Dave Asprey's Nootropic Dietary Supplement Stack

24 October 2016
Lincoln Cannon

Dave Asprey Nootropic Stack

Dave Asprey, self-branded as the Bulletproof Executive, is an entrepreneur who is particularly influential in the health and fitness space. He began his career in the software industry. Later, he launched the Bulletproof line of nutrition products, and eventually wrote a New York Times bestseller, The Bulletproof Diet.

Dave uses and advocates nootropics, which support and promote cognitive performance. He lists his recommendations in his blog post, "13 Nootropics to Unlock Your True Brain". I’ve compared the nootropics he recommends to reviews on Examine.com, an independent and unbiased encyclopedia on supplementation and nutrition that is not affiliated in any way with any supplement company. Below is a table that summarizes what I found, followed by some observations. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Please consult a physician before and during use of these and other nootropics.

The "nootropic" column lists the supplements that Dave recommends. The "evidence" column shows the Examine.com score for level of evidence on a scale of 0 to 4 for the nootropic effect with the strongest supporting evidence. The "effect" column shows the Examine.com score for magnitude of effect on a scale of 0 to 3 for the effect with the strongest supporting evidence.

Nootropic Evidence Effect
Artichoke ? ?
Bacopa Monnieri 3 2
Coenzyme Q10 3 1
Coleus Forskohlii 2 1
L-Theanine 3 2
LSD ? ?




Nicotine 2 1
Oxaloacetate ? ?
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone 1 1
Racetams 4 2

Average Evidence: 1.9 (equivalent of "single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies")

Average Effect: 1.1 (equivalent of "minor")

Judging from the related Examine.com scores, most of Dave's nootropic stack recommendations look good. Two of them (Bacopa and Theanine) are in my list of top nootropics. A few may be better positioned as geroprotectors and have better scores at Examine.com for that purpose. One (Coenzyme Q10) is in my list of top geroprotectors. In the United States, FDA regulates Modafinil as a drug and does not permit vendors to market Piracetam as a dietary supplement, but both have solid nootropic evidence and effect.

A few of Dave's recommendations appear to lack supporting evidence or effect. Artichoke and Coleus Forskohlii combined as CILTEP may have a little evidence to support weak nootropic effect, but it seems likely to be over-hyped. As Dave points out, LSD is illegal in the United States, and while it's clearly a psychedelic, evidence for nootropic effect merits more research. Nicotine has evidence to support subtle nootropic effect, but it also presents risk of addiction (in addition to other serious health risks if consumed via cigarettes). Oxaloacetate and Pyrroloquinoline Quinone need more research.

Finally, I think Dave's nootropic stack would be stronger with a few additions. Consider Acetyl-L-Carnitine for brain detox, Creatine to support energy, Ginkgo for long term brain health, Melatonin for sleep and next-day focus, and Rhodiola to promote focus, as well as Ashwagandha, Fish Oil, Inositol, and Zinc to support mood. For more information about these nootropics, take a look at my list of real smart drugs. And for a single product that combines several top nootropics, take a look at Clarity.

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