Modafinil Review – How Does It Work to Improve Your Focus and Mood?
What are Nootropics?
A nootropic is also known as a “smart drug” or cognitive enhancer. Their main focus is that they increase some aspect of cognitive function, be it short or long term memory, creativity, speed or higher reasoning. Nootropics have burst onto the scene over the last decade with many new types and variants emerging. The compounds are safe, however, people usually do better or worse on different types, which also depends on what they are expecting from the drugs. Sales of these enhancers are over $1 billion per year.
Smart drugs have been able to make a considerable impact because they offer tangible benefits when you take them. Popular ones like modafinil have been studied and tested and their effects are not placebo. While embarking on this journey might be a bit expensive, if you want better cognitive performance for that big day at work or just in general, smart drugs can’t be beat.
What is Modafinil?
Modafinil (brand name Provigil), is a form of nootropic that primarily promotes alertness and focus. It is like a far better version of coffee without the sides. It can also be used to treat the effects associated with narcolepsy, which arises as a result of lack of sleep. It is a white powder that can be taken in the morning to promote wakefulness. Scientifically proven modafinil benefits include:
- Improves mood, motivation and reaction times
- Increases resistance to fatigue
- Reduces “impulse response” – Basically reduces bad decisions
- Has been proven to increase brain function in sleep deprived individuals
- Helps people with lower IQ get smarter
Modafinil is usually taken in 12-week cycles. The effects do vary per individual. Usually, they last between 6 and 8 hours per 50 mg, but there are different tablet sizes, and people have an individual body chemistry that makes the drug last longer or shorter. Modafinil can be taken as a pill instead of a powder, which can be quite messy. There are many nootropic enthusiasts who like to tinker and mix, measuring out powder sizes and putting them into capsules. This hocus focus level of detail is for quacks and scientists. It is better to just get modafinil in pill form and take it in the morning with a glass of water. It goes without saying that plenty of water should be consumed while taking it. For best results, it can be taken with green tea or some decaf coffee. The idea is that you don’t really need caffeine with modafinil. It is optimal to take it on an empty stomach, as it will be absorbed quicker to feel the effects. Some experimentation is necessary.
Modafinil storage is easy. The tablets or powder are to be stored at room temperature, but even if you do somehow put them in the fridge they will not degrade. Modafinil also lasts for quite a long time. Modafinil dosage is usually around 50 mg for starters and 100 mg for those who are used to it. Tolerance does build up for some people who use more.
Because of the recent increase in the popularity of nootropics in general and modafinil in particular, the modafinil price has decreased. It is not very expensive if you get it online. Prescription prices are prohibitive. In North America, the price of Modafinil can be as high as $50 for a 200 mg pill, which is not really affordable and is not a justifiable price. To put this into context, you can order directly from Indian suppliers such as Sun Pharma for $.98 per 200 mg tablet. A significant difference. They are even cheaper when bought in bulk.
How to get Modafinil – Can I get Modafinil Online?
Modafinil is very easy to obtain. There are many online vendors who can deliver to your doorstep. However, though practically nobody gets prosecuted for this, it is technically illegal to obtain (in the US). It is very expensive to obtain from a pharmacy under the brand name. Most modafinil is actually produced in India, from either HAB or Sun Pharma. This is because intellectual property law is not as strict in India as it is in the USA.
There are four main brands which can be bought online. Modalert and Modvigil are forms of modafinil produced by Sun Pharma and HAB respectively. Though some say that Modalert is better, this is most likely because Sun Pharma has been around much longer and consumers always have a bias towards previous editions of any products due to familiarity.
There are also an increasing number of proprietary mixes involving blends of nootropics with herbs, adaptogens, B vitamins and more. Advanced users will often prepare their own mix and proprietary blend which works for them, as the combined effect of synergistic ingredients can often be much more than the sum of the individual parts. The most common and popular proprietary blend for modafinil is modafinil + fish oil + choline. These 3 are believed to work together for maximum effect.
How does modafinil enhance your cognitive abilities?
Modafinil is one of the most popular smart drugs on the market and for good reason – its results are proven and can definitely help you gain the upper hand when it comes to tasks that involve cognition.
There are several ways by which modafinil improves your mental acuity, let’s take a look at a few of them.
- Resistance to fatigue – Modafinil in tests has shown the ability to build your brain’s resistance to fatigue and help you work for longer durations.
- Curb impulse decisions – Another study found that modafinil was effective at reducing the number of impulsive decisions that people take.
- Better sleeping – In the right amounts Modafinil helps keep the brain relaxed and this results in better sleep for people who does it correctly.
- Increased cognition – Modafinil was earlier thought to improve the mental capabilities of only people with lower IQs, but since then studies have proven that it can help people of all mental capabilities.
- Better memory retention – Along with performance, modafinil has been found to improve the person’s ability to retain more information for a longer period.
- Minimal side effects – when dosed correctly, modafinil has minimal negative reactions on the average individual.
How does Modafinil Work?
Modafinil works by stimulating neural activity. It possesses similar traits to amphetamine. The exact principles of the mechanism of action (MOA) are not yet fully understood. It is known to increase the availability of certain neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine and dopamine. It also affects histamine, glutamate and epinephrine levels. Essentially modafinil has a positive effect on areas of the brain that promote wakefulness. It is increased levels of norepinephrine that are associated with memory, cerebral plasticity and attention and learning. It is also known to have an impact on the autonomic nervous system, increasing blood pressure and heart rate which leads to more energy levels in general. Ultimately, many modafinil reviews can testify to the efficacy of the substance.
It should be borne in mind that you have to work with nootropics and test it out. Often you will need to tweak, adjust and experiment, in terms of dosages and how you use modafinil. If you want to get better at football, you have to train. If you want to get better at the piano, you practice. And if you want to get better with nootropics, then you adjust the dosage along with what substances you combine them with. It may be better to cycle every 6 weeks or maybe go five days on, two days off to prevent homeostasis.
It is also very important to actually be doing a mental activity or some creative work to see the effects of the cognitive enhancers in action. You can’t simply sit around doing nothing and wait for your memory and cognitive capacity to increase. The effects are subtle and build up over time (though in some cases effects are instantaneous, it does require some managements and may wear off). They are performance enhancers, not performance substitutes. They are not a substitute for your brain but are an accomplice to getting things done. So, test out modafinil to see what works and what does not. And it is also a good idea to pay attention to the different modafinil categories on the market, as well as other types of nootropics.
Adrafinil vs Modafinil
Adrafinil is very similar to modafinil. It essentially is modafinil except with the addition of a hydroxyl group. It can be bought without a prescription in the United States which is the main reason for the rise of its popularity. Adrafinil is converted to modafinil to the body. But only a certain amount is converted, while the rest is converted to the inactive modafinilic acid. All in all, it would seem that modafinil is a much better choice. Adrafinil is simply a roundabout way of getting modafinil and is generally less efficient, taking longer to act and requiring higher doses. Many people take adrafinil because they believe it safer and more natural, but there is no evidence that this is the case.
Modafinil vs Adderall
Both modafinil and Adderall are used to treat the effects of sleep disorders. But there really is no comparison between the two in terms of side effects. Adderall has dangerous effects on the brain. It is also way too powerful and is to be used sparingly. It almost forces the brain to release chemicals at a high rate which leads to people becoming very focused on menial jobs and tasks. The mechanisms of both drugs are both widely unknown. Adderall is effective for some with ADHD, as it may calm them down. But for most people, it has the opposite effect, as it wildly stimulates the central nervous system which brings about anxiety and jitters. Adderall is a powerful stimulant which should only be used in particular situations or at least sparingly.
Modafinil vs Coffee
Coffee is one thing that get a lot of people started on their day. It has been consumed since forever and it is found to have properties that increase your mental throughput, if only for a short period. The main constituent of coffee is caffeine which increases blood flow to the brain and increases focus and concentration.
It is one of the widely circulated drinks for the reason that it improves your mental capabilities and keep you awake.
Now to find out how they interact with each other. While they modafinil and coffee are good on their own, it is not easy to mix them and derive benefits. I say not easy because it IS possible, but you need to decide for yourself if it’s worth all the trouble.
A lot of people have reported that regular coffee and modafinil makes them jittery, their hearts beat faster, and sweat profusely. To sum it up, for most people mixing coffee and modafinil is a bad idea and does not help them much.
Few other who’ve experimented with this share the fact that small amounts of coffee or even decaf coffee can help you find a sweet spot that can help you perform even better.
While I’m inclined to take the latter advice with a pinch of salt, it is credible since a lot of people are doing it and getting results. I’d suggest keeping it just modafinil when you’re starting out and then as you get comfortable, try introducing small amount of caffeine in your routine and see how your body reacts.
Modafinil vs Alcohol
No matter what anyone else tells you, Modafinil and alcohol do not mix. Period. This is because modafinil and alcohol work similarly, even down to the molecular level. When you take modafinil it passes through the blood barrier and is responsible for restricting GABA levels in the brain which gives you a lot more energy and promotes wakefulness. Alcohol also has the same property of passing through the blood barriers and entering the brain.
So, if you are going to that party after work, no matter what anyone says, don’t ever make the mistake of popping modafinil just before it. Consequences will range from getting high quickly to blackouts.
Modafinil Side Effects
Modafinil is not for those with skin allergies, as it may lead to serious outbreaks. It is also not for those who have chest pain, liver or heart disease, or for those with heart issues. As you can see, this will reduce many people from the Modafinil checklist.
It is important to note that modafinil is not a stimulant. It is a wakefulness-promoting agent(eugeroic). In other words, there is no crash, unlike many widely-used nootropics or even coffee. It is not addictive and even helps people to kick addictions. There are few side effects and some people have been using nootropics for decades with no notable side effects. It is practically harmless. Side effects normally associated with stimulants, such as hypertension and tachycardia, are not present with the usage of this nootropic.
Though modafinil is not addictive, it is still possible for people to use it too much or for the wrong purposes. The same way people drink too much coffee and eat too much junk food.
The most common side effect associated with modafinil usage is dehydration. It takes a lot of water to metabolize the tablet. So, make sure you drink lots and lots of water when on the nootropic and you will reap the benefits.
Modafinil is a fantastic drug in terms of cognitive enhancement. It definitely works and is safe. However, it does take energy to metabolize and is particularly hard on the liver. And it is a cognitive enhancement, not a mastermind pill that will turn a toddler into Nicola Tesla. In other words, like many things, it has both advantages and disadvantages.
Everything is a trade-off, but if you need extra attention at work or for study, then it is relatively safe and could be a good bet. Those who claim that it is bad for the liver may be correct, but compared to alcohol there is no comparison. Substituting a few glasses of wine a week should make up for the difference while improving your cognitive performance.