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]. 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 powder not only prevents the overly stimulated feelings sometimes associated with Alpha GPC, but it seems to keep strength consistent throughout workouts [5]. 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 [6].

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. [7]

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 [8].


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 [9, 10]. It also improves motor coordination and resistance to muscular fatigue [11], and it acts as a potent mood enhancer [12].

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 [13].

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.


  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://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20428999
  5. http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/15/7/921.full.pdf
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11597608
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11911459
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10996447
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4059305
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10573727
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10858919
  13. 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 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.


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


  • 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