My Journey into the world of Cognitive-Enhancing Nootropics

My name is Adam. I’ve worked as a senior software engineer at Google, Amazon, and am now studying the applications of Neuroscience with Artificial Intelligence.

In 2016, I was in Silicon Valley having lunch with a close friend of mine whose net worth surpasses $500m. We were chatting over lunch at Morton’s Steakhouse on Park Dr. when he brought up the topic of cognitive enhancing nootropics. Being from Google and Amazon the word nootropic was nothing new, however I had never tried one myself.

My friend (Whom I’ll refer to as Jason) began asking whether or not I had ever taken Nootropics. I answered, no. With a smile on his face he reached into his bag and pulled out a white bottle with a white/blue label. He placed the bottle on the table and said, “give these a go for a month”. I picked it up and read the label — “Smart”. I laughed and looked at him. “You’ve got to be kidding me”. Sceptical , I sat there determining whether or not I should actually take this “Smart Drug”.

Jason began to explain that he had been taking these Nootropics for the past 3 months and that his level of productivity had increased dramatically. Now, for a little context. Jason is a workaholic and will do pretty much anything he can to improve his ability to work longer hours and more effectively — Hence why his net worth is so high.

What was I getting myself into…

I was interested. Jason started ranting about how another friend of his had given him a number of bottles as a birthday gift and swore by it. I decided, what the hell, I’ll try it out. I opened the bottle full of blue/white pills and popped 2 of them in my mouth. We continued discussing other work related topics and finished up our meals. As I was paying for the bill I told Jason that I didn’t feel a difference. He slid the bottle over to me and said, “take the entire bottle over the next month and then let me know how you feel”. What was I getting myself into.

My Nootropic Experience.

The next day I woke up at 6am excited to dive deep into my work. I had been working with a friend of mine on an Artificial Intelligence application capable of detecting human expressions and emotions. That morning I took my 2 blue/white pills and continued on with my day running tests on the AI. I spent my lunch at home researching Nootropics since my discussion with Jason had really piqued my interested on the topic.

I decided to go all out and buy everything I felt was worth trying. There was so much information, yet at this point I was still skeptical. For your curiosity, here’s what I purchased.

  1. Onnit Alpha-Brain
  2. Ciltep®
  3. Nootrobox Rise
  4. BulletProof Coffee
  5. Optimind
  6. Nootrostax Smart (This is what Jason had given me)

2 weeks later everything had arrived. At this point I had been taking Smart for the past 16 or so days and was feeling incredible. My ability to focus and clarity of thought was immense.

I decided that to really understand Nootropics and to see which one worked best I would need to try them all. Since I had been taking Smart for nearly 2 weeks, and had felt what I would call substantial changes, I concluded that I would test each product out for a period of 2 weeks.

The Best Nootropics

I’ve ranked the products on a scale of 1 to 6 based on various factors. 1 being my favourite and 6 being my least favourite.

6) Optimind

The first day after taking Optimind I woke up feeling very groggy, and in a terrible mood. This continued on for about 3 days but I was determined to finished the full 2 week cycle. On day 4 I got a stomach ache within about 30 minutes of taking the pills which only lasted about an hour. Later that afternoon I was back to feeling normal. Day 5 of Optimind was the same story. I decided to do a bit more research into what others were saying to see if others were experience the same results. According to reports, Optimind has the tendency to reduce certain nutrients in your body which include calcium, magnesium, and possibly even blood glucose. After reading this and due to an unpleasant 5 days I decided to discontinue taking Optimind altogether as it was not playing well with my body.


  • None that I experienced.


  • Woke up feeling groggy nearly every morning.
  • Reports show it has the tendency to reduce certain nutrients in your body including calcium, magnesium, and blood glucose.
  • Cheap ingredients.

5) Onnit Alpha Brain

Alpha-Brain was an interesting product. After 2 weeks I hadn’t felt much of anything except for a minor increase in energy. I did find myself weirdly having the desire to eat less. After taking Alpha Brain in the morning I found myself not wanting to eat anything until the late afternoon. I don’t believe Alpha Brain is designed to be a food suppressant but in my case that’s what it ended up doing.


  • Possible food suppressant?
  • Slight increase in energy.


  • None, except for I felt it didn’t do what it’s advertised to do.

4) BulletProof Coffee

BulletProof Coffee is a company founded by Dave Asprey. They aren’t your typical Nootropics company but have an interesting approach to the whole world of Nootropics. I ordered their Coffee, the French Kick Dark to be precise. It was fantastic! Extremely strong coffee, with a huge kick — no pun intended. There isn’t much to say besides the fact that the coffee provides some serious energy. I found the taste to be very strong but that’s how I like my coffee.

Disclaimer: After taking BulletProof Coffee I wouldn’t really consider it a Nootropic but in a sense it is and is worth mentioning. I’ve actually switched from my normal routine coffee to taking BulletProof since giving it a go.


  • Fantastic Flavour
  • Provides a great amount of energy.


  • None

3) Nootrobox Rise

Being from Silicon Valley, I had heard a lot of hype surrounding Nootrobox and was initially very excited to try it out. The packaging is quite impressive but the overall Nootropic experience was lacking in my opinion. The product had limited “Nootropic” ingredients and mostly just contained your standard Vitamins and Minerals. Nice product but I feel should fall under the category of a high priced Vitamin mixture.


  • Nice Packaging


  • Limited Nootropic ingredients.
  • Very expensive for what’s actually in the product.

2) Ciltep®

Ciltep® was pretty amazing. It took about a week before I really felt anything but when things started to kick in it was noticeable. My favourite aspects of Ciltep® is the longevity of its effects. When I took Ciltep® I would find myself being able to stay attentive to task for longer than normal periods of time. I was generally more focused than normal and would find myself immersed for hours in projects. Ciltep® is definitely a Nootropic I will look into again in the future.


  • Great Nootropic Effects.
  • Increased Focus and Attentiveness.


  • Expensive.

1) Nootrostax Smart

Funny enough, this is where my journey into Nootropics started and this is where my journey ended. When I first met Jason the Nootropic he gave me was Nootrostax Smart. Just like Ciltep®, Smart took about a week of religiously taking it before I started to notice significant differences. However, once I did it just kept getting better.

Taking 2 capsules of Nootrostax Smart opened a whole new world of focus and learning. Prior to taking Smart, I don’t know how many days went by where I would just feel burnt out and exhausted. I would feel like my brain couldn’t absorb anymore information. Smart changed that.


  • Strong Nootropic effects.
  • Increased Focus and Attentiveness.
  • Compound effect.
  • High quality ingredients.


  • None.
Nootrostax Smart (60 capsules)

I’ve since gone and ordered a years supply and will keep you updated on my long term findings of Nootrostax Smart!

A Growing Trend

Smart drugs have played a substantial role in increasing the ability to learn and the rate at which one can process information. Let’s be real, taking a pill is not going to bestow the answers of the universe upon you. However, certain smart drugs can, when taken correctly, increase your ability to focus for long periods of time, process large amounts of information, and increase the ability to remember and recall information.

We in Silicon Valley thrive on change and the ability to disrupt. Nootropics have developed a cult like following here where so many of us are looking to “optimize” nearly every single part of our lives. It’s become an obsession — whether it’s healthy obsession or not, I’ll leave that up to you.