Noot Experiment: Caffeine, L-theanine, and Bacopa Review

In my first Noot Experiment blog post, I explain why and how I’m drugging myself for the next few months. This article discusses my review of three drugs I took so far: caffeine, L-theanine, and Bacopa Monnieri.

Caffeine + L-theanine: I feel alive!

Holy cow, caffeine and L-theanine are awesome. After taking it, I quickly felt a jolt of energy and alertness — I felt like I was “more alive.” Not only did I feel more productive — I was happier. The only negative side effect I experienced was needing to pee more. I did not experience insomnia, jitteriness, or any bowel movement issues.

All in all, I’m pretty sold on the drug. How frequently I do it is another question to answer, but caffeine had a clearly noticeable positive effect.

Check out this graph, which shows my self-rating of various metrics (anti-fatigue, reasoning, motivation, and mood) for the morning/night of each day. The blue bars show the times that I was taking caffeine and L-theanine. You can clearly see the spikes correlate with the blue bars.

Blue bars are when I was ingesting caffeine.

I also took Quantified Mind studies while on caffeine for a week or so, but didn’t find anything conclusive about deltas between my mental performance while on or off caffeine. This could indicate that a decent portion of caffeine’s effects were placebo, or irrelevant to my mental performance.

The only substantial difference between my two mental states is in finger tapping — the ability to tap the spacebar as many times as you can.

Bacopa: Meh, but worth a retrial

As for Bacopa, I didn’t really feel much of an effect in either relaxedness, nor in memory improvements. I didn’t expect any memory enhancements since it is supposed to come with longer term usage, but I was a bit surprised to feel none of the anti-anxiolytic effects.

One culprit could be that I took a lower-than-usual dosage, so my true answer to whether I’d do Bacopa deserves a retrial. Another confounding factor is that I took it with caffeine and L-theanine, which could have masked any anti-anxiolytic effects of the drug. If I were to retry Bacopa, I’d get a higher dose and do it independent of other drugs.

I did notice a slightly lower alertness when I took Bacopa, but I wasn’t sure if it was because of the Bacopa or just because I was getting used to caffeine’s effects.

What’s next?

Although I enjoy Quantified Mind’s preciseness, it’s a bit too heavyweight for my purposes, so I’ll instead focus on the self-tracking spreadsheet. Next, I’ll continue my experiments with Piracetam, then consider a retrial of Bacopa for a longer period of time. Afterwards, I’ll probably explore how to integrate the caffeine+L-theanine combination in my life (perhaps take a pill only as needed to start with, and ramp up as needed).

Note: I’ve discontinued this study until further notice, to focus on some other health goals. I’ll pick this up again in the near future.

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