What I Learned From Trying Four Unique Molecules
I’ve tried many supplements to improve my fitness performance and health. They all are well available to the public with no prescription. In this post, I want to share my experience with four supplements that impacted my fitness and health. The first one is still controversial even though millions of people consume it daily.
Even though I love coffee and tea dearly, they upset my stomach; therefore, I cannot drink them. It is very disappointing to miss the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee and some special tea such as Earl Grey. I cannot even enjoy herbal teas nowadays, as they upset my stomach too.
For some reason, my body perceives anything from plants as a foreign material. I am now grateful to be aware of this. I did not know about this intolerance for many years, and with strong external influence on the benefits of plants, I suffered intensely.
Despite refraining from plants, caffeine was essential to me for various reasons. Whoever said what about caffeine, for many years to me, I had a unique experience with caffeine. Nothing has been as useful as caffeine for my cognitive boost, and nothing helped me better to get rid of my lethargy without any noticeable side effects.
It is beyond dependence. I gave up multiple times and tried to survive without caffeine and replaced it with other so-called 'adaptogenic supplements' like ginseng, ashwagandha, turmeric, and so on. They all made me feel worse, with many severe side effects, including ongoing bloating.
My caffeine use is very specific, controlled and monitored. It is not a habitual act anymore. It is a tool to be used when required. I only use caffeine tablets in some mornings with careful timing and in exact doses. It is evident that if caffeine is taken afternoons for most people, it can cause sleep disturbances. This was true for me too.
Therefore, I took a 200 mg caffeine tablet when I needed to go to work or the gym early. The caffeine tablets I used did not cause any stomach upset as opposed to coffee, tea or caffeinated drinks. In addition, I was sure about the exact amount of caffeine intake with tablets. Knowing the dose was not possible with drinking coffee or tea. Depending on the quality of coffee or tea, the dose may be very different.
Tyrosine is an amino acid that we usually get from our protein intake. My understanding is that this amino acid is used in our body to produce hormones such as epinephrine, noradrenaline, and dopamine.
I specifically used a version of tyrosine called N-Acetyl-Tyrosine. It was a useful supplement to increase my mental alertness when needed. This version has an additional active compound called "acetic acid" attached to it. Adding acetic acid to tyrosine increases bioavailability and absorption when we digest it.
Even though some side effects such as nausea are mentioned in the literature, I did not notice any side effects by having 350 mg intake in a fasted state for occasional use, usually in the mornings.
When I combine this supplement with a half caffeine tablet (100 mg), it was even more effective for my alertness and motivation on my challenging gym sessions in the mornings.
Cysteine is another amino acid. It is not a drug or medication. The version of cysteine I used was a supplemental form called N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC).
My main reason for using this supplement daily was to help the natural creation of glutathione in my body. As is well documented in medical literature, glutathione is the master antioxidant in our body. NAC is a co-factor for the creation of glutathione. I occasionally take 600 mg of this supplement.
Even though there is a natural glutathione boosting supplement, medical professionals have not recommended it as it may adversely impact the body's natural production of this critical antioxidant. Therefore, NAC is considered a viable alternative.
As a well-studied supplement, I learnt many other benefits of NAC. For example, in summary, NAC can help the detoxification process in the body, regulate glutamate levels in our brain, reduce symptoms of some psychiatric disorders, and reduce addictive behaviour.
In addition, NAC can relieve respiratory condition symptoms, decrease inflammation in fat tissue, reduce insulin resistance, and increase immune function. To me, it is a miracle supplement. I had no noticeable side effects after occasional use of it, such as once or twice a week, around 600 mg, over the last five years.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
As an organic compound, Alpha Lipoic Acid can be found in all human cells inside the mitochondria. It is not only a profound antioxidant but also, as suggested by recent studies, it can play a role in weight management and support of other metabolic activities in the body.
My reason to include Alpha Lipoic Acid was as an occasional supplement to my diet due to vitamin C and vitamin E's recycling capability with this supplement. I don't supplement vitamins C and E.
Additional benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid that I learned about were slow skin aging, improving nerve function, lowering blood sugar levels, and reducing inflammation.
It was recommended to me by many bio-hackers who have advanced degrees or vast experience in various medical fields. Even though some side effects such as getting nauseated are documented, I did not experience any noticeable side effects by taking 600 mg occasionally, like once or twice a week, over the last several years.
Fitness and health supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry. There are ongoing ethnographic, academic, and clinical studies on many supplements globally.
As the word supplement implies, they are not the core nutrients. They are only supplements to fill a gap. Nothing can replace a balanced and nutritious diet suiting our genetic makeup.
However, some people may need supplements for various reasons, such as to address nutrient deficiencies and underlying health conditions, especially for metabolic issues. Some of us use them for preventative maintenance. It is an individual matter. There is no one fit all size about the supplements.
I am open-minded and try effective supplements by reading research and real-life experiences from those who tried them. After a reasonable trial, if they work, I include them in my fitness and health toolbox. If they don’t, I give up and share my experience.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.