If you’re new to nootropics (sad trombone for the bad pun), check out this primer for some background.
I learned about Alpha Brain from the Joe Rogan podcast earlier this summer as they were beta-testing it, and was instantly curious. I’ve always been willing to try interesting drugs (much to the chagrin of my parents, but that’s for another blog) ever since the DARE officer came into class with that magic box of goodies and explained each pill and powder with its own special power to change the way you experienced reality. Now that I’m older, and a daddy, my ‘experimenting’ is limited to liquor, which, quite frankly, has been fully researched. Hypotheses tested, you can call me for a dissertation on the Theory of Drunkenness. When I heard about Alpha Brain, I wondered why I never got around to trying drugs that would actually help my brain (other than psychedelics), and thought it would be fun to test-drive some possible brain enhancers.
The AC-11 DNA repair claim has my bullshit alarms at full rip; the sources are solid and the science looks good, but I’m still skeptical about the whole thing. That is, until the first night I try them.
I get about 5-6 hours of sleep per night, due to working a short but poorly-timed night shift and getting up whenever my 18-month old son does. I’ve been experiencing many different cognitive issues; memory ‘fuzziness’, inability to concentrate, problem-solving difficulties, difficulty falling asleep/sleeping deeply. Coffee was exacerbating the problem by keeping me from napping in the afternoon.
My first dose of AlphaBrain was 2 pills. I didn’t notice anything the first day, but that night, I came home feeling better than I usually do, not so depleted, but I also ate really well that day and took my every-other-day regimen of B’s and D’s, so I just wrote it off to that. The next morning, however, I had to review that assessment.
I fell asleep almost instantly, despite not feeling like I would, slept deeply, dreamed vividly and woke rested, for the first time in a very long time. I did the same dose the second day, and noticed a higher level of mental acuity. I play correspondence chess on my phone throughout the day, and I can usually see about two moves out (three at the most) without using the ‘analyze’ sub-screen; this time I saw five full moves out in an instant, just looking at the board.
The price is a bit steep, but compared to my coffee intake, it averages pretty closely. It was $35 US for the small bottle, which came out to about a dollar per pill. Not bad if one was a full dose, but I find two really does the trick with noticeable results. I’d like to eat two in the morning and one in the evening, but the other issue is that the initial offering was so quietly anticipated that they blew through their first (and second) production runs within a week or two, leaving them unable to fill new orders until the new supply was tested and ready to ship. The customer service Aubrey gives is awesome, with email updates and discounts for patience while they refilled their stock. This has caused me to limit my intake to an ‘as-needed’ basis – one or two a day and none on the weekends, so I can stretch it until the new orders start filling.
As a test I took one right before I went to sleep last night, after not taking any for over a week. Got to bed around 3 AM. Nothing noticeable until I was woken at 7:45 for a bathroom trip. My son was still out, so I went back to bed, and fell back into deep sleep almost instantly (which NEVER happens) and had the craziest, most vivid dreams until about 9:30, when I woke up feeling pretty rested and ready for the day. (Also, inspired by the dream to write this post).
I don’t know how much the placebo effect is contributing to the feeling of razor brain I have when I gobble these green and yellow monsters, but I’m certain the sleep stuff can’t be explained by that. One thing I do know is that when the 90-pill bottle comes out, it’ll be on my credit card statement.