Do mood enhancing supplements help you to work more efficiently? They do, they definitely do. I think the supplements give you a fabulous short-term solution. But you could experience some scary consequences - the side effects. I guess not so much of a problem while you're young, but you really never know the long-term effects. Even if you stop taking the supplements and feel normal for a long time, you might not discover the damage that's already been done until at a later stage in life.
My first experience of mood enhancing supplements was with Noopept. Noopept is better known as a smart drug, often used by students to help them boost their short term memory before the exams. Well, it never worked for me that way. I needed some smart drugs for my exams - I didn't "need them", but I wanted anything to help me memorize hundreds of pages worth of financial laws and regulations. I thought Noopept may me, could be my magical solution.
It didn't work, unfortunately. I don't know if it was because I was already in my late 40's and too old for it to work. Maybe Noopept was making a difference but my brain was regressing with age proportionally, so my overall memory level maintained the same... (That was my made up theory at the time!) But anyway, something wonderful happened instead - I became extremely chatty, cheerful and positive.
An Hour Before The Full Effect
Those endless "meetings" at work that I had never fancied in my adult life... With Noopept, I was suddenly happy to proactively share my positive views with whoever in the room. Client's long-term strategic plans and stuff like that. Always positive, never end with negatives - at least that's what it felt like to me. What an enlightening experience, though in retrospect I don't know how manic I was behaving at the time. I was only taking the smallest dose (10mg) about 30 minutes - an hour before each meeting.
What Is Noopept?
For those who don't know what it is - Noopept is considered to be one of the strongest 'cognitive-enhancement' drug Nootropics. At least 1,000+ times stronger than piracetam. People generally take 10-60mg per day. If you keep taking more than 100mg a day, you'll start to experience a lack of mental clarity, what it's called "brain fog."
When I first started taking Noopept, I suffered from constant but mild headaches. After a few days I got used to it and took a 10mg dose every day for a month. Although I didn't see any memory improvements, I didn't want to increase the dose just yet, to make sure my mental state stayed normal.
Then I had to spend many weekends studying for the exams, so I gradually increased the dose to 30mg, just at the weekends. The larger dose started to make me feel so tired and drained. I still wasn't sure if the pills were helping my memory, but they at least kept me focused on my study and made me feel positive. Then there was a problem; after 2-3 hours, I would get so tired and couldn't think straight. In fact I would have to lie down for an hour or so in the afternoon, so I could say Noopept also gave me physical exhaustion as well as mental.
When my exams were finally over, I reduced the frequency. Noopept was merely a mood enhancement substance for me anyway, but it was a very good mood enhancement substance. I was only taking 10mg before some important work to do.
I didn't take Noopept over a week, and a severe side effect suddenly kicked in - I was "depressed".
I had never felt depressed in my life, you know. I consider myself very lucky in that respect. And for the first time, it felt like I was stuck in this blackhole that I could never get out of. I had to stop taking it at least for a while... If the mental (and maybe also physical) exhaustion was an immediate side effect, this one was obviously a lot more dangerous one. I was fine again by the following week. And I never had to take Noopept again because around that time, I quit my day job to focus on internet marketing.
My New Friend: 5-HTP
It was almost a year ago from now, I decided to seek for new mood enhancing supplements. Partly because I got too busy with my work, sat in front of my laptop all day and one of the jobs was really getting me down. I had no choice but to carry on that job until the end of the contract. It's not that I didn't like the job, I was busy enough with my other online marketing jobs and this particular job was much harder to manage it. I drank enough coffee and I had plenty of energy. It was just my mood that needed to be uplifted, and there would a solution; serotonin boost.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a substance derived from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia Simplicifolia. It helps the central nervous system increase the production of serotonin (5-HT). Serotonin plays an important role including sleep, appetite, mood, memory, physical exercise and sexual behavior, and it helps illnesses such as Parkinson's disease, ADHD, PMS, migraine.
Everything Seemed 'Clearer'
Interestingly, the tab of 5-HTP pills that I bought said "take one tablet (100mg) one hour before bedtime", but I started taking it at lunchtime, and the effect was fantastic.
I go running in the morning, then take my dog for a walk before I settle at my desk around 9am. After all the exercises my serotonin is at the highest level, I guess. I would take my 100mg tablet with a cup of coffee and light lunch, and I was able to focus on my work throughout the afternoon - and beyond - with an amazingly positive attitude.
I've always considered myself as fairly organized, both with my work and in my private life. I don't like a mess on my desk, I don't leave things 'til late, I write down things to get sorted, etc, you know what I mean. But what I noticed was that 5-HTP made me even more 'efficient'. Super-organized. Clear-head. Constructive-thinking. From morning 'til night literally.
And what I liked even more about 5-HTP is that it didn't make me 'high' like Noopept used to. The whole experience felt somewhat natural, I felt energetic but not in a manic way. And it may kind of sound contradictory but I worked up to 18 hours nonstop apart from a quick dinner and quick shower, and that seemed 'natural' to me.
That particular job contract ended, and it was time to stop taking my 5-HTP pills. At the time, I almost requested them to renew the contract because I felt I could handle any kind of workload. But thank God my eyes opened at that point - I can handle heavy workload, what for? I'm not doing this job for money. I don't live to work for 18 hours a day. At the age of 53 with little sleep, that would damage my health sooner or later. I needed to take thing slowly again.
So I stopped taking the pills, and a few days in, I suddenly felt so demotivated. I continued my exercise routine - ran in the morning and forced myself to get some gym exercise done in the afternoon. I suddenly slept 10+ hours every night, but not a solid 10 hours. I wasn't depressed, I just felt so lazy.
In some days when I really needed to focus on my work I had to take a tablet - same dose, 100mg. Gradually I managed to stay away from it. Physical exercises definitely helped, but it still took me a good couple of months before I started to feel 'normal' again.
My Medical Background
I don't drink, I occasionally smoke. No illegal drugs. No current or previous clinical record of mental illness or heart disease, high blood pressure or any kind. Suspected Asperger's syndrome according to my doctor.
Mood Enhancing Supplements - Should You Take Them?
I'm not going to take them anymore. Unless I'm clinically diagnosed with depression or something similar in the future (hope not!) and advised to take a medication, I'll stay well away from any mood enhancement supplements. I should be enjoying my semi-retired life with a few hours of work each day, no more adventures. Then my body shouldn't mess around with chemicals.
If you keep taking them regularly, no surprise - your body will be dependent on them. You simply stop taking them and get your normal self back, but you never know what damages the chemicals will cause your brain in a long, long term. Better be cautious.
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