T Nation

Neurotransmitters and Overtraining

If you take ephedrine and there is no increase in cAMP heart rate shouldn’t go up. Heck, I used to take ephedrine before bed to help me sleep (breathing better). So if you are not intensely active physically, a small dose of ephedrine might not increase heart rate.

Caffeine doesn’t increase HR in everybody. Especially if you are used to it it might not budge it in normal doses.

I talked about a while ago, 2Bs/people with high glutamate should not take glycine as it becauses excitory instead of inhibitory.

Does it apply for glutamine powder too? Or bone broths?

Why do you take ephedrine when you are teaching in some seminars?

Because adrenergic activity potentiates my performance tremendously. When I’m in a high adrenaline situation I perform a zillion times better, ephedrive increases that ten folds. Sadly, I always pay the price which is why I take it once per 4-6 weeks at the most.

Hello CT,

just wanted to report back in short.

Abstinence from screens helps, sleep helps the most and walking outside. The supplements aren’t that useful for the most part. I wish there was something to stop glutamatergic neurotransmission.

It’s been 6 weeks since I was in the gym training and I think it will take me another 2 at least until I’m able to train again.
I realized that there were a lot of unhealthy habits and thought patterns that lead to the adrenergic overstimulation. It wasn’t the gym but it contributed.

Thanks for your help.

Yep, the gym is almost never the main problem. In fact, in many cases it can help. Every stressful situation which releases cortisol will also increase adrenaline because cortisol increases the enzyme that converts noradrenaline into adrenaline. So constant stress/cortisol can lead to adrenergic desensitization

Thanks CT. Will hopefully prevent this state of burnout in the future. Listen to the body more.

If you allow one question, how could the gym help? With NCT? Do you have recommendations on how to start after such an absence?


You achieve a good sleep hygiene, unplug WiFi, black room, blocked blue light, no screens and all the other things are hype nowadays, plus control your training, stress management and reach a perfect state for getting a very good sleep.

But such escenario after some weeks, you keep waking in the middle of the night, you can’t fall asleep again, and your heart is pounding a bit.

I notice supplements are a good tool to manage neurotransmitters (not easy task btw) but I really find very difficult manage hormones on the “erratic circadian pulses” like I mentioned above. Supplements are not as useful here.

The unique pathway through the supplements I think could be doable is working on energy states in the morning, taking adrenal cortex for instance, instead a bunch of supplements at night or before going to sleep. It takes time regulate such cycles.

Have you experience it with clients or yourself?


Lions mane seems to be universal for all neuro types, but what’s your input in inositol? Some use it like an “neurotransmitter adaptogen”.

Is it more related to serotonin/gaba metabolism?

It comes to my mind Charles Poliquin being inositol an staple.

I love Lion’s mane. Inositol never did anything for me. And I never recommend it. Others things are much more effective. Adaptogens like ashwaganda, rhodiola and reishi can help balance all the neurotransmitters.

CT, I’m hoping you can help me out because I think I’ve become a neurotransmitter mess and dont know where to turn to straighten it out.
Just a brief background- Im turning 58 this summer and been training non stop since I as about 12. In order to cut up for summer I had found that cyclic keto (BodyOpus type diet) always worked best to lose the greatest amount of fat while retaining the most muscle.
As the yrs have gone by I have ben incurring more and more stress in my life which has been affecting my sleep tremendously and has been making it difficult for me to low carb. It’s gotten to the point where any type of calorie restriction even if not low carb stresses me. I only feel calm when over eating junk like pizza and ice cream all day. I can barely do a maintenance diet without my cortisol shooting up.
To compensate I adapted to a sort of an intermittent fasting type diet or a carb back load type of diet because I notice that I can do low carbs and low calories all day without it bothering me much. Therefore I saved the big carb meal for night time.
But even with the dinner time binge(which I need to fight to stay awake from) I still need to have a large amount of high insuligenic junk food/comfort food right before bed to knock me out. It almost works like a drug to knock me out. Otherwise I feel very stressed and resort to ambien prescribed by my GP.
I also get very cranky and irritable after the binge at dinner. Cortisol increase?
I’m not sure if I’m deficient in seratonin or GABA or both or if every neurotransmitter is off because if I have carbs during the day it’s like I got hit with a tranqulizer dart.
Getting desperate not sure how to tackle this. Sorry for long post.


I remember when you advised to take power drive post workout. In fact I tried and it worked.

With your neurotyping experience, do you think brain candy (caffeine free) post workout would be a good choice?

No, they don’t work via the same mechanism. Brain Candy works mostly by increasing dopamine and acetylcholine. You want these up before the workout starts (even at the beginning of the day). Someone could take a small serving of Z12 (1 ca) post-workout to help prevent what we call “CNS fatigue”

If z12 is taken with Mag10 pwo, do the peptides from Mag10 compete with some of its ingredients?



You recommend fix serotonin before GABA, when they are low or depleted, aren’t you?

When do you know serotonin is being fixed?

For serotonin, have you tried saffron?

I haven’t tried it but I will look into it.

When serotoninis low, you have adaptation issues: you get really upset when you need to make sudden changes of plans for example. You become anal about most things. Don’t want to take any chances. Are generally in a negative mood. Are constantly overthinging, etc.

When that improves you know that serotonin is getting better.


For desensitizing the adrenergic recpetors, would be a good approach in your Neurotyping model use the Bob Rakowski’s protocol of melatonin?

Our gut creates, on the average, more than 100 times the amount of chemistry than our brain has at any moment in time. One of those chemicals is melatonin. It is made at 400 times a higher level in the gut than it is in the brain. Our blood brain barrier is there to separate brain and body chemicals. Melatonin receptors reside in the adrenal cortex and they prevent the pituitary drive of cortisol. As a therapy, Dr. Rakowski has put patients on hourly doses (of 1 mg) of high quality liquid melatonin. The half-life of melatonin is about an hour. It pulls the plug on stress hormones. Seven to 10 days of hourly melatonin can break that central nervous system drive of stress hormones.

In a recent conversation:

But one of the things that I like to talk about is What l call it a stress reset or a Melatonin reset.

One of the things we know that Melatonin does is it actually binds to our stress glands, the adrenal glands, and prevents our central nervous system, our brains’ drive on stress. And maybe we have some technical listeners, but it actually binds to what’s called the adrenal cortical tropin receptor.

Just depending on how much detail we may want to go to in the end when we put the brakes on the stress response and I like to do it for about seven to 10 days with Melatonin every waking hour, we actually reset the body where it can actually start responding to its hormones.

A milligram is sufficient for almost everybody, but they will go up to three in some cases. And quite simply, once they take that Melatonin and it gets into the body, it’s going to actually start immediately buffering the stress response. And there’s a concept in the medical literature over the last decade called Cortisol resistance.

I think a lot of listeners have heard of something called insulin resistance where insulin doesn’t work as well anymore, so the body actually starts making more insulin and there’s some challenges with that because they had increased fat storage and increased inflammatory process, but as the body starts to ignore the effects of the stress Hormone Cortisol, we start losing the benefits of Cortisol, which is a very powerful antiinflammatory, so the body starts making more and more and more cortisol.

As the patient becomes less and less healthy, the body has a harder time clearing that and cortisol has a downside to too much of it. It actually breaks down lean tissue and then it stops or dramatically reduces its ability to control the inflammatory process and literally our brain and body can get more or less stuck in fight or flight with immune suppression, inflammation and just an inability to rest, recover experienced joy, and, and things that we needed on a daily basis to enjoy life and be healthy.

That’s interesting.

My main approach is to decrease adrenaline production for a short/medium period of time to resensitize the receptors as well as recreasing the binding of adrenaline.

Lowering cortisol is one of the main things to do as cortisol increases the conversion of noradrenaline into adrenaline.

Some strategies…

  1. Decreasing training stress (less volume, less intensity, less frequency… taking it easy for a few weeks)
  2. Increasing meal frequency and carbs
  3. Taking small doses of magnesium (glycinate or taurate) several times during the day to decrease adrenaline binding to the receptors
  4. Using small doses of glycine throughout the day (1-3g, 3-4 times per day) to lower cortisol and increase serotonin
  5. Using phosphatidylserine at 400mg twice per day
  6. Taking Rhodiola in the morning

Someone WILL feel less energetic during that protocol. Simply because you decrease adrenergic activity. But that is (IMHO) a necessary step to resensitize the receptors.

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