T Nation

Smart Drugs


#1

Have any of the T-mag readers tried some of the so-called "smart drugs" (Piracetam, Vinpocetine, Hydergine etc.)?
What was the effect? Is it worth taking?
Does it have any applications for strength and/or endurance athletes?
The reason why I am asking is because I train both strength and endurance athletes and some of them would like to try them.


#2

I'm neither a strength nor endurance athlete; but I do
weight train for bodybuilding and health benefits. I have
used all three of the smart drugs you mentioned, and I do
think they could have significant applicability to strength
athletes. I think they would be less useful for endurance
athletes. Smart drugs can increase focus during weight
training. I have noticed my strength go up while using
them. This may be due to greater motor unit recruitment,
but we don't know this for sure. Poliquin seems to be in
favor of smart drugs for strength training athletes. I've
found that there is a lot of individual variability as to
which drugs work best for each individual, so your athletes
will have to see what works best for each of them. For
example, vinpocetine and piracitam work well for me, but
I have a bad reaction to hydergine. Yet other people love
hydergine. They aren't too expensive, so I would say they
are worth giving a shot.


#3

As Free pointed out, it really varies from individual to individual. I've never had much luck with "smart drugs", but I know of a lot of people who swear by them. It's definately worth looking into for your strength atheletes.


#4

I have just finished reading Dean and Morgenthalers book "Smart Drugs" and apparently these drugs are pretty safe. Therefore I will test Piracetam and Vinpocetine on some of the strength and endurance athletes I train.
Is it possible to stack these drugs with supplements like Power Drive and MD6 or should I avoid such products when using smart drugs?


#5

I think the smart drugs may also have value for endurance athletes. It has yet to be evaluated experimentally (as far as I'm aware) but they may alleviate central fatigue in some individuals. The problem is, there are so many factors which may contribute to central fatigue and the testing protocols are so darn long that it's a nightmare to evaluate, but my gut feeling tells me they are beneficial. We have had some success in this regard with PowerDrive. I would stay away from MD6 with the endurance athletes, other than for weight loss, though. I have alluded to this on the website before. The characteristics which make MD6 such an effective weight loss product (thermogenesis, stimulation, uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation) really zap power output or work capacity over extended middle to high intensity bouts. It's great for bringing the athlete's weight down in the pre-season though.