T Nation

Supplements to Optimize Focus & Concentration?

Hi guys, coach,

I’m back with another question about supplementation :smiley:

For all the type 3’s out there, what is your approach for increased focus and concentration during the workouts but also for the rest of the day?

It is generally known that 3’s overproduce cortisol & adrenaline, increasing the risk for adrenergic desensitization. The more adrenaline you need, the more norepinephrine, which is needed for concentration, gets depleted.

Therefore, what would be the best supplementation strategy to not only maintain focus, but also increase information retrieval & learning speed?

  1. Taking acetylcholine precursors
  2. Focusing on decreasing adrenaline & giving the adrenergic receptors a much needed break via magnesium (taurate, glycinate), taurine, b6 (p5p)

I’m asking because I’d like to keep my supplement stack as minimal as possible. Taking a ton of supplements to maintain health feels kind of wrong to me.

Also, is it better to cycle supplements like magnesium, zinc, b vitamins etc. to avoid homeostasis and remain sensitive to them?

Thanks & have a good one!

Have you looked at Ashwagandha, dont ‘cycle’ minerals as they are not supplements they are nutrients, ensure sufficent levels! supplemental dose’s if necessary.

I’ve used ashwagandha for a long time. It’s definitely a qualitative supplement.

Having said that, it feel that it’s function is mostly adaptogenic in the sence that it provides balance for the adrenals (preventing overproduction of cortisol and indirectly adrenaline) and the nervous system (balancing dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin levels) rather than increasing focus directly.

It does help a bit because there’s less conversion of noradrenaline to adrenaline but it’s not as effective for maximum focus and concentration. I used to take it for anxiety and depression purposes.

I recently started drinking green tea, that was a big help! Because you get a little bit amped up from the caffeine but the L-theanine in there keeps your feet on the ground.

Thanks for taking the time to help me out though, appreciate it!

I would simply use Brain Candy (ideally). Don’t overcomplicate things. It honestly has everything you need. It is by far the best nootropic that I’ve used and it’s kinda paying for the free forum and articles you guys are getting :wink:

YES, sometimes you have to go with individual ingredients to formulate an optimal mix. But in the specific case you mentioned, Brain Candy does the job. And if you feel getting too amped up, go with Power Drive which will still boost acetylcholine and dopamine but is a tad milder.

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Essentially I recommend:

Brain Candy or Power Drive AM or 30-45 min before the workout
Glycine (3-5g) and magnesium taurate or threonate (which might be even better) post-workout

Informative and to the point, thanks for that Christian!

Just 3 short questions if you don’t mind:

  • Do you implement off days for the nootropics to keep your brain sensitive?
  • There’s 20mg of B6 in power drive. I also use B complex which has 5.5 mg of B6. Do high amounts of B6 create nerve damage when taken long term?
  • Do you cycle amino acids like glycine and taurine depending on the phase (accumulation, intensification) or is it ok to use them year round?

The main issue is not so much sensitivity but the fact that any supplement that increase dopamine production will lower serotonin and over time that could become problematic. Similarly, supplements that increase serotonin will lower dopamine levels.

That’s why do you do need “off” days with supplements acting on dopamine. I like to have a dopamine-boosting supplement like Brain Candy on the days I train and a serotonin supplement on off days

There is no issue if you B6 intake doesn’t exceed 100mg/day. So you’re completely fine.

It’s honestly not periodized. But if there is no need for it (e.g. easier workouts, less life stress, etc.) I won’t have someone use it.

Coach, you’re the best :pray:!

I asked the cycling question because of an article I read on thibarmy. It was written by your colleague/friend Stéphane Aubé in which he gave some recommendations on supplements for heavy and bodybuilding lifting sessions.

He advises using different supplements depending on the nature of the session (heavy or bodybuilding oriented). In my head I made the transfer to glycine + mag for int phase and taurine for acc phase.

From his article I understood that when you switch supplements depending of the nature of the workout, they will keep their effect longer and you can avoid supplement tolerance over time.

BC is really something amazing. I’ve been using it continuously for 8+ years now…

95% of the time the moment I take it (always empty stomach/fasted), a “switch” seems to flip making perception/feeling much crisper and happier. There have been a few times where after taking it i get a “brain dead feel”…like wiped out lethargic or demotatived (5%). Usually these happen to coincide with extremely stressful days.

I also have preferred sipping it (literally a few drops on tongue) and coasting through 1/2 a bottle over an hour or so.

It’s a definitely different (better) feeling than preworkouts, standalone coffee (more “aggression”, /lack of empathy whereas BC makes very empathetic/social).

Sounds like I’m sharing a drug trip…

Honestly, Stef is much more knowledgeable about supplements than I am. That’s why he works for me :slight_smile:


I’m reflecting on that in the vast population that habitually consumes coffee anecdotally I don’t believe them to restrict themselves to 2-4 cups when equating cup to the size of whatever container they drink out of despite cup being ~1.25dl. I admit I oftentimes overdo my coffee consumption, despite being “in the know”.

If overdoing coffee somewhat routinely would off-days alone — in theory — be adequate to allow serotonin to be restored or what supplements would be suitable to employ?

Curious how SSRIs are being prescribed ever more…