Saturday, December 09, 2006

And now, for something completely different....

Over at the forums (yes, I go to the gym six days a week and lift weights 3 - 4 of those days, depending on the cycle at the time), I posted some reviews of common ingredients in nutritional supplements aimed at helping people sleep. Since I don't sleep very well (and never have), I've tried nearly all of them at one time or another. I figured I could share my experiences here as well, so that not just bodybuilders can benefit from my wisdom/foolishness.

I actually sleep a lot better since trying one supplement. But read on and find out (this is slightly edited from the original post here):

For me (focusing on ingredients, rather than specific brands here), this is what works and what doesn't:

Doesn't help me sleep any better, but it does give me more vivid dreams. Extremely vivid dreams, actually. When I was using this, I often found it took an hour or two after waking up before I could figure out that my dreams last night never really happened. However, that is at a 2 - 3 mg dose. At a 1 mg dose I don't notice much difference. The only reason I still take it is because it's part of Alacer's CMA (the name was recently changed to "Emergen-C Sleep Aid", probably for branding reasons and likely because the name CMA was too close to ZMA) formulation, and I otherwise love Alacer's products.

Awful stuff. I wake up groggy, unable to think. Clouds my brain like you wouldn't believe. I don't drink, but if I had to hazard a guess, when I take even small doses of this stuff, I figure this is what a major hangover would feel like.

Kava Kava:
Makes me unable to sleep, since it gives me a killer headache.

Decent. I sleep *a little* better. Whereas I usually wake up 10 times a night, with this I might only wake up 7 or 8 times a night. Not much, but I'll take what I can get. I haven't noticed any mood-enhancing or appetite suppressing effects, despite claims on the labels of several products.

The best stuff - in powder form. In pill form, this does nothing for me. In powder form, a 6-7 gram dose does wonders. (It's also sometimes billed as a Growth Hormone enhancer - but I have noticed no Growth Hormone enhancing or fat loss effects).

The one drawback to GABA is the side effect of shortness of breath and tingling of the skin. When I first tried this in powder form, it freaked me out - I was sure I was going to faint. Now that I expect it, it has actually become a signal for the best time for me to be in bed, trying to fall asleep. When the shortness of breath kicks in, if I stay up too much longer, I won't fall asleep as easily.

A lot of the other herbal supplements (Passionflower, Hops, Chamomile, etc.) have been useless for me.


Friar Tuck said...

You know I have never tried any supplements.

Ivan Wolfe said...

Well, generally they aren't worth it and a waste of time. The supplement industry is one based more on hype than science.

I only recommend trying them after serious investigation (there are some scientific studies on some supplements) and if you have a minor problem that you don't want to take prescription medicine for.

Otherwise stay away (except for a multi-vitamin). There are quite a few supplements that are rather harmful (like ephedra, which the FDA finally clamped down on).