My early experiences with NO-Tropics.

My early experiences with NO-Tropics.

No, I am not “terminally” nor chronically ill. I need to somehow manage, address and hopefully improve –  my own cognitive wellbeing.

Having recently finished over a combined 700 hours+ worth of work on both the update of my manuscript (Version 1.4), the updated motion graphic promo developments, as well as my Nutritional Humility™ extended Behance artwork piece, much of this channel remains unacknowledged. Not arithmetic, but organic.

Looking at all these “feel-good” “look-at-me” awards, news notifications – within LinkedIN® connection updates. All those  “I’m so proud to be the recipient of <so and so award nights, drinks, cupcakes, free iPads, free iPhones, etc>….”…. I cannot help but wonder if we truly are living in an entirely new and evolved age – of Discreet Bullying.

Who or what are we truly congratulating or appeasing? “likes”, “followers” and/or “subscribers”? We’ve been communicating not via face-to-face, or firm sincere handshakes but rather – these thing/s called “Icons” and “Emoticons”. Is our biological meaning of a “smile” – is meant to look as grossly simplified the same as these emoticon/s from one social media app, network, circle, whatever – to another?

They’re curiously and simplistically similar. Too similar.


…Where was I? My apologies.

Originally, this article was previously written with so much more content. If however reading them again days later in and out – are likely subject to some discomfort and thus likely be misinterpreted to some readers. I have thus calmly decided to omit these to the public.

Here my interest revived again for revisiting supplementation/s I thought I’d no longer need dating back years ago (as far back as a decade even). “NO-TROPICS” – are widely known as mental ergogenics (to improve performance), anti-anxiogenic (to decrease anxiety) supplements. Be it powders in its holistic form (manual hot brew-tea-like preparation) or extracted as nutraceuticals as part of any cognitive treatment, and/or stability protocols.

Dozens if not potentially hundreds I suspect exist in the world of supplementations and nutraceuticals. The only four (4) NO-Tropic supplementations I came to know myself will be discussed as folllowsL

  • Gingko Biloba
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • Mucuna Pruriens and;
  • 98% L-DOPA extract).

My early experiences with NO-Tropics.

Gingko Biloba

My thoughts on Gingko so far more or less mirrors to that of’s thoughts.  Its ergogenic effects upon mental acuity / sharpness remains somewhat dubious.

Disappointingly, having experimented various dosages I have failed to significantly nor convincingly felt any mood lifting benefits. As I was hoping as per to the rat-study suggesting its’ dopaminogernic qualities. Perhaps my dosages (as high as 300mg of the actual Flavoside strength itself equating between 15 to 20 ACTUAL GRAMS of the leaf) still could not match as heavily as per within that study’s parameters. I think that going beyond the marked dosages than these (even if I’m perhaps desperate) – would not seem that beneficial in a practical sense.

“Memory recalls” also to me after weeks heavy dosing in and out, during weekend 48 hour carb re-feeds and during SKD days – remains somewhat unreliable. Nor is it always consistent. The only one thing I find consistent however in that it does bring out body temperature. This so far, I would say this at the very least; remains a seasonally essential item during colder seasons.

I have tried small dosages first before moving onto the larger ones and assess my tolerance from there. One factor in contributing one’s tolerance I believe – is how prone you feel you are – to external bleeding events. I believe this to be plausible because Ginkgko at least was found to have a noticeable blood thinning effect.

If you have any feeling in the extremities (tips of your fingers) feeling as though something is about to bleed as you wrap the stringed floss in and out – then that would be a sign to ease back on the dosage. Reduce by about 10 to 20% of your usual dosages and assess again. Ideally speaking – you should feel coordinatively “warm” but not too much to the point whereby even the slightest pinch, push or pull – of a portion of skin should feel as though it s close to the point of injury.

Vitamin K; be it from eating copious amount of kale or enjoying extra heapings of ground parsley with cheese or butter/oliveoil/sourcream – would help offset any of these excess thinning effect.

Alongside that I’d also take Coenzyme CoQ10 to double as anti-oxidant insurance and as coagulant. Of course perhaps not every single day but maybe no more than three or four dosages per week.

Interestingly however – Ginkgko’s blood circulatory effect seems noticeably more pronounced when there is some insulinogenic foods / carbohydrate consumptions are present.

If you do decide to supplement on Gingko, I’d recommend getting one without any fillers that may interfere with ingestion; I speculate that to be Dextrin; as they’re used widely on tablet forms on supplements.

As accordingly to my notes I do respond better with regular coated film gingko’s. Although this equates to a very small amount of actual Glycosides per tablet (only mere 9.5mg glycosides). I would need to dose up to at least anywhere between 30mg to 45mg of the ACTUAL Flavone GLYCOSIDES as standard dosage maintenance testing (as per to my comfortable tolerance level). Which equates anywhere between SIX to TEN grams of physical leaf grammage amounts. 

My early experiences with NO-Tropics.

Acetyl L Carnitine (aka “ALCAR”).

Perhaps the most significant and impactful of all NO-TROPICS. As accordingly to what I can afford. Generally perceived and marketed as a “fat-burner” – I do not mainly reach out for this intended outcome alone for “losing fat” on a CKD regiment (though of course, always a good vanity based outcome – there goes my honesty). Rather – I am reaching for its efficacy on potentiating my level of mental “activeness”. In how I “receive” and “initiate” almost all psychological intents and motives before it’s “too late”.

In other words, “Proscratination Management” all for the hopeful better. And it somehow did.

ALCAR is indeed working efficaciously. I feel  “activated” and coordinated in mind – such not only that it cognitively sustains my “up-and-go” mentality. But help sustaining my mental endurance during training.

There are times I find myself able to cohesively arrange and coordinate speech with a little more fluency. Whenever and wherever I want – especially within public spaces whereby I do not usually feel comfortable.  Though at other times it was simply a matter of me being left with “switched” on state of cognition in a general sense. That I feel “receptively” ready. At receiving any incoming external speeches, thoughts and/or oral feedbacks.

…Very difficult to explain. I can only speak for myself that the effect was “in there”.

HOWEVER one advice I’d like to share; which is contradictory to some source/sis to NEVER take ALCAR with food. Especially with large or actual meals. With or without carbohydrates. During CKD re-feeds as well as regular SKD days.

It just does not do well on me with food. Interestingly however I felt fine from using ALCAR with small, 5-7g of protein powder with water as my first portion post-workout feeding. I can’t speak with what happens to you, so your mileage may vary. If however combined with immediate presence of large food intake – I feel agitated and suffocative at times similarly as symptoms of very bad heartburns. There are some anecdotal accounts for further supporting this phenomena and hence advise consuming it on an empty stomach. Officially, here is another source that concurs such preference as well. Another paper suggests similarly as well.

At least, the best way for me seemingly thus far when it comes to supplementing ALCAR is to simply relax with a cup of straight black coffee. At least an hour away before or after eating food. Or just not on a full stomach. Within the coffee I use a pinch (no more than 400mg at a time) of ALCAR. Sometimes also with Creatine on my training day as preworkout coffee.

My early experiences with NO-Tropics.

Mucuna Pruriens (high strength 20x extract).

Perhaps the most disappointing if compared against both ALCAR or Gingko.

Mucuna (also known as velvet bean) itself is a plant bearing many NOTROPIC effects widely proclaimed anywhere from being a cognitive enhancer and all the way to libido (both men and women) / testosterone raising effects via endogenous increases of Dopamine within the brain. And its reduction effect on the Prolactin hormone.

Sadly – various dosing on 20x strength velvet beans – there was no “euphoria”. No uplifting of moods. I thought my condition would be at least conditionally legitimate enough for the mucuna to portray its effects. But sadly nothing occured to me.

I’ve researched even more compulsively for hours and hours on why this is happening, with no explanation in sight. I have tried with or without food. During CKD refeeds and during normal SKD days hours on empty stomach in between meals coffee (no solid food). That includes isolating one supplement at a time, upon rising, before sleeping. Pre workouts. After workouts. Small doses. Megadoses (several capsules per day) to normal and lowered dosages (half to quarter of a capsule).With coffee, without coffee. Tea and straight water (interestingly, it is somewhat has a sweet aftertaste).

Nothing seems “activated”. Nor does it turn me instantly to a flawless PUA the next time I’m at a gym. Or anywhere else politically approachable for interactions with the opposite sex.

There is however, a sensation as though something is “hitting” through my brain; something is “trying” to be “received up there”. I speculate this as the mucuna’s attempt of crossing the blood brain barrier. Interestingly compared to ALCAR; ALCAR felt as though it always “arrives” successfully to wherever it needs to hit the brain. No traffic “jam”.

Once again, I may perhaps am a genetic exception, or possess some sort of enzyematic resistance to this as an outlier of some form that leads me being resistant to it. I do not know. Despite week/s of patience and documenting I therefore would conclude that sadly I have to abandon Mucuna’s supplementation.

My early experiences with NO-Tropics.

98% L-DOPA Extract from Mucuna

Following upon weeks of disappointments with the 20x velvet bean concentrate extract; I began trying out the 98% L-DOPA; or at least – the principally concentrated amine precursor to Dopamine “L-DOPA” (L3,4 Dihydroxyphenlylananine). This is 98% concentration extract from Mucuna Pruriens. Yes, this is STILL coming straight from the plant itself. But only the L-DOPA component being extracted in such very HIGH amounts. It is prolclaimed to have another promise -a much more succesfull penetration to the blood-brain-barrier for it to be “received” successfully.

My initial week/s upon it were once again; disappointing and dubious if anything just like Mucuna. However, interestingly overtime as I abandoned it, settling down with ALCAR & Gingko for quite some time and then trying back to exclusively dosing 98% L-DOPA weeks later (less ALCAR & Ginkgko intake) – I notice a somewhat “care-free”, mind freeing effect.

“Whatever happens, happens.” Mentality. For once out of the ordinary I feel much more sane and collected. Euphoric? Not really. But just more content. I have never smoked any illicit or recreational drugs in any kind before. So I wouldn’t be able to make any comparisons between this 98% L-Dopa extract versus other recreational herbs. Eg. weed, hemp / cannabis, etc.

This feeling somewhat strucked me nostalgically back when I used SAM-e (S-Adenosylmethionine) for the first few time/s. That however was almost a decade ago as I praised SAM-e for its joints-rehabilitative and mood potentiating effects. Especially when used as an “intra” supplement during intense training workouts.

My early experience with the 98% L-DOPA has been with straight blackcoffee and teas. Coffees however – in my opinion represents the most disappointingly dubious and ineffective outcome as I tested with various dosages between low and high. Where as it seems to work best and quickest – when flushed straight with water.

Another synergistic combination I felt is with straight green tea.  There are some very detailed, complex and nuanced discussion surrounding L-DOPA with green teas to help with L-DOPA’s uptake to the brain. Further reading points me to a plausible consensus that it is the Green Tea that helps INHIBIT an enzyme called “COMT” (Catechol-O-Methyltransferase). Which is responsible for reducing Dopamine, norepinephrine, epinepherine and (interestingly) – estrogen hormones. 

Genetic polymorphisms; interestingly also plays a role for expressing this enzyme in either “slow” or “fast” mechanism/s. Which further dictate this COMT inhibition effectiveness. All these seems plausible factors in determining absorbability and utilisation of L-DOPA.

But how exactly is it relevant though if used as a preworkout? My preliminary thoughts so far on it are sadly; quite disappointing.

Mental acuity, physical exertion capacity, DOMS, muscle-fatigue time to failure – seems more or less unchanged. According to my notes, I even wrote some quite noticeably more difficult but nonetheless surviveable – accounts. In other words – no “wow!”changes.

However I may yet to change my opinion on these specifically surrounding such application. Because not only my thoughts on the 98% L-DOPA is still somewhat in its infancy – they are also EXCRUCIATINGLY expensive; prohibiting me to experiment with it further. A 25g pouch immediately costs $25 straight out. As reassuring to see that each 25g pouch carries anywhere between 120 to 150 serves – beware nevertheless that you will need a micro gram scale (found on ebay for < than $10) to track dosages as accurately as possible.

Other no-tropics / going forward

I am no CEO of Google®, Microsoft® or Monsanto®; hoarding every access to every known no-tropics there is on the planet. I am yet to try or afford the more other well-researched no-tropics. Piracetams, Aniracetams, Modafinil, 5-HTP, Noopept; only to name a few.

Regardless, it is clear that if I were to compare myself back years ago – even before sustaining on any Ketogenic interventions – I still would firmly believe I would have it far worse off today. If it weren’t for the help of no-tropics.

Our current Normalcy immediately frown these supplements as if they are nothing but “cheats”. Assuming these would significantly improve their motions of living that much easier. Hypes and expectations.

My stance on “Drugs”.

As what I wrote before in my manuscript – my belief upon rationalising usage of any supplements and/or “drugs” mainly revolves around the pre-existing living, socio-economic and subjective contextual – conditions. Drugs or supplements does not necessarily “do” the work. They “augment” the work but needs the conditional initiations. That “initiation” – is the surrounding conditions upon which the user has been subjected to. For far too long until some physiological concern of inadequacies remains sorely unaddressed.

My stance therefore, is that of open listening. I have somewhat room to listen, yet also somewhat less and powerless room to judge.

I have never smoked “weed”, or knowing what a “bong”, “Mitsubishi”, or a “Toyota” is. A friend of mine showed me what they are yet, to this day I still have never ever smoked or snorted “ice” or ectasy. Further yet to this day – I still would caution anyone to never lay a word of disgust, frown, scorn or contempt – against them.

And that ~ is what I have to say. I am neither for nor against drugs. Obviously, repercussions remains within one’s own volition. But so far at the very least, no-tropics defenitely serve some utility.

Live-it-forward, AW.

Alex Wigan /
Alex Wigan /

Do you have any experiences amongst NO-TROPICS you wish to share?  Feel free to share in the comments below!

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