Summary: Coenzyme Q10 (often called CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance used in the treatment of a variety of disorders primarily related to cellular energy production, metabolism, and oxidative injury. Research shows coenzyme Q10 to be most promising for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and certain encephalomyopathies for which coenzyme Q10 has gained a high popularity.
What is CoEnzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 (2,3 dimethoxy-5 methyl-6-decaprenyl benzoquinone) is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like quinone commonly known as ubiquinone, CoQ, and vitamin Q10. It is available in more than 100 single-ingredient and combination-ingredient products, and in 2002 it accounted for more than $200 million in sales in the United States. [R]
Coenzyme Q10 was first isolated in 1957 in beef mitochondria, and is found in highest concentrations in tissues with high energy turnover such as the heart, brain, liver, and kidney.
CoQ10 is a ubiquitous compound vital to a number of activities related to energy metabolism.
Because dysfunctional energy metabolism has been cited as a contributing factor for a number of conditions, coenzyme Q10 has been indicated in the treatment of cardiac, neurologic, oncologic, and immunologic disorders.
Although the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 does not allow claims for treatment of specific diseases in the United States, coenzyme Q10 has been cleared for treatment indications in other countries, such as for congestive heart failure (CHF) in Japan since 1974.
“Coenzyme Q10 (also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, coenzyme Q, and abbreviated at times to CoQ10, CoQ, or Q10) is a coenzyme that is ubiquitous in animals and most bacteria (hence the name ubiquinone). It is a 1,4-benzoquinone, where Q refers to the quinone chemical group and 10 refers to the number of isoprenyl chemical subunits in its tail.
This fat-soluble substance, which resembles a vitamin, is present in all respiring eukaryotic cells, primarily in the mitochondria. It is a component of the electron transport chain and participates in aerobic cellular respiration, which generates energy in the form of ATP. Ninety-five percent of the human body’s energy is generated this way. Therefore, those organs with the highest energy requirements, such as the heart, liver, and kidney, have the highest CoQ10 concentrations.
There are three redox states of CoQ10: fully oxidized (ubiquinone), semiquinone (ubisemiquinone), and fully reduced (ubiquinol). The capacity of this molecule to act as a two-electron carrier (moving between the quinone and quinol form) and a one-electron carrier (moving between the semiquinone and one of these other forms) is central to its role in the electron transport chain due to the iron–sulfur clusters that can only accept one electron at a time, and as a free-radical–scavenging antioxidant.” – Wikipedia
Benefits & Effects
What Are The CoQ10 Benefits?
Enhances and Sharpens Mental Capabilities
Boosts Energy and Reduces Fatigue
Boosts Mitochondrial Health & Function
Reduces Stress and Free Radicals Damage
Combats Statin Drug Side Effects
Cancer Prevention Potential
Powerful Antioxidant & Neuroprotectant
Protects Blood Vessels and Enhances Blood Flow
Enhances and Sharpens Mental Capabilities
Coenzyme Q10 may also present significant benefits to your cognition. Studies found that individuals with higher levels of CoQ10 showed greater mental sharpness, increased mental energy, and greater performance on a variety of mental tests. In contrast, those with lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 had greater difficulty concentrating, experienced brain fog, were slower in their mental processing, and showed general cognitive decline. Some researchers suggest that taking Coenzyme Q10 early enough may decrease your chances of suffering memory loss as a result of aging.
Boosts Energy and Reduces Fatigue
Some studies also show that Coenzyme Q10 may help to reduce physical fatigue, increase energy, improve exercise capacity, and expedite recovery from exercise.
Boosts Mitochondrial Health & Function
In studies of eight to 44 patients, Coenzyme Q10 demonstrated positive trends in reducing symptoms associated with selected mitochondrial abnormalities including the mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) syndrome, Kearns-Sayre syndrome, and the myoclonus epilepsy with ragged-red fibers (MERRhF) syndrome. [R]
Reduces Stress and Free Radicals Damage
Oxidative damage (or free radical damage) of cell structures plays an important role in the functional declines that accompany aging and cause disease. As both a water- and fat-soluble antioxidant, CoQ10 has been found to inhibit lipid peroxidation, which occurs when cell membranes and low-density lipoproteins are exposed to oxidizing conditions that enter from outside the body. [R]
The antioxidant properties of CoQ10 could help improve sperm quality and reduce the decline in the number and quality of eggs in women. Supplementing with CoQ10 seems to help and may even reverse this age-related decline in egg quality and quantity.
Female fertility decreases with age due to a decline in the number and quality of available eggs. CoQ10 is directly involved in this process. As you age, CoQ10 production slows, making the body less effective at protecting the eggs from oxidative damage. [R]
Combats Statin Drug Side Effects
Statins are drugs that help lower cholesterol but often come along with a host of side effects.
Patients suffering from statin-related muscle pain, muscle strength degradation, and decreased aerobic activity can increase performance through daily intake of CoQ10 without other symptoms.
“Statin drugs can induce rhabdomyolysis (muscle death) which release rhabdomyosarcoma cells into the bloodstream, degrading other tissues. Human rhabdomyosarcoma cells treated with a CoQ10 supplement alongside simvastatin reversed muscle death and killed off remaining sarcoma cells.” [R]
Cancer Prevention Potential
Low levels of CoQ10 have been associated with up to a 53.3% higher risk of cancer and indicate a poor prognosis for various types of cancer [R]
CoQ10 plays a critical role in the protection of cell DNA and cell survival, both of which are strongly linked to cancer prevention and recurrence.
Powerful Antioxidant & Neuroprotectant
Antioxidants are necessary for neutralizing harmful compounds known as free radicals, which are created when cells undergo oxidation. Free radicals can promote cell death, mutate DNA, and damage cell membranes. CoQ10 may help to eliminate free radicals and prevent the damage they can cause. Some studies even suggest that CoQ10 may recharge other antioxidant compounds and nutrients.
Within mitochondria, coenzyme Q10 has been found to protect membrane proteins and DNA from the oxidative damage that accompanies lipid peroxidation and neutralize free radicals directly that contribute to nearly all age-related diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological disease, etc.). [R]
Protects Blood Vessels and Enhances Blood Flow
According to Nootropics Depot, one of the most popular companies that manufactures nootropics, CoQ10 can protect your blood vessels and enhance your blood flow. This is partly caused by preservation of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that relaxes the arteries. This may improve overall circulation and cardiovascular health.
COQ10 can reduce the damage oxidized Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) can do to blood vessels, as well as reduce plaque buildup in the arteries.
Mechanism of Action
How Does CoQ10 Work?
Coenzyme Q10 is vital for the proper transfer of electrons within the mitochondrial oxidative respiratory chain, whose main function is adenosine triphosphate production. Coenzyme Q10 also appears to increase adenosine triphosphate levels by preventing the loss of the adenine nucleotide pool from cardiac cells.4 Additionally, coenzyme Q10 has demonstrated activity in preventing lipid peroxidation as an antioxidant scavenger and an indirect stabilizer of calcium channels to decrease calcium overload.
Much of the basic research in support of coenzyme Q10 supplementation has focused on the CHF model. The myocardium of patients with CHF demonstrates increased oxidative stress as well as decreased concentrations of coenzyme Q10 as confirmed by tissue assays.8 These levels appear to correlate with CHF severity in the animal and human model, with coenzyme Q10 supplementation protecting against ischemia and reperfusion injury in animal studies.
How To Take CoQ10?
The standard dose for CoQ10 is generally 90mg for a low dose and 200mg for the higher dose, taken once daily with a meal due to its reliance on food for absorption.
There generally isn’t too much of a therapeutic effect of CoQ10 supplementation (mostly taken with the ‘just in case’ mentality that pervades multivitamin supplementation), although for people who have previously experience a heart attack or damage to cardiac tissue as well as for people on statin therapy supplementation becomes much more important. CoQ10 supplements can be either the oxidized form (ubiquinone) or reduced form (ubiquinol) as both forms seem pretty equally potent in increasing circulating levels of total CoQ10 in the body. ‘Total CoQ10’ refers to the sum of both forms, since CoQ10 can readily swap between forms as it acts in the body. – Examine.com
Frequently Asked Questions
What is CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body, found in many foods, and available as a supplement. It comes in two forms: ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form, and ubiquinone, the oxidized form, which the body partially converts to ubiquinol. Many multi-ingredient supplements contain both forms of CoQ10. In general, coenzymes support enzymes in their various biochemical functions. CoQ10 is a vital participant in the chain of metabolic chemical reactions that generate energy within cells. It is found in every cell of the body (the name ubiquinone stems from its ubiquity), but is present in higher concentrations in organs with higher energy requirements such as the kidneys, liver, and heart. Many medical studies demonstrate CoQ10 benefits when taken as a supplement, most of which stem from its vital role in oxygen utilization and energy production, particularly in heart muscle cells.
Why is CoQ10 necessary?
Coenzyme Q10 is beneficial for heart health in many ways. It assists in maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol, helps assure circulatory health, and supports optimal functioning of the heart muscle. CoQ10 may also help support the health of vessel walls. In addition, Coenzyme Q10 may play a role in reducing the number and severity of migraine headaches, and improving sperm motility in men. Some research has indicated therapeutic value in high doses to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, but a 2011 study by the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke found no benefit in slowing symptoms or neural degeneration. A few small clinical trials have indicated CoQ10 supplementation may help prevent and treat inflamed gums, a condition known as gingivitis.
What are the signs of a Coenzyme Q10 deficiency?
Studies in both animals and humans have associated significantly decreased levels of CoQ10 with a wide variety of diseases. Since this enzyme is found in high concentration in heart muscle cells, deficiency has been associated with cardiovascular problems including angina, arrhythmia, heart failure and high blood pressure. Problems with blood sugar regulation, gingival (gum) health, and stomach ulcers have also been associated with CoQ10 deficiency. Those who are taking statins to lower cholesterol are at particular risk for deficiency, because not only do statins reduce cholesterol levels, but they also block CoQ10 synthesis in the body. Low CoQ10 levels in patients on statins can contribute to the common side effects of statin therapy such as fatigue and aching joints and muscles.
How much, and what kind of Coenzyme Q10, does an adult need?
There is no official Daily Value recommendation, but its suggested at least 90 to 120 mg of supplemental CoQ10 for any adult taking statin medications and for those with a family history of heart problems, or who is at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. This dosage is also appropriate for otherwise healthy men and women as a preventive measure and to help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. CoQ10 is fat-soluble, so take the supplement with a meal containing fat. Seek out the soft-gel ubiquinol form when taking CoQ10 as a standalone supplement, as this has greater antioxidant efficiency than the ubiquinone form.
Is COQ10 harmful?
Of course not! The coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is vital for human metabolism, and is best known for its roles in glucose and fatty acid conversion to ATP, the form of energy used to power most body functions and as a powerful antioxidant in cells, inhibiting lipid peroxidation in cell membranes, DNA and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Studies show that when taken daily, CoQ10 supplements are capable of significantly reducing oxidative damage. Also note that CoQ10’s levels in skin decline with age, which may also make your skin more susceptible to oxidative damage. The key thing that impacts the effectiveness of CoQ10 supplements is that many of them have relatively poor bioavailability due to limited solubility. Thus, it is helpful to go for solubilized forms of CoQ10 which allow for 90-100 percent of dissolution, and which have been improved absorption.
Summary: Ginkgo biloba is the most commonly ingested herb for brain health. Research proves that its neuroprotective, improves memory, boosts cognitive function, to name a few of its diverse benefits.
What is Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo biloba derives from the family of medicinal plant Ginkgoaceae – which is highly loved, appreciated, and respected traditional Chinese medicine. It is the last and only ‘ginkgoaceae’ plant still existing today. The rest of the family is said to have gone extinct, after nearly 190 million years of existence. [R]
Today, Ginkgo biloba (also known as Tebonin, Tanakan, Rökan, Maidenhair, and gingko) is the most widely used herb for cognitive function and brain health.
Moreover, it is one of the top 10 best selling dietary supplements in the whole world. [R]
Although more commonly used by older people, the wide variety of benefits it possesses make it appeal to people of all ages.
Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as ginkgo or gingko, also known as the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is found in fossils dating back 270 million years. Native to China, the tree is widely cultivated, and was cultivated early in human history. – Wikipedia
Benefits & Effects
What Are The Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba?
Improves Memory (Formation, Consolidation, and Recall)
Ginkgo biloba Protects Mitochondrial Health and Supports Longevity
Promotes Nerve Repair and Neurogenesis
Promotes Better Sleep Quality
Treats Sexual and Erectile Dysfunction
Improves Memory (Formation &Recall)
In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia running over the course of 52 weeks and involving 309 patients, it was concluded that it is “capable of stabilizing improving the cognitive performance and the social functioning of demented patients for 6 months to 1 year.” [R]
Relieves Anxiety & Stress (Generalized Anxiety)
In another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial using ginkgo extract in patients with generalized anxiety disorder and ‘adjustment disorder with anxious mood’.
In this study, the results were “significantly superior to placebo on all secondary outcome measures. It was safe and well tolerated and may thus be of particular value in elderly patients with anxiety related to cognitive decline” [R]
Ginkgo biloba Relieves Depression Symptoms
Due to its ability of preserving serotonin and dopamine, as well as having strong protective and antioxidant effects, those 3 together allow ginkgo to provide an antidepressant effect. [R]
Protects Mitochondrial Health and Supports Longevity
Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) prevents mitochondrial aging by protecting it against oxidative stress. The study suggests that on a rodents experiment, the extract ‘partially’ prevented changes due to oxidative damage [R] and that sounded good enough for me to reach out to my supplements cabinet for a 120mg dose.
In a different rodent study where they were fed ginkgo biloba, a reduction in platelet activating factor (PAF) activity was noted. That reduction seems to be one of the leading mechanisms allowing ginkgo to have neuroprotective effects. [R]
Promotes Nerve Repair and Neurogenesis
Ginkgo (bilobalide) appears to promote neuronal proliferation with higher potency than Rolipram. Moreover, this can apply to all neurons of the central nervous system as well as the peripheral nervous system (PNS). In addition to the cognitive function effect, this also underlie its nerve repair benefits. [R]
Promotes Better Sleep Quality
240mg Egb-761 over four weeks to depressed persons currently on therapy (trimipramine) was able to improve sleep efficiency by reducing the frequency of waking and increasing non-REM sleep, although REM sleep was unaffected. [R]
Treats Sexual Dysfunction
Some sources indicate that ginkgo may treat sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction or low libido.
Ginkgo has the ability to improve blood levels of nitric oxide, which improves circulation via the dilation of blood vessels. [R]
As a result, ginkgo may also be useful for treating various symptoms of sexual dysfunction by improving blood flow to those areas of the body.
Some research has investigated using ginkgo to treat sexual dysfunction caused by the use of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs). Results indicated that ginkgo wasn’t any more effective than a placebo in these cases.
Additionally, there may be an interaction between ginkgo and SSRI medications, which could render them less effective.
One study evaluated the use of ginkgo to increase sexual desire and contentment in women who were concurrently undergoing sexual psychotherapy [R]
The combination of ginkgo and therapy were effective over a longer term compared to a placebo, but supplementing with ginkgo alone was not. The rationale for using ginkgo to treat sexual dysfunction makes sense, but research does not support it at this time.
Mechanism of Action
How Does Ginkgo Biloba Work?
Absorption of oral supplementation allows for a 79% to 88% depending on the variant whether it is ginkgolide A, ginkgolide B, or bilabolide [R] which if you try to say out loud would sound in between funny and awkward.
Oral ingestion of ginkgo biloba is thought to increase dopamine concentration levels in the prefrontal cortex. Which is related to the flavonoids rather than terpenoids assuming anyone would care about that comparison. [R] – However, the fact that its neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects may actually be extending its effects to the dopaminergic neurons is sort of interesting. “The key benefits of Ginkgo originate in one’s circulatory system. The most popular and effective nootropics and smart drugs, typically have the ability to enhance circulation. Gingko supports the release of thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin. These help protect vessel walls, while blocking platelet formation. The end result is improved circulation in all major tissues and organs in the body.
Having excellent brain circulation is critical, because if circulation is poor, it can lead to severe imbalances. In more mild cases, individuals can experience headaches. In more severe cases, individuals could have a stroke. When you have good brain flow, these instances can be prevented.
This increased blood flow helps maintain healthy neural tissues. When neuron and synapse growth are supported, memory formation is enhanced. Gingko works by acting as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This aids in the protection of acetylcholine levels. When all these effects are combined, they lead to greater neuroplasticity. This is the brain’s ability to adapt over time, which is key to mental power long-term.
While focusing on neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, Gingko acts as a Monoamine Oxidase inhibitor. Since this chemical generally decreases the amount of these neurotransmitters, Gingko helps to boost mental energy, clarity, and focus (by elevating levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine).”
How to Take Ginkgo Biloba?
For its nootropic effect, the recommended dose is 120 to 240 mg, and to be taken 2 hours before the task or performance.
For neuroprotection and preventing cognitive degeneration, the recommended dose is 40 to 120mg, taken three times a day after food.
Ginkgo comes in various forms and seems to be most effective when taken in several doses throughout the day that total 120–240 mg.
Ginkgo Biloba Stack
Ginkgo biloba seems to synergize very well with another popular herb and one of my favorite nootropics, Panax Ginseng. The exact synergism isn’t really known or understood, but it is suggested that its synergy is especially effective and beneficial for memory formation and enhancement.
It also goes well with Phosphatidylserine. There are claims of Phosphatidylserine enhancing the efficacy of ginkgo biloba but the study on the subject lacked solid evidence therefore is irrelevant.
If you would like to boost the cognitive effects of Ginkgo, you should stack is with a choline-enhancing supplements. These are known as cholinergics, and include options such as Alpha GPC and Citicoline. By stacking with a choline supplement, you can amplify positive effects.
What Are Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects?
For most adults, the risk associated with taking ginkgo is relatively low, but there are cases in which ginkgo could cause serious harm. If you are allergic to plants that contain alkylphenols or taking certain medications, you should not take ginkgo. Possible side effects include:
Those taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) as antidepressants should not take ginkgo as it inhibits monoamine oxidase, reducing the effectiveness of the medications.Combining the two may also increase the risk of a potentially fatal condition known as serotonin syndrome. Examples of SSRIs are Prozac, or fluoxetine, and sertraline, also known as Zoloft.
Ginkgo biloba has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities and an ability to improve circulation.
Together, these characteristics have the potential to affect numerous body systems and diseases, although the science behind it still has some catching up to do.
While ginkgo has been used for centuries, it’s not completely understood how it works. Much of the available research is inconsistent or inconclusive, and it’s important to keep that in mind.
As with any herbal supplement, there are risks involved. Ginkgo could lead to serious health complications if you are allergic or taking certain medications.If you’re thinking of including ginkgo in your regimen, be sure to consult your doctor first.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Ginkgo biloba work?
Ginkgo extract has proven benefits to elderly people. This ancient herb acts to enhance oxygen utilization and thus improves memory, concentration, and other mental faculties also to significantly improve long-distance vision and may reverse damage to the retina of the eye. Studies have also confirmed its value in the treatment of depression in elderly people. The ginkgo extract may provide relief for those who suffer from headaches, sinusitis, and vertigo. It may also help relieve chronic ringing in the ears known as tinnitus.
Healing properties: Germany and France have run literally hundreds of studies on the leaf extract. These studies along with similar studies in America, have shown significant results. The extract of ginkgo biloba has been studied for its effectiveness in the treatment of acrocyanosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral atherosclerosis, cerebral insufficiencies, cochlear deafness, dementia, depression, menopause, peripheral and cerebral circulatory stimulation, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud’s syndrome, retinopathy, senility, short-term memory loss, tinnitus, vascular diseases, and vertigo. It is said to be effective in improving the blood flow to the hands and the feet as well as stimulating the brain and reducing short-term memory loss. It increases blood flow to the brain, the uptake of glucose by brain cells, and has been said to improve the transmission of nerve signals.
Depression: Patients suffering from varying degrees of vascular insufficiency also noted an improvement in mood while taking ginkgo biloba extract. This has prompted a surge of interest in its use as a treatment for depression, especially in the elderly. Those under the age of fifty may also benefit from ginkgo biloba’s antidepressant effects. So far though, the greatest level of improvement has been noted with older patients.
Alzheimer’s & mental function: As more than 300 studies demonstrate, ginkgo facilitates better blood flow through out the body, most notably the brain, where it both protects and promotes memory and mental function, even for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Antioxidant Properties: As an antioxidant, ginkgo biloba combats free radicals and repairs molecular damage. A great deal of research suggests that antioxidants such as GBE may play important roles in preventing or delaying heart disease, cancer and other ills. Antioxidants may even halt the damage to cells, thereby slowing the effects of aging.
Impotency: Another use for ginkgo biloba is in the treatment of impotency. The main cause of male impotence is poor circulation and impaired blood flow through the penis, which is often the result of atherosclerosis. Since ginkgo biloba increases blood flow, it’s been found to help up to fifty percent of patients after six months of use.
Raynaud’s disease: Raynaud’s disease is believed to be caused by blood vessels that over react to the cold and spasm, reducing blood flow and there by depriving extremities of oxygen. Ginkgo biloba may help this condition by widening the small blood vessels, which would keep these spasms from completely blocking the blood flow.
Parkinson’s Disease: Ginkgo biloba may help symptoms by increasing the brain’s blood flow and thereby allowing more of the depleted dopamine to be circulated to the areas that need it most.
Other Conditions: Other uses for which ginkgo biloba extract is often recommended include depression, diabetes related nerve damage and poor circulation, allergies, vertigo, short-term memory loss, headache, atherosclerosis, tinnitus, cochlear deafness, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and PMS.
Strokes: Scientists continue to study the prevention and treatment benefits, ginkgo biloba may help stop strokes from occurring. It’s also believed that the herb inhibits free-radical damage of brain cells after a stroke.
Why is Ginkgo biloba called a living fossil?
You have to understand that Ginkgo biloba is the world’s oldest living plant. It is called a living fossil because it has no close living relatives and also appears to be the only plant species dating back 270 million years (Permian) in the fossil record. However, it is also one of a rare few (6%) dioecious flowering plants, meaning it has distinct male and female organisms. Not only has this exceptionally hardy species survived three mass extinction events over the past quarter of a billion years, but it was found to be the only surviving plant species near the epicenter of the August 6th, 1945 Hiroshima atomic bomb blast.
Does Ginkgo biloba actually enhance brain functions?
Yes. Scientific research support that it improves memory and cognitive thinking. But remember, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. Some people are allergic to Ginkgo biloba. They can also interfere with other medications, boasting or decreasing their effects. If you take other medications, always ask your physician if it’s safe to take a new one.
How much Ginkgo biloba is safe?
There is no standard dose of ginkgo. Most studies have used a standardized extract of ginkgo, to 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones. For improving cognitive function, studies have used between 120 milligrams to 600 milligrams of the extract daily. The dose given to people with dementia is 40 milligrams of that extract three times daily. No matter why are you using ginkgo, you better start at a low dose (120 milligrams daily) and increase this level gradually while observing your body and its response to the supplement.
Summary: Agmatine is an amino acid that offers a wide of cognitive boosting benefits. It also has excellent effects on reducing neuropathic pain, as well as drug addiction habits. It is neuroprotectant and can reduce tolerance built to many medications like benzodiazepines, morphine, and other painkillers. It also synergizes with SSRI’s & cannabis.
What is Agmatine Sulfate?
Agmatine is a form of amino acid that derives from L-Arginine. It has been shown to inhibit receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a major role in memory and reasoning.
Agmatine supplement also regulates levels of Nitric Oxide by the affecting nitric oxide synthase enzyme. It controls cellular energy levels by influencing polyamine metabolism and function.
In some studies, it has been shown to enhance the effects of both morphine and fentanyl to increase pain killing, reduce tolerance, and lower addiction, as well as working synergistically with marijuana.
It is also found naturally in every day foods, including beer, wine, coffee, and other fermented foods.
Because it is capable of targeting multiple receptors, agmatine may benefit a spectrum of complex diseases, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, opioid addiction, mood disorders, and even cancer. Furthermore, agmatine may enhance cognitive function, stress resiliency, mood, and athletic performance. The highest levels of agmatine are found in the gut, where it is produced by the microbes living there. It is also found in dietary form, mainly in fermented foods, and in supplemental form like agmatine sulfate. Agmatine is also produced in small amounts within the body by the mitochondria in the liver.
Agmatine sulfate benefits the body and mind in many different ways and depending on the method it is taken. Some of the most notable agmatine benefits are:
Reduces Pain Sensitivity
In research studies, Agmatine shows to be an effective way for pain relief. Especially in the case of thermal hyperalgesia, a condition where the body is sensitive to changes in temperatures. The body becomes hypersensitive to heat or cold.
Agmatine improves those pain sensations, which is a result of its pro-circulations effect.
In studies looking at pain reduction in neuropathic conditions or inflammatory pain, agmatine was not found to produce a statistically significant effect. However, anecdotal, first-hand reports show that it actually did work for neuropathic conditions. So in this specific situation, it seems to be subjective to each individual.
Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression
Agmatine exhibits antidepressant effects and promotes mood improvement as well as anxiety reduction and relief. It helps the brain and body manage and overcome stress by reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of well-being.
By increasing NRF2, agmatine prevents depressive behavior by protecting brain cells from high levels of stress hormone cortisol. [R]
Agmatine increases adenylate cyclase in the prefrontal cortex, and decreases levels of adenylate cyclase which associate with depression. [R, R].
Furthermore, it blocks the NMDA receptor, prevents calcium overloading, as well as reverses the decrease of monoamines such as norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. Depression often associates with a reduction of monoamines in the brain [R, R]
Studies & Research
A small pilot study on three patients suffering depression, Agmatine supplement caused a complete disappearance of depression symptoms in all patients. It most likely did so through NMDA receptor-blocking and not through serotonin pathways. [R]
Agmatine also reduced anxiety in rats when they were put in swimming and maze navigation tests. [R]
Neuroprotection & Longevity
Agmatine acts as an anti-oxidant and is continuously under more research for its anti-aging and longevity potential. It has been found to exhibit neuroprotective effects against oxidative damage and injuries to the Central Nervous System (CNS). It is also believed to limit the activity of glutamate receptors and thus, the over-excitation of neurons within the brain.
Additionally, by inhibiting iNOS and nNOS and increasing eNOS, Agmatine protects against brain damage from stroke. Increasing eNOS protects the brain by dilating the blood vessels to increase blood flow. This prevents damage during times of lack of oxygen from reduced blood flow to the brain (also known as ischemic stroke).
Agmatine decreases iNOS and nNOS, two enzymes that contribute to brain damage from stroke. [R]
A Study on Effects of Agmatine Sulfate on Nerve Injury:
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the effect of agmatine sulphate on facial nerve regeneration after facial nerve injury using electron and light microscopy.
METHODS: The study was performed on 30 male Wistar albino rats split into: a control group, a sham-treated group, a study control group, an anastomosis group, and an anastomosis plus agmatine sulphate treatment group. The mandibular branch of the facial nerve was dissected, and a piece was removed for histological and electron microscopic examination.
RESULTS: Regeneration was better in the anastomosis group than in the study control group. However, the best regeneration findings were seen in the agmatine sulphate treatment group. There was a significant difference between the agmatine group and the others in terms of median axon numbers (p < 0.004) and diameters (p < 0.004).
CONCLUSION: Agmatine sulphate treatment with anastomosis in traumatic facial paralysis may enhance nerve regeneration. PMID: 28122652
Improves Weight Loss & Prevents Weight Gain
Individuals who struggle to gain weight can benefit from Agmatine supplements. In some studies, subjects increased food consumption rates by 44% to 54% in 24 hours.
Moreover, in the following studies, Agmatine shows an increase in fat burning, a decrease in fat composition, and an increase in muscle mass [R], which also contributes to the next benefit of Agmatine:
Supports Muscle Growth
Agmatine stimulates the production of luteinizing hormone (LH). Increasing these hormone levels lead to an increase in testosterone levels.
By increasing testosterone levels, Agmatine contributes to an optimal hormonal environment for muscle growth, enhances athletic performance, and fastens recovery. [R]
Agmatine also increases insulin sensitivity and the uptake of glucose into the muscle. Increasing insulin sensitivity results in more effective shuttling of amino acids as well as glucose into the tissues for growth and repair. [R] [R]
Helps Erectile Dysfunction & Infertility
Studies show that L-arginine is involved in the process of cell replication, in addition to enhancing blood circulation, so it can help improve both sperm production and motility.
Men dealing with cardiovascular issues due to low levels of NO in the blood are more prone to experience erectile dysfunction and fertility problems because an erection requires a relaxation of smooth muscles, which Nitric Oxide triggers.
Although it doesn’t apply to every person, a significant rate of male infertility cases (92%) is treatable with L-arginine supplements in combination with dilators, antioxidants and/or anti-inflammatories. [R]
Research suggests that high-stress levels lower L-arginine levels in the sperm production pathway. Therefore, men with chronic stress specifically can benefit from Agmatine supplement.
According to Dr. Axe, a combination of L-arginine, L-glutamate and yohimbine hydrochloride is a common way of treating erectile dysfunction. And it works better than L-arginine alone. [R]
“In fact,” he says, “many of the most frequently prescribed medications for ED work similarly to L-arginine: by increasing nitric oxide production.”
Furthermore, there’s research suggesting treatment with N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) and L-arginine together can help balance hormones naturally and restore normal sexual function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and estrogen imbalances.
Other studies suggest that L-arginine with herbs such as chasteberry, green tea extract, and antioxidant supplements improve pregnancy rates in women struggling to conceive. [R]
Help with Alzheimer’s Disease
Insulin resistance could cause an increase of plaque and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which are the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Agmatine prevents cognitive decline by rescuing insulin signaling and avoiding potential accumulation of those tangles. [R]
Helps Alcohol & Morphine Withdrawal
Agmatine reduces and to an extent, prevents, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as “wet dog shakes,” anxiety, flashes, and shakings. [R] [R]
Mechanism of Action
How Does Agmatine Sulfate Work?
Agmatine has several mechanisms. It can inhibit N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, as well as activate imidazoline receptors. Agmatine can also inhibit nitric oxide synthase enzymes, which allows it to regulate elevated levels of nitric oxide. Agmatine can inhibit calcium channels and specific serotonin receptors as well. Further research is needed to determine the full extent of agmatine mechanisms. [R]
Agmatine was found to exert modulatory actions directly and indirectly at multiple key molecular targets underlying cellular control mechanisms of cardinal importance in health and disease. It is considered capable of exerting its modulatory actions simultaneously at multiple targets. The following outline indicates the categories of control mechanisms and identifies their molecular targets:
Neurotransmitter receptors and receptor ionophores. Nicotinic, imidazoline I1 and I2, α2-adrenergic, glutamate NMDAr, and serotonin 5-HT2A and 5HT-3 receptors. Ion channels. Including: ATP-sensitive K+ channels, voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, and acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs).
Membrane transporters. Agmatine specific-selective uptake sites, organic cation transporters (mostly OCT2 subtype), extraneuronal monoamine transporters (ENT), polyamine transporters, and mitochondrial agmatine specific-selective transport system. Nitric oxide (NO) synthesis modulation. Both differential inhibition and activation of NO synthase (NOS) isoforms is reported.
Polyamine metabolism. Agmatine is a precursor for polyamine synthesis, competitive inhibitor of polyamine transport, inducer of spermidine/spermine acetyltransferase (SSAT), and inducer of antizyme. Protein ADP-ribosylation. Inhibition of protein arginine ADP-ribosylation. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Indirect down-regulation of the enzymes MMP 2 and 9. Advanced glycation end product (AGE) formation. Direct blockade of AGEs formation. NADPH oxidase. Activation of the enzyme leading to H2O2 production. – Wikipedia
How to Take Agmatine Sulfate?
There is currently no standard dosage for agmatine sulfate because there haven’t been enough human studies for determination. These numbers are rough estimates to give an idea of typical, experimental dosing:
For treatment of neuropathic pain: 1,000 to 2,500 mg of agmatine (daily)
For improving cognitive function: 200 to 500 mg of agmatine (daily)
For vasodilation and enhanced recovery: 500 to 1000 mg of agmatine (30 minutes pre-workout)
Note: Agmatine is not absorbed well when taken with dietary protein, because it uses the same transporters as arginine
“There are no standard dosages for agmatine because of the lack of human evidence for its effects. However, a single human study used 1,300-2,670mg of agmatine, daily for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The estimated human dose for improving cognition is 1.6-6.4mg/kg of agmatine, taken orally.
This is based off of the 10-40mg/kg dosage range for rats, and is equivalent to 217-435 mg for a 150lb person. Supplementation should not exceed 6.4mg/kg of bodyweight. Studies on agmatine use a daily dosing protocol.
Agmatine is not absorbed well when taken with dietary protein, because it uses the same transporters as arginine. Further research is needed to determine if oral agmatine supplementation provides the same benefits as were observed in animal studies.”
“The generally accepted daily dosage range for Agmatine Sulfate is between 250 mg and 2.5 grams. Avoid taking higher than necessary dosages to reduce the risk of side effects.”
What Are Agmatine Sulfate Side Effects?
According to studies conducted so far, it appears that Agmatine Sulfate is safe even in relatively high doses. While there have been few studies conducted thus far, they have not shown any side effects to be associated with this supplement.
If you follow the recommended Agmatine sulfate dosage protocol and do not have any pre-existing contraindications for use, the risk of serious adverse effects is very low. Minor side effects included nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting in a small percentage of participants, which cleared up after a few days of discontinuing use. [R]
Agmatine Sulfate Reddit User Experience
“Not only does it have varied anti-addiction properties to Opioids, amphetamines, caffeine, nicotine & alcohol, but it also seems to make other drugs, and medicines more potent in their effects. It also shares the properties of Ketamine’s antidepressant effects, via the mTOR AMPA pathway. A small study found a robust antidepressant effect; all patients reported remission of depression. Considering that, shutting down Serotonin production via parachlorophenylalanine, did not reverse the antidepressant effects, shows how punchy this substance is. It’s also a painkiller. I’d recommend this be added to everyone’s stack, provided they aren’t too fond of Alcohol, as I noticed it definitely seems to blunt the good feelings of certain drugs.” Reddit user
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Agmatine Sulfate?
Agmatine Sulfate is a biogenic amine that is derived from the amino acid L-Arginine. This happens by a process called decarboxylation, which is better known as the removal of carboxylic acid group from the amino acid.
Is Agmatine safe?
Yes. And here is a 5 year-long, daily high dosage of Agmatine in order to measure and proof its safety:
Clinical follow-up consists of periodic physical examinations and laboratory blood and urine analyses. All measurements thus far remain within normal values and good general health status is sustained throughout the study period, up to 5 years. This case study shows for the first time that the recommended high dosage of agmatine may be consumed for at least 5 years without evidence of any adverse effects. [R]
How long does Agmatine take to work?
Agmatine starts working as soon as it enters the bloodstream, which is typically 15 – 30 minutes after consumption. Users can expect to experience an increase in muscle pumps, vascularity and muscular endurance within this timeframe. [R]
How much Agmatine should I take?
The generally accepted daily dosage range for Agmatine Sulfate is between 250 mg and 2.5 grams. Avoid taking higher than necessary dosages to reduce the risk of side effects.
Can you take Agmatine with creatine?
This is the reason creatine and protein work so well together, in a nutshell. Bodybuilders can cut out the creatine middle man by supplementing with agmatine sulfate directly. … You take creatine to improve the protein effects. You take nitric oxide to improve the creatine effects.
Melatonin is a multitasking hormone produced by the brain’s pinecone-shaped pineal gland. [R]
Melatonin plays several roles in the body, including helping to regulate blood pressure, boost immune function, and manage cortisol levels. [R] [R]
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.
Regulates Circadian Rhythm and Enhances Sleep Quality
Melatonin increases the quality of sleep. The Circadian Rhythm influences the body’s sleeping habits. Think of it as a built-in clock that controls our bodies processes 24 hours a day. Scientists have observed that Melatonin normalizes the Circadian rhythm which can sometimes become distorted due to modern lifestyle. [R]
Alleviates Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
Conditions like depression and anxiety usually worsen by a disturbed, intermittent or a lack of a sleeping pattern. Having these disturbances regulated can alleviate the symptoms of these conditions, not mainly offering a cure but by far offering an improvement in the standard of life. [R]
Melatonin is a Potent Antioxidant
Antioxidant enzymes roles within our bodies are to help clean the cells in our bodies and filter our bloodstream from harmful cells. Melatonin increases the rate at which our body produces these enzymes that would be naturally. These molecules in question can also bond to what is called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) & Reactive Nitrogen Species (NOS) which can decrease the level of damage each of these can cause respectively.
The benefits directly from this are that Melatonin prevents any harm coming to your organ systems or tissues. These advantages combined make Melatonin a very useful protectorate within your body internally. These antioxidants can also have benefits for the most critical organ in our body, our brain. [R]
Melatonin Supports BDNF
Nerve cells are also protected by the increase of these enzymes produced by Melatonin, having a positive onward affect towards the spinal cord including white matter and optic nerves. Its regeneration is down to something called the ‘Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor’ (BDNF); in simple terms, this is a protein responsible for the nerves regeneration and well-being within our brains. [R]
Strengthens the Blood-Brain Barrier
Melatonin strengthens the ever significant barrier between the brain and our blood. If the strength of this barrier were to deteriorate and for example leak, this can lead to cognitive dysfunction (also known as brain fog) and could potentially result in future to conditions such as Alzheimer’s. [R]
Melatonin is Neuroprotectant
In addition to defending against conditions such as Alzheimer’s development, Melatonin can also aid as a coping mechanism for users who have Parkinson’s. Melatonin in tests was shown to prohibit cell death and brain damage, sometimes as a cause of a leaky blood-brain barrier.
Referring back to the regulation of sleep, this can also help people who, however, there is currently no proof it helps with any of the other side-effects of the condition. [R]
Melatonin Replaces Benzos for Sleep
Its widely known that benzos usually depress the natural levels of melatonin within our bodies. Our recommendation is if you are using one of these drugs for sleep, it would be wise to start using melatonin instead. Moreover, start weaning yourself off the benzos. [R]
Mechanism of Action
How Does Melatonin Work?
Melatonin works together with your body’s circadian rhythm. In simple terms, the circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. It lets you know when it’s time to sleep, wake and eat. Melatonin also helps regulate your body temperature, blood pressure and hormone levels [R]
Melatonin levels start to rise in your body when it is dark outside, signaling to your body that it is time to sleep [R]
It also binds to receptors in the body and can help you relax. For instance, melatonin binds to receptors in the brain to help reduce nerve activity. In the eyes, it can help reduce dopamine levels, a hormone that enables you to stay awake. [R] [R]
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. [R]
“The melatonin receptors are named MT1 and MT2, and are G-protein coupled receptors (GPRCs) coupled to Gi proteins (a heterotrimer of α, β, and γ that dissociates into α and βγ when the receptor is activated). These two receptors are quite different from each other, as they structure pharmacological characteristics and chromosomal location, yet both have high affinity for melatonin. A third ‘receptor’ exists, known as MT3, but it is not a GPRC like MT1/2. Due to the cytoplasmic protein quinone reductase II having the same melatonin binding properties as ‘MT3’, and deletion of quinone reductase II causing ‘MT3’ to disappear, MT3 may just be quinone reductase II.” – Examine.com
How To Take Melatonin?
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. [R]
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 supplements. [R]
What Are Melatonin Side Effects?
Overall, the side effects of melatonin are pretty harmless. Unlike other sleep aids, like benzodiazepines and z-drugs (think: Ambien and Lunesta), it does not cause dependence or withdrawal symptoms. [R]
The most commonly reported side effect is daytime drowsiness. Other side effects include nausea, headache, and dizziness. [R]
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. [R]
Up to 240 mg and 500 mg oral and intravenous injections of melatonin taken acutely is not associated with any toxicological effects. [R]
A handful of large scale, 6-12 month studies, suggest continued administration of melatonin does not result in tolerance. – Examine.com
There’s great amount of evidence suggesting as well as proving the benefits of supplementing with melatonin whether for sleep purposes or overall general health. Best practices when supplementing with melatonin for long-term benefits is to take a microdose of 300 mcg on daily basis before bedtime.
This microdose will serve a host of benefits most noteworthy of which is antioxidation and supporting mitochondria and antioxidation.
Many Nootropic focused companies are now aware of this and its benefits and so finally starting to see products in microdoses such as Nootropic Depot’s, which I have personally been using for a long time. Prior to which, I tried a couple of different products at the doses of 3 mg and it made me very heavy and groggy for a long time.
First Reddit User Experience
A reddit user documented his experience after 2 years of using microdose of melatonin as recommended alongside magnesium, and his realization of how beneficial it had been working for him after he stopped.
“I took Magnesium Citrate (200-400mg) and Melatonin (0.3mg) both every night for over 2 years and thought they didn’t make much difference in my sleep. It turned out to be very wrong – I now remember how poor my sleep was 3 years ago, before starting to take them. I wake up from the slightest noise and can’t go back to sleep for many hours afterwards – even if I wake up after only 4 hours, I would need to wait 3 hours before I fall asleep again, without Magnesium and Melatonin. This has been this way since I was a child. I find Melatonin is better for actually falling asleep initially, while Magnesium is better for maintaining quality sleep afterwards.”
“I have learned the same lesson with melatonin in that less is more. I took 30 mg one evening and had very unsettling and vivid dreams. Not restful at all. I find 5 mg timed release works well. If you are interested in another natural sleep / relaxation aid, I have had success with Red Bali Kratom.”
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.
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"
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.
Summary: MindLab Pro is a pre-formulated nootropic. A blend of 11 natural and potent ingredients in 1 pill. It offers a great convenience while delivering measurable and obvious increases in physical and mental performance.
What Is MindLab Pro?
I have come across Mind Lab Pro after the rebranding and introduction, and was immediately drawn to its overall presentation. I care about companies images just as much as I care about the product itself. After immersing myself into reading every word on the extensive ingredient list and description of each, I thought to myself, and I owe it to myself to give it a shot. The price was reasonable for the content, and I ordered my first bottle.
Fast forward about a year later, I still have it standing amongst the first on my shelf. Except now I also have my mom and two sisters, as well as a friend or two, all enjoying supplementing and using it on a daily basis.
We all got easily attracted to the product because of its moderate dosage, and commitment to natural ingredients. I don’t mind other nootropics but I know people who wouldn’t come near anything synthetic, so Mind Lab Pro seemed appealing to them. Each serving (2 pills) contains the following 11 “enhanced potency form”
With such an impressive list of ingredients formulating together into one (or two) pills, it’s no surprise why Mind Lab Pro made quite a name for itself and maintaining a loyal, returning customers.
Benefits & Effects
What Are The Benefits of MindLab Pro?
Unlike any other nootropic on the website, it’s a little bit more challenging to list down the benefits and effects of using Mind Lab Pro because it consists of 11 different ingredients, each of which serves many benefits. However, you can click on each component and see the list of its benefits and effects.
I’ve used it short term and long term and have seen results in both ways. What I like the most about Mind Lab Pro is the fact that it has citicoline, which means I can perfectly pair it with a racetam without having to get an additional choline source (currently I take Alpha GPC when taking racetams). As well as the fact that it also has Lion’s Mane Mushroom which I think is one of the most profound nootropics I have come across. So when I wake up in the morning and wanting to head out to work fast and arrive fresh and mentally prepared, (also because I’m almost always late), I would only take 2 pills instead of reaching out to 11 different containers and taking 1 by 1 – I am one who really goes the extra mile for convenience.
What Are The Side Effects of MindLab Pro?
Again, from personal experience, and at least six people that I know from friends and family, none of us have encountered any side effects that were leading back to Mind Lab Pro. I’ve recommended that they take it with a fat source for better absorption and to avoid any stomachache, but I almost always take it first thing in the morning and never had any adverse effects.
Honestly, if anyone asks me for a recommendation when first starting on nootropics, I would recommend Mind Lab Pro. And I am not even an affiliate nor sponsored by them whatsoever (although I should be…) – it is a genuine suggestion.
It has many good ingredients and at moderate dosages. Beginners can easily understand the mix and expand their knowledge further intro nootropics if they wanted to. Moreover, I also really enjoy the (if not mistaken) buy two get 3rd free & buy three get 4th free. It makes a good value for money and always comes in handy for last minute packing, late and rushing situations, and can even be carried out in your bag on day to day basis unlike when you’re using a stack of different products. I don’t think I can’t even fit all the containers I have from various companies in my car trunk.
Summary: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a prodrug for L-cysteine, a precursor to the antioxidant glutathione, an essential antioxidant in the body. NAC supports glutathione replenishment which has been found to bind to the glutamate recognition sites of the NMDA and AMPA receptors. It also promotes healthy inflammatory responses.
What is N-Acetyl Cysteine?
N-Acetyl Cysteine (also known as Acetylcysteine or NAC) is a prodrug for L-cysteine, a precursor to the antioxidant glutathione, an essential antioxidant in the body. NAC supports glutathione replenishment which has been found to bind to the glutamate recognition sites of the NMDA and AMPA receptors. It also promotes healthy inflammatory responses. Acetylcysteine was initially patented in 1960 and licensed for use in 1968. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines and is easily accessible for a very affordable price.
“Acetylcysteine, also known as N-acetylcysteine, is a medication that is used to treat paracetamol overdose, and to loosen thick mucus in individuals with cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can be taken intravenously, by mouth, or inhaled as a mist. Some people use it as a dietary supplement.” Wikipedia
Benefits & Effects
What Are The Benefits of N-Acetyl Cysteine? (NAC)
Improves Cognitive Function
Reduces Symptoms of Depression
Helps Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and Mania
Reduces Symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Improves Male Fertility
Boosts Skin Health
May Improve Autism
Reduces Muscle Fatigue
Reduces Antibiotic Side Effects
Reliefs ADHD Symptoms
N-Acetyl Cysteine Improves Cognitive Function
Combinations of NAC with other antioxidants improve cognition in both healthy older people and those with mild cognitive impairment. (R) (R)
NAC has many studies on enhancing cognitive function in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and schizophrenia. Currently, it’s under research for boosting cognitive performance after general anesthesia. (R)
N-Acetyl Cysteine Reduces Symptoms of Depression
NAC helps people with depression by balancing glutamate levels within the brain. Doing so, it reduces inflammation and increases the growth of new brain cells. R
In a study of more than 500 participants, NAC shows an improvement in symptoms of depression and overall functionality. At 2000mg per day, it improves mood in people diagnosed with depression. (R), (R)
NAC Helps Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and Mania
NAC improves chronic health issues such as heart disease and hormonal imbalance in people with Bipolar Disorder. In a 6-month study, NAC indirectly shows to affect overall health, antioxidant and inflammation levels, as well as mood. (R)
Another study on 17 subjects with bipolar disorder, NAC shows improvements in low moods and reduction in overall associating symptoms after six months of supplementation. (R)
In a study of 15 individuals suffering from mania, NAC also shows improvement after a six-month regime. The group receiving NAC had a reduction in symptoms versus the one receiving placebo. However, mood swings seem to worsen as a result. (R)
NAC Reduces Symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
NAC balances glutamate levels as well as increases antioxidants within the brain. In a study of 44 subjects with OCD, a NAC dose of 2000mg added to standard medication shows to improve symptoms, even in severe cases. R
Another study of 48 subjects who didn’t respond to typical treatment, NAC shows to improve symptoms after a 3-month period safely. (R)
NAC is useful for obsessive-compulsive disorders according to extensive research. It shows promising benefits and has very few side-effects. (R)
Improves Male Fertility
In addition to helping women with PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome), NAC may help increase fertility in men. Oxidative stress damages the sperm’s DNA, which results in reducing fertility. (R)
A study done on 120 infertile men receiving NAC, improvements were notable in semen quality and antioxidant status after a period of three months. (R)
Other studies look at the fertility benefits of NAC in combination with other antioxidants such as B vitamins, vitamin C and D. The combination improves the sperm count in those with low sperm count. (R)
In an extensive study of almost 500 infertile men, NAC with selenium show improvement in fertility after a six month period. (R)
Some men are sub-fertile — they are less fertile without an apparent reason. In 84 of subfertile men trying to conceive, NAC combination supplement called Condensyl (with vitamins, zinc, fig extract, and vitamin E) increased pregnancy rates. It raises the “fertility potential” of subfertile men increasing the rate of successful pregnancy. (R)
The typical NAC dose for improving fertility in those studies was 600 mg/day.
NAC Boosts Skin Health
Interestingly, NAC can be used as a cream or gel to improve skin health. It boosts glutathione in the skin protecting it from damage. Furthermore, NAC reduces skin inflammation and normalizes skin cell division. It’s used for eczema, skin irritation, radiation-induced skin damage, wound healing, and acne. In a study of 100 participants, a 5% NAC gel shows to reduce mild to moderate acne. (R)
Overall, NAC skin formulations are promising and very safe. Case reports and animal studies support this wide range of skin benefits of NAC.
NAC May Improve Autism
NAC seems to benefit children with autism. In a study of 33 autistic children, NAC (900-2,700 mg/day) shows to reduce irritability after three months period. (R)
In 2 different studies with 80 autistic children, those receiving NAC as an add-on to their medication (risperidone) show less irritability and hyperactivity after two months period. (R), (R)
NAC Reduces Muscle Fatigue
Overall, NAC tends to help muscles improve blood flow during intense training as well as recover faster after a workout.
It also seems to help older individuals in improving fitness and enhancing endurance in athletes on the short-term. However, long-term NAC with exercise may prevent muscle recovery.
NAC Reduces Antibiotic Side Effects
Antibiotic side effects arise from free radicals damage. As a potent antioxidant, NAC (1,200 mg/day) reduces side effects, prevents kidney and ear damage from several strong antibiotics in 2 studies of 100 people. (R, R)
NAC also protects the liver from the harmful effects of anti-tuberculosis drugs as shown in a study of 60 participants. Those receiving NAC show intact liver after treatment, while 40% of those who didn’t take NAC suffer liver damage. (R)
Reliefs ADHD Symptoms
In a study of nearly 100 ADHD participants, NAC shows to reduce ADHD symptoms in patients with as well as improving cognition, impulsivity, and overall symptoms.
Participants were receiving up to 5g per day during this study. (R)
According to Health Line, the following are the 9 top benefits of NAC:
Essential for Making the Powerful Antioxidant Glutathione
Helps With Detoxification to Prevent or Diminish Kidney and Liver Damage
May Improve Psychiatric Disorders and Addictive Behavior
Helps Relieve Symptoms of Respiratory Conditions
Boosts Brain Health by Regulating Glutamate and Replenishing Glutathione
May Improve Fertility in Both Men and Women
May Stabilize Blood Sugar By Decreasing Inflammation in Fat Cell
May Reduce Heart Disease Risk by Preventing Oxidative Damage
Ability to Boost Glutathione Levels May Improve Immune Function
What Are The Side Effects of NAC?
N-Acetyl Cysteine is a safe substance with very few known side effects. Although occasionally, it can cause nausea, diarrhea, or constipation.
Large doses in a mouse model showed that acetylcysteine could potentially cause damage to the heart and lungs. They found that acetylcysteine was metabolized to S-nitroso-N acetylcysteine (SNOAC), which increased blood pressure in the lungs and right ventricle of the heart (pulmonary artery hypertension) in mice treated with acetylcysteine.
The effect was similar to that observed following a 3-week exposure to an oxygen-deprived environment (chronic hypoxia).
The authors also found that SNOAC induced a hypoxia-like response in the expression of several important genes both in vitro and in vivo.
The typical dose for general wellness and gut health is 500mg per day taken in the morning on an empty stomach 800to2,400mg are the most common across clinical studies. However, for a chronic health condition, consider a higher dose. Studies concerning addiction and mental health issues use doses closer to 3000 mg/day.
Daily doses should be taken at 2-3 times a day.
Summary: Vinpocetine is a neuroprotective nootropic, an extraction from flower-plant vinca minor. It works as a cognitive enhancer, memory booster, while also uplifting mood and supporting overall well-being.
What is Vinpocetine?
Vinpocetine (aka Cavinton, Intelctol), is an extract from flowering plant vinca minor (or myrtle); a flower-family native to Portugal, France, and other parts of central and southern Europe. A 1975 discovery by Hungarian chemist named Csaba Szantay. Only three years after the invention, production of the extract in pill form started. Some of the primary uses of Vinpocetine as a nootropic are memory and cognition improvement, increasing learning capacity, and mood enhancement. Medical applications extend to the treatment of cerebrovascular disorders, dementia, and strokes. It is very safe and has (almost) no side effects. Its excellent safety profile is inspiring more companies to study and research Vinpocetine to explore other possible therapeutic and nootropic benefits. Although less popular comparing to other nootropics, the research as well as the knowledge of it is rapidly growing
Benefits & Effects
Vinpocetine Improves Memory and Cognition
Vinpocetine is widely in use for memory improvement. In Eastern Europe, it is a medical prescription for treating memory-related problems and disorders. Clinical trials confirm its effect on improving memory formation, and individuals receiving Vinpocetine report it’s beneficial especially in remembering and recalling information. Other studies also confirm it as a memory enhancer that can be used by anyone looking to improve their memory. (R)
Increases Focus, Concentration, and Brain Blood Flow
Vinpocetine increases cerebral blood flow and supports better blood circulation without having adverse effects on blood pressure. The better blood flow and circulation leads to an increase in productivity within the brain. This productivity increases and allows for better focus and concentration, as well as allowing for longer and steady attention span. Take notes, fellow ADHD ADHE’s – (attention-deficit hyperactive extraordinary). (R) (R)
Enhances Learning Capacity, Information Processing, and Attention
Vinpocetine improves the body’s ability of converting dietary glucose and fat to ATP, which is the coenzyme that transmits chemical energy for metabolism. Having more ATP ready for use in the brain leads to better intellectual capability, and thereby learning becomes more comfortable and faster. Moreover, the presence of sufficient ATP reduces feelings of mental exhaustion and “brain fog,” as well as supports feelings of mental clarity. (R)
Vinpocetine Reduces Cognitive Decline and Increases Overall Well-Being
An increase in overall well-being is a result of a reduction in the rate of cognitive decline. (R) (R)
Vinpocetine is Neuroprotectant and Anti-Inflammatory
Vinpocetine also acts as an anti-inflammation agent in the brain. It reduces expression of the pro-inflammation and vascular cell adhesion molecules which can lead to neuronal death in some conditions (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s). The anti-inflammatory qualities of vinpocetine make it a promising neuroprotectant that is likely to have significant anti-aging and longevity benefits.
Mechanism of Action
Early studies show that Vinpocetine benefits the brain in many ways, one of which is by improving blood flow, circulation, and utilization of oxygen. Unlike common stimulants, Vinpocetine increases blood flow in the brain without affecting the rest of the body. It targets impaired cells and areas of poor circulation within the brain. Enhancing blood flow, circulation, and oxygenation allows the brain to tolerate conditions of lack of sufficient oxygen (such as ischemia and hypoxia) better. Those conditions can relate to strokes and similar injuries. The elevation of blood flow and oxygenation result the nootropic effect.
Furthermore, improving circulation and oxygenation in the brain also enhances the overall brain function while increasing the production of ATP. All of which are vital for cerebral metabolism. By generating sufficient amounts of ATP, vinpocetine increases the use of glucose thereby improves mental clarity.
Vinpocetine interacts with sodium, calcium, and potassium ion channels within the brain, modulating the release of various neurotransmitters. That includes, but not limited to acetylcholine, noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. Increasing the availability of those neurotransmitters not only affects memory and overall cognition but may also improve mood by relieving feelings of anxiety and enhancing energy and well-being. Vinpocetine also acts as an anti-inflammation agent in the brain. It reduces expression of the pro-inflammation and vascular cell adhesion molecules which can lead to neuronal death in some conditions (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s). The anti-inflammatory qualities of vinpocetine make it a promising neuroprotectant that is likely to have significant anti-aging and longevity benefits.
How To Take Vinpocetine?
For general health and prevention purposes, the low dose is 5mg 3x per day at meals and ranges up to 20 mg 3x per day. These doses are for neuroprotection, enhancing cerebral blood flow, and reducing the rate of cognitive decline.
For nootropic purposes, suggestion doses of 30 to 45 mg, 3 times a day, alongside food.
Vinpocetine is very safe and has (almost) no side effects. It is also very well tolerated and has no reported adverse effects. New users rarely experience a soft version of caffeine “buzz” that fades away as tolerance to vinpocetine is increased. Keep in mind that increasing the daily dosage to over 40 mg could decrease benefits.
Vinpocetine’s unique mechanisms of action, great cognitive enhancement abilities, and insurance of neuroprotection are leading to increasing attention within the nootropic community. It’s a safe brain-booster that works well with other nootropics, thereby becoming an attractive addition to nootropic stacks. It’s affordable and easily accessible.
If you are interested in further optimizing your brain, enhancing its blood circulation, as well as allowing it to function at maximum productivity; vinpocetine is a nootropic worthy of your consideration.