My Favorite “Smart Drugs”

54 Comments

I’m often asked which “smart drugs” I use to improve mental performance and productivity.

I’ve tried everything imaginable, whether over-the-counter, prescription, or otherwise. For 90% of the options, the short-term benefits are not worth the long-term side-effects.

This video describes a few options that I’ve found to be sustainable and reliably effective.  Note that I will still “cycle” off of these at least one week out of every eight weeks.

Enjoy!

Posted on: September 6, 2016.

The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on iTunes, and it was selected for iTunes' "Best of 2015." Each episode deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. If you want to 10x your productivity, click here.

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54 comments on “My Favorite “Smart Drugs”

  1. Love the video Tim, particularly the details about yerba mate and how you prefer consuming it. I am curious if you have looked into the yerba mate and cancer studies and if that affects your consumption at all.

    Like

    • Amen! I used to drink Mate all the time when I had to give up coffee. However my nutritionist then told me about the cancer links. Would love to get back on it for the caffeine boost but wonder about the long term effects. Would love your insights Tim given that you’re very vigilant about preventing cancer.

      Like

  2. Tim thanks so much for the video. I’ll be looking in to everything here. I’ve been on the Ketogenic diet for a few weeks and am AMAZED at how different and better I feel cognitively. I used to have large spikes and drops in energy and mood that are seemingly non-existent on the ketogenic diet. It’s a lifesaver. I do have one problem though. I can’t seem to get very high concentrations of ketones. I always measure at the moderate level. The one time I did get high measurements was after ingesting ALOT of MCT oil (so much so that I spent the day in the little boys room). With this is mind is it most likely not enough fat consumption? Too much protein (trying to build Muscle as well)? Or lastly, could it be intensity of workouts not high enough to deplete glycogen levels (they’re more yoga and gymnastics based right now rebuilding mobility)? Thanks so much for what you do and how you present it; you’re an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Tim,

    I have tried 4stigma lions main coffee/tea products and it doesnt seem to have any impact on my cognitive function whatsoever and on top of that I seem to get a little feverish when I take that drink. While I would assume the drug effects different ppl differently I wouldnt think that it could totally have zero impact on a person if others are claiming its so powerful. Just wanted to know your thoughts on it and possible issues that could cause the drug to have no impact. Thanks.

    Like

    • I’ve had a similar experience with what is touted to be one of the more potent nootropics, phenylpiracetam. It does not effect me at all even at higher than recommended doses. I think there are two things at play. One is the reality that with many drugs there are non-responders. The other is the possibility that the placebo effect plays a huge role in perceiving any effect. I have also tried yerba mate and perceive no effects, although I enjoy it as a ritual and like the taste. Caffeine does’t touch me either, in spite of what my genetics say. Maybe some people are sensitive to subtle effects, but for me I’m not convinced anything is happening unless the difference is night and day.

      Like

    • I bought the Lions Mane and Chaga coffee and had the exact same experience…. nothing, nada, zero effect. How can this be the experience with a product guaranteed to “light you up like a Christmas tree”??? Hopefully, the discount code “TIM” that exists on the website for this product does not indicate cash kickbacks to the promoter of this video tainted his recommendation….. 😦

      Like

    • Hi,

      Thank you for the feedback and sorry to hear that you didn’t like this product. We are happy to issue a full refund. Just contact us at support@foursigmatic.com, include your order number and refer to this conversation.

      We acknowledge that not every product is for everyone, but it’s still a bummer you didn’t feel the benefits. Some people are more sensitive to the benefits and feel it immediately, whereas others take several weeks to feel them. This can also depend on the person’s daily caffeine consumption. Those who normally consume hundreds of milligrams of caffeine per day, may not have the kick immediately from the Mushroom Coffee.

      It’s good to understand that this is a real food what we’re talking about and not Modafinil/Provigil or Amphetamine/Adderall type of a smart drug.

      We still hope that you will keep exploring different types of medicinal mushrooms, since there’s so much more to discover than just a cup of Mushroom Coffee. If you need any guidance, you can watch educational videos on Mushroom Academy (www.foursigmatic.com/academy) or just contact us directly at support@foursigmatic.com.

      Fungally yours,
      Tero, Founder of Four Sigmatic

      Like

  4. Hey Tim!
    Awesome video. Im just curious about those long term effects you talk about at the start of the video. I know for example that you have endorsed Onnit products in the past. I use Alpha Brain on a semi-regular basis.. What’s your current opinion on Onnit products? And are you aware of any long term effects?
    Thanks again for the great content, as always!

    Like

  5. The foursigmatic mushroom coffee is very nice! I discovered it from Tim. I like it best as a cold water espresso style ‘shot’. Similar to coffee type stimulant for me not the ‘on fire’ experience that Tim is getting but he seems to be very sensitive to coffees/teas – the bedtime tea hitting him like qualudes et cetera. But yeah nice clean focused energy

    Like

  6. Really interesting, Tim, thank you for sharing !

    I approuve the idea that for 90% of the options, the short-term benefits are not worth the long-term side-effects (other option, sometimes: this is crap and there is no real short-term benefit… nor any effect).

    It is worth noting that it is mandatory to “cycle off” at least one week (I bet two should be better) out of every eight weeks… This is true for nootropics like for any other supplement.

    Like

  7. Thanks for the video! I also use Cruz de Malta because it’s not super strong and still has a great flavour. From Jesper I’ve tried red and green tea and I liked them. Btw, great pronunciation of “bombilla” in argentinian way!😉

    Like

  8. All great recommendations. The thing I am most curious about is the ketones. Is there any point or benefit to taking ketones when not in ketosis or wanting to be in ketosis?

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  9. Tim, have you tried guayusa tea!?? Related to yerba but tannin-free for a much smoother taste. It contains caffeine to energize but is also high in substances like L-theanine that calm the nervous system at the same time. Even though it contains caffeine, I actually have guayusa when I have the coffee-induced jitters/anxiety and it completely calms down my system. It is my go-to “smart drug” and performance fuel for distance running; it gives an energy similar to mushroom coffee…. sustained, smooth and without the jitters. Check out RUNA! Cheers!

    Like

  10. Hey Tim, have you tried intranasal insulin? It’s been shown to improve mood, memory, and brain energy levels without affecting blood glucose or insulin levels. It’s taking over the nootropics world right now! [Moderator: link removed]

    Like

  11. Many thanks for this,recognize some of it from the Dom interview. You might also want to look at The Better Brain book by neurologist David Perlmutter for baselining and preventing/improving age-related nutrient deficiencies/cognitive degradation–including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Come to think of it, he might make a good podcast guest…

    Like

  12. How do I get my hands on 1 3-butanediol & NaK BHB salts?? I would really love to set my brain on fire with this stuff. SHOW NOTES TIMMY!! Thanks brother.

    Like

  13. Hi Tim,

    I am curious if you believe that any of the benefits you receive from consuming items like this are related to the placebo effect, and if you have ever tried to sort that out with any of these particular substances?

    Love your work.

    Peace

    Like

  14. Thank you.This further simplified some of the information presented in the podcasts you did with Dom D’Agostino. I never understood the difference between the Ketocana and Keto Force. This made it so clear. So much appreciated!

    Like

  15. Ketones – yes. And like all the great trues the opposite is also true. Studies show that brain function can be improved by eating small doses of sugar to fuel intense brain function. There is an SAT Prepatory company that suggest students take Lemonhead candy with them to the test. Eating one piece (~1 gram of sugar) every 20 minutes improves SAT scores. There was research in Japan in which students were given a series of typing tests. During the tests different aromas were added to room air. With a lemon aroma the error rate was significantly reduced.

    Like

  16. Hello Tim,

    I just passed a 3 1/2 hour exam plus with a verbzl exam to boot today.

    I was always the type of guy who would “chase cars” and get off the tracks. Not good at all.

    As listener for a year now, I looked at you suggestions of smart drugs to give me a good lively boot in the arse.

    I purchased 4sigmatic lion’s mane mushroom coffee snd sank some money for a small pack.

    Man, you weren’t kidding when you said you were on fire. I was very pleased with the results. Instead of a loose canon, I am a 50. Cal sniper rifle. Amazing stuff.

    I wanted to thank you for making real recommendations because I got coned often with promises of results and I hated myself for not getting ahead. Today, I completed my exams and kicked the ba-jesus out of it.

    No really, thank you.

    Like

  17. Thank you for sharing. I just bought the lion’s mane mushroom coffee with the code. I do want to light up like Christmas tree some days. I am very sensitive to caffeine too. But I need something quick at 5.30am that is strong enough to activate me but won’t kill my iron levels. It looks like this coffee will do the job. I hope so. Half of the week I drink my home made iced peach oolong tea or citrus green tea with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning. I make it the night before. It is ready to go in the morning. Then if I still want coffee at noon, I cheat myself with instant decaf.

    I typed Ibukonol in google search and it gave me ubiquinol.😛 If anyone thinking about taking them, they say “it is important to take them with a fatty meal or in a formula that contains fats”

    You did such a great job with Molly. Some dogs look miserable doing tricks, but Molly loves doing them. She is like “Come on! Show me the treat, I will do tricks for you. I swear!” What a sweetheart.
    Best x

    Like

    • Tim – thanks for the great video! Can you add the list of your favorite smart drug under your video (with doses / links if possible).

      Thanks!

      Like

  18. Having difficulty locating all the smart drugs mentioned do you have this video in written form so I can get correct spelling of smart drugs …or does someone have the list? Thanks

    Like

  19. thanks for this Tim. okay fair enough you want to enhance your performance sometimes. I am just concerned by the concept of squeezing extra mileage out of the brain by using chemicals, like hyperclocking the CPU in our computer, and the fact they you say everyone always ask you how to do the same. The quick fix is the road to peril
    you write:
    ‘for most of them the short term benefits are not worth the long term side effects’
    this implies a kind of split or dissonance – as if one hand there are benefits, but long term, there is harm, implying short term everything is okay.
    What about short term harm?
    Harm can be caused in all kinds of ways, just from one dose of something. Just because you can’t see it, or can’t notice it, and just because science doesn’t recognise or detect something, doesn’t mean harm is not occurring. There is SO much more than the physical level of existence, and so much that our awareness has not expanded to include. Short term use of certain drugs can really really stuff you up and you’d have no idea, in fact you’d say everything is fine. we are a a complex blend of energies comprising our conciousness. The experiences in our life are a manifestation of the energies inside us. They are quantifiable and can be depleted. A relationship/creativity/work/health/money problem in the present time can be the result of many life energy destroying decisions in the past, that may not seem to have anything to do with the present crisis.
    Newtons and Descartes time is over, dead ,done. We need to wake up and realise we are more than just a physical layer in a physical world, cause effect, cause effect. Bones, skin, neurons, kilojoules.
    if you didn’t stuff your self with sugar once a week or have ice cream eating competitions, it’s quite possibly the lyme disease wouldn’t have taken a grip on you. Just because you can ‘recover’ from one day of binge eating, a recovery that is according to your levels of self awareness, doesn’t mean you are not setting yourself up for really serious long term damage – just from that one occasion.
    You are writing from the country that approved aspartame/nutrasweet and it’s modern versions like Acesulfame K – widely considered to be the most toxic substances ever consumed en masse in the name of food,by humans in the history of the human race. And getting reliable information about how toxic it is is not straightforward because of all the propoganda about how safe it is – plenty of people still swear it’s fine. So, how on earth can we feel comfortable with going anywhere near all these newly introduced substances, fringe nootropics, who can say they have any validity or safety margin at all? Okay, fine I appreciate you are not recommending them either (And you have written elsewhere about this including in the bonus section for the four hour body)
    Thing is, if you cheat – you still have to pay. ‘Robbing peter to pay paul’ Our bodies are not machines, And that short term elevation or hyper drive can chew up a great deal of life energy and creativity and other life forces that could be shaping a higher quality future.

    Like

    • interesting points. Well said. It’s worth commenting overall, that your countries FDA is the only thing that stands between you and consuming poison. That, and your awareness, that is. But this is the FDA that allowed genetically modified foods and substances to infiltrate the entire food chain. This is the same FDA that allowed aspartame to saturate the food supply. this the FDA that prevents adequate labelling and information advising people whether or not they are consuming GM substances or aspartame, and how absolutely dangerous and diabolical they are.
      The FDA is utterly corrupt and spiritually bankrupt.
      So, while you consume your synthetic ketone or other smart drug, how do you know it’s not giving you brain damage? Or setting you up for
      parkinsons, or MS or chronic fatigue or suicidal depression or bone cancer or…something else. It doesn’t have to take 2 years of regular dosing get serious side effects. The seeds can be planted fairly quickly.
      Just because it feels good, just because you ‘believe’ you don’t have any side effects. Doesn’t mean shit. It’s like saying, just because you don’t ‘feel” hungover after a big night, means you don’t have any alcohol in your blood. As said above, you can’t cheat. You can’t create miracles out of thin air and hyper crank your brain without adverse effects. No more than you can survive on 2 hours sleep night after night. You might ”think” you feel fine, and feel productive. But eventually you have to pay, and pay hard.
      Stay away from this stuff ( and as an unrelated side note, respectfully, be wary about trusting Tim anytime he wholly endorses anything Tim has a financial interest in.)

      Like

  20. Tim, when I take things like Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee or even regular caffeinated coffee, I don’t really feel much. No change in energy or focus. Could that be a sign of anything such as an issue with processing certain nutrients or something going on with digestion or does it just not affect certain people? I feel like there are other foods that have the same less-than-average effect on me and it just has me wondering if there could be something going on. So I’d love to get your thoughts! Thank you.

    Like

    • Hi,

      Thank you for the feedback and sorry to hear that you didn’t like this product. We are happy to issue a full refund. Just contact us at support@foursigmatic.com, include your order number and refer to this conversation.

      We acknowledge that not every product is for everyone, but it’s still a bummer you didn’t feel the benefits. Some people are more sensitive to the benefits and feel it immediately, whereas others take several weeks to feel them. This can also depend on the person’s daily caffeine consumption. Those who normally consume hundreds of milligrams of caffeine per day, may not have the kick immediately from the Mushroom Coffee.

      It’s good to understand that this is a real food what we’re talking about and not Modafinil/Provigil or Amphetamine/Adderall type of a smart drug.

      We still hope that you will keep exploring different types of medicinal mushrooms, since there’s so much more to discover than just a cup of Mushroom Coffee. If you need any guidance, you can watch educational videos on Mushroom Academy (www.foursigmatic.com/academy) or just contact us directly at support@foursigmatic.com.

      Fungally yours,
      Tero, Founder of Four Sigmatic

      Like

  21. Some people asked for a written list of the products.

    Here are my very sloppy notes, please feel free to comment or correct…

    Creatine plus ubiquinol
    Esp if alzheimer in family

    Lions mane inchaga plus instant coffee
    Start with half a dose, lights you like a christmas tree
    Also tea which is decaf

    Yerba mate
    Cruz de malta brand inexpensive

    How you consume sth is very impt

    So for yerba mate best is traditional way
    Gord packed full of leaves
    Use bombilla and sip tiny amounts within a few hours

    Exogenous ketones

    Ketocana
    Tastes like lemonade
    Palatable

    Ketoforce
    Very alkaline
    Add lemon juice to counteract that
    Ok taste and strong effects

    Gluco strip in device for blood test
    Ketone strip as well
    I didn’t understand any of this… Anybody did??

    Ketogenic diet
    Keto whatever also good if not on a ketosis diet

    Like

  22. What are your thoughts on the lyme bugs using fats to create biofilms and burry themselves deeper? I can’t seem to find much information on this but have come across some articles linking to this occurring.

    Like