If you have ever seen the Limitless movie with Bradley Cooper, you have probably imagined what your life would be like if you had a magic pill capable of accelerating you to your greatest potential.
In essence, this is what most neurohackers are looking for when they start to take nootropics, or “smart drugs.”
While NZT-48 is a fictitious pill, there is one nootropic drug on the market today that many neurohackers agree is the closest thing they have found to NZT-48.
Continue reading to learn more about a pill that can help to maximize your cognitive potential, leaving you more energized, motivated, intelligent, and focused than you have ever been before.
Bradley Cooper in the Movie Limitless
Whether you are a writer, student, or entrepreneur, you have no doubt struggled from something similar to writer's block. You may know your potential, however realizing it is another story.
Eddie Morra, played by Bradley Cooper, is an unemployed writer struggling in every facet of his life. The movie opens with Eddie grabbing lunch with his wife, a successful editor, who breaks up with him due to her frustration with his lack of getting anywhere in his career. His writers block and slovenly lifestyle became more than she could take.
Fast forward nine years. Eddie arrives at his apartment building, and runs into his landlord’s wife in the stairwell. She condones him for being late on rent yet again thanks to his struggling career.
Then He Takes the Limitless Drug NZT 48
Before the chat with his landlord’s wife, Eddie runs into Vernon, his ex-brother in law. Vernon works as a consultant for a pharmaceutical company, and, after chatting with Eddie about his work struggles, hands him a pill. He tells Eddie that this drug is a new brain drug that will be on the market in one year.
Eddie takes this pill on the way home - what did he have to lose at that point?
When it starts to kick in, everything changes. He becomes more socially adept, even sleeping with his landlord’s wife shortly after the conversation about his being late on rent.
When he arrives in his mess of an apartment, he immediately cleans everything up, grabs his laptop, and begins writing. By the next morning, he has hundreds of pages written. He brings these pages to his editor, who doesn’t appear to be the most excited to receive anything from Eddie.
Back at his apartment, he checks his voicemail - his editor was impressed after looking over the beginning of what he had written.
From this point in the movie, the story gets more exciting and more dangerous.
The drug is so powerful that Eddie enters into a fight for his life, however the benefits of the pill appear to be worth the fight for Eddie. In a matter of days he has finished his book, mastered new languages, made new friends, learned piano, and has become an expert in nearly everything.
He drives around in a Maserati with a gorgeous woman, and later lands a huge merger following success in trading stocks.
This magic brain pill did not come without side effects. He learns that his ex-wife was also on the drug, however she is now struggling to stay off of it.
Multiple people have died from the drug, and there are dangerous withdrawal effects.
The movie ends with Eddie and his ex-wife Lindy back together, Eddie running for U.S. Senate. He claims to have weaned himself off of NZT-48, however the movie ends with the audience unsure of whether or not this is true.
Is There Anything In Real Life Like The NZT-48 Limitless Pill?
Who doesn’t want a pill that can help them to realize their full potential? The question that remains is this: is there a real life NZT-48 Limitless pill, or anything similar?
While there is no pill quite as powerful as NZT-48 available today, there is one pill that most neurohackers will agree comes the closest: Modafinil.
What is Modafinil (Nuvigil)?
Modafinil, also sold under brand names Provigil and Nuvigil, is a prescription drug sold in the US and Canada for those with narcolepsy, preventing sleep and boosting feelings of alertness. (1)
It is also used in the US military to promote wakefulness for soldiers. Additional benefits have been found, including improvements in memory, cognition, and focus.
It is not considered a stimulant, but rather a “wakefulness agent.” When it comes to top-performers who use nootropics, Modafinil is one of the most popular drugs used for the purpose of enhancing performance and overall cognitive function. This popularity is partly thanks to support from both Tim Ferriss and Dave Asprey.
What is Modafinil Made From?
Modafinil is a racemic mixture of R-modafinil and S-modafinil. R-modafinil is known as armodafinil, and it has a much longer half-life than the S-modafinil isomer.
What Does Modafinil Do?
Over the last decade, extensive research has been conducted on Modafinil, helping us to better understand the benefits that this drug offers.
1. Reduces Fatigue
Modafinil promotes wakefulness without the jitters that commonly accompany stimulants like Adderall. There have been numerous human studies examining these effects, with benefits found for those in the military, those with multiple sclerosis, and those undergoing sleep deprivation. (1,2,3)
In one study on healthy adults, 33 subjects were split into one of three groups: Modafinil, d-amphetamine (found in Adderall), or placebo. (3) All three groups were subjected to 60 hours of wakefulness following supplementation, with EEG (electroencephalography) testing, which measures brain waves, and alertness testing. This study found that Modafinil improved attention and reduced fatigue with similar potency to D-amphetamine.
2. Improves Cognition and Working Memory
Benefits in cognition have been found, particularly in those that are suffering from sleep deprivation. (2) Even studies on healthy adults have found benefits in cognition. (4)
In one study on 60 healthy adults with adequate sleep, it was found that those who took Modafinil experienced benefits in spatial planning, digit span, visual recognition memory, and SSRT (stop-signal reaction time) when compared to the placebo group. (4) These findings suggest that this drug can improve working memory. Participants reported feeling more energized, attentive, and alert while taking Modafinil.
3. Improves Reaction Time
Human studies have found benefits in both healthy adults as well as those suffering from sleep deprivation and drug addiction when it comes to reaction time. (4). These benefits are thought to be thanks to the boost in alertness that users experience.
4. Enhances Attention for Healthy People
Researchers have found that supplementation with this drug improves attention span of healthy adults who are sleep deprived. In fact, one study found that 300 mg of Modafinil was as effective at improving attention as 20 mg D-amphetamine, which is part of what makes up the drug Adderall. (3)
5. May Help Those with ADHD
In one study on children aged 7-17 with ADHD it was found that, in comparison to placebo, those who took Modafinil for six weeks experienced improvements in inattention, hyperactivity, and cognition. (5)
6. Increases Motivation
No matter who you are, you are likely to have struggled with finding motivation to complete tasks. In one study on healthy adults not undergoing sleep deprivation, 200 mg of this drug led to increased enjoyment and performance associated with cognitive tasks. (6)
7. Enhances Well-Being
We have all had those days where we wake up and are in an inexplicably positive mood. This mood can help us to be more productive, and enjoy our whole day to a greater extent.
Multiple studies have found that this nootropic boosts self-reported feelings of well-being. (6,7) In one of these studies, military personnel who had to be awake for 64 hours experienced improvements in mood and cognition when taking Modafinil or D-amphetamine, but not placebo. (7) In the other, healthy volunteers who had adequate sleep reported enhanced feelings of subjective well-being when completing cognitive tasks. (6)
These findings suggest that you may feel better both when healthy and when sleep deprived when supplementing with this drug.
8. Reduces Impulsivity
High baseline impulsivity has been implicated in those with addiction, including gambling and substance abuse. In studies examining addiction, Modafinil has been found to help reduce impulsivity and thus reduce tendencies towards addictive behaviors. (8,9) These include improvements in self-control with gambling and a reduction in symptoms of alcohol dependence in alcoholics who were abstaining.
How Does Modafinil Work
While the effects of Modafinil are similar to those of stimulants like Adderall, its mechanisms of action are quite different. This drug is believed to work largely through to the following mechanisms (2):
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in feelings of reward. Animal studies suggest that this drug increases extracellular dopamine levels in multiple regions of the brain. It is postulated that its ability to help individuals stay awake and boost feelings of subjective well-being is thanks to this mechanism.
This increase in dopamine is thanks to blocking the receptors that remove dopamine, rather than increasing the release of dopamine in the brain.
Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that impacts how alert we feel. Through increasing levels of norepinephrine, this drug can help to increase how long we can stay awake and how alert we feel.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for certain emotions, including feelings of happiness and well-being. Modafinil appears to elevate extracellular serotonin levels.
4. Glutamate and GABA
Glutamate is our primary excitatory neurotransmitter, with GABA acting in contrast to it as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Modafinil elevates extracellular glutamate levels in the hippocampus, striatum, and thalamus regions of the brain. It does so by boosting the release of glutamate. It has also been found to decrease the circulating levels of GABA in the brain. This mechanism is likely partly to thanks for the cognitive benefits and increased focus ability.
Orexin is a hormone involved in sleep and appetite. Narcoleptics have defective orexin levels, which is why they have difficulties staying awake. This drug has been shown to act directly on orexic neurons.
Histamine is involved in more than just allergies - it helps to mediate our sleep-wake cycle. By increasing histamine levels in our brain, this drug is thought to boost how awake we feel.
What is Modafinil (Nuvigil) Used For?
Nuvigil is prescribed for narcolepsy, a disorder characterized by inability to stay awake. It is also used for those who have shift work sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome, and by the military for helping soldiers stay alert when they must stay up for extended periods of time. This drug may also help those with ADHD or Multiple Sclerosis.
Outside of the clinical uses of Modafinil, off label use is common for helping to increase:
- Feelings of alertness
- Ability to stay awake
- Subjective well-being
- Focus and concentration abilities
- Memory function
- Overall cognition
How Fast Does Nuvigil Work?
Nuvigil has a half life of approximately 13-15 hours, with the S-isomer having a half-life of approximately 4-5 hours and the R-isomer a half-life of approximately 15 hours. You will notice the effects for anywhere from 6 to 12 hours on average.
Does Nuvigil Work Immediately?
The effects of Modafinil kick in after about 30-60 minutes following dosing. This will be faster if you take it sublingually, and a bit slower if you take it orally, particularly if you take it after eating.
Does Nuvigil Work like Adderall?
Nuvigil is similar to Adderall in its benefits, with both offering increased focus, attention span, ability to stay awake, and improved mood and feelings of well-being. However, there are many differences that are important to note.
Overall, Modafinil appears to be safer than Adderall. It does not offer the same jittery stimulation, even though it does provide a boost in energy. Additionally, it is not likely to be addictive or cause withdrawal symptoms, whereas Adderall consumption can lead to both of these.
Studies suggest that Modafinil improves cognition not only for those who are struggling with sleep deprivation, but for the general healthy adult population as well. (2,4) Adderall, on the other hand, has only been shown to help improve cognitive function in low performers. (10,11)
This is a crucial difference if you are looking to find a pill that can help you to perform better - Adderall may make you feel like you have improved memory and learning potential, but if you are a high performer, this effect is more than likely a placebo effect. Modafinil is a far better choice than Adderall for a nootropic drug.
If you are looking for a boost in energy that is accompanied by a good safety profile, a low risk of addiction, and improvements in memory and cognition, Modafinil is a better choice than Adderall.
What Does Modafinil Feel Like?
Within one hour of taking Modafinil, you will start to feel more focused and energetic. You are likely to experience a boost in how happy you feel and your overall well-being. When studying or taking an exam, you will remember things more easily. It will even help to improve your reaction time, which can be beneficial for finishing tasks quickly, or even playing sports.
Does Nuvigil Get You High?
This drug has a low addiction potential, and while it is likely to improve how you feel and how productive you are, it is not exactly what you would think of as a party drug. It will not get you high in the traditional sense of altering your perception of reality, however it will give you a mood and energy boost, which some may describe as a “high” feeling.
How Much Does Nuvigil Cost?
Prescription Provigil can vary in price widely depending on where you live and your insurance. In the US, you will find prescription prices ranging from $0 with plans like Medicaid, all the way up to around $60. It will be even more expensive if you do not have insurance.
If you are looking for non-prescription Modafinil, your best option is to order it online. Afinil Express and Modafinil Star are two of the best sources for this drug online, with prices ranging from $0.89-$2.80/pill, depending on where you purchase from and the quantity that you buy.
How to Buy the Smart Drug Modafinil/Nuvigil (NZT Pill) Online
In the United States and many other countries, this drug is only available with a prescription. Fortunately, there are reputable online vendors who purchase these drugs in countries where they are available over-the-counter and ship them around the world. Be careful to only purchase through reputable sites as there are many that will provide questionable products.
Afinil Express is a trusted Modafinil vendor that carries 2 forms of Modafinil and 2 forms of Armodafinil. Armodafinil is pure R-Modafinil, which means that it lasts longer than Modafinil. They offer discounts if you use Bitcoin or Altcoin to purchase. The options include:
1. Modalert: 200 mg Modafinil by Sun Pharma
2. Modvigil: 200 mg Modafinil by HAB Pharma
3. Waklert: 150 mg Armodafinil by Sun Pharma
4. Artvigil: 150 mg Armodafinil by HAB Pharma
5. Sample Pack
Modafinil Star is another trusted Modafinil supplier that carries the same Modafinil and Armodafinil as Afinil Express, plus one more Modafinil producer. They offer discounts for using Bitcoin and Altcoins.
1. Modalert: 200 mg Modafinil by Sun Pharma
2. Modvigil: 200 mg Modafinil by HAB Pharma
3. Waklert: 150 mg Armodafinil by Sun Pharma
4. Artvigil: 150 mg Armodafinil by HAB Pharma
5. Modafil MD: 200 mg Modafinil by INTAS
6. Sample Pack
NZT-48 Alternatives Better than Modafinil
Even though Modafinil is a safer alternative than Adderall for energy and focus, it is not without side effects. If you are looking for a nootropic supplement that is all-natural and will not only improve your cognition but also boost your brain health, there are numerous options out there for you to choose from.
Qualia Mind (Cost: $89+) is a powerful nootropic blend of 28 active ingredients designed to enhance concentration, particularly under demanding situations. It even offers a slight cognitive boost, mood benefits, and improved brain health.
You will notice that this supplement offers a more traditional stimulation when compared to Modafinil as it contains caffeine, taurine, and L-theanine. When it comes to brain health, it contains ingredients like DHA, Uridine, and CDP-Choline in order to support cell membrane health and boost cellular metabolism and energy.
Qualia Focus (Cost: $49+) is similar to Qualia Mind, except that it has fewer ingredients (24) with many at lower quantities, and comes at a cheaper price point. You will find similar benefits when it comes to concentration, reasoning, and mental acuity, however it does not have as many ingredients or as much of individual ingredients meant to promote cellular metabolism, brain health, and overall cognition.
It will offer similar noticeable stimulatory and concentration effects to Qualia Mind as it too has caffeine, taurine, and L-theanine.
Mind Lab Pro (Cost: $65) is an ideal option if you are looking for an all-natural nootropic capable of helping to optimize your learning and memory potential. When it comes to a study drug, this is a great choice.
It is made up of a blend of 11 nootropics, with each of these nootropics in an ideal form for bioavailability and quality. It is not a powerful stimulant, but instead improves learning, memory, and other cognitive functions tied to intelligence.
NooCube (Cost: $39.99) is an all-natural nootropic stack formulated to help improve focus, memory, and overall cognition. It is made up of seven herbs and antioxidants that have demonstrated efficacy in helping to achieve memory, focus, and mental speed. It is one of the more affordable options, however its one downside is that not all of the ingredients are in their most potent or bioavailable forms.
Our Top Brain Enhancement Supplements
- Effect of Modafinil on impairments in neurobehavioral performance and learning associated with extended wakefulness and circadian misalignment https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2904872/
- Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects of cognition https://www.nature.com/articles/1301534
- Distinctive effects of modafinil and d-amphetamine on the homeostatic and circadian modulation of the human waking EEG https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12552359
- Cognitive enhancing effects of modafinil in healthy volunteers https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12417966?dopt=Abstract&holding=npg
- Efficacy and safety of modafinil film-coated tablets in children and adolescents with ADHD… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16322134
- Effects of modafinil on non-verbal cognition, task enjoyment and creative thinking in healthy voluteers https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22820554
- Modafinil, d-amphetamine and placebo during 64 hours of sustained mental work… https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2869.1995.tb00172.x
- Effects of the atypical stimulant modafinil on a brief gambling… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18583430
- Effects of modafinil on neural correlates of response inhibition in alcohol-dependent patients https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22858150
- Mitigating risks of students use of study drugs through understanding motivations for sure and applying harm reduction theory: a literature review https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-8uaEVOAt-qRklreuCNqybQb2qQDAJ2GjsjA1WQ7afU/edit
- Prescription stimulants in individuals with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: misuse, cognitive impact, and adverse effects https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489818/