Category: Uncategorized

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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+ 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’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


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…


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



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!



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.


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 (


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:


#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 (


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 (



Best Nootropic Stacks

best nootropic stacks
Click to expand

A perfect photographic memory, endless focus, and charismatic social abilities—we want it all. Finding the right combination of supplements is an art that requires an understanding of the human body and how supplements affect it. A good stack consists of several supplements that work well on an individual basis. An amazing stack has ingredients that, when taken together, make one another work better. With some research and personal experience, we created the best stacks for memory, studying, and socialization.

Best Nootropic Stack for Memory

Having the ability to recall facts, concepts, and visuals improves overall cognitive capacity by expanding mental infrastructure. If one were to organize every bit of information they know into a lattice framework, it would be clear that more information equates to more connections. Enhanced memory expands this lattice structure to create depth and breadth as well as further overall cognitive capacity.

Optimal Memory Storage

Vinpocetine can improve memory by modulating neurotransmitters and improving cerebral blood flow. [1, 2] Not all of its mechanisms are understood; however, research indicates that vinpocetine supplementation can increase noradrenaline. [3] Increased noradrenaline levels are the most likely mechanism through which the cognitive enhancing characteristics of vinpocetine manifest. [3] Supplementation can also mitigate the synaptic damage that follows excitotoxicity. [4] By inhibiting the IKK kinase complex, vinpocetine can even reduce neural inflammation. [4]

Protect Your Mind

Best known for its memory-related benefits, piracetam also shines as a neuroprotective agent. Piracetam supplementation can increase short-term memory by positively modulating AMPA receptors. [5, 6] Its neuroprotective benefits stem from this mechanism, as ampakines can increase BDNF expression. [7] Neuroplasticity is positively associated with BDNF levels. [8] Modulating AMPA receptors gives piracetam direct memory-boosting properties, while BDNF augmentation gives it potential long-term benefits as well.

With vinpocetine and piracetam both possessing unique, yet synergistic, memory benefits, this stack is hard to beat. Vinpocetine can increase cognition by improving cerebral blood flow and elevating noradrenaline. [1, 2, 3] Meanwhile, piracetam can further the adrenergic properties of vinpocetine by increasing adrenaline secretion via modulating AMPA and NMDA receptor activity. This synergistic mechanism is multiplied when factoring in piracetam’s augmentation of BDNF expression. [7]

Best Nootropic Stack for Studying

When distractions are stretching your attention span, it’s hard to read an entire chapter, let alone remember all of the information. You can enhance your studying abilities by stacking Focus3d, aniracetam, and oxiracetam to boost focus, logic, and memory.


Focus3d brings wandering thoughts back on track. It contains two types of caffeine, dicaffeine malate and caffeine citrate. Dicaffeine malate tends to be easier on the stomach than traditional caffeine. Caffeine citrate boasts a peak absorption rate of 30 minutes, while other forms of caffeine can take 60-90 minutes to absorb. [9, 10] Both forms of caffeine help shake off brain fog and fatigue by inhibiting the binding of adenosine. [11] Adenosine promotes drowsiness by decreasing brain activity. [12]

Caffeine supplementation improves cognition by inducing an upsurge in plasma levels of dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. [13, 14] Caffeine supplementation increases levels of dopamine and acetylcholine in the prefrontal cortex. [15] This upsurge in catecholamines is the mechanism that facilitates the concentration related benefits of caffeine. [16]

Although similar to caffeine in structure, Theacrine brings unique benefits to the Focus3d blend. Theacrine can raise brain activity to a significant degree. [17] Much like caffeine, Theacrine can modulate the dopaminergic system while inhibiting adenosine absorption. [17] Unlike caffeine, however, tolerance does not build after chronic consumption. [17]

L-Theanine is the counter-weight to the stimulants in Focus3d. This particular amino acid can induce calming effects to compound the focus benefits of the stimulants. [18] By itself, L-Theanine supplementation can enhance memory and attention span. [19] Caffeine alone can improve overall alertness and information recall accuracy. Adding L-Theanine to caffeine improves scores on information recall speed and decreases susceptibility to distractions. [18]

Holistic Thinking

Creativity generates a plethora of ideas and solutions while logic brings those ideas into reality. Holistic thinking is the combination of creativity and logic; it is the ability to put pieces of information together in order to understand a concept. Optimal holistic thinking improves information comprehension by accelerating the conceptualization process. Connecting facts and concepts to familiar information increases comprehension by making the concept feel tangible.

Aniracetam is a wonderful nootropic that can speed up information comprehension. The prefrontal cortex is the brain region responsible for holistic thinking, conscious thought, creativity, and executive functions. [20] Aniracetam supplementation can increase these cognitive functions by elevating extracellular levels of dopamine and serotonin in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. [21] By modulating AMPA and acetylcholine receptors, aniracetam can improve memory formation and recall as well. [21] A sharp memory improves holistic thinking in an indirect yet vital manner. This is because it allows you to make more mental connections by providing more pieces to the metaphorical puzzle.


In regards to memory, oxiracetam is the king of the racetam family. Research suggests that the stimulatory nature of oxiracetam allows greater improvements in memory. [22] It is a non-traditional stimulant in that it generally does not cause peripheral effects, and it does not modulate catecholamines. Instead, oxiracetam can increase acetylcholine and glutamate release from active neuronal cells. [23]

Oxiracetam supplementation can improve NMDA receptor formation and sensitivity. [24] These two memory improving mechanisms create a two-fold benefit:  an increase in the amount of the neurotransmitter that stimulates memory formation coupled with more receptors for that neurotransmitter to bind to. In one study, oxiracetam supplementation elevated levels of protein kinase C (PKC) activity in the hippocampus. [25] PKC is a byproduct of learning/memory, thus elevated PKC levels suggest improvements in memory. [26]


Due to aniracetam and oxiracetam being cholinergic in nature, we recommend adding a choline supplement to the stack. Both racetams utilize acetylcholine, which is synthesized from choline. Insufficient choline intake may result in headaches and/or brain fog. Alpha-GPC and CDP-Choline are the most common choline supplements. Finding an optimal dose is very individual, as dietary choline intake differs from person to person.

Best Nootropic Stack for Socialization

Being in a positive, happy state of mind makes it easier to talk to others. 5-HTP is the go-to supplement for boosting the happy hormone, serotonin. 5-hydroxytryptophan can only convert to serotonin within the body. [27] 5-HTP also passes through the blood-brain barrier. [28] The efficacy of 5-HTP makes it a powerful serotonin precursor and the supplement of choice prior to a social event.

The moment in which you meet someone and immediately forget their name is all too common. A crisp memory prevents the awkward guessing game and makes it easier to recall the details about a person afterward. Bacopa monnieri is an herbal extract with memory boosting and adaptogenic properties. [29, 30] Bacopa monnieri supplementation causes significant improvements in working memory, which means it can help prevent the name-forgetting-phenomena. [29] It can also improve learning speed, memory capacity, and attention span. [31, 32] Although the mechanisms behind its cognitive benefits are not fully understood, its antioxidant properties are likely a major contributor. [33]


  8. Belzung, C., Wigmore, P., & Ohio Library and Information Network. (2013;2014;). Neurogenesis and neural plasticity (1st ed.). New York;Berlin;: Springer.
  10. 5.pdf

What Are Nootropics?

what are nootropics infographic
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Your mind is holding you back. The path to achievement would likely be much shorter with a flawless memory, a 160 IQ, and the charisma of James bond. Much like physical abilities, one can improve cognitive abilities with effort, patience, and consistency. Supplements can help expedite the process, and nootropics are the supplements for your journey to cognitive enhancement.

Nootropics Definition

Nootropic: noun- A substance that enhances cognition and memory and facilitates learning.


Nootropics are supplements that improve cognition in one way, shape, or form. They are primarily used to improve executive functions, memory, motivation/focus, and calmness. Students, business executives, entrepreneurs, gamers, and technology founders are the main consumers of nootropics; however, most individuals can enjoy the benefits of cognitive enhancement.

Where to Start

Most nootropics can fit into one or more classes: racetams, stimulants, and amino acids. Every member of the racetam family can improve memory formation and recall. However, additional benefits differ between different racetams due to different chemical structures.

Stimulants are the most common type of nootropic, with caffeine being the most well-known nootropic in the world. Stimulants tend to improve alertness by clearing brain fog and combatting the effects of sleep deprivation.

Amino acids are known for benefiting physical gains, but show equal potential for mental gains as well. No two amino acids have similar nootropic properties. Hopefully this article will make the decision making process easier for you.


The racetam class of nootropics is the most notorious in the nootropic community. Their primary benefit revolves around memory formation. All racetams have the potential to modulate acetylcholine and glutamate, the two primary neurotransmitters involved in long-term potentiation. [1]

However, each racetam has a unique mechanism to achieve this, giving each unique benefits alongside modulating memory formation.


The original racetam, piracetam, is a good place to start for those interested in diving into the world of nootropics. It is a GABA derivative, but does not affect GABA levels in the brain. [1] Instead, piracetam modulates AMPA and NMDA receptors. [2, 3] It modulates AMPA by increasing the density of AMPA binding sites. [2] Similarly, piracetam can increase NMDA receptor density by up to 20%. [3]

It’s important to understand that the brain will not make new receptors in one day. The memory related benefits of piracetam may take up to 2-3 weeks to be noticeable. [4] Individuals may notice the anxiolytic properties of piracetam much sooner, however. Its calming affects are non-sedative in nature, so it may induce a calm state of mind without causing drowsiness. The anxiolytic affects are likely due to piracetam increasing serotonin concentrations. [1]

Overall, piracetam is the perfect introduction to the racetam family. It can improve memory formation and recall by improving AMPA and NMDA receptor density. The anxiolytic properties of piracetam can increase cognitive performance as well.


For individuals looking for a supplement that can improve executive functions and memory formation, Aniracetam may be the supplement you’ve been searching for. Aniracetam can improve memory formation by modulating NMDA receptors. [5] Aniracetam can also increase extracellular acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin in the hippocampus to further its memory boosting potential. [5]

Increasing extracellular levels of dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine is how aniracetam can also improve executive function. Increased concentrations of these neurotransmitters in the prefrontal cortex improves logic, creativity, and overall executive functioning. [5] This is also why some individuals feel Aniracetam has minor stimulant properties.

Individuals can experience the benefits of aniracetam even after ceasing supplementation because it can increase the expression of BDNF. [6] Increased levels of BDNF correlate with neuroplasticity. [7] Neuroplasticity enhancement can make it easier to take cognitive functioning to new heights.


Supplementing with a stimulatory racetam can improve focus and motivation in addition to boosting memory.  Just like the previous racetams, oxiracetam can increase NMDA and AMPA receptor density. [2] Oxiracetam is the only racetam with the potential to improve NMDA receptor sensitivity as well. [8]

The stimulatory effects of oxiracetam stem from its modulation of acetylcholine and glutamate. [9] This may be how oxiracetam earned the reputation for being the best racetam for memory enhancement. [10] Verbal learning and fluency are the most noted improvements that can occur following oxiracetam supplementation. [11, 12]


Phenylpiracetam may be the most powerful racetam available. It has psychostimulatory properties, making it useful for alleviating fatigue. [13, 14] Phenylpiracetam can improve every area of cognitive performance by up to 12%. [15] Scores on memory and attention tests show the most improvement following phenylpiracetam supplementation. [14] Its potential to improve motivation and focus make phenylpiracetam useful preworkout as well, as it can improve physical endurance secondary to improving vigilance. [16]

With a half-life of 2.5-3 hours and an absorption rate of less than an hour, phenylpiracetam is perfect before a big test or job interview. [14] However, users report rapidly diminishing effects after supplementing for several consecutive days. It can provide a mental boost to start the week off on the right foot by supercharging Mondays; however, it might not be the best supplement for your daily arsenal.


Fatigue is like a weight vest for the mind. The sluggishness and inability to organize thoughts make staying on task exponentially difficult. Many individuals turn to stimulants to avoid this conundrum. In addition to mitigating fatigue, stimulants can improve focus and processing speed. 

Caffeine is the most common stimulant while caffeine combined with theanine is the most common nootropic stack. Adrafinil has quickly gained popularity due to its potential to reverse fatigue and improve cognition. A variety of individuals looking for a thermogenic supplement that adds an impressive energy boost consider yohimbine a staple in their supplement stack.


87% of Americans consume the most common nootropic: caffeine. Most commonly used to promote wakefulness, caffeine also has several nootropic properties.  

Adenosine is the hormone that promotes sleep and drowsiness when bound to its receptor. Caffeine abolishes exhaustion by inhibiting adenosine. [17] Caffeine consumption increased dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. [18, 19]

Caffeine supplementation can improve working-memory, focus, and vigilance thanks to it augmenting catecholamines. [20, 18, 19] Caffeine supplements increase dopamine in the prefrontal cortex as well. [21] The prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognitive functions such as working-memory and focus. By increasing dopamine in this particular area of the brain, caffeine shows impressive nootropic potential.

Since caffeine’s mechanisms are primarily neural, it can improve strength and lipolysis. [20] Beta-endorphins are responsible for the euphoria many experience during exercise. Beta-endorphins also decrease pain perception. Caffeine increases the amount of beta-endorphins released during a workout, which increases strength and enhances resistance to muscular fatigue. [20] Caffeine improves lipolysis by decreasing muscular dependence on glycogen and increasing muscular oxidation of free-fatty acids. Caffeine further enhances this benefits by augmenting catecholamines which elevate metabolic rate. [20]


For the overachievers, Adrafinil is widely known for its ability to make brain fog from sleep deprivation a thing of the past. Adrafinil is a eugeroic agent, meaning it increases energy without resulting in stereotypical stimulant activity. [22] It is considered a novel stimulant due to its virtually non-existent peripheral effects. Adrafinil is converted to Modafinil in the liver. Unlike Modafinil, it takes time for adrafinil to accumulate to active levels, with initial effects being noticeable within 45-60 minutes, and peak blood concentration occurring about 90 minutes after consumption. [23]

The exact mechanisms of adrafinil are not fully understood. An increase in overall EEG activity has been observed following adrafinil supplementation. However, research indicates that supplementation increases dopamine and glutamate in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, respectively. [24] As a result, attention, concentration, vigilance, information comprehension, and power of memory recall can be increased by supplementing with adrafinil. [24]

Many individuals consume adrafinil pre-workout to take a break from caffeine. Similar to caffeine, adrafinil helps induce mental tunnel vision. [24] By improving focus and vigilance, it has been found to prolong workouts and dampen the sensation of fatigue. [25]


Yohimbine is one of the most common fat burners for a reason: it is a powerful thermogenic with some nootropic properties. Its primary thermogenic mechanism consists of blocking alpha-2 noradrenergic receptors which can elevate norepinephrine levels. [26] This can also increase dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine to a lesser degree. [27] Modulating these neurotransmitters increases fatty acid mobilization and increases basal metabolic rate. [28] Research indicates supplementation can increase caloric expenditure during a workout by 29.6%. [28] Much like other stimulants, yohimbine can improve working memory, alertness, and attention span secondary to increased arousal. [29]

Amino Acids

Amino acids are known for their muscle building potential. Did you know that several amino acids also have nootropic benefits?  Since they are the building blocks of protein, every area of the body needs amino acids. This allows most to readily pass the blood-brain barrier, where they begin working their respective nootropic magic.


Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is used to synthesize catecholamines. Supplementing with L-Tyrosine can directly increase dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. [30] Elevating the catecholamines can help nerve communication and improve mood. [30]

Many users report that this amino acid improves their ability to solve difficult problems, such as calculus and physics. Research backs these reports, with improved deep thinking and problem-solving occurring following L-Tyrosine supplementation. [31] Several studies suggest that L-Tyrosine can improve cognitive performance despite psychological stress. [30]


One of the most important regulatory neurotransmitters, GABA, is an amino acid, yet it is not found in protein sources. It can be found in plant sources, however, as it plays several roles in plant cell signaling. In humans, GABA regulates many physiological and psychological processes.

Although it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in humans, GABA supplementation does not induce sedation unless consuming very high, inadvisable doses. Glutamate, the primary stimulatory neurotransmitter, is synthesized from GABA and vice versa. [32] Supplementation provides a large supply of both of these essential neurotransmitters which can help balance neurotransmitter levels. For stress-prone individuals, supplementing with GABA can help reduce stress and related symptoms. [33]


The most popular amino acid in the world of nootropics is L-Theanine. L-Theanine is responsible for the calming effects of tea. Pure L-Theanine powder and capsules are optimal for consistency and controllability purposes. Supplementing with L-Theanine can improve memory and attention span. [34] This likely occurs as a result of L-Theanine increasing alpha-1 brain waves which are associated with relaxation and attention span. [35] Improvements in memory can occur with long-term supplementation, as L-Theanine promotes neurogenesis (cell growth) in the hippocampus. [36]

Caffeine + L-Theanine

It is very common to stack L-Theanine with caffeine. L-Theanine acts to balance out the stimulant effects of caffeine to give a calm sense of focus. [37] Caffeine can improve alertness and mental accuracy. However, the caffeine and L-Theanine stack can improve alertness, attention span, and mental speed and accuracy. [37]  

Closing Thoughts

Developing an understanding of nootropics can seem like a difficult feat in and of itself. It is important to have an introspective understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses in order to figure out which nootropic is best. It takes some trial and error to fine-tune cognition. Nootropics are merely supplements. One would not, logically, drink protein shakes, sit on the couch all day, then expect to put on muscle. Congruently, one cannot take nootropics and expect to become a genius overnight. The trial and error is what furthers one’s understanding of one’s self. Isn’t that the greatest education that can be obtained?

Further Reading

Creating a Latticework of Mental Models:

Mental Models: The Best Way to Make Intelligent Decisions (113 Models Explained)





  7. Belzung, C., Wigmore, P., & Ohio Library and Information Network. (2013;2014;). Neurogenesis and neural plasticity (1st ed.). New York;Berlin;: Springer.
  13. Bobkov, Yu G., et al. “Pharmacological Characteristics of 4-Phenylpiracetam ? A New Phenyl Analog of Piracetam.” Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine95.4 (1983): 464-7. Web.
  14. Malykh, Andrei G., and M. Reza Sadaie. “Piracetam and Piracetam-Like Drugs: From Basic Science to Novel Clinical Applications to CNS Disorders.” Drugs 70.3 (2010): 287-312. Web.
  36. Cho H, Kim S, Kim S, Lee S, Park JA, Chun HS. Protective effect of the green tea component, l-theanine on environmental toxins-induced neuronal cell death. Neurotoxicology. 2008;29(4):656-62.

Best Supplements for Socialization

supplements for socialization
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Improve your sociability to take your life to places you never imagined possible. Social skills affect relationships, careers, and quality of life. Interactions can be broken down into two steps: the introduction and the follow-through. The introduction is crucial to making the right first impression. 

Breaking the ice can be the most challenging feat. Social apprehension only exacerbates the difficulty. The follow through is of equal importance. Landing a job or making a new friend is dependent on your ability to display the best version of you. Conversation is simple. Mastering conversation takes practice.

Breaking The Ice

Research suggests that apprehension and being in a bad mood are the two most common factors that hinder sociability. [1] Apprehension can create an insurmountable barrier standing between you and talking to others. Being in a bad mood from failing an exam, for example, also has a negative impact on sociability. [1, 2]  

Apprehension and boredom are on opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both inhibit sociability. The Yerkes-Dodson law makes this concept easier to digest. Two scientists from the early 1900’s investigated the effects of arousal on cognition. This phenomenon is now known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Arousal (stimulation) has a bell-curve association with cognitive performance. The balance between over-stimulation and under-stimulation is where the optimal state of mind resides. [3] Low levels of stimulation are often the result of boredom, fatigue, or sadness. [3] Excess stimulation can be internally induced by anger, or externally induced from too much coffee.   Being at either end of the bell curve makes it difficult to break the social barrier.  [3]  


Caffeine can help overcome under-stimulation and generally alleviate boredom.  The downside is that some individuals experience immediate apprehension due to caffeine sensitivity. Supplements that increase dopamine and serotonin levels can boost arousal without traditional stimulants. [4] Both neurotransmitters also tend to provide a comforting mood boost. [4]

Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna Pruriens can turn that frown upside down by increasing dopamine and serotonin. [5, 6]  Mucuna Pruriens, also known as Dopa Mucana, converts to dopamine and noradrenaline. [7] Its rich L-DOPA content and high bioavailability synergistically optimize its efficacy. [7] Mood and levels of catecholamines, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, generally have a linear correlation. [4] Furthering its application to sociability, Mucuna Pruriens may decrease cortisol secretion to help combat stress. [6] Serotonin levels can also increase following supplementation; however, this benefit is likely due to the catecholamine systems interacting with the 5-HT system. [5, 4]


One of the best ways to boost serotonin is supplementing with 5-HTP. [8] The body can synthesize 5-HTP via the conversion of tryptophan; however, supplementing with 5-HTP is optimal for those wishing to boost serotonin with maximum efficacy. [9] 5-HTP passes the blood-brain barrier with ease. [9] The sole fate of 5-HTP is serotonin. Tryptophan, on the other hand, is either converted to 5-HTP or niacin. [9] Many users report feeling talkative and an increase in sense of well-being after supplementation.

Calm Your Nerves

Going to a job interview feeling like your heart is trying to beat through your chest while your mind runs is stressful and can be embarrassing. Overstimulation resulting from physical experiences, such as skydiving, affects cognition the same way as feelings of anxiety and anger. [3] Consuming excessive stimulants can lead to over-stimulation causing apprehensive thoughts. Either way, overstimulation often results in impaired attention, memory, and decision-making. [2] It’s important to understand the root of the cause on an individual basis. For example, if social situations induce feelings of insecurity, which are followed by uneasiness, taking your attention elsewhere can help alleviate issues. However, supplements can make it easier to get in the appropriate state of mind.


Tea is the warm cup of happiness that puts internal calamity on pause. L-Theanine is the amino acid responsible for tea’s relaxation properties. L-Theanine’s anxiolytic benefits reduce the physical and hormonal effects of stress. [10]

Research suggests that apprehension causes cognitive background noise. [11] That background noise is not only distracting, but it can enhance apprehensive feelings. L-Theanine can reduce the mental white noise to make it easier to focus. It does so by increasing brain activity in the pre-frontal cortex. [11]

Bacopa Monnieri

L-Theanine can reduce stress-induced depletion of neurotransmitters; however, Bacopa Monnieri is unique in the anxiolytic class. Stress tends to decrease serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitter levels in the hippocampus and cortex regions are particularly sensitive to stress. [12] Bacopa Monnieri helps support neurotransmitter balance in times when stress cannot be avoided. [12] Put simply, Bacopa Monnieri is perfect for times where cognition is crucial and stress runs high.

Bacopa Monnieri also possesses powerful nootropic properties. [13] Bacopa supplementation results in significant improvements in working memory. Additional improvements in visual information processing, learning speed, memory capacity, mood, and vitality are common when supplementing with Bacopa Monnieri. [13, 14, 15].

Optimizing Conversations: The Most Interesting Man in the World

People with a wide range of interests, a clever sense of humor, and subtle displays of strong intellectual capacity are generally more liked by others. [1] Starting a conversation with someone is the first step to improving sociability. The second step is mastering the conversation that follows the introduction. It is what leaves lasting impressions, it can make or break relationships, and opens doors to job opportunities.

Leaving a positive impression takes practice. Thankfully, if you aren’t the best conversationalist, social acuity can improve with some practice and diligence. Improving attention span, working memory, multitasking, and holistic thinking should be emphasized on the quest to become more sociable. Each of these is vital to improving sociability. If one area is lacking, the others will fall behind as well. [16] Strengthening cognitive weaknesses leads to cognitive greatness.

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) handles the aforementioned cognitive functions. [17, 16]  The PFC is the key to cognitive capacity and human mentation. [16] Attempting to understand others activates and necessitates the PFC. [17] The prefrontal cortex is also responsible for the majority of executive functions. [16] Executive functions, also known as cognitive control, guide one’s thoughts, actions, and emotions. [16] Improving executive functions compliments efforts to mitigate apprehension or improving your mood by fixing the problem at its root. Increasing PFC activity can help achieve cognitive balance and destroy social barriers before they are formed. The following supplements can improve PFC activity.


Energy boosting supplements are generally preferred for improving attention span and focus. The Yerkes-Dodson Law applies heavily here. Too little stimulation decreases attentiveness and inhibits memory formation. Meanwhile, overstimulation results in inattentiveness and decreased cognition. [18]


Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is a good alternative for individuals that don’t respond well to caffeine. ALCAR is not a traditional stimulant, yet it can provide a nice boost in energy. Studies show ALCAR supplementation correlates with improved attention span. [19] This powerhouse of an amino acid can balance neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine in particular. [20] By modulating catecholamines ALCAR can also improve logic, short-term memory, and long-term memory. [20, 21]

Caffeine + L-Theanine (or Focus3d)

Caffeine is common for those looking to improve focus. Taking caffeine alongside L-Theanine helps alleviate the jitters and anxiousness associated with caffeine. On its own, caffeine can improve alertness and attention span. L-Theanine can improve memory. [22, 23] Combining the two can allow one to reap the benefits of both while also improving the speed and accuracy of mental performance. [22] Focus3d capsules take this combination a step further with additional caffeine sources.

Mental Agility and Multi-Tasking

Juggling multiple thought processes can take conversational abilities to the next level. Being able to listen and comprehend what the other person is saying while applying that information into a lattice of relevant information requires an impressive quick wit. Add thinking of what to say next while also reading between the lines, and it’s easy to see why some people get social apprehension. Several nootropics may make the process easier.


Improved verbal comprehension is the first step in maximizing multi-tasking in a social setting. Improving verbal learning efficacy allows more cognitive capacity for the other cognitive functions. Research indicates oxiracetam can improve verbal learning as well as verbal fluency. [24, 25]  In addition to minimizing the tip-of-the-tongue feeling, oxiracetam can increase long-term memory formation and recall. [26] Oxiracetam modulates AMPA receptors which are responsible for memory formation. [27] Many regard it as the most powerful AMPA modulator in the racetam family. [26]


Many individuals use Piracetam, the original racetam, for its short-term memory benefits.  [28] Similar to oxiracetam, piracetam can boost memory formation and recall by modulating AMPA receptors. [27] One study observing participants in a social setting found that piracetam supplementation reduced apprehension without causing sedation. [29] For many, piracetam induces the elusive state of calm focus.

Holistic Thinking

Connecting the dots to paint a portrait improves conversational abilities and verbal fluidity. Enhancing holistic thinking eliminates the need to grasp for words. Research shows that people have a positive correlation with others that have a wide range of interests. [1] Holistic thinking is one of the keys to becoming a master conversationalist.


Aniracetam is best known for its positive effects on holistic thinking. As previously mentioned, connecting ideas via a mental sketchpad occurs in the prefrontal cortex. [16] Aniracetam modulates the release of dopamine and serotonin in the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala. [30] Similar to other racetams, aniracetam can modulate AMPA receptors. [27] Its potential to modulate NMDA receptors synergistically improves the ability to pull and form memories. [30] By modulating dopamine and serotonin, aniracetam can boost mood as well. [31]


Mental agility and holistic thinking go hand-in-hand. Phenylpiracetam modulates PFC activity, heightening mental agility. [32] Research shows that Phenylpiracetam supplementation can improve every area of cognitive performance by up to 12%, making it one of the most powerful nootropics. [33] Attention span, working memory, and problem-solving show the greatest improvements following phenylpiracetam supplementation. [32] Some individuals develop a tolerance after using phenylpiracetam several days in a row. Others keep phenylpiracetam in their daily nootropic stack and notice zero tolerance-related issues. If you are one of the former individuals, then phenylpiracetam may be better suited for exams and job interviews.  


  18. Lupien, S. J., et al. “The Effects of Stress and Stress Hormones on Human Cognition: Implications for the Field of Brain and Cognition.” Brain and Cognition 65.3 (2007): 209-37. Web.
  32. Malykh, Andrei G., and M. Reza Sadaie. “Piracetam and Piracetam-Like Drugs: From Basic Science to Novel Clinical Applications to CNS Disorders.” Drugs 70.3 (2010): 287-312. Web.

Supplements for Creativity

Supplements for Creativity
Click image for full size.

Creativity is essential to living a fulfilling life.  It is also the key to the progression of society.  Seeing potential in everyday things is a beautiful skill.  More importantly, anyone from artists to day traders can improve their creative ability and benefit from a new-found perspective. 

Sleep Paves the Way to Creativity

General creativity involves letting the mind wander to find unexpected connections.  This applies to art, conversations, and even academics.  It’s common knowledge that getting a good night of sleep is crucial to staying sharp between the ears.  During a standard eight hours of sleep, most individuals have up to seven dreams!  Those seven dreams are seven opportunities to improve your creativity.

Dreams allow the mind to think much more visually and creatively.  [1] Lucid dreaming is when an individual is aware he or she is dreaming and can possibly change some aspects of the current dream. [2] One study surveying 334 participants found that lucid dreamers scored higher on creative scores. [2] The same study also found that lucid dreamers were more likely to incorporate real-life events into their dreams. [2]

Stepping into the realm of lucid dreaming opens the door that connects the conscious to the subconscious.  Increased creativity allows you to step out of your normal behavioral patterns to offer a different perspective.  Doing so allows you to see the things that you normally don’t.  Furthermore, there’s no risk!  You can fly without the risk of falling, swim without the risk of drowning, and interact with people without the risk of being awkward.

Supplements Pave the Way to Lucid Dreaming

Dreams occur during the REM stage of sleep. [3] This stage is also the deepest sleep state. Inability to fall asleep, poor sleep quality, and the inability to visualize thoughts are the most common inhibitors of REM sleep and, subsequently, lucid dreaming.

Fall Asleep Faster

Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep.  It is the go-to supplement for individuals that lay in bed, staring at the wall while they wish sleep would come knocking on the door.  Melatonin supplementation can decrease sleep latency, the time it takes to fall asleep. [4] Unlike many common sleep aids, melatonin rarely leads to morning grogginess.  In fact, in a study observing participants that consumed either melatonin or a placebo, the melatonin group noted improved morning alertness. [4] In addition, melatonin has antioxidant properties and can even acutely improve lipid profiles. [5]

Sleep Quality

Poor sleep quality and the inability to fall asleep go hand in hand. If one cannot fall asleep, then sleep quality cannot be assessed. If falling asleep isn’t the issue, but you wake up often or experience daytime fatigue, glycine may be the supplement for you.  Waking up frequently reduces the amount of REM sleep, in turn preventing lucid dreaming.

Glycine supplementation reduces the amount of time it takes to get into the REM stage of the sleep cycle. [6] Although the mechanism behind this isn’t fully understood, it’s likely due to glycine’s ability to act as a neurotransmitter. [7] One study observing participants struggling with sleep difficulties noted that glycine supplementation improved sleep quality. Improved sleep quality allowed optimal cognitive function despite inhibited sleep.  [6]

Glycine has several nootropic properties which are also likely due to its neurotransmitter properties. Significant improvements in attention span can occur when supplementing with glycine. [8] Additional improvements in memory have been found in both young and middle-aged consumers. [8] Even in times of impaired sleep quality/quantity, glycine can enhance memory. [6] Glycine is known for being a very mild supplement, and it’s perfect for individuals who just want to feel refreshed in the morning instead of taking a supplement that renders them unconscious.

Visualize Your Dreams

Some individuals think visually. For everyone else, there’s DMAE. Information visualization occurs in the part of the brain known as the reticular formation. [1] DMAE supplementation can increase activity in the reticular formation which enhances the ability to think visually. [1] Consuming DMAE before sleep can increase the likelihood of lucid dreaming by improving the ability to visualize thoughts. Since the dream state is when the mind is already operating vividly, supplementing with DMAE acts synergistically to induce lucid dreaming.

Interestingly, DMAE causes arousal during REM sleep, yet it improves sleep quality. [1] In general, arousal and sleep are contradicting; however, DMAE achieves this feat through a mechanism that research has yet to pinpoint. 

Creative Problem-Solving

Difficult problems require unique solutions. Figuring out why a business is failing or simply brainstorming ideas for a research paper requires creative problem solving. After all, no two businesses are similar, and normal papers are dull.

Finding the solution to a problem requires two types of thinking: Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking.

An example of divergent thinking is brainstorming. It consists of thinking of all of the possibilities without deeply exploring each topic. Quantity is more important than quality in respect to divergent thinking.

Convergent thinking is finding one solution to one problem. It is the logical, step-by-step path to finding the answer. Math problems are a simple example of convergent thinking. 

Both types of thinking necessitate the area of the brain known as the pre-frontal cortex (PFC). The PFC connects every area of the brain to adjust thoughts and actions according to the current situation or goal. [9, 10] Creative problem-solving increases prefrontal cortex activity significantly. [10, 11] The PFC has 5 major functions in the creative problem-solving process:

  1. Assessing the problem and the goal
  2. Pulling information from the context of the problem [9]
  3. Collecting information from the long-term memory (textbook information, past experiences, etc.) [9]
  4. Connecting #2 and #3 [9]
  5. Visualizing the solution [9]

Supplements for Creative Solutions

Divergent Thinking

Brainstorming is built on a foundation of seemingly random ideas and concepts arranged in a cohesive and applicable nature. Optimal divergent thinking relies on the ability to put together all of the possible solutions to a problem. The purpose of divergent thinking is to come up with solutions that are unique or unconventional. Tesla Motors is a perfect example of utilizing creativity in the form of divergent thinking to develop unforeseen solutions to major world problems.


Once consumed and absorbed, Aniracetam immediately begins increasing extracellular levels of dopamine and serotonin in the prefrontal cortex. [12] As previously mentioned, the prefrontal cortex is the brain region of interest when it comes to divergent thinking.  [10] In addition to augmenting neurotransmitter release in the PFC, Aniracetam can also increase levels of acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin in the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory known as the hippocampus. [12] Aniracetam supplementation can also modulate a type of receptor that plays major roles in long-term potentiation, NMDA receptors. [12] 

In the long run, Aniracetam can open up new creative pathways in the mind.  Aniracetam is in a class of nootropics known as ampakines. Ampakines can increase the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). [13] BDNF levels have a positive correlation with signal transmission and synaptic plasticity. [14]

The combined effects of Aniracetam are synergistic to improving creativity. Modulating the release of crucial neurotransmitters in the parts of the brain responsible for creativity, logic, and memory offers immediate benefits. Allowing the brain to readily branch out and create new pathways furthers the long-term creative benefits of Aniracetam. Meanwhile, the other benefit of increased BDNF levels, improved signal transmission, improves the efficacy of the previously mentioned mechanisms. [14]


Stacking Aniracetam with a choline source is common practice due to Aniracetam modulating acetylcholine release. Many overlook centrophenoxine as a choline source.  Supplementing with centrophenoxine can quickly and efficiently increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. [15] Centrophenoxine is particularly useful for individuals looking to improve memory as its cholinergic effects have a strong affinity for the hippocampus. [15] Increased blood flow in the brain can also occur following centrophenoxine supplementation. [16] With Aniracetam increasing the activity in the part of the brain that influences creativity and Centrophenoxine improving blood flow to the brain, the combination could provide the optimal stack for creative problem solving.

Convergent Thinking

Divergent thinking necessitates a broad view of topics to develop possible solutions. Convergent thinking, on the other hand, provides the depth that cannot be achieved with divergent thinking.  Focus, logic, and patience are crucial to optimal deep thinking. 


L-Tyrosine supplementation can improve convergent thinking by acting as a precursor to catecholamines. [17, 18] L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is made from phenylalanine.  While the body can produce it, supplementation can cause significant increases in plasma levels of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. [18] Modulating the production of neurotransmitters improves neurotransmitter signaling and can even positively influence mood. L-Tyrosine improves memory, focus, and overall cognitive performance via its effects on catecholamines. [18] The frustration of finding the solution to a difficult problem can be remedied by L-Tyrosine thanks to its ability to improve these areas of cognitive function.  [17]

Final Thoughts

The first step to improving overall creativity is getting enough sleep. If falling asleep is the problem, melatonin may be the solution. For individuals that struggle to stay asleep, supplementing with L-Glycine may be the remedy. After good sleep has been established, lucid dreaming offers an opportunity to delve into the depths of the mind. The dream state is when creativity is at its highest. Supplementing with DMAE can make dreams more vivid, complementing the creative essence of the dream state. Lucid dreaming at night can also improve creativity during the day.

Individuals looking to specifically improve creative problem-solving abilities should try breaking down the process into divergent thinking and convergent thinking. The goal of divergent thinking is to come up with a plethora of possible solutions to a problem. Supplementing with Aniracetam can improve divergent thinking by simultaneously boosting creativity and logic. [12] Convergent thinking acts as the filter for divergent thinking and is the more logical and in-depth of the two ways of thinking. The goal of convergent thinking is to find the best solution to the problem. Supplementing with L-Tyrosine can alleviate the stress of solving difficult problems by improving convergent thinking. [17]


  8. File, Sandra E., Emma Fluck, and Cathy Fernandes. “Beneficial Effects Of Glycine (Bioglycin) On Memory And Attention In Young And Middle-Aged Adults.” Journal Of Clinical Psychopharmacology 19.6 (1999): 5506-512. PsycINFO. Web. 18 Apr. 2016
  14. Belzung, C., Wigmore, P., & Ohio Library and Information Network. (2013;2014;). Neurogenesis and neural plasticity (1st ed.). New York;Berlin;: Springer.




Top 5 Supplements for Energy

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Adrafinil and Memory Formation

Adrafinil can increase memory formation and recall directly and indirectly. Augmenting glutamate levels can directly enhance memory. [3] Glutamate, which is generally stimulatory, plays major roles in memory formation and recall. GABA tends to inhibit glutamate.

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory consolidation. Modulating the neurotransmitter that affects memory formation and inhibiting the neurotransmitter that inhibits memory formation in the area of the brain responsible for memory can drastically enhance memory. [3] Memory formation can be indirectly enhanced through increased attention span as well.

Your morning cup of coffee isn’t working anymore, deadlines are piling up and sleep has become a distant commodity. We’ve all been there: trying to make up for sleep deprivation by drinking gallons of coffee. Usually, you end up shaking like a leaf in autumn while your thoughts race faster than the speed of light.

While caffeine is easily accessible, (usually) delicious, and cheap, there are other supplements that can wake you up in a different way. Some supplements can help you push your body to crush PRs. Other supplements get your mind in the zone, so you can read without having to resist the urge to run a marathon.

Energize Your Mind


AKA(RS)-2- benzhydrylsulfinylethanehydroxamic acid

This powerful supplement is perfect for staying alert during sleep deprivation. Adrafinil is a prodrug to modafinil. Modafinil is a drug prescribed to people who work swing shifts as well as people suffering from narcolepsy. [1] Adrafinil and Modafinil have nearly identical pharmacological effects. [1] Mental clarity and general wakefulness can become apparent within 45-60 minutes of consumption. [1] The half-life of Modafinil is 15 hours. [2] Effects tend to become more pronounced after taking Adrafinil for several days due to its long half-life.

Adrafinil can cause wakefulness and alertness without the jitters. [2] Adrafinil works by increasing overall brain activity. [2] The overall increase in brain activity is likely the result of Adrafinil augmenting Alpha-1 adrenergic receptors, suppressing GABA (an anxiolytic neurotransmitter), and increasing dopamine and glutamate (stimulatory neurotransmitters). [3]

Adrafinil can have cognitive benefits independent of sleep deprivation. The most improved cognitive function that can occur from Adrafinil supplementation is the ability to comprehend vast amounts of information. [3] Put simply, Adrafinil can improve the ability to digest, conceptualize, and store information. This benefit makes it particularly useful for students and those in the business realm.

Increased attention span can act synergistically with enhanced novel concept conceptualization. By augmenting dopamine, Adrafinil can improve attention, concentration, happiness, and overall energy. [3] Adrafinil has also been associated with improved sociability, communication, patience, and interest in others. [3]

Improved motivation and attention span also carry over to exercise. Adrafinil can augment a class of receptors known as the Alpha-1 Adrenergic receptors. [3] Alpha-1 Adrenergic receptors interact with adrenaline, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. By indirectly augmenting adrenaline and norepinephrine, Adrafinil can improve mental vigilance. One study found that supplementing with Adrafinil prior to exercise increased endurance. In that study, participants exercised at 85% of their VO2max. The Adrafinil group had lower ratings of perceived exhaustion which allowed them to exercise longer. [4]

The diverse mechanisms through which Adrafinil can improve cognition allow multiple applications. Students can enjoy its ability to increase memory formation/recall; meanwhile, it can also help business professionals stay sharp between the ears for an entire day.


AKAPhenotropil, carphedon, fonturacetam

This powerful nootropic can provide long-lasting energy and focus alongside its memory enhancing potential. Phenylpiracetam is widely regarded as one of the most potent nootropics. It is 30-60x more potent and effective than piracetam, and it is used for a wider range of indications. [5] The benefits of phenylpiracetam are primarily cerebral in nature. However, it can also improve endurance and vigilance. [6]

Phenylpiracetam can improve cognition due to it acting as a psychostimulant. [7] The mechanisms through which its benefits manifest are more efficient and effective than the mechanisms of piracetam. [7] Phenylpiracetam is fully absorbed in less than an hour. Once absorbed, it is able to pass the blood-brain barrier, where it employs its nootropic benefits. The half-life of phenylpiracetam is between 2.5 and 3 hours. [5]

Once it passes the blood-brain barrier, Phenylpiracetam can begin abolishing fatigue and improving cognition. Phenylpiracetam can increase all areas of cognitive function as it increases overall brain activity. [5] One study noted a 12% improvement in all cognitive performance metrics following Phenylpiracetam supplementation. [8]

Longer attention span, enhanced working memory, and improved problem solving can occur following Phenylpiracetam supplementation. [5] Although phenylpiracetam can increase attention span, it generally does not reduce the ability to switch between tasks. [5]

Phenylpiracetam can boost all areas of cognitive function, making it a solid supplement by itself or as a staple in a supplement stack. Its psychostimulant properties can deliver the extra charge to put you ahead of the game. Enhanced focus and problem solving can increase productivity to give you the edge in school and at work.

Energize Your Body


AKAYohimbin, Corynine, Quebrachin, Quebrachine, Aphrosol, Yohimex, Yohimbe HCL

Yohimbine is a natural supplement that you shouldn’t underestimate. It is extracted from the pausinytalia yohimbe tree. Yohimbine is one of the most popular ingredients in weight loss supplements. It can increase metabolism, improve performance, and it even has some nootropic properties. [9, 10, 11]

Yohimbine acts as an allosteric modulator of the catecholamine neurotransmitters norepinephrine, epinephrine, and adrenaline. [12] It also decreases the reuptake of these neurotransmitters. [12] Neurotransmitter reuptake is when a synapse reabsorbs and recycles a neurotransmitter that it previously secreted. Decreased catecholamine neurotransmitter reuptake increases their respective concentrations in the brain. Put simply, yohimbine can increase the amount of adrenaline, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. It does so without directly increasing the amounts released.

The modulation of catecholamine neurotransmitters allows yohimbine to act as a thermogenic. Yohimbine can increase caloric expenditure during workouts by 29.6% through this mechanism. [9] Additionally, yohimbine can increase plasma concentrations of free fatty acids and glycerol, both of which are indicative of fat mobilization. [9]

Nootropic benefits have been reported following yohimbine supplementation. Its nootropic benefits stem from yohimbine acting as an indirect modulator of dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. [12] Research suggests yohimbine can improve arithmetic task performance which is likely secondary to increased arousal. [11] Increasing dopamine and acetylcholine can improve focus and motivation while increased serotonin levels can boost one’s mood.

Yohimbine is one of the most popular ingredients in weight loss supplements for a reason. Supplementation can provide an impressive boost in energy to power through workouts. Do not underestimate the strength of yohimbine. It is recommended to start with 2.5mg to assess its effects, and only increase as needed. Once individual effects have been assessed, dosage can be increased to 0.2mg/kg body weight (e.g. 14mg/150lb person, 18mg/200lb person, 22mg/250lb person).


AKA: PEA, beta phenylethylamine, phenethylamine, β-phenethylamine, Benzeneethanamine, B-phenylethylamine hcl, 2 phenylethylamine

Supplementing with phenylethylamine can take your physical performance to the next level. It is derived from the amino acid phenylalanine. Cocoa beans are the primary natural source of phenylethylamine. In the body, phenylethylamine is found on every dopamine receptor. Phenylethylamine and tyramine regulate the release of dopamine. [13]

Phenylethylamine supplementation can modulate catecholaminergic transmission within the central nervous system. [14] Supplementation can increase the efficacy of noradrenaline, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. [14] Increased adrenaline and similar neurotransmitters can result in huge boosts in energy and motivation. Adrenaline generally isn’t a neurotransmitter that can ease the difficulty of surmounting a mentally strenuous task. However, Phenylethylamine may help you push through a brutal workout and leave your limits in the past.

The Mild Stimulant


Acetyl L-Carnitine is in a category of its own; it can benefit the mind and the body equally. Relative to the previous supplements, ALCAR is milder in nature. It is not a stereotypical stimulant, making it perfect for individuals who do not normally tolerate stimulants well, yet still want a pick-me-up. L-Carnitine boosts energy by aiding the transportation of lipids from cellular membranes to the mitochondria. In doing so, it can improve cellular metabolism and ATP production. [15]

Improved cellular metabolism means ALCAR is an indispensable pre-workout ingredient. Its performance-based benefits are two-fold. ALCAR decreases muscular dependence on glycogen, which allows the muscles to preserve their primary fuel. [16] Supplementing with Acetyl L-Carnitine also decreases lactate post-workout. [17] L-Carnitine can increase work output and capacity by 11% by allowing muscle tissue to use two fuels instead of one. [16] Congruently, one study noted an increase in sprint performance by up to 15% in the group that consumed ALCAR prior to exercise. [17] Increased work capacity, as in more reps and sets, plus less lactic acid equals more gains.

Similar to other energy enhancing supplements, ALCAR can modulate neurotransmitters, albeit to a lesser degree than those previously mentioned. [15] Don’t let that dissuade you, as it can increase focus, enhance short-term and long-term memory, and boost your mood. [18, 15] Acetyl L-Carnitine is commonly used to alleviate physical and mental fatigue. [19] It combats fatigue by mildly increasing noradrenaline and serotonin. [15] The mood boosting properties are due to the boost in serotonin, which is also known as the happy hormone.

One study observed the cognitive effects of Acetyl L-Carnitine on children suffering from attention related issues. Their parents and teachers assessed their cognitive changes. The children given Acetyl L-Carnitine had better grades. The ALCAR group also scored higher on behavior and concentration assessments. [18]



Adding L-Theanine to an energy supplement can help avoid the cognitive effects that accompany over-stimulation. L-Theanine is the amino acid that gives tea its relaxation properties. Stacking Theanine with a stimulant allows one to reap benefits that would not occur if consumed independently. For example, the popular caffeine + L-Theanine stack can increase creativity, focus, and learning. [20] Users have reported L-Theanine helps create a calm sense of focus when consumed with other stimulants as well.


For times when sleep isn’t an option, adding glycine can help maintain cognitive function. [21] Glycine stacks well with most energy enhancing supplements and has very few side effects.

Vitamin B6

Dopamine synthesis requires a B6 dependent enzyme. [22] Supplementing with additional vitamin B6 can increase the activity of this enzyme which can increase overall dopamine synthesis. [22] Since most stimulants modulate dopamine, B6 can act synergistically with other energy enhancing supplements.

Vitamin B12

This essential vitamin is necessary for cellular energy production. Inadequate intake prevents optimal energy production and can subsequently have adverse effects on cognition. [23] Stacking vitamin B12 with an energy supplement can maximize benefits.


  5. Malykh, Andrei G., and M. Reza Sadaie. “Piracetam and Piracetam-Like Drugs: From Basic Science to Novel Clinical Applications to CNS Disorders.” Drugs 70.3 (2010): 287-312. Web.
  7. Bobkov, Yu G., et al. “Pharmacological Characteristics of 4-Phenylpiracetam ? A New Phenyl Analog of Piracetam.” Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine95.4 (1983): 464-7. Web.

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The Most Expensive Products are Not Always the Best

When it comes to supplements, you want to make sure you are getting the best quality available. However, this does not always mean the most expensive option. When shopping for other consumables, individuals often compare prices. Some gravitate toward a branded product because they assume it is better. If it is a better quality product, then they are willing to pay more for it. Even so, a brand name does not always equate to a superior product.

Bulk Powder vs Brands

Part of the cost you pay for a branded product comes from the packaging. You are paying for fancy labels and containers. Powder City is able to keep costs down by removing this element of production. By reducing flashy, useless aspects of product packaging, we are able to offer our products for less and transfer those savings to the customer.

Athletes, experts, and other famous individuals often endorse products to boost that supplement’s popularity. Any company that offers an endorsed product has to pay the endorsee. This is a steep fee that the company transfers to you, the customer. We believe in the quality of our products. As such, we do not waste money on unnecessary and often misleading advertising. Instead, we focus on the purity of our products to ensure you receive the best benefits at the best price.

Another way we are able to keep costs down is via economies of scale. By purchasing large quantities from suppliers, we are able to lock in better prices. Because we are able to secure supplements in bulk for less, we are able to offer the products at a lower rate.

Third Party Testing

To ensure you receive the best quality products, we adhere to a strict Quality Control Process. When we receive products, we hold them in quarantine until a third party tests them. During this phase, the products undergo a series of tests. You can learn more about these specific tests here.

After testing, the product returns to us. If it passes the third party tests, then it moves on to in-house testing. This two-fold process helps guarantee the highest quality product. Supplements go through one last inspection and review before we release them to the public.

We also include a Certificate of Analysis (COA) that provides a summary of these tests and their results. Not all labs allow us to post their COAs to product pages for security and privacy reasons. However, you can always request a third party COA and we will supply it.

This rigorous process allows us to ensure our products efficacy and quality. This helps us build trust and provide peace of mind to our customers. It also saves us from potential headaches and costly problems that arise from inferior quality control processes. 

Smart packaging choices, purchasing in bulk, and adhering to strict quality control standards allows us to provide our customers with superior supplements at a fantastic rate. Customers should always feel secure in the knowledge that the supplement they are taking is of the highest quality without draining their bank account to obtain it.


Best Herbal Supplements for Relaxation and Positive Mood

best supplements for relaxation

Whether you are feeling overworked, experiencing high levels of stress, or feeling anxious overall, you may want to consider herbal supplementation to calm your nerves. Stress can cause many issues within the body including increased soreness, upset stomach, lack of sleep, low energy, and poor cognitive function just to name a few.

Herbal supplements are for those looking for a natural way to wind down. Some supplements induce sedation which can improve sleep quality, other supplements provide calming effects without sedation. We put together a list of the best herbal supplements to improve mood, induce relaxation, and improve overall quality of life.


Ashwagandha is a unique herbal supplement as it functions as an anxiolytic but also increases motivation. This supplement reduces cortisol levels which is the hormone released when the body is under high amounts of stress. Ashwagandha also boosts mood and overall well-being. [1]

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola works by increasing serotonin levels – the neurotransmitter that promotes positive mood. This supplement reduces stress while increasing mental energy. High stress often causes fatigue, using Rhodiola can counteract this effects without over stimulation. [2, 3] Rhodiola Rosea also has many nootropic benefits including improved focus, workload capacity, and social functions. [3]


Damiana leaf reduces the physical and mental side effects of stress. Damiana contains Apigenin which is a bioflavonoid that has sedative effects, making this an excellent supplement to take in the evening. [4] When suffering from mood imbalances some individuals may experience low sex drive. Damiana is a potent aphrodisiac which can alleviate these issues and improve sexual health. [5]

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa can increase serotonin and dopamine levels. These neurotransmitters are responsible for positive mood, motivation, excitement, and more. Those who supplement with Bacopa will experience less negative responses to stress. [6] This herbal supplement also possesses nootropic qualities. Taking Bacopa may result in improved memory and verbal learning. [7]

Valerian Root

Sleep deprivation causes many mood imbalances and cognitive issues. Using Valerian root decreases sleep latency. [8] Valerian root also keeps cognitive function intact by reducing cellular damage to the brain caused by stress hormones. [9]

Other Ways to Relieve Stress

  • Exercise
  • Balanced diet
  • Meditation


Many suffer from stress, anxiousness, and sleep deprivation due to today’s busy lifestyles. With the help of a few lifestyle adjustments and herbal supplementation, quality of life is improved. There are many other products out there to assist with stress relief. Here is a complete list of Powder City’s relaxation products.