Dietary supplements are defined under the law as products taken by mouth that contain a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Dietary ingredients in supplements include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, botanical substances, enzymes, microbial probiotics and metabolites. The FDA has several requirements for vitamins. The Food and Drug Administration established Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for production of vitamin supplements in 2007. Manufacturers must test and evaluate products for identity, purity, strength and composition to ensure that the product contains what is stated on the label and is not contaminated with harmful substances, such as heavy metals, pesticides and other impurities. If the product does not meet the 100 percent requirement for identity of a particular ingredient, the manufacturer must prove that less than 100 percent identity testing does not diminish the assurance that the ingredient is in fact the right ingredient. Unlike drugs, vitamin supplements do not have to be proven safe and effective before they can be sold.
Info: Although not proven to be effective, 5HTP is a precursor to serotonin. 5HTP is available over the counter at pharmacies and health stores. 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a chemical made in your body from L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid. 5-HTP can also be obtained from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. Supplemental versions of 5-HTP have been used in alternative medicine to improve a variety of clinical problems for more than 30 years. Not all uses for 5-HTP have been approved by the FDA. Consult your doctor before beginning any alternative treatment.
Sources: 5-HTP can only really be found in supplements. It is the precursor (the chemical involved in the reaction which produces another chemical, ie serotonin) to serotonin. Tryptophan, the immediate precursor to 5-HTP, can be found in turkey, dairy products, eggs, nuts, and some fruits (notably bananas).
Notes: Artificially increasing serotonin levels may put a user at risk of developing serotonin syndrome (basically a serotonin overdose- NOT a good thing) when combined with MDMA. There is really only anecdotal evidence concerning this supplement. Many users have reported no effects, others have reported ill effects, and some stand by the claim that it definitely contributes to the MDMA experience. Only you can decide. Use of 5-HTP during preloading is not recommended, though.More info on 5-HTP
Info: Working as a "recycler" of vitamins C and E, alpha-lipoic acid restores the antioxidant properties of vitamins after they have neutralized free-radicals in the body. Stimulating the absorption of other vitamins, alpha-lipoic acid is especially beneficial for detoxifying the liver of metal pollutants and lowering blood cholesterol levels, according to Balch's "Prescription for Nutritional Healing". Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid made naturally by your body and housed in your cells. It acts as an antioxidant that protects your cells from harmful molecules that can cause infection and tissue damage. Alpha lipoic acid is found in a variety of animal- or plant-based foods and it is also available in supplement form. Studies have indicated that ALA can be effective in combating neurotoxicity.
Sources: Red meats*, yeast, supplements
Notes: Water and fat soluble, a very strong antioxidant as it can work pretty much everywhere. Short half-life.More information on ALA
Info: Antacids reduce acidity in the stomach and treat digestive upset by raising the pH level of the stomach from a highly acidic 2 to between 3 and 4. This will neutralize up to 99 percent of the stomach's acid, which will allow people to gain relief. Typically taken by mouth to relieve heartburn (acid indigestion), antacids help you to digest food by absorbing such nutrients as iron and B vitamins. The combined effects of drugs, drinking (even water) and dancing can seriously upset stomachs. Having a few Tums handy can preserve a good trip and save you a jog to the bathroom. If taken for longer than two weeks they could cause a serious stomach orintestinal problem, such as peptic ulcer disease.
Sources: Don't bother with trying to eat foods that have anti-acidic properties. Just buy some Tums.More about Antacids
Info: Coconut water is a liquid that appears naturally inside the shell of young coconuts. Unlike coconut milk, which is produced from pressed coconut flesh, coconut water is the juice from coconuts that have not fully developed their meat yet. It contains several vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, and it is naturally low in fat and calories, the American Council on Exercise explains. This is why it's been used by some as an alternative to sports drinks. Drinking coconut water offers several nutritional benefits, since it's a quick way to get potassium, calcium and other nutrients into your diet.
Notes: Compared to health and sports drinks, coconut water contains less sodium and considerably more potassium. It also contains smaller amounts of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin C.More about Coq10
Info: Though coenzyme Q10 is not technically a vitamin, it is produced naturally in the body and levels often decrease with age. Found in highest concentrations in the heart and liver, coenzyme Q10 plays a crucial role in the generation of proper cellular energy. Working in the mitochondria of the cell, coenzyme Q10 helps to metabolize carbohydrates and fats and has a natural anti-aging effect. Supplementing the diet with coenzyme Q10 may be especially beneficial for heart patients as it is known to increase circulation and stimulate the immune system, according to Balch.
Sources: some fish, ex: mackerel, sardines, salmon, tuna; supplements
How it works: an antioxidant, will reduce oxidation. Necessary for healthy mitochondrial (mitochondria are a cell's source of energy) functioning.
Notes:fat soluble, half life of over a day, therefore only necessary to take during pre-loading. At higher doses, effectiveness decreases as dosage increases.More about Coq10
Info: Ginkgo biloba is famous for its ability to enhance cognitive function, but it has many other impressive qualities that shouldn't be overlooked. It is believed to function as an antioxidant, neuroprotective agent, membrane stabilizer and inhibitor of platelet aggregation. Ginkgo biloba is thought to help prevent cell damage caused by beta-amyloid proteins, which may contribute to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It has also been indicated in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, tinnitus, sexual dysfunction and multiple sclerosis. It helps improve blood circulation throughout the body, which may help your brain, eyes, ears and legs to function better.
Sources:The leaf extract is considered safe for most people. Fresh seeds should never be eaten because they are poisonous and may cause seizures or death. Eating more than 10 roasted seeds can cause difficulty breathing, a weak pulse, seizures, loss of consciousness and shock.
Notes: Ginkgo biloba, like other herbs, can trigger side effects and interact with certain medications and other herbal supplements. For this reason, you should inform your health care provider before taking it. Ginkgo biloba is generally considered safe, and side effects are rare. However, stomach upset, constipation, headache, dizziness, forceful heartbeats and allergic skin reactions have been reported.More about Ginko Biloba
Info: Grapefruit juice offers a range of health benefits, from vitamin and mineral content to medicinal qualities. Read the label to be sure you're choosing 100 percent grapefruit juice and not grapefruit drink, which contains added sugar and other ingredients. Grapefruit juice inhibits CYP3A4, which is an enzyme in your digestive system that aids in the metabolism of many drugs. By inhibiting CYP3A4, you are essentially making more drugs available in the system. Although there is some debate as to what exact component(s) of grapefruit juice have this effect, it is accepted that something in there does the job.More about Grapefruit Juice
Info: L-tryptophan, or simply tryptophan, is an amino acid present in several animal and plant species. Known primarily for its sleep-inducing presence in turkey, L-tryptophan once appeared in over-the-counter sleep products to treat mild insomnia. Natural health stores market L-tryptophan supplements for use as an adjunct or alternative treatment for mild depression, anxiety, premenstrual syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As always, consult with a licensed health professional before attempting to self-medicate any health condition.
Sources:Beans, whole grains and rice, chickpeas, hazelnuts, peanuts, eggs, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds
Notes: Excessive high levels of serotonin can cause serotonin syndrome, which according to the "Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine, 21st Edition," is characterized by increased heart rate, fever, loss of coordination and hallucinations. Because ingestion of tryptophan can increase serotonin levels, there is a concern that it may lead to the serotonin syndrome. Thus it is important that you consult with your doctor before starting tryptophan supplementation.More info on L-Tryptophan
Info: Magnesium is a commercially available and natural muscle relaxant. This idea behind using muscle relaxants is to relieve the jaw clenching that can often accompany MDMA use.
Source: green vegetables, some legumes, nuts, and whole grains; supplements
Notes: Many over-the-counter antacids and laxatives contain magnesium, so taking these products while taking magnesium supplements may cause you to inadvertently consume too much. Excess magnesium can cause diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Couple with dehydration this can make for some nasty side effects. Again, determine what an acceptable dose is for yourself before mixing with a substance. Always report all of your current supplements and medications to your doctor or pharmacist before taking magnesium supplements.More about Magnesium
Info: The job of a daily multivitamin is to fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet. A multivitamin is sort of a daily "one stop shop" for nutrients. When choosing a multivitamin, look for a basic list of ingredients that should be common to all, then branch out with extras depending on your gender or health concern. Consult your doctor or a certified nutritionist so you can choose the best multivitamin for your specific age, gender and medical condition. Online reviews of various products, such as those available at Consumer Reports Health.org (consumerreports.org/health), can also help you make the best choice.
Notes: Read the label of the multivitamin box before you decide to purchase it. Ensure it contains at least 100 percent of your daily values of vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D and folic acid, the Diet Channel recommends. Also see that it contains at least 100 mg of vitamin B6, and no more that 100 mg of vitamin E. Some multivitamins provide megadoses of vitamins and minerals that far exceed the recommended daily intake. "Discovering Nutrition" states that doctors sometimes use vitamin megadoses in patients with malabsorption syndromes, or to restore depleted vitamin stores that can result from certain medications. However, you should be wary of multivitamins that contain megadoses since high doses of vitamins and minerals can cause negative side effects. They may also interfere with other medications and health conditions. For optimal health benefit and safety, choose products that contain the complete recommended daily value suggested by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences.More about Multivitamin
Info: N-acetyl cysteine, also known as N-acetylcysteine, is a form of the amino acid cysteine. It's a powerful antioxidant that may protect against liver damage in cases of drug toxicity. It also may be useful for delaying fatigue and boosting athletic performance. Food is not a good source of N-acetylcysteine; you must obtain it in supplement form. Consult a health care professional before using this supplement and follow his recommendations on dosage.
Source: Meat, fish, poultry, grains, vegetables such as broccoli, onions, red peppers, legumes and brussels sprouts, dairy and eggs
Notes: A study published in February 2002 in "Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention" indicates that taking N-acetylcysteine when you smoke may help inhibit cancer biomarker development. Participants in this study took 600 mg of N-acetylcysteine orally twice daily for six months. The study results note that the supplement has the potential to reduce tobacco smoke carcinogenicity in humans because it lowers certain cancer-associated biomarkers. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, animal research also suggests that N-acetylcysteine has anticarcinogenic and antimetastatic properties. More research is needed to determine if N-acetylcysteine actually lowers cancer risk or improves health among smokers.More about NAC
Info: Vitamin B-6, also known as pyridoxine, is one of the eight B vitamins. Like the other vitamins in the B complex, vitamin B-6 helps your body convert the carbohydrates in the food you eat into glucose, which your body uses to fuel your cells. Along with the other B complex vitamins, your body needs B-6 to maintain the health of your skin, hair, eyes, liver and nervous system. Vitamin B-6 is essential for the processing of amino acids, needed in the formation of several neurotransmitters, and needed to make serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. It also increases the bioavailability magnesium. B-6, an essential vitamin your body cannot produce, must be taken in through the food you eat or through vitamin supplements. As a water-soluble vitamin, your body expels any vitamin B-6 that it does not use immediately. Because of this, you need to replenish your supply of this vitamin daily.
Sources - potatoes, bananas, raisin bran cereal, liver, turkey, and tunaMore about Vitamin B
Info: Vitamin C works in conjunction with vitamin E to maintain its potency. Due to its water solubility, vitamin C works in bodily fluids as an effective free-radical scavenger. According to the book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" the cells of the brain and spinal cord can be protected by significant amounts of vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant also guards against atherosclerosis by preventing free radical damage to the artery walls.Studies have indicated that Vitamin C can be effective in combating neurotoxicity.
Sources: Countless generic Vitamin C pills or multivitamins, many fresh fruits and vegetables
Notes: A water-soluble vitamin, any excess will be excreted in the urine. However this means it doesn't stay in the body very long. Most of it is gone after 3 or 4 hours. This is why it should be taken multiple times during an MDMA session. However, as an acid, too much can cause stomach problems (ie diarrhea, indigestion, heartburn). An overdose is extremely unlikely, but too much can cause side effects which will make the experience less enjoyable.More about Vitamin C
Info: Useful for preventing the oxidation of fats, vitamin E prevents the cell's protective coatings from becoming rancid due to the oxidation of free radicals. Vitamin E is fat-soluble. It enhances the immune response, helps prevent cataracts and decreases the risk for coronary artery disease, according to Balch. In order for the body to maintain adequate levels of vitamin E, the antioxidant zinc must also be present. Antioxidants appear to work best in combination, interacting to make each other more effective. Vitamin E and C are some of the best-studied and most common antioxidants. When the heavier vitamin E (alpha-tocopheryl-acetate) loses its electrons to a free radical, the lighter and water-soluble ascorbic acid can replace the lost electron and then be carried off as an inert waste product
Sources: Supplements, some foods such as eggs, avocado, spinach, some nuts
Notes: A fat-soluble vitamin, it leaves the body much more slowly than a water-soluble vitamin (ie ascorbic acid). Risk of overdose is higher, especially since supplementing usually involves taking more than the recommended dosage. Too much Vitamin E can cause stomach problems, fatigue, and headache. Again, test yourself before experimenting during an actual session.More about Vitamin E