Adaptogens - Is More Better? And Do They Stack?

Stefan fGStefan fG
edited September 2015 in Brain Hacking

Hi,


 


the recent "buzz" on the podcast and maybe elsewhere coincidentally collided with my own research into adaptogens and "neuro enhancement"-supplements. With my upcoming oral exams and grueling days of 6-10 hour studying ahead I shy away from Racetams and modafinil for now and on my search found various recommended "stacks" to enhance focus, mood, concentration etc. pp. that I looked into closer.


 


ALSO I rediscovered a PDF from Dave on my iPad which talked about "advanced supplements" and also mentioned adaptogens.


 


Regarding the "STACKS" I found I picked one something like this:


 


Coffee or green tea as a drink with a breakfast of eggs, bacon, pepper. Combine that with:...


 


L-Theanine 150 mg, Green-Tea-Extract, Guarana Extract, Ginseng (Eleutherococcus) and Bacopa Monniera. For all of these I found pretty cool and promising studies on pubmed.


 


(At first I added Acetyl-L-Carnitine (or ALCAR) but once on an empty stomach I experienced pretty anxious restlesness for a few hours and felt very uncomfortable. Also I did not find any real conclusive/good studies on ALCAR.)


---


 


As I dug into it further and listened to the podcast I got more interested in: Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea, found good studies for them too and now added them to my stack.


...


I am preeeeeetty convinced that I feel a lot and my focus and mental endurance is boosted.


 


The only question that in way bugs me is:


 


DO they stack? Are adaptogens meant to be stacked? Is "more" = "better". Or should I decide on ONE of the adaptogens since "in a way" they all kind of do similar things, don't they?


Hence, just because rhodiola rosea was proven to enhance focus in shiftworkers an guarana made rats more endurant, does it mean that I'll have all the effets side by side and added up?


 


Might it even be that the constant "stress" I put on my body by "putting things into my stomach that my liver then needs my blood to clear of" and all the peing-out my kidneys have to do do eventually weaken you?


..


For now I am staying with my stack but I am wondering if anyone has conclusive thoughts on this.


 


Kind Regars

Comments

  • edited October 2015

    Hey man!


     


    In my experience....


     


    More is not better, and they do stack.


     


    Each works by different mechanisms, so combining them can be synergistic. I like Rhodiola + Ashwagandha + Gotu Kola.


     


    Dosage: "Minimal effective dose" is the keyword here, both for efficacy and reducing side effects/tolerance issues.  Takes a bit of tinkering, but a good rule is go with the minimum that gives you the desired results.


     


    Rhodiola for example is stimulating at low doses and sedating at higher doses.


     


    Tolerance is an issue with Gotu Kola and Ashwagandha, and there are reports of people having withdrawal symptoms after taking GABA agonists like Ashwagandha, but usually in high doses.


     


    To avoid tolerance/withdrawal, especially with anything that affects GABA, it's advised to take time off either weekly (5 days on, 2 days off) or an extended period every 2 months (e.g. 2 weeks off every 8 weeks).


     


    Good luck man, adaptogens have been good to me. Subtle but noticable benefits in mental/physical energy and stress tolerance, without big artificial stimulation or excess energy as you might get from caffeine.


     


    They tend to have a whole host of health benefits, aside from the obvious performance/well-being improvements. Anti-cancer, neuroprotective, enhanced mitochondrial function, etc. Just dose sensibly and cycle them with adequate time off.


  • dazdaz today is a good day ✭✭✭
    edited October 2015

    re the Ashwagandha, 


    i was just reading about Sensoril®, which is a patented version of Ashwagandha. 


    Here is some text from their FAQ page, of course bear in mind that they produce/sell this stuff; 


     


    "For how long a period can I take Sensoril®? 


    Sensoril® can be taken 365 days a year because it is GRAS-affirmed (Generally Regarded as Safe).


    Human clinical research has also demonstrated that Sensoril’s effectiveness in improving health continues to increase the longer it is taken.


    This is consistent with what we know about adaptogens.


    Their benefits are cumulative in nature; the longer they are used the greater the benefit."  source


    fake it till you make it

  • Yeah with the Ashwagandha, there is supposedly some evidence that it supports neuronal re-growth that has been stunted by trauma/tress, so their claim may actually be founded in that.  Personally I found Rhodiola definitely took a while to kick in, and that's supposedly pretty standard.


     


    Regarding taking every day though, Ash is a known GABA agonist so it might make sense to cycle it:


     


    http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/55055-ashwagandha-tolerance-or-withdrawal/


     


    Rhodiola seems fine for daily use from what I can gather.

  • dazdaz today is a good day ✭✭✭
    edited October 2015


    Yeah with the Ashwagandha, there is supposedly some evidence that it supports neuronal re-growth that has been stunted by trauma/tress, so their claim may actually be founded in that. Personally I found Rhodiola definitely took a while to kick in, and that's supposedly pretty standard.


    Regarding taking every day though, Ash is a known GABA agonist so it might make sense to cycle it:

    http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/55055-ashwagandha-tolerance-or-withdrawal/



    Thx for the link Richard. I'll wade thru it later.

    Have you seen much on whether to take Ash on an empty stomach or with food...

    Depending on the brand of Ash, you will see one Or the other recommended/suggested on the label, which seems a bit odd.

    fake it till you make it

  • Hey guys, thank you so far!


     


    Right now I am on


     


    A cup of Matcha Tea with some MCTs, EGG/Bacon breakfast,


     


    L-theanine 150 mg (Biovea)


    Guarana Extract 900 mg (90 mg Caffeine) (Vitabay)


    Bacopa Monnieri 500 mg (of which Bacosides 100 mg)  (fairvital)


    Rhodiola Rosea 500 mg (of which Rosavin 15 mg) (fairvital)


    Eleutherococcus (siberian ginseng) ~4 capsules for 1000 mg total (Vita Ideal)


     


    And would plan to add:


     


    Ashwagandha 1000 mg (because it says so here: http://www.chopra.com/ccl/ashwagandha... even though the typical amound in supplement boxes is ~500 mg)


    Gotu Kola - any recommendations??


     


    I wonder if you could give me feedback on my dosing or if you guys have any recommendations regarding dosing and preferrable brands in general.


     


    Kind regards so far


  • Gotu I do  900mg 2x a day.  Ash I think it depends alot on the strength, I take 500mg 2x daily though. YMMV... dose is gonna depend on your bodyweight and how sensitive you are to it. 


     


    AFAIK the sensible move is "minimal effective dose", and probably cycling off periodically.


     


    I generally try to take them not with food-  I at least take my first dose of R/Ash/Gotu in the morning, 20-30mins before breakfast. After that I try to take between meals.

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