What would the new year be without one of those cliche posts reviewing the past year? To kick off 2020, I decided it would be a good idea to revisit everything I tried in 2019, so I present to you The best supplements, herbs and nootropics of 2019. This post might have some things you’ve seen before, some things you missed, and still some newer ideas.
- 1 Best Nootropics of 2019
- 2 Top Anxiety Reducers and Mood Enhancers of 2019
- 3 Best Male Libido/Testosterone Supplements of 2019
- 4 Best Miscellaneous Posts of 2019
- 5 What’s coming in 2020?
Best Nootropics of 2019
I didn’t explore many nootropics this year — sorry guys. Aside from the occasional dose here and there I have largely been on hiatus from nootropic drugs or herbs. Perhaps 2020 will be better?
I received a tub of our old friend Piracetam a while ago, and I’m waiting to start a new regimen with it. I’m also trying out some bacopa and muira puama, both conferring some nootropic benefits and with the latter having some alleged aphrodisiac activity ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
In 2019 I did write this post explaining that nootropics can’t possibly substitute for a good lifestyle or good learning habits. Unless you have some cognitive impairments that can be helped, most nootropics won’t make you significantly more intelligent or smarter, and because of this I have decided to search more in the avenues of herbal and dietary supplements.
Some drugs like modafinil seem to make you smarter by increasing your sense of alertness, and this sort of effect has convinced me that functional intelligence is a result of comfort, energy and mood.
Nothing really new on the Noopept front for me. I did get a reminder this year that Noopept is probably best taken sublingually (may only require a smaller dose).
CILTEP (Artichoke Extract and Forskolin)
I did try out CILTEP (Artichoke and Forskolin) and the results were modest, but good enough in my subjective experience to want to try again. I did find it had a mood and motivation enhancing effect, but I don’t recommend buying the horribly overpriced CILTEP for these purposes: get the Artichoke and Forskolin stack from Powder City instead. The reviews of Powder City’s inexpensive formulation seem to be favorable.
- Is the Artichoke Extract and Forskolin stack better than CILTEP?
- Initial Nootropic Test Results for “CILTEP”
Top Anxiety Reducers and Mood Enhancers of 2019
2019 for me has definitely been the year of anxiety reducers and mood enhancers and I can’t say I regret pushing things in this direction.
Even though I fell short on nootropics (hey, it’s actually tough being a one-man control and guinea pig), I managed to give several of these mood changers a shot as it was clear which ones had the best effects in which situations, and learned which ones worked best for me.
These are easier to test because you merely take one and see how you feel, unlike nootropics which should involve cognitive testing to ensure they are having any worthwhile effect beyond the subjective.
Kava is perhaps my #1 anxiolytic of the year, surpassing phenibut only for its lack of side effects by comparison. The mouth-numbing, funny-tasting traditional island root has great mood enhancing effects with little drawbacks. (If you do take too much you can get nausea though). There were rumors that it could cause liver damage, but this is unsubstantiated. Kava kava root is perfectly safe for healthy individuals.
- Why instant kava may be better than phenibut for anxiety
- My experience with Happy Hippo’s King Solomon Hippo Kava
- Is liver damage from Kava Kava just a myth?
Kratom is still a new one to me, but I have found it to be extremely useful for slogging through otherwise tedious and/or physical work.
For one, it’s a fantastic mood enhancer, and an anxiety reducer to a lesser extent. The only downsides are that it has a learning curve and there are some side effects and withdrawals, but these can all be taken care of when used correctly.
There is a very good reason why kratom has a diehard following. I will definitely be exploring more kratom in 2016, there’s so much to say about it and still a lot to learn.
- 5 days of kratom (and everything I learned from it)
- What are kratom withdrawals like?
- Kratom vs. cannabis
- Why is kratom marked “Not for human consumption”?
- Kratom overdose (Reader Q&A)
Phenibut is a strange beast. Undeniably, it is very effective at reducing anxiety as I wrote in 2018.
It has unfortunately become less favorable in my eyes due to its undeniable effects on my blood pressure that can be a little worrying. Not to mention its potential for tolerance buildup and withdrawal side effects (which can be mitigated and prevented should you choose to use it).
Phenibut does seem to work for most people who take it judiciously though. I am open to try it again in the near future, however I will approach it very cautiously.
GABA is the calming neurotransmitter. Like L-theanine, its effects are subtle. Many people have slammed it on account of not crossing the blood-brain barrier easily, unlike phenibut. However, I posit that GABA may have its most beneficial effects on the nervous system via the gut with a couple of interesting studies to show for it. (The brain’s not the most important organ, you know.) I think GABA has some subtle but good effects
Pre-Workout Energy Stack
Powder City made a neat little pre-workout energy stack that contained ingredients like NALT, caffeine and theanine and more, and I reviewed it here. The ingredients are separate so you can exclude ones you don’t need, or take more or less of an ingredient you want. It can really get you in a motivated mood, for exercise or anything else you may want to do.
Powder City more recently one-upped themselves and made a pre-blended punch flavored pre-workout powder called Flash Powder which contains fundamentally the same ingredients with the convenience of it being a drink mix. I tried the latter, and though I usually think of a pre-workout as being coffee + theanine and a small breakfast, it’s pretty decent for being under $20.
Mr. Happy’s Uridine Stack
Forged in the depths of the Longecity forum, the “uridine stack” by user Mr. Happy is a long-term one for sure, but can definitely boost your mood if you are continually down in the dumps. Made up of fish oil, uridine, and Alpha-GPC to add on after you’ve began the regimen, it has been touted as a great way to keep the mood steadily uplifted.
Personally, I believe the heavy lifter here is fish oil, which you should probably be taking every day anyway. I avoided the Alpha-GPC when taking the stack as it didn’t help my mood. I believe I am one of those people who are sufficient in brain choline levels and increasing choline doesn’t help me.
This testosterone booster is also a good mood enhancer in my opinion. Its anxiolytic effects aren’t as apparent as some of the others in this section, but it’s definitely worthwhile. I noticed the most powerful effects when drinking a freshly boiled 1/2 tablespoon of dried roots almost every morning for some time.
Ashwagandha reduces prolactin, the hormone which reduces dopamine and makes you feel sedated after orgasm. It’s also a cortisol reducer: great for people who are stressed out.
Mucuna Pruriens (Velvet Bean / L-DOPA)
Though mucuna pruriens can be used as a sexual tonic, it functions well as a mood enhancer for conditions of low dopamine. L-DOPA, the main active component of mucuna, is a precursor to dopamine. If you are deficient, dopamine can help to give you more “drive” and motivation.
L-Tyrosine / NALT
L-Tyrosine and related compound NALT are supplemental sources of the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine, although they are just a few steps removed from L-DOPA. NALT seems to give one an increased sense of energy and motivation.
Best Male Libido/Testosterone Supplements of 2019
Not too many new things have been discovered by me In 2019 for supplements that help the male libido or testosterone, but I did retread a couple things.
Last year I accidentally discovered that garlic had a direct and beneficial sexual health effect, and the science seems to vindicate what I experienced. Garlic is cheap and easy to come across. The pungency may put some people off, but fortunately there are odorless garlic supplements.
Original Testosterone Stack (Powder City)
I took the Original Testosterone Stack by Powder City. It’s “Original” because it was their first formulation. (The newer one they have does not contain tribulus or agmatine.) For the uninitiated, a stack from Powder City, unless otherwise indicated, is merely a pouch of the individual powder supplements.
All in all, it had some noticeable effects with a minor side effect of acne (cleared up easily with fenugreek). This to me was a sign that activity of dihydrotestosterone was increased.
Best Miscellaneous Posts of 2019
To tie up the other odds and ends, I present to you the miscellaneous health and supplement topics I reported on last year.
- SJ from Ignore Limits wrote about all the supplements that actually work for fat loss and muscle building
- I did a quick writeup about the supplement additive magnesium stearate, and determine whether it is harmful. (My opinion: It isn’t, but it can inhibit or slow absorption which can be good or bad)
- Swishing a little oil around your mouth can be great for your dental health
- I tried instant coffee with mushrooms — The mushrooms reishi and cordyceps are blended into the coffee. It’s actually pretty good, quick and easy to make and you don’t taste any mushroom funk.
- Readers asked about the long-term effects of nootropics for young people, explained their kratom overdose experience, and asked whether to take adrafinil or piracetam.
- I explored whether juice cleansing or detoxes are too good to be true
- I talk about creating your own baseline for a nootropic self-test
- A cheap little pill organizer can save you a lot of time taking supplement stacks.
What’s coming in 2020?
I’m not making any promises, but I do intend on giving the site an overhaul, reorganizing the whole thing into more concise categories and portals to make it all easier for readers to navigate and absorb all of the information for a given subject or substance.
Most people who write in ask questions I’ve mostly already answered in old posts. I’m convinced this is wordpress’ biggest flaw, or at least the way we approach websites or blogging. Since I get so many of these common questions, this may warrant some individual FAQ posts and possibly consultations.
For those of you who follow me for things outside of supplements, I’m still working on my writings at Anarcho-Introvert and Quit Fapping. So many drafts that need to be posted.