[0:00] Introduction/ Spartan Agoge
[2:24] Harry’s Razor
[3:45] Organifi Fitlife Green Juice
[4:56] Introduction to this Episode
[8:59] About Zach Burks
[9:44] How Zach Got Involve in Mysterious World of Electronic Sports
[12:21] The Physical Fitness Demands of Playing eSports…
[16:04] What’s Going On as Far as Health Risk is Concern About Playing Video Games
[21:38] The “Under-The-Radar” Kind of Smart Drugs or Supplements These Athletes Are Using
[27:30] The Difference Between Supplements Used as Stimulants and Supplements Used for Calming Effects
[28:49] How Drug Testing in eSports Works…
[31:59] The Best Smart Drug and Nootropic Stacks Being Used in Gaming
[50:07] Stuff That Zach Wanna Get Out in the World
[58:27] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield. As you are listening to this podcast episode, I’m somewhere in the backwoods of Vermont competing in the 60-hour Winter Suffer Fest called The Spartan Agoge. You can check that out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/agoge. That’s a-g-o-g-e. Considering it is supposed to be about -10 degrees where I’m competing, I may or may not survive this ordeal, and I’m probably frostbitten right now. So, as is likely obvious to you, you weren’t going to get the normal weekly Q & A that I release on Wednesday with my podcast sidekick Rachel, but I do have a pretty fun episode for you today. I’m gonna keep it a mystery until I’m done telling you about today’s supporters and sponsors, but I think you’ll enjoy it. I think you’ll dig it especially if you like computers, gaming, World of Warcraft, stuff like that. But I wanna tell you about today’s sponsor.
So, our first sponsor actually has something that I’ve been using quite a bit lately. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of traction. If you have attached to giant bands to like a pole or something in the weight room, and done traction on your shoulder, traction on your knees, traction on your feet. Incredible way to open up a joint space, and increase the amount of synovial fluid in that joint space. I’m now doing this almost every single morning for my shoulders, my knees and my ankle. Roll out of bed and for about ten minutes I just do a little TLC for my body.
Well, the company that actually sells this mobility bands is called Onnit. Now Onnit sells a ton of fitness essentials. Functional foods, supplements like the Alpha Brain that we talk about in today’s episode, but these bands are also something that you’ll find on Onnit website and you get a discount on all their fitness gear, their foods, their apparel, their supplements, everything when you go to onnit.com/bengreenfield. You don’t have to know a discount code or anything like that. Just go to onnit.com/bengreenfield, and what you wanna look for is the mobility bands, and you can use something like Kelly Starrett’s book “Becoming a Supple Leopard” to learn how to use these traction bands to literally knock pain and tightness out of just about any joint in your body. They work really well.
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This podcast finally is brought to you by one of my favorite new additions to my morning smoothie. A gently dried super food powder. So this super food powder has the following in it. Chlorella, moringa, spirulina, mint, beets, matcha green tea, wheat grass, ashwagandha, turmeric, lemon, coconut water and it’s sweetened with monk fruit and monk fruit is not a super duper sweet compound. Well, it’s sweet but it doesn’t raise your blood sugar. It’s got an extremely low glycemic index, so it’s not gonna like rip you out of ketosis or something like that if you’re following a low carb diet, if you’re one those people. But it tastes amazing. It’s really, really good. It’s not the kind of green juice that makes you pucker up. So how can you get this stuff? You go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi and you use discount code mentioned there, and you get a whole 20% off of this green juice powder. It’s a really good deal. Bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi and use 20% discount code mentioned there.
Alright. I hope you’re ready to talk about drugs and spending copious amounts of time on a computer, and much more. Let’s do this.
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:
“Imagine a stadium where instead of a football field it’s a whole ground, and that is called duty field or something, and you can watch people throwing grenades, and rockets, and helicopters and it’s right there, it’s live. Imagine instead of going to the movies, you can go to a stadium and watch something like that. It’s a huge industry. It’s estimated to grow over five hundred million per year within the next 2 years, and something that I really want people to realize is that, it needs to take off.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey folks, its Ben Greenfield, and I want you to stop for a moment and imagine a stadium full of screaming fans, and then zoom in on the contestants and they’re just sweating, and they’re teeth are gritting from the intensity of the competition. So what do you think this could be boxing, or MMA, or basketball, or tennis, or maybe American Ninja Warrior? It’s actually electronic sports also known as eSports, and athletes I’m referring to are typically like headset-wearing, energy-drink-guzzling, smart drug-popping gamers. And frankly, this sport is booming.
The tournaments that they have for eSports draw crowds that literally rival the biggest traditional sporting events. Their live streams online usually get a hundred thousand plus viewers. Companies like Coke, and Nisan, and Red Bull sponsor the tournaments. Last year, over 205 million people watched or played eSports. And if you compare this to like the World Series of Poker or the Super Bowl, basically the League of Legends Championship which is a championship in eSports wear and my guest expert today is gonna be able to talk on this a little bit more intelligently where they play league of legends against each other.
Apparently, that sold out the Staples Center when they had it there, and then, when they had it a year later in Seoul, Korea, it sold out their 40,000 seat World Cup stadium and had an online audience of 27 million people. And these things pay out too. We’re talking about millions of dollars in prize money for winning these type of competitions. So moms if you’re listening in, you may wanna actually encourage your kids to keep playing video games if you want them to be able to take care of you in retirement.
Anyways though, the reason I’m talking about this and the reason that I got an expert in this particular field of eSports on the show today is because it’s not just like online fun, and gaming, and money. There are some pretty significant health risks and fitness implications associated with this sport. There’s drugs, there’s drug testing, there’s the physiological effects in having your senses constantly bombarded with blue light, and glaring screens, and Bluetooth, and wifi.
And so, in today’s episode we’re not just gonna talk about electronic sports and what they are, but we’re gonna talk about drugs, drug doping, the health effects of this stuff, and my guest today, his name is Zach Long. Zach owns NuSups. NuSups is basically like a nootropic and smart drug company, and he has a wide range of specialties. The action was quite a bit. I’ve emailed Zach back and forth quite a bit, and he started his career in the US Army and then he moved on to business. But what he studies in particular is performance enhancing drugs, and gaming, and nootropics, and smart drugs in general and his company NuSups even does things like sponsor gamers who are looking to go pro. So he is pretty involved with this industry, and Zach, I wanna welcome you for coming on the show today.
Zach: Thank you, Ben. I’m glad to be here.
Ben: Sweet. So dude, I’m just curious. How’d you get involved in this mysterious world of electronic sports?
Zach: Well, you know it’s kinda funny, eSports found me in the sense of getting involved. I didn’t go out of my way and try to play call duty professionally, or anything like that, but through my business adventures with nootropics, and smart drugs, I realize that the most probably profitable sector of people would be the gamers in the sense of, they’re gonna see the most out of this. I found out because if you look into it in the history of things, smart drugs were being taken by Olympic athletes way before eSports even came around.
In early 90s, there’s been a history of taking different nootropics and smart drugs for competition sports in the Olympics like cross country skiing, or the different marathon events that require a lot of endurance. So I started looking into that, and then I realized that gamers don’t have anything like this other than Red Bull and Monster.
And I reached out, I started talking to a few, I gave them some samples, and they all swore up and down by it. So I started really getting into it. And dive down in, and it’s really an interesting kind of industry now because it’s growing so big, it’s got such an influence on our society in a way that most people can even fathom because if you think about the age spectrum of these professional athletes and what it does to them, and health risk associated with it, it really is gonna change the way that our society looks at sports. And that’s why something, I don’t know if you ever saw the movie Gamer? You ever see that with…
Zach: Oh, it’s about this guy who’s in prison and it’s in the future, and what the inmates can do is they can play a video game, well they don’t play the video game. A gamer plays the game, and they are the character of the game, and they like, it’s like Call of Duty. So it’s like prison inmates shooting each other, and if they win, they get out. But it’s just a futuristic look of how gaming could be in the future and when people think of 2050, they don’t think of watching the Super Bowl like we just watched recently. They think of something different. They think of a futuristic sport, and that’s kinda where eSports is going. And that’s why it’s so interesting to kinda look into, and study and be part of.
Ben: That’s crazy. So these athletes like, what are they like? Honestly dude, like my experience with eSports is I used to play World of Warcraft, right when World of Warcraft first became multiplayer online, I would be on there for like 2 or 3 hours a day, but nobody was paying out, there was no money involved, there weren’t people watching this thing on Youtube, but when we talk about these athletes, what kind of people are they? I mean, are these like ‘it’ people or are they all just like fat with neck beards in their mom’s basement, or like what kind of athletes are we talking about?
Zach: (laughs) You know, it’s funny that you would say that especially coming from a World Warcraft background. You know, it really depends. What I found is there’s different caliber of athletes. There’s the sixteen year old who streams on Twitch and has a Twitter account set up and you know, they’re just a teenager. They’re trying to go pro, but they can play on online tournaments because that’s the way that it’s set up. So they could be considered a professional athlete if they’re winning tournaments with the team of other say high schoolers.
But then there’s a more serious athlete which is the ones that are saying our professional teams like Cloud Nine. Now when you have a serious team like this that plays in championships like you talked about the League of Legend championship that twenty seven million viewers. When you have a caliber of athlete like that, they’re playing probably 8 to 12 hours a day. They’re going through concerted training just like how a pro athlete, a basketball athlete would spend so much time in the court, but they probably logged more time because there’s not that wear and tear on the body because you can only play so much basketball before you know, I gotta go rest.
Ben: What kind of wear and tear is going on in the body, like are there tests where they’ve looked at things like, for example like race car drivers right, they’re in a sedentary position somewhat, but their cardiovascular fitness and also the cardiovascular implications of driving a race car, it’s through the roof. The combination of adrenaline, and epinephrine, and heat, and you know, shifting the car, shifting your body. Their heart rates will be in excess of a 150 plus beats per minute during a multi-hour event. For these gamers, has anybody ever actually studied like what’s going on physiologically as far as how hard their heart is beating, or how high their core temp is going, or anything like that?
Zach: Well actually yeah, that’s the interesting thing because, no it’s not gonna be like race car driving where you’re gonna be studying it with multiple different scientists from different angles of the G Force and things like. ‘Cause that’s gonna have some serious immediate health risk to it. But the studies that had been sponsored, there were some series of studies, and it was actually by the legal legends creators, they did a series of studies on the negativity of the community because I’m sure you’re aware when you play World Warcraft, or if you ever have children, and you kind of watched them or hear them while their yelling at their Xbox. It’s not a nice environment, you’re not gonna talk about your feelings with your buddies on there, you’re gonna defend your mother.
Ben: Right. So, in terms of what we’re seeing with health risks associated with gaming, I’d imagine that the health risks probably, I’m just has been a guess here, exceed the actual health benefits of sitting around playing video games for ungodly periods of time trying to win money.
Ben: But what do you see as far the health risk, like what’s going on. I’ve heard about like kids in China dying and stuff like that from like playing video games for days in a row, but what do you see I would imagine that’s an anomaly, but what kind of things are happening in these “athletes” when it comes to their health, or their physiology?
Zach: There’s a lot. Honestly, man there’s so much that it’s kinda ridiculous once you look into it you’re like, really? Like wow! Like you said the Chinese kid was a 24 year old gamer. He died in an internet café of all places too, like not in a basement, or anything like that. That was playing wow for 19 hours straight.
Ben: Holy cow!
Zach: Then there is a Taiwanese teen who also died after playing.
Ben: How did they die? Do they know how that actually happened?
Zach: Well, the Taiwanese teen, he died from cardiac arrest from 40 hours straight. The 24 year old gamer, I’m not sure how he died, from China, but really there’s a whole tier of health risk. You have the simple things that you can think of like the eye strain, the headaches, the wrist injuries that you’re gonna get from having a mouse under your hand all day, the blisters on your fingers believe it or not, then there’s the back problems. But then you get into the more serious problems like cardiovascular issues because they’re sitting down all day.
Then you get into thing like the social impact. For example, when you mentioned the basement dude with the neck beard, there’s a real social impact that’s coming from people that are spending hours a day not going out and playing video games. And there’s been study showing that depression has been linked to different types of internet gaming, different types of gaming addictions, and even according to the American Psychiatric Association the APA, the internet gaming disorder falls under a substance related and addictive disorder, the personality disorder. And so, essentially you’re seeing that these are serious things coming from just playing a video game all day and a lot of kids do, and they don’t see that it sets up a kind of chain of events for later down in their life.
Ben: Do you personally do a lot of gaming?
Zach: Well, you know I have done some gaming, yeah. When I was in high school, I did a lot of gaming, yes. I played a very serious MMORPG just like you did.
Ben: Yeah and for you, have you looked into, for example when we go above and beyond just like sedentary amount of time spent sitting there playing. Have you looked into blue light and the effects on circadian rhythm with long amounts of time spent gaming or like wifi or bluetooth radiation out of those?
Zach: Well, I haven’t looked into the circadian rhythm in terms of how to mitigate it, but I have noticed it myself on me especially, I mean, it’s kind of common sense, but when you’re just spending so much time in that everything gets screwed up, and it’s difficult to kind of get back on that. As for the radiation through wifi, I have not heard of that before and that’s something that’s really interesting. Tell me more about it.
Ben: Well, that’ll be one of my main concerns would be a) they’ve done studies on like night shift workers as well as this whole like eReader syndrome at nights, or what they call iPad insomnia where exposure to blue lights for long periods of time actually decreases your ability to produce melatonin. And so it affects your ability to engage in deep sleep cycles, and there’s this concept of like a circadian rhythm phase shifts, where if you are in a state of constant summer or constant sunlight exposure, it shifts your sleep time forward, but if your wake time isn’t also adjusted, then what happens is your whole circadian rhythm gets shifted forward and you short yourself on sleep.
Ben: The other kind of interesting thing is that your body achieves its primary amount of cooling, and nervous system repair, and memory formation between about 2 and 6am. And if you haven’t been asleep for about 3 or 4 hours by 2am, that doesn’t actually happen. And so, if the blue light exposures keep you up ‘til like 11am or midnight, or something like that, you’ve only been asleep like 2 hours before you reach that 2am cycle, and so, your body actually doesn’t recover quite as quickly from a nervous system standpoint.
So you see neuro muscular deficits, and you see like a drop in heart rate variability which is like the strength of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system, all sorts of interesting things. And then the wifi stuff is, we’ve talked about this a little bit on this podcast before with both wifi and to a lesser known extent bluetooth like they’ve done studies on bluetooth that have shown that long exposure to bluetooth especially near the head which I know a lot of these gamers are wearing headsets, it can cause blood brain barrier leakage in the studies that they’ve done in rodents.
Ben: Yeah. And then in wifi they’ve shown everything from brain fog to aggravation of attention deficit disorder, to the any [0:21:12.6] ______ one plant studies that they’ve done where plants die when they put a control plant away from a wifi router, and a regular plant next to a wifi router. I mean, it’s one of the reasons that even though I’m like hyper connected in my house, it’s all through metal shielded Ethernet cable. So like everything I do is typically through a cable, or like on my phone I use airtube like an airtube headset rather than a bluetooth headset, so yeah.
There’s a lot of considerations, but one thing that I know that you really specialize in Zach is this whole idea of smart drugs and supplements, and what would be considered PED’s or performance enhancing drugs in eSports. What are players kinda turning to if they’re not using Monster or Red Bull, or the more popular drugs that they’re using that people are more aware of. I wanna ask you too about the stuff that kinda flies under the radar that you found to be efficacious in these kinda situations, but first what are some of the more popular ones that folks are using?
Zach: Well, of course I mean, the first thing comes to mind that most people are aware of is Adderall, and a lot of them are taking Adderall and it’s becoming a big thing. It’s kind of actually what started the whole drug testing policy with the ESL which is the Electronic Sports League, but it was because of a very popular gamer coming out and saying that the whole team took Adderall. So there’s Adderall, then there’s the dietary supplements like the caffeine, and the different pre-workouts that some people would even take just to get focus. And then further down the rabbit hole there’s a whole wide range of nootropics that things that I would offer.
Things that you would find on the professional level higher than the people that are just taking the dietary supplements, and then above that even further down is supplements that are even new to me. Things that I have to go start looking up and reviewing and seeing that their brand new. Things that haven’t been tested, and it’s dangerous. There’s a lot of things that come from it, you know, you were talking about the health risk and we didn’t even really touch on the ones associated with the drug abuse.
Ben: Yeah, that’s what I wanna get into. And like one of the reasons I wanna get into this because like I’ve heard about the use of Adderall. Ritalin I know is another big one. Adderall [0:23:32.5] ______ Modafinil. There’s one called, are you familiar with, I think it’s called Vyvanse or it’s V-y-v-a-n-s-e? I don’t even know how it’s pronounced, but I’ve heard about that one being used like in eSports for boosting concentration or improving reaction time or preventing fatigue. Is that one you’re familiar with?
Zach: No, and you see that’s what I’m talking about when I say new because you can take something, I believe you said Modafinilin, and you can take…
Ben: Yeah, Modafinil.
Zach: Yeah, (chuckles) potato, papato, English.
Ben: What did you call it, Modafinilin?
Zach: Yeah, and you could take something like that, do a slight chemical process to it and make it a pro drug, and now it’s Adrefinilin, and that’s actually the sample that I sent you, and so that’s just a pro drug of that.
Ben: So, that Adrefinilin that you sent me that I tried, that’s basically a version of Modafinil?
Ben: Ok. Interesting. My experience with that, and by the way, fair warning to the listener when Zach sends me, he was like this stuff is metabolized by the liver, be careful with it but you sense me because you know, I’m constantly kinda wanting to try out some of these things, and I combine it with something called Noopept, and I wanna ask you about that too. But you know one of the things you told me was, it’s metabolized by the liver, Ben, don’t use too much of this, don’t use it too often multiple days in a row, and when I used it for me I got about twelve solid hours of really focused productivity and then I crashed. I know some people will get up to like twenty four hours with stuff like Modafinil or Modafinil derivatives, but its interesting stuff.
Zach: It really is.
Ben: As far as these drugs actually go, what are the main things first of all that you’re trying to achieve when you take a stimulant like this that would benefit like eSports, or productivity at work. What are the primary effects?
Zach: Well, before I say that. You call it a stimulant. Now, technically it is a type of stimulant although I don’t want people to consider it like Adderall or Ritalin because it’s completely different the way it works in the body, and that’s an important aspect that people have to look at because that affects what’s going on the gamer’s side. But people would take this for a whole wide range of things. Students take them if they’re trying to write a paper, and they want a creativity paper, and they need that boost or they’re trying to make music and they’re in college in a band or something, they’ll take it for that because they can unlock parts of their brain that they didn’t really have access to before, and it just allows them to use it and then, they kind of after a prolonged period, I find that it allows you to recognize different aspects to your brain, and different parts of yourself in a personality spectrum, and you can unlock that through different nootropics.
Then academic professionals will take it in terms of research, in terms of data processing, they’ll take it just to crunch numbers for a prolonged period of time. Kind of think of if you gotta real grind of an office job and you know, I don’t like to talk about it, but when I needed to support my family a little bit, I had to go work a job doing tech support, and I was just answering phones all day, and Adrefinilin was my go-to supplement right there because the day would fly by, and I would be able to sustain a happy level of energy throughout the day, but then on the other spectrum you have the Olympic athletes that are taking it because they’re in triathlons. So really it affects everyone even further down the line you have elderly patients that are battling Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and Dementia in different parts of the world, and doctors will prescribe these nootropics to help fight these diseases.
Ben: Yeah, we’ve talked about that on the show like Lion’s Mane, and Bacopa, and things like that. Now for eSports, if you’re talking about something that you mentioned there’s kind of a difference between a stimulant, and something that would allow you to remain like calm under pressure. Are you seeing both the use of stuff that blocks the effects of adrenaline, like would that be like Valium or something like that combined with the use of things like Adderall?
Zach: No, I don’t think any eSports players are taking Valium because it does definitely gonna dull their senses. I better wanna be saying L-Thianine. That’s gonna reduce the amount of anxiety they’re gonna feel, it’s gonna help promote a zen-like feeling, and yeah adult take that and they’ll stack it. Stack means just to combine it, and they’ll doddle it with something else like Noopept and Adrefinilin just like how you took those two, they’ll throw in a few more and that’s actually one of the services that I offer when I sponsor a team or a player is I help them build a custom stack that’s gonna be the most effective combination of nootropics for them while their playing. So I’ll sit down and work with them and if they find it that they have problems with focus, or they can’t play for too long, or if they find that their reaction time is just isn’t fast enough, these are things that you know and you try to build a stack around that.
Ben: So what would be the implications for you being in an industry where you’re actually providing athletes with this stuff when it comes to drug testing, like is any of this stuff drug testing like when somebody wins, are they having to go take a pee or they’re getting blood tested like how’s that actually work?
Zach: Well, you know that’s where these different tiers come in. Like I said there’s the teenagers that are playing online tournaments, then there’s the pro people that are playing around the world, and when it comes to drug testing, the only people that are getting drug tested are the one’s playing in the stadiums because that’s the only ones that can be drug tested. How is a team that’s spread across the country; one’s in New York, one’s in Florida, Washington and California, a 4-man team all playing on an online game through XBox live or something, how are they gonna get drug tested? They can’t.
So the only people that really get drug tested are the top tier players which leaves a whole range of people that could potentially be a risk for different problems when they’re not using say things, and that’s why it’s truly important that I stress to the people that I sponsor and different people that I talk to, do not abuse things that you shouldn’t be using such as Adderall and Ritalin, and massive amounts of caffeine. Don’t be staying up for 25 hours and putting yourself at risk to have cardiac arrest because all these things…
Ben: Well, yeah the other thing is if you do want to take it to the next level, you’re gonna be dependent on things to enhance your gaming that might be illegal, and once you do get to the next level, are we talking about the same kind of stuff that would be illegal in terms of like the World Anti-Doping Association?
Ben: Would this just be like everything like marijuana, and Modafinil or Adderall, like all that stuff say is it pretty much very similar to the World Anti-Doping Association list?
Zach: Exactly, and that’s actually what they did. The ESL which is the Electronic Sports League, they just adapted the policies of the WADA which is the World Anti-Doping Agency’s drug policy. So they just copy and pasted their list over, and say we ban all these. The only thing they changed which a lot of people would think of, by the way, when you think of drug testing in video games is marijuana. They said they’re not really gonna care if marijuana comes up, but they are gonna test for all the others including things like steroids, including things like inhalers that people might use. It’s a whole wide range of random things, but in terms of nootropics and smart drugs there’s only one that they ban and that’s Modafinilin. And here’s the kicker, like I said the one I sent you is Addrefinilin is a pro-drug which is essentially the same thing, it’s just switched slightly over, so it’s a different chemical and changes differently in your digestive tract to go over to Modafinilin while that is not banned. So, you can see that there’s loopholes here and there’s a lot of risk that comes into play when people don’t take safety measures into hand and don’t play responsibly.
Ben: Yeah, so in terms of the smart drug stacks or the nootropic stacks that you recommend, I wanna delve into. Now that we’ve gotten some of the health risks and the legal implications aside, let’s have some fun now, and talk about some of the things that you have found to be most efficacious. I wanna start actually if you’re game, pun intended, to talk about what you send me. You send me Noopept and the Addrefanil that you’ve been talking about like the Modafinil derivative. What are those, and how do they work, and why did you send me both those?
Zach: Why I send you those two because they’re personal favorites of mine. The Addrefanil as you call it, Addrefinilin as I call it, is quite an interesting chemical. That’s the one that you call the stimulant although it is not a stimulant. It is considered a type of stimulant because it keeps you awake and alert, but if you look at the actual methods that a stimulant works through in your body it doesn’t do that. It doesn’t raise your cardiovascular levels. It doesn’t increase your blood pressure. It doesn’t do anything that would affect your body temperature. It doesn’t make you twitchy or kind of cracked out like different caffeine or stimulants would. What it does is it prohibits your body’s ability to release the hormone that makes you feel tired. So it’s essentially saying…
Ben: Which hormone is that, do you know?
Zach: I have to look it up, it’s a long…
Ben: Like adenaline or epinephrine or something like that?
Zach: No, it is not. It’s not a major hormone either that you would think of. It’s a very obscure one. It was just recently discovered you know, for the last 30 years and that’s where this came into play. The drug itself was designed for people that have serious sleeping disorders and you know, narcolepsy things like that. And then in the early 90s Silicon Valley executives kind of picked it up because they’re like, woah, this is a big deal, and that’s the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper that was based off of Modafinilin. So it’s kind of the beginning thing that started the whole “smart drug.” But then there’s Noopept and Noopept is a derivative of a very basic staple in the nootropic class, and it’s a racetam, now Noopept.
Ben: A race like piracetam or aniracetam?
Zach: Exactly. Now Noopept is piracetam essentially although it’s a thousand times more potent, and if you look at the racetam family…
Zach: Yeah. If you look at them, the very first from racetam the one that was created way back in the 60s, they used that as the rating scale for other nootropics in terms of cognitive boost, and that’s called a level of 1. And then if you go to say aniracetam you’ll see it’s got somewhere around ten times more potent. Oxiracetam would like eight hundred times more potent. And when I say more potent I don’t necessarily mean think of instead of 1 coffee you’re having 2 espressos. I mean more potent in the sense of the cognitive boost that affects your C. For example, further down the racetam family line, there’s chloracetam which is given to people that have eye disorders, and that’s in European countries. In America, they’re not prescribed. So people would take them if they wanna have something with their vision boost, and one of the major effects is people say that they have high definition vision.
Ben: And that’s with Noopepts?
Zach: No. That was chloracetam. Noopept on the other hand, Noopept helps the neuroplasticity of your brain in the way that your synopsis work. Essentially, you have acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter that is the basis for creating and recalling memories. In Noopept, it helps with the formation of acetylcholine, and a metaphor I like to use is, think of going from your house to another person’s house with a letter, and you’re gonna get in your car and drive down 1 block.
Now, say you have 1 letter and you’re in that car going down that 1 block, when you take Noopept that turns that 1 block into 3different roads, and now you have 6 cars, and you have 6 letters, so you just potentially chewed your output of letters that you can do in the same amount of time. And that’s the metaphor I like to use, it’s a little complex but that’s how your synopsis and the data transfer through the chemical processes that go on work. And Noopept is essentially in lay man’s terms, it helps you learn, it helps you create memories, it helps you focus, and it kinda gets rid of any residual brain fog or slime that’s going on in your brain, and you just kinda wake up.
Ben: And so you combine that with this adrafinil, and for me it seem to last about twelve hours and that’s a pretty common stack that you recommend to like a gamer or somebody wanting to like learn or enhance memory?
Zach: Well, yeah that will be a basic one for a gamer or say someone doing a college paper or a professional. I would recommend something a little bit more in depth to be honest. You would take Noopept, but Noopept like I said works by increasing your serotonin level while that requires that you have choline. Well, in order to have that you must have a lot of liver in your diet which most people don’t eat any liver, so you will have to have a choline supplement. Such as alpha…
Ben: Like phosphatidylcholine or acetylcholine?
Zach: Well, it really depends on the way that you want it going to be metabolized and crossed over. I always recommend alpha-GPC because it works really well in racetams including Noopept. So, a common stack for just a general gamer would be Adrafinilin to give them that focus, Noopept to provide the mental clarity, the response time that they need, alpha-GPC to maximize Noopept’s potential, and one other synoptic booster that way that they can have kind of a more in depth reach to the potential boost that their getting.
So I like to always recommend something like phenylpiracetam which is a really great strategic booster in terms of gaming when you’re playing an FPS like Call of Duty or Battlefield, or something, and you’re taking this supplement like phenylpiracetam. It allows you to visualize the map 3D better in your head at least for me and I always…
Ben: That one’s phenylpiracetam where you’re doing mapping and stuff?
Zach: Correct. Yeah.
Ben: Okay, and that’s different than using like Noopept and Adrafinil, you’d recommend phenylpiracetam instead of something like Noopept which would still be considered a racetam but…
Zach: No, I’d recommend all 4 of those.
Ben: Oh, so Noopepts, Adrafinil, phenylpiracetam and then some type of choline like alpha-GPC? And you take all 4.
Zach: Correct. And now would be a good, well-rounded stack. And you might be thinking wow, 4 different chemicals. We’ll the thing is they’re really safe. There’s no drug interaction between the last 3. The only one that could potentially have one would be adrafinilin like I say with the liver issue, you wouldn’t take this daily.
That one you would take probably twice a week if it’s a gamer on their training days, on their competition days, if it was a college student or something like that. When they have a test, if they have a serious study session, so you tailor it around what you’re doing that day, what you need. And I have a whole personal wide range of different nootropics, and what I’ll do is if I have a grind coming up, I’m gonna take adrafinilin, and if I have say a time when I wanna go out and spend some time with my family, then I might take phenylpiracetam because it puts me in a good mood. So yeah, you kind of tailor it.
Ben: Gotcha. That’s interesting. Hey, I have a quick favor to ask of you as I’m working on the show notes for people because I know that folks are like riding a bike, or running, or something, or gaming, may not remember all this stuff. After our call can you shoot me a few like sample stacks with things spelled correctly just so I can make sure that if I put it in the show notes for people, that they know the exact names of some of the stuff ‘coz the last thing I want is someone to get explosive diarrhea ‘coz they took a phosphine instead of psydo or something like that.
Zach: (laughing) Absolutely, yeah in fact I have 3 stacks already that I like to kinda put out as intro stacks. I have a creativity one, I have a busy work stack to get through that grind.
Ben: Ok. Sweet. Send those over and I’ll put the links. So for those of you listening in I’ll put the links to everything we talked about. I’ll put a link to that movie Gamer some of those other stuff over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/esports bengreenfieldfitness.com/esports is the URL. Zach, what’s the creativity one?
Zach: So the creativity stack is actually gonna be mainly for people that are gonna be trying to do music, gonna be trying to do art kinda projects, but essentially what it is is the basis of the stack is aniracetam. Aniracetam is a really big, I hate to say it this way but there’s no real good way to put it in lay man’s terms, but it affects the left side, the left hemisphere which is the creativity part of your brain, and it’s been disproven that there’s two hemispheres, and all that. But you know, I just like to kinda put it that way in lay man’s terms. But so its aniracetam, it’s phenylpiracetam because phenylpiracetam is a mood stabilizer makes you feel really good and part of creativity is being in a good mood. Then it uses pyritinol instead of alpha-GPC just because the way that pyritinol works is almost like a B vitamin similar to it, so it gives you…
Ben: What do you call it? Pyritinol?
Zach: Yeah, p-y-r-i-t-i-n-o-l.
Zach: And then Noopept, because Noopept is gonna allow you to have that focus and sustain the creativity instead of just petering out. And then finally, L-Theanine because that’s gonna give you a zen-feeling, and that’s pretty important because you need to be able to be in the moment, and so that’s 5 different ones.
Ben: L-theanine helps with your alpha brain wave production as well, right?
Ben: It’s one of those things you can combine with like coffee to decrease some of the jittery stimulant effect of coffee.
Zach: Correct, and that’s very important when you’re looking into doing anything that’s creative because if you’re not in the right mood so to speak, it’s not gonna flow.
Ben: Right. Ok got it. So you’ve got like this stack for hanging around the family, staying smart, using like a piracetam, you’ve got like the one that you recommend for gamers like noopept, adrafinil, alpha-GPC and phenylpiracetam, what else in addition like creativity and gaming?
Zach: Well, so one of the gaming stacks I always give out, and I have a gaming sponsor and what I give them is we work back and forth, and so we’ll play pramiracetam. No, I haven’t mentioned that one yet and that one is well, I’ll put it this way, the most expensive one on my site. So it’s a pretty good one. It’s not easy to get. Actually I have a lot of problems getting it, so it’s always out of stock. But I got some for him he takes pramiracetam because pramiracetam is almost a stimuli in the sense of you’re gonna take it and you’re working in long term memory as well as your focus, and motivation is gonna sky rocket. And now you’re thinking why is working a long term memory help with gaming? Because when you look at a map, say a mini map, and you’re also walking through a force, you’re gonna look at the mini map to see where your guys are, where the enemy’s at, and what’s around you. But you have to quickly look back and see who’s in front of you to shoot it. In that quick millisecond that you look into the corner, you need to be able to process the information, memorize that information, and recall it almost instantaneously without having to really look at it and take your eyes off the target. In order to do that, you have to have a short term, a working and a long term memory all at 110%. So then pramiracetam also helps you to strategic thinking like I say with the 3D processing thinking, I’m gonna approach from the right, I’m gonna come down and I’ll be on top of the enemy. So it’s a huge, huge gaming one that I promote really to people that are already at the top of their class, and are looking for that little bit extra and then I’ll stack that with adrifinilin. I’ll do Alcar for the pramiracetam, Noopept, and then depending on the person we’ll go something else. So.
Ben: Interesting. Ok cool. And you’re gonna send all these again for me to put in the show notes for folks?
Zach: Absolutely, yeah.
Ben: Okay. Do you do any blood testing to see if like your liver enzymes are going up, or if something is potentially something you’re doing too much of like if it’s damaging an organ or anything like that, or do you just pay attention whether not the right side of your body hurts?
Zach: (chuckles) Well, you know I didn’t think we’re gonna be getting into about medical records if you want I can fax them over to you. No, personally I haven’t taken any looks into my own effects of it maybe because I really think it’s safe. Adrifinilin in my liver is something that I care a lot about so I won’t abuse it in any sense I’ll take it only when need be and I always tell that to people like I told you, you know, don’t take this everyday, you have to be responsible when you take any substance and so I haven’t really noticed any effects from adrifinilin at all for me. So I think it’s because I play it safe although there’s some people that just aren’t smart about it or for situations like that it could be a real thing. Now honestly.
Ben: What about like using like glutathione or acetylcysteine or any of these things that had been known to help cleanse the liver even you know, like blending cilantro and celery juice, and all these type of things that can lower like a aspartate aminotransferase, or alanine aminotransferase, or somebody’s elevated liver enzymes. Even some people recommend like after a big marijuana vendor choose 5HTP for example, or something like Onnit’s Alpha Brain is another popular one for stuff like that, like what are your thoughts on that type of thing on like mitigating the damage?
Zach: Well, there’s always ways to do I like to say, homeopathic cleanses. I don’t necessarily mean as homeopathic as this, there’s a lot of things that actually do 5HTP like you’re saying marijuana. Things like that, those are important, but it is not something that I take into account as daily ritual or anything that’s important. If I find that I’m in need of a cleanse yeah, I’ll do it, but it’s not something that is really a big staple although I know a lot of people are into that, and I can’t say that it would hurt. It wouldn’t hurt at all. It would be the most proactive thing. It’d be like taking a vitamin, working out every day. It’s just a good healthy habit to have.
Ben: I get it, like after you told me about how the adrafinil affects the liver, I doubled up my glutathione and also acetylcysteine just to help my liver process some of that stuff. Like whenever I take a medicine, or if I had a heavy night of drinking or have like marijuana or something like that in my system, I always do that just to help the liver along a little bit not to justify like beating up your liver yeah, if you can dump like antioxidants. If you can dump binders like chlorella and charcoal, and then you can dump like sulfur- based cleaners or antioxidants like glutathione or acetylcycteine in, I think that’s just like smart body management. I’m hoping some gamers are picking up on some of these stuff.
Zach: How did that work for you? Did you find that it mitigated to…
Ben: Yeah, I test my liver. I also take something called rock lotus extract that’s in this stuff called MPX 100, and it’s a compound that’s a mix of bitter melon extract and rock lotus extract. So it’s kinda like the diabetic drug metformin when it comes to decreasing your blood sugar, and then the rock lotus is like a liver cleanse. I test my liver enzymes 4 times a year and they’re all just like rock bottom as far as health goes. Occasionally, if I’ve exercised really, really hard like the day before that will elevate your liver enzymes, but otherwise yet so far, knock on wood it seems to be keeping me pretty clean even though I do occasionally do some of those stuff that we’re talking about when it comes to smart drugs. So, hopefully it will work well.
Zach: You gotta send me some info on that. Thinking about all those 4 nights where I just melt the hangover and didn’t do anything.
Ben: I’ll make you a deal, if you send over your best stacks that you recommend to me to imbed in the show notes for our listeners, I’ll also put in the show notes for those of you listening in kinda like my liver cleansing stack of choice that has worked pretty well for me just based on my blood testing with Wellness f(x). Zach, anything else that you wanted to go over today when it comes to electronic sports, electronic sports health, fitness, smart drugs anything like that. Stuff you still wanna get out there.
Zach: You know, it’s a huge industry. It’s growing. It’s estimated to grow over five hundred million per year within the next 2 years. So it’s an insane industry, and something that I really want people to realize is that it needs to take off. You know what it is, you saw it on ESPN they’re taking the Staples Center, and so it’s taking off but it really needs to take off because like I said earlier this is the beginning of the future. This eSports industry is gonna set the standard for the next 20 and 30 years as sports develop. And think about it, what happens when the new product and 5 years from Goggle which is some 3D technology, or some virtual reality technology comes out and they’re sponsored with the huge industry like the NFL for gaming.
And now we have virtual reality gaming, imagine a stadium instead of a football field it’s a hologram, and that is a Call of Duty field, or something and you can watch people throwing grenades, and rockets, and helicopters, and its right there, it’s live. Imagine instead of going to the movies you can go to a stadium and watch something like that. Just some in crazy fantasy. I just feel like this is the future, you know, when you go to the movies, and people will get all bent up on Star Wars and things like Avatar, and all this sci-fi. This is gonna be the next thing that people will be bent up on. So it needs to grow and it needs to take off. And so, for the people out there I always say, do it. Get a team, go on together, start competing, make some money. You can make some serious money. Make some money, and help build the industry.
Ben: Yeah, and I mean, like I wanna get on with you Zach not because I personally have too keen of an interest in gaming ‘cause frankly even though I love like the whole oculus rift stuff, and I like you know, when I go to my mom’s house, she’s got a Wii and I’ll play like Nintendo Wii dance like I like the physical stuff, and I still for the reasons I highlighted earlier kinda avoid it for both my kids, and I just because you know, dude I live out in the forest, right, like I can go like slacklining, climb trees and my kids and I can whip out the paintball guns, and the bows, and just like go to battle out in the forest, and for me I get a bigger kick out of that, but I know there’s a lot of people that freaking love online gaming, and you know some of these stacks, some of these personal care type of protocols I think they’re relevant to those folks. One other thing, Zach, do you ever use like gaming glasses like blue light – blocking glare-reducing glasses.
Zach: No, because I’m not that big of a gamer. You’re not gonna find me spend 8 hours in front of an Xbox.
Ben: I used to have tons of eye strain from my time in the computer, and not just at night but even during the day, a lot of the time I’ll use like Gunnar’s one brand, there’s another brand called Swannies. There’s one company just sent me a pair of their like aviator-style blue light blockers, I’m trying to remember the name of the company, anyways, I’ll put it in the show notes. Carbon Shade, Carbon Shade is I think they’re like on Indigogo or something like that right now, but those help a ton dude, with like eye strain and reducing like a lot of the blue light that shuts down melatonin, stuff like that. So that’s another little one in addition to like the liver cleanse stuff I talked about if you take in antioxidants or if you take in smart drugs.
Zach: Yeah, and you know, those are really good points. That’s what I’m talking about when I say get into the industry, starting a business where your idea is one of the companies I’m working with who does blue light blocking glasses and those scope, they start up, they gain the industry, and they’re staring something that’s gonna change the industry itself. And so, it’s important and like you we’re saying how you live in the forest.
Ben: What do you mean by starting something that’s gonna change the industry?
Zach: Well, think about it. When you start a business for an industry, you’re changing that field whether it be by affecting the competitor, or whether it be by giving a quality product that sends a new standard if (chuckles) I don’t wanna say the names but if you look at a sponsor of one of the teams before I sponsored them, it was a product that helped with cognitive benefits, but essentially was just a vaper, and it was nothing and nothing more than a vaper, and that’s all I really wanna say to this. I don’t wanna get too much into it, but so I feel that by me replacing them as a sponsor is because I have a better, more effective safer product and that’s setting the standard. Do you see what I’m saying?
So eventually if say Goggle gets into it, and they pull out some oculus rift type of headset or some stadium hologram like what I was talking about way in the future, that was gonna be the new standard, and it’s gonna progress. And that’s the whole point. I just want to see a futuristic progression through America that’s gonna help grow. And that’s why I think that eSports is so interesting and lucrative because it’s something that we’ve never seen before. And it’s great. And what you were saying about living in the forest with your kids, I think that’s an important aspect too is you don’t wanna be doing this for your you know, eighteen hours a day and make it an extreme, but it’s I feel it’s a great passion or career for the people that can do it right, and I don’t think anyone should be pushed on it you know, I don’t think kids should be trained on legal lessons from 5 years ‘til their eighteen
Ben: Yeah, I hear yah. But I do like Nintendo Wii dance. Like I said which I’m sure every single serious gamer listening in just totally lost all respect for me especially because I’ve never played League of Legends and shocker, I’ve never even played Halo.
Zach: Oh wow!
Ben: I know, I know.
Zach: Even I played Halo, man.
Ben: Yeah, but I could probably kick your butt in either paintball or laser tag, guaranteed. So anyways, after throwing down that gauntlet, Zach I’m gonna bring this episode to a close, but for those of you listening in, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/esports. I’ll link to Zach’s site. I’ll link to his stacks. I’m even going to give you a 10% discount code right there in the show notes for any of the stuff that Zack just talked about. In case you want to proceed at your own risk and within the bounds of legality, and try out any of this stuff that Zach just talked about. So if you have questions you can leave them in the comment section and either Zach or I will reply. We’re pretty good at responding to comments and stuff like that come through on podcast. So that being said, Zach, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Zach: Hey, thank you, Ben. I appreciate. It was a great honor. I hope you have a great one, man.
Ben: Alright folks, this is Ben Greenfield and Zach signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.
Imagine a stadium full of screaming fans.
Zoom in on the contestants. They’re sweating from the intensity of the competition. What could it be? Boxing? MMA? Basketball? Tennis? American ninja warrior?
It’s electronic sports, also known as eSports, and the “athletes” are headset-wearing, energy-drink-guzzling, smart-drug-popping gamers.
And this sport is booming.
Top eSports tournaments now draw audiences that rival the biggest traditional sporting events, and live streams online routinely attract more than 100,000 viewers. Companies like Coke, Nissan and Red Bull sponsor tournaments, and last year alone, over 205 million people watched or played eSports.
As a matter of fact, today’s eSports tournaments rival practically any big sporting event. The League of Legends Championship sold out Staples Center in 2013, then sold out the 40,000-seat World Cup Stadium in Seoul a year later while drawing an online audience of 27 million — more than the TV viewership for the final round of the Masters. Videos of these online gaming sports has more YouTube followers than news, movies and education combined.
There’s money in this too. Check out the graphic below from ESPN:
But eSports isn’t just online fun and money. There are some serious health risks involved with this sport. There’s drugs. There’s drug testing. There is the potential physiological effects of having your senses constantly bombarded by blue light, blue tooth and Wi-Fi.
So, in today’s podcast, were going to take a deep dive into the crazy world of eSports. My guest today is Zach Burks, founder of a nootropic and smart drug company called NuSups. Zach started his career serving the USA in the Army, then moved to business with the knowledge he gained, and now specializes in enhancing mental and physical performance in gamers.
In today’s episode, you’re going to discover:
-How the exploding world of eSports works behind the scenes…
-The physical fitness demands of playing eSports…
-The health and sleep implications of the constant exposure to Wi-Fi, bluelight, Bluetooth and the other electronic assailants eSports athletes face…
-The “under-the-radar” kind of smart drugs or supplements these athletes are using…
-The difference between supplements used as stimulants and supplements used for calming effects…
-How drug testing in eSports works…
-The best smart drug and nootropic stacks being used in gaming…
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
–Zach’s website NuSups (use discount code is “brainyben1” for 10% and free shipping on any order)
-Notes from Zach’s recommended stacks (all available from NuSups – use discount code is “brainyben1” for 10% and free shipping on any order)
Every stack needs 1 Choline Source, and 1 Synaptic Booster, at minimum! (real hardcore stackers like to include fish oils, and other vitamins as a requirement, but this isn’t necessary for a basic stack). Listed below are some common nootropics/smart drugs and their category + effect.
Heightened Sensory Function
Reduced Brain Trauma
Increased Learning Ability
Improved Cognitive Processing
Increase in Memory
Enhanced Learning Ability
Better Sensory Perception
Advance Technical Thinking
Boosts Acetylcholine production
The best Nootropic for creating and recalling memories, and learning.
Increases Neuron Growth
Neuroprotective – helps restore damaged parts of the brain
Helps consolidate memory
Facilitates learning processes
Enhances Alertness & Focus
Improves Physical Performance
Overall Improved Cognition
Higher Sensory Perception
Improved Working/Long-Term Memory
Advanced Logical/Technical Thinking
Unlocked Areas of Thought
Improved short term memory
Improved attention and concentration
Enhanced clarity of thought
Normalization of sleep patterns
Less mental fatigue
Higher quality of self-awareness
Raised levels of optimism and enthusiasm for day to day life
Freedom from depression
Alpha GPC –
Heightened sensory perception
Improved motor skills
Faster Reaction time
Promotes Dopamine growth
Improved problem-solving skills
Enhanced sensory perception
Boosts Acetylcholine production
Increases Learning, Mood, Clarity of Thought
Cognitive protectants below…
Fights Brain decline
Increases Learning, Mood, Clarity of Thought
Neuroprotective and boost Neuroplasticity
One of the safest supplements we sell
Powerful Choline Source
Boosts Acetylcholine production
Increases Learning, Mood, and Clear Thoughts
Neuroprotective/Fights Brain Decline
Boosts Alpha Brain waves
Alleviates anxiety and stress
Neuroprotective/Fights Brain Decline
Boosts Acetylcholine production
The best Nootropic for creating and recalling memories, and learning
Increases Neuron Growth
Neuroprotective – helps restore damaged parts of the brain
Heightened Sensory Function
Reduced Brain Trauma
Faster Reaction time
Promotes Dopamine growth
Improved problem-solving skills
Enhanced sensory perception
Alpha GPC –
Heightened sensory perception
Improved motor skills
Boosts Acetylcholine production
Increases Learning, Mood, Clarity of Thought
A few example stacks with some average results listed below. Feel free to use this stack is you’d like the results listed.
20mg x Noopept
200mg x Phenylpiracetam
1gram x ALCAR
250mg x Adrafinil
This stack is something you will DEFINITELY feel. I call this the busy mode stack for one reason. The combination of Racetams and Adrafinil allow for complete focus as well as potential time dilation effects. You could tweak the amount of Adrafinil or Phenylpiracetam if this stack is too much for you: just lower the amounts by 50mgs.
Capital C(reativity) stack:
500mg x Aniracetam
150mg x Phenylpiracetam
300mg x Pyritinol
20mg x Noopept
150mg x L-Theanine
This stack is great for any artist or creative person who needs an extra boost for a project. This stack honestly bothers me sometimes because what happens to me is that I’ll have 5 to 7 songs get stuck in my head a day: songs I haven’t heard in years! Now obviously, this is highly personal and won’t happen to everyone. But it’s just a nice little way to explain the creative boost you’ll get.
Do you have questions, comments or feedback about the exploding world of eSports, or anything else Zach and I discussed in this episode? Leave your thoughts below and either Zach or I will reply.