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Unlocking the Mystery of Focus, Clarity, and ADHD PT 1: Nootropics, Adderall, Vyvanse


A man holding a plant and then supplements
Nootropics vs Chemically Stimulants

This will be an interesting topic for plenty of people but I think I must share my thoughts, experiences, and decisions. The topic of Nootropics vs medications for ADHD will forever be popular and controversial, it is also heavily biased and opinionated. Every opinion matters and reading as much information on a topic is highly suggested before deciding to do anything. My intention for this blog/review is to express my most recent experiences using certain brands as it may support someone who is looking to learn how to get more focus and clarity in their lives. I don't recommend nor discourage anyone from trying or cutting out Nootropics, Adderal or Vyvanse. I am simply sharing my experiences with the world.


Before I continue, I'd like to express that I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD. I am open to discussing it and that is how I am prescribed to use Adderal and Vyvanse. For years of my life, I have struggled with focusing but I didn't believe that anything was altering my ways of being. I simply believed that is just how I worked, I think fast and struggle with certain topics. Personally, I do not think my diagnosis is as severe as others I've met over the years who opened up to me but being the curious person that I am, I wanted to see if I can do anything more about how to "silence" my mind. With that being said


Let's get into it.


What are Nootropics?

Brain supplements, smart drugs and cognitive enhancers with numerous natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic molecules that purportedly improve cognitive functions.

I came across these supplements when I was heavily invested in personal training while living in Los Angeles (LA). I feel that is it natural to come across hippie-dippie topics in conversation while living in LA and this did come up when talking about yoga with clients. Someone shared that they take mushrooms with their coffee. I questioned them heavily thinking that mushrooms meant hallucinogens, at the time I only knew of the mushrooms you eat with steak or drugs. With some research, I came across the brand Four Sigmatic, which specializes in mixing different breeds of mushrooms with coffee. Being a heavy coffee person, I bought several bags right away. The first product I wanted to try was their Think Latte Blend and since I was waking up daily around 3 or 4 am to make sessions at 5 or 6 am, I would mix this into my Aeropressed coffee! It was a heavy dose of caffeine but I felt balanced and rarely experienced a crash. It was great but I wasn't convinced of the benefits of adding mushrooms to my life, until I reached euphoria. I used a packet of the Think Latte Blend before my morning breathwork which included periods of holding my breath, lungs filled or lungs empty. The goal of this breath work was to teach my body how to utilize the oxygen I already had within me and to enhance brain function. After 10-15 minutes of breath work, I started to see blobs of light under my eyelids, my body started to feel light and filled with fire in the most positive way you can imagine. I finished my session and went to the gym to experience the best training session I've had in my life. I was not only energized but I was stronger than ever, moving efficiently and freely, it felt as if I was on drugs. I was convinced to use lion's mane mushrooms in my everyday life for focus as I tend to get distracted very easily!


There are other so many different types of nootropics one can take and thanks to the FDA, many of them are not regulated and can either do everything for you or nothing good for your life. I played with several companies to get more focus such as Unlimitter and most recently Onnit's Alpha Brain to achieve mental clarity and focus. I've tried several brands but these two stand out the most to me.


I can speak on Unlimitter as I've used this longer than Alpha Brain. The mental clarity that comes with this is great but on occasion, I've experienced bouts of crippling anxiety where whatever work I am doing, comes to a halt and I am seeking dopamine either from social media or exercise. In everyday life, I cannot rely on a supplement that could be causing anxiety so I reduced the dosage I was taking from the recommended two pills to one pill. The focus and clarity are not worth the risk of experiencing crippling anxiety, nothing is worth that feeling. IFKYK. As for Alpha Brain, I'm using it right now to type this blog/review up, I consumed the recommended amount with my morning Matcha Latte. I tend to take my nootropics with Matcha vs Coffee due to L-theanine. A simple amino acid generally found in plants to support focus. Adding the two is great and the feeling thus far is very similar to taking amphetamines such as Adderal or Vyvanse. As the weeks go by, I already look forward to seeing what Alpha Brain is like as I've read plenty of good reviews, and as a very active person, I need something to slow my mind down and bring clarity into my life. Yes, I said need because I realized when I have clarity and focus, my quality of life is enhanced.


Vyvanse

is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as part of a total treatment plan, including psychological, social, and other treatments. It may help to increase the ability to pay attention, stay focused, and stop fidgeting.

I have used it for several weeks after being diagnosed with increasing dosages. The first time I used this, I noticed a difference in not only my work ethic but my overall mood. I was excited to do mundane tasks but even more excited to complete them so I could work on more meaningful tasks pertaining to my life. I consulted with my doctor if this was normal and since these stimulants are altering my brain chemistry it made sense to me. I didn't experience a crash and the feeling of silence was beautiful. I would play some Afrobeats and knock out so many projects and tasks. As I noticed the focus being lost again, I'd begin to transition into going out for a run. The first downfall of taking this stimulant was the amount of sweat I was producing. As this is altering my brain chemistry, my brain is working harder and burning more calories. As I'm burning more calories, my body heat is elevated during training and thus more sweat. I consulted my doctor and explained what was happening and she agreed. With this in mind, I increased the amount of water I was consuming but my body needed more. I completed a half marathon and was testing new paces in my training, I was losing a lot more fluid than usual (I only took Unlimitter the morning of the race) and in my hydration plan for the race, I would consume a few oz of water every 5k. I've used this plan in the past and it has worked very well as I don't want to stop to use the toilet. I finished the race and as I started driving home, a wave of sickness crashed into me. Nausea, stomach cramps, body fatigue, chills, and mind-fog hit me. This was new to me and it crippled me for the day and into the next. With some research, I came across "Runner's Stomach" which includes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping, I experienced it all and it had to be related to the excess sweat from taking Vyvanse. From that moment, I started taking more hydration supplements such as Liquid IV and Skratch. Only drinking water is good but your body needs electrolytes and other minerals to maintain performance, I'll cover this in future blogs.


Taking Vyvanse was a wonderful experience and outside of the Runner's Stomach, I didn't experience other side effects. I have spoken to other people who have taken this or still are using it and came to the conclusion that being on Vyvanse is not a long-term solution! I'm grateful that science has led to products of this caliber but is it worth it long term? I don't believe anything long-term is truly worth it and anything can lead to negative side effects. Even my relationship with running and hoping to do it long-term can lead to negative outcomes down the road but the benefits outweigh the potential downfalls.


Adderal

a stimulant drug that is a mixture of two amphetamines, used to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy.

I used a dosage of Adderal for one week when I couldn't get a hold of Vyvanse due to my local pharmacy being out of stock. I would consume my prescribed amount with Matcha or just water, never coffee. Having strong stimulants with high levels of caffeine will only lead to high heart rates, possible anxiety and I'm sure other negative situations I much rather not experience. Within the week, I noticed that I would crash at the end of my focused period and I would need to motivate myself to be productive again. I wasn't in a flow of work when I was feeling the focus and it didn't seem much different from me taking Unlimitter. I would compare the two to be very similar actually but Unlimitter didn't have a crash on the other side. When taking Adderal, my training was not as productive and not as fun. The moment I had the opportunity to get off Adderal, I took it. I learned that the ingredients that make up Adderal were different from Vyvanse and the sensations I was looking for didn't happen. At the moment, I see no need for me to be using this stimulant.



With that being said, is the potential of dehydration and other potential side effects worth focus and clarity? I'm not sure yet to be honest. I'm learning that other companies who have nootropics may have the sensations I'm looking for without the side effects that Adderal and Vyvanse produce but I won't know until I try them all. As previously mentioned, I am looking for a higher quality of life, and at the moment, I feel that I need some more focus and clarity in my life. I know that this will not be needed forever but as I am learning more about the world of nootropics and the world of natural remedies to enhance your life, I'm happy to be exploring. At this current moment, I am not on Vyvance and only using Alpha Brain. I do plan on going back on Vyvance shortly to see what my body will go through again. With the weather getting colder, I can benefit from a higher body temperature.


If you are considering nootropics or taking prescribed stimulants, speak to your doctor about it, ask plenty of questions, and drill your doctor! They should be professionals in the topic and if they aren't they have the tools to learn more and with their experiences, they will always be more informed than me or anyone else you find on the internet. I trust my doctor and I have enough self-awareness to realize what is happening to me. If I begin to experience something I don't want, I will modify what I am doing to get back on track.


I am on the path of fun, focus, clarity, joy, and passion. If any of my daily values are compromised by anything I am taking, modifications will happen almost instantly. Do you know what your daily values are? If not, take the time to learn them and find out how to enhance them even more! Why Not?

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