Friday, January 13, 2017

Research For A Charm

From the company website, the ingredients (source: wikipedia so a grain or two of salt as you think best) listed in reverse order below, with attached commentary.

1) Vinpocetine: an extract from the lesser periwinkle plant.[2] Vinpocetine was first isolated from the plant in 1975 by the Hungarian chemist Csaba Szántay. The mass production of the synthetic drug was started in 1978 by the Hungarian pharmaceutical company Richter Gedeon.
Vinpocetine is reported to have cerebral blood-flow enhancing[3] and neuroprotective effects,[4] and is used as a drug in Eastern Europe for the treatment of cerebrovascular disorders and age-related memory impairment.[5]
Vinpocetine is not approved in the United States for pharmaceutical use, but it can be sold as a dietary supplement. Vinpocetine is widely marketed as a supplement for vasodilation and as a nootropic for the improvement of memory and cerebral metabolism. Vinpocetine has been identified as a potent anti-inflammatory agent that might have a potential role in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Of the two of us, I'm the more likely candidate for Parkinsons or Alzheimers, although if you want to pop a bleeder in your head, taking a vasodilator with known cerebral blood flow enhancing characteristics might be an option to pursue.

2) Sulbutiamine: is a synthetic derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1). Although its clinical efficacy is uncertain,[3] it is the only compound used to treat asthenia that is known to selectively target the areas that are involved in the condition.[4] In addition to its use as a treatment for chronic fatigue, sulbutiamine may improve memory, reduce psycho-behavioural inhibition, and improve erectile dysfunction. At therapeutic dosages, it has few reported adverse effects. It is available for over-the-counter sale as a nutritional supplement.

Basically this is a synthetic component of Vitamin B. You will recall my Fitness advice regarding taking a Multi-Vitamin? If you wish, consider adding a Vitamin B-12 supplement to that (I do; and, No, not for that reason either :)).

3) Vitamin B-12: See 2) above.

4) Taurine: This one seems a bit deceptive in my opinion. There are at least 5 different (or at least variants of) this amino acid that have human applications, and they all differ in application and effect. The company website isn't specific as to which variant of this amino acid is contained in their product (I'm willing to assume they aren't talking about the sub-species of cattle originating in the Near East :)). Without much more specific chemical detail, we're just uselessly speculating here. 

5) Tyrosine (L-tyrosene): A naturally occurring amino acid in the human body. Dosage is the thing to be concerned with here. From wikipedia: "A recommended daily intake for phenylalanine and tyrosine is 25 mg per kilogram of body weight, or 11 mg per pound.[4] For a 70 kg person this is 1750 mg (phenylalanine + tyrosine).
Tyrosine, which can also be synthesized in the body from phenylalanine, is found in many high-protein food products such as chickenturkeyfishmilkyogurtcottage cheesecheesepeanutsalmondspumpkin seedssesame seedssoy productslima beansavocados, and bananas.[5][better source needed] For example, the white of an egg has about 250 mg per egg,[4] while lean beef/lamb/pork/salmon/chicken/turkey contains about 1000 mg per 3 ounces (85 g) portion."

You're a chef; if you can't generate 1800 mg/day of this stuff from your regular diet, how can any of the rest of us hope to survive? If you're really concerned, there is a supplemental product called some variant of Co-enzyme Q-10 available OTC. You have to pay close attention to the contents (some manufacturers have been busted for putting "no measurable amount" of the actual co-enzyme in their product), but the stuff is a legitimate enough dietary supplement for those concerned about their gibbering capability.

6) Huperzine A: "Huperzine A has been found through multiple studies to be effective as a medicine for helping people with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, but the meta-analysis of those studies concluded that they were poor quality and the findings should be interpreted with caution."

So, basically we have a selection of faulty studies into the effectiveness of this alkaloid as an Alzheimers treatment, that is known to cross the blood/brain barrier, and has a known association with causing the puking shits. Your call ...

7) Caffiene: I take mine black with 2 teaspoons of sugar (preferably Xylitol instead), but a portion of condensed milk is also an occasional option too. I've not had the opportunity to make you coffee yet.

8) Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the primary components in the commercial creatine body builder protein supplements available OTC. 

As a long-time gym rat, I'm frankly dubious about the claims made for these products generally. If you want more protein in your diet, you can spend your money here as well as anywhere, I guess, or you could ask a chef (I can recommend a great one).

9) Vitamin D-3: Hearkening back to my Fitness series, you will recall I'm certain that this is the other vitamin supplement I suggested taking on a daily basis (I recommended 5,000 IU dosage). Vit D-3 is naturally produced by the body as a result of direct sunlight on the skin. It is necessary for the body to adequately uptake calcium and other nutrients, so a modest overdose is actually helpful for good health. At worst you will have very slightly more expensive pee.

10) Phosphatidylserine: Associated with cell signaling and blood coagulation (clotting). Occurs in plants and animals/fish (the common source for this in a "western diet" is from consumption of meat and fish). The plant-based product has no known effect on human memory or other cognitive functions. The company website doesn't make clear their source for this lipid.

11) GABA: a derivative compound of a neurotransmitter that is used therapeutically for anxiety meds, sedatives and as an anticonvulsant. 

I'm not convinced the 1,000 yard stare is quite the look for you.

If I may impose upon a friendship just a bit here at the end with an unsolicited personal observation; NO.
You already eat healthy, the stuff in this that you know what it does to you and want done to you (two different things there) you are already taking in sufficient quantities and dosage to achieve and maintain good health. You want to increase your mental focus, ask your sensei. I'm confident he can recommend some useful mental exercises for you.

Final advice; there is no good cheat. Ever. Put in the work and you'll get the results, mental and physical. 

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