'It Turned Everything Around': How This CEO Conquered His ADHD Using Brain Boosters


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When he was eight years old, Dan Freed could not sit still in school.

“I remember coming home and bouncing off the walls. I was getting suspended. I’m in the principal’s office. They’re sending me to a psychiatrist,” Freed says. “People thought I was stupid, lazy, or unmotivated. I started to believe it.”

Doctors later diagnosed Freed with ADHD and prescribed the stimulant Adderall. This helped him focus, but also left him depressed and irritable.

It wasn’t until he was an adult that Freed discovered nootropics, nutrient compounds shown to support motivation, creativity, mood, memory, and cognitive processing.

“Nootropics turned everything around for me and helped me form the positive habits that I built my success on,” he says.

Freed is now the founder and CEO of Thesis, a leading nootropics company that makes specially formulated blends to enhance an individual’s personal neurochemistry. I spoke with him recently on my podcast One Day with Jon Bier about his personal and professional journey.

From chef to CEO

Early in Freed’s career, he became a saucier at Michelin-starred restaurants and an esteemed chef worldwide. He credits part of his success to his ADHD.

“It was my superpower,” he says. “As a chef, you’re constantly in the weeds doing five things at once, but I was able to concentrate on so many different things.”

But the work was also burning him out. He dreamed of taking the GMAT and going back to school. While working as an executive sous chef on a cruise ship, he learned how to run a successful operation from his boss, a former investment banker.

“One day, he said to me, ‘If you’re able to do all of this without an education, imagine what you could do with one,” Freed recalls.

Around this time, he discovered nootropics, which were a total game changer.

“I scored in the 99th percentile on the GMAT and earned a master’s degree from Yale and INSEAD,” he says. “For years, I was always on and off Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, every couple of months,” he says. “But nootropics were the first thing where I’m like, hey, this is sustainable. It doesn’t have these side effects. I was able to make meaningful progress and be more productive and creative.”

Related: How to Upgrade Your Brain to Boost Focus and Productivity

Solving a problem

Freed’s newfound appreciation for nootropics changed the trajectory of his life, but it wasn’t without its challenges.

For one, he realized early on that nootropics weren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. He couldn’t find a product in the market that was the perfect formulation for him.

“I was constantly experimenting with different ingredients, dosages, combinations to find what worked,” Freed says. “When I found something that worked, it was much better than anything I could find on the market. And that was when it clicked: How can we get this tailored experience?”

A business idea was born.

Freed and his team tried out various combinations of different dosages and ingredients on a test group of 2,500 people until they got the desired results. The result was Thesis–nootropic blends formulated for different outcomes, including logic, creativity, motivation, energy, clarity, and confidence.

Freed says, “Nootropics is a data science problem. The solution is to get a massive amount of customer data on how they respond to different ingredients and formulations.”

New product line

On the podcast, Freed also talks about a new product line they have developed called Stasis, which he describes as “supplements that are synergistic with stimulants.”

Unlike Thesis, which is tailored to replace the effects of pharmaceutical stimulants such as Adderall, Stasis is designed to complement these drugs.

“We’re able to find the right ingredients for the right person based on their genetics and their goals and knowing this person’s taking a stimulant that very predictably altered their brain chemistry,” he explains.

So far, customers have given the product exceptional reviews.

“I’ve been formulating for almost a decade now, and I’ve never seen such a positive response from any product,” Freed says.

Related: How Leaders Can Help Employees With ADHD Succeed in Remote Work



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