Is A Real-Life Limitless Pill Possible?

Benjamin Martin - 19 April 2021

Real-life limitless pill

Ever since the 2011 film Limitless hit the big screen, the idea of cognitive enhancers has hit the mainstream. It’s an idea that’s been touted by the media for years, both in news and fiction: take a pill with breakfast and you'll become a genius.

Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley dream about this sort of product, one that turns you into a prodigious figure able to make millions in weeks, learn languages in days and finish complicated projects in hours. All from swallowing a capsule containing some enigmatic compound.

Is it possible? Could Limitless soon be a documentary?

We all know that it’s a bit beyond our current level of knowledge on the human brain. It may be beyond us forever, as the human mind has its limits. But, it is certainly an appealing fantasy.

And it does raise the question: can a pill really enhance your brain in such a way?

Can something really make you smarter and help you become limitless?


  • What kind of real-life Limitless pill alternatives already exist?
  • Can a real-life Limitless pill actually make you smarter?
  • Conclusion - our favourite real-life Limitless pill

What kind of real-life Limitless pill alternatives already exist?

Quick-fix brain enhancers have actually been around for centuries.

Coffee, for example, is often consumed for its nootropic effects, and foods to boost your brain are often used by indigenous peoples such as the Guarani.

But the kind of performance boosting pill we all want, a true limitless pill, has only become even slightly viable over the last hundred years.

Amphetamines have been used since the 1930s for stimulant and cognition-enhancing effects, while racetams, eugeroics (like modafinil) and methylphenidate were all invented in the middle decades of the 20th century.

These pharmaceuticals are intended to combat disorders such as narcolepsy, but they are also used by amateur brain hackers off-label to try and boost their brain power. These brain enhancers can provide some benefits.

Modafinil has been found to boost levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help people who are already deficient in these chemicals. Ritalin, an amphetamine, can be used to increase uptake of dopamine to improve cognitive function.

There’s frequently an increase to alertness and focus as a result of using these pharmaceuticals as cognitive enhancers. However, these effects are ephemeral. After a few hours, or a day or two, the positive effects of the drugs will wear off.

It’s also quite possible that tolerance will form, necessitating a greater dose of the drug to produce the same effect. They ultimately may make you less sharp after using them thanks to tolerance or dependency, so you have to buy more and more just to remain at your ‘base’ level of cognition.

Smart drugs tend to also have a bevvy of side effects associated with them. Headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite and many other potential problems might arise from using pharmaceuticals as brain enhancers.

The legality of these products also makes their ingredients dubious; prescription drugs bought online could contain almost anything, and this is often the only way to acquire them as study drugs. If you'd like to avoid these side effects, natural nootropics are your best bet.

Aside from pharmaceutical options, you can also get naturally-sourced cognitive enhancers.

Matcha tea, guarana, Panax ginseng and plenty of other natural ingredients are all historically prized for their brain-enhancing effects. They might have more lasting effects too, while still providing short-term benefits to cognition.

They are still effective, with far fewer side effects than pharmaceutical smart drugs.

Additionally, food-based supplements are much easier to source legally. This means that they avoid most of the concerns over the purity of their ingredients, as they are bought, sold and regulated openly.

Food supplements are lower-risk, their ingredients are frequently the subject of lots of research, and they still provide cognition-enhancing effects for those who consume them.

Therefore, it seems that it certainly is possible to increase cognitive function. However, we are not at the level that NZT from Limitless can provide (yet).

Can a real-life Limitless pill actually make you smarter?

Thousands of students, entrepreneurs and professionals around the world testify to the brain-boosting effects of substances such as modafinil, Adderall and Ritalin.

Whilst they can provide you with some benefits, unfortunately, they are not at the level of an actual Limitless pill just quite yet.

By taking NZT-48, Eddie was able to unlock some huge potential in his brain and boost his analytical skills through the roof. He turns from a listless author to a successful CEO, making millions on the stock market in weeks.

The drug takes his brain and almost turns it into something else entirely, making him hypercompetent. He’s definitely smarter in some ways and seems to be able to acquire knowledge at a superhuman rate.

Any products, neither pharmaceutical nor natural, will achieve this. You can’t become a high-flying stockbroker overnight, just from swallowing a pill or eating special food.

As mentioned earlier, the human mind has its limits; it’s simply not feasible to push it as far as the fictional Limitless pill does. However, what these cognitive enhancers can do is make you better at becoming smart.

‘Smarter’ is, of course, a subjective word, but many cognitive enhancers can give you the productivity you need to grow more intelligent, more knowledgeable and (potentially) smarter - thus, kind of, becoming Limitless.

Smart drugs or natural nootropics can help boost you towards your end goal. Therefore, they might be able to make you more successful.

What I mean is: if you consume something that increases your productivity, makes you motivated to work, and more inclined to follow through rather than procrastinate, you will probably be more successful and could be said to be Limitless.

As long as side effects don’t diminish your productivity, like those associated with pharmaceuticals might, you’ll stand to be more successful in your studies or work - and if that’s what you’re looking for, cognitive enhancers might be a good option for you.

Ultimately, an increase in ‘smartness’ is very hard to quantify. As stated earlier, ‘smartness’ is subjective. It might be seen as either innate in a person or changing day-to-day based on their mental state, and as a result, it’s difficult to say if a drug or food can make you ‘smarter’.

If you define intelligence as reasoning ability, a cognitive enhancer most likely can make you smarter; but, if you see it as proficiency in a practical skill, cognitive enhancers probably couldn’t grant you that kind of smartness.

The truth is that there are food supplements and drugs out there which can increase some aspects of mental function, which might be connected with intelligence. In that sense, they can be considered as real-life Limitless pills.

Conclusion - our favourite real-life Limitless pill

In our opinion, natural nootropics are the way to go. Their results are as effective while being less disruptive than pharmaceuticals, and they are safer than pharmaceutical smart drugs.

Natural cognitive enhancers tend to be perfectly safe if consumed in moderation. There’s a lot of research done on superfoods, herbs and amino acids used in natural supplements, as they’ve been around for a lot longer than smart drugs, and most food-supplement based cognitive enhancers are legal in the UK.

This makes them much more dependable than synthetic study drugs.

We recommend trying Brainzyme Focus Pro 

Brainzyme 30 Day Challenge

This is a food supplement that works like a real-life Limitless pill, without side effects.

Brainzyme Focus Pro is specifically designed to provide a smooth, 100% plant-powered boost in energy which lasts for 8 hours whilst also helping you feel motivated and focused.

These fast-acting supplements are easily absorbed to help you achieve the “flow state” shortly after taking them. Whilst in the flow state, you will feel yourself working extremely efficiently without feeling under pressure.

As a result, you’ll find that your satisfaction at completing tasks is increased, keeping you motivated to carry on at a consistent level of high focus and concentration.

Brainzyme Focus Pro's advanced formula contains plant extracts, vitamins and minerals that are scientifically proven to support concentration, cognition, energy, memory and mental performance.

It has been formulated with ingredient research from leading neuro-cognitive and nutritional experts, including the 18-member panel at EFSA.

Unlike with pharmaceuticals, you will not experience a crash in energy levels or any of the side effects that consuming a lot of synthetic cognitive enhancers may cause.

Discover Brainzyme

About the author

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast who has tried every type of performance-boosting supplement under the sun. At Brainzyme, he uses his expertise to produce educational content for the Nootropics UK and Brain Supplements UK blogs.

Based in Edinburgh, Benjamin loves spending his free time in nature whenever he gets the chance.

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