The very first nootropic I really ventured to try was actually ginkgo biloba.
It was over 10 years ago. I took the suggested 60mg x 2-3x/day for a month and by the end I was proclaiming “Bah, it’s crap; doesn’t work worth a damn.”
But then I went “off” of it.
About two-week post ginkgo supplementation I started feeling slow. Words didn’t connect together as easily. I chalked it up to being tired. Quite simply, I felt DUMB! Was I always this dull, slow and lacking in cognitive function? In all reality when you use a nootropic to truly understand it’s power and effectiveness you need to give it an earnest go (about 30 days) and then go off of it for a good 2-4 weeks. So I went back on ginkgo to see what happened.
Well, within 2 weeks I was feeling the mind clicking again. I wasn’t fumbling for words. I could concentrate on school. I love ginkgo; think it works well (watch out for blood thinning effects!). It’s been my go-to for years when I have periods of time where increased neural function is required.
Next came a novel supplement called phosphatidylserine (PS). It was touted as being a great post-exercise cortisol reducer (which used long-term would equate to greater muscle gains). Main problem was it was WAY too expensive (we’re talking $5 a workout) as it required 4000mg of phosphatidylserine complex to yield 800mg active PS. As a side effect I noticed that it made me genius like just as ginkgo did. I looked into it further and it turns out PS helps protect the brain. They use it on old people with memory issues. The cool thing was that for neural effects you only need 100-200mg a day (a much more affordable option). I will as I age begin taking PS as a way to protect my brain from the effects of aging. But at my age (33) I’m more inclined to spend my money on nootropics aimed at optimizing and increasing my brain power.
Next came a fantastic product called Cerebro (this was before the X-Men movies BTW) by Syntrax.
Cerebro had a pretty powerful blend of bacopa monniera, huperzia serrata, rhodiola rosea (with a 10% rosavin content; unheard of at the time and still unmatched except for Biotest’s version), and vinocetine. While it worked extremely well and was well priced it didn’t sell well as Syntrax tends to suck at marketing anything other than their Nectar proteins, so it was taken off the market. Later on I would learn it’s also not good to use rhodiola rosea (an adaptagen sorta like ginseng) continuously.
Next came Biotest’s Power Drive.
I love Power Drive. Everything from the taste, to it’s powerful effects (most especially in bringing my brain back from the dead post workout) and I’ve suggested it to every student I know as a stimulant free way to increase the effectiveness of your studies. I still keep a small stock around. But it’s also been on the market probably 5+ years now. We had to have come up with something with a little more horsepower by now…
Enter Biotest’s Brain Candy! I’ve already covered the pros, cons and all the details in Part 2 of this series. But I left y’all hanging with a close out of my final opinion of the original, caffeinated version.
Brain Candy works. At least 5-10x better than ginkgo. At least 5-10x better than phosphatidylserine and at least twice as good at Cerebro ever did. I’m not so sure I can compare it to Power Drive as they really seem to work well in their respective categories, Brain Candy for true cognitive function increases and Power Drive for performance/CNS & neurotransmitter recovery in hard training. I do not like Brain Candy for workout performance. It can work but it’s just not ideal. Power Drive wins hands down here.
Now that I’ve been off Brain Candy for a good month or more when I fumble for words or just don’t sound as clear and confident as I did not so long ago I get teased by clients “Clearly, you’re off the Brain Candy.” “You were better on that stuff.” These are just a couple of the comments I get. Let’s just be clear that’s pretty much the equivalent of your wife saying: “you know honey, you were just better on Viagra.” Ugh.
MY problem is that I can’t hack the 300mg of caffiene that the original Brain Candy version (and only current publicly available version as of this date) as it absolutely destroys my adrenal/energy system. Plus I want to be able to use what caffeine I can tolerate as I see fit (pre-workout mostly).
Apparently there are a few people who agree with me. Part 1 and Part 2 have stacked close to 2000 views, mostly search engine (Google, etc) driven. Or others just want to be able to have their coffee in the morning and not risk tanked adrenals with use of the product.
Anyway, the point is, I have never been as productive, clear, stress-free (read: able to handle near everything) and at home within my own brain as I was when I tried the 30 days of Brain Candy. I then did a wash out of a month without. Then bought one more case to try 15 days to see if truly, like my original ginkgo experience that it was the Brain Candy and not some made up effect (placebo).
Now if only Biotest would stop with the tease and release the caffeine-free version already!
Pretty please with a cherry on top???
WHY you might ask (as I completely realize I just sound like a nootropic addict at this point)….
Because I have big dreams, insane amounts of ideas and quite simply my day burns me out to the point when I get home and I have time to work on the business of business or life planning…my brain has fizzled by that point. I want the horsepower to boost me to new heights. That to-do list is exponentially growing with so little of it being tended to.
BTW, you can now find me on:
Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”
or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org