Category: Featured
26Dec

Author – Jonathan Roseland

‘Tis the season to feel a little under the weather. Every year as the seasons pass and the leaves change colors most people anticipate getting sick but getting through it anyways.

  • They will be sniffling and dabbing their runny nose frequently.
  • Their stomachs will grumble with nausea.
  • Their sinuses will get blocked up with mucus.
  • They’ll toss and turn in bed for hours before finally sleeping badly for a few hours.
  • They’ll be tormented by migraines.
  • They’ll cancel their weekend social plans so that they can sleep extra.
  • If they get sick they’ll double or triple dose on the dayQuil, nyQuil or Paracetamol.
  • They’ll maybe even spend some long hours kneeling before the porcelain throne.

I’ll suggest you can totally avoid this suffering this winter if you spend a bit of attention (and money) fortifying your immune system. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

In this article I’m going to give you some really effective Biohacks for staying healthy during this winter. If you hate getting sick during the winter and losing productive days, you’re definitely going to want to implement these Biohacks.

Immune Biohacks

The most effective, most economically supplements are toward the top of this list. I really, really hate getting sick and losing days feeling miserable so I use all of them to stay healthy. If you have limited budget and time get the ones towards the top of this list.

Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero)

Siberian ginseng (which I think is a cooler name than Eleutherococcus senticosus) is probably my favorite immune biohack because of it’s effectiveness, safety and low cost along with pleasant taste and aesthetics. The soviets in Russia utterly failed to build a socialist utopia but luckily for you did they manage to do some good herbal science and identify this immunity promoting supplement which was badly needed in a country where the weather sometimes gets as cold as on the surface of the moon. It worked so well that they gave it to everyone from their Olympic athletes and soldiers fighting in Afghanistan to cosmonauts and supersonic aviators.

But it’s research is not limited to the Russosphere, you can find over 20 human clinical trials done all around the world on Pubmed.

Usage and Dosage: I take this almost daily, personally I really enjoy taking it as a nice tea. I just dump a few hundred milligrams of Eleuthero powder into steeped hot water.

You can vary the dosage, if you feel like you’re going to get sick take up 900 milligrams daily but the immune maintenance dosage is going to be 250 – 500 milligrams.

 

Ashwagandha

Staying healthy or getting sick during the winter time has a lot to do with your levels of stress and testosterone. Your testosterone will naturally lower during the cold months that you are spending more time inside and getting less natural sunlight. As your testosterone lowers you’re much more likely to get sick.

Chronic stress is testosterone’s biological nemesis. Probably the most effective way optimizing your testosterone is to be really vigilant about your stress management; Ashwagandha is an Adaptogen that powerfully modulates your autonomic nervous system to better manage stress.

It’s frequently praised by Biohackers for the productive state of relaxed arousal and modicum of tranquility it delivers.

Usage and Dosage: The research indicates that it is a medium term biohack for stress and testosterone. Taking 8 weeks – 3 months for the benefits of supplementation to really take effect. So you want to make a little more of a long term commitment to it. Although, a lot Biohackers do report a instantaneous effect on their mindset and subjective stress level. The recommended daily dose is 300 – 1500 milligrams daily.

 

Zinc

An essential nutrient for healthy immune function. A publicly published 2008 American paper exhaustively documents it’s essential role

The zinc-deficient patients had severe immune dysfunctions, inasmuch as they died of intercurrent infections by the time they were 25 years of age. In our studies in an experimental human model of zinc deficiency, we documented decreased serum testosterone level, oligospermia, severe immune dysfunctions mainly affecting T helper cells…

Zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system… Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating innate immunity, neutrophils, and NK cells.

Usage and Dosage: Take about 25 milligrams of Zinc with a meal everyday. If you feel a cold coming on Zinc lozenges are a great idea and you may want to up the dosage to 45 milligrams.

 

Vitamin C

Another VERY affordable vitamin that belongs in your Biohacker cabinet. From the research of Linus Pauling

…in comparison with a placebo, [vitamin C is effective] in decreasing the incidence and integrated morbidity of the common cold for subjects exposed to cold viruses in the ordinary way and without colds when the test period began.

It’s an especially good idea to supplement if your do high intensity or endurance exercise frequently.

Usage and Dosage: The recommended daily dose is 100 – 200 milligrams but it’s fine to mega dose to avoid illness, as much as 2000 milligrams.

 

Vitamin D

During the winter months it’s especially important to supplement Vitamin D, specifically D3. Over a hundred clinical trials have been done in the past 10 years researching the connection between this crucial vitamin and the immune system.

However, for it to really effectively biohack your immune system and keep you healthy it requires an essential cofactor; sunlight.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she explained that when UVB light hits your skin, it converts vitamin D into its activated, sulfated form. Thus it’s not enough to just pop a vitamin D3 supplement. You have to activate the vitamin, and that requires exposure to real sunlight (or a high-quality UVB lamp). 

So if you can bundle up and get 10-15 minutes of sunlight during those short winter days, it will will make that Vitamin D3 all the more effective. If you can’t you may want to consider a tanning salon membership or investing in an ultraviolet-B light.

Usage and Dosage: The recommended daily is 5,000 IU, if you’re Vitamin D deficient (which you likely are if you spend the majority your the time indoors and are maybe a little tired and depressed during the winter time) you’ll want to take as much as 8,000 IU. To make it even more potent also   supplement it with Vitamin K2 and Vitamin A.

 

Rhodiola

This is probably my favorite Adaptogenic herb because of the noticeable dual effects it has of alleviating stress and energizing you.

Again, anything that improves your stress management has a downstream effect of improving your immune system.

Rhodiola will put some pep in your step about 15-30 minutes after you consume it, it’s a wakefulness agent, some researchers even regard it as an herbal alternative to Modafinil, I’m not sure if I go that far but for me it is an alternative coffee.

From a book that exhaustively details the fascinating medicinal history and numerous usage case studies of Rhodiola

Long before research established that Rhodiola rosea enhances immune defense mechanisms within cells, people in the mountain villages of eastern Russia and Siberia— as well as in central Asia and Scandinavia— relied on the herb to help fight infections. During the harsh Siberian winters, villagers brewed Rhodiola rosea tea to treat colds and flu, while Mongolian doctors prescribed it for tuberculosis and cancer. In Norway, doctors routinely used the herb as a treatment for scurvy, lung disease, and intestinal worms.

As animal studies show, Rhodiola rosea can stimulate the natural killer cells that protect against infections. (3520-3526)

So it’s strength as an immune supplement is fighting infections.

In 1998, Andrey Yaremenko— then an enterprising graduate student at the I. P. Pavlov St. Petersburg State Medical University in Russia— presented “The Complex Treatment of Severe Infectious Diseases,” his Ph.D. dissertation in medicine. Through his research, he had determined that Rhodiola rosea could destroy pathogenic bacteria in cell cultures as effectively as the antibiotic oxacillin. (3531-3534)

Side effects? As far as risk profile the Adaptogens mentioned here fall into the category of: Extremely Safe.

They have virtually none of the scary or undesirable side effects so commonly reported about pharmaceutical drugs that have the same purported benefits.

They are nutraceuticals that come from nature and they have been used in medicinal traditions for thousands of years, so they are the unpatented, which is why they are relatively cheap.

Quality is actually a major concern with Adaptogens, since anyone can grow them there is a real spectrum of quality. What you don’t want to do is just buy the cheapest brand of herbs from your local vitamin store, they are invariably very low quality industrially farmed in China and have unacceptably high levels of toxic metals.

I’ve used a lot of Adaptogens from different suppliers and unlike some of the other vitamins and nutrients mentioned here; there really is a big difference between the cheap stuff that I grab off a store shelf and organic herbs from reputable vendors which are verified as pure with a certificate of analysis or spectroscopy report.

Usage and Dosage: A daily dose to optimize your stress management  and maintain healthy immune function is 200 – 400 milligrams daily, which is not much! To fight infection you would want to double that, but doing much more would maybe be overstimulating.

 

Resveratrol

This antioxidant is fundamental to our underlying Mitochondrial energy production process that powers our immune system.

An American 2007 study indicated it’s helpful in combination with grade seed extract

Recent data showing that glucan elicited defense responses in grapevine and induced protection via induction of resveratrol production led us to evaluate the possible synergetic effects of glucan and resveratrol complex on immune reactions.

It concluded

…our data suggest significant synergy in stimulation of immunereactions and support further studies of these natural immunomodulators.

Resveratrol has grown to be thought of synonymously with red wine…

Usage and Dosage: I also like red wine, but to get a healthy supplemental dose of Resveratrol you would need to drink about 40 glasses of wine! I’ll pass on THAT hang over and just take 150 – 300 milligrams (one or two capsules) daily.

 

Red Reishi

This is another Adaptogen that works on your autonomic nervous system and benefits immunity.

From a Chinese double blind, placebo controlled 2004 study done at Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a woody mushroom highly regarded in traditional medicine and is widely consumed in the belief that it promotes health and longevity, lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease and boosts the immune system.

It’s particularly potent in combating viral infections like Bronchiolitis, Sinusitis, Norovirus, ear infections, flu and the common cold.

If you’re going to use Reishi you REALLY don’t want to go for the cheap stuff. It’s a mushroom so it has a tendency to accumulate toxic metals. Only use Reishi that is verified by a 3rd party certificate of analysis, spectroscopy or mineralogy report.

Usage and Dosage: Dosage of powder extract 1.5 grams – 5 grams.

 

Cordyceps

A 2015 placebo controlled human study of 79 healthy korean men evaluated it’s effectiveness as an immune hack

Cordyceps militaris is a mushroom traditionally used for diverse pharmaceutical purposes in East Asia, including China, and has been found to be effective for enhancing immunity through various types of animal testing.

Therefore, [Cordyceps] is safe and effective for enhancing cell-mediated immunity of healthy male adults.

A 2009 Chinese study evaluated it helpfulness counteracting the immune retardation caused by organ transplants for 67 people

[Cordyceps sinensis mycelia] could effectively protect liver and kidney, stimulate hemopoietic function, improve hypoproteinemia, as well as reduce the incidence of infection… Therefore, it is a useful drug for immunoregulation…

Usage and Dosage: Take 1000 milligrams of Codyceps daily if you’re concerned with getting ill.

 

CoQ10

This anti-aging Nootropic is important to healthy immune function. From a 2011 Indian paper

CoQ10 plays a significant role in boosting the immune system and physical performance, as tissues and cells involved with immune function are highly energy-dependent and therefore require an adequate supply of CoQ10 for optimal function.

A Emile G. Bliznakov thoroughly studied CoQ10 and reported

That CoQ plays a crucial role in aging is beyond doubt. The same applies to CoQ’s role in the immune system. And there is a vital connection between the immune system and aging that cannot be ignored.

Usage and Dosage: 150 – 300 milligrams daily for maintenance of health and vitality.

 

Immune26

This hyperimmune egg supplement seriously empowers your immune system (even years after you’ve stopped taking it in my experience). It has a fascinating mechanism of borrowing the immune strengths from avian species that have better immune systems than humans.

From a 2015 American study

Passive immunization with pathogen-specific egg yolk antibodies (IgY) is emerging as a potential alternative to antibiotics for the treatment and prevention of various human [diseases].

The use of IgY offers several advantages in that it is environmentally friendly, nontoxic…

Usage and Dosage: Take 3 – 5 grams of the hyperimmune egg powder in a drink or smoothie (it does not taste bad!) It has more of a preventative immune effect than a curative one.

 

N-ACETYL CYSTEINE

This inexpensive supplement powerfully modulates the complicated glutathione mechanism of our neurobiology to optimize our immune system, it…

  • Replenishes glutathione.
  • Breaks down mucus.
  • Protects against bacteria.

A Spanish study of 36 women evidenced that 600 milligrams daily for several months of NAC is very helpful to the immune systems of middle aged women.

It’s probably more effective as an immune hack for older adults than otherwise healthy young people.

Usage and Dosage: 500 milligrams is the dose used in the studies that demonstrated immune benefit. In the human studies the benefit to immunity was noted after several months, so it’s a medium term biohack.

 

NAD+

NAD+ tunes your immune system like a master tuner tuning a grand piano. It will also modulate down the immune system which mitigates various autoimmune disorders. From a paper published by Harvard Medical School

Researchers found that NAD+, a natural molecule found in living cells, plants and food, protects against autoimmune diseases by altering the immune response and turning “destructive” cells into “protective” cells. The molecule is also able to reverse disease progression by restoring damaged tissue caused by the autoimmunity process.

“This is a universal molecule that can potentially treat not only autoimmune diseases but other acute or chronic conditions such as allergy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sepsis and immunodeficiency,” said Stefan G. Tullius, HMS professor of surgery

From a 2011 German Review: NAD +: a modulator of immune functions:

Latterly, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) has emerged as a molecule with versatile functions and of enormous impact on the maintenance of cell integrity.

Taken together, an efficient supply of NAD+ seems to be a crucial need for a multitude of cell functions, underlining the yet only partly revealed potency of this small molecule to influence cell fate.

Usage and Dosage: NAD+ is an increasingly renowned anti-aging supplement but it it’s a medium term biohack, so it’s a good idea for long term immune health, it likely won’t make much of a different in a cold you’re trying to kick now

 

Melatonin

Melatonin’s main utility to Biohackers is as a sleep aid. It supplements an important hormone that puts you to sleep.

Sleep is crucial to immune function, a night of bad or insufficient sleep puts you at increased risk of getting sick, especially during the cold winter months.

If you’re stressed over the hectic holidays (or drank too many coffees) it really costs you quality of sleep, but if you use Melatonin sparingly you will sleep like a baby and awake feeling refreshed.

To quote an authoritative 2013 paper on Melatonin and the immune system

While some authors argue that melatonin is an immunostimulant, many studies have also described anti-inflammatory properties. The data reviewed in this paper support the idea of melatonin as an immune buffer, acting as a stimulant under basal or immunosuppressive conditions or as an anti-inflammatory compound in the presence of exacerbated immune responses, such as acute inflammation.

This is interesting, it’s saying that Melatonin helps the immune system when it needs it and also turns down the immune system when it is overactive as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Usage and Dosage: Take 5 -20 milligrams before bed NOT more than twice a week. More frequent and you’ll build up a tolerance and will have trouble getting to sleep without it.

 

Immune Lifehacks

Sunlight

One of the main reasons we suffer from seasonal affective disorder is the lack of natural light from the sun. Ideally you would want to spend about 15 minutes everyday sunbathing in your swimsuit (or your birthday suit!) but during the winter time you’ll be lucky to get just a few moments of sunlight a day on your face as you hurry in from the cold.

Maybe you can do some winter sports nearly naked like this guy…

[video]

If NOT it’s a pretty great idea for you to invest in a UVB lamp that shines on you where ever you work or spend a lot of time.

 

Probiotic Foods

Giving your gut biome the healthy bacteria it needs is key to your immune system functioning and your body being able to fully utilize and absorb the nutrients in the supplements mentioned above. Daily try to consume some of the following probiotics

  • Probiotic organic yogurt
  • Korean kimchi
  • German sauerkraut

You can also drink tasty probiotic beverages like

  • Turkish Kefir
  • Russian Kvass
  • Kombucha

 

Garlic

Is a well known immune promoting food – although it works better stimulating your immune system if used episodically.

Contrary to mediterranean folk wisdom, consuming Garlic daily can be problematic…

  • It can overstimulate the immune system, causing inflammation and other undesirable symptoms.
  • As little as 25 grams of Garlic is toxic, presumably even less if you’re consuming none-organic garlic.
  • Garlic allergies are common.
  • You’ll stink of garlic. Despite the best dental hygiene, it comes out of your pores.
  • Contrary to what every child jokes about on Halloween, a very humorous Norwegian study indicated garlic may actually attract vampires!

Nevertheless, during the winter months I’ll increase my garlic consumption, adding it to my meals a couple of times a week.

When I was a gringo living in central America I would occasionally feel like I was just about to get sick after drinking bad water, eating a suspicious empanada, drinking too much crappy beer or making out with a young single mother in a reggaeton disco…

I would eat a bunch of garlic immediately followed by 30-40 minutes of vigorous exercise. This always seemed to avert the impending hours of suffering spent in bed, in the bathroom, rubbing my stomach and lamenting my life decisions. In fact, I only got seriously ill once for about 12 hours total in the 3 years I spent living in Latin America. Not bad!

 

Fasting

Every year new studies come out showing that fasting is a better and better lifestyle practice.

Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology & the Biological Sciences at the University of California had studied this extensively, his research is indicating that fasting is one of the best things you can do for your immune system. To quote some of Dr. Longo’s remarks that appeared in the UK’s Telegraph, describing trials he conducted with people fasting for 2 – 4 days

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,”

“It gives the ‘OK’ for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,”

To repeat, it rebuilds the entire immune, that’s a remarkable claim isn’t? Fasting causing autophagy, which is when your body kills off old and unhealthy cells. Particularly this rejuvenates the immune system.

Around the holidays you probably (drastically!) increase your caloric intake and cheat (egregiously!) on your healthy diet. So what better time to make biological atonement by fasting?

How to fast: Start the fast in the middle of the day, eat a big lunch of healthy fats and just don’t eat anything solid for 24 – 72 hours.

Drink a lot of water or tea

You’ll get a bit uncomfortable and hungry but it’s really not bad.

If you can only go 20 – 24 hours the first time it’s OK, that’s still really beneficial to your health.

Occupy yourself with some tasks that are distracting but NOT too physically excruciating.

The meal you have breaking the fast will be absolutely amazing, it will taste like the best meal at the fanciest restaurant you’ve ever visited. It’s well worth the wait!

This year I’ll do a 24 hour fast prior to Christmas eve dinner. And then I’ll do a 2 or 3 day fast during those relatively unproductive, lackadaisical days between Christmas and New Years eve revelry.

 

Ejaculation Control (For Men)

This immunity lifehack comes from the original Biohackers – Taoists. From a book that is a must read for men, The Tao Of Health, Sex, and Longevity

Peng Tze points out, “one ejaculation is one hundred times more harmful than one in spring.” Men who sharply reduce their emission frequencies during winter without reducing intercourse suffer far less from colds, influenza, chills, the winter “blues,” and other symptoms related to cold weather. (5586-5589)

The Multi-Orgasmic Man by Mantak Chia concurred

Taoists, who lived close to nature, also believed that just as plants and animals conserve their energy in winter, so should people. (p. 79)

This may sound like a pseudo-spiritual biohack but this ancient knowledge makes a lot of sense if you have cursory knowledge of male reproductive biology. Producing semen is biologically costly, it contains a lot of zinc and valuable nutrients. That’s energy and resources that could be spent keeping you healthy during the winter months.

If you think about it, the times you’ve gotten ill were often preceded by times when you were ejaculating a lot. No surprise, when we are young we have the capacity to produce a lot more semen and we can ejaculate almost daily without it making much of a difference to our health and energy levels but as we advance through our third, fourth and fifth decades this really changes.

You don’t have to completely abstain from ejaculating during the winter time – just try going two weeks and see how you feel.

Time X Suffering

As a lifehacker I’m always thinking about the value of my time and the opportunity cost of whatever I’m doing. So allowing myself to get sick is a pretty egregious sin.considering that it costs between dozens of hours too many days of lost productivity. This cost is multiplied by the suffering and stress involved, getting sick is like taking an unplanned vacation and hating every minute of it. No thank you!

Watch the video related to this article, courtesy of LimitlessMindset.

4Oct

How to Get the Most out of Modafinil

 

There’s a lot of hype surrounding modafinil. For those who are unfamiliar, modafinil is a nonstimulant wakefulness-enhancer used to treat disorders like narcolepsy. This post is about how to use modafinil in the most productive, safe way possible. My recommendations are

 

  • don’t use modafinil as an excuse to sleep less
  • don’t let yourself become overstimulated
  • take stimulant holidays
  • try stacking nicotine with modafinil (potentially high-risk)
  • make sure to protect your brain while on modafinil

 

Buy Modafinil

Modafinil Use is Growing: Why?

Modafinil is increasingly being used by nootropics users and students to increase productivity. A quick Google trends search reveals increased interest in modafinil since about 2013:

 

Modafinil 1

 

In terms of wakefulness enhancement, modafinil gets the job done. But you’ll probably be disappointed if you were looking for something with NZT-like effects. (NZT was the drug from Limitless – the fictional show/movie about smart drugs).

 

My experience with modafinil is that it reliably improves motivation and task salience. What’s task salience? Well, enhancing task salience can make certain tasks that you were avoiding seem more important and urgent. It’s like manufacturing a sense of urgency for stuff that under normal circumstances would seem like a chore.

 

If you struggled academically, one reason could be hypofunction of the dopamine system. Too little dopamine will make certain kinds of tasks (like your homework) seem less salient to you.

.

There are some interesting evolutionary tradeoffs at work here. If stimuli appear to be too salient, then you might start to see patterns in a random series of numbers that aren’t meaningful. Like John Nash, you might start to think that the radio host is specifically addressing you. In other words, psychosis becomes a risk.

Who Benefits from Modafinil?

The effect of modafinil is more pronounced if your baseline level of motivation tends to be low. But modafinil probably won’t increase your IQ if you’re already high-functioning.

 

Just like any drug, modafinil has side effects. This post is about how to mitigate the side effects of modafinil and get the most out of the drug.

 

Common modafinil side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness

These side effects are pronounced if you’re already predisposed to anxiety or hyperarousal. Hyperarousal is related to an overactive sympathetic nervous system. This is the arm of the nervous system that promotes the fight-or-flight behavioral response in threatening scenarios.

#1 Don’t use modafinil as an excuse to sleep less

 

Sleep is important. Like really, really important.

 

When you’re older, you’ll probably wish you could sleep more. Sleep quality deteriorates as we age. The notion that you should try to sleep less to get more done is a crazy dystopian adolescent fantasy.

You want your sleep to be as deep and restorative as possible. During slow wave sleep, your brain is clearing neurotoxic metabolites and consolidating memories.  Skeptical? See this article published by NPR, Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/10/18/236211811/brains-sweep-themselves-clean-of-toxins-during-sleep)

 

Impaired sleep quality is one of the earliest and most sensitive signs of ensuing Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep too little, and your cognitive performance will be impaired, whether you’re taking modafinil or not. (Actually, a few people have a specific phenotype that makes them less susceptible to sleep deprivation-induced cognitive impairment.)

 

#2 Don’t let yourself become overstimulated

There’s this idea in neuroscience that an optimal level of arousal exists to facilitate learning and memory. It’s called the Yerkes-Dodson law. See the following graph (it’s pretty self-explanatory):

 

 

 

Modafinil promotes wakefulness and increases arousal. That’s why modafinil tends to be more effective if your baseline state is a little fatigued or unmotivated.

 

But if you take too much modafinil – or you’re already hyper-aroused or anxious to begin with – there’s a good chance that modafinil will actually impair your functioning. Optimal functioning arises from a state of relaxed concentration. Relating this to the Yerkes-Dodson law, modafinil causes a “right shift” along the x-axis.

 

Ideas to make sure you don’t become “overstimulated”

  • Decrease your dose. Sometimes I take as little as 50mg of modafinil, which is ¼ the typical prescribed dose.
  • Co-ingest nootropics like l-theanine, lavender, or magnesium, which can help promote a relaxed state without sedation.
  • Take frequent breaks and create a relaxing atmosphere.

 

#3 Stimulant holidays are highly recommended

 

Some people are wound a little too tight. If you’re an entrepreneur, growing your business is ultimately your responsibility. It’s not like being an employee, where you’ll still get paid even if business is slow.

 

But resist the temptation to become a workaholic, and make time for yourself. I’m not talking about carving out extra time to binge watch netflix. I’m talking about wholesome activities like spending more time in nature, calling up a friend, hanging out in a hottub, and listening to music while not doing anything else. You get the idea. There are so many ways to unwind. If you can only unwind in front of a screen, you’re missing out! Exercise is also a great way to reset your stress levels and the neurochemical milieu in your brain. See this article about exercise and emotional resilience to stress: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24822048

 

#4 Modafinil has a synergistic effect with nicotine

 

This suggestion is experimental, high-risk, and certainly not for everyone. If you’re nursing or pregnant, or your brain is still developing, I would avoid nicotine like the plague.

 

But nicotine is one of the most robust nootropics. It also stacks remarkably well with modafinil. That’s why both drugs are at the top of my list of the best nootropics (http://www.brainprotips.com/best-nootropics-2016).

 

Here’s what one researcher has to say about nicotine:

 

“To my knowledge, nicotine is the most reliable cognitive enhancer that we currently have, bizarrely,” said Jennifer Rusted, professor of experimental psychology at Sussex University in Britain when we spoke. “The cognitive-enhancing effects of nicotine in a normal population are more robust than you get with any other agent. With Provigil, for instance, the evidence for cognitive benefits is nowhere near as strong as it is for nicotine.”

 

Why does nicotine work so well? It’s a potent nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist. Nicotinic acetylcholine activation suppresses GABAergic inputs to dopaminergic neurons, which elicits dopamine release in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Nicotine decreases the risk of parkinson’s disease, markedly improves working memory, and is underutilized due to its association with tobacco smoking.

 

Nicotine’s pharmacodynamics are unique. It’s one of the few drugs that elicits dopamine release while also putatively protecting dopaminergic neurons. Most other dopamine releasing agents are ultimately neurotoxic. This neurotoxicity only manifests after chronic, high doses of drugs of abuse like methamphetamine.

 

Take a gander at an excerpt from this abstract about nicotine’s peculiar ability to protect the dopaminergic system.

 

Current evidence for neuroprotective effects of nicotine and caffeine against Parkinson’s disease (2011)

 

…Both retrospective and prospective epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated an inverse association between cigarette smoking and PD, leading to theories that smoking in general and nicotine in particular might be neuroprotective. Nicotine has been shown in animals to stimulate the release of dopamine in the striatum, and to preserve nigral neurons and striatal dopamine levels in laboratory animals with lesioned nigrostriatal pathways. Coffee and caffeine consumption have also been shown in epidemiological studies to be inversely related to PD risk. Caffeine is an adenosine A(2A) receptor antagonist that enhances locomotor activity in animal models of parkinsonism. Theophylline, a related compound that has A(2A) receptor blocking properties, has been shown in one small trial to improve motor function in patients with PD. Recently, potent and highly selective A(2A) receptor antagonists have been developed that have demonstrated improvement in motor function in animal models of parkinsonism. Exciting findings are emerging that demonstrate attenuation of dopaminergic neurotoxicity with caffeine and other adenosine receptor antagonists in mice given the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), suggesting that these compounds may be neuroprotective..,

 

 

If you want to try stacking nicotine with modafinil, start with the lowest possible doses, e.g., 1mg nicotine plus 50mg modafinil. Note that nicotine has a very narrow therapeutic range. Slapping fifteen nicotine patches on your back is a bizarrely popular suicide method precisely because it’s so lethal in overdose. As far as nootropics go, nicotine is probably the most dangerous if you’re not careful.

 

#5 Protecting Your Brain on Modafinil

 

Modafinil is a widely-prescribed wakefulness promoting agent that is generally safe and well-tolerated at prescribed dosages.

 

But the theoretical possibility of tipping the balance toward excitotoxicity exists. Since modafinil enhances extracellular glutamate release in hypothalamic regions with concomitant decrements in GABA. This two-pronged action, whereby excitatory signaling is enhanced and GABA is suppressed raises questions about the potential neurotoxicity of modafinil in combination with other allosteric modulators of glutamate receptors, such as the racetams.

 

This line of thinking is highly speculative. There’s also evidence to the country, that modafinil has antioxidant and neuroprotective properties – like increasing the cortical phosphocreatine pool. But we can hedge our bets with common supplements like magnesium or vitamin D, green tea and foods like blueberries, cacao, curcumin and coconut oil. These are just examples of neuroprotective compounds.

 

Let’s quickly summarize how to get the most out of modafinil.

  • Make sure to get the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours); don’t use modafinil as an excuse to sleep less
  • Modafinil is most beneficial if your baseline level of energy, motivation, and anxiety is low. Modafinil can impair functioning in anxious people with naturally high arousal (see the Yerkes-Dodson law figure for evidence of this)
  • Take breaks from modafinil use and give your central nervous system a chance to recuperate.

 

Trusted Modafinil Vendor

 

If you found this discussion interesting, see my vendor comparison post about where to buy modafinil (http://www.brainprotips.com/buy-modafinil/).

 

24Jul

How to Cap Your Own Nootropic Pills and Blends

There are multiple methods to capping your own blends; however, many of them are shoddy and produce inferior results. An excellent post on reddit provides a detailed explanation on the materials you  need and the best method to get the most accurate nootropic blend.

What You Will Need

Capsule Machine

  • A capping machine and empty gelatin capsules. The thread suggest two capsule machines for a DIY pill capsule filler, the Cap-M-Quick and The Capsule Machine. The first can cap 50 at a time, but you have to manually join the capsule ends together. The second only does 24 caps at a time; however, it will join the capsule ends together automatically. Both machines can use size 0 and size 00 capsules.
    Capsule Machine

Milligram Scale

  • A milligram scale to weigh your powders. If you are using nootropics, it’s best to get a milligram scale with 1mg accuracy.  Some nootropics such as noopept call for miniscule dosages that less sensitive scales may not weigh accurately.
  • The nootropics or supplement powders for your blend.
  • A powdered filler to fill in the space in your capsules your active compound does not. Some suggested powders include baking soda, corn starch, flour, creatine, glutamine, etc. There is more information on choosing your filler below.
  • A mortar and pestle to thoroughly mix your supplements and filler.
  • Empty Gel Capsules

Take the guesswork out of encapsulation. Try a DIY encapsulation kit.

How to Make Your Capsule Blends

Going forward, this guide assumes you are using The Capsule Machine. All of the steps are the same if you have a different capping machine, except you will have to join the halves yourself.

  • Load 24 empty capsules into your capsule machine and fill them with your chosen filler. If you plan to tamp down your final product, then tamp down during this step.
  • Empty the filler from the capsule machine and weigh the filler powder.
  • Divide that weight by the number of capsules to get the total weight per capsule.
  • Repeat the above steps with your active compound.

Determine Your Supplements’ Ratio

You will need to determine the ratio between your supplements to adequately dose your compounds. Here is the given example using picamilon as the active compound and glutamine as the filler:

Each capsule can hold 490mg of picamilon or 715mg of glutamine. Assuming you want each capsule to contain a 100mg dose of picamilon, you will need to use the following equation to determine how much glutamine you will need per cap.

  • We know 490mg Picamilon takes up the same amount of space as 715mg of Glutamine so (100mg Picamilon x 715mg Glutamine)/ 490mg Picamilon = 146mg of Glutamine. This is the amount of Glutamine that is equal to 100mg of Picamilon; this will need to be removed so the active compound and filler both fit in one capsule. Thus 715mg Glutamine – 146mg = 569mg Glutamine. That is the amount you will need to per cap.
  •  So, to fill 48 capsules you will need 27.312g of Glutamine (569mg Glutamine x 48 capsules) and 4.8g of Picamilon (100mg Picamilon x 48 capsules).

This method is much more exact than the simpler method of merely subtracting 100mg of Glutamine to allow for the 100mg of Picamilon. This is because volume and weight are two different beasts. Just because two products have the same weight does not mean they will have the same volume, as you can see here. 146mg of Glutamine is equal to 100mg of Picamilon volumetrically.

Mixing Your Active Compound and Your Filler

Now that you have the appropriate amount of supplement powders, you need to mix them in a way that will get you the most accurate distribution. No one wants to painstakingly measure out each individual dose of both supplements per cap. To do this you will need to use the geometric dilution method. It goes like this:

  • Take all of your smaller powder (in this example, Picamilon) and mix it in your mortar with an approximately equal amount of your larger powder (in this example, glutamine). You will need to blend this for together with your pestle for a few minute.
  • This is your “Mix 1” and should now be roughly 9.6g (4.8g of Picamilon + 4.8g of Glutamine). Now, add an equal amount of glutamine (9.6g) to this mix and blend for a few minutes again.
  • Now your blend should be 19.2g (9.6g from Mix 1 + 9.6g of Glutamine). Add in the remaining Glutamine (12.912g) and blend one final time.

Now you are ready to make your capsules! By taking the time to accurately measure and blend your powders, you can ensure that you are getting an accurate dosage. In this case, 100mg of picamilon and 569mg of Glutamine.

Capsule Filler Machine Instructions:

If you have never made your own nootropic capsules before, following the instructions above may be intimidating. To help you better understand the process, we are including a picture tutorial below.

    1. To mix and accurately dose your nootropic blend, you need 5g of Picamilon (red milligram scoop included), 30g of Glutamine (1/8 tsp scoop included), a digital milligram scale, and a mortar and pestle.
    2. Of the 5g of Picamilon, you need 4.8g. As I have a 5g bag, I weighed out 200mg and set it aside. My bag now contains 4.8g of Picamilon. Of the 30g of Glutamine, you need 27.312g so simply measure out 2.688g on the scale and set it aside as well.
    3. Mix your 4.8g of Picamilon with 4.8g of Glutamine. My Glutamine came in 5g bags, so to get 4.8g I followed the same step as I did for Picamilon above. Mix thoroughly for a couple of minutes using your mortar and pestle. You should now have 9.6g of your blend (Mix 1). Add 9.6g of Glutamine to Mix 1 and blend with your mortar and pestle again. You should now have 19.2g. Add in the remaining 12.912g of Glutamine and blend one final time.
    4. Now that you have your active ingredient and your filler properly mixed, it is time to fill the capsules. You will need size 00 empty capsules, The Capsule Machine, and your blend. Load your capsules into the holes. The long halves of the capsules go in the base, the shorter halves go in the lid.
    5. Set the base of your capsule machine on the provided stand and set it on a plate or shallow bowl to catch any spilled powder. Then dump some of your blend onto it and use the provided scraper to fill the capsules.

  1. Remove the base from the stand. You can now place the lid with the capsule tops on the base. Press down hard to join the capsule pieces together. The base is on a rigid spring and will flatten with adequate pressure.
  2. You can now press down on the back of the lid to release your capsules. Repeat this process to get 48 capsules.

Do I Even Need a Filler?

This may seem like a lot of work when you could just use your active compound to fill your capsules. Some people simply do not like half empty capsules. However, there is a major reason why fillers are used, and that is dosing accuracy.

When you use a capsule filling machine, you simply pour the calculated, pre-mixed powder onto the tray and then scrape it across the surface into the capsule holes. It is nearly impossible to get the same exact amount into each capsule. As a result some will be fuller than others and your doses will be inaccurate.

However, if all you need to do is completely fill the capsule with a premixed blend then you will not need to worry about inaccurate doses. Of course, you could always measure out every single dose individually, but that will take up quite a bit of your time.

Choosing Your Filler


Sodium bicarbonate is a common filler, but it will not provide additional benefits like other synergistic fillers.

Some people are perfectly fine picking a non-reactive substance like baking soda and leaving it at that. However, if you do not want to spend all that time measuring and mixing your blend just to have it be partially filled with an inert substance, you can use smart fillers.

What this means is you can pick a filler that is non-reactive with your main compound but that has benefits of its own. While baking soda has its uses, there are plenty of other options out there. So what can you use instead?

Synergistic Filler Options

The example above used glutamine. However, the individual did not pick it at random. Glutamine is a precursor to GABA and Picamilon is hydrolyzed into GABA once consumed, which makes these two supplements synergistic. The released GABA can then activate GABA receptors to produce an anxiolytic response [1]. Picamilon is primarily taken for its mood boosting and anti-anxiety benefits; glutamine can further enhance these effects.

Another option is creatine. Not many are aware of this, but creatine has nootropic benefits. While most people take it as a preworkout supplement, it can also be used as a neuroprotectant as well as a way to mitigate brain fog that accompanies many nootropics [2]. Creatine supplements can also improve fluid intelligence [3].

This next suggestion, whey protein, is most often included in pre- and post-workout blends. However, that does not mean protein powder is without cognitive benefits. One study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that whey protein can improve cognition in individuals susceptible to stress [4].

Cinnamon is another common filler with surprising benefits. Cinnamon is an excellent antioxidant [5, 6] and has so far proven effective against age-related memory impairments in mice [7, 8].

Citric acid can also be used as a filler when encapsulating your blends. While it is commonly used in cosmetics, citric acid also has positive implications for physiological stress and fatigue. One a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-way crossover study compared citric acid against l-carnitine and a placebo to see which, if any, could improve levels of salivary chromogranin A, a physiological stress marker. Citric acid lowered levels of salivary chromogranin A as well as subjective feeling of fatigue where as l-carnitine did not [9].  It also provides antioxidant benefits.

Alternatives to Capping Your Supplements

If you don’t have a capping machine or don’t have the time to properly mix your supplements, there are a few alternative solutions. Many people choose to cap their supplements because of the bitter taste, so the main goal is to mitigate this issue.

One alternative is to mask the bad flavor with a good one. Many people will cut their bitter nootropics with stevia or citric acid to improve the taste. Another option is parachuting. This method is fairly simple. All you need is rice paper and your desired supplement. You pour your dose onto a small square of rice paper and then grab all of the corners and twist until it looks like a little upside down parachute. You can read more about these methods here.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2884549
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21448659
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12036812
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20657484
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19000754
  7. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/tau-finds-cinnamon-could-combat-alzheimer-s-1.366678
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21305046
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2243251/

About Samantha Bookwalter

Google+

Samantha Bookwalter is freelance writer and social media specialist. She specializes in web editing, copy editing, copy writing, social media management, HTML, CSS, and other web-related acronyms. Samantha has an affinity for health and fitness; in her free time she enjoys working out with her husband and researching recipes that are not only healthy but delicious too.

24Jul

Adrafinil: Liver Toxicity and Alternatives

Drowsiness, sleepiness, or mental fatigue—this state of being has many names, and none of them are very appealing. Nearly everyone wants more energy and a sharper focus but there are only so many caffeine supplements a person can consume before they build a tolerance or experience side effects like headaches and jitters. Eventually, these people begin to look for alternate solutions and discover adrafinil, a seemingly wondrous supplement.

What is Adrafinil?

Adrafinil Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Promotes wakefulness without the jitters or hyperactivity, improves focus and cognition
  • Cons: Causes liver toxicity over time, potential facial movement disorders, as well as blood pressure and heart issues
  • Read more below for side effects management and alternatives.

Adrafinil is a nootropic stimulant that metabolizes in the body to produce modafinil. Both of these energizing brain boosters have energizing benefits. However, unlike many energy supplements, adrafinil does not cause hyperactivity, and helps to fight off drowsiness instead. While most nootropics are safe to use and adrafinil has gotten rave reviews from fans, it may come with a hefty cost to your liver.

How Does Adrafinil Work?

Adrafinil is metabolized into modafinil by way of your liver. This is a problem as adrafinil increases liver enzymes which can lead to problems and eventually toxicity within the organ, particularly if you already have liver issues. Adrafinil has also been tentatively linked to orofacial dyskinesia, which is the involuntary repetitive movement of the mouth and face. These dyskinesias occur frequently and are often irreversible [1]. This side effect is rare, and more common in the elderly. Other less severe facial movement disorders have also been linked to adrafinil [2].

So why do people take it? Because it is easier to obtain than modafinil and many are unaware of the potential liver damage.

Mitigating Adrafinil Liver Damage

There are some individuals who will still opt to take adrafinil for a variety of reasons. Many of those on adrafinil suffer from narcolepsy, or have jobs that require them to stay awake for hours on end, such as truck drivers. Assuming you and your doctor have weighed the benefits and the side effects and you still want to take adrafinil, there is a way to protect your liver.

Milk thistle supplementation is an excellent way to restore your liver’s health. Milk thistle helps to detoxify your liver and scavenges free radicals. However, milk thistle should be taken after a adrafinil cycle. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent the liver damage, you can only manage it after the fact [3]. Even so, if you properly cycle your adrafinil use with milk thistle you should be able to achieve the benefits while suffering minimal side effects.

Other adrafinil side effects include increased blood pressure and heart health problems. Unlike most nootropics, adrafinil has some worrisome side effects that should be closely monitored.

To avoid long-term liver damage, individuals should not supplement more than 600mg-1.2g of adrafinil three times a week for a maximum of five months. Milk thistle has a much wider range of dosages. A standard starting dosage is 150mg, but dosages as high as 600mg are common.

Adrafinil Alternatives

phenylpiracetam does not cause jitters like caffeine
Modafinil Alternative: Phenylpiracetam Phenylpiracetam boosts energy without the jitters common to caffeine.

If after doing your research you don’t want to contend with adrafinil’s liver damaging side effects, there are still alternatives for you. The world is not split into alert, liver-damaged people and drowsy, liver-healthy people.

Phenylpiracetam is an excellent alternative to both adrafinil and modafinil. It provides a major boost in energy as well as cognition without the liver damage and other side effects. It also will not make you jittery as higher caffeine dosages are likely to do. Anecdotal evidence suggests phenylpiracetam is actually stronger than adrafinil, but this has not been scientifically tested.

Individuals should take 100-200mg of Phenylpiracetam 2-3 times per day. Phenylpiracetam works best when taken only when needed (such as before a major exam or when you absolutely must stay awake for an extended period in time) rather than daily.

Modafinil is a more liver-friendly alternative to Adrafinil; however, it requires a prescription, which is why many people turn to adrafinil in the first place.

Adrafinil VS Modafinil Nootropic

Adrafinil and Modafinil were developed for similar purposes – promoting wakefulness and alertness. Both of these nootropics work in similar ways, however; Modafinil is faster reacting and longer lasting. Each is often used as an auxiliary energy supplement for sleep disorders and fatigue while also providing beneficial cognitive effects.

The distinctive differences between Adrafinil and Modafinil are the nature of the potential side effects and the rate at which these substances become active in the body. While Adrafinil is legal in the U.S. without a prescription, long term Adrafinil users run the risk of hepatoxicity (liver damage). As a stimulant, it doesn’t last as long as Modafinil.

Adrafinil Dosage vs. Modafinil Dosage

However, it’s sister substance, Modafinil, is not available over the counter and requires a prescription from a doctor. Although it was approved as a narcolepsy drug, it is classified as a schedule IV substance under the Controlled Substances Act. It requires a lower dose than Adrafinil, is faster reacting and longer lasting, and doesn’t need to be metabolized by the liver, making it a better option for long term supplementation. This does not mean it’s not risky. Long term users are susceptible to cardiotoxicity (heart damage) due to drastic increases in blood pressure. Both of these drugs should be used sparingly while taking the recommended dosage and NOT as part of your daily nootropics stack.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15300665
  2. http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=102777
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17213517

About Samantha Bookwalter

Google+

Samantha Bookwalter is freelance writer and social media specialist. She specializes in web editing, copy editing, copy writing, social media management, HTML, CSS, and other web-related acronyms. Samantha has an affinity for health and fitness; in her free time she enjoys working out with her husband and researching recipes that are not only healthy but delicious too.

24Jul

Should You Take a Pre Workout Supplement?

Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or you’ve been around the block a time or two, you have likely heard of pre workout supplements. With the sheer variety available on the market, it can be hard to know where to begin. However, before you run out and buy your first pre workout supplement, stop to evaluate if you even need one in the first place.

 

 

What is Pre Workout?

Most pre workout pills or blends include one or more stimulants, so you should be aware of your caffeine tolerance before taking 2+ scoops of something like C4. Always read the label of any pre workout mix to avoid any unwanted jitters or side effects. You can also opt to buy individual bulk powders if you know how to make your own pre workout mix rather than relying on premixed blends, many of which are overpriced.

Pre Workout Powder Benefits

 

Pre workout supplements typically achieve one of two goals: boost strength and power to muscle through harder and longer workouts or improve mental and physical energy to overcome mental road blocks and improve the mind/muscle connection.

Whether you are looking for lean muscle gains, better pumps, and improved power output or you need the cognitive agility and energy to make it through a grueling workout, there is a pre workout that will get the job done.

In fact, this is why many individuals turn to premixed blends as they contain a variety of synergistic supplements to achieve multiple benefits. When using a pre workout blend, be sure it contains quality ingredients that synergize well together or make your own with proven supplements.

When to Take Pre Workout Supplements

when to take pre workout Don’t be an angry baby. Time your pre workout wisely.

Timing is key for pre workout effectiveness, so be sure to thoroughly read the labels. Some pre workouts, like Hemavol, contain L-Norvaline and Glycerol Monostearate, which work best when taken 30-45 minutes before working out.

That being said, don’t take your pre workout supplements before leaving the house for the gym if you live more than 15 minutes away. Traffic has ruined better workout plans than yours.

So what do you do if you live more than a quarter of an hour from the gym and can’t mix your pre workout powders in the car or locker room? Consider taking pre workout pills or encapsulate your own pre workout supplement.

Pre Workout Pills

Pre Workout Pills can be stored in your gym bagIf you worry about getting the right dosage or having time to mix your supplements, then buy pre workout pills.

Buying pre workout pills saves you from mixing powders or encapsulating them yourself. Pre workout pills are easy to store and eliminate the need for scoops or scales, and you get the right dose every time.

How to Make Your Own Pre-Workout Drink Mix

30 Day Supply

Items you will need

  • Digital Scale
  • Supplement powders
  • Container to hold finished product

 

Each supplement label states a recommended dosage. Take the recommended daily dosage and multiply this by 30; this will give you the amount needed for 30 servings. Once you figure out the 30 day dosage, weigh the powder on your digital scale for accurate dosing.

You will need to follow this procedure for each supplement powder. Once all powders are measured, combine them and mix them thoroughly. Once you combine everything, pour the blended powders into an airtight container.

Pre-Workout Powder Ingredients

 

Customize your Pre Workout Drink and Save

Purchasing supplements in bulk and mixing you own supplement powder is more cost effective than purchasing premixed supplements. Plus, you have the ability to choose which supplements you would like to use as well as the dosage when you make your own pre workout.

Add Stevia and Citric Acid to mask the taste.

How Not to Take Pre Workout Supplements

If you find your are short on time to make your own pre workout blends, you may start looking for short cuts or get lazy with your dosing accuracy. Resist these time saving temptations as they will yield poor results. This is another reason to consider encapsulating your own pre workout pills. Capsules will help you avoid these complications and ensure the proper dosage.

Snorting Pre Workout Powders

snorting pre workout

You would think this one would be obvious to avoid, but it never fails that someone out there thinks, “I know how to get my pre workout powder to kick in immediately, snort it!” This is made clear by the countless videos of people snorting pre workout supplements on YouTube.

Yes, your pre workout powder might kick in a little faster, but it will not be any more effective. Plus, you will look like a coke head.

    Do Not Take More than the Recommended Max

    taking pre workout

    Exceeding the max by a little bit or every now and then will not be the end of the world. However, if you find you have to take more and more of your pre workout to get the same results, this likely means you have built a tolerance.

    You may want to look into cycling your pre workout supplements rather than consuming an entire canister of your pre workout (plus, that is not very cost effective).

    Some pre workout supplements should actually be cycled from the start to prevent tolerance in the first place, such as Agmatine powder.

    Pre Workout Side Effects

    pre workout stimulants

    As mentioned above, most pre workout mixes contain caffeine already. Be wary of adding your pre workout mix to already caffeinated beverages (such as your morning coffee or energy drink).

    Energy drinks are chock full of stimulants in general and you really do not need an additional boost if your pre workout already contains caffeine. Plus, energy drinks are a waste of your money with the added drawback of useless calories and sugar.

    Cycling Pre Workout Supplements

    Once you figure out a pre workout regimen that works for you, don’t plan on taking it every single day. Many pre workout powders need to be cycled to maintain their effectiveness. Otherwise, you will build up a tolerance. This is especially true for stimulants. When you feel your pre workouts are no longer giving you the same benefits, take a break from them or swap out certain ingredients to reset your tolerance.

    Don’t Forget Your Post Workout Powder

    post workout supplements

    Your post workout nutrition is just as important as your pre workout nutrition. Protein shakes are great options for post workout because they can help with muscle recovery, protein synthesis (muscle building) and more.

    You should also consider adding some BCAAs to your supplement routine. BCAAs can be taken before, during, and after a workout. BCAAs are great because your muscles break them down rather than your liver. This way your body can get quick energy right when it needs it.

    Another great post workout supplement is glutamine; glutamine will help further protein synthesis as well as speed up muscle recovery time.

    About Samantha Bookwalter

    Google+

    Samantha Bookwalter is freelance writer and social media specialist. She specializes in web editing, copy editing, copy writing, social media management, HTML, CSS, and other web-related acronyms. Samantha has an affinity for health and fitness; in her free time she enjoys working out with her husband and researching recipes that are not only healthy but delicious too.

    24Jul

    Racetams and Taste: How to Deal with Bitter Flavors


    Sour face: A common side effect of taking racetams.

    It is no secret that many nootropics are often extremely bitter, some more so than others. There are various ways of coping with the taste to either mask it entirely or make the powders palatable.

    So What Are Racetams?

    Racetams are a class of nootropics that share a pyrrolidone skeleton. They are primarily taken for their ability to improve cognitive function, mood, anxiety and more. They are all derived from the prototypical racetam, piracetam. Piracetam is the base for which all racetam potency is judged.

    The racetams also come in two classes: water soluble and fat soluble. They mean exactly what they say; water soluble racetams dissolve in water, fat soluble racetams dissolve in fats. You can read more here on racetam solubility and why it is important when supplementing with them.

    Piracetam


    Some individuals try to mask the bitter flavors with citric juices, but there are better alternatives below.

    Piracetam powder has a strong chemical bitter taste as well as being sour. This is not to be confused with natural bitter flavors, such as lemon or lime. Piracetam is a water soluble racetam with a dosage of 1.2g-4.8g per day. This dosage is often split 3 times over the course of a day. The most effective dose seems to be 1.6g three times a day for a total of 4.8g.

    Aniracetam

    Aniracetam powder is also bitter, but is much more tolerable than piracetam. It also requires a significantly smaller dosage of 750mg two times a day. This is partially because it is a fat soluble racetam and as such your body will not process it as quickly as a water soluble racetam. This racetam is noted for its anxiolytic benefits.

    Oxiracetam

    Oxiracetam powder, in contrast, is slightly sweet. It also has stimulant properties that the other racetams do not. It is water soluble and clocks in at an average dosage of 400-800mg three times a day for a total of 1.2g-2.4g

    Pramiracetam

    “Perhaps one of the more amusing methods of masking the flavor of racetams is parachuting. This method gets its name as the end result of what you swallow looks like a little parachute…”

    Pramiracetam powder is extremely bitter and fat soluble. It is also significantly more potent than the other racetams, requiring only 250mg three times a day. Pramiracetam should not be taken sublingually (under the tongue) as some users report it creates a burning sensation.

    Phenylpiracetam

    This is one of the newer racetams, and does not need to be taken daily as the others do. This racetam is often used right before a major exam, speech, and so on. Phenylpiracetam is fat soluble and requires a small dose of 100-200mg two to three times in a day. It is also bitter and some users report that it numbs the tongue.

    Noopept

    Often touted as the king of the racetams, Noopept requires only 10-30mg per day. There is actually much debate as to whether Noopept is a racetam, but as users will often come across it in their racetam research, it is included in this list. Noopept tastes like a very bitter grapefruit; however, due to its very low dosage many users can simply deal with the taste. Furthermore, this nootropic is often taken sublingually for maximum efficacy.

    So How Do You Deal with Bitter Racetams?


    Love the benefits of racetams but hate the taste? Mask the flavor.

    As you can see above, only Oxiracetam and Noopept can be taken by mouth without fear of unbearable taste. Some individuals even report being unable to finish their racetams due to their unpalatable nature. There are, however, a few options.

    Mask the Taste

    Many users opt to try to hide the terrible flavor of the racetams. Some try bitter drinks for the water soluble racetams, such as lemon or orange juice. The idea here is the citrus will mask the nootropics’ bitterness. This method works to a degree, but there are better alternatives.

    The next best option is to cut the racetam powder with citric acid powder or stevia. These powders are much more potent than juice and are much more effective at masking the racetams’ bitterness. Try it the easy way by using a nootropic stack or nootropic sampler , a great way to find the best nootropic combo and still mask the taste.

    Parachuting

    Perhaps one of the more amusing methods of masking the flavor of racetams is parachuting. This method gets its name as the end result of what you swallow looks like a little parachute. To do this, users will get a single ply of toilet paper and bundle up their racetam powder into the center. They end by twisting the ends of the paper, thus creating the parachute-like appearance.

    This method would work for water or fat soluble racetams; however, for the racetams that require a larger dosage such as piracetam, you would need to make quite a few parachutes. Plus, not many people really want to eat toilet paper.

    Capping Your Racetams

    The best way to completely eliminate the taste of the racetams is to cap your powders. It would probably be wise to invest in a milligram scale to ensure that each capsule has the correct dosage. If you use racetams that require larger doses, you will only need a scale accurate to .01g (10mg); however, when it comes to noopept, you will want a scale accurate to .001g (1mg).

    By capping your racetams, you eliminate all bitter taste and make them much easier to supplement. You can either load your powders into the capsules with a micro scoop or you can invest in a capping machine if you plan to make many capsules.

    For your convenience, we sell some of our  best nootropics already encapsulated.

    About Samantha Bookwalter

    Google+

    Samantha Bookwalter is freelance writer and social media specialist. She specializes in web editing, copy editing, copy writing, social media management, HTML, CSS, and other web-related acronyms. Samantha has an affinity for health and fitness; in her free time she enjoys working out with her husband and researching recipes that are not only healthy but delicious too.

    24Jul

    Racetams: How to Take Them, Solubility and Efficacy

    The racetam family dominates in the world of nootropics. However, they are not all created equal. If you do not properly dose your racetams as well as take them how they are intended (with food, with water, etc) you will not achieve the results you are hoping for.

    Often times, individuals new to nootropics will believe themselves to be non-responders to the racetams, while actually there may just be a few simple user errors stopping them from unlocking the full racetam experience. When it comes to taking the racetams, the biggest distinction is whether they are fat soluble, water soluble, or different degrees of both.

    Fat Soluble vs. Water Soluble Racetams

    Water soluble racetams will usually dissolve easily in water, whereas fat soluble racetams usually dissolve in lipids (fats). But this is not a binary characteristic in that some racetams can be both water and fat soluble to varying degrees.

    This often makes taking fat soluble racetams more of a pain than water soluble ones as you cannot mix it into a beverage. As such, many individuals opt to buy empty capsules and cap the powder; this can also help you avoid the bitter racetam taste.

    So how does this affect supplementing with racetams? Individuals should take water soluble racetams on an empty stomach, while fat soluble racetams work best with meals or a fat source such as fish oil.

    Your body also processes the racetams differently depending on their solubility. Water soluble racetams are processed by the kidneys and eventually excreted through your urine; fat soluble racetams are processed by your intestines and eventually excreted through your feces.

    This explains why water soluble racetams have a much shorter half life than fat soluble racetams; the kidneys run through their processes much more quickly than the intestines. Due to the half life factor, most users choose to take their racetams in multiple doses spread over the course of a day.

    Racetam Solubility

    Of course, simply knowing that solubility affects the efficacy of racetams is tremendously helpful. However, if you do not know which category your racetam falls into, you are not much better off. Below is some information on the more popular racetams and what category of solubility they fall into.

    Piracetam

    Racetam Solubility Cheat Sheet
    Water SolubleFat Soluble
    PiracetamAniracetam
    OxiracetamPramiracetam
    PhenylpiracetamNoopept

    This is the granddaddy of the racetam family. Originally discovered in the 1960’s, piracetam is not only the oldest but also the weakest of the racetams when measuring strength in terms of dosage. Piracetam powder requires approximately 2.4g (doses range from1.6g-3.2g) in order for individuals to experience its nootropic effects. This is often divided into three 800mg doses. Piracetam powder is water soluble and is thus best taken with water on an empty stomach.

    Aniracetam

    Aniracetam is much more potent than piracetam, requiring 750mg two times a day. This racetam is noted for its anxiolytic benefits, so many individuals who suffer from nerves or anxiety prefer this racetam. Aniracetam powder is fat soluble and is thus better taken with meals or fats like fish oil.

    Oxiracetam

    Oxiracetam powder is approximately 2-4x stronger than piracetam, requiring only 800mg to experience the sought after nootropic effects. Many individuals choose to take this in one dose. Oxiracetam is also noted for having slight stimulant properties. Oxiracetam powder is water soluble and is thus better taken with water on an empty stomach; some individuals also choose to take it sublingually (under the tongue).

    Pramiracetam


    Take fat soluble racetams with meals or a fat source such as fish oil.

    One of the more potent racetams, pramiracetam powder clocks in with a dosage of 250mg three times per day. It is suggested that individuals work up to pramiracetam rather than starting out with it for their first foray into the racetams. This is merely to gauge how your body reacts to racetams, as everyone’s brain chemistry is different. Pramiracetam is often noted for its ability to intensely improve focus. Pramiracetam powder is fat soluble and is thus best taken with meals or a fat source. Anecdotally, some users report a burning sensation if they take pramiracetam sublingually.

    Phenylpiracetam

    This racetam is significantly more potent than the other racetams, requiring only 100-200mg two to three times over the course of a day. Phenylpiracetam does not need to be taken daily and works best when taken before a major test, interview, etc. Phenylpiracetam is water soluble and is thus better taken with water on an empty stomach.

    Noopept

    There is some debate as to whether or not Noopept is a racetam. However, it is included in this list as many users who opt to use the racetams will often come across Noopept powder as well. This nootropic is a peptide derived from piracetam; however, it is 1000x more potent. With doses ranging from 10-30mg. Noopept is touted for its neuroprotective abilities as well as its powerful cognitive boosting benefits. Noopept powder is fat soluble and thus better taken with a meal or a fat source like a fish oil pill. Some users choose to take it sublingually.

    Bottom Line

    If you are still lacking in benefits at the end of days or weeks of using racetams, it may simply be how you were supplementing them. An example of why solubility matters is if you take fat soluble racetams without a fat source, your body will not absorb it. This means you will not experience its benefits and are wasting your money. Proper supplementation is the key to success with any racetam.

    About Samantha Bookwalter

    Google+

    Samantha Bookwalter is freelance writer and social media specialist. She specializes in web editing, copy editing, copy writing, social media management, HTML, CSS, and other web-related acronyms. Samantha has an affinity for health and fitness; in her free time she enjoys working out with her husband and researching recipes that are not only healthy but delicious too.

    23Jul

    Which Type of Creatine is Right for You?

    Creatine is one of the most basic and widely recommended supplements for athletes at any fitness level. The benefits of creatine supplementation span across the entire spectrum of health and wellness, including increased physical work output and muscle volume, improvements in strength and body composition, enhanced brain function, and neuroprotection [1].

    With clinically backed benefits, plus the safety and relatively low cost, Creatine is the perfect supplement for anyone trying to improve their health and physical fitness, whether it’s playing a team sport or just trying to build muscle in the gym.

    With the rising popularity of creatine, there is increased attention on optimizing its bioavailability. There are a few different types of creatine on the market today, each with their own unique benefits. The three types explored below are creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester, and magnesium creatine chelate.

    Types of Creatine

    Creatine Monohydrate

    Creatine monohydrate is a well-known basic creatine supplement. Easy to find and inexpensive, creatine monohydrate is a favorite of many supplement users. Numerous scientific studies verify the useful effects and benefits of creatine monohydrate; however, there are drawbacks that make it a less-than-perfect option.

    Creatine Bloating

    Creatine monohydrate works by attaching to water molecules before they enter the muscle. This causes some of the creatine to be absorbed by other parts of the body, which can cause bloating or water retention. Traditional creatine monohydrate also causes stomach discomfort in many users.

    Creatine Ethyl Ester

    Creatine ethyl ester is a derivative of creatine that carries all of the benefits of creatine monohydrate with none of the downsides. The benefits of creatine ethyl ester begin in the stomach, where it is better absorbed, eliminating the gastrointestinal issue so many people experience.

    Additionally, the absorption of creatine ethyl ester into skeletal muscle is superior to that of creatine monohydrate [2]. This is due to the derivative nature of creatine ethyl ester that makes it rely less on water molecules outside the muscle.

    Magnesium Creatine Chelate

    Magnesium creatine chelate is a newer form of creatine that depends on magnesium for intramuscular absorption rather than water. Due to magnesium creatine chelate’s greatly improved bioavailability over creatine monohydrate, users may experience less water retention and bloating outside the muscle.

    Despite being one of the newer forms, magnesium creatine chelate has some exciting research behind it. In one study performed on animals, there were four groups tested against each other to determine the effectiveness of various creatine/magnesium compounds.

    The results showed physical performance in the group using magnesium creatine chelate was 6-8% higher than the group using creatine monohydrate alone [3]. The addition of magnesium to this supplement could hold even more synergistic benefits, as magnesium is an essential mineral for building muscle and health in general.

    Creatine HCL

    Creatine HCL is one of the newest formulations of creatine and is significantly more potent. Creatine HCL is water soluble so it’s easier absorbed into the bloodstream which reduces the side effects seen with other types of creatine. This type of creatine does not have to be cycled and there is no loading phase required. Creatine HCL is highly concentrated so only a small amount is needed.

    So how can you find out which type of creatine is best for you? Since delivery systems with increased efficiency can be more effective, starting with one of the more bioavailable forms is a good place to begin. There may be some testing involved on your part to see which you prefer, but either creatine ethyl ester or magnesium creatine chelate should provide the legendary creatine results.

    Sources

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creatine#Use_as_a_supplement

    [2] http://www.muscleandstrength.com/supplements/ingredients/creatine-ethyl-ester.html

    [3] http://jrnlappliedresearch.com/articles/Vol3Iss1/ASHMEAD.htm

    23Jul

    Alpha GPC Benefits vs CDP Choline Benefits

    When it comes to essential nutrients, choline is a frontrunner in keeping the brain and body healthy. Choline plays a crucial role in the synthesis of cell membranes, which then uptake nutrients of their own

    .Eggs are a great a source of Choline

    Within the brain, choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps maintain proper memory muscle function. The importance of proper choline levels becomes paramount in aging populations when synthesis of acetylcholine slows down, causing memory and cognitive function to decline rapidly.

    In less severe stages and cases, the impact of age on memory is used as a joke or excuse when someone forgets something, but in more severe cases, the memory loss can be devastating.

    Choline can only be absorbed through diet. Certain foods like eggs and meat are higher in choline than others, but these are also the same foods that have been vilified and wrongly accused of causing many other diseases. As a result, many Americans are choline deficient, with an estimated 10% or fewer men, women, and children get the recommended daily amounts of choline. This especially becomes problematic for vegetarians and vegans who do not have these foods in their diet.

    When there is a choline deficiency, the body prioritizes construction of cell membranes, leaving brain function on the back burner. In addition to eating more choline-rich foods, choline supplements are a solid way to increase choline intake, especially in aging groups. Two popular supplements with high bioavailability are CDP Choline and Alpha GPC. Even though they’re technically different, both are effective since they occur at different stages in choline’s metabolic breakdown.

    What are CDP Choline and Alpha GPC?

    The body turns choline into CDP Choline, which is then broken down into phosphatidylcholine. Phosphatidylcholine is the body’s choline warehouse of sorts. It can help both with the cell membrane creation, but also creates acetylcholine when necessary.

    Alpha GPC is on the opposite end of the process from CDP choline. Alpha GPC is a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine instead of a precursor. Basically, what this all means is that in the process of choline metabolism, CDP choline is closer to the original choline source and Alpha GPC is closer to the form used by the cells.

    So if they’re both part of the same process and help produce the same neurotransmitters in the end, which is better for brain health?

    That’s actually a tough question that’s up for debate. There have only been two studies directly comparing the two when injected intramuscularly. In the first study, Alpha GPC seemed to increase cognitive function more than CDP choline and in the second, Alpha GPC resulted in higher plasma levels of choline. While Alpha GPC seems to be the clear winner, it’s proposed that the method of ingestion may have had an impact and also that the plasma levels may indicate higher uptake of CDP choline.

    When not compared head to head, both Alpha GPC and CDP choline have been proven to be effective. Given the inconsistency in a superior supplement, the best course of action is to simply test them out. You can start with either one for a couple weeks, then switch. If one worked better than the other did for you, you’ve got a winner! You could also use them concurrently to ensure that the entire process is covered.

    Sources

    1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8709678
    2. www.ilifelink.com/