Nootropics Certainly CAN Cause Brain Fog
This is not in any way an anti-nootropic post. It’s actually a pro-nootropic post, but more, a pro-identifying your best case quantity post.
Minding your nootropic quantities, and understanding what amount, down to the 10MG spectrum, is best for your brain, is imperative while taking or experimenting with nootropics.
Too much of a particular chemical? Boom. Brain fog. Too much of a neurotransmitter precursor? Boom, unwanted side effects. And on and on and on down to one of the most widely used nootropics on the planet, caffeine. Try to remember that time when you had entirely too much caffeine in a day, and you felt nothing short of awful because of it. Remember that? Remember how that felt?
You effectively OD’d on caffeine that day. You had too much of that chemical in your body, and circulating through your brain. It may have caused stress, or a lack of creativity, or an angst. It might have fussed with your sleep, or meditation, or workout. You took too much. And that will cause issues in anyone’s body.
I believe firmly that with Nootropics, less is more. I’ve taken so many different types of nootropics in excess quantity, while trying to find the right dose for me, and invariably, I run into a negative side effect when there’s too much of a compound floating around in my system. Aniracetam is quite the wonder nootropic, but too much of it gives me a very distinct type of brain fog that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies. Well, maybe some of them 🙂 .
But this is the case for so many other nootropics. And when taking certain nootropics in excess quantities, or even with other nootropics that cancel the first nootropic out, or cause some sort of negative reaction in your brain, fog is a very common outcome.
The first culprits were going to talk about here are the cholinergics. When taken in excess, certain cholinergics can cause super negative responses. The most common forms of acetylcholine precursors that tend to do this to people are the super bioavailable ones. You rarely hear about people getting brain fog from taking Choline Bitartrate, a less bioavailable version of Choline, that really doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier without a choline transporter.
But you hear it with Alpha GPC and CDP Choline all of the time. And frankly, I think in general, people are taking far too much of these compounds than they really need. I always suggest starting extremely low (in the 50-100MG quantity) first, with the bioavailable acetylcholine precursors, to see where you’re really at with them, and how much your body can tolerate. In fact, that’s exactly what I do. And that comes from specific experience, which I’d like to share with you, as well as experience from other people I know, that take nootropics.
CDP Choline, Alpha GPC, and Brain Fog
CDP Choline is a remarkable substance. It’s in our first generation stack of Cortex Nootropic. When taken in the right quantity, CDP Choline is like a wonder drug. It’s one of the most potent nootropics there is, registering a near 99% efficacy and absorption in the body. It’s “near absolute,” as stated on Examine.com.
But something so potent, and so bioavailable, should be handled with extreme caution and granularity. One needs to mind their quantities of intake to such a specific level, so that they know exactly what they’re taking in, and how it’s going to effect them. And this really should be within the 10MG range. Here’s why I think that, telling you through my experience.
I’ve taken a multitude of different stacks everyday over the course of the last year. That’s because I was building Cortex Generation 1. And I remember in a few specific incidences, having about 20MG too much of CDP Choline in the stack. I mean picture this:
- 300MG Shankhpushpi
- 200MG N Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
- 100MG Artichoke Extract
- 40MG DMAE
- 80MG CDP Choline
An interesting stack right? Might be interesting right? Yes. It definitely was. But the quantities, for my brain and body, were wrong. And I couldn’t figure out why. After removing the DMAE, realizing that for me, DMAE typically just makes me feel crappy (unless I have a good Choline source with it – because I DO NOT believe DMAE is simply a precursor to Ach – it’s much more complex than that), I felt a lot better, but not quite great. Then – I took the CDP from 80MG to 50MG, and BOOM, I felt pretty damn interesting. Now, that stack isn’t perfect, and still should be tweaked, nutrients added, taken away, what have you, but that 30MG reduction in CDP Choline changed the stack significantly in a way that took me from brain fog, into brain clarity.
I let a friend of mine sample a beta version of an early iteration of Cortex Gen 1, which had CDP Choline in it, and the same thing happened: The CDP Choline, in the quantity it was in, gave him brain fog. How do I know? We stripped about 15MG of the ingredient out of it, gave it back to him to sample, and it was smooth sailing from there.
The same is true with Alpha GPC as well. I use to think the stuff was useless, like I believe a ton of other people have concluded (incorrectly though, because all that was needed was a quantity change). The posts in forums about Alpha GPC making people tired and depressed are rampant. And there’s one common variable in a lot of them: They’re taking entirely too much of it.
Guys, sometimes 200MG is way too much. Sometimes 100MG is way too much. I’m gonna make this statement about the GPC’s and the CDP’s of the world: You really need to start at 50MG and work your way up from there. That in lots of cases something like a mere 65MG is perfect for a great balanced nootropic effect that will guess what? Last all day.
Mind blowing right? Under 100MG of a nootropic, and you not only get a better effect, but it lasts longer? You got it. And that’s the case with GPC and CDP for a lot of people. Maybe not you, maybe you, but for a lot of people.
And I think this needs to be considered for other nootropics. There are way too many reddit forums where people are discounting particular nootropics when if you look at exactly what they took, it was excess quantities.
How You Want to Approach Nootropics
How you generally want to approach nootropics is: You already have a good baseline of neurological functionality, from eating, sleeping, and exercising right. You want to be conscious of your body’s blood sugar functionality, and tweak your food intake, and other lifestyle choices, in a manner that is consistent with good blood glucose levels. And then, on top of that already greatly functioning brain, you want to ice the cake with the facilitation of improved brain performance from that baseline.
In many cases, that means taking very little of the nootropics in question. Taking a super small dose. A dose that’s just enough to be effective, but not enough to cause side effects or brain fog.
Here’s a post about Piracetam causing brain fog, where someone in the comments section proposes taking a lower dose, because higher doses give them brain fog. Here’s another one, where one of the commenters specifically cites 20-50MG of the CDP’s and Alpha GPC’s as being the most effective dose.
The point is, you generally want to take nootropics in a way that gets you optimally above baseline in all of your mental functionalities. You do not want to try to get “high” or “amped” from a nootropic by consuming insanely high quantities of particular chemicals. Normally, that’s not sustainable, and will land you in side effect land. Now – are there exceptions to that rule? Certainly. After a really shitty night’s sleep, a larger dose of a particular nootropic MIGHT be helpful for you, particularly because your brain has failed to replenish certain neurotransmitters that would (under normal level conditions) help you focus, have good memory, and overall brain performance.
But generally, nootropics cause brain fog when taken in excess. They can throw off the brain’s homeostatic mechanisms, effect your blood sugar, and fuss with the regulation of neurotransmitters.
Smart drugs and nootropics are incredibly beneficial, and I think, should be used by a vast majority of the population for brain optimization and neurological disease prevention. But when using substances that effect the brain directly, one needs to proceed with a little bit of precision to engineer the perfect brain state.
Sources and Referential Data
- Piracetam Causes Severe Brain Fog, Even With choline – Brainmeta.com forum
- Opposite Effects of Piracetam – Brain Fog? – Reddit Nootropics Forum
- The Blood Brain Barrier – Bottleneck in Drug Development – Pubmed
- Be Careful When Using Alpha GPC – Reddit Nootropics Forum
- CDP Choline – Examine.com