The Experts Tell All: Max Lugavere Reveals Truth Behind Brain-Hacking & Nootropics

Max Lugavere took the stage on Tuesday, July 23rd at The Roxy Cinema for a live recording of his Genius Life podcast, now rated the #1 Health podcast on iTunes, alongside Jason Bosley-Smith, MS, LDN, CNS, FDN, Director of Education at Designs for Health, to talk brain hacking, brain health, and nootropics 101.


Nootropics, which can be in the form of drugs or dietary supplements, have surged across vast consumer markets in recent years, sparking speculation about their safety, efficacy, what they are, how they work, and what ‘brain-hacking’ really means. “To me, let’s be honest, I’m not really hacking my brain, I’m hacking my environment to make it more akin to the kind of environment in which the brain is designed to not just survive, but to thrive. Our environment has become mutated, and I think in many ways its leading our brains to suffer,” explains Lugavere. “We all want to become smarter, better, faster and more mentally agile, so for me, foods are one of the best ways to ‘hack your brain’ - but there are other ways to as well, including resistance training, sleeping, meditating, and taking the right nootropic supplements to help support focus, attention and mental energy” he says.

Lugavere, whose mission is to discover ways to better overall brain health, is passionate about educating all generations, particularly younger ones, on how to best promote brain health via lifestyle interventions including nootropics. He says that when it comes to nootropics, there is no one answer on how safe and effective they are.

“From innocuous levels of caffeine to prescription attention medication, the umbrella of nootropics is too large to give a one-size fits all definition,” notes Lugavere, “Not all nootropic supplements are created equal, and this is something I learned when speaking with Dr. Danielle Citrolo from Kyowa Hakko. There is a huge misconception about this, and I think that with supplements there are always going to be bad apples in the industry…but when you stick with a brand name, it’s sort of like getting the better version of your favorite toilet paper as opposed to a supermarket brand.”

Dr. Danielle Citrolo weighs in, “Nootropics vary in function, with some promoting immediate ‘brain power’ results while others function to promote long-term brain health, this impacts how they make you feel and their benefits. The safety and efficacy of nootropic supplements really comes down to safe formulations with an established safe and effective dosage, good manufacturing practices, and the use of high-quality, researched-backed ingredients. It’s really important to understand ingredient integrity and formulaic interactions. Check to see if the ingredients used have been clinically studied on humans,” she advises.

“I believe that food is the best nootropic, but when it comes to nootropic supplements, I like to look for nutrients that are naturally occurring in the body, like Citicoline, which is a potent brain health nutrient we endogenously produce,” comments Lugavere.

“Citicoline serves as a choline donor, it provides the raw materials that your brain requires to create healthy fluid cell membranes. Membranes are the unsung heroes of our cognitive function and energy levels, and only 10% of adults get adequate choline in their diets. If the cell membrane doesn’t have the right combination or balance of stability and fluidity, it doesn’t function well. It really does start at the cellular level, and that’s why the phospholipid bilayer in the membrane is really vital, so supplementing with citicoline is great because it has research showing it can increase these important phospholipids,” states Lugavere.

Cognizin® is a branded form of Citicoline and can be found in a lot of different nootropics targeted for specific brain health benefits. Unlike other ingredients, Cognizin® isn’t chemically synthesized, it’s made by an innovative fermentation process to yield high-quality and purity. Its backed by research, and is clinically studied to support mental energy, focus and attention*.

In addition to nootropics, Lugavere announces that his ‘must-do brain-hacks’ to ‘live smarter, longer’ include eating genius foods, such as dark leafy greens, eggs, grass-fed beef and berries, to practice intermittent fasting, to do resistance training, to learn how to properly mediate, and to improve your sleeping patterns.

With a new book underway, Lugavere is often described as being “a new generation of bright light,” helping to bridge the gap between brain health and actionable, approachable principles for all ages worldwide. With the Global Nootropics Market expected to rise 15.7% between 2018 and 2024, according to Zion Market Research, Cognizin® is thrilled to broaden their educational platform on brain health and nootropics through inspiring minds like Max Lugavere’s.

Media inquiries please contact Sara White at or 212-693-2150.

About Max Lugavere Max Lugavere is a filmmaker, health and science journalist and the author of the New York Times best-selling book Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life. He is also the host of the #1 iTunes health podcast The Genius Life. Lugavere appears regularly on the Dr. Oz Show, the Rachael Ray Show, and The Doctors. He has contributed to Medscape, Vice, Fast Company, CNN, and the Daily Beast, has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, and in The Wall Street Journal. He is a sought-after speaker and has given talks at South by Southwest, TEDx, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Biohacker Summit in Stockholm, Sweden, and many others. From 2005-2011, Lugavere was a journalist for Al Gore’s Current TV. He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.

About Cognizin® Cognizin® Citicoline, manufactured by Kyowa Hakko Bio Co., Ltd., is a clinically studied and branded form of Citicoline, a natural substance made endogenously in the body and especially vital to brain health. * Citicoline is a potent brain-health nutrient. A proprietary form of citicoline, Cognizin® has been clinically studied to support mental energy, focus, attention, and recall. Cognizin is manufactured through a fermentation process to yield high quality and high purity. Cognizin is also highly stable, GRAS, ultra-pure and allergen-free.

About Kyowa Hakko USA Kyowa Hakko USA is the North American sales office for Kyowa Hakko Bio Co. Ltd. (Kyowa), an international health ingredients manufacturer and world leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and food products. Kyowa is the maker of branded ingredients including Cognizin® Citicoline, Pantesin®Pantethine, Setria® Glutathione, as well as Sustamine® L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine. For more information, visit

McGlade, E., Agoston, A. M., Dimuzio, J., Kizaki, M., Nakazaki, E., Kamiya, T., & Yurgelun-Todd, D. (2015). The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males. Journal of Attention Disorders,23(2), 121-134. doi:10.1177/1087054715593633

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