If you’ve read Tim Ferriss’ books, you know he’ll do almost anything to himself in the name of self-improvement. And if you thought he took this too far in The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body, just wait until The 4-Hour Chef, his new guide to the world of rapid learning. Turns out Ferriss has tried nearly every legal (and not) smart drug imaginable, so we invited him to share what he learned. Just remember: He’s not a doctor, we’re not doctors, and please don’t sue us.
The quest: Read like a cheetah, retain like an elephant.
The drug: Desmopressin, a synthetic version of the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin
Where to get it: Prescription
Benefits: “Doctors prescribe it for bed-wetting,” Ferriss says, “but I’ve experimented with it since 1996 for short-term memory. Before quizzes in college I’d take four vaporized hits, flip through material for 10 minutes, and score 95 to 100 percent.”
The quest: Tear up the slopes like a Yeti.
The drug: Phenylpiracetam
Where to get it: Order it from Russia as Phenotropil (because in Russia, drugs prescribe you!).
Benefits: “‘Racetams’ are a class of drugs thought to improve short-term memory primarily by increasing choline uptake. But I know some biathletes who like the super-potent phenylpiracetam for another reason—it seems to increase cold tolerance.”
The quest: Get fast—fast.
The drug: Galantamine
Where to get it: Online (can be found as GalantaMind)
Benefits: “This is FDA approved for the treatment of moderate Alzheimer’s disease, but because it inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine it may also facilitate greater muscular contraction. It’s rumored to be the secret of certain Jamaican sprinters. I’m even more fascinated by its ability to increase REM sleep, which is great for lucid dreaming.”
The quest: Be the swingin’-est senior on the block.
The drug: Selegiline
Where to get it: Vets use it to treat senility in dogs, but you can find your own pills online.
Benefits: “It’s used to address early-stage Parkinson’s disease, as it increases dopamine through MAO-B inhibition, but Selegiline has also been shown in animals to slow age-related decline of sex drive. Think Awakenings on steroids.”
The quest: Remove mental fog for extended focus.
The drug: Ergoloid
Where to get it: Prescription or black market, though plenty of websites sell it.
Benefits: “Oh, how I love ergoloid. Developed by Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD, it’s been used (as Hydergine) to fight cognitive decline in old age. It’s typically well tolerated and may help keep brains younger-looking generally.”
The quest: Think harder.
The drugs: Forskolin (from Coleus forskohlii) and artichoke extract
Where to get it: Online
Benefits: “If you want to go all-natural for enhancing your learning and memory, this duo fits the bill. Bonus: Artichokes contain luteolin, which can inhibit PDE5, which is also how Cialis and other ED drugs work. Who doesn’t want to demolish Sudoku while sporting a massive boner?”
Dec. 17 2012
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