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Does A “God Pill” Exist?

Veins on both biceps bulging like pythons, the ripped kid in the t-shirt extended one arm towards me. He opened his clenched fist to reveal a tiny black ziplock bag. He grinned, displaying a perfect set of ivory white teeth and nodded, “Go ahead. Try it!”

I stepped back and raised an eyebrow. This guy had just finished completely destroying my “REALFit” test score at the ever-popular PaleoFX conference. The conference, a global gathering of biohackers, foodies, physicians, exercise freaks and bacon-and-egg-infused-coffee chugging Crossfitters, features the annual REALFit test to discover the fittest person alive. The fittest person alive at their conference, that is.

Anyways, I thought I had achieved a pretty respectable score on a host of tests including a forearm-destroying two minute maximum pull-ups test, deadlifting body weight as many times as possible in two minutes test (try that one sometime and just try to beat at least sixty, I dare you),  a shuttle run, a medicine ball hurl, a vertical leap: you get the idea. This wasn't any walk in the park.

But this guy had just blown my score out of the water, and he now seemed to be extending to me some semblance of a peace offering. That or he was attempting to pull off an illegal drug deal at a health conference.

“What…is it?” I leaned forward and peered into his hand. Emblazoned in tiny gold foiling on the front of black bag was a logo: Neurohacker Collective.

nhc_logo_gld

“It's basically like a God Pill.”

“A God Pill?” Somewhere deep in the back of my self-quantifying, self-experimentation obsessed lizard brain, I felt a twinge of interest. Now don't get me wrong – as a Christian, I would never believe that a mere man or woman can truly possess the superpowers of God. But at this point – just two days into the conference and after having been offered copious amounts of kombucha, kefir and other little-known fermented beverages, cannabidiol-infused dark chocolates, bacon-flavored mints, kale-powdered beef jerky and all other manner of potentially explosive diarrhea inducing samples – the mention of a supplement that could potentially transform one into even a fraction of a deity was a proposition I hadn't yet heard.

I kept staring at the bag. “Um…what does it do?”

“Dude, just try it.” He reached forward, grabbed my forearm with a vice-like gorilla grip, and shoved the black bag into the palm of my hand. As if driven by an invisible, curious-infused force, my fingers closed hard around the tiny bag as though it were a handful of precious diamonds.

The guy grinned ear-to-ear one more time, winked at me, and as he sauntered away, seemingly unfazed by having just thrown down a shuttle run time that made me look like a arthritic sloth, he stopped and looked back over his shoulder. “Oh, and follow the instructions very, very carefully. Enjoy the experience, man.”

Oh geez. Enjoy the experience? What had I gotten into? This was supposed to be a freaking health conference. Not an MDMA-infused rave. And now I was about to potentially go on a full public display of a crazy drug-infused mind-trip.

I looked around. Nobody seemed to be watching. I carefully opened the bag, only to find two additional bags.

I took Bag #1 out and held it up to the fluorescent indoor lights. There were perhaps half-a-dozen capsules inside. On the front, in tiny letters, was written, “Step 1: Upon Waking, Take Three On Empty Stomach.

Before I read the front of the Bag #2, I suspected what it would say. After all, I'm a nutritionist, a self-professed guinea pig, and an adviser to a host of companies in the supplement industry. This means I basically design and consume pills for a living.

I'll betcha this will be the fat-soluble, take-it-with-food component.

Bingo. I was right. Bag #2 read: “Step 2: Take Six With Breakfast.”

I shoved Bag #2 into my pocket. Then I studied Bag #1 again. I hadn't just woken. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into. But my stomach was indeed empty.

So what the heck?

I glanced nervously towards my twin boys, who, oblivious to my suspicious dealings, were giggling and twirling around on a giant, elephant-sized Bulletproof Coffee mug. I looked at watch. I had two hours before I needed to be on stage as one of the keynote speakers for the event. I looked back at Bag#1, silently hoping that I wasn't about to turn into an embarrassing father who inexplicably begins climbing into the rafters at a Paleo health conference or a raging carbaholic who is suddenly struck by intense cravings for gluten-powdered baguettes. Then I tipped back my head and swallowed half the contents of Bag #1.

The next 120 minutes were a blur. Like gears gradually grinding into faster and faster motion, my thoughts and word recall and verbal fluency seemed to double in speed within about twenty minutes, and kept getting comfortably faster. As I chased my two eight year old boys through the expanse of the PaleoFX expo, colors became more vibrant, sounds and light more intense. Allow me to point out that I have indeed micro-dosed with LSD, psilocybin and MDMA – all of which produced comparable effects. But not at a response time near as fast. Or with as “clean” of a thought pattern.

What the heck was this stuff?

Two hours later, with a belly full of bacon-flavored truffles, beet-powder-infused salmon jerky and raw camel's milk, I looked down at my hand. My fingers were wrapped around Bag #2. I opened it, dumped six capsules into my mouth and swallowed. Then I clenched and unclenched my fists, took one deep breath, and stepped onto the massive PaleoFX stage to speak, ironically, about how to safely and effectively hack one's brain.


Limitless & Lucy

Perhaps it was the combination of eighteen different primal fuels and kombucha fermenting in my stomach, perhaps it was the edgy death-like, I-hope-I-zipped-my-fly fear that accompanies stepping onto stage in front of hundreds of people, or perhaps it was Bag #2 kicking into action, but the effects became even more magnified the moment I stepped on stage.

Whatever it was, I didn't complain. I just held on tight for the ride on stage as my mouth worked to catch up to my rapidly firing brain. My lucidity and clarity of thought became unparalleled. I wondered if someone had slipped a No-Doz caffeine pill into my camel's milk, but realized I had none of the agitation or nervousness that accompanies copious such amounts of caffeine. I wondered if this was how Bradley Cooper's character felt in the movie Limitless.

No, scratch that. Probably more like the way Scarlet Johansson's character in the movie Lucy felt when Asian terrorists sewed a leaky bag full of smart drugs into her gut lining, but without any scalpels involved.

I had to find out where this stuff came from.

I had to hunt down this mysterious “Neurohacker Collective“.

So I did. And in this article you'll discover exactly what I found about the most potent neurohacking compound I've ever used, and the actual ingredients packed into Bag #1 and Bag #2..


What Is “Neurohacker Collective”?

As you may have heard on the podcast that I just released two days ago entitled “42 Different Ways To Build A Better Brain, The Problem With Modern Smart Drugs, Hacking Your Neurons & More.”, I did indeed eventually connect with the brilliant minds at Neurohacker Collective – specifically a man named Daniel Schmachtenberger.

During that podcast episode, Daniel describes how he began seriously studying health and neurology when he became afflicted with neurological and autoimmune illnesses that had no known solutions in either allopathic or complementary medicine. The insights that lead to his healing came from developing a new model for understanding physiology and pathology, which he then applied to helping many people address various forms of complex illness and optimize their capabilities beyond their previous healthy baselines.

As he worked to create Neurohacker Collective, Daniel was simultaneously the academic dean for a college of mind-body medicine and consulted for a host of functional, integrative physicians and medical clinics to help find novel solutions for complex cases. He created and ran a think tank developing complex systems solutions for environmental and social issues, and directed a transdisciplinary group of scholars on a philosophy of mind project addressing core questions of mind-brain interface and what he calls “an axiomatic reformulation for the epistemology of neuroscience”.

And he's guinea-pigged extensively with psychedelics, nootropics, meditation, depth psychology, and a plethora of other tools for evolving states and stages of consciousness and evolving the human experience.

Ultimately, Daniel focuses on bringing together scientific research on each individual mechanism and pathway supporting cognitive development, and integrating them into a whole systems view, a complex framework of integrative neuroscience that focused for many years on creating one of the most comprehensive nootropic smart-drug like stacks ever made.

During our podcast, Daniel describes how many “smart drugs” work by artificially increasing one chemical in the brain by overriding its natural function. Problem is, this can cause depletion or neglect of other things, causing imbalances and negative consequences like dependency or a post smart-drug “crash” (Modafinil, anyone?).

This is because cognitive capacity is a nuanced relationship that involves many variables. Optimizing for one variable of cognitive function at the expense of other critical ones doesn't really bestow comprehensive enhancement of human capability. For instance, having cognitive drive without the ability to focus well could result in you leaping into your office in a post-smart-drug infused craze and churning out a hundred tiny multi-tasks like a keyboarded berserker…without actually accomplishing anything deep or meaningful or truly productive.

Or you could develop steely willpower without emotional resilience, resulting in you being the smartest guy or girl at the office who treats your co-workers like complete crap because you've suddenly become a robot-like, hard charging, high achiever with a complete loss of empathy. For that reason, Daniel's goal was to design a formula that deliberately balances subjective effects to give meaningful enhancement in a comprehensive way – what he describes as “a whole system upgrade”.

In other words, as he designed the capsules that I swallowed in Bag #1 and Bag #2, Daniel's goal was to support the body’s endogenous neurochemical production and regulatory processes, rather than creating fake, temporary, exogenous brain overrides.

Take IQ, for example – also known as “Intelligence Quotient”. Recent research suggests that notion of a single intelligence quotient vastly oversimplifies intelligence, which is in fact composed of various aspects of what are called “multiple intelligences”, such as verbal intelligence, problem solving, spatial reasoning, etc.

The studies on IQ were led by Adrian Owen of the Brain and Mind Institute at Western, and his studies included more than 100,000 participants from around the globe asking them to complete 12 cognitive tests looking at their memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities. These findings were published in an article, “Fractioning Human Intelligence, in the Journal Neuron in December 2012, and a couple follow-up articles appeared on Science Daily: “Scientists debunk the IQ myth: Notion of measuring one's intelligence quotient by singular, standardized test is highly misleading” and Western University: Canada: “Debunking the IQ myth“.

This is all based on a theory proposed by Howard Gardner, which states that intelligence is not unified, but rather multiple, consisting of a set of relatively independent intelligences including linguistic intelligence, mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, naturalist intelligence, and even based on more recent research, the addition of spiritual intelligence and emotional intelligence. According to this theory, different intelligences can develop at different rates in individuals, and thus a single measure like IQ neglects within person variability across multiple kinds of intelligence.

So basically, if a smart drug or nootropic promises to increase IQ, you must ask yourself if it is increasing multiple intelligences, or just one factor of IQ, such as your ability to blast through multiplication tables, or progress through your Suzuki violin manual at lightning speed.

It's an interesting theory indeed.

And a glance at the Neurohacker Collective website promises that they have fully researched this complex problem for years, and as a result have designed the most comprehensive, effective cognitive enhancement nootropic in the world today, contaning “42 scientifically researched ingredients” designed to amplify all the aspects that matter most for optimal cognitive and nervous system functioning.

Yep, that's quite a claim.

But it's one thing to wax flowery biohacking poetic on a website and quite another to produce a product that actually works. So leading up to my podcast interview with Daniel, and courtesy of Neurohacker Collective, I was able to get my hands on two full bottles of Bag #1 and Bag #2. which turned out to be Daniel's creation, a super-special formulation he calls “Qualia“.

It was time to find out whether my experience at PaleoFX was an isolated fluke, or if this Qualia stuff actually works when used with longer term dosage in one's comfortable, familiar home and office environment. Let's delve into my own experience, shall we?


How I Took Qualia

Morning one of Qualia experiment.

I wake up, groggy-eyed, and stumble down the wooden stairs of our home, deep in the forest of Spokane, Washington.

Barefoot and still shivering from the morning chill, I flip on the lights to the pantry. I take the bottle of Qualia Step One off the shelf, turn it around and inspect the label, which reads as follows:

qualiastep1

I swallow three capsules with a giant glass of water.

I delve into my admittedly elaborate morning routine of Core Foundation exercises, infrared sauna, a cryotherapy dip into the icy cold pool hidden in the trees behind my house, and thirty minutes of my latest cognitive hack, EEG neurofeedback training while I write in my work of fiction.

Morning routine complete and brain already humming, I go about making my enormous morning smoothie, which I describe in teeth-gritting detail – Pau d' Arco bark tea, cacao nibs, ceylon cinnamon, Aztec salt and all – at “6 Crazy, Exotic Superfood Cocktails, Shakes & Mind-Bending Recipes.

Just before downing the smoothie, I grab the bottle of Qualia Step Two. I glance at the label:

qualiastep2

According to the Neurohacker Collective website, Qualia is to be taken in two steps as a total of nine pills – three pills from Step One bottle and six pills from the Step Two bottle, always maintaining a 1:2 ratio. So I dump six of the tablets into my hand and swallow.

Then I sit back and wait for the fireworks.


My Experience With Qualia

Now, I'm not going to kick a nootropic, smart-drug infused horse to death and dwell upon what you are probably already aware of when it comes to the claims behind these trendy cognitive enhancing compounds.

Sure, on my first morning (and for the next four days leading up to my podcast with Daniel), I certainly experienced a manifestation of all these claims.

Better focus.

Increased cognitive drive.

Faster reaction time.

Less distractibility.

Enhanced verbal fluency and memory recall.

Frankly, as I describe in my article on How To Make Your Own Smart Drugs, I've experimented with just about every nootropic that exists, and many psychedelic compounds and smart drugs to boot. I certainly get some semblance of the effects stated above with many, many of these supplements. So it would be unfair to claim that Qualia is isolated in it's ability to deliver these type of effects.

But with Qualia – and I realize this is a bit nebulous – these effects seemed to just happen faster and cleaner. And in addition to increases in focus, drive and emotional resilience, I noticed a host of other subtle, less-expected, positive experiences.

Take procrastination, for example. Like most people I know, I tend to have a history of procrastinating on everything from doing my taxes to cleaning out my desk drawer to organizing the ever-growing collection of random tools in the garage. But by the end of my first day on Qualia, I had somehow discovered the willpower, focus and drive to organize my entire biohacking gym corner-to-corner, neatly placing kettlebells, monster bands, maces, stability training balls, balance pads, foam rollers, vibration therapy tools, electrostimulation devices and all other manner of other fitness geekery in tightly systematized sequences.

Hooray for me, and perhaps more importantly, the bonus points scored with my wife.

Next came the dreams. Seriously. I dreamt like crazy.

Perhaps part of this was my recent foray into red light therapy on my gonads to increase testosterone production, but it began with mostly sex dreams. Not bad, horny-clowns-chasing-me-down sex dreams but instead intense, lucid and very pleasant dreams that at one point had me waking up my wife at 2am for a very, very early morning “workout”. I also experienced the sensation of flying through the air like an NBA player dunking a basketball (every time I took a step in my dream), soaring through space like Superman, driving a car extremely high speeds with extreme precision, and simply staring off the edge of a cliff while watching wisps of clouds below and seeing the whole of planet Earth, as if I were some kind of – well – deity.

Daniel informed me later that within the first week of taking the product, many people do indeed report a reregulation of their sleep cycles – sometimes needing less sleep, and sometimes sleeping at different times. They notice they remember their dreams more, there’s more lucidity to them, and that they feel more meaningful. Since science suggests that dreaming is associated with memory consolidation and psychological processing of events, I'll take this as a good sign.

The next phenomenon was one I didn't notice until after four days. On my fourth morning of taking Qualia, I began to wake up in the morning with an almost lazy feeling that I possessed an “affluence of time”, which may seem ironic considering that a nootropic should actually speed up cognitive processing speed and task achievement. But despite experiencing an enormous boost in cognition, I still felt more patient, settled and relaxed as I connected my heart rate monitor and began my daily HRV measurement. I spent more time writing in my gratitude journal. I dwelt more heavily on the truth in my OurDailyBread devotions. Life seemed less hectic, less fast-paced.

On the fifth day I noticed something that Daniel mentioned during our podcast: the ability of a full-spectrum nootropic to allow one to respond gracefully to difficult things – specifically an increased sense of empowerment in how one deals with the difficult challenges that arise in life. Instead of going into overwhelm or hopelessness or devastation, Daniel describes that a Qualia user may feel capable of doing what needs to be done in the presence of challenge.

Now mind you, I hadn't yet spoken to Daniel about this effect, and I didn't notice this until after five days, but on that fifth day, when I finally turned on my computer to work and the e-mails came flying out of my inbox like a rabid chihuahua wielding a bullet-slinging uzi, I simply sat there, took a deep breath, and experienced an overwhelming wash of relief and a sensation that everything was going to be just fine.

In other words, the normal morning stress did not faze me. This was getting interesting.

Since recording the podcast with Daniel, I've noticed two more interesting phenomenon while continuing to take Qualia. First, I'm experiencing less internal emotion and drama, including feeling less concern about what other people think or about proving something to the world.

This manifested itself physically too. My voice has become just slightly more monotone, and a little bit more robotic, especially during business dealings. This had been a tendency for me already, as you may know if you listened to the podcast entitled “I Am A 98% Angry, No-Nonsense, Perfectionistic, Extremely Unconventional, Rule-Breaking, Fearless Assassin-Sniper“. But it became more pronounced, in a good way. meaning that I thought more quickly, had better verbal fluency, experienced superior memory recall, and became more like a well-oiled Ferrari engine, but without an actual loss of empathy for others.

The best way I can describe this is that I spoke and argued and debated and podcasted and had phone calls with far fewer vocal “ups and downs”. Sure, I suppose this could be a bad thing if I were, say, an opera singer, but pretty good for getting business done like a well-sharpened sushi knife – cutting straight through the flesh of a conversation or problem like butter.

The final unpredictable sensation I'm now experiencing while taking Qualia is that of epiphany, which I'd describe as a sense of “aha” or revelation about things that involve though synthesis. This was a pretty cool hidden gem that has led to breakthroughs in business and personal areas that I was originally stuck. I've actually been forced to begin carrying my Moleskin notebook around more religiously because thoughts and epiphanies have begun to strike me at any moment. Brainstorms. Big picture business insights. Sudden plot breakthroughs for my work of fiction. You get the idea. All good things.

So…

…dang.

What on earth is in this stuff? Let's find out.


Ingredients and How This Stuff Works

Each ingredient included in Qualia is based on a whole system design methodology. This means that Daniel and his team have taken singular care to understand the specific effects of 42 different ingredients and how they combine with each other to effect the mind, brain and body interface.

They pulled this off by engaging in a rigorous examination of something called “neuropsychopharmacology“, an interdisciplinary science that combines psychopharmacology (which is the study of how chemicals affect the mind) and neuroscience (which is the study of the neural mechanisms that chemicals act upon to influence behavior).

The team at Neurohacker Collective performed a comprehensive analysis of neuroscience research to determine the underlying regulatory hardware responsible for mediating the desired subjective and performative effects they wanted to get out of a pill. Along the way, their goal stayed constant: to magnify all normal and healthy physiologic pathways and processes, with the goal of evolving a more robust and complex neural network and regulatory system functioning.

The end result was 42 different ingredients split into 7 different categories, and below you will find a full list of Qualia’s ingredients and categories. You can click here for very intense, nitty-gritty details about why they included these specific compounds in this stack and to read more of the research behind the formulation.

Category 1: Nootropic Compounds.

These are psychoactive and neuroactive chemicals that play key roles in modulating receptor sites, synaptic enzymes, membrane structures, cerebral perfusion, biogenic processes, neuroendocrine regulation and more.

Noopept (very similar to Racetam)
Huperzine A
Phenylethylamine
Uridine Monophosphate
Phosphatidylserine
Hordenine HCI
Vinpocetine
Theobromine
DHEA
Pure Energy (Pterostilbene bound to Caffeine)

Category 2: Choline Donors.

These are active forms of choline donors that work through different pathways in the peripheral and central nervous system to support acetylcholine levels, along with the other synergistically stacked cholinergics (acetyl donors, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, racetamic compounds, etc.)

Centrophenoxine
Citicoline (CDP Choline)
Alpha GPC

Category 3: Amino Acids

These are the building blocks for key neurotransmitters and hormones, and agents that are part of the processes of cellular energy production, osmoregulation, signaling, antioxidation, neurogenesis, and neuroprotection.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine
N-Acetyl Tyrosine
DL-Phenylalanine
Taurine
L-Theanine

Category 4: Neuro-Vitamins

These are key limiting factor vitamins in specific activated forms required for major neuroregulatory and neurodevelopmental processes.

Vit B1 as Benfotiamine
Vit B3 as Niacinamide
Vit B5 as Calcium Pantothenate
Vit B6 as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P-5-P)
Vit B12 as Methylcobalamin
Vit C as Ascorbic Acid
Vit D3 as Microencapsulated Cholecalciferol

Category 5: Adaptogen Extracts

These herbal adaptogens are concentrating active compounds while maintaining complex synergistic co-factors – supporting Adrenal/ HPA regulation, Long Term Potentiation, AMPK activation, neurogenesis, catecholamine production, tissue regeneration, and many regulatory functions.

Bacopa Monnieri: 55% Bacosides
Mucuna Pruriens: 98% L-Dopa
Ginkgo Biloba: 24% glycosides, 6% terpene lactones
Coleus Forskohlii: 20% Forskolin
Artichoke Extract: 5% Cynarin
Rhodiola Rosea: 3% Rosavins, 1% Salidrosides
Lion’s Mane: 30% polysaccharides
ActivAMP Gynostemma

Category 6: Neuro-Minerals

These are limiting factor minerals required for major neurochemical regulatory processes in forms that are bioavailable and can cross the blood brain barrier.

Lithium Orotate
Magnesium Threonate
Zinc Picolinate

Category 7: Neuro-Anti-inflammatories and Antioxidants

These are synergist compounds that support nutrient transport and utilization, cytokine and eicosanoid modulation, neurotrophin factors, redox reactions, cholesterol regulation, and much more.

BioPQQ
Quercetin
Curcumin
Algal DHA
Green Tea Extract: 98% polyphenols, 45% EGCG
Bioperine

Whew.

And lest you think these raw ingredients are sourced from out-dated, giant wooden bins in China where they're getting sprayed with ethylene oxide and other preservatives, then take heart.

These folks are using, for lack of a better phrase, high quality s&*t.

For example, all the Qualia ingredients are chosen based on the strong empirical basis of their safety and efficacy. They take into account several kinds of research: Phase II & III university and clinical trials, quantified self-research data, and over 40+ years international research on nootropic stack formulation.

All the ingredients are tested for heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticides, and other forms of environmental toxin, and ensured to be at levels far lower than FDA GMPs requirements. No silica, magnesium stearate, animal, or toxic binders or fillers are used.

They use only high quality raw ingredients, many of which come from patented sources and are considered “best in class” in the supplements industry. (e.g. BioPerine piperine, pTeroPure pterostilbene, etc.)

They concentrate each ingredient to the highest potency and bioavailability currently commercially possible, and all their herbs and botanicals are standardized for potency and purity of active ingredients. Every single ingredient that Neurohacker Collective uses arrives from a supplier with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) ensuring its purity and potency. Then they go a step further and batch test every ingredient coming in by using the most advanced chromatography and spectrometry available and the same spendy kind of lab analysis techniques I talked about in this behind-the-scenes supplement interview with the lead physician at Thorne, including, in addition to batch testing raw materials coming in, pulling bottles of market-ready product and verifying the formulation inside each capsule.

All their nutraceuticals are in the most biologically active form for the purpose intended (i.e. methylated, acetylated, phosphorylated, L-form, D-form, etc). The form of the nutrient makes orders of magnitude difference to its effectiveness (that's why the $30,000 bottle of ketones I chugged in a recent Snapchat video beats the pants off other forms of ketone salts – because it's in a certain molecular configuration I talk about here).

In addition to Neurohacker Collective‘s manufacturing lab, they also have a research & development lab where they produce and test dozens of iterations of their nootropic formulations. They have had over two years of internal testing demonstrating safety and efficacy, and have consulted dozens of doctors, researchers, and formulators in the development of Qualia.

Yes, it's vegan.

And gluten-free, lest you not want bread with your smart drugs.

Non-GMO? Check.

No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners.

Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) vegetarian capsules. Fancy word for fiber, basically.

And here, in all its glory, is what Step One and Step Two actually look like, should you be concerned about branding and aesthetics and color.

shop_bottles1-400x400


Summary

If you’ve seen the surreal smart-drug movies I mentioned earlier (“Limitless” or “Lucy“) you probably have a sense of what may one day be possible, at least if you your friend gives you a secret drug while you're facing unemployment and a girlfriend's rejection, or you're being captured by Japanese terrorists. Qualia isn’t quite like what you see in these thrilling movies, but it’s the closest thing to a “magic pill” movie experience that’s out there. Which is especially impressive considering that it is legal. And readily purchaseable.

A God pill?

Mmm…that's a bit too potentially blasphemous and offensive for me to continue to label it as such.

But a “magic” pill?

I'll take it.

And now you can too.

If you want to play it safe and just try a month's supply, which is a single bottle of Step One and a single bottle of Step Two, then just click here and use 15% discount code ben15.

If you're all in and ready to spring for a monthly subscription (which can be cancelled at any time) click here and use 15% discount code BEN15r (“r” as in “repeating” – and that code will only work for a repeating order which, by the way, is already discounted 20%. So you're getting a pretty slammin' deal).

Finally, should you be a soccer mom or college student or bartender scratching your head about whether this is something that no folks other than professional athletes or hard-charging CEO's or insane biohackers would ever take, then please know that Qualia is not just some “natural” Modafinil or Adderall alternative for fringe rich people or self-quantifying guinea pigs. Scientists, artists, creators, entrepreneurs, activists, parents, and students of every kind are now using this stuff. Qualia is designed for anyone who wants to do meaningful things with their life, have deep and profound experiences, and fully optimize their capability towards those goals, even if it means lucid dreaming, late night sex sessions, and achieving zero e-mails in your inbox at an unfair rate of speed.

Anyways, if you have questions, thoughts or feedback about Qualia, about the concept of “neurohacking” in general, about nootropics, smart drugs, or anything else related to enhancing cognitive performance via nutrition, then leave your comments below and I will reply!

You can also click here to listen to my podcast with Qualia creator Daniel Schmachtenberger, and again, if you want to get your hands on this stuff now, just use code “BEN15” at the Neurohacker Collective website for a single order or code “BEN15r” for any recurring order.  And as that dude in the beginning of this story told me, enjoy the experience. ;)


Also published on Medium.

90 thoughts on “Does A “God Pill” Exist?

  1. Cannot do traditional Caffeine due to random PVC’s and Mitral Valve Prolapse.
    Is/are the caffeine(s) derivative in your product ‘safe’ ?

  2. Hey Ben,

    For very minor issues with anxiety (largely started due to a long term debilitating injury (now just helps me sleep at night) I take valium at night. I also occasionally take GABA, L-Theanine, melatonin and 5HTP. Do any of these undermine the effects of Qualia? And, could Qualia help ease off valium? (which I really don’t “need”…but I know stopping right now won’t be easy). Thanks!

  3. Qualia made me tired. Step 1 gave me energy (Because I don’t ever take caffeine and step 1 is loaded with it). But, step 2 I took 45 minutes later in a full 6 capsule dose, and 2 hours later, I was drowsy. I had a full nights sleep, lunch, and a good morning workout. No reason to feel tired. I can say I’m disappointed with Qualia thus far. I’ll try it for the rest of the month, but I must say that it doesn’t feel like a 150$ well spent at this point.

  4. Hi Ben. Thanks for all the great info on this. I have one question; I am in the military and am subject to random drug testing. Are there any ingredients that could come up on a drug test?

  5. Hey Ben:

    Qualia has really been working for me and making a huge focus in my mental energy. On the other hand, I am waking up earlier than I want most mornings. I’m about 150 lbs. and am taking the minimum (1 & 2) dose 5 days per week.

    I contact them and they told me that they are working on a caffeine free formula and I will definitely try that when it comes out.

    In the meantime, any suggestions?

    Kind regards,

    Craig

  6. Hi Ben,

    I have been taking Qualia for about a week and a half now and it is making me extremely tired. I know that people reportedly experience a period of sleep adjustment and regulation. This seems more extreme than what others are talking about as it lasts most of the day, all I wanna do is sleep. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this and also if it could possibly be that Qualia is re-regulating my neuro chemistry and that I simply need extra rest during this period. If this continues then I will have no choice but stop using Qualia, however, I have noticed some of the positive benefits. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  7. Ben these are high amounts of B vitamine complex, and possible side effects are increased appetite and increased libido. Also I saw you working with BPC 157. Man I used to work for 6 yrs in a lab with prof. Sikiric, who discovered the compound. If you need any additional info about the compound, let me know.

  8. I’ve been taking Qualia for about a month and a half now. I was prepared to see if I felt anything at all, or would have to sort of “role-play” alongside to help create some placebo effect, but that did not turn out to be a problem.

    Qualia hit me on first trying it like a clear blue sky. I did experience my sleep cycles resetting, and the most profound change is that I no longer have an issue with dense fog while waking up. I sleep deep, and would set multiple alarms and sleep through them. During the first 5 days of regularly taking them, I began waking up naturally without an alarm – snapping awake. A month and a half later and I sleep better, and wake up without fog, or alarms. Life-changer!

    In general I feel myself procrastinating less, switching more smoothly between tasks in focused bursts, not hesitating and moving about with more motivation. This can be from something as trivial as switching between multiple apps exporting and processing media + posting + social etc, or more situational awareness of your environment and interpersonally – at least that was my experience. Can go through pomodoros like they were caprese! I took Qualia with me on a 10 day work trip with an intense schedule and a lot of public speaking / facilitating, while also working a remote full time job. In a situation that would have given me anxiety (too many plates spinning) or worry about not being prepared enough, that would actually undermine my confidence, i was able to sink into a feeling of trusting in myself and having everything I need to handle it all – I was in the flow. Qualia helps me access that more intuitively.

    I feel like if you take Qualia along with actively creating a vision of yourself, a practice, your community, or any transformation you want to work on, this will support you to realize that out in the world, maybe with a little less friction, maybe with a little more flow..

    I take the recommended 5 days on, 2 days off, 3-6 but even if I take more days off, I feel an easier access to flow space, and in general does feel like there’s a lot of good stuff happening in my brain. After doing my own research on some of the ingredients and their complementarities it also helped me understand how the ingredients work together.

  9. Have tried Qualia for a month now and have not noticed any difference in any cognitive or any other abilities. Seems like an expensive fluke to me. Don’t waste your money.

    1. I agree. I just finished my bottles of Qualia and did not notice anything. I suppose some people are just non-responders….

  10. Hey Ben,

    I know it’s a little over a month since this podcast aired but I was curious if you were still taking Qualia? And if so what are the most notable changes?

    I’ve been taking Ciltep for a few months but after listening to your podcast I was considering making a switch to Qualia. Just wanted to know your thoughts.

    Thanks for you time. Love the podcast!

  11. Great episode! Looks like a product worth testing. I was surprised to see coleus forskohlii and artichoke extract included. Are there any studies that back claims for these? I thought at this point it was all anecdotal and that I had read artichoke extract wasn’t a great source of luteolin, especially orally.

    1. There is a lot more information this and all our ingredients on our formulation page:
      http://neurohacker.com/formulation/
      specifically here:
      http://neurohacker.com/adaptogen-extracts/

      Artichoke Extract

      Overview:

      Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is a plant that contains cynarin, having nootropic and effects. Cynarin can significantly improve memory and executive function.

      Scientific Name:

      Cynara cardunculus

      Mechanisms:

      Artichoke extract contains polyphenols with antioxidant action and cynarin, its main biologically active compound[1]

      Increases long-term synaptic potentiation – improved memory[2]

      Enhances working memory, short-term memory, memory consolidation, and memory recall[2]

      Synergistic with forskolin in increasing cAMP levels – inhibits phosphodiesterase-4[3]

      Enhances logic, mathematical, and practical reasoning[4]

      More Info:

      Intro: http://nootriment.com/artichoke-extract/
      Studies: https://examine.com/supplements/Artichoke+Extract…
      References

      [1] Li H, et al (2004). Flavonoids from artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) up-regulate endothelial-type nitric-oxide synthase gene expression in human endothelial cells. J Pharmacol Exp Ther, 310(3):926-32. doi: 10.1124/jpet.104.066639

      [2] Barad M, et al (1998). Rolipram, a type IV-specific phosphodiesterase inhibitor, facilitates the establishment of long-lasting long-term potentiation and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 95(25):15020-5. PMID: 9844008

      [3] Yu MC, et al (2010). Luteolin, a non-selective competitive inhibitor of phosphodiesterases 1-5, displaced [3H]-rolipram from high-affinity rolipram binding sites and reversed xylazine/ketamine-induced anesthesia. Eur J Pharmacol, 627(1-3):269-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2009.10.031

      [4] Reneerkens OA, et al (2009). Selective phosphodiesterase inhibitors: a promising target for cognition enhancement. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 202(1-3):419-43. doi: 10.1007/s00213-008-1273-x

  12. I’m 40 and have been on Modafinil for 10 years due to mild narcolepsy. I’m also a triathlete, mechanical engineer, and world traveler (not to mention a dad to 3 young kids!). I’m *very* familiar with what Modafinil can do. I cycle 5-6 days on, 1-2 days off and only use 200mg/ day. Has anyone who is on Modafinil switched to Qualia? If so, how does it compare?

  13. Hi Ben,

    Great piece. Just listened to the podcast on it too! I was curious what your thoughts were on how to take Qualia while intermittent fasting. Take Step One on an empty stomach and then Step Two with the first meal, even if that is past noon?

    Do you think it would be too much to continue drinking Kimera Koffee with this in terms of having too many nootropics in my system.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. You could "cheat" and take Step 2 with a small amount of oils, like a handful of fish oil capsules and a tablespoon of coconut oil and that could work for absorption and to have both worlds. And yes, you can still drink Kimera with this, but just know you'll be getting extra caffeine in your system.

      1. Sounds good. Would there be a downside to waiting until the afternoon and my first meal to take Step 2? On the Neurohacker website it recommends just waiting at least 30 minutes between the steps so I know that protocol would follow that guideline, but I wasn’t sure if there was anything in step 2 that would interfere too much with sleep if taken too late.

        Would “cheating” by taking Step 2 and JUST the handful of fish oil capsules (as opposed to consuming the tbsp of coconut oil) work in your opinion? In case I am out of the house I can foresee it being a little easier to carry Qualia and the fish oil with me than also having a container of coconut oil.

        Thanks again for your help!

    2. Hey, I take Qualia with intermittent fasting and do precisely that – wait to take Step Two until I have my first meal. Works fine.

      As for Kimera – they don’t list how much of each ingredient they use, so you are a bit in the dark. Qualia does have Taurine, Alpha-GPC and L-Theanine, so you might get more than you need. If you like your Kimera, you can always start slow on the Qualia and build up to a stronger dose to see what happens.

      1. Thanks Jordan! Very helpful. Yeah I’m planning on starting with fa low dose of Qualia (keeping the right ratios for Step 1 and Step 2) and building it up.

        Thanks again!

    3. Would this replace the Thorne Multi Vitamin Elite or taken in addition to it? Based on the ingredient list I’ll keep up with taking fish oil from Thorne but see that taking both the MV and Qualia would lead to really high levels of the B vitamins.

      Thanks!

  14. In answer to the queries about whether this stuff is “legal” for athletes and as Ben seems to be fudging the issue, it’s not. Well at least Step One isn’t. Big disappointment that the “brilliant minds” could not produce a product without DHEA.

      1. Well no, not really.

        It’s on WADA’s prohibited list in and out of compeititon.

        But just to play along, I did go to GlobalDro.com and sampled sports I wasn’t sure about…and in everything from badminton to golf, from snowboarding to UFC and weightlifting, DHEA is banned.

        “Even” pro baseball has banned it.

        It IS stupid that it is prohbited, but it is.

        I thought triathlons were your thing (banned).

        So what sport is it you compete in that is outside WADA’s remit and lets you use DHEA?

    1. We only include 90mg of caffeine which is bound to pterostilbene and we do have a lot of adaptogens and B vitamins which are healthy of adrenal glands. The only way this would lead to adrenal fatigue is if someone was taking this in the place of sleep.

      Ben

      neurohacker.com

  15. Question for the designers of Qualia: whether/how this might interact (if at all) with Amantadine. Amantadine is something of a dopamine receptor-cell booster (‘agonist’ is the technical term); its usually prescribed for Parkinson’s, which I don’t have & for which it doesn’t actually work (Said the Neurologist: “It doesn’t work. Why do we prescribe it then? Ummm….. it’s all we’ve got.” Wow.). Beneficial for my issues, however. No side effects. Minimal interactions with other prescription drugs.

    So, would Qualia’s ingredients likely interact with Amantadine? I wonder especially about the racitam. ‘Cause, if interactions are little/no issue, I’m really interested. The results quoted sound amazing for anyone with a “normal” brain. For someone who has memory or cognitive issues, they sound like potential to regain “normal.” Damn exciting, in other words.

    1. We do not recommend taking Qualia with Amantadine.

      Amantadine modifies dopamine and is anticholinergic so there are the possibility for a number of complications.

      Ben

      neurohacker.com

  16. Ben, what % cut do you get, if any, when someone buys Qualia through the link on this site? Would be helpful in evaluating your objectivity/bias.

  17. I know you have been a long time Tian Chi fan, so would you consider Qualia something you would replace Tian Chi with, would you consider adding it to your daily regimen (I assume you take Tain Chi daily), or would you take Qualia for a certain purpose and Tian chi for another and what would that be? Lastly, if you take Qualia, can you benefit by doing so on one day when you’d like, or is it more beneficial to take for an extended time period?

    Thanks for answering these questions.

  18. Have you tried skipping a few days of this supplement to see if there are any “hangover effects” by missing a dose?

    I’m interested in giving this a go but am a bit nervous about the jitters, as I tend to be a bit sensitive to just about every preworkout supplement on the market. I can’t afford to have an unsteady hand (I’m a surgeon). Did you have any of the classic jittery feelings that you can see with high stimulant supplements?

  19. Seems like fun product.

    Only question I have is about the ingredient Lithium Orotate. My only knowledge of Lithium is for treating people with Bipolar depression. So is it safe to ingest this?

    1. There is a difference between Lithium Orotate and Lithium carbonate and 3mg vs over 1000mg. This amount is just a natural trace mineral that is relevant for cognitive and neurological function.

      Ben

      neurohacker.com

  20. I’ve been taking Qualia since I was given some at PaleoFX too. I really love the effect it has on not only my brain function but my vision, willpower and stamina when going through an intense workout. My business partner broke the PaleoFX record for deadlifts during his first time trying Qualia. Great review of it by the way. We did a review as well and I really liked that every question or concern that we had about the dosage and ingredients were answered by NC. Shows that they really have researched these ingredients and speaks to their transparency and commitment to developing a quality product.

  21. What about caffeine tolerance? I’m one of those people who can’t stand much and it takes forever to clear my system. Ginkgo and Rhodiola have caused issues in the past too….

  22. Didn’t you discuss in the podcast that the pills given to you by the guy at Paleo FX (“God pill”) was not Qualia but another product they have in development that is going through testing and is not yet available to the public? This article suggests that it was Qualia that you were given.

  23. Hey ben, alright so straight to the point…would you consider not using qualia consistently in an attempt to avoid becoming used to the positive effects. If things seem so good and lightning fast on it…do you have a worry of not being able to function without it in a way? I feel that one would get used to having such high cognition that it can be debilitating when off of it…curious to hear your thoughts

  24. driven, perfectionist. May want to add Methyl Folate to your mix. You may be homozygous MTHFR mutant! Methyl folate is active form your body uses in many pathways. Folic Acid, not converted by MTHFR mutants to active form is in many vitamins, foods, protein mixes and more and causes problems for many. Check out Nutrient Power by William Walsh and Dr Ben Lynch for more info.

    1. Methyl Folate can be very useful for people with MTHFR mutations, but because the folate cycle is so specific to genetic mutations we did not include it as it wasn’t something we didn’t think we could standardize across all genes.

      Ben

      neurohacker.com

    1. Paul, a good friend of mine also tried it right before some fitness competitions at PaleoFX and broke the deadlift record. I’ve found that it gives you that extra motivation and stamina to power through a hard workout.

  25. Hi Ben,

    Thanks for this great article and the podcast. I just wondered if you were thinking of making Qualia available via your website. I emailed the Qualia people, and they are not sending it to the UK yet, which is where I live.

  26. What about withdrawal, and does the recommended 2-day abstinence per week (from the supplement) have any noticeable crash effect?

    1. The only chemical that can create dependence or withdrawal and we only use 90mg of caffeine as its bound to the pterostilbene most people will not feel any crash or withdrawal. For those very sensitive to this, they may want to consume some small caffeine when they are cycling off Qualia.

      Ben

      neurohacker.com

  27. I know you said it is a legal product. But are any of the ingredients (or the whole) possible problems for a regular U.S. government administered drug testing program?

  28. Thanks Ben. I notice the Qualia site says to take 3 x Step 1/6 x Step 2 if you weigh 150 lbs, and 4 x Step 1/7 x Step 2 if you weigh 200 lbs. Unfortunately the bottles only contain enough for the 3/6 protocol; the bottles leave you about 4 days short each month on a 4/7 protocol. Since I take it you are closer to 200 lbs than to 150 lbs, are you concerned that you are not receiving all the effects you can by utilizing the 3/6 protocol? Also, perhaps you can put a bug in Qualia’s ear to produce bottles that contain enough for the 4/7 protocol.

    1. Per the 3/6 dose question, what we have found is that the weight of the individual is not necessarily the deciding factor and most people, even bigger folks, can and should do the 3/6 dose. If you absolutely need to take a higher dose then it is also a good idea to increase the cycle off days by another day a week, which will also help keep you in line with the number of pills in each bottle.

      Ben

      Neurohacker.com

  29. Would you recommend still taking Tian Chi with Qualia? HerbWorks recommends taking Tian Chi first thing in the morning on an empty stomach about an hour before taking any other energy or nootropic supplements. The Tian Chi seems to have both nootropic and overall body/energy/immune function benefits. It has really helped my HRV, etc. Looks like the Qualia should also be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach…. if I was to use both, which would you take first….or would the Qualia replace the Tian Chi most of the time? Thanks!

    1. You could take both, since TianChi is an adaptogen and works on a different part of your physiology, but if you do, I'd take it mid morning on an empty stomach. Which to use totally depends on your health history, hormones, etc. If adrenally fatigued, possibly TianChi. Otherwise, Qualia.

  30. Ben,

    Thank you for sharing this …experience. I find myself wondering when I’ll get around to reading your fiction. Still, I am really praying that the actual delivery of these pills was fiction – some guy hands you some pills and says, “follow the directions, man. Don’t worry about what’s in it”, and then slinks off into some dark alley.

    I’ve never bought illegal drugs – but my guess is that’s exactly how such a deal would go down. So, if it is true – please don’t be so foolish. Curiosity is known to have killed more than one cat, right?

    A manufacturer’s name and a sealed package might instill more confidence in a product, but some folks are really sneaky; maybe you should limit yourself to known dealers like Thorne? Just sayin’.

    1. Qualia contains DHEA which is a banned substance by USADA. However, they are working on a DHEA free formula now.

      Having tried it myself – it certainly is performance enhancing on many levels!

  31. I would never ever take Levodopa. That is very dangerous. Also combining huperzine A and any other AChEIs can create too much acetylcholine in the brain. Noopept in that high of an amount can give people brainfog. It has a U shaped dose-effect curve.

    1. Jacob- why do you say levodopa is dangerous? I take it on and off for sleep and I haven’t had any negative side effects.

    2. Under 100 of naturally occurring ldopa is generally well tolerated for most people. The dose of huperzine A is specifically formulated in the combination with the other cholinergic compounds to also be well tolerated. 30mg of Noopept taken orally vs sublingually will have decreased absorption for many people this is the equivalent of 10mg taken sublingual.

      Ben

      neurohacker.com

    1. Hey Ben, if it could be confirmed/assured to be WADA compliant, I’d give it a try. I’m surprised that Supplement manufacturer don’t consider this right from the start. This should really be a “must have” for supplements. Please let us know when the formula is corrected & identified to be WADA compliant – Thank you!

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