural and healthy choices such as herbal tea. There are enough varieties of herbal tea to satisfy even the fastidious connoisseur, or struggling student.

Chlorella – Solar Energy for the Mind

The little micro-organism that could

Finally, we arrive at the powerful chlorella. This magnificent product has not been covered at all by the two “bibles” of nootropic substances. There may be two reasons for this. First of all, chlorella is a relatively unknown substance in North America until recently. It has, however, gained considerable attention in the Far East, especially in Japan where it is exported to the rest of the world. The second reason for its relative obscurity in nootropic literature is that it does not really appear to be a nootropic in the sense that it acts on the mind, per se. Chlorella is an overall health enhancer, and yet nootropic enthusiasts tend to overlook it simply because it does not act solely to increase mental function.

Chlorella is not an herb. In fact, chlorella is an organism. It is a single-celled, fresh-water alga, the oldest and most primitive organism on this planet. Chlorella is approximately two-billion years old! Scientists have speculated that it serves as the bottom, the very foundation, of the food chain. For every “step” you move up the food chain, you lose some 95% of food energy. That means eating meat from an animal provides far less energy than eating plants (provided you can digest and absorb the plants). Since chlorella is at such a low-level in the food chain, imagine the tremendous amounts of energy it contains!

Chlorella is not spirulina. Some people mistakenly assume that they are one and the same. Spirulina is a valuable addition to a programme of health, but chlorella is a wholly different substance. It was discovered in 1890 by the Dutch microbiologist M.W. Beijernick. Until recently, chlorella has been virtually useless for humans, because we cannot digest it. The cell walls of chlorella are extremely strong. That is the reason why chlorella has survived to this day. It is very well protected. However, a Japanese company called YSK perfected a process to reduce the inpenetrability of the chlorella cell. By “grinding” down the cell walls, they have transformed chlorella into a form highly digestible for humans. Through their efforts, our species now has access to the most remarkable food substance on this planet.

Literature on the effects of chlorella have been relatively difficult to obtain by the general public. However, I will list several of its key benefits:

  • Powerful Antioxidant.
  • Super-concentrated energy source.
  • Accelerates removal of poisons and wastes from the body.
  • Supercharges cellular growth and regeneration via CGF.
  • Retards aging
  • Contains high amounts of important vitamins and minerals.
  • Boosts immunity

Chlorella has been hailed as a miracle food. The super-concentrations of energy it provides to the body elevate all metabolic functions and enhances cellular activity. It provides a vast source of energy for your body to do its work, whether repairing cells, healing wounds, recovering from disease, or general daily operation. In the paradigm of the cyborg, chlorella is indeed an auxiliary power source.

Chlorella also contains CGF – Chlorella Growth Factor. This is a substance that accelerates biological growth. Studies have been done that show CGF effectuates the proper growth of children with developmental defects. CGF also plays a key role in speeding up cellular repair. The bottom line is, chlorella is the most miraculous substance ever made available to people. The Japanese use it consistently and frequently. It is even available as a topping for ice-cream in Tokyo.

Again, these powerful benefits come with a price. Chlorella is available in many forms, but the only really effective product is that made by YSK International Corporation. YSK’s exclusive production process – the Dyno-Mill process – is patented and their product – Sun Chlorella-A – is available in both a power and a tablet form. I recommend the tablet form, for convenience. Those are available in packages of 300 tablets each (about $30), or in a box containing 1500 tablets (five packages per box, about $150). You can even get a box that contains one package, of 300 tablets, but that is a waste of money and packaging.

The reason why there are so many tablets per package is that chlorella pills are extremely small. In fact, they are small and fragile. Each tablet is easily crushed. Handle the packages carefully. The daily dosage of chlorella required depends on the person’s state of health. Although the YSK package instructions indicate up to 15 tablets per day, this is too small a dosage to have significant effects. There is literature on chlorella that recommend enormous amounts, levels at which it would be impratical to maintain given the high cost of chlorella. My recommendation is a total of 30 tablets per day, taken in three divided dosages. That comes to about $3 per day using a 300-tablet package, at $30 per package. On the other hand, if you are feeling unwell or need the extra energy, increase the dosage to 50 tablets or even 80 tablets per day.

One important point to take note of regarding chlorella is that you must gradually increase your dosage over a period of time. Initial experiences with chlorella may include stomach upsets and gas while your body adjusts to the absorption of this new substance. A gradual introduction into your diet will minimize these effects, and allow you to reap the rewards of this miracle food. A couple of years ago, I was very sick, but had to go on a “forest marathon” with a friend. We had signed up the previous year for the event, and neither of us wanted to cancel it. So I began taking up to 90 tablets per day of chlorella (30 tablets per dosage) along with high levels of Vitamin C and B-Complex (among other things). I was able to make it through the marathon (which involved carrying a very heavy backpack, and travelling some 30 kilometers in six hours, up and down hills, around marshes, through forests, and sleeping overnight in a tent) and enjoy the event. We did not win the event, but I doubt I would have been able to even make it to the finish line without the assistance of chlorella.

For a good booklet about chlorella, please refer to:

Lee & Rosenbaum. Chlorella. Keats Publishing, Inc. Connecticut. 1987

For more information about Sun Chlorella-A, please contact:

YSK Interational Corporation at (800) 537-0077

Other Smart Nutrients – Honorary Mentions

Presenting a few of the other fellas

In this section, I will list several other important SNs. They are not as important as the ones we have already covered, but nevertheless deserve our attention. Dosage recommendations are based on my personal opinion. Check the additional sources listed in Appendix B for more information.

Lecithin: Lecithin contains choline, a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Lecithin itself is also a component of the myelin sheath – the protective covering of neurons to prevent cross-talk, or interference. Dosage is one 1200 mg tablet per day. Your body will convert lecithin into choline. Panthothenic Acid (vitamin B-5): This vitamin should be taken along with lecithin. Panthothenic acid is required for the successful metabolism of choline into acetylcholine. Dosage is 250 mg daily, taken with lecithin.

Ginseng: The ginseng root is so famous that perhaps it is not necessary for me to go into great depth about it. Indeed, the myriad of benefits of ginseng would require several volumes of books to document! This remarkable plant has been used throughout the centuries in Asia, particularly by the Chinese. Ginseng was not meant to be taken on a daily basis, and there are many different varieties of ginseng. You would do best to consult expert sources on the proper use of this plant. For the time being, follow directions given on the packaging of ginseng products you obtain from health food stores.

Pure Energy (by Montana Big Sky): This is a commercial preparation of a variety of substances. Pure Energy contains bee pollen, gotu kola, Siberian ginseng, and royal jelly. Although I do not recommend using Pure Energy as a substitute for direct sources of gotu kola and ginseng, this product has its own benefits as a source of increased energy and vitality. The concentrations of the ingredients have been carefully balanced to maximize synergy. It is available in capsule form at most health food stores, and is relatively inexpensive. Recommended dosage is 6 tablets per day, 2 tablets each in three divided dosages.


Montana Pollen & Herbs, Inc. Box 1, Hwy. 93 N., Arlee, Montana 59821. (406) 726-3214

SN Biochemical Effects Revisited

Don’t try this at home kids (maybe)

Let me mention once more that the benefits of synergy work with SNs just like it works with everything else. By paying attention to a variety of powerful enhancers, such as chlorella and ginko biloba, you are maximizing your body’s potential to rid itself of toxins, prevent damage from occuring, and operate at peak levels of performance.

The effects of the nutrients covered in the preceding sections have been well document, and I use them every day with confidence and peace of mind. I cannot say the same thing for the smart drugs that we now turn to. However, I do not mean to imply that smart nutrients – including, but not limited to the substances covered above – are absolutely safe. All nutrients contain amino acids, and their introduction into a normal human body may be interfering with the natural equilibrium of these substances:

[A study conducted for the FDA released in August of 1992 was] prompted by the recent deaths of 28 people who had taken the amino-acid supplement L-tryptophan, now banned for sale in the U.S. The actual cause of the deaths has not yet been determined, although some experts suspect a toxic impurity.

Amino-acid supplements are widely sold in health food stores as powders or capsules. They’re toted not only as smart drugs but also for such purposes as building strength and muscle mass…

Like all nutritional supplements, amino acids are classified as foods rather than drugs, so they’re not subjected to the same rigorous safety testing that drugs undergo.7

Although I have mentioned that it is my opinion that the benefits of nootropic compounds may be available in the form of smart nutrients (as opposed to smart drugs) I cannot guarantee safety for each and every person that experiments with them. Individuals with unique health constitutions or disorders may experience wholly different effects from other people. Again, I remind the reader that it is not recommended that a person experiment with any drugs, especially with unapproved substances. I say that honestly, and sincerely. If you must experiment, you are better off trusting the thousand-year old evidence of effectiveness and safety on a particular smart nutrient, rather than the results of a few of years of inconclusive experimentation done with smart drugs.