Comments made by TC when Spike first came out.
I do not recall how much caffeine was used in it.
I can take just one capsule before going to a social event, a card-game, a pick-up basketball game, whatever, and I dominate. I bet if I got on Jeopardy and took Spike, I?d run the board.
I first heard of the main ingredient in Spike from Charles Poliquin. After his heart attack in the mid-nineties (something that Charles? European doctors believe was caused by a congenital magnesium deficiency), he was given, among other things, a chemical called thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide.
After illness or major surgery, patients often suffer from asthenia, which is a collective term for weakness, loss of appetite and inability to concentrate, and thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide is often used in Europe to alleviate this condition.
A recent study seems to have confirmed its benefits in this regard as half of a test group of patients treated with thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide exhibited a complete withdrawal of asthenic symptoms, with another fifth showing substantial improvement.(1)
That?s cool, but I?m not suffering from asthenia, and it?s unlikely that you are, either. Regardless, that same chemical given to Charles, thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide, is now the main ingredient in Spike.
The chemical has been used in Europe for over 20 years for a variety of reasons. European pharmacists will tell you that the substance increases physical resistance to fatigue, improves neuromuscular efficiency, learning and memory, and that it improves metabolic function of the cerebral cortex. Fans of the chemical report all those things, but also normalized sleep patterns and even better, improved visual acuity! Students, too, have long been in love with it because of its ability to enhance concentration and it?s also quite effective in alleviating stress. There?s also evidence to suggest that it has positive effects on long-term memory formation.(2)
While relatively unknown in America, life extension types have long been intrigued by the molecule. John Morgenthaler, author of the book, Smart Drugs, describes thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide this way:
". . . is a new compound that has been described as being like Hydergine [a popular nootropic drug] only better. It has been shown to facilitate wakefulness, improve long-term memory, speed up reaction time, decrease anxiety, and increase overall resistance to stress."(3)
And then there?s the strength and endurance thing. It was, and probably still is a secret weapon for cycling pros. It also has a history as an underground bodybuilding supplement and was used by those who had connections to European pharmaceuticals. Users report instant increases in performance after just one dose.
So what is thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide? In chemical terms, it?s a precursor to the vitamin thiamine where two thiamine molecules are bound together by a disulfide bridge after opening of their respective thiazole rings.(4)
It?s a hydrophobic molecule that easily passes the blood brain barrier. It has a half-life of about 5 hours, and it reaches a peak concentration in the blood in 1-2 hours. The only side effects reported in the literature are the occasional headache or allergic skin reaction, in addition to mild agitation in the elderly.
The funny thing is, no one is sure how it works. It does increase neuronal membrane permeability, so this increased permeability might allow for some ionic changes that may in turn affect interactions between dopaminergic and glutamatergic transmissions in the prefrontal cortex. So, in short, it seems to affect "feel good" chemicals in the brain, thus its positive effects on behavior, cognition and attention.(5)
That explains (maybe) the brain enhancement stuff, but what about the positive effects on strength and endurance? One theory has to do with thiamine itself. The vitamin acts on cholinergic synaptic transmission and there?s some evidence that thiamine-deficient animals can?t increase acetylcholine release under conditions of increased physiological demand.(2) In other words, when it?s time for action, thiamine deficient animals can?t manufacture the chemical needed for the transmission of nerve signals.
The thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide in Spike has been observed to increase choline uptake by hippocampal neurons, thus resulting in an increase in synthesis and release of acetylcholine. That means it gives you more "go" when you need it!
Yet another theory indicates that thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide selectively binds to the reticular-activating system and the purkinje cells of the cerebellar cortex. It has procholinergic action on the cerebellum, striatum, hippocampus, and hypothalamus, with a stimulatory effect on motor activities and motivation.
Whether those theories explain Spike?s great effects, no one knows. Regardless, Spike is best understood by sampling it.
All of this is why Spike has become one of my favorite Biotest supplements. It?s hugely effective, doesn?t give me that crude jittery buzz that I used to get with ephedrine, and since it?s a derivative of thiamine, it might actually be good for me! Plus, it?s not outlawed by any sports organization--not that there?s even a blood test for the stuff!