When the tough times are facing us down.
Then we need ways of handling stress. And what better time to that than now, since we’re constantly stressed these days with Covid, riots, layoffs, toilet paper shortages, etc, etc.
There are many different and very effective ways of managing stress, such as earthing, breathing and sunlight (the perfect health trio), as I explained in this vid.
But apart from things we can do, there are also things we can take. Most people think of adaptogens for stress, but what about adapto-phorians? (adaptogenic euphoric compounds)
After a week of hard work and training, I sure can do with some adapto-phorians.
Here’s what we are looking for.
Compounds that increase dopamine, endocannabinoids and opioids, while lowering excess cortisol. It makes you resilient to stress and euphoric at the same time. Adapto-phorians.
Check this article here
First up we have exercise.
Exercise is a great adapto-phorian and is great for relieving stress and getting rid of frustration. I can bet you that no matter how frustrated you were before the workout, you always feel great afterwards.
Exercise is mostly the catalyst in this equation. Because after training, we take the supps, and potentiate the feel-good effects from exercise.
After the workout, have a smoothie with carbs, cocoa and protein.
The protein will provide amino acids, such as phenylalanine and tyrosine for the production of dopamine.
Carbs will provide glucose for energy production in the brain. Carbs are the number use adapto-phorian. If your cells can’t produce energy effectively (from glucose), your body loses sensitivity to neurotransmitters and that’s when all kinds of mental conditions start.
Cocoa is frequently (unknowingly) used as an adapto-phorian. If you ever see someone stress eating on a chocolate, that person is reducing his/her stress with that chocolate.
Cocoa increases cognitive performance and decreases free dopamine urine excretion (R). Epicatechin (a flavonoid in cocoa) consumption increases tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) levels in both hippocampus (1.51-fold) and cortex (1.79-fold) and decreases monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) expression (which inhibits the breakdown of dopamine and serotonin) (R).
Cocoa causes a release of opioids, such as β-endorphins in the hypothalamus (R), thus producing a euphoric and pain-killing effect (R). I like to mix a tbsp raw cocoa in a glass of raw milk with some honey and a fruit like banana… tastes very wow. Cocoa can really lift up your mood, calm you down, make you feel happy and induce a pain-killing effect.
- 500ml milk
- 1 heaped teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- A splat vanilla essense
- 2 very ripe banana
Saffron supercharges the effect of exercise.
This study found that giving people 150mg pure saffron immediately after a workout leads to significantly higher levels of anandamide, 2-AG (2 endocannabinoids), dopamine and beta-endorphins (an opioid agonist). So you have activation on the endocannabinoid, opioid and dopamine receptors.
The name ‘anandamide’ is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “joy, bliss, delight”. It’s broken down by FAAH, so FAAH inhibitors should potentiate it even more.
Anandamide binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Interestingly, CB1 activation reduces NMDA activation (R), which is great against anxiety, but probably not the best if you want to have laser focus for long periods of time.
It’s would be best to use for relaxation and creative purposes.
β-endorphin is an agonist of the opioid receptors; it preferentially binds to the μ-opioid receptor. The hypothalamus responds to the pain signal by releasing β-endorphin through the periaqueductal grey network, which mainly acts to inhibit the release of GABA, a neurotransmitter which prevents the release of dopamine. Thus, the inhibition of GABA release by β-endorphin allows for a greater release of dopamine, in part contributing to the analgesic effect of β-endorphin.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. The leaves are chewed to relieve musculoskeletal pain and increase energy, appetite, and sexual desire in ways similar to khat and coca.
Anecdotal reports describe increased alertness, physical energy, talkativeness, sociability, sedation, changes in mood, and pain relief following kratom use at various doses.
Kratom is great for lowering stress since it lowers cortisol (R) and noradrenaline (R) very effectively, both of which can worsen a stress response. Furthermore it antagonizes the serotonin 5-HT2A and 2C receptors (R), which are involved in depression.
Kratom is a dopamine D2 agonist (R) and after prolonged use, it actually starts to increase dopamine production and release. Lastly, it’s a u-opioid agonist which induces a pain-killing and euphoric effect (R).
My experience with Kratom
I’m currently experimenting with e Green Malay strain, which is supposed to be calming and energizing at the same time.
When I take it and go out in nature with my wife, nature becomes crystal clear and beautiful. I also become totally immersed in the experience and don’t think about anything else that might be stressful or stuff that I still need to do, etc.
I’m in an all-around good mood and it definitely feels like it boosts creativity.
I feel no high or come down. I don’t feel the need to try higher doses or the need to take it more frequently. I also only use it 1-2 times per week.
As you might expect, people love combining stuff. Starting in the 2010s, a tea-based cocktail known as “4×100” became popular among some young people across Southeast Asia and especially in Thailand. It is a mix of kratom leaves, cough syrup (containing codeine or ephedrine, etc), Coca-Cola (perhaps this version still had the original coca leaf extract), and ice.
Some people also combine it with Phenibut. I’ve also tried this before.
#5 Mucuna pruriens
Mucuna pruriens contains L-dopa which is immediately converted to dopamine. The conversion is not rate-limited. The extra dopamine will boost the dopaminergic effect from Kratom for even more creativity and happiness.
If you want to use tyrosine or phenylalanine instead, pair it with some niacinamide. Read here why.
#6 Phellodendron amurense
Dopamine is broken down by both MAO-A and MAO-B, but moreso MAO-B.
Amur Corktree (Phellodendron amurense), Bakuchi Seed (Cyamopsis psoralioides), Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra/uralensis) and Babchi (R) are 4 of the best MAO-B inhibitors.
Phellodendron amurense is found in the supplement Relora, containing Magnolia as well. Relora has been found to lower indices of overall stress (−11%), tension (−13%), depression (−20%), anger (−42%), fatigue (−31%), and confusion (−27%), and increase indices of global mood state (+11%) and vigor (+18%) (R).
Magnolia actually also has the potential of abuse, since it has strong GABA-ergic (without the same withdrawal or dependence issues as benzos), cannabinoid and dopaminergic effects.
Honokiol, one of the main lignan in magnolia, shows full agonist properties at CB1 receptors, whilst acting as antagonist/inverse agonist at the CB2 receptor subtype. This is important, because CB1 increase and CB2 decreases dopamine release (R).
Interestingly, magnolol, honokiol, and THM show higher intrinsic activity at CB1 than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main cannabis euphoriant compound (R).
The problem with honokiol is that it has a short half-life. On the other hand, dihydrohonokiol (DHH) has a half-life of 4 to 6 hours and as well as a higher potency according to William Seeds, MD (R).
Some people combine Magnolia and Kratom for a synergistic euphoric effect. You can experiment between saffron and Magnolia to see which one you enjoy the most.
Protocol and stack
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10AM: hit the gym
10:30AM Drink the smoothie and take the following supplements
- 150mg Saffron (iHerb, Amazon) or 300mg Relora (iHerb, Amazon)
- 1/2 tsp Kratom
- Mucuna pruriens (optional if more dopamine is desired) (iHerb, Amazon)
12AM Go outside in the sun (sun exposure increases dopamine even more)