Fish, Fats, and Memory

Fish has long been touted as a food with impressive health benefits, and it seems it’s the only type of animal-based protein you can convince your doctor to prescribe you. Oily, fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (the good fat, also referred to as n-3 fatty acids), are an important part of our diet since the human body is incapable of producing enough of these essential nutrients on its own.

These essential fats help us maintain our heart health [1], mental wellness [2], and our overall healthy growth and development.

While that recommendation might not require an actual prescription, oily fish high in healthy fats are a dietary “medicine” that individuals should take with some frequency—about the same as the supplements most of us keep our shelves stocked with.

In fact, one serving of seafood should be a part of your diet at least once every week according to studies.

Benefits of Fatty Acids

fish oil benefitsFor five years, researchers followed hundreds of older adults who were free of dementia. At the end of the study they found the decline in cognitive functioning became slowed in the group that reported eating seafood high in n-3 fatty acids, at least one time a week.

The two essential fatty acids found in fatty fish, responsible for the memory protection seen here and in other studies, are eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA.

The fatty acid DHA is required for growth and development, especially during childhood, and EPA is most effective at supporting cognitive function. To avoid age-related problems with cognition, both fatty acids should be in your diet [3], and they probably are if you already supplement with fish oils or another fatty acid supplement.

You can tailor the ratio of EPA to DHA to your situation. While it’s not clear whether one form of n-3 fatty acid is more important than the other, one thing is certain: The ratio of dietary omega 3 fatty acids to omega 6 fatty acids should be one-to-one to experience all of the benefits of omega 3 supplementation. This will also help you avoid the side effects and symptoms associated with excessive omega 6 fatty acids, like the increased risks of both Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer [4, 5]. There are also no studies indicating a higher ratio of omega 3s should pose any risk, so going above the one-to-one recommendation in this scenario should be fine.

What Do You Do If You Can’t Eat Fish Once a Week?

There are plenty of people who don’t get a serving of fish every week. Maybe they’re concerned about contaminants [6], or they find fish difficult to cook or unappetizing. Whatever the case, if you’re one of them, don’t worry, because there are options other than reconsidering your stance on sushi.

Supplementing with Omega-3 acids is as effective as eating fish (if not better in many cases) and you just can’t beat that convenience.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26400434
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21940602
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18072818
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23451843
  5. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/6/902.full
  6. http://seafood.edf.org/seafood-health-alerts

Three Compounds for Managing Any Crisis

nootropics for anxietyCrisis-induced stress is something that varies in degrees. For some, this stress is brought on by having to figure out how to pay a bill on time. For others, crisis-induced stress might mean exactly that, as in the 1962 confrontation between the United States of America and the Soviet Union known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. This stand-off was made up of 13 days of tense negotiations that would decide the fates of millions, if not the entire world itself.

Even though the people negotiating the terms of their agreement knew that the threat of a thermonuclear showdown was unacceptable, their task was still a challenging one.  They would have to work together under that looming danger, and, no matter the size of the threat, people can and do make terrible decisions under pressure [1].

Fortunately for us, they managed to navigate those waters, but we’re not always so lucky under pressure, so how can we fix the odds a bit more heavily in our favor?

3 Compounds for Managing Any Crisis

Theacrine

Theacrine is an alkaloid found in the Cupuacu fruit species and a Chinese tea called kudingcha, or kucha. This compound is used for a number of reasons including reducing stress while it simultaneously increases motivation and focus. Participants in one study rated theacrine higher at increasing their attention, alertness, focus, and energy levels than caffeine did, while their lethargy and grogginess values were also notably lower [2].

Maybe the best part of theacrine is the fact that, unlike its counterpart caffeine, there is no tachyphylaxis, even after eight weeks of continuous use. This is important to note, because the tachyphylactic response is basically a decreased reaction to a compound given over a period of time, requiring larger and larger doses to achieve the same effect. So, unlike caffeine, which requires higher dosages over time, theacrine causes no tolerance and it should remain effective for as long as you need [3].

Alpha-GPC

If you’re constantly distracted — probably because you’d rather be doing anything than the work or study assignment you should be doing — Alpha-GPC is your supplement.

Alpha-GPC (Alpha-glycerophosphocholine) is a cholinergic compound and it has proven very effective at controlling impulsiveness and increasing self-control [4, 5], while displaying the ability to increase focus and motivation [6]

Alpha-GPC is also fantastic to supplement with when you would like to improve your mood and reduce stress since it releases GABA (an amino acid found in the body that has a calming effect) [7], and its supplementation increases the body’s natural levels of dopamine and serotonin – two neurotransmitters that have a big impact on improving mood [8].

Emoxypine Succinate

Emoxypine Succinate is a newer nootropic with that doesn’t behave like other nootropics — it doesn’t alter neurotransmitters to prevent neurological decline. Instead, emoxypine, also known as Mexidol and Mexifin, neutralizes free radicals that contribute to neurological decline [9]. But that’s not why it made this list. Emoxypine is a great choice for crunch time because it offers something a lot of calming compounds don’t – relief from situational anxiety [10]. Based on that finding, it seems safe to assume emoxypine will be perfectly suited to those crisis situations that trigger an anxiety all their own.

Fortunately, the Cuban Missile Crisis is over, so you won’t have to make any decisions quite that big, but, for those situations you do have to manage, this stack will help you figure it all out with a clear, stress-free head.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK219168/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26610558
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26766930
  4. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=175211
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20428999
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21156078
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8726961
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16739923
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12056134

Brain Health and Adderall

With finals rapidly approaching, students are looking for any means to improve their memory and concentration. Students who have issues focusing may find that nootropics are not enough and will turn to prescription strength study aids instead.  Unfortunately, some of these prescriptions come with unwanted side effects.

Take Adderall, for example. Adderall works by stimulating the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine to enhance your attention and focus. However, it is neurotoxic to the dopaminergic system, which is responsible for regulating the reward pathway in your brain, motivation, and more. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce neurotoxicity.

How to Reduce Neurotoxicity

There are a variety of supplements that can help you reduce or avoid neurotoxicity due to Adderall. The supplements below provide a variety of benefits. Some help remove Adderall from your body at a rapid rate, some potentiate Adderall making it just as effective at smaller doses, and some help reduce neurotoxicity.

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant that can halt molecule oxidization. It can also remove Adderall from your system faster by acidifying your urine [1]. Plus, your body uses Vitamin C to produce dopamine. This is especially helpful if you took Adderall late in the day and it is interfering with your sleep.

Magnesium Aspartate

  • Magnesium aspartate: Magnesium deficiency has long been linked with the onset of ADHD [2]. It is also an NMDA antagonist, meaning it may be able to attenuate tolerance to Adderall as well as protect against its neurotoxic side effects [3].

Curcumin and piperine capsules

  • Curcumin and piperine capsules: This combination potentiates Adderall to allow individuals to use a lower dosage with similar effects. It is able to do this because it is a CYP450 enzyme family inhibitor [4, 5].

NAC

  • NAC: Adderall use depletes glutathione, an important antioxidant found in cells. Glutathione also improves the effectiveness of neurotransmitters [6]. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) increases glutathione levels and can reduce neurotoxicity [7].

Melatonin

  • Melatonin: The stimulant effects of Adderall may keep you awake longer than you intended, but that is not why melatonin is on this list. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant and has proven to offset Adderall-induced neurotoxicity as it provides dopaminergic neuroprotection [8].

Fish oil capsules

  • Fish oil capsules: Omega-3 fatty acids increase dopamine levels and can naturally help improve your focus, meaning you could use a lower dosage of Adderall to achieve the same benefits [9, 10].

Uridine monophosphate

  • Uridine monophosphate: Uridine is able to create new dopamine receptors, particularly in brains with fewer receptors. Uridine can help balance dopamine levels altered by Adderall [11, 12]. When combined with DHA, uridine is able to boost mood as well [13].

By taking the proper precautions, you can significantly reduce the negative side effects of Adderall. Be sure to follow the proper dosage and usage guidelines to ensure the best results. Be sure to discuss any supplements with your doctor before taking them.

Sources

  1. http://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/68649-drug-criteria-outcomes-dextroamphetamine-amphetamine-adderall-for-adhd
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9368235
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7690233
  4. http://m.dmd.aspetjournals.org/content/36/8/1594.full
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22185816
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23369637
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15234256
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19796048
  9. http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1476-511X-6-21.pdf
  10. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  11. http://ebm.sagepub.com/content/204/1/49.abstract
  12. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17035532
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15705349

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

Adrafinil Dosage, Benefits and Side Effects Reviewed

What is Adrafinil and How Does it Work?

caffeine alternatives for energy

When caffeine is not enough, individuals go in search of stronger stimulants. However, not all stimulants are created equal when it comes to liver health

Adrafinil is a nootropic substance with stimulant properties discovered in the late 70s by a group of French scientists. Once ingested, adrafinil converts into modafinil; however, it does so by way of the liver.

Individuals can supplement Modafinil directly, but this requires a prescription. Because of this, many choose to supplement with Adrafinil as it is easier to obtain, even though it may come with a dangerous cost to the liver.

Adrafinil is commonly used to boost wakefulness and reduce excessive tiredness. It also increases hypocretin levels, a neurotransmitter that affects alertness and also causes increased production of dopamine.

Taking adrafinil stimulates the central nervous system, which causes an increased level of alertness without the jitters associated with other stimulants.

Those who supplement with adrafinil often do so because they have problems staying awake, or have careers that require extra alertness such as shift workers, surgeons, etc. It is often prescribed to the elderly and those with sleep disorders, and has been used by truck drivers to overcome mental fatigue.

Adrafinil Side Effects and Liver Damage

Adrafinil is popular for one simple reason: it works well. It’s effects are long-lasting, and clinical trials have shown no decrease in effectiveness over time [1]. This undoubtedly makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to increase their attentiveness and mental function with an easy-to-take and readily available supplement.

Unfortunately, some findings do show that constant use of this supplement may lead to liver damage over extended periods of time.

The reason for this possible side effect is due to the breakdown of adrafinil into modafinil, a process that occurs in the liver, which causes an increase in liver enzyme levels. While small amounts of the supplement are not shown to cause this type of injury, consistent habitual use can lead to liver toxicity and cause permanent damage.

Knowing this, it is advised that adrafinil be taken with caution due to its concentrated and powerful nature. Therefore, long-term or day-to-day use is definitely not recommended with this particular supplement. By design, the liver needs time to recover from increased enzyme levels, and over-use of adrafinil does not allow a recovery period.

Adrafinil Dosage

Milk thistle for liver health

Milk thistle can help detox your liver.

Adrafinil should only be taken at the recommended dosage, 150 to 300 milligrams per day. However, it should not be taken on a daily basis, and should not be used for a period lasting more than 6 months, at least not without cycling on and off to allow the liver much needed recovery time.

Individuals who wish to extend their adrafinil usage can help their liver recover by taking supplements known to boost liver health. Unfortunately, the liver issues caused by overuse cannot be avoided, only treated. Milk thistle supplements are an excellent option as they help to protect and detoxify the liver [2, 3].

However, for those who would rather avoid the risks of adrafinil, there is another nootropic supplement available to increase wakefulness that comes without the liver damage: Phenylpiracetam. When used correctly, phenylpiracetam can be just as effective as adrafinil.

Phenylpiracetam, an analog of piracetam, is a newcomer for the racetam family, but it is already soaring in popularity. Not only that, many individuals on Reddit feel Phenylpiracetam’s stimulant and wakefulness enhancing properties are much stronger than adrafinil.

Like adrafinil, phenylpiracetam is available over the counter. Individuals should take 100-200mg of phenylpiracetam 2-3 times a day. Phenylpiracetam works best when taken on an as-needed basis rather than daily.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11191710
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3326063/
  3. http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/26/6B/4457.long

A Review of Nootropics Use in Sports

nootropics athletics

Nootropics can help your athletic performance.

Most individuals take nootropic supplements to boost cognition, to improve their focus, to help them study for a test, and so on.  However, many athletes may be surprised to find that nootropics can help them to perform better physically.

It would make logical sense that a supplement that can improve focus and clarity would have a positive effect on the body’s response to physical activity. The better you can focus on the task at hand, the better you will perform. Certain nootropics even directly improve muscle contraction and growth.

Some nootropics like phenylpiracetam are so effective at improving athletic performance that they are banned from competitive sports; others are equally as effective and entirely fine to use for any sport. So how do nootropics work with your body to improve your athleticism?

How Nootropics Help Athletic Performance

nootropics soccer

Nootropics can help boost cognition, which can help you think on your feet.

Taking nootropics affects the brain’s levels of neurotransmitters, which helps the brain to connect with muscle tissue and send out signals.  Raising neurotransmitter levels can help the brain to communicate more efficiently with the rest of the body, and can improve reaction times by promoting a higher level of cognition.

Specifically, most nootropics increase acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter commonly known to improve memory and learning. However, acetylcholine also improves muscle control as well as balance. Mental and physical fitness are linked, and so a quicker and healthier brain produces faster reflexes and greater endurance.  The effects of individual nootropics on physical activity vary, however, so you will need to choose wisely.

Benefits of Different Nootropics in Sports

 

nootropics hockey

Nootropics can also help build muscle (so that you win a fight or two in hockey).

Alpha GPC has been linked to increased levels of growth hormone as well as quicker fat oxidation, meaning that it promotes muscle gains and helps to burn fat leading to improved physical performance and body composition [1].  Aniracetam, in addition to being more potent than other racetam supplements like piracetam, can help to reduce anxiety as well as increase focus [2]. 

Oxiracetam increases spatial learning, which helps your brain to improve physical coordination. Huperzine A prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine to improve memory and muscle control; it also increase alertness.

All of these nootropics will improve neuronal communication between the brain and body, but also have specialized individual effects.  With all of these options to choose from, it is a simple matter of picking a nootropic and seeing which is best for your sports performance.

Which Nootropics Are Right For You?

You may be curious about trying nootropics to improve physical performance, and there are many excellent choices out there.  Be careful of taking supplements that may be banned from a particular sport, but otherwise experiment and find what works best for you.

Weightlifters find Alpha GPC and Huperzine A 1% helpful in doses of 300mg and 10mg respectively, usually stacked together.  Other athletes may find aniracetam and oxiracetam useful in doses around 750mg two times per day.  Find the stack or single supplement that works best for you, and enjoy greater athletic success!

Sources

  1. http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(12)00089-5/
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299901010056

Is Sublingual Administration Safe for Nootropics?

nootropics sublingual

Nootropics can boost your creativity.

Sublingual administration is one of many ways to take a supplement for maximum effect.  It is done by putting a supplement under the tongue and allowing it to diffuse into the bloodstream through the mucous membrane beneath the tongue.  Taking substances this way can lead to faster effects because they go straight into the bloodstream rather than being passed through the liver first or being degraded by stomach acid.

While this seems like an effective way to take nootropic supplements, many users may wonder if this method is safe.  While the majority of nootropics are perfect safe to take sublingually, some are better than others to ingest this way.

Which Supplements Can I Take Sublingually?

The effects of taking a nootropic sublingually depend on the composition of the substance.  Anything that is more acidic, like phenibut, may make the mouth sore, as do substances like adrafinil.  Some are just not as effective because they dissolve slowly, like sulbutiamine.

nootropics writing

Nootropics can also boost your writing ability.

These types of supplements are best taken orally with water or juice for optimal safety and efficacy.  The ideal nootropic for sublingual administration is one that dissolves quickly and is more effective when it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and skips the liver.

Racetam supplements, like aniracetam and coluracetam, as well as derivatives like noopept, are much more effective when they are absorbed into the tongue’s mucous membrane.  Nootropics like Alpha GPC also dissolve quickly, and have no associated taste. It also helps that many nootropics, coluracetam and noopept in particular, have very minute dosages which makes sublingual supplementation much easier.

Is It Better To Take Nootropics Sublingually?

sublingual nootropics

Sublingual administration involves putting the supplement under your tongue.

Sublingual administration is not necessarily better or worse than oral administration, and choosing to take nootropics this way entirely depends on the needs of the individual.  Taking nootropics beneath the tongue allows the user to take smaller doses because they are more effective, more concentrated, and work faster.

Also, users trying to avoid stress on the stomach and intestinal tract may take supplements sublingually to avoid side effects related to the digestive system.  Bypassing the stomach also means better absorption and less degradation, making the supplement more potent [1].

While sublingual administration seems better and more effective, it can be difficult to find nootropics designed to be taken this way. Generally, racetams as well as l-theanine and vitamin B6 will be widely available this way.  Otherwise, many supplements are only intended for oral administration.

The Safest Way to Take Nootropics with Sublingual Administration

The best way to remain safe when taking nootropics is to follow the instructions and dosages and only use sublingual administration when the supplement is intended for this form of absorption.  These supplements are entirely safe when taken as intended, but may irritate the mouth if used incorrectly.

As with any supplement, it’s best to pay attention to the guidelines to enjoy maximum positive effects.  However, finding nootropics designed to be taken sublingually can be a great way to enjoy quick and powerful cognitive effects without losing significant amounts of the supplement as the body breaks it down.

Sources

1. http://www.examiner.com/article/new-methods-of-nootropic-administration

ALCAR Benefits

Choline is an essential nutrient that serves as both a nootropic supplement and an athletic performance enhancer. Choline supplements cause the release of acetylcholine, which improves memory and mood as well as allowing better communication between nerve cells and muscle cells.

Since choline has multiple benefits, it makes sense to use as a dietary supplement.  However, using choline on a regular basis or several times a day can cause some people to experience the “choline blues.”

This refers to a slight depressive state that can be stopped by discontinuing use of the supplement for a period of time.  Rather than dealing with the blues, individuals can take an alternative supplement, ALCAR, to experience the same effects.

ALCAR versus Choline

ALCAR, also known as Acetyl-L-carnitine, is a modified amino acid that has a variety of health benefits.  Like Choline, it causes increased production of acetylcholine, as well as dopamine, the feel-good hormone.

Its main function is helping the body to break down fatty acids and produce energy, but it also works as a neuroprotectant, removing damaged fats from the brain and strengthening neural connections.

While Choline can delay fatigue for athletes, ALCAR can actually help with muscle recovery [1].  ALCAR helps to regulate carnitine levels, which are essential for the conversion of fat to energy, while supplemental choline mostly gives an extra boost at the end of a workout or athletic event.

Though they both increase acetylcholine, ALCAR has a few more benefits and doesn’t result in any negative mood reactions.

ALCAR Benefits Continued

A very important benefit of ALCAR is its ability to break down fats, both for energy production and to rid the brain of harmful fatty acids.

It can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why is has such powerful mental effects.  While the supplement can increase alertness and elevate mood, it also protects to brain against deterioration and keeps the nervous system healthy.

Additionally, this supplement can lower blood pressure to improve heart health, reduce anxiety and feelings of stress, and even increase fertility in men.  Most significantly, ALCAR doesn’t produce anything similar to “choline blues” since it boosts dopamine.

ALCAR Benefits Vs Choline

ALCAR is entirely safe in dosages between 300 and 500 milligrams, and shouldn’t produce any noticeable side effects if taken correctly.  It’s natural, has a wide array of benefits, and is perfect for both athletes and nootropic users.

Anyone experiencing the blues while taking choline supplementsshould consider trying ALCAR as an easy way to feel better both physically and mentally.

Sources

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1864226