February 27, 2018
You are not alone if your supplement drawer, refrigerator shelf and deep, dark pantry reveal an obvious need for improved thinking and a more logical, systematic approach to what you're shoving down your gaping maw.
Yep, there they are: the scattered supplement ruins of your attempt to be healthy. Bottle after bottle of half-used pills, tablets, capsules, powders and bottles that probably cost you a fortune to assemble (or worse yet, didn't because you snagged them from the bargain bin of your local supplements outlet). You may have no idea whether any of these supplements actually work for you – and even if they do, whether they may or may not cancel out each others’ effects when taken together.
So last week, I cleared up much of this confusion by publishing a complete guide to the supplements that I personally take, and how I time them, stack them and dose them.
But since publishing that article, I've received a host of questions about why I did not address any of the smart drugs and nootropics that I use. After all, on podcasts and previous posts, I've hinted about everything from my experiments with micro-dosing with LSD and psilocybin, to dumping spoonfuls of lion's mane mushroom extract into my morning coffee to using Chinese adaptogenic herbs for a pick-me-up, but folks seem to be quite curious as to what my most consistently used, stand-by nootropic of choice is. Sure there's a time and place for shroomies, Ayurvedic tactics, Asian herbs and beyond, but this article is all about simplicification.
So in today's post, I'm going to fill you in on why – to reduce decision-making fatigue and to clean up my supplement drawer – I've dumped and ditched spending too much time on most of these strategies to rely instead on one relatively simple solution: Qualia.
What The Heck is Qualia?
First, if you read my blog post “Does A God Pill Exist?” or you listened to my podcast on “42 Different Ways To Build A Better Brain, The Problem With Modern Smart Drugs, Hacking Your Neurons & More.“, then you already know quite a bit about why I'm convinced that Qualia is the most advanced, complete, safe and legal nootropic that currently exists (especially considering that, unlike psychedelics like LSD or smart drugs like Modafinil, you don't have to use the dark web, cryptocurrency, a physician's prescription or a back alley to procure it).
Should you need a quick refresher, below is the very brief story of how I discovered Qualia in the first place (or read this for a more comprehensive, scientific explanation). In this video, I happened to be in Santa Monica with actress Rachelle Brooks Smith, where we shot a whole video series (coming soon) on our morning routines, supplements of choice, favorite exercises and workouts, etc. And yes, I did my hair for this video, which is quite out of the ordinary.
Try Qualia here and enter coupon code greenfield2018 for 10% off your first order or 15% off a monthly subscription
In short, Qualia is a nootropic supplement, not a “drug”. Nootropics are natural ingredients which may elevate your mental capacity and mood to new standards of clarity, willpower, and focus. But as your supplement drawer may attest, that may not happen if you buy dozens of other separate brain-boosting products and supplements with no knowledge of how they interact with food, with sleep, or with each other.
Ending the wastefulness and confusion surrounding mental enhancement products is exactly why Qualia exists. Its 42 different ingredients (more details on those ingredients and their purpose below) are formulated to produce a mental improvement noticed by most people within about 30 minutes, including focus, mental energy, mood enhancement, and productivity. And yes, that includes beating out your daily cup o' Joe, which is why I only drink decaf on the 3-4 days of the week I take Qualia. Think of it this way: Qualia is to coffee what a Ferrari is to a used hatchback.
Qualia was designed to do the hard neuroscience for you. Imagine Qualia as the mental enhancement supplement that makes cobbling together your own do-it-yourself nootropic stack a thing of the past.
But surprisingly, Qualia's benefits don't stop with the brain.
But what has surprised many, is a large number of biohackers reporting increased athletic performance from Qualia as well.
Why? And how could that be occurring from a mind enhancement product?
Beyond The Brain: Qualia's Brain/Brawn Connection
After noticing the effect of Qualia on my workouts, I did a research deep-dive to look into Qualia’s ingredient list, and it turns out, quite a few of the ingredients play a role in benefitting brain but, from muscle to mitochondria, also play a role in benefitting brawn. These are also bonuses of Qualia that could drastically declutter your drawer of pills, potions, and powders.
For example, when exercising, your muscle cells demand high blood flow. You already know that, no doubt. To meet this demand, blood flow needs to be as effective as possible in delivering oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, and cells need to be as efficient as possible in producing ATP.
Molecules that promote blood flow and widening of blood vessels (called vasodilation) can improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to skeletal muscle. Additionally, molecules that stimulate cellular metabolism can enhance the rate of ATP production, leading to improved performance and endurance.
It turns out that Qualia contains at least eight molecules – specifically theobromine, L-theanine, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, magnesium, and N-acetyl-L-carnitine – all of which are documented to promote blood flow and/or increase cellular metabolism and energy production.
Even an ingredient like vinpocetine, widely included in nootropic stacks to improve cerebral blood flow and also used in several studies to reduce traumatic brain injury and concussion symptoms, has also been demonstrated to increase blood flow in peripheral blood vessels. Vinpocetine even has cardioprotective effects, with a possible role in regulating heart rate.
Then there’s Qualia’s inclusion of magnesium, which has been shown to enhance exercise performance by increasing the availability of glucose in the blood and muscles and by increasing lactate clearance in the muscle during exercise. There is evidence that magnesium supplementation may enhance athletic performance in individuals of all ages.
In addition, Qualia’s vitamin B6 form, pyridoxal-5′-phosphate, is a cofactor for enzymes with key roles in fueling metabolism and energy production during exercise, and the conversion of lactic acid to glucose in the liver. Qualia contains pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) which can improve cellular metabolism and energy production by increasing the biogenesis of mitochondria and improve mitochondrial efficiency. It also contains curcumin which has been shown to enhance the effect of exercise on mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle.
You get the point. Qualia isn’t just the most legit brain stack, but it doubles as a great brawn stack, with ingredients shown to promote all sorts of factors contributing to exercise performance.
And then there's the fact that many Qualia users are also reporting faster workout recoveries…
Qualia’s Possible Role In Workout Recovery
Oxidative stress determines a lot about your physical performance. During exercise, muscle contraction, coupled with increased cellular metabolism and oxygen consumption, lead to the production of reactive oxygen species, potentially causing excessive oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species can alter cellular structure and function, and contribute to muscle damage and fatigue.
Antioxidants can minimize oxidative damage to skeletal muscles, thereby reducing muscle fatigue, inflammation, and soreness. Molecules with strong antioxidant action can bind free radicals and increase the production of antioxidant enzymes. Qualia contains at least a dozen ingredients with antioxidant effects, such as vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin D3, zinc, PQQ, N-acetyl-L-carnitine, quercetin, green tea extract, mucuna pruriens, artichoke extract, rhodiola rosea and gynostemma.
And there are other logical explanations for why Qualia may aid in physical recovery following exercise. Qualia’s quercetin may also improve blood flow, decrease inflammation and reduce oxidative stress. Qualia also contains Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid with an important function as a structural component of cell membranes. DHA has shown beneficial effects in protecting muscular tissue by reducing some markers of muscle damage and inflammation following exercise.
As I've written about before, aside from green tea polyphenols and hydrogen-rich water, you'd still want to stack any high antioxidant intake not to close to an exercise session, so my current modus operandi is to take Qualia Step One in the morning on an empty stomach when I wake, then to do my morning fasted exercise session, then to take Qualia Step Two with either breakfast or lunch after the workout.
What Else Is In This Stuff?
Each ingredient included in Qualia is based on a whole system design methodology. This means that the team at Neurohacker Collective have taken singular care to understand the specific effects of 42 different ingredients and how they combine with each other to effect the mind, brain and body interface.
They pulled this off by engaging in a rigorous examination of something called “neuropsychopharmacology“, an interdisciplinary science that combines psychopharmacology (which is the study of how chemicals affect the mind) and neuroscience (which is the study of the neural mechanisms that chemicals act upon to influence behavior).
The team at Neurohacker Collective performed a comprehensive analysis of neuroscience research to determine the underlying regulatory hardware responsible for mediating the desired subjective and performative effects they wanted to get out of a pill. Along the way, their goal stayed constant: to magnify all normal and healthy physiologic pathways and processes, with the goal of evolving a more robust and complex neural network and regulatory system functioning.
The end result was 42 different ingredients split into 7 different categories, and below you will find a full list of Qualia’s ingredients and categories. You can click here for very intense, nitty-gritty details about why they included these specific compounds in this stack and to read more of the research behind the formulation.
Category 1: Nootropic Compounds.
These are psychoactive and neuroactive chemicals that play key roles in modulating receptor sites, synaptic enzymes, membrane structures, cerebral perfusion, biogenic processes, neuroendocrine regulation and more.
Noopept (very similar to Racetam)
Pure Energy (Pterostilbene bound to Caffeine)
Category 2: Choline Donors.
These are active forms of choline donors that work through different pathways in the peripheral and central nervous system to support acetylcholine levels, along with the other synergistically stacked cholinergics (acetyl donors, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, racetamic compounds, etc.)
Citicoline (CDP Choline)
Category 3: Amino Acids
These are the building blocks for key neurotransmitters and hormones, and agents that are part of the processes of cellular energy production, osmoregulation, signaling, antioxidation, neurogenesis, and neuroprotection.
Category 4: Neuro-Vitamins
These are key limiting factor vitamins in specific activated forms required for major neuroregulatory and neurodevelopmental processes.
Vit B1 as Benfotiamine
Vit B3 as Niacinamide
Vit B5 as Calcium Pantothenate
Vit B6 as Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P-5-P)
Vit B12 as Methylcobalamin
Vit C as Ascorbic Acid
Vit D3 as Microencapsulated Cholecalciferol
Category 5: Adaptogen Extracts
These herbal adaptogens are concentrating active compounds while maintaining complex synergistic co-factors – supporting adrenal/ HPA regulation, long-term potentiation, AMPK activation, neurogenesis, catecholamine production, tissue regeneration, and many regulatory functions.
Bacopa Monnieri: 55% Bacosides
Mucuna Pruriens: 98% L-Dopa
Ginkgo Biloba: 24% glycosides, 6% terpene lactones
Coleus Forskohlii: 20% Forskolin
Artichoke Extract: 5% Cynarin
Rhodiola Rosea: 3% Rosavins, 1% Salidrosides
Lion’s Mane: 30% polysaccharides
Category 6: Neuro-Minerals
These are limiting factor minerals required for major neurochemical regulatory processes in forms that are bioavailable and can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Category 7: Neuro-Anti-inflammatories and Antioxidants
These are synergist compounds that support nutrient transport and utilization, cytokine and eicosanoid modulation, neurotrophin factors, redox reactions, cholesterol regulation, and much more.
Green Tea Extract: 98% polyphenols, 45% EGCG
And lest you think these raw ingredients are sourced from out-dated, giant wooden bins in China where they're getting sprayed with ethylene oxide and other preservatives, then take heart.
These folks are using, for lack of a better phrase, high-quality s&*t.
For example, all the Qualia ingredients are chosen based on the strong empirical basis of their safety and efficacy. They take into account several kinds of research: Phase II & III university and clinical trials, quantified self-research data, and over 40+ years international research on nootropic stack formulation.
All the ingredients are tested for heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticides, and other forms of environmental toxin, and ensured to be at levels far lower than FDA GMPs requirements. No silica, magnesium stearate, animal, or toxic binders or fillers are used.
They use only high-quality raw ingredients, many of which come from patented sources and are considered “best in class” in the supplements industry. (e.g. BioPerine piperine, pTeroPure pterostilbene, etc.)
They concentrate each ingredient to the highest potency and bioavailability currently commercially possible, and all their herbs and botanicals are standardized for potency and purity of active ingredients. Every single ingredient that Neurohacker Collective uses arrives from a supplier with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) ensuring its purity and potency. Then they go a step further and batch test every ingredient coming in by using the most advanced chromatography and spectrometry available and the same spendy kind of lab analysis techniques I talked about in this behind-the-scenes supplement interview with the lead physician at Thorne, including, in addition to batch testing raw materials coming in, pulling bottles of market-ready product and verifying the formulation inside each capsule. All their nutraceuticals are in the most biologically active form for the purpose intended (i.e. methylated, acetylated, phosphorylated, L-form, D-form, etc). The form of the nutrient makes orders of magnitude difference to its effectiveness.
In addition to Neurohacker Collective‘s manufacturing lab, they also have a research & development lab where they produce and test dozens of iterations of their nootropic formulations. They have had over two years of internal testing demonstrating safety and efficacy, and have consulted dozens of doctors, researchers, and formulators in the development of Qualia.
Yes, it's vegan.
And gluten-free, lest you not want bread with your smart drugs.
No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners.
Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) vegetarian capsules. Fancy word for fiber, basically.
And here, in all its glory, is what Step One and Step Two actually look like, should you be concerned about branding and aesthetics and color (the protocol is quite simple: wake up and take Step One on an empty stomach then Step Two with your next meal).
Summary (& A One Month, Money Back Qualia Challenge)
Alright, so let's say you want to try this stuff for yourself, especially when it comes to experiencing how it can vastly simplify your supplement routine – not just for a brain-boosting effect, but also for exercise performance and recovery.
1. Measure your exercise performance in the metrics you care about: reps, speed, recovery time, etc. I personally use the Oura ring to measure most of these parameters.
2. Keep other factors such as diet and workout routine as similar as possible for a month.
3. Take all your individual antioxidants, muscle recovery products, energy enhancers, and metabolism boosters, and put them in jail for a month, or give them to your neighbor.
4. Subscribe to Qualia here using coupon code greenfield2018 and get 15% off your first purchase (that's on top of the first-month special price offered for subscribers). They also give a full 100-day money-back guarantee if the product doesn’t work for you. They even let you keep the bottles. No tricks or catches. The folks at Qualia that confident (admittedly, I am too).
5. A month later, see where your tracked metrics are at. If there’s no drop-off, you’ve just replaced countless products with just one (let alone if there are actual improvements).
Ultimately, you'll find Qualia pays for itself for all the recovery products, exercise enhancers and nootropics/smart drugs it allows you to eliminate from your regimen (and all this is above and beyond its primary use for focus, clarity, and mood enhancement).
Start your 1-month experiment with Qualia right now. And make the redundant and excessive products jamming your supplement drawer, go find a new home. Keep me posted on what you discover, and leave your questions, comments and feedback below.
24 thoughts on “How To Cut Your Supplement Regimen In Half And Clean Up The Massive Confusion In Your Supplement Drawer”
Thanks for the information! Sounds like a pretty incredible supplement. Wondering if there are any specific diet requirements that should be adhered to before and during use. Cheers!
I don't really believe in any "one-size-fits-all" diet. Check out this article: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/nutritio… for some guidance. Also, I'm happy to help with a personalized nutrition plan as well: BenGreenfieldFitness.com/coaching
See so many people in the states taking insane amounts of supplements, its NOT good for your liver.
You really need to take stock. Only take what you need.
I don’t believe Qualia uses Noopept anymore.
did you say Qualia has noopept and > 40 ingredients??????
I am confused. Per Qualia’s suggested use “as a dietary supplement, take 6 capsules with breakfast or lunch” but your article suggests taking Qualia in two steps. Do you take 6 capsules twice or do you cut them down to 3 capsules in step one and 3 in step two?
There are two steps. Step one is to be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then step two is taken with food. Instructions can be found in this article and on the website.
any concerns with long-term use of piperine (BioPerine)? While definitely proven to increase bioavailability, long-term it isn’t good for the gut (increases intestinal permeability & can exacerbate gastric reflux problems) nor for reproductive health, see below (excerpt from Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition, Stephen Harrod Buhner):
“the impacts on the male reproductive system are more severe. When taken as a supplement continued oral intake of piperine decreases the weight of the testes, lowers sperm production, decreases intracellular testosterone, and decreases the fertilizing capacity of sperm. Constant piperine intake has deleterious effects on the Leydig cells, epididymis, and seminiferous tubes even at doses of 1 mg/kg of body weight (that is, roughly, 70 to 80 mg daily for an adult male).
Piperine should primarily be used for short-term treatment of acute conditions.”
Excerpt From: Stephen Harrod Buhner. “Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/herbal-antibioti…
Hi Michael. I cover your Q in this episode with Thomas Delauer: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/recovery…
Thanks for the response Ben!
I read the transcript (of the podcast you cited), and that’s helpful. But with regards, to Qualia, what does one do if they are interested in the product but not interested in taking piperine long-term?
I think you're going to have to weigh the pros and cons and determine that for yourself.
How long should you wait to take any antioxidants after exercise?
Hey Qualia. It’s one of the people who did not feel *anything* from your product. We talked and discussed it.
Well, today, nearly a year later, I want you to know I am willing to try it again, but this time, I am herb free (meaning I have not smoked in nearly six months) and have been eating cleanly for even longer. In short, I am in a perfect place to try and see if this product has an effect on me this next time. Kindly let me know.
Thanks and warm regards,
Great! Please let us know how it works for you this time and if it still doesn’t get in touch for a refund.
THAT is a damn good advertisement.
When you say – Take all your individual antioxidants, muscle recovery products, energy enhancers, and metabolism boosters, and put them in jail for a month, or give them to your neighbor.
Does that mean you aren’t taking any of the supplements mentioned in your post – Ben Greenfield’s Ultimate Supplement Guide – Your Complete Resource For Supplementing Choice, Timing, Dosing & More?
If you still are taking some, which ones with Qualia?
Are you still dissolving hydrogen tablets in your morning water, snorting intranasal glutathione daily, taking 5g of creatine per day?
I’d like to know this also. Using Thorn Elite+++. Thx.
I have the same questions. What supplements, if any would still be good to take with Qualia?
In off days, which supplements to take?
Ben, you mention that you take qualia 3-4 days per week. Which days and why?
Can you still to decaf coffee with butter and fat in it?
What about your aminos, should those be taken/stacked. And, curious, will the aminos affect your intermittent fast?
I still take some supplements, mainly the Kion ones mentioned. I do what works for me and my schedule, you have to decide what works best for you. The main point was that Qualia can replace many of the supplements, not all. Aminos can still be taken and will not affect your fasting. I would refer to this guide: https://getkion.com/articles/body/nutrition-body/…
Ben – can/should this be used on race day? Is it like a training tool to assist with focus, strength, endurance, recovery, etc making you more ready for competition much like the workouts completed daily or is this like a boost to the system like caffeine, giving you an extra punch on race day (assuming you back off caffeine before race day to feel the effects when you need it)? If it can be used on race day, how would you recommend stacking it for endurance races 3hr races, 9 hour races and 15-20 hour races? Thanks so much!
Yes it can be. Its benefits are all listed in the article! If you're interested in help with training/supplement stacks, I'd be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one consult. Just go to https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/coaching and then choose a 20 or 60-minute consult, whichever you'd prefer. I can schedule ASAP after you get that.
Could you take the Qualia in conjunction with Mike Mahler’s Testosterone Booster? The only thing I would be concerned about is too much mucuna pruriens. What do you think?
You can stack additional supplements on top of Qualia, but we recommend you try Qualia by itself for a week or so first so you get a sense of how it works for you and your chemistry and then can determine if you want to add additional items on top of it. We also recommend you check the dosages of what you are adding against that of Qualia so you are not doubling up unnecessarily.