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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]. This ingredient is also used on our mind-body connection stack for its recovery benefits.

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. Also check out our neuroprotective stack

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

Part 1: Top 4 Nootropic Supplements for Studying

There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you realize it’s only a week before exams and you haven’t done nearly enough studying. That’s where cram sessions come in — or, if you really want an edge, nootropics.

Nootropics are a class of legal “smart drugs” that enhance cognition in various ways. They’re an ideal choice for students looking for that extra boost. There are dozens of nootropics to choose from, with benefits ranging from increased focus to improved memory.

But with so many options, which are the most helpful, and which is the right one for you? After all, what’s a choline supplement? How is melatonin powder going to help you remember information? Here’s a look at the four top nootropics for studying.

Piracetam

Piracetam, which often comes in the form of piracetam powder, is one of the oldest and most widely-studied nootropics. It’s been clinically cited as a useful compound to slow or reverse cognitive decline, and anecdotal reports claim that it boosts focus, memory, and even mood. Before using piracetam, make sure to learn how to take piracetam powder.

The exact mechanisms of piracetam’s actions aren’t completely understood. What is known is that by antagonizing uptake of particular glucose, piracetam increases membrane fluidity. This increase pays off with improved long-term memory and improved communication between the brain’s hemispheres.

Piracetam’s effects on focus and memory can be subtle, and tend to become more obvious after extended use. Trials with patients found few recall-ability differences from the control group after 7 days, but notable enhancements after 14. So if you’re looking cram info with piracetam so you can ace that final, it’s best to start taking it early.

One thing to watch out for: piracetam use burns through choline, a nutrient important for the brain. This use manifests as headaches, so if you want to beef up your studying ability with minimum side effects, it’s recommended you take piracetam with a choline source.

Choline

Choline can be a useful nootropic in its own right, and even without piracetam is a viable option to enhance your academic performance. Choline supplements can be ingested in various forms, including CDP Choline and Alpha-GPC, each of with affect the brain slightly differently. They all have one thing in common, though: they’re processed into acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter crucial to learning and memory.

Even though choline can be found in a healthy diet, 90% of the US population is at least somewhat deficient in choline. This can lead to headaches, fatigue, and memory problems. Supplement with a good choline source, and you’re back in business: a healthy brain primed to take in information and actually retain it.

The main downside to choline is that too much of it can affect you similarly to the ways too little can. Balance here is the key — if you can maintain that, it’s an excellent all-around supplement to keep your brain working at tip-top learning levels.

Galantamine

Galamintine supplements are yet another option for the ambitious student looking to optimize. Extract the active ingredient from organic or synthetic flowers (galanthus caucasicus), and you’ve got a galamantine supplement. Galamantine inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine – and by doing so, notably improves your REM sleep.

The scholastic payoff? Those are the phases of sleep where memories are formed and retained. Are you a rough sleeper? Missing sleep to study?

Toss a galamantine supplement into the mix, and you’re looking at deep, restful sleep that lets you form memories better than ever. A galamantime supplement before bed is the perfect way to conclude and get the most out of heavy study session.

Melatonin

Last up is melatonin powder. You might have heard of melatonin power for its most common use — to regulate sleep cycles. Melatonin is a neurohormone naturally released by the body to regulate sleep cycles. When your brain thinks it’s time for you to go to sleep, it releases melatonin. Melatonin powder let’s you take control of this cycle. Take a healthy dose before bed, and you can severely cut down on sleep latency, or the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

This lets you more or less have control over your sleep cycle. Melatonin powder is the perfect supplement to pair with any or all of the above. By taking it you can ensure you get the most possible sleep each night, which not only lets you retain that days studying better, but leaves you more refreshed for the next day.

Conclusion

All of the nootropics discussed here are very much on the safe side, and the best way to determine how they work for you in particular is to carefully trial them. They’re also safe to take together, so once you’ve figured out which work best for you, you can create your own ideal study-boosting nootropic stack. Time to ace those finals.

Is it Possible to Make Up for Lost Sleep? Researchers Say No

melatonin and l-theanine for sleepGood sleep begets a good mood and a good life. However, sleep does not work exactly how many people assume.

A recent study from “…Penn State, the University of Crete, the University of Athens and the New York School of Medicine found that after a workweek of little sleep, sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t seem to improve the performance of your brain.”

If you are run ragged during the week, the weekend of extra rest does nothing to help your body. Therefore, it is imperative to have a good night’s sleep EVERY night of the week.

There is no such thing as catching up on sleep.

Fortunately, the supplement stack of Melatonin and L-Theanine has been shown to have a number of excellent benefits related to relaxation and sleep.

Both of these supplements actually have a distinct and specific role, such that when combined they fit together almost perfectly. Using this stack to help with relaxation and sleep is like a good one-two punch. Let’s take a closer look at how both operate.

What You Need to Know About Melatonin

Melatonin is an interesting hormone which occurs naturally in many different living things including humans, animals, and even plants. Basically, this substance is produced by your pineal gland and is used to help signal when it is time to sleep and wake. This hormone controls and regulates our sleep cycle to a very high degree.

The problem, of course, is that many times we tend to damage how Melatonin works.

For example, sleeping with the light on is very detrimental to the proper functioning of this hormone. It is also why sometimes just laying in a completely dark room (even in the middle of the day) can help to make us tired.

Oftentimes, our Melatonin levels become depressed and do not function properly. This depression is an excellent reason to consider supplementation. It does not take long to re-build the proper levels of Melatonin.

What You Need to Know About L-Theanine

This supplement is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is normally found in green tea. It is also a form of Glutamic Acid that is capable of increasing alpha waves in the brain.

These types of brain waves are thought to promote a feeling of relaxed alertness. This relaxed alertness is also thought to help benefit cognition and mental functioning, support healthy blood pressure, and even lead to immune system benefits.

Someone who also uses stimulants like caffeine will find extra benefits from L-Theanine. This supplement actually helps to reduce that jittery and over-wired feeling that results from a number of chemical and natural stimulants. At the same time, it also enhances the cognitive and mental benefits derived from many of those stimulants.

Why This Stack Will Work For You

When used in combination, these supplements work together very nicely. The L-Theanine will serve to help your body calm itself down and relax. At the same time, you will still find yourself with a lot of mental power and brain energy.

Then, after your body is winding down and becoming more and more relaxed, the Melatonin hits.

The Melatonin will then signal your body that it is time for sleep. Since you have already been pre-relaxing (take the L-Theanine about an hour or so ahead of the Melatonin for best results), you should fall asleep much quicker and even have better sleep quality; you will wake feeling more refreshed.

 

For more information on sleep and how it affects the body, check out the study mentioned above!

The Dangers of Using Benadryl to Fall Asleep

Benadryl and Other Anti-Histamines:

Benadryl is an actual drug that is normally used as a treatment for symptoms related to allergies, hay fever, and even the common cold. This treatment works by helping to block several naturally occurring substances within the body. The first of these is histamine which is produced during an allergic reaction. It also works to block Acetylcholine which is a powerful brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter. This is what leads to drying out watery eyes and runny nose symptoms.

Bendaryl is often used to help people fall asleep. There are several problems with this. The first is that is an actual drug. It is very possible that over use could lead to some type of dependence, whether chemical or psychological. Additionally, there are also possible drug interactions which could occur and lead to dangerous side effects. The same things could be said for a number of other anti-histamines.

Melatonin and Sleep:

Instead of Benadryl, why not consider an all-natural product or supplement like Melatonin? This is something that your body already naturally produces and is healthy and incredibly beneficial. Rather than blocking natural hormonal and neurotransmitter processes, Melatonin actually has a role in helping the body to get to sleep and stay asleep according to a regular (and regulated) schedule.

Melatonin is also known to have a number of other powerful benefits. Researchers are quite convinced that helps to strengthen the immune system. This natural substance also may play a role in slowing down cellular aging. This hormone is likely one of the main reasons why you start feeling tired when you lie down in a dark room at night. Not to mention the fact that Melatonin also provides a feeling of overall comfort and well-being.

Falling Asleep:

There is certainly a lot of temptation these days to use all types of substances for help in falling asleep. Our natural way of life includes lots of stress and pressure which can make it difficult to relax. But using something like Benadryl can actually hurt your body and overall health. Do you ultimately want to put something into your system that is designed to work against it?

Melatonin is safe and effective, not to mention natural and gentle. What is more, this is actually a pleasurable experience, unlike anti-histamines which can lead to feeling numb, like having your head in the clouds. Give Melatonin a try today.