A Not So Basic Preworkout

preworkout with nootropicsI’ll start this article off by stating the obvious—there are a ton of preworkouts, and plenty work very well. Unfortunately, most of them work by simply stimulating the central nervous system, failing to offer much else.

The first few times they’re great, but then tolerance sets in. This results in a workout plan that starts off productive but ultimately falters, with all of that focused and intense energy you brought to the gym taking a detour around exercise number two.

Before you know it you’re sucking at the last drops of preworkout left in your water bottle.

Exercise requires being present, and nothing ruins that more than a feeling of flatness sweeping over you as you try, and fail, to push yourself. That brings me to another very important aspect of fitness most preworkouts miss out on: improving the mind-muscle connection.

What is the Mind-Muscle Connection?

The idea of a mind-muscle connection finds its roots in “broscience”, but there is some evidence to back up its claim.

An informal study was performed on experienced bodybuilders with EMGs used to test whether load, cadence, and form dictate muscle activation, or whether it is possible to mentally focus neural drive towards specific, targeted muscles and away from others.

The results confirmed the idea of the connection between the brain and body. That’s why this stack of compounds is built around nootropics that can not only aid both physical and mental performance separately, but act to enhance the connection between them.

What’s Not In It

This mix will not include typical stimulants for a few reasons:

  1. Many people don’t respond well to them.
  2. To ensure you are able to work out for as long and intensely as you have to without having to worry about “burning out”.
  3. Some workouts you might not need the extra energy, but you will still need the focus and motivation this stack offers. You can always add a stimulant if you so desire.

This isn’t to say stimulants are bad, but saving them for when you truly need help can ensure you get the absolute most out of them when you need it. Plus, they may not be applicable to all situations. When I run, for example, being “stimmed” out of my mind usually results in a poor workout, but when I’m calm and focused on the task at hand I notice the miles tend to breeze by.

What’s In It?

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC Skeletal Formula

Alpha GPC Skeletal Formula

Aside from its ability to increase focus [1], Alpha GPC has demonstrated possible effectiveness at increasing strength and growth hormone output (after 48 hours of fasting) [2], and potential to increase fat oxidation [3].

What makes this valuable is this acetylcholine precursor’s ability to increase the mind-muscle connection. When acetylcholine is released at the neuromuscular junction it crosses the synapses where it binds to receptors on the surface of muscle fibers, causing muscular contractions. The more this communication can be improved, the more muscle fibers you will be able to recruit resulting in better quality contractions and results.

There are less expensive acetylcholine precursors that can be substituted, like CDP Choline, but the true magic of Alpha GPC lies in its ability to improve self control and impulsiveness [4, 5]. If you’ve ever skipped one too many workouts, or ate a dozen donuts and forgot your diet, you understand how beneficial this can be.

Aniracetam

Aniracetam powder not only prevents the overly stimulated feelings sometimes associated with Alpha GPC, but it seems to keep strength consistent throughout workouts [6]. Some users actually report increased strength output during the later part of their workouts.

Aniracetam is also incredibly effective as an anxiolytic and mood enhancer, and this can make a big difference on those days when working out sounds too cumbersome, or if you’re one of the many people that have anxiety that’s directly related to being at the gym [7].

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate is a combination of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid. It increases energy levels by removing ammonia from the body. Basically, citrulline malate adds another level of anti-fatigue, allowing you to train harder and for longer periods of time. [8]

Beta Alanine

Beta alanine is an amino acid that combines with the amino acid histidine in muscle cells to form carnosine, which is critical for muscle strength. Carnosine is an acid buffer, and it prevents the rise in hydrogen ions during high intensity exercises. It staves off the dreaded lactic acid burn and prevents muscle fatigue, increasing the amount of work you can perform at high intensities [9].

Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is a stimulant, but it doesn’t come with the typical unpleasant side effects. This nootropic improves motivation, focus, and energy by improving neuronal communication and transmission [10, 11]. It also improves motor coordination and resistance to muscular fatigue [12], and it acts as a potent mood enhancer [13].

Preworkout Stack Dosages

Alpha GPC: 300-600mg (fat-soluble) Take with food 90-120 minutes before your workout.

Aniracetam: 1-1.5g (fat-soluble) Take with food 90-120 minutes before your workout.

Some people become too relaxed from aniracetam during the “first half” of its effects, but it is short lived in the body and its metabolites typically reverse the overly calm feelings aniracetam induces [14].

Citrulline Malate: 6-8g Taken around 60 minutes before training.

Beta alanine: 2-5g Beta alanine can be taken all at once with citrulline malate before your workout, but large doses can result in an uncomfortable tingling feeling called paresthesia, and this can be avoided by taking smaller doses of 800mg-1g throughout the day.

Sulbutiamine: 300mg (fat-soluble) Taken with food around 60 minutes before training.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21156078
  2. http://www.jissn.com/content/5/S1/P15
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22673596
  4. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=175211
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20428999
  6. http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/7/921.full.pdf
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11597608
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11911459
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10996447
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4059305
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10573727
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10858919
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9572910

 

PRL 8-53 and PRL 8-147: The Mystery

Nootropic users are always looking for an edge. As an advancing culture itself, there’s little surprise that nootropic communities are at the forefront of discovery. What was once a “push” system of manufacturers creating supplements and promoting them to the public has become a “pull” system of users discovering long-lost studies and demanding access to the best compounds available.

This is the case with a memory enhancing nootropic PRL 8-53 and a related, supposedly more powerful, compound called PRL 8-147. These are quickly becoming hot topics across the web and highly sought after nootropics with plenty of outstanding questions surrounding them.

The Origins of PRL 8-53

PRL-8-53

PRL-8-53 Chemical structure

PRL 8-53 can be traced back to one individual, Dr. Nikolaus Hansl of Creighton University. He discovered and patented the compound in the 1970s. Since then, there have been no major studies done on the compound. In fact, there is only one human-based study on PRL 8-53. However, that study along with animal studies have been enough to set the internet ablaze with curiosity about the compound, its effects, and its availability.

Participants showed an increase in short-term memory that remained over time as well as an 80% improvement in verbal memory. Current users report anecdotal evidence that memories formed while on PRL 8-53 are clear, vivid, and have tremendous staying power.

This makes PRL 8-53 a fantastic nootropic for students or anyone else going through a learning process. It’s shown even more improvements in individuals with existing memory conditions or who may have had a below average memory to begin with.  Other, less official sources report that PRL 8-53 can provide relief for victims of amnesia in a single dose.

The Mysterious PRL 8-147

Dr. Hansl reportedly synthesized a more potent version of PRL 8-53 called PRL 8-147. Online, this compound has achieved near-mythical status due to the lack of available information. This is where PRL 8-147 turns into more of a mystery novel than science report.

When Dr. Hansl died, the patents for his compounds and all of his research documents were left to his family, not a company, research facility, or school. With that in mind, a group of users on Reddit reached out to Dr. Hansl’s family to find out more about either of the compounds. They discovered that in addition to having a personal stash of PRL 8-147, Dr. Hansl’s daughter has a garage full of research and documentation.

PRL-8-147It’s believed that the keys to the PRL 8-147 mystery lie somewhere in her garage and, when uncovered, she would love to see her father’s discovery released to the public. After identifying the chemical structure of PRL 8-147, it’s likely some tests will be performed to create the correct compound and before long it will be available on the market.

So, if these are so great, why haven’t they been available before? It comes down to funding. When Dr. Hansl discovered the substances, he was unable to receive enough funding to perform proper large-scale tests and ultimately bring it to market. The initial holdup was most likely because it wasn’t a drug that set out to cure a particular disease or ailment.

Remember, in the 1970s nootropics weren’t a hot topic and without the internet information didn’t flow as freely as it does now. It was truly a discovery ahead of its time. That said, it wont be long before PRL 8-53 becomes a common nootropic and the mysteries of PRL 8-147 are uncovered and brought to the public.

PRL-8-53 and PRL 8-147 Safety

One of the biggest concerns when new products hit the market is safety. In a case like this, where there is very little relevant research, the concern is certainly understandable. As far as the studies Dr. Hansl did perform, neither human or animal studies had any conclusive evidence of PRL 8-53 being toxic. Dr. Hansl himself was reportedly a daily user of PRL 8-53 and suffered no known setbacks because of it.

PRL-8-53 Dosage

The mystery of PRL 8-53 continues into the realm of dosage. With only one proper human study, it’s been up to users to determine what their ideal dosage is. Since it seems to be relatively safe, most people greatly exceed the 5mg dosage used in Dr. Hansl’s research. Keep in mind this can be incredibly dangerous and is generally not recommended.

It’s only been about a year since PRL 8-53 really broke out, so more anecdotal reports of safety, experience and proper dosages are emerging every day. As PRL 8-53 becomes more popular and PRL 8-147 is uncovered, more studies will be performed to set worried minds at ease. Until then, if you’re looking for a massive memory boost and don’t mind being part of the initial experiments, PRL 8-53 could be a great nootropic to test out.

New Insight from Researcher

An individual reached out to Nootropics Hacks with hands-on inight behind these two nootropics. Here is what he had to say:

I was the person responsible for establishing the “rat study” with Dr. Hansl, at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, in the 1980′s. When I first mentioned to Nick that the initial test results were negative, his response was, “they didn’t treat the animals’ right!” In my opinion, the proper handling of test animals while conducting drug trials should be done with a sense of care. Particularly, where there is the need to assess accurately learning performance in their test subjects (that goes for animals and people as well). A researcher’s behavior should not be perceived as separate, from the whole process of the drug trial in animal studies, which includes injecting the test animal with a drug. The questionable handling of a test animal during a drug trial could indeed, affect the animal’s performance. When the final test results were presented to our group, the comment was made that “it doesn’t work” which was then followed with the remark, that it had “novel” results…perhaps, this could be interpreted as demonstrating, interestingly new or unusual results different from what was normally expected. In addition, as a matter of record, there were a number of studies conducted with the title compound PRL 8-147, in the late 1990’s, before the test at the University of Colorado in Boulder, were carried out:

Pharmacological Toxicological Characteristics of PRL-8-147, A New Psychotropic Agent.
Nikolaus R. Hansl, Creigton University, Omaha, Nebraska 68178

The title compound has recently attracted interest because it appears to improve performance based on intellectual capabilities. Acute and sub-acute toxicity studies reveal an LD50 of 171 mg/kg i.p. No significant signs of local irritation in the rabbit eye test were observed. Pyramiding doses of up to 320 mg/kg in the dog were well tolerated. No changes of the CBC or of the blood chemistry were found. The compound slightly depresses motor activity and partially reverses reserpine induced symptoms. Interaction with autonomic agonists in the isolated rabbit ileum and the anesthetized dog reveal an unusual spectrum of activity. A synergistic effect with acetylcholine, nor-epinephrine, dopamine, and isproterenol has been demonstrated. Effects of serotonin appear inhibited.

Furthermore, similar test were conducted on the title compound PRL-8-147 in mice, and in trials with other drugs…such as Amphetamine. I have included the above reference for those who believe, that PRL 8-147 was non-existent.

GPH

While it is impossible to verify the truth behind these claims, it is certainly fascinating information to have.

Sources

  • http://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/1sqb2v/prl853_safety_long_term/
  • http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/57942-prl-8-53;-was-prl-8-147-the-most-powerful-memory-enhancer/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRL-8-53

Ashwagandha: Strength of a Horse with Peace of Mind

What is Ashwagandha Powder?

Ashwagandha is a well known Ayurvedic supplement that many people take for its stress-relieving and anti-anxiety benefits. However, its name implies a much different function. Also known as Withania somnifera, Ashwagandha means ‘Smell of Horse,’ which refers to the supplement’s distinct smell as well as the conventional ideology that it will give you the power and virility of a horse.

Ashwagandha for Physical Performance

ashwagandha plantWhile Ashwagandha powder may not truly confer the power of a horse upon you, there is scientific evidence to back up its claim as a performance enhancer. Many performance supplements are limited in their scope; they commonly boost performance for athletes in tandem with an exercise program, but do not improve performance for sedentary individuals. Ashwagandha is rare in that it works for both groups.

One study looked at healthy, but primarily sedentary individuals. Each participant was given 750-1250mg of Ashwagandha extract per day for a 30-day period. Despite a complete lack of exercise, participants were able to increase their lower back performance by 15.4% and their quadriceps output by 21.5%. [1] Ashwagandha has also proven effective for boosting lean muscle growth and decreasing fat in sedentary individuals, although in minute amounts. [1]

A different study aimed at elite cyclists measured Ashwagandha’s ability to affect maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max), which indicates relative aerobic physical fitness. Participants were given 500mg of Ashwagandha extract for an 8 week period. The results were impressive. Individuals VO2 max increased by 12.5% and their time to fatigue increased by 7.2% as well. [2] This means that Ashwagandha not only increased these elite athlete’s aerobic fitness, but also boosted their exercise duration, allowing them to perform better for longer periods of exertion.

In addition to improving physical performance, Ashwagandha can also reduce Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the “bad” cholesterol. In studies, Ashwagandha reduced LDL cholesterol by 10%, regardless of whether the participant had high cholesterol or not. [1, 13, 14]

When it comes to virility, Ashwagandha has some interesting benefits. Supplementing with Ashwagandha can improve sperm quality by regulating reproductive hormones levels and oxidative stress. [9] It is also able to boost testosterone in infertile men, though further study is needed for men not affected by this condition. [9]

Ashwagandha for Anxiety

Find the Correct Ashwagandha Dosage for AnxietyAshwagandha is a powerful adaptogen, meaning it is an efficacious way to prevent the effects of physical and mental stress. [3] Ashwagandha is able to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone that releases in response to stress as well as suppress neuron excitation as a direct effect of stress. [4, 10, 11] Plus, Ashwagandha, like l-theanine, is effective at improving social interactions by reducing anxiety. [4]

Ashwagandha is also great for fatigue, another hallmark of stress. In fact, one study showed that Ashwagandha combined with counseling was able to reduce anxiety symptoms by 56.5%, while individuals given a placebo only saw an anxiety reduction of 30.5%. [5] However Ashwagandha isn’t just known for its anxiolytic effects, it is also an effective method for improving mood. [4]

Ashwagandha for Cognition

Ashwagandha is a neuroprotectant and generates antioxidant enzymes within the brain. [6] This supplement is also able to stimulate neurogenesis, which boosts the growth of brain cells and communication between neurons; it also plays a part in recovering from cognitive decline. [7] Ashwagandha has some anti-amnesic benefits as well, which have positive implications for age-related memory loss. [8]

Ashwagandha is also able to improve longevity. In one study, Ashwagandha supplementation resulted in a 20% increase in cellular lifespan. [12] Ashwagandha is also able to protect brain cells against oxidative damage. [12]

Ashwagandha Dosage

The proper Ashwagandha dosage is going to depend on the extract strength. For an Ashwagandha Extract containing 2.5% Withanolides, a standard dosage is 500mg two to three times per day.

Ashwagandha Review

Video Transcript

The reason I’m taking Ashwagandha is mostly for performance purposes, because I’ve heard claims that it can increase performance in fitness and exercise. I like to work out. I do a lot on my time. I like to lift a lot of weights. Also, I’ve heard that it’s really good at increasing sociability.

Now, I’m not exactly anxious. When it comes to social encounters I’m pretty social, but I don’t look forward to them. I think that’s something pretty cool that Ashwagandha Is capable of. I know a lot of people have the same issue and concerns, so if those claims hold up, that would be pretty awesome.

I meant to mention that I’m also interested in the research showing Ashwagandha to be an effective cognitive enhancer. I want to find out personally how well it does that. Researchers in Japan discovered that it’s capable of causing neurogenesis, which is basically causing brain cells to grow, and making them more easily capable of communicating with one another, which increases cognition.

To set a baseline of where I’m at now,I tested myself with dual n-back tests, which is basically used to assess working memory. Before taking Ashwagandha I scored 88%, which is all right but nothing too impressive. After taking Ashwagandha at 200 milligrams, I waited about 15 minutes for it to kick in, and then I did the dual n-back test again and scored 70%. To make sure my results were accurate, and I wasn’t distracted by anything, I did it again. I actually scored less this time, at 57%.

So, it definitely had an effect on me. I felt really out of it, and a little loopy. The Ashwagandha has a tendency to have that effect, so it wasn’t exactly the best thing for working memory. At the end of this, I’ll be testing myself again, with another dual n-back test, but not after having dosed Ashwagandha , just after waking a little bit. Now I have an idea of whether or not it actually improved my cognition, or whether that’s mostly for people with brain damage, and other diseases that the study showed.

Day one of taking Ashwagandha , I decided to take 400 milligrams before I went to a workout, which, on this date, was boxing. I did that about an hour before. It kicked in about 15 minutes afterwards, and I didn’t necessarily feel too tranquilized, which was good, because you don’t want to be too relaxed when you’re boxing. But, I felt a little out of it, somewhat of a detached state. It wasn’t too bad.

I went to work out. Had a great workout. I noticed I was very relaxed, very loose, and I was reacting naturally, which is ideal when you’re boxing, versus forcing anything. I was in a great mood. I was really almost annoyingly in a good mood, and I was very sociable, which is different when I’m working out, boxing especially. I tend to keep to myself at that time in particular.I didn’t feel any kind of slowdown or none of that that I expected, which was awesome. So, that’s day one.

Day two, I split my 400 milligram doses over the day. Two 200 milligram doses and I noticed the same things as day one. The same effects – the same calming effect – within 15 minutes. Other than that, there was really nothing noticeable this day.

Day three was a bit more factful than day two. I took my 200 milligram pills in the morning. It kicked in almost immediately. I had an improved mood, and I felt more clear-headed in my priorities. It seemed more obvious. I’m pretty sure that was because I was less stressed, so I was functioning a little more, mentally well. I was thinking more clearly.

My second dose, I decided to go with 400 milligrams because the 200 milligrams wasn’t affecting me quite as much as I had hoped, and seeing as how I’m bigger than most people – I’m 250 pounds – I figured maybe I should be taking a bigger dose because of my weight.

The 400 milligram dose, I actually only feel a bit out of it, and I still felt a bit anxious mentally in the same situations, which was strange, because normally I wouldn’t be so anxious in those situations. What was really interesting was even with the bit of anxiety that I was feeling, I felt more motivated to deal with those situations than I normally would, prior to taking Ashwagandha .

It was an increase in anxiety, but there was also an increase of the drive to deal with that specific anxiety. Anybody that’s dealt with anxiety, knows that there’s usually more of a desire to escape, rather than face the situation. It compounds upon itself. I think it’s pretty cool that I had more of a motivation to deal with the situation, rather than get out of there.

Something I forgot to mention about day three was this really intense feeling of detachment from everything. It’s almost that feeling when you’re dreaming, except you’re wide awake and you’re not quite sure if you’re dreaming or awake. A really uncomfortable feeling.

Day four, that feeling went away quite a bit and I was feeling much more sociable than even prior to that. I actually almost went up to some random guy at the gym and started telling him something, which is something I – that’s just, you know, you don’t do.

Part of me wonders if the dreamlike feelings are a result of some kind of chemical change or something, because the day before, I felt completely different from day four. That dreaminess was gone, but this day I felt very sociable, and I went out. I typically spend my weekends a little more isolated. It’s just how I usually prefer it, but I wanted to go out. I was pretty sociable with people in general. I thought the effects would have subsided by day four, but it just seemed like they continued to increase and benefit me.

Day five there was not much to report. I just felt a little less inhibited, and the anxiety effects were a little less noticeable. I think this is where [Collin’s time 07:38] set in, but not so much.

Day six was just about the same as day five. There was not much to report, and the effects of Ashwagandha felt diminished quite a bit. But, they were still noticeable enough.

Day seven, the effects of AstroGin aren’t coming on quite as strongly as they were before, but they’re still somewhat noticeable. I think it’s one of those things you just grow accustomed to, and it kind of works in the dark now. It’s not so much that it stopped working, or you grow too tolerant of it. It’s just that you grow used to it, for lack of a better term.

I’ve noticed that my sleep has improved a lot, because I do have trouble sleeping big time, at night. Getting to sleep. Typically, I’ll lay in bed for 30-40 minutes at a time, with my eyes closed, and nothing happens. But with this, after about 10 minutes, I’m out. I’m asleep, which is pretty awesome, because normally I have a lot of trouble getting to bed, staying in bed.

As far as negatives, the only real thing I can think of is the taste, which I don’t think is that bad, but I also don’t really think pramiracetam or piracetam are that bad tasting, so my opinion probably doesn’t count on this one.

The only drawback I can think of right now of Ashwagandha , is that I’m feeling it may be making me feel a little too relaxed and too laid back in certain situations where I don’t want to be relaxed or laid back. For example, getting something done by a due date. Or, let’s say, when I’m boxing, and I’m a little too relaxed about the guy punching me in the face. That’s not something where you just want to be overly calm.

Basically, I’m just saying that stress, in certain situations, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Also, I’m starting to think that it’s making me a little sleepy during the middle of the day, so I may be switching up my dosing regimen. We’ll see.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23125505
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23326093
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17959291
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19718255
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10816336
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15956813
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15711595
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19501822
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1718335
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19444606
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19587106
  13. http://www.lifeforce.net/pdfs/withania_review.pdf
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11116534