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Does anyone take any OTC supplements?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by csx, 09.25.14.

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  1. csx

    csx 2+ Year Member

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    any supplements you can reccommend whether you feel it gives you more energy, concentrate more, gives you a more clear head, etc.

    Only OTC stuff (so no adderal, and such) and not coffee (the obvious one).
     
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  3. ZMA

    ZMA

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    I'd just like to start off by saying no supplement can effectively replace poor sleeping habits, dehydration, or a lack of exercise. If you can get 7-8 hours per night, drink water throughout the day, and get several hours vigorous physical activity at least every other day, you're 95% of the way to an optimal frame of mind. These things should be made a priority, regardless of how much you have going on.

    That being said, I've found a few that have worked for me, or have research supporting their efficacy. Most of these I take to help with strength training and recovery, but they have some cognitive effects as well:

    Caffeine (200 mg tablet)
    - All of the cognitive effects and none of the gastrointestinal distress of coffee
    - Few cents per pill, compared to $2-$3 for a coffee with a similar amount
    - Consume with plenty of water

    Ephedrine
    - Sympathomimetic that is used as an decongestant and appetite suppressant
    - Helps with allergies, with none of the depressant effects of benadryl or reactine, so you can breathe easier through your nose rather than your mouth
    - Promotes concentration, but too much will cause anxiety and high blood pressure

    L-theanine
    - Helps reduce anxiety so you can concentrate on a task rather than dwell on your issues

    Creatine
    - Mostly for power output during strength training, but has shown some cognitive benefit
    - Very well studied and safe

    Phosphtidylserine/choline
    - Just started with this so not sure if it does anything

    Fish oil + Vitamin D
    - Everyone should be taking this, or getting enough fish/sun exposure


    A great resource with peer-reviewed scientific evidence for hundreds of supplements:
    http://examine.com/supplements/Nootropic/
     
    DanniD likes this.
  4. LabDoc33

    LabDoc33

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    I'm a huge fan of ALA (alpha lipoic acid), and fish oil for sure. I'm real into weight lifting so I definitely agree with what is being said above.

    I find that if I can find time, doing hard core cardio, like a cycling class at the gym for an hour before starting to study works wonders for alertness. I almost never get anything more then 6.5 hours of sleep a night because of my hectic schedule, but that's the way it is right now.

    Caffeine pills are straight life savers, although I do love the taste of coffee to sip on anyway.
     
    ZMA likes this.
  5. Gauss44

    Gauss44 2+ Year Member

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    CAUTION: Some supplements can destroy performance. Other supplements are only helpful within a certain range of doses or concentrations in the body, and if you get too much OR too little, you under-perform. Many substances designed to "improve" cognitive performance are intended for elderly people who might have chemically and neurologically different circumstances. I'm NOT saying to never ever trust a supplement; I am saying to keep this in mind.

    Supplements that MIGHT help boost cognitive performance:
    GINSENG (American ginseng, root extract) - No complaints. I've used it and like it.
    Caffeine may increase alertness, nervous, and the need to pee. Eating lots of food reduces the later issue, and limiting quantity may limit nervousness.
    Huperzine - I've been told that it's useless.
    Pregneneolone - I've been told that this can screw up your hormonal balance (gynecomastia).
    Phosphtidylserine/choline - I don't think it will help unless you are low on it in the first place. It might be intended for the elderly.
    Bacopa - I've been told that it's useless.
    Vinpocetine - Sounds scary, never tired it.
    DHA/EPA/Fish Oil/fish/flaxseed oil/krill oil - Has a good reputation, but I didn't notice a difference. I took these for dry eyes, although they are also marketed as brain enhancing.
    Acetyl L-carnitine - I've never tried it.
    Ginko Biloba - Never tried it.
    Here's a bunch, and the only one I recommend trying is ginseng and only if you don't have bee allergies: http://search.lef.org/health-goal.brain/index.aspx
    GNC and the internet probably provide additional lists.

    Supplements/drugs that MIGHT do the opposite:
    Benadryl/Nyquil/diphenhydramine/diclorohydramine might cause memory problems, especially after regular use, per a couple doctors (people who happen to be doctors, not my personal doctors).
     
    Last edited: 09.28.14
  6. ZMA

    ZMA

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    Also: you should NEVER try something new, or increase/decrease your dose of anything you take regularly, on the day of your MCAT. Maybe obvious but it needs to be said.
     
  7. John Buster

    John Buster SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Examine is the best! I love seeing when people link it.

    Can we be friends?
     
  8. Jumb0

    Jumb0 2+ Year Member

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    I smoked some methamphetamine and read all the TBR books in one sitting.
    Meth: it does the body good.
     

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