Nootropic supplements and ketogenic dieting are two of the best ideas to explore if you want to achieve optimal human performance.
Ketosis describes a metabolic state where the level of ketones in your bloodstream elevate and the body burns fat for energy. Ketosis may sound like a strange and exotic phenomenon, but it is quite natural - humans evolved to use fat as energy. Nowadays this seems weird because we are over-consumers of carbohydrate and live sedentary lifestyles. A state in which we are never short of a carb refuel.
The rule of thumb for Nutritional Ketosis is that caloric intake is determined as follows:
(Source: Peter Attia).
People enter ketosis through some combination of intermittent fasting, endurance training, carbohydrate avoidance, increased fat consumption or ketone supplementation.
Ketosis & Nootropics for Peak Mental Performance
On some level, the brain-boosting power of ketosis is intuitive. In the evolutionary context, an organism without an abundance of energy sources had to be sharper and more focused to survive. I contend that ketosis can give people 'empty stomach intelligence.'
The body burns stored fat for energy. This is good because excess stored fat is linked to reduced memory capacity and impaired learning. Ketosis returns the body to an optimal state. Just like a car getting a tune-up. During ketosis, the body relies on ketones (broken down fatty acid molecules) for energy throughout the body, including the brain. Think of this as switching the body's fuel from low-octane carbohydrate-based glucose to the high-octane fatty fuel it evolved to run on.
Clinical studies have found that ketosis improves cognitive abilities like memory and reduces symptoms of Alzheimer's and epilepsy. Subjective reporting from n=1 biohackers is also positive. People report a substantial increase in mental clarity, focus, concentration and energy.
During ketosis, people report feeling less distracted (once the body acclimates to the dietary changes) and more able to commit to the task at hand - much like a prehistoric hunter would need a sharpened mind to capture his prey in a desperate situation.
Nootropics are supplements that improve mental function, specifically in regards to memory, learning and focus. They may be pharmaceuticals, supplements, herbals or microdoses of scheduled drugs. The perfect nootropic stack provides cognitive enhancement without stimulatory or sedative effects.
Nootropic Picks for when you go on the Ketogenic Diet
L-theanine is a naturally occuring anxiolytic amino acid found in tea leaves. L-theanine and caffeine exist concurrently in the Camellia Sinensis plant. L-theanine can be taken alone or with a caffeine source. Kimera Coffee is a good beginner nootropic stack that has L-Theanine already blended into the grounds.
MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil consists of fatty acids that have been found to help induce a ketogenic metabolic state and help optimise metabolism in general. These fatty acids have been found to boost focus by giving the brain more readily available energy. C8 is more rapidly absorbed than the more commonly available C10. Also note that C12 (lauric acid) is treated by the body as a long chain fatty acid, so no, you can't just eat coconut oil.
L-carnitine is an amino acid involved in metabolism for most mammals, and it is found in beef, chicken, pork, fish, and whey. . L-carnitine helps the body break down fats into energy (good for ketosis) and improves both physical and mental endurance.
Gingko Biloba, or 'ginkgo,' is an ancient herb found in fossils up to 270 million years old. This herb has been a fundamental ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Gingko is often used to improve cognitive function. You can find ginkgo in Kimera Coffee.
Alpha GPC (choline alfoscerate) is a natural choline donor and precursor needed for the production of acetylcholine. This nootropic is used in OTC pharmaceutical products to treat cognitive impairments like Alzheimer's disease. This nootropic is stacked in Kimera Coffee - a prepackaged blend of coffee grounds with infused nootropics.
Lion’s Mane is a mushroom which, unsurprisingly resembles the mane of a lion. The mushroom exists in both traditional Chinese medicine and Japanese medicine Lion's Mane is respected for its ability to reduce cognitive decline and sooth anxiety. You can find potent Lion’s Mane extract in Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee and Lion’s Mane Elixir.
Exogenous ketones are a relatively new nootropic supplement, and they are fascinating. Remember, the benefits of ketosis? Well, exogenous ketones are designed to give the body those bite-sized fat molecules called ketones without (or in tandem with) the ketogenic metabolic state.
The goal of exogenous ketones is to suppress appetite and stimulate ketosis rapidly. We're talking within 15 minutes. This is faster than MCT oil can be processed. In addition, this nootropic has been found to boost cognition and athletic performance. They are sold most commonly as ketone salts. You can find them in KetoCaNa and KetoForce.
Caffeine is most universally used nootropic and the world's most widely consumed stimulant. Use your morning coffee as a base to concoct your own custom elixir or pick up a pre-formulated and tested stack like Kimera Koffee.