Supplements for Creativity

Supplements for Creativity

Supplements for Creativity
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Creativity is essential to living a fulfilling life.  It is also the key to the progression of society.  Seeing potential in everyday things is a beautiful skill.  More importantly, anyone from artists to day traders can improve their creative ability and benefit from a new-found perspective. 

Sleep Paves the Way to Creativity

General creativity involves letting the mind wander to find unexpected connections.  This applies to art, conversations, and even academics.  It’s common knowledge that getting a good night of sleep is crucial to staying sharp between the ears.  During a standard eight hours of sleep, most individuals have up to seven dreams!  Those seven dreams are seven opportunities to improve your creativity.

Dreams allow the mind to think much more visually and creatively.  [1] Lucid dreaming is when an individual is aware he or she is dreaming and can possibly change some aspects of the current dream. [2] One study surveying 334 participants found that lucid dreamers scored higher on creative scores. [2] The same study also found that lucid dreamers were more likely to incorporate real-life events into their dreams. [2]

Stepping into the realm of lucid dreaming opens the door that connects the conscious to the subconscious.  Increased creativity allows you to step out of your normal behavioral patterns to offer a different perspective.  Doing so allows you to see the things that you normally don’t.  Furthermore, there’s no risk!  You can fly without the risk of falling, swim without the risk of drowning, and interact with people without the risk of being awkward.

Supplements Pave the Way to Lucid Dreaming

Dreams occur during the REM stage of sleep. [3] This stage is also the deepest sleep state. Inability to fall asleep, poor sleep quality, and the inability to visualize thoughts are the most common inhibitors of REM sleep and, subsequently, lucid dreaming.

Fall Asleep Faster

Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep.  It is the go-to supplement for individuals that lay in bed, staring at the wall while they wish sleep would come knocking on the door.  Melatonin supplementation can decrease sleep latency, the time it takes to fall asleep. [4] Unlike many common sleep aids, melatonin rarely leads to morning grogginess.  In fact, in a study observing participants that consumed either melatonin or a placebo, the melatonin group noted improved morning alertness. [4] In addition, melatonin has antioxidant properties and can even acutely improve lipid profiles. [5]

Sleep Quality

Poor sleep quality and the inability to fall asleep go hand in hand. If one cannot fall asleep, then sleep quality cannot be assessed. If falling asleep isn’t the issue, but you wake up often or experience daytime fatigue, glycine may be the supplement for you.  Waking up frequently reduces the amount of REM sleep, in turn preventing lucid dreaming.

Glycine supplementation reduces the amount of time it takes to get into the REM stage of the sleep cycle. [6] Although the mechanism behind this isn’t fully understood, it’s likely due to glycine’s ability to act as a neurotransmitter. [7] One study observing participants struggling with sleep difficulties noted that glycine supplementation improved sleep quality. Improved sleep quality allowed optimal cognitive function despite inhibited sleep.  [6]

Glycine has several nootropic properties which are also likely due to its neurotransmitter properties. Significant improvements in attention span can occur when supplementing with glycine. [8] Additional improvements in memory have been found in both young and middle-aged consumers. [8] Even in times of impaired sleep quality/quantity, glycine can enhance memory. [6] Glycine is known for being a very mild supplement, and it’s perfect for individuals who just want to feel refreshed in the morning instead of taking a supplement that renders them unconscious.

Visualize Your Dreams

Some individuals think visually. For everyone else, there’s DMAE. Information visualization occurs in the part of the brain known as the reticular formation. [1] DMAE supplementation can increase activity in the reticular formation which enhances the ability to think visually. [1] Consuming DMAE before sleep can increase the likelihood of lucid dreaming by improving the ability to visualize thoughts. Since the dream state is when the mind is already operating vividly, supplementing with DMAE acts synergistically to induce lucid dreaming.

Interestingly, DMAE causes arousal during REM sleep, yet it improves sleep quality. [1] In general, arousal and sleep are contradicting; however, DMAE achieves this feat through a mechanism that research has yet to pinpoint. 

Creative Problem-Solving

Difficult problems require unique solutions. Figuring out why a business is failing or simply brainstorming ideas for a research paper requires creative problem solving. After all, no two businesses are similar, and normal papers are dull.

Finding the solution to a problem requires two types of thinking: Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking.

An example of divergent thinking is brainstorming. It consists of thinking of all of the possibilities without deeply exploring each topic. Quantity is more important than quality in respect to divergent thinking.

Convergent thinking is finding one solution to one problem. It is the logical, step-by-step path to finding the answer. Math problems are a simple example of convergent thinking. 

Both types of thinking necessitate the area of the brain known as the pre-frontal cortex (PFC). The PFC connects every area of the brain to adjust thoughts and actions according to the current situation or goal. [9, 10] Creative problem-solving increases prefrontal cortex activity significantly. [10, 11] The PFC has 5 major functions in the creative problem-solving process:

  1. Assessing the problem and the goal
  2. Pulling information from the context of the problem [9]
  3. Collecting information from the long-term memory (textbook information, past experiences, etc.) [9]
  4. Connecting #2 and #3 [9]
  5. Visualizing the solution [9]

Supplements for Creative Solutions

Divergent Thinking

Brainstorming is built on a foundation of seemingly random ideas and concepts arranged in a cohesive and applicable nature. Optimal divergent thinking relies on the ability to put together all of the possible solutions to a problem. The purpose of divergent thinking is to come up with solutions that are unique or unconventional. Tesla Motors is a perfect example of utilizing creativity in the form of divergent thinking to develop unforeseen solutions to major world problems.


Once consumed and absorbed, Aniracetam immediately begins increasing extracellular levels of dopamine and serotonin in the prefrontal cortex. [12] As previously mentioned, the prefrontal cortex is the brain region of interest when it comes to divergent thinking.  [10] In addition to augmenting neurotransmitter release in the PFC, Aniracetam can also increase levels of acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin in the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory known as the hippocampus. [12] Aniracetam supplementation can also modulate a type of receptor that plays major roles in long-term potentiation, NMDA receptors. [12] 

In the long run, Aniracetam can open up new creative pathways in the mind.  Aniracetam is in a class of nootropics known as ampakines. Ampakines can increase the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). [13] BDNF levels have a positive correlation with signal transmission and synaptic plasticity. [14]

The combined effects of Aniracetam are synergistic to improving creativity. Modulating the release of crucial neurotransmitters in the parts of the brain responsible for creativity, logic, and memory offers immediate benefits. Allowing the brain to readily branch out and create new pathways furthers the long-term creative benefits of Aniracetam. Meanwhile, the other benefit of increased BDNF levels, improved signal transmission, improves the efficacy of the previously mentioned mechanisms. [14]


Stacking Aniracetam with a choline source is common practice due to Aniracetam modulating acetylcholine release. Many overlook centrophenoxine as a choline source.  Supplementing with centrophenoxine can quickly and efficiently increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. [15] Centrophenoxine is particularly useful for individuals looking to improve memory as its cholinergic effects have a strong affinity for the hippocampus. [15] Increased blood flow in the brain can also occur following centrophenoxine supplementation. [16] With Aniracetam increasing the activity in the part of the brain that influences creativity and Centrophenoxine improving blood flow to the brain, the combination could provide the optimal stack for creative problem solving.

Convergent Thinking

Divergent thinking necessitates a broad view of topics to develop possible solutions. Convergent thinking, on the other hand, provides the depth that cannot be achieved with divergent thinking.  Focus, logic, and patience are crucial to optimal deep thinking. 


L-Tyrosine supplementation can improve convergent thinking by acting as a precursor to catecholamines. [17, 18] L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is made from phenylalanine.  While the body can produce it, supplementation can cause significant increases in plasma levels of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. [18] Modulating the production of neurotransmitters improves neurotransmitter signaling and can even positively influence mood. L-Tyrosine improves memory, focus, and overall cognitive performance via its effects on catecholamines. [18] The frustration of finding the solution to a difficult problem can be remedied by L-Tyrosine thanks to its ability to improve these areas of cognitive function.  [17]

Final Thoughts

The first step to improving overall creativity is getting enough sleep. If falling asleep is the problem, melatonin may be the solution. For individuals that struggle to stay asleep, supplementing with L-Glycine may be the remedy. After good sleep has been established, lucid dreaming offers an opportunity to delve into the depths of the mind. The dream state is when creativity is at its highest. Supplementing with DMAE can make dreams more vivid, complementing the creative essence of the dream state. Lucid dreaming at night can also improve creativity during the day.

Individuals looking to specifically improve creative problem-solving abilities should try breaking down the process into divergent thinking and convergent thinking. The goal of divergent thinking is to come up with a plethora of possible solutions to a problem. Supplementing with Aniracetam can improve divergent thinking by simultaneously boosting creativity and logic. [12] Convergent thinking acts as the filter for divergent thinking and is the more logical and in-depth of the two ways of thinking. The goal of convergent thinking is to find the best solution to the problem. Supplementing with L-Tyrosine can alleviate the stress of solving difficult problems by improving convergent thinking. [17]


  8. File, Sandra E., Emma Fluck, and Cathy Fernandes. “Beneficial Effects Of Glycine (Bioglycin) On Memory And Attention In Young And Middle-Aged Adults.” Journal Of Clinical Psychopharmacology 19.6 (1999): 5506-512. PsycINFO. Web. 18 Apr. 2016
  14. Belzung, C., Wigmore, P., & Ohio Library and Information Network. (2013;2014;). Neurogenesis and neural plasticity (1st ed.). New York;Berlin;: Springer.



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