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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.