Cognitive Enhancing Drugs | Natural Stimulants


Acetly-L-Carnitine (ALC)

The amino acid carnitine can be used directly as brain fuel. Acetyl-L-carnitine is especially useful because the "acetyl" part helps to make acetylcholine, the key memory neurotransmitter. Supplementing ALC helps to promote both acetylcholine production and release.

ALC also acts as an antioxidant that protects against brain damage and keeps your nervous system youthful. In animals, ALC helps to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Plenty of studies have proven ALC's mind- and mood-enhancing properties. You need between 250 and 1,500 mg for a noticeable effect. ALC becomes even more effective if taken with phosphatidylserine. Unfortunately, it is very expensive and is perhaps not a smart nutrient of choice for this reason. It's best to take it some time before or after eating for maximum absorption.

Positive effects:

Improves mood and mental performance.

Cautions:

Not recommended for those with diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease.

Dosage:

250-1,500 mg daily, between meals.


5-HTP (5-HydroxyTriptophan)

5-HTP is used by the human body to make serotonin, an important substance for normal nerve and brain function. Serotonin appears to play significant roles in memory, sleep, mood, pain control, inflammation and other body functions.

5-HTP is not present in significant amounts in a typical diet. The human body manufactures 5-HTP from L-tryptophan, a natural amino acid found in most dietary proteins. However, eating food that contains L-tryptophan does not significantly increase 5-HTP levels. Supplemental 5-HTP is naturally derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African medicinal plant.

Dosage Instructions

-For memory, 100 mg per day is often effective, split into two separate doses of 50mg.

-For insomnia, a single 100-mg nighttime dose of 5-HTP was sufficient to improve the duration and depth of sleep in one placebo-controlled trial.

-For migraine headaches, amounts ranging from 400 - 600 mg per day have been shown to be effective at reducing the frequency and severity of attacks in most clinical trials.

-For tension headaches, 100 mg of 5-HTP taken three times per day led to a significant decrease in consumption of pain-relievers, but no significant change in headache duration or intensity.

Side Effects

During the clinical trials described above, some people taking large amounts of 5-HTP experienced gastrointestinal upset (e.g. nausea) or, less often, headache, sleepiness, muscle pain, or anxiety.

"Serotonin syndrome", a serious but uncommon condition caused by excessive amounts of serotonin, has not been reported to result from supplementation with 5-HTP; in theory it could be triggered by the supplement.

Precautions and drug interactions

5-HTP should not be taken with antidepressants, weight-control drugs, other serotonin-modifying agents, or substances known to cause liver damage, because in these cases 5-HTP may have excessive effects. People with liver disease may not be able to regulate 5-HTP adequately and those suffering from autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma may be more sensitive than others, to 5-HTP.These people should not take 5-HTP without consulting a knowledgeable healthcare professional. The safety of taking 5-HTP during pregnancy and breast-feeding is not known at this time.


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Choline

The key brain chemical for memory is acetylcholine. A deficiency in this chemical is probably the single most common cause for declining memory. Acetylcholine is derived from the nutrient choline. Fish, especially sardines, are rich in it. Eggs are also a major source of choline, followed by liver, soy beans, peanuts, and other nuts.

A form of choline called citicholine has been used as a precursor to acetylcholine. It also boosts levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitters. It has even been used to treat victims of head injuries and strokes, since it protects brain cells from ischemia (decreased blood flow). It has also been shown to improve memory and learning in the elderly.

High doses of choline has also been proven to boost memory in adults. For example, Florence Safford of Florida International University gave forty-one people, ages fifty to eighty, 500 mg doses of choline every day for five weeks. The subjects reported having only half the number of incidents of memory lapses such as forgetting names or losing things as before. If you combine choline with other smart nutrients, such as pyroglutamate, you can achieve the same memory-boosting effect at lower doses.

Positive effects:

More alert, clear-headed, better memory and concentration; improved brain development during gestation (pregnancy).

Cautions:

None.

Dosage:

1-2 g of phosphatidyl choline daily.


Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

DMAE, like choline, is plentiful in sardines and anchovies, but it crosses the blood-brain barrier and gets into the brain cells more rapidly. Once there, DMAE is a great natural mind and memory booster. DMAE accelerates the production of acetylcholine, reduces anxiety and racing minds, improves concentration and learning, and acts as a mild brain stimulant.

If you want to boost your memory, the ideal dose of DMAE is 100-300 mg daily, taken in the morning or midday, not in the evening. Don't expect immediate results: DMAE can take two to three weeks to work. But it's worth waiting for.

Positive effects:

Increases alertness; improves concentration; reduces anxiety; improves learning and attention span; normalizes brain-wave patterns.

Cautions:

Too much can overstimulate and is therefore not recommended for those diagnosed with schizophrenia, mania, or epilepsy. Lower the dosage if you experience insomnia.

Dosage:

100-300 mg daily, taken in the morning or midday, not in the evening.


Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba comes from the ginkgo tree, one of the heartiest and oldest trees around. The ginkgo tree has existed unchanged for more than 150 million years. Some ginkgos live to be over 1,000 years old.

Studies show that it can support brain and memory function by enhancing oxygenation, support the heart and maintain blood circulation already in normal range, and help preserve general vitality and health. Good blood circulation is essential for good health.

How much should be taken?

Like any dietary supplement, it is important to take ginkgo biloba correctly. Ginkgo biloba supplement should be taken at a dose ranging from 40 to 200 mg of three times per day. Generally, 60mg three times per day is sufficient. Up to 240 mg per day may be taken.

Side effects and interactions

Ginkgo absorbs into the body easily and has no known toxicity to humans. There are no well-known drug interactions.


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Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Known as "the memory molecule," phosphatidylserine is essential for the health of the liver, immune system, nerves, and brain. It is especially plentiful in the brain, and there's increasing evidence that supplementing with it can improve memory, mood, stress resistance, learning, and concentration. The secret to the memory-boosting properties of PS is probably due to its ability to help brain cells communicate. This is because PS is the main component of the "docking port" for neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine.

While the body can make its own PS, we still rely on receiving some directly from diet, which makes it a semi-essential nutrient. The trouble is that modern diets are deficient in PS unless you happen to eat a lot of organ meats, which can supply about 50 mg a day. A typical vegetarian diet is unlikely to provide even 10 mg a day, so a supplement is usually needed. PS is particularly helpful for people with learning difficulties or age-related memory decline.

Cautions:

None.

Dosage:

100-300 mg daily.


Ginseng

Ginseng has some amazing and powerful effects. It has been shown to elevate mood, increase energy, and give a positive sense of well being to those who supplement their diets with it. Quite a bit of research has been conducted on ginseng. Studies also show ginseng increases immune function.

Those who use ginseng swear by its effects. Ginseng helps the body adapt to higher levels of stress. It also has the ability to increase endurance and help recovery rates.

How much should be taken?

The standard dose is 100mg of Panax Ginseng containing typically 30% Ginsenosides three times a day.

Side effects and interactions

Ginseng's most common side-effect is the inability to sleep which is usually due to taking it too late in the day. There are no well-known drug interactions.


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