Nootropics to Raise Your Social Acuity

Accurately understanding the state of mind of those around and closest to you can benefit you in a number of ways; comprehending individual boundaries within your social circle, as well as knowing what to say, how to say it, and when it is appropriate to speak. But possibly the most useful aspect of one’s social perception is being able to assess and utilize information within different professional situations, like job interviews, to your advantage. You can train yourself to pick up certain cues in these situations, but many things can prevent us from being able to accurately ascertain these hints. Two of the biggest factors [1] that inhibit us from correctly understanding those around us are low moods and social anxiety, both of which tend to hinder our ability to socialize in the first place. In order to offset the negative effects of these obstacles, and eventually rebuild our understanding of our close relationships, a supplement of the nootropic Piracetam has been shown to encourage improvement in these areas.

What is Piracetam?

Classified under the umbrella of the nootropic racetams, Piracetam [2] is a derivative of the essential neurotransmitter GABA, the primary neurotransmitter in the human body. Piracetam has been used and studied since the early 1970s as an aid in age related cognitive impairment, increased mental capacity and activity, and as an over the counter supplement for low moods and anxiety. When taken orally, Piracetam has the unique abilities of near complete absorption within the body and ease of transition between the blood and brain barrier.

How can Piracetam help?

The first step towards an improved social awareness begins with boosting mood and lowering anxiety. Piracetam [2, 3] has been shown to decrease the negative symptoms associated with these conditions through the improved functioning and communication between neurotransmitters in the body as well as proper activity in neural pathways. Piracetam [3] also helps to increase the influx of calcium into the neuronal cells to further bolster neurotransmitter actions at synaptic junctions. Additionally, due to its anxiolytic properties, Piracetam [4] has been shown to decrease antisocial behavior brought on by anxiety. A recent study [4] demonstrated that Piracetam produced no sedative like side effects, bolstered production of the happy hormone Serotonin, and ultimately operated just as effectively as different prescription antidepressants. In order to properly function within different social settings, and subsequently increase the understanding of friends and relations, one must be able to overcome personal shortcomings as to place themselves in a position to effectively communicate with those around them.

Sources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3783401
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracetam
  3. http://link.springer.com/article/10.2165%2F11319230-000000000-00000
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/95599

Galantamine for Lucid Dreaming

Have you ever remembered a dream so vividly or so expertly that it felt as though you may have been an active participant in your dream’s contents?

Have you ever experienced the feeling of knowing you were asleep and dreaming? If so, you may have experienced what is commonly called a lucid dream.

A lucid dream [2] is a state during dreams where the individual dreaming is consciously aware that they are indeed inside of their own dream. During a lucid dream, the individual has been shown to have some level of control over the contents and experiences inside of their imaginary world.

Different scientific studies have been conducted researching the environments, diets, and supplements involved in the initiation of lucid dreaming. One such supplement studied for its inherent ability to increase the chance of experiencing a lucid dream is the alkaloid Galantamine.

How to use Galantamine for Lucid Dreaming

The supplement Galantamine [1] is obtained from the flowers and bulbs of numerous different plants and its use has been studied since the early 1950s. Traditionally, users took Galantamine for age related memory loss. However, since the interest in the concept and study of lucid dreaming has began to rise, more individuals have expressed a desire to experience this phenomenon. Different research [3, 4] has been conducted concerning Galantamine and has indicated that the supplement greatly increases your chances of lucid dreaming.

Galantamine [1, 3, 4] creates an environment through which your chances of experiencing lucid dreaming are increased through two major processes; first, Galantamine stops the deterioration process of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, and second, actually increases production of acetylcholine through the stimulation of different cholinergic receptors.

Additionally [4], an increase in REM density and a decrease in the latency of REM have been observed of the individual taking Galantamine. The increase in REM further enables the instance of lucid dreaming. It is important to remember that when attempting to procure a lucid dream, the faster the individual reaches REM sleep, the higher the chance of reaching the goal.

Another way [4] to use Galantamine to help to induce lucid dreaming is through a structured sleep instance in which the individual is allowed to sleep so as to enter REM sleep as one normally would during regular sleep patterns. These are the steps involved in the structured sleep example:

  • Allow the individual to asleep for 4 to 5 hours to ensure they are in a state of REM sleep.
  • Gently wake the sleeping individual so they make ingest a dose of Galantamine.
  • Once they have taken the supplement, allow them to immediately fall back into the previously achieved REM sleep.

Once the supplement has been digested, all of the necessary conditions for the individual to experience and enjoy a lucid dream have been secured.

Sources

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galantamine
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucid_dream
  3. www.freepatentsonline.com
  4. http://lucidconsciousness.com

Phenibut: Nootropic or Not?

Phenibut nootropic supplements help with brain health.One of the beautiful things about supplements is they usually have more than one beneficial purpose. It is especially nice when the benefits of a supplement cross into the nootropic category and provide cognitive enhancement. Occasionally, there is a bit of debate as to whether or not a supplement can be considered a nootropic. A current example is Phenibut, a supplement discovered in the 1960’s with anti-anxiety and calming properties.

Phenibut is a crystallized, powdery GABA derivative that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and, when it enters the brain, acts as a GABA receptor agonist. By acting in a similar fashion as GABA, phenibut helps carry the burden of brain chemicals that can cause stress and tension resulting in an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect. Since it works on the same receptor sites as certain prescription drugs, phenibut is often compared to barbiturates and other substances used for anxiety. The main difference between phenibut and these substances, is that phenibut doesn’t cause drowsiness like most popular anti-anxiety medications can. It’s included in the cosmonaut medical kit as a treatment for stress and anxiety for this exact reason. Phenibut also enhances dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is critical to daily function and helps control movement, emotions, response to rewards, and the brain’s pleasure center.

Phenibut is primarily used for the following:

  • Stress – The overall effect of phenibut on the GABA receptors help blunt the impact of stress.
  • Social Anxiety – Helps reduce tension felt around large or unfamiliar groups
  • Sleeplessness – Phenibut can have a relaxing effect and help bring on sleep in the evening
  • Mood Enhancer – Phenibut is used to enhance mood or help reduce trauma related stress

Without a doubt, phenibut has some properties that could be beneficial to most people. But does it act as a nootropic? Can it help boost cognition? Yes, evidence points to the effects of phenibut enhancing cognition:

  • Improved cross-hemisphere brain communication. Phenibut was used in an animal study to increase the amplitude of response from one side of the brain to other. A single dose of phenibut was effective in improving the response and confirmed the efficacy of phenibut as a supplement used for learning and memory.
  • More relaxed thinking. As a basis for cognitive enhancement, the reduction of stress is key. A state of stress and anxiety puts the body in position where it essentially feels unsafe. Even without adding any additional properties, reducing the amount of stress a person is under and relaxing the mind takes the brain and body out of survival mode and allows other thoughts to flow more freely.
  • Improving sleep quality. Improving sleep also has downstream cognitive benefits. Sleep gives the brain and the body enough time to rest, recover and reset, thus providing an optimal environment for focus, memory, learning and thinking.

If you’re looking to help increase calmness and also boost brain power as well, phenibut is a great supplement to test out.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19334513
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenibut

Racetam Review and Comparison: Best Racetam for Studying?

For students at any level, be it high school, college, or even professionals looking to continue learning in their field, study plays a big part in the learning process.

The objective of studying material is essentially to first understand the topic, be able to remember it on a factual level and then be able to apply it to the real world.  This entire process of taking in and synthesizing information takes a lot of brainpower, focus, concentration and motivation.

This can be particularly difficult in today’s busy society, demanding more and more of your time. Many students work multiple jobs to cover exorbitant college tuitions.

Finding time to studying and then actually buckling down to properly absorb the information isn’t always easy, but it can be made simpler and more effective with the right study techniques and help from some cost-effectvive nootropic supplements.

Best Racetam for Studying

Racetams, a widely-used family of nootropics, are ideal for studying. There are different racetams though, so one question that often comes up is which is the best racetam for studying?

When it comes to studying, racetams as a whole provide a host of effects that can help you when you’ve got your nose in a book:

  • Improved memory and recall (short and long)
  • Increased focus and concentration
  • Improved intellectual clarity
  • Alertness
  • General feelings well-being

There are four racetams commonly used today: Piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam, and pramiracetam. Each one of them follows the same basic mechanism of action, but vary in strength and exact benefits. I find some racetams reviews can be misleading so I’ve outlined my own thoughts on each of these four racetams below.

Racetams Defined

Piracetam

Piracetam is the original and most popular racetam. It’s often seen as a starter for racetam users as it’s less potent than the others. Make no mistake though, piracetam is a great nootropic and its efficacy is backed by tons of clinical and anecdotal evidence. For studying, it can help retention and focus.

Aniracetam

Aniracetam has also been used for quite some time. Not only is Aniracetam is stronger than piracetam, one of the most noted differences is the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect it provides. In addition to helping with memory retention and focus, it helps you feel more calm and relaxed.

Students and professionals alike both have high-stress lives and easing the stress is an added bonus that can help mental performance and the negative byproduct of stress. Anecdotal feedback is that aniracetam can be a good study aid for subjects that require creative thinking.

Oxiracetam

Oxiracetam VS Aniracetam is a common battle between nootropic fanatics. Oxiracetam is an alternative to aniracetam that’s been described as having more of a stimulating and motivating effect than aniracetam. In contrast to aniracetam, oxiracetam is described as being helpful when studying logical, linear subjects like math.

Pramiracetam

Pramiracetam is the strongest of the racetams, being 10-30x more potent than piracetam. Like oxiracetam, it has a stimulatory effect, but is amplified further. This can provide even more motivation and study. It is also a very effective supplement for memory enhancement and recall.

So Which is the Best Racetam?

Since all of the racetams are proven to be effective, it can be difficult to choose only one as the best racetam. If you’re new to racetams, piracetam is a great start. Beyond that, user feedback seems to indicate that it’s a bit subjective and open to personal preference and goals. For example, a math student may find oxiracetam more beneficial while a literature student may enjoy aniracetam more. Ultimately, it comes down to trying one out and finding the best for you.

Hordenine and PEA (Phenylethylamine) Supplements

Falling in love or having a crush on someone can be a very powerful feeling. The exhilarating rush makes everything else seem insignificant.

An often overlooked part of the whole idea, especially when you’re in the middle of the emotions, is that the rush is all a result of a chemical cocktail mixed by the brain.

Even though it’s more fun to get the chemicals flowing naturally, two supplements, the PEA Hordenine combo, can help mimic the same euphoria felt with that kind of intense happiness while improving brain function, boosting physical performance, and also helping you burn fat.

PEA Phenylethylamine Supplement Benefits

Phenylethylamine (also known by the much easier to pronounce acronym ‘PEA’) is a natural alkaloid found throughout nature in animals and plants. It is a neuromodulator and neurotransmitter.  Individuals often use PEA as a dietary supplement to boost mood and energy. When metabolized, PEA acts similarly to an amphetamine by releasing a special mix of the endorphins norepinephrine and dopamine and speeding up the flow between nerve cells.

Due to this, it’s come to be known as the “love molecule” or an infatuation inducing stimulant and creates the high or euphoria felt when in love. There seems to be an optimal range of PEA within the body as people who have problems focusing their attention often have low levels of PEA, while people with certain psychological issues often have abnormally high levels.

If PEA sounds like it’s too good to be true, that’s because it is. When used alone, PEA is quickly made inactive by monoamine oxidase (MAO). This means very little reaches the brain and even if it does, the effects don’t last very long.

Phenylethylamine Hordenine Benefits

This is where hordenine comes in. Hordenine is an alkaloid extracted from specific type of cactus and in the class of PEA-related chemicals. It also affects levels of norepinephrine within the body and is used as a stand alone supplement for energy, weight loss, body composition, and improved cognitive function.

But when it relates to PEA, the most sought after effects of hordenine are for it acting as an MAO inhibitor. Since MAO quickly breaks down PEA when it’s metabolized, the effects are short lasting. But when combined with the MAOI-like effects of a supplement like hordenine, the positive feelings from PEA can carry on much longer and possibly be amplified.

While the chemical effects of stacking hordenine phenylethylamine are the same, they benefit users in a variety of ways from a planned euphoria during social events on the weekends to energetic, focused workouts. The main uses of PEA/Hordenine are:

  • Induce a positive mood
  • General euphoric feelings
  • Focus and concentration
  • Energy before a workout
  • Fat loss (Stimulant)

If you are interested in testing out a combo of hordenine phenylethylamine, especially if you’re mixing bulk powders, you will likely have to experiment to find the dosage that works best for you. Some users like to take 15-30mg of Hordenine with 300-500mg PEA.

As always, it’s best to start on the lower end of the dosage spectrum and slowly work up from there.

Hordenine and PEA (Phenylethylamine) Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hordenine

http://xray.bmc.uu.se/Courses/Bke1/1998/Projects/Lovechem/projekt.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenethylamine

Lessening the Severity of Brain Damage with Nootropics

Brain damage is something that most people hope to never deal with, and is a terrifying thought for most. Brain damage is also something that most people think nothing can be done about, and may even think that the damage is completely unmanageable. This is where nootropics come in to play, as they are supplements that are not only capable of lessening the severity of brain damage, but they can even help keep brain damage from becoming out of control.

The Romanian Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea coined the word nootropic in 1972. It is derived from the Greek words nous, or “mind,” and trepein meaning “to bend/turn.” Nootropics work by simply altering the availability of the brain’s supply of neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones and also works by improving the brain’s oxygen supply. Sometimes nootropics can even stimulate nerve growth.

How do Nootropics Help with Brain Damage?

Nootropics tend to improve systems that are already functioning. For example, the nootropic Piracetam increases communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which helps protect the brain from becoming oxygen-deprived. This causes the user who bought the nootropics to become more alert, and have a reduced reaction time.

But the abilities of nootropics don’t end with just improved alertness, they can even allow someone to recover from brain damage, such as the damage brought on by extreme temperatures.

An average person may think that they wouldn’t be exposed to such extreme temperatures, but all it takes is a cold day in winter or hot day in summer for a person to be overexposed to the elements, which can lead to heat exhaustion, or even a stroke. Nootropics like Cerebrolysin can help the body recover from damage caused by whole body hypethermia if used soon after the patient has been exposed to the temperature. Extremely hot conditions tend to induce various neurological problems, such as impaired motor functions. The neurotransmitters glutamate and aspartate were elevated in test subjects exposed to extreme heat, where as glycine and GABA were reduced. Further research revealed a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier. With the blood-brain barrier weakened, the test subject had high chances of permeation of blood borne toxins into neural tissue. The immediate administration of Cerebrolysin reversed these symptoms.

So the use of nootropics shouldn’t be something that you overlook, as the effects leave a person boosted, alert, and ready to move on with their day no matter what extreme they may face.

Sources

  1. http://brainblogger.com
  2. http://voices.yahoo.com

Nootropic Showdown: 5-HTP vs L-Theanine

So you’re on a budget.  You want to keep up with your nootropic regimen but you also want to pay your rent.  What’s a person to do?  Simple – figure out which supplement to keep and which supplement to kick until you have some surplus cash.  For this article, we’ll take a look at two of the most commonly used nootropics, 5-HTP and L-Theanine, and give you a point by point breakdown of the pros and cons.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to establish a definitive victor so that you don’t have to play the guessing game when it comes to purchase time.

So What Are the Benefits of 5-HTP?

5-HTP is an over-the-counter health supplement touted as a way to boost mood and anxiety, and to promote an overall feeling of wellness.  5-HTP works by directly affecting the central nervous system – it crosses the blood-brain barrier – thus stimulating the production of Serotonin.  Serotonin is released at times of relaxation and happiness, so when additional serotonin is released, feelings of sadness and anxiety are reduced.

5-HTP has been extensively studied in double-blind placebo-controlled experiments.  These experiments consistently show 5-HTP’s effectiveness at improving mood and reducing and anxiety.  However, no major studies have been done, and thus additional research would be beneficial.

There are no known major side-effects, though some users report feelings of nausea at higher doses, and some studies indicate that there could be rare cases of serious side-effects, though this is presently inconclusive.  Generally, dosing is at around 50mg-200mg per day, depending on user sensitivity.

What Are the Benefits of L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is an amino acid commonly found in green tea.  For years, scientists have hypothesized that L-Theanine is beneficial to the body in numerous ways, and recently several studies were done that support this hypothesis.  L-Theanine works by crossing the blood-brain barrier and affecting GABA receptors, as well as spiking the production of dopamine.  Both of these effects have been shown to reduce anxiety, reduce physical stress, brighten moods, and increase cognition.  Can’t get much better than that, right?

Even more impressive than the previous effects is that L-Theanine strengthens the illness-fighting ability of T-cells, and overall boosts the body’s immune system.  So not only will you be more relaxed and a faster thinker, you’ll also be healthier.

There are no side-effects at all – a study done on lab rats showed that even at excessively high doses of L-Theanine, there are no adverse effects.  Dosing ranges from 20mg to 300mg per day, once again depending on a person’s sensitivity.

5-HTP and L-Theanine Review

Now that you know the facts, which should you pick?  Both 5-HTP and L-Theanine reduce anxiety and boost mood.  However, L-Theanine also boosts the immune system, and shows no indications of having any side-effects at all.  The lack of immune-boosting capabilities for 5-HTP, as well as the slim chance of an adverse reaction from 5-HTP gives L-Theanine the slight edge in this competition.  So if your budget is tight but you still want that boost to your brain, go with L-Theanine and save 5-HTP for another day.

Trying My Hand at a Pre-Workout Mix

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different preworkout mixes and have found a great combination. The reason I decided to try making my own is because it’s a good idea to have something to cycle onto after taking something like Craze or Jack3d for too long (to allow tolerance to reset, so they’re effective again).

Pre Workout Ingredients

My first ingredient is 6 grams of L-Citrulline. I was fortunate enough to have Powder City send me a free sample of this. I know it’s a good compound to have, because it is thought to increase Nitric Oxide in the body (therefore acting as a vasodilator – increasing the size of blood vessels). The reason I want a vasodilator is that Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor.

My second ingredient is Caffeine (200mg). For the obvious reasons, this is for the energy and focus that I like to have in my workouts. Even if tolerance is an issue, caffeine has several benefits even while not being cycled. It is shown to still have the same effect on exercise (not wakefulness, but by increasing the time to exhaustion). Unfortunately, as stated above Caffeine constricts the blood vessels, but I included L-Citrulline for this very reason, and additionally, exercise acts as a vasodilator, so I don’t have to worry about this too much.

The third ingredient is Beta-Alanine powder (roughly 500mg). I’m still new to this stuff, and haven’t had much experience with it, but in theory could be great for my workouts. When the body starts to feel a burn on longer exercises (a higher repetition range), the burn is actually due to lactic acid in the body being released. One great Beta-Alanine side effect is it actually reduces the pain of lactic acid, and therefore the “burn” sensation in the muscles isn’t as pronounced, and the body can work longer before failing.

Finally, I put my trusty Alpha-GPC in. Though there isn’t much research on how it affects the body in exercise, there are a few studies showing that it does increase strength output. Plus it’s a choline source for my racetams which is a good thing to have.

Beta-Alanine and Lactic Acid

I started including Beta-Alanine in my homemade preworkout mix. I’m led to believe that Beta-Alanine supplement started becoming popular back when Jack3d was the top product in the preworkout market, infamous for the face tingles. As it turns out, the Beta-Alanine is the culprit of the face-tingles, not the DMAA (as many believe).

Beta Alanine Tingles

The face tingles caused by Beta Alanine (Parasthesia if you want to get technical) is generally harmless, and is actually a potentially powerful stimulant effect that people notice in the gym. I love stimulants myself, and Beta-Alanine is definitely a strange one.

The stimulant effect is not why I like Beta-Alanine as much as I do, though. The reason it’s such a powerful chemical is because of its buffering effect. When I go to the gym, I like to train more towards the hypertrophy/endurance repetition range (meaning a lot of reps at lower weight), which leads to a burning sensation in the muscles (via lactic acid).

When Beta-Alanine is in the system, it prevents some of that lactic acid from burning you out, allowing for a few more repetitions until failure. While doing 15 reps may not seem like many more than 12, in the long run, those extra 3 repetitions will make a difference. Considering how cheap it is to buy Beta-Alanine, it’s certainly worth the cost for the better workout.