Learning & MemoryPodcast

Dr. Andrew Hill on Nootropics, DIY Neuroscience, and How to Increase Your Brain Power

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“I did a huge amount of neurofeedback and changed my brain… I basically eliminated my ADHD.”
— Dr. Andrew Hill

We’ve spent a lot of time in the first few episodes talking about memory techniques. We’ve met some world-renowned memory experts and gone deep into their techniques and how to use them. But we have yet to dive deeper into the brain itself, how it works, and how to make it function more optimally.

Today, that’s all about to change, as I welcome Dr. Andrew Hill. Dr. Hill holds a Ph.D in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA, and is currently focused on developing tools and technologies to help everyday citizens enhance their cognitive performance outside of the lab. He is currently the lead neuroscientist at TruBrain, an LA-based neurotic brain fitness startup, and the founding director of Alternatives Behavioral health and the Alternatives Brain Institute.

For me, brain performance has been one of the most interesting and alluring areas of personal development for many many years. As the command center for all of our functions, be it physical performance, intellectual output, or anything else, improvements to the brain are really the force multiplier when it comes to exceeding your potential. For this reason, it was incredible to have the opportunity to talk to an expert cognitive neuroscientist on everything from stimulants and nootropics to meditation, sleep, brain training, and even nutrition. In under an hour, we cover every imaginable method of how to increase brain power, mental performance, and intellectual longevity, and we offer a TON of practical steps you can and should take TODAY. I just know you’re going to LOVE this episode and share it with all of your friends.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The tragic event that drove Dr. Hill to devote his life to the study of cognitive neuroscience
  • How much does the brain really weigh – and does size matter?
  • Possible reasons why the brain of a mother would shrink during pregnancy
  • What’s going on in the field of neuroscience right now?
  • The emergence of at-home technology for measuring your brain – which ones work, which ones don’t?
  • Which metrics should we be measuring in our own brains to determine if they’re performing optimally?
  • What promise does technology that can track our brainwaves hold for the internet of things?
  • How to properly attach a wet-electrode to your own scalp – because why not?!
  • How much does it cost right now to get quality at-home measurement of your own brain?
  • What are ‘nootropics,’ what do they do, and how do they work to improve the brain?
  • Are Adderall, Caffeine, and other stimulants classified as nootropics, and how do they compare?
  • Who should and should not be taking nootropics?
  • A bit about the team at TruBrain and their nootropic line
  • Why tea is more effective at stimulating your brain than coffee
  • What are some other common nootropic compounds that may already be in your cabinet
  • How does one build a balanced nootropic stack, as Dr. Andrew Hill did with TruBrain?
  • What changes do we observe in the brain when nootropics are introduced?
  • Can natural nootropics be used to replace or supplement things like Ritalin or Adderall?
  • How Dr. Hill changed his brain to completely eliminate ADHD – permanently!
  • Meditation, and how it can change the brain
  • Neurofeedback training, and how it can change the brain permanently
  • What types of meditation does Dr. Hill practice and preach?
  • How much meditation does it take to see real benefits?
  • Two other important quick tips from Dr. Hill on how to improve your brain’s health and performance
  • What diet or nutritional regimen is actually best for the health of your brain?
  • A rant against carbs and why they’re considered the devil in neuroscience, too!
  • How waking up soon after dawn trains the brain and makes you more alert

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes:

“If you’re trying to some sort of cosmetic enhancement of your brain or your mind, my perspective is that the tradeoff  should be very carefully considered.”
“I don’t think it matters how much [meditation] you do every day – as long as you do it every day.
“Fat and protein are essential – but carbohydrate is not. You do not need to put any in your body to survive. And if you don’t eat many carbohydrates, your brain gets healthier, your sleep gets better, your skin gets better… and you get a six-pack!”


Jonathan Levi is an experienced entrepreneur and angel investor from Silicon Valley.

After successfully selling his Inc 5,000 rated startup in April of 2011, Levi enlisted the help of speed-reading expert and university professor Anna Goldentouch, who tutored him in speed-reading, advanced memorization, and more. Levi saw incredible results while earning his MBA from INSEAD, and later went on to teach a best-selling online course on the subject. With this unique skill, he has become a proficient lifehacker, optimizing and "hacking" such processes as travel, sleep, language learning, and fitness.

  • Excellent interview! I’ve done training at the EEG Institute with Dr. Othmer years ago and EEG Neurofeedback is an amazing way to help train the brain so that it functions optimally.

  • michelle

    Great podcast, I learned a lot! Very exiting to hear about various developments and products available to help us optimize our brain function. Dr Hill talks about using neurofeedback training as being more effective than medication and being 99% effective in treating ADHD. I didn’t know much about neurofeedback before but definitely want to learn more about it now.

  • Chris Bloker

    Healthy medicine can help our life. Doing everthing faster. Limitless Forte gives great effects.

  • axion101

    Well I can attest to the low carb thing. I wasn’t paying too much attention to my mental state, but at the time my skin cleared immensely. I’ll try tracking my mental state to see if it there’s a difference. If not I may have to check into nootropics.

    • Jonathan Levi

      We have a REALLY great episode on Nootropics coming in a couple weeks…