Targeting Nerve Growth Factor with Nootropics
I am fully convinced that nerve growth factor is one of the most important things to target, in the realm of nootropics. Whether directly taking NFG, or fostering its stimulation, it seems clear the benefits are real.
Let me just set the preface for what we’re going to talk about here:
- The woman who discovered and took public, nerve growth factor (Rita Levi-Montalcini).
- Using Rita as an example of the power of nerve growth factor for cognitive function in the later years.
- How finding/discovering new ways to stimulate nerve growth factor should be top of mind for nootropics users.
- How Cortex labs is building a stack that will seek to stimulate/foster nerve growth factor.
- How we should just continue discussing NGF within the nootropics community.
Discovering Nerve Growth Factor
In 1952, Italian nobel laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini isolated a chemical compound called Nerve Growth Factor, through her research in cancer tumors. In the 1980’s, she won a nobel peace prize because of her discovery, and thereafter, administered the compound via eye drops (to cross the blood brain barrier) for the rest of her life.
Perhaps the most impressive element of this situation is how this woman stayed in pristine cognitive form for the rest of her life. No sign of Alzheimer’s, no sign of cognitive decline, and to the contrary, an overt demonstration of great brain performance as Rita aged.
Watching some of her discussions on the web, when she was in her 90’s, is perhaps the most illuminating of all. I mean.. this woman is in excellent mental form at a very old age. Sure, the notion that nerve growth factor contributing to this is correlation, but let’s just look at this logically.
She took the substance for 30 or so years. She took it everyday. In her late 90’s, she was giving speeches and doing interviews talking about complex neuroscience. Who else do you know that does that? Who else lives that long in pristine cognitive form?
Who else does so, while having taken a chemical that stimulates neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons) and brain function?
Did we dissect her brain when she died? Not that I know of. But it’s not far fetched to assume her use of a compound that profoundly stimulates nerve cell growth was responsible for her amazing cognitive performance in her later years (and her long life). I really want folks to watch this video (same video as above link), and pay attention to how this woman’s eyes are moving.
Analyze her facial expressions. And listen to the degree of granularity she’s expressing while talking about complex cell function and neurobiology.
She’s a fuck*** super computer. And it’s amazing.
Using Rita as an inspiration to target NFG
I have a strong sense about this whole thing. I think her work needs to be applied to the nootropics community, to target NGF functioning in the brain.
I believe that, in looking at the wide spectrum of nootropics/smart drugs, that NGF is the ultimate nootropic, and that as a community, we should work together to try to find new ways (and further develop known assertions) to stimulate/foster nerve growth factor functioning in the brain.
As a company (Cortex Labs), we will work toward this end. We’ll do so initially by building a nootropic stack that targets nerve growth factor, whether by directly increasing it, or stimulating the production/usage of it.
But what might be equally or more important is finding new ways to achieve those goals. The question to ask is: what don’t we know about stimulating nerve growth factor?
What new ways to stimulate growth factors haven’t we discovered yet?
It’s a discussion I think we (as a community of experimenters/biohackers) need to have.
Where to go next
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, affectionately known as ALCAR, seems to be one route to target (by stimulating/increasing) nerve growth factor in humans. There is a study that demonstrates that in aged rats, ALCAR administration does exactly this.
But – ALCAR also donates to the process of acetylcholine production, which is great for some people, not great for others, and can contribute to side effects via chronically increased acetylcholine in the brain.
Cholinergics that increase acetylcholine are powerful nootropics, but cycling is necessary with this (and many other) neurotransmitter, and I feel like we’ve got to figure out how to regulate the cholinergic system while taking ALCAR if we want to take it for NGF related reasons.
Braintropic, a popular nootropics website, asserts that Ashtiba can contribute to increasing nerve growth factor. I cannot find any mechanistic proof of this, so it’s not clear exactly how this happens, if it does. But this is definitely something to explore. It’s on my list to get into it, and study it a bit more.
But ultimately, in the video below, and in this post, I’m trying to really push the conversation of targeting NGF for better brain function. I’m a firm believer these days in nootropic compounds that aren’t necessarily stimulatory, but do produce noticeable functional benefits. I think targeting that kind of outcome, as it relates to NGF, is a worthwhile goal.
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