One day, we may be able to make ourselves superintelligent with futuristic biotechnology. We’re not there yet, but for the impatient among us there are still some things we can do to give us that little extra bit of brain power. By supplementing with so-called ‘nootropics,’ you may not become the next Stephen Hawking, but you may experience some noticeable improvements to your learning abilities, memory, mental clarity, and mood. Here are ten supplements you can take today to boost your intelligence.
Before we get started, a disclaimer: consult with your doctor prior to taking any of these (except the dark chocolate — feel free to eat that with reckless abandon). While most of the supplements listed in this article are fairly benign, you still need to make sure that you're healthy enough to take them, and that you're not susceptible to any allergic or negative reactions. Cool? Cool.
Similarly, while we make some dosage recommendations, you must adhere to the dosage instructions as described on the package of your particular product.
Also, it's crucial that you not blindly go ahead and start consuming all of these supplements at once. Unless otherwise noted, all studies cited in this article assessed the cognitive benefits of these compounds in isolation. By combining two or more of these supplements, you risk creating a cocktail effect in which the benefits may not work — and you might actually start to feel worse.
George P. Dvorsky serves as Chair of the IEET Board of Directors and also heads our Rights of Non-Human Persons program. He is a Canadian futurist, science writer, and bioethicist. He is a contributing editor at io9 — where he writes about science, culture, and futurism — and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. He served for two terms at Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association). George produces Sentient Developments blog and podcast.
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