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Paul Stamet’s Niacin & Lion’s Mane Nootropic Stack Improved My Cognition & Jiu Jitsu Performance

Paul Stamet’s Niacin-Lion’s Mane Protocol: Good News, It Works!

By James Whelan

I’m a huge fan of nootropics, substances alleged to increase mental performance. The problem with most nootropics is that they have no measurable effect. I call this the “effectiveness problem” and I find it is common to virtually all commercially available supplements.

As the name implies, a supplement typically replenishes a deficit. Even genuinely useful supplements are rarely effective for those of us lucky enough to afford a balanced diet.

The number of supplements that a particular person can benefit from taking regularly is extremely small, and the benefits rarely persist after replenishing the deficit.

“Supplement” is also a legal term used to imply that a substance is a type of food, and therefore not subject to regulation as a pharmaceutical.

Nootropics promise to improve the function of the brain beyond it’s normal healthy state.

Caffeine increases alertness by altering the brain’s natural state rather that addressing a deficit. This is in contrast to Iodine which can prevent or reverse mental retardation, but cannot improve cognitive function in a healthy person.

Despite research to the contrary, most of us believe that we will be happier and better off with a raised IQ. The idea that the brain can be improved beyond it’s natural state is extremely seductive.

The Formula

Lion’s Mane” is a true nootropic because it permanently enhances cognition by improving the brain’s ability to alter itself structurally. The extract is alleged to improve improve the body’s ability to cover nerve tissues with myelin, which is a crucial factor in nerve growth. If true, this property could heal nerve damage and increase a person’s ability to learn. This means that Lion’s Mane consumption could lead too increased quality of life and economic productivity. In my personal experiment with lion’s mane, I have found this to be the case.

“The next quantum leap in the evolution of the human species?”

During my three years at law school and during a subsequent 2 year period, I suffered weekly severe epileptic seizures which left me feeling disoriented and harmed my memory. Despite 2 seizure free years to recover, I found that lion’s mane improves the faculties I lost during my illness. My verbal fluency, my ability to recall nouns, my sense of wellbeing, and my Jiu Jitsu performance are all noticeably improved by lion’s mane. Additionally, my written output improves in terms of quality and volume when I take lion’s mane.

I discovered lion’s mane because of Paul Stamets. Paul is a mycologist who specializes in psychedelic and mushrooms, and medicinal applications for compounds found in mushrooms. Stamet’s claims about lion’s mane on the Joe Rogan Experience lead me to investigate further and I decided to take lion’s mane after discovering that it was dirt cheap. The good experience I had with Lion’s Mane (LM) lead me to take Stame’s claims more seriously. My newfound respect made me curious about his experiments with psilocybin and niacin.

Artists interpretation of my 2017 mental state

Stamets hypothesizes that niacin’s ability to stimulate the peripheral nervous system could extend the nootropic benefits of lion’s mane and psilocybin to the entire body rather than limiting them to the central nervous system. If this were possible, it could strengthen the mind/body connection and counter the effects of degenerative nerve diseases. Stamets is very enthusiastic about the potential of this “stack”, in a lecture to other mycologists Stamets goes further, saying that the combination of these three compounds is potentially a second step in the process that began when humans first tried psilocybin.

Sure why not

Stamets advocates the “stoned ape” hypothesis, the idea that contact with entheogens caused the cultural explosion that took place in the late paleolithic period. His claim that the niacin, psilocybin, lion’s mane, stack(NPLS) could produce a shift in human progress equivalent to the original emergence of art and culture 100k years ago, is too bold to ignore.

Stamets mentions NPLS often, but never goes into much detail. He has mentioned the idea multiple times over a number of years, always with great enthusiasm. From what we have heard it seems that the psilocybin component of the stack is a non hallucinogenic dose equivalent to a silicon valley style microdose, the niacin dose must be fairly large to produce an uncomfortable dermal flush ( around 100-1000mg depending on sensitivity) and presumably the lion’s mane dose is 300mg (equivalent to the daily dose recommended by Host Defense Stamets’ supplement company). This is reasonable to suppose because Stamets claims that the regimen will be physically unpleasant rather than recreational.

The inciting incident.

We can also deduce the intended frequency of the an NPLS dose based on Stamet’s comments. Stamets believes that the optimal micro dosing regimen is 5 days on 2 days off (to avoid psilocybin tolerance), and the optimal lion’s mane dose is daily (based on Host Defense product recommendations). Optimal niacin dosage, should be high but not daily due to the possibility of tolerance destroying the flush effect and the risk of side effects. 3–5 days per week seems reasonable. Finally, lion’s mane and the microdose can be taken in at the convenience of the “NPLS”er and the niacin should be taken ten minutes later, so that the flush coincides with the effects of the other two substances. In my opinion the above and its variations, can safely be called the Stamets NPLS protocol. So now that the details are clarified, let me tell you how this worked for me.

I suddenly gained the flexibility to perform this useful move.

NPLS markedly improved my mental and athletic performance. After 20 minutes the itchy niacin flush covered my entire body and made me feel like my skin was slightly sunburned. Curiously, the itchy burning feeling quickly gave way to the feeling of being in a hot bath. I became acutely aware of my entire body, and realized that many of the smaller muscles of my back and neck were cramped. As I noticed the cramps I found I was able to get rid of them and as I did, my overall level of physical comfort increased. I found myself becoming more flexible and discovering new points of articulation in my back and shoulders. I assumed that these improvement would go away quickly, similar to the loose feeling one gets from a massage. To my surprise, the increased flexibility and body control seems to be permanent.

The change in my body awareness caused a noticeable change in my Jiu Jitsu performance. I am suddenly able to perform granby rolls effortlessly, and have an improved sense of balance. Previously, my back was too stiff to perform a correct granby roll. The most obvious improvement is in my “hand fighting”, I am much more coordinated now and have improved shoulder mobility which allows me to control my opponent’s arms more effectively. I’m free of stiffness in my hips and shoulders despite training 5–6 days per week. My training partners noticed the difference immediately, and noted that my moments have improved and that my repertoire of moments has changed. I recharge eScooters as a hobby and my ability to climb over fences and natural obstacles has also increased. All this came from one session.

Not exactly a “party drug.”

I strongly recommend lions mane, especially to epileptics recovering from post ictal trauma. I also recommend NPLS to anyone interested in experimenting with nootropics. Although I have not seen anything to remotely suggest that NPLS can launch a second wave of Stoned Ape style evolution, I found it a very powerful tool for dissolving ambient muscle stiffness, relieving cramps, and increasing athletic coordination.


Of the three NPLS ingredients Stamets only sells this one.

Check out the original post by James on here.

Melatonin for Sleep: How Effective Is It?

By Mary Squillace published at the Bulletproof Blog


Key Points:

  • Melatonin activates by light and dark.
  • Melatonin can be obtained from plants and used as a supplement.
  • When supplementing with melatonin, 0.3 mcg is the ideal dosage.



Wouldn’t it be great if you could pop a pill for better sleep? A pill that’s non-habit-forming, doesn’t require a prescription, and doesn’t make you do strange things like eat in your sleep? Well, maybe you can. While more satisfying zzz’s in pill form sounds too good to be true, there’s promising evidence that melatonin, the naturally occurring hormone in our bodies, can be harnessed as a supplement for better sleep.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a multitasking hormone produced by the brain’s pinecone-shaped pineal gland. [1

Melatonin plays several roles in the body, including helping to regulate blood pressure, boost immune function, and manage cortisol levels. [2] [3]

But melatonin is probably best known for its soporific powers. Chief among its responsibilities is regulating the body’s circadian rhythm so it knows when to rest and when to wake up. That’s why melatonin is often referred to as the body’s sleep hormone.

How Does Melatonin Work?

Melatonin is controlled by light and darkness. When we’re awake and the sun’s out, we don’t produce any melatonin. But at night, the onset of darkness signals to our pineal gland to release melatonin into the bloodstream.

Your melatonin levels begin to increase about two hours before you go to bed, typically around 9 p.m., and peak about five hours later. As melatonin levels rise throughout our body — it’s found in a variety of our organs, including our eyes, bones, ovaries/testes and gut — our body knows it’s time to drift off to Slumber Town. [4] [5]

Supplementing with Melatonin

Humans aren’t the only organism that produces melatonin. It’s also found in meat (eggs and fish are particularly high in melatonin compared to other animal products) [6] as well as leaves and seeds, in which it protects plants from oxidative and environmental stress. As a result, many plants are a good source of melatonin. But melatonin is also extracted from these leaves and seeds and conveniently packed into melatonin supplements, for all of your sleep-hacking needs. [7]

Melatonin Pills

Melatonin supplements are used to treat a variety of sleep and circadian rhythm disorders, ranging from insomnia to jet lag. It also makes sleep more efficient and helps people fall asleep faster.

Melatonin supplements work the same as the melatonin we naturally produce works. Ingested melatonin simply adds to our melatonin levels, so people who are melatonin-deficient will likely experience the biggest benefit from supplementing with melatonin.

And according to research, there’s no need to worry that supplements will interfere with your body’s ability to produce melatonin on its own.

Melatonin Dosage

To get the most out of melatonin supplements, take them one to two hours before you hit the sack. [8] [9]

You’ll see melatonin recommended in a range of doses, starting at around 0.5 milligrams up to 10 milligrams for people with sleep disorders, with the most common dosage being around 3 milligrams. But even this is probably way more than you need. You’re better off basing your melatonin intake on increments that mirror how much melatonin our bodies produce at night. According to clinical studies, the optimal dose is 0.3 milligrams

Melatonin Side Effects

Overall, the side effects of melatonin are pretty toothless. Unlike other sleep aids, like benzodiazepines and z-drugs (think: Ambien and Lunesta), melatonin does not cause dependence or withdrawal symptoms. [11]

The most commonly reported melatonin side effect is daytime drowsiness. Other melatonin side effects include nausea, headache, and dizziness. [12]

If course, if you’re taking other medications, you should check with your physician before popping a melatonin. It has been known to interact with some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, sedatives, antibiotics, and antihistamines. [13]

Melatonin Overdose

Even though the overwhelming verdict is that melatonin is safe, you can have too much of a good thing. Overdosing on melatonin has not been shown to be fatal, but it can produce the aforementioned side effects, like dizziness and grogginess. In one known case, after taking 24 milligrams of melatonin, a man became lethargic and disoriented, but returned to normal and did not continue to have issues once he lowered his dosage.

In addition, large doses could potentially cause amenorrhea (skipped periods) in women, due to it suppressing gonadotropin-releasing hormones, but if you can easily remedy this side effect by simply stopping your melatonin supplements. [17]


Original article is found here

FDA Approves Fasoracetam as ADHD Treatment

Fasoracetam Approved as ADHD Treatment

Remember all the notes following descriptions of Fasoracetam when it was first coming around as a “potential ADHD treatment”, but the FDA delaying approval, and being stuck at stage 3 trials for what seems like 20 years? Check this out. It seems to have finally received the FDA’s approval as a “non-stimulant ADHD Treatment”:

Jul. 19, 2018 9:34 AM ET
About: Aevi Genomic Medicine, … (GNMX)
By: Niloofer Shaikh, SA News Editor 

Aevi Genomic Medicine (GNMX) has received positive feedback from the FDA provisionally indicating that AEVI-004 is a novel co-crystal of lead drug AEVI-001 (fasoracetam) with enhanced physical and chemical properties.

FDA provisionally agreed existing AEVI-001 toxicology and pathology studies are acceptable to support clinical development with AEVI-004, with minimal preclinical bridging studies

AEVI-001 is an oral non-stimulant pan-selective activator/modulator of mGluRs for the potential treatment of ADHD and other glutamate receptor-linked neuropsychiatric disorders.

AEVI-004 is also an oral non-stimulant pan-selective activator/modulator of mGluRs, but with several distinct advantages over AEVI-001, including better stability and better manufacturability owing to a significantly higher melting point.

AEVI-004 is expected to have composition of matter patents extending to 2039 and should be listed as a novel drug substance in the FDA Orange Book.

Seeking Alpha

That is very interesting to hear. Pretty much what happened is that they formulated an “enhanced” version with fasoracetam being the lead drug and is said to be further improving the effects.

The FDA finally are convicned and now GNMX will be manufacturing this new bumped up Fasoracetam version, and will have composition patent “extending until 2039”.

I am curious to see how is this going to unfold. I am actually ADHD and have used Fasoracetam for a while to experiment and measure its effectiveness on me both for ADHD and GABA regulation. I haven’t seen tremendous effect but it was notable enough to be worthy of further examination.

Realization: I’ll be getting my Fasoracetam through insurance soon enough instead of paying for it!

Any thoughts on this?

10 Best Natural Nootropics

To be honest, I was hesitating for quite some time about whether or not I should actually publish my retake this list of 10 best natural nootropics of 2018 mainly because it was an article written and published by the team of Nootropics Depot itself.

But once I allowed myself an open-minded approach, reading thoroughly, I started seeing a lot of sense in the list. By the time I read through it all, I had realized I have purchased 7 out of the ten items on the list.

And all those purchases were from ND, but none of which had been due to advertisements. Rather, they were based on my own choice and interest as I have placed multiple orders from Nootropics Depot over the past couple of years.

The more I read and analyze the content, the more I realize how it is indeed enlisting some of what I think is amongst the best natural nootropics of…ever.

The team at Nootropics Depot managed to build a brand that stands out from any other manufacturer, and that is something, I can almost guarantee, is acknowledged worldwide. I liked their brand upon discovering the website for the first time, I liked it more after receiving my first box of nootropics traveling all the way from Arizona to Dubai, and I maintained the same level of admiration even after having my ShareASale application declined. If anything, I am now able to see the bigger picture as well as to what led it to the undeniably successful level they’re operating at today.

To compile the list, they use customer data to analyze product popularity, customer feedback, scientific research, as well as their own team’s expertise. In other words, you can safely say that the list was based on the nootropic community coexisting online on reddit’ nootropics, longevity, and whatever platform where nootropics are in discussion, opinions forming, knowledge growing, and endless research shares.

The list is in no particular order; therefore, I will rearrange it to best of my knowledge and experience, and push the 3 I haven’t had the chance to try to the bottom of the list for this apparent reason. And possibly to further push them to my cart from there.

These are the top 10 Best Natural Nootropics in 2018 according to ND, and in no specific order:

Best Natural Nootropics of 2018

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract (Hericium Erinaceus)

It didn’t take me more than two(hundred) seconds to figure out whether Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract or the next nootropic would make the #1 best natural nootropic of 2018. I knew the answer immediately when I compared it to the rest and realized that I had not run out of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract (specifically, ND’s) since the very first time I bought it. This has got to give it quite the credit. Especially when knowing there is no psychedelic or psychostimulant effect of supplementing with it, although that is to some degree debatable.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is a unique, down-to-definition nootropic. It is one of the few nootropics I know of that support, as well as promote neurogenesis. And that means exactly just what it implies: it is the process by which neurons are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells, nootropically speaking.In other words, it supports the regeneration and birth of neurons within the brain — a discovery that led to most of the speculation about it today.

It is also the main reason why I had been taking it throughout the past year. Secondary to that comes a collection of benefits such as enhanced neuroplasticity, improving depression, cognitive function, antioxidant, and the list goes on and on. You can read more in-depth about it in its respective page since it had earned one.

Cognizin Citicoline

Again I notice that it didn’t take me long to decide whether Citicoline would rank at number two or three given the significant benefits I have personally experienced from both nootropics, as well as from those going to appear later in the list. I had used Citicoline for about six months before I decided to “upgrade” to the better choline source known as Alpha-GPC. I then started using Alpha-GPC as the replacement as my choline source for nearly a year – and still doing so today, taking 300mg per day, and occasionally might increase to 600 mg as desired.

However, I had already decided a while ago that once my large (120ct I believe) runs out, I am switching back to Cognizin Citicoline.
I was convinced to perceive the outcome of Alpha-GPC to win over that of Citicoline. But to my surprise, it turns out I much prefer and enjoy the benefits of Citicoline overall when comparing it to that of Alpha-GPC. But I wasn’t able to decide and tell until I had stopped supplementing with Citicoline for a while. Taking it after such a long and experimental break, upon taking Citicoline I felt as if I had finally put in the last piece of the missing puzzle. And by the way, turns out even that last piece doesn’t solve that puzzle of ours.

But if anything, citicoline will at least be a helping factor and will increase your chances of getting there, in comparison to other nootropics. Experienced users, especially the wiser, such as you and I (we deserve pride ok), already know about the phenomenon of racetam headaches. IF you are new to this, in short, the racetam class of nootropics, and possibly some of the most effective nootropics in the market as of now, are racetams.
They are fantastic for different conditions. Moving onto the next one of the list.

Bacopa Monnieri Extract

Bacopa Monnieri is one of the most interesting natural nootropics in my stack. The amount of studies and research on this flower is endless. Moreover, it’s another nootropic that has been in still is, in use today in Ayurvedic medicine. When it comes to something trusted and practiced in ayurvedic I almost instantly buy into it, I wouldn’t even have to see the facts, although I did, nevertheless.

Bacopa is known for its benefits on memory and secondly for its relaxing effect. “Sedating” some would say – which I only agree with if I had been awake for two days straight.

Most people use it once a day at 300mg, and ideally, results should be notable in about four weeks or so. I used it for a few months at 150mg per day, and for another few at 300mg per day, until I stopped due to the curiosity of trying the next nootropic, I found back then.

Today I rarely use it, but when I do, instead of 300mg I would take 700 mg in one dose for the calming and hippie peaceful vibe in puts me in. For which I agree on it being on this list. However, I feel I have to mention that I found it to be most effective at the lowest dose (I believe it’s around 150mg – I was taking it as one of the ingredients in Mindlab Pro). But I was consistent with a daily intake of it for way over 4-5 months. Next one on my hit list:

Ashwagandha KSM-66

I never realized how much of a natural gangster Ashwagandha sounds like when you add that KSM-66 next to it in the subheading.

Ashwagandha is a very effective adaptogen that people, again, take it on a daily basis and allow adaptation to it over time and is often spoken of as ‘that one natural nootropic that diminishes stress.

Ashwagandha works on the GABA neurotransmitter which is what results in stress and anxiety reduction.
It’s usually taken at 300mg once a day. I remember the first time taking ashwagandha I felt like I was in a bubblegum euphoric heaven without the bubblegum artificial plasticizing smell (which I like, btw).

I was amazed by how strong it had affected me, especially while knowing that my GABA receptors aren’t the easiest to poke and tweak after years of self-medicating with GABA supplements and medications. But that only happened on the very first time I took it. I’ve taken it many many times after but never felt as strong of an effect as the first time. It probably had a lot to do with my subconscious anticipation – I have to say.

I still have and take Ashwagandha every now and then, more often than not double the dose and take 600mg instead of 300mg, but I limit it to once or max twice a week. Reestablishing GABA relationship is not something I have on my mind….for the time being.

Longvida Curcumin Extract

To be honest, I haven’t quite noticed any measurable effects when I used to take curcumin, but I do believe the literature on it. Now after reading a bit more into it, I realize that it might have been the bioavailability of the brand that I had of curcumin, which I am gonna stop typing now, go to the kitchen, take a couple tablets and read the leaflet again – it had been over a year since I had last use it.

Hm. To my surprise, turns out I finished my first bottle and bought another one. I completely forgot about that. I got it from the Netherlands while in a rush going (late) after my flight – that’s why my brain probably did not process that scenario.

But if I had finished one and bought another, it must have been good….

Now curcumin extract is very popular and available in many different places and often for a low price depending on what you settle on when it comes to quality.

What intrigued me about Longvida is that they made it precisely to increase its bioavailability to the maximum. Curcumin’s bioavailability is “one of its most significant drawbacks.” Here’s what they had to say about it. I haven’t dived that deep into it to be in a place of forming or circulating my analysis.

“Longvida is a specialized extract of turmeric that addresses one of Curcumin’s most significant drawbacks: bioavailability.

On paper, the effects of Curcumin are fantastic. Unfortunately, various studies have come to the consensus that regular Curcumin does not absorb readily in the body. There have been multiple solutions to this problem, the most popular of which is by using a bioavailability enhancer from black pepper called Piperine. This seems to work reasonably well, but the permeation of Curcumin through the blood-brain barrier and into the brain is still relatively low with this combination of Curcumin and Piperine. Verdure Sciences figured out a way to put the Curcumin molecule into a solid lipid particle called an SLCP. The SLCP acts as a sort of micro-capsule which can transport Curcumin through the blood-brain barrier and into the brain. Due to this, Longvida is one of the few formulations of Curcumin that can exert a significant effect on our brains.

So why do we want Curcumin in our brains? To start, Curcumin has excellent oxidation and inflammation regulating effects in the brain, which help with overall brain health and cognitive function. Curcumin has also been shown to enhance DHA synthesis. This is beneficial as DHA makes up a large portion of our brain and it has been demonstrated that elevated levels of DHA can boost cognition. Curcumin also regulates glutamatergic function in the brain. This is important for keeping our brains in tip-top shape, especially during periods of high stress. As the cherry on top, Curcumin can enhance brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) significantly. BDNF is a primary regulator of neuroplasticity and cognition. By boosting BDNF levels, we can expect a significant boost in cognitive health support.”

They had me at BDNF.

PS: the brand I have is Solgar. It wasn’t precisely produced with a nootropical objective in mind.

Prima Purified Shilajit Extract

Now with Shilajit, quoting ND, its an “interesting natural substance. Shilajit oozes out of rocks high up in various mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, during summer months. The current theory is that it is composed of humification products of various plants and mosses. This would explain its complex chemical makeup and the presence of various humic compounds such as fulvic acid. This also explains the often high heavy metal levels found in crude Shilajit that is widely available. This is because the rocks that Shilajit oozes out of can be significant sources of heavy metals.”

This sold it to me without really processing all of that. Today I noticed the second part of the description where it talks about how shilajit increases the bioavailability of CoQ10 which is one of my favorite nootropics. Therefore, I’m going to pause this section here and take my daily CoQ10 now with Shilajit, which I haven’t in a while. I will continue writing this once done with the rest of the list. As to personal experience with previous use, I wouldn’t add it on this list.

The science behind it sounds compelling and makes a lot of sense nevertheless. It explains that the most notable effects of Shilajit are cell rejuvenation, which in turn boosts overall cognitive function. That is supposed to be sent to our mitochondria, and by so promote healthy levels of oxidation in there. Thereby, the mitochondria produce more ATP, and ATP is one of the significant sources of energy for our cells. And that’s how Shilajit is enhancing cognition overall.

The more efficiently our mitochondria run, the more ATP they can produce. ATP is one of the primary energy sources for our cells, and thus by allowing our mitochondria to produce more ATP, Shilajit can enhance cell function. Similar to Creatine, this should boost overall brain function.”

Polygala Tenuifolia 20:1 Extract

This is one of the newer to the inventory I believe, so I haven’t had the chance to try it yet. Therefore I can’t share a personal opinion. According to Nootropic Depot though, Polygala is a serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.

“This mechanism of action results in calm focus and a significant increase in energy levels. It also helps support healthy stress levels. These effects are further enhanced by Polygala tenuifolia’s ability to enhance neuroplasticity.” then go further into explaining;

“Neuroplasticity is a process by which brains grow and adapt. In certain parts of the brains, such as the hippocampus, neuroplasticity is a crucial regulator of mood. Often, the low mood can be traced back to decreased neuroplasticity in the hippocampus. Not only does neuroplasticity influence mood and well-being, but it is also one of the primary mechanisms through which memories are formed.

What makes Polygala especially interesting is that it is also an NMDA receptor blocker. It has been shown that blocking the NMDA system can make monoamine systems, such as the dopaminergic system, more sensitive. This should, in the context of Polygala tenuifolia, promote even higher levels of focus in conjunction with its triple reuptake inhibitor effect. The NMDA receptor also plays a crucial role in memory processing”,

“….Polygala tenuifolia, in addition to supporting memory, boosting focus, promoting healthy stress levels, and relaxation, also help protect the brain. It does this by promoting healthy levels of oxidation in the brain.”

Judging by this description, I wouldn’t be surprised that it made it to the list, sitting at the top as the best natural nootropic off the list. I’m very curious now.

Next:

Caffeine & L-Theanine Combination

If you’ve made it far enough in your nootropics journey to be reading this sentence, then it goes without a saying why combining caffeine with l-theanine would make it to the list. In case you didn’t, you can read about it here.

The only combination I use of this 100:200 mg caffeine/theanine ratio is Nootropic Depot’s, so I’ve seen and can understand why a company or consumer would want an enhanced version of the supplement.

Frankly, I don’t respond very well to caffeine so having my bulletproof coffee in the morning keeps me away from using caffeine/theanine. I do, nevertheless, take l-theanine with my coffee every day.

However, ND list this in as an enhanced formula with 150mg caffeine instead of the commonly known 100:200mg ratio. Additionally, they are using a technology called ZumXR that enhances the absorption and delivery of both in a way that they complement each other even more than they do when taken together, which now is almost going to be called “the old fashioned way.”

They explain more about the extended release saying: “DynaMAX utilizes a slightly higher ratio of caffeine to L-theanine than the regular 1:2, with 150mg caffeine to 200mg L-theanine. This ratio preserves the calming effects of L-theanine but allows the caffeine to exert a little bit more stimulation.
In addition to this, we decided to add Dynamine methylliberine, a novel derivative of caffeine made by Compound Solutions, Inc. which is found in small amounts in coffee beans.

When it came to to the caffeine forms, we also decided to come up with a unique caffeine blend that combines instant release anhydrous caffeine with both delayed and extended release microencapsulated caffeine using the ZumXR technology. The result is quick and powerful, but the smooth effect that we are willing to bet can stand up to a good cup of coffee and far surpasses mainstream energy drinks!

Upon taking DynaMAX, after about 15 minutes, Dynamine methylliberine starts working its magic. This is usually experienced as a mood lift with gentle stimulation. After about another 15 minutes, the caffeine kicks in which gets potentiated by the Dynamine methylliberine. This results in quite a profound sense of stimulation and focus. However, before it becomes overwhelming, the L-Theanine steps in and smooths out this stimulation.

After about two hours, when the effects seem to be decreasing a little bit, the delayed release caffeine kicks in. This can be experienced as a quick jolt of energy that will keep you locked into whatever you are focusing or working on. The extended caffeine then carries the effects all the way to the 8-hour mark, letting you down slowly without much of a crash.”

They continue onto saying “consider DynaMAX as a coffee alternative or energy drink alternative, or like a bit more advanced version of the tried and true combination of caffeine/L-theanine.”

Nigella Sativa Extract (Black Seed Oil)

Talks about black seed oil as a nootropic has been circulating for a while on Reddit and such platforms. But outside the nootropic community, black seed oil has been in use for many years. If anything, I’m almost sure it was more widely used back in the day than it is today. I remember my grandma stuffing it in foods whenever she found the opportunity to do so. Little did I know she was all about nootropics…

Now in our current days, researchers studied the seeds extracts with all the fancy pansy technologies that weren’t accessible to our ancestors back then. They were able to prove its beneficial effects of producing a calming effect and reducing stress, as well as supporting memory.

A little science from the ND guys explains: “most commercial black seed oils have around a maximum of 1% thymoquinone, which is in stark contrast to our black seed oil extract that has a large 5% thymoquinone…..the main benefit of thymoquinone is a pronounced calming effect that does not affect cloud cognition. This is great as it allows for a more relaxed focus which can be a great asset during times of high stress. Furthermore, it is also a great immune system booster. Again, this will help during periods of high stress where the chances of getting sick are much higher than usual. At this point, the added benefits of significant boosts to cognition is just the cherry on top for black seed oil extract.”

And quite frankly it makes a lot of sense based on my readings on black seed oil. Last but not least (because the list is not structured as to 1 being the top one):

Cordyceps Mushroom 10:1 Extract (Cordyceps militaris)

Now out of all the nootropics mentioned, this one I have yet to hear of. But the fact that its a mushroom extract, I’m gonna allow myself the pleasure of finding out why it made it to the list of 10 best nootropics of 2018. The description written on cordyceps mushroom on ND’s article makes me very open to it:

“Cordyceps is a unique, stringy, and bright orange mushroom. Cordyceps has very pronounced effects on endurance and overall energy levels. However, it is often overlooked as a brain health supplement. The fact of the matter is that Cordyceps mushrooms have a unique ability to support cognitive health.”
They go on to explain the mechanism of action on how those benefits are achieved: “one of the major pathways by which memories are encoded in the process of long-term potentiation (LTP). LTP is the process by which stimulation of the NMDA receptor causes a signaling cascade in glutamatergic neurons which ultimately leads to the insertion of AMPA receptors on these neurons.

Activation of AMPA receptors makes the likelihood of the NMDA receptor getting activated much higher. As we mentioned earlier, activation of NMDA receptors during the process of LTP can lead to the insertion of an AMPA receptor. Since AMPA receptor activation increases the sensitivity of NMDA receptors, the more AMPA receptors there are means, the more readily LTP will occur. The basic premise of LTP is that the neuron keeps forming stronger connections through NMDA and AMPA receptors.

What makes Cordyceps unique, is that one of the compounds contained in it, cordycepin, makes AMPA receptors more sensitive. Through this mechanism of action, cordycepin can make the process of LTP much more likely to occur, and thereby can produce a significant cognition-enhancing effect. Due to its unique mechanism of action, in addition to the endurance-enhancing effects and overall health-boosting effects, we believe Cordyceps is one of the best natural nootropics available to buy.”

Although the list ends here, I feel like MindLab Pro deserves to be on the list as well due to the fact that it has 13 different, natural nootropics. I can barely split a piracetam or noopept capsule in half – evenly…and they somehow manage to shove all 13 nootropics into the capsule. Nothing beats that product in terms of convenience. Nothing.


PS: Nootropics Depot products are now listed and can be placed through Amazon, while still handled by ND.

Original Nootropic Depot’s article can be found here.

L-Theanine & Caffeine

L-Theanine & Caffeine: Making the Best of Both Worlds

Summary: L-Theanine & Caffeine combination is one of the safer and most popular nootropic stacks out there. Most of the time, it is what people start with when experimenting with nootropics due to its simple understanding, profound effect, and vast availability of data. The typical combination ratio is 100mg caffeine to 200mg L-theanine.

  • Caffeine: a central nervous system stimulant. It is also the world’s most widely consumed drug. Humanity is a mass of junkies, but that’s off-topic. On the other hand;
  • L-Theanine:  an amino acid found in certain plant species, and mostly known for being one of the compounds of green tea. You can read more about L-theanine as a nootropic here.
  • Stack: taking more than one nootropic at a time (2 or more) because they synergize well together, increasing and complementing one another’s effects.
  • Synergy: the creation of something that is greater than the simple sum of its parts – (nice definition, I had to throw it in there).

Caffeine


When we hear of caffeine, the first thoughts that pop in our heads (and to many, the only) are something along the lines of stimulants, energy, wakefulness. Most people tend to overlook the actual benefits of caffeine. Not necessarily the 6 pumps vanilla sugar-filled chocolate drizzle frappuccino. What I refer to here is caffeine in its pure form, the chemical, central nervous system stimulant.

Some examples of the less known health benefits of caffeine:

  1. Caffeine boosts memory and especially memory consolidation, as shown in a Japanese study at Johns Hopkins University.
  2. Caffeine stimulates hair growth (in blading men and women). [1]

It also reduces mouth and throat cancer risk by 50%, reduces the risk of stroke by as much as 22%, and even decreases the risk of type diabetes. The list goes on and on but we are more focusing on the nootropic, cognition-related benefits. Some of which are the following:

  1.  Boosts overall memory, as well as formation and especially memory consolidation. [2]
  2. It fights erectile dysfunction and increases semen volume [3] [4]
  3. Improves reaction time and logical reasoning, especially in sleep-deprived individuals. [5]
  4. Boosts energy as well as athletic performance, and weight training. [6]

That, of course, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a negative side to it though.

L-Theanine


L-theanine, on the other hand, is much less known comparing to caffeine. But it is very well known to those within the nootropic community.

Although it is existing in green tea, the concentration is too low to produce notable nootropic effects. Therefore, nootropically speaking, a higher concentration of l-theanine is required than that found in green tea for example. Which is what led to the production and widespread l-theanine supplement in capsule form.

L-theanine benefits include promoting relaxation and contributing to better sleep quality. Moreover:

  1. It boosts GABA, serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, as well as lowers excitatory chemicals. Thereby, L-theanine reduces stress and anxiety.
  2. Enhances attention, focus, and learning ability.
  3. Improves sleep quality

Synergy


Now, speaking logically, what do you think would happen if you take both caffeine and theanine together, at the same time (caffeine l-theanine stack)?

It would give you the best of both worlds:

The stimulation, alertness, and wakefulness, without the associating crash, jitters, or anxiety that often come along with or after caffeine consumption.

Due to L-theanine calming and relaxing effects, this combination is one of the most popular nootropic stacks. It is simple, and both cimound have a vast amount of studies on them. So not a lot of digging is required to pull information on them.

Combining the two together results in this, or a very similar experience. Might even be better (or worse if you’re the unlucky one):

“You can concentrate on your work more thoroughly, be more creative, and achieve more success with the absence of headaches, crashes, and anxiety. The combination gives you the power to perform better than taking either alone.” [7]

Dosage


Although newer formulations have been surfacing around, the widely known caffeine & l-theanine dosage is a 1:2 ratio. In most cases, that being 100mg caffeine & 200mg L-theanine.

Vendors such as Nootropic Depot have already come up with an “enhanced” formula for caffeine/theanine with a ratio of 1.5:2, and the addition of extended release technology that sums up to optimal use of both compounds.

I still have it on my to-do list to try the sample I got with my last order…soon……..

Personal Experience


I don’t respond very well to coffee. I love it but its the unforbidden love to me because too much caffeine intake increases my hyperactivity. But when it comes to caffeine/theanine combo, it seems to take care of that and lead me to a hyper-focus state. Especially given that I’m ADHD, I can get very engaged into something and lose track and sense and even existence of time all together.

However, although I have caffeine/theanine from ND, I don’t really find myself using it frequently. And that is mainly due to the fact that I drink a cup of bulletproof coffee first thing after waking up. Even though the caffeine concentration is lower in my morning coffee than the common 100mg, I drink my cup followed by a 200mg L-theanine. I found that this works the best for me, allowing me to reap the benefits of both, the synergy of the two compounds, as well as enjoy my bulletproof coffee and practice intermittent fasting (in my personal dictionary, this could also mean starvation and weight loss, but let’s stay on topic here).

Further Readings


If you would like to read more into the combination and synergy of the two compounds, you may enjoy the following studies and articles:

Choline: The Essential Vitamin Nutrient

Choline


Summary: Choline is an essential nutrient, and the precursor for neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine interacts directly with many functions such as the liver, brain, and nerve functions. It further extends to muscle control, energy level, as well as the metabolic process.




INTRODUCTION


Choline is an essential nutrient crucial for liver, brain, and nerve functions. It is also important for muscle motion and energy levels, as well as the metabolic process. It exists as phosphatidylcholine, a substance that comprises the structural part of the fat, hence discoverable in many types of foods. Naturally consisting of particular fats.

What is Choline?

Choline – (also known as choline bitartrate, and trimethylethanolamine) is an essential nutrient. It is crucial for liver, brain, and nerve function. As well as muscle motion, energy levels and the metabolic process. It exists as phosphatidylcholine, a substance that comprises the structural part of the fat, hence discoverable in many types of foods. Naturally consisting of particular fats.

Choline plays a major role in crucial procedures within the body. Mots of which perform multiple times a day. It is a water-soluble nutrient that belongs to other vitamins, such as folate and those in the B vitamin complex household. Much like B vitamins, choline plays a comparable function in regards to supporting energy and brain function, along with keeping the metabolic process active.

When Does Supplementing with Choline Becomes Necessary?

Choline assists in the procedure of methylation, which is utilized to produce DNA, for nerve signaling, and detoxing. It’s also essential for performance of a critical neurotransmitter: acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine also assists nerves in interaction as well as functioning as an anti-aging neurotransmitter. It carries out other fundamental functions. Neither a mineral nor a vitamin, Choline is rather an ‘essential nutrient’, required for many of the body’s functions. And particularly for brain function.
While at this time there isn’t a Recommended Daily Intake for Choline developed by the USDA, it’s crucial to prevent a choline-deficiency. Lack of which is explained further on in the article.

What is the Recommended Daily Intake of Choline?

The Recommended Daily Intake ranges between 280 to 550 mg depending on a number of factors as shown in the table below

Infants (under 1): 125 – 150 mg
Children (1-8): 150 – 250 mg
Kids (8-13): 250 – 375 mg
Girls (14 & over): 425–550 mg
Guys (14 & over): 500 – 550 mg
Pregnant: 450 – 550 mg
Breastfeeding: 500 – 550 mg

What Are The Best Sources of Choline?

Choline is naturally found in foods such as eggs, liver, beef, salmon, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and breast milk. Eggs are in some cases called “brain food” because they are known for providing high quantities of choline. The following is some of the foods high in choline, providing high levels of choline naturally, in addition to lots of other nutrients. All portions listed are based upon the advised quantity of 550 mg daily.


What foods are high in Choline?

    Beef Liver: 3 ounces: 283 mg (51% DV)
    Salmon: 1 filet: 242 mg (44% DV)
    Chickpeas: 1 cup raw: 198 mg (36% DV)
    Split Peas: 1 cup raw: 188 mg (34% DV)
    Navy Beans: 1 cup raw: 181 mg (32% DV)
    Eggs: 1 big egg: 147 mg (27% DV)
    Grass-Fed Beef: 3 ounces: 78 mg (14% DV)
    Turkey: 3 ounces: 57 mg (10% DV)
    Chicken Breast: 3 ounces: 50 mg (9% DV)
    Cauliflower: 1 cup raw: 47 mg (8% DV)
    Goat Milk: 1 cup: 39 mg (7% DV)
    Brussel Sprouts: 1 cup raw: 17 mg (3% DV)


BENEFITS & EFFECTS


Central Nervous System Support

Choline helps form tissue within the nervous system that plays a part in brain development and growth. It can improve signaling capacity of nerves, support structural integrity, and protect vital neuronal membranes. (R)

Neuroprotective Against Cognitive Degeneration

Another advantage of choline is its capability to keep your mind mentally sharp as you age.

Since it belongs to cell membranes and neurotransmitters that utilizes nerve signaling, choline also contributes to memory perseverance and preventing dementia, amnesia and other cognitive degeneration conditions.

As we age, our brain become less flexible. Choline does a crucial task here. It preserves brain flexibility by working to maintain levels of acetylcholine, which naturally decrease in the process of aging. Some studies suggest low levels of acetylcholine might cause a cognitive decline, that being inclusive of Alzheimer’s and dementia. (R)

Clients who develop Alzheimer’s often show a deficiency in acetylcholine levels. Some medications prescribed to manage Alzheimer’s do so by simulate choline’s impact of increasing this neurotransmitter’s levels. (R)

Choline Improves Cognitive Function, Attention and Mood

Acetylcholine is vital for brain function. Cognitive decline is often due to lack of sufficient acetylcholine levels within the brain. (R)

In 1391 individuals, greater choline consumption associated with better cognitive efficiency in spoken as well as visual memory. (R)

One research study reveals that subjects taking CDP-choline + caffeine drinks had measurable enhancement in cognitive capabilities (R)

Sixty healthy adult females aged 40– 60 who took CDP-choline for 28 days notice improving attention (R)

This elevating effect is explainable by the additional choline present, which increases attentiveness and promotes clarity. It’s also a link to its production of human growth hormone, which provides energizing, longevity effects. (R) In combination with other nootropics, it offers adequate choline to achieve optimal cognitive enhancement effects, and it prevents the minor headaches often associates use of Piracetam and pretty much all its derivatives.

Choline Improves Memory

The best recognition of it goes to its capacity in improving memory. This effect is mainly due to the increase of choline it makes available for conversion to acetylcholine, which is profoundly correlating with cognitive functions and the ability to create and revive memories. Studies confirm its efficacy as treatment for memory impairment due to aging; including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It has further proven to be capable of recovering memory in volunteers following brief chemically-induced amnesia. (R), (R) ,(R)

Choline May Help Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and Autism

Schizophrenia and autism developed due to genetic predispositions may also be avoided by prenatal choline supplements (R)

In rats, it was found that prenatal choline supplements can help reduce the likelihood of at-risk subjects developing these disorders later on in life (R)

In a study performed on subjects with Schizophrenia, subjects taking CDP-choline showed improved cognition and working memory after treatment (R)

A few studies have shown that choline could help treat bipolar disorder and may be a useful complement to pharmaceutical interventions (R)

Increases Energy, Athletic Performance and Power Output, and Speeds up Recovery

Because it stimulates the production of human growth hormone (HGH), Alpha-GPC is valuable for individuals looking to perform better, increase lean muscle mass, feel peak energy during workouts and recover quickly afterward. A pilot study shows that 600 mg of Alpha-GPC taken 90 minutes before bench pressing increases power output by 14%. (R), (R), (R)


MECHANISM OF ACTION



Citicoline restores and repairs neuronal damage, increases dopamine levels in the central nervous system, as well as enhances production of neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is especially important for those using racetams.

After ingestion, it breaks down into choline, and cytidine. After which it flows throughout the body and  easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. The cytidine then converts into uridine; a nucleotide base essential to neural membrane synthesis. The choline release is cholinergic, increasing levels of choline within the brain.

Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine and  vital to most cognitive functions. In particular to the ones relating to memory and learning.

Racetams are acetylcholine agonists compounds . They increase production and release of acetylcholine. When sufficient choline is available, it creates notable cognitive improvements such as memory improvement and heighten focus. Additionally, it prevents racetam headaches.

On Acetylcholine

It is a fundamental associate of many cognitive functions including memory formation, learning capacity, and attention. (R), (R), (R), (R). By stimulating the production of acetylcholine, it acts as a neuroprotectant; maintaining neuronal health and preventing potential damage.

On Dopamine

Oral ingestion of Alpha-GPC can also be dopaminergic, by increasing dopamine release during neuronal action potentials and possibly by stimulating the expression of receptors (R), (R). It also has involvement in increasing brain serotonin concentrations following oral administration (R).

DOSAGE AND HOW TO TAKE


Alpha-GPC digests and absorbs smoothly and is gentle on the stomach taken at the typical dose of 300mg. Although many nootropists tend to prefer a dose of 600mg, with a total daily intake ranging from 300 to 1200 mg, either at once or split into two doses (R).

Personally I find 300mg is effective enough especially because I almost always take it as part of a stack. Frequently with AniracetamPhenylpiracetam, Coluracetam, or Noopept. On the few occasions where I took it on its own, I still felt very at ease and eager to produce, learn, move.

As with any other nootropic, start with the lowest effective dose and build up gradually as desired.

SIDE EFFECTS


Some side effects rarely occur, such as headaches, fatigue, nervousness, nausea, diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress. It may rarely induce dizziness and low blood pressure in some individuals.

Personally never experienced any side effects from its use. But I’ve never taken more than 300mg in one dose (Alpha-GPC) and never more than 600mg in a 24-hours frame.

CONCLUSION


Choline is an excellent memory enhancing and focus amplifying nootropic that can be (and should be) added to almost any stack. Using it on its own is effective enough for that mild stimulation and to fire your focus. Then pair it with a racetam, and the effects of both are amplified to an amazing extent.

Furthermore, it provides neuroprotection. That is something anyone can benefit from due to many reasons. Such as environmental changes and the accumulation of oxidative stress in today’s world. It is very well tolerated and safe — there are no reports of serious adverse effects (on CDP-choline), and enlighten me if I’m wrong.

Moreover, its an approved medical treatment in Europe for a number of conditions relating to cognitive impairment (R), Ischemic Stroke (R), to mention a few.

Choline nootropics are affordable and easily accessible. Alpha-GPC is supposedly the most expensive out of the choline supplements. I’ve used both that and CDP-choline, both of which had identical effects. As a matter of fact, only now I started realizing that I might have been feeling citicoline more profoundly than I tend to feel Alpha-GPC. (I prefer it generally because it adds so much convenience to my life, when getting it along with a bunch of preformulated good mix in MindLab Pro.

It is worth buying for anyone looking after cognition boost and overall brain health. But especially worth it for those using multiple nootropics at a time, including racetams. Personally, at this point, I would not even bother taking a racetam if I don’t have a choline source to pair it with.