Over the last few years, more public attention has been given to so-called Nootropics, or in other words, non-prescription drugs and supplements designed to aid mental performance and improve mood and sleep. The democratisation of the markets and online sales distribution has made such Nootropics available to everyone at low cost. Thus, where once they were just a health supplement exclusive to top CEOs or well connected people, now any adult can buy high quality Nootropics over the internet for under $50.
I have been interested in Nootropics and their growing popularity for some time now. People are getting more interested in Nootropics for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it’s because some Nootropics can be a very powerful aid to mental performance – increasing focus, attention, memory recall and mental clarity. This is of particular interest to people who suffer from chronic fatigue, low attention spans or some other problem that affects their mental acuity. Secondly, Nootropics are also widely used by people who want to keep sharp and at pace with demanding lifestyles or put simply, just want to be smarter – as in remembering facts and words more promptly or being able to digest and assimilate information better due to higher concentration and focus.
One of the most powerful Nootropics on the markets today is Adrafinil. It is revered as giving full wakefulness, attention to detail and high mental focus without the jittery effect or crash effect of caffeine or amphetamines. Essentially Adrafinil is a ‘prodrug’ which means that it is metabolised in the body and converted into an active pharmacological agent – in this case Modafinil – a prescription drug which when bought at the counter can cost a hefty $450 for twenty capsules!! Hence the biggest practical value of this Nootropic is that it is as powerful as Modafinil but costs less than a tenth of the prescription drug. This probably explains why it is the most sought after Nootropic.
Adrafinil has been originally developed to increase wakefulness in narcoleptics but researchers found out that its effects have been more far reaching then their intended design. Most users of Adrafinil report a range of positive benefits on their mental performance, the most central of all being attention. This is a very important point because attention is the basis of all other cognitive functions – learning, focus, assimilation, memory and motivation. When we are bored, distracted, fatigued or mentally foggy we lack attention or our attention wanes after a while. All you need to do is observe students in a lecture room or during study. Some students will be focused on the information at hand and will be assimilating it while their attention is still present. However after a short while the attention diminishes and their minds will start wandering while their bodies get fidgety.
Here are a few excerpts from users reporting their experience using Adrafinil:
“I felt as though everything was more interesting, and required attention. Now, I could choose what to pay attention to, and what not, which is excellent.”
“I can only explain as’Full Attention to the Now’ “.
This last remark is very interesting as it points at another intrinsic problem of the human mind, quite often mentioned in spirituality literature – the notion of the monkey mind – or the inability of the mind to stay still in the present but rather moves between fragments of the past and projections of the future like a monkey jumping from branch to branch. According to Buddhist philosophy, this is one of the basic causes of suffering. Instead of being present in the ‘now’ – the only real moment in time, the mind disperses its attention to recollection of past events or anxiety about future happenings which have not yet materialised.
So in other words, the ability to give more attention to the present moment is a powerful goal that is traditionally achieved through meditation and other practices aimed at increasing concentration.
When the mind is more present and attentive to the present moment – or to be more specific – is focused on the task at hand, less energy is used in mental wanderings or distractions. Do not forget that mental operations are heavy consumers of energy. Because of this, it is probable that using Nootropics such as Adrafinil have also the affect of feeling less tired and with improved mood since by having more attention they are experiencing less fragmentation and thought scatter which are essentially energy hogs. This user report points at this fact: “Improved mood. I feel pretty good for most of the day on it and for about an hour of that I feel great. It feels like I took the best hour-long nap ever during this time.”
Adrafinil is a very powerful supplement and although it is a non-prescription drug, one should always be careful not to exceed the recommended dose limit of 400mg per day as this may elevate liver enzymes. It is best to take Adrafinil on an empty stomach and avoid taking it before bedtime as it would obviously inhibit sleep. The onset of the effects usually take place after an hour of consuming the supplement.