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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Does Ashwagandha actually work

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Ashwagandha Herb Review

Ashwagandha herb review
With many herbs and products appearing on the Internet, one has to wonder if any of these actually work.

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, and Winter cherry, is a herbal plant that has been used for many decades to treat various health conditions.

I was interested in Ashwagandha for its ability to regenerate neurons and reconstruct synapses. I was hoping neuron regeneration and synaptic reconstruction would be able to improve my stress-induced cognitive impairment. Sadly, it did not.

My experience with Ashwagandha

I took 1 capsule of Jarrow Formulas Sensoril Ashwagandha for 30 days before bed. Each capsule contained 225 mg of Ashwagandha root and leaf extract standardized to 8% withanolides.

The Bad

The first day I took it I noticed my sleep quality was altered. I fell into a deeper sleep than usual and though this should mean I should be able to wake up feeling refreshed and energized, it in fact did the opposite. Now I already wake up feeling fatigued and sleepy, but when I took the Ashwagandha the effect was much more pronounced. Before taking the herb, I used to sleep for 10-12 hours at a time, on average. After I started taking the herb, I would sleep for more than 12 hours each day. This effect lasted the entire 30 days I was taking the herb.

The Good

As I mentioned before, my energy level had also suffered. Upon waking up I felt very tired and drinking coffee had little effect on my energy level. The fatigue would last anywhere from 3 to 5 hours each day after the night I took the herb.

On the other hand, my memory improved a bit. I was able to recall both short-term and long-term memories much more efficiently. My verbal fluency also improved somewhat.

One effect that I really enjoyed from taking this herb was my body was consistently warm. It wasn't hot like as if though I had a fever, but it just felt bliss. It was like it was at the perfect temperature. I think this was due to the fact that Ashwagandha improves Thyroid function.

Conclusion

Ashwagandha does actually work, but don't expect it to be a magic pill that will solve all your problems. For me, this herb only improved my memory, verbal fluency and body temperature.
Note that herbs as well as drugs affect different people in a different manner.

The problem with herbs is that there have been no studies done on humans to determine what effects these herbs have on people. This is exactly why I did not include what effects this herb has on humans because most of it would just be anecdotal.

The only way to find out what this herb will do to you is to try it out yourself. I have included a link to the site where I bought my Ashwagandha. This link contains a coupon code that will give you 5% off of your order.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My experience with piracetam

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A review of piracetam

Piracetam powder review
Piracetam is a nootropic of the racetam class family. Piracetam is mainly used to enhance learning and memory, but many also find it helps with their focus and concentration. It can also increase stamina to allow for a longer study period, enhance mood, verbal fluency, colors, and music. Whether the latter effects are caused by placebo is not known since there have been no clinical trials done to study the effects of Piracetam on humans. There was, however, a clinical trial done for evaluating the efficacy and safety of Piracetam taken for 12 months on subjects suffering from mild cognitive impairment.

Piracetam's mechanism of action has not been identified, but it is believed to improved the function of acetylcholine on the muscarinic cholinergic receptors. It is also a positive allosteric modulator of the AMPA receptor and may work on the NMDA glutamate receptors as well. Piracetam seems to have little to no effect on dopamine, serotonin, or norepinephrine levels.

My experience with Piracetam

I took 2.4 g of Piracetam everyday in the morning with orange juice and 500 mg of Choline Bitartrate for 6 months. The effects of Piracetam never really hit me and seeing as how the drug has a subtle effect, it did not surprise me. However, the effect of Choline supplementation did hit me and it hit me hard. After about 2 weeks of taking Choline Bitartrate, my mood got worse. My motivation and drive dropped to zero, my mood turned melancholic, and I became very irritable.

On the other hand, my reaction time was faster, my verbal fluency increased,  and my memory improved somewhat.

I later found out that the brain has a balance between the neurotransmitters dopamine and acetylcholine and that increasing one will decrease the other. So by supplementing with Choline, I was disturbing that balance and ultimately, lowering dopamine levels.

Conclusion

In short, my experience with Piracetam was a negative one. Though, I think the reason for that may have been due to the choline I supplemented with. Everyone's brain is different and so some produce more choline than others. I think I am one of those people and when I supplemented with choline, my brain's neurotransmitters balance was thrown off.
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