With all the use of pre-workout / ergogenics / fat burners going on, I think its a good time to offer a refresher on what exactly Focus XT is, what is does, and how it can be used for mulitple goals. I think it typically gets over simplified and called an energy drink...but is so much more than that.
What does it do:
Quite simply, it increases...FOCUS , ok, that was too easy. It also increase the blood flow in the brain, increases endurance, promotes the transfer of fatty acids into energy (fat buring), increases mood, and some ingredients have shown to be anti-oxidants comparable to Vitamin E in effect. There are even ingredients with clinical studies showing they support testosterone levels and improved sexual function.
When to take it:
Personally, I love it in the morning, it gives me the coffee lift I need, but so much more. Pre-workout and pre endurance events (10K / cycling etc) it should be consumed 30 minutes prior to activity to ensure all ingredients are ready to do their thing.
For studying, its best (IMO) to mix it up, and sip on it during long study sessions to maintain focus and energy during marathon study sessions.
Ok..So what is it???
-Choline is a substance needed by the brain to produce acetylcholine, a major brain/motor neuron neurotransmitter that facilitates the transmission of impulses between neurons. Your Muscles Will NOT Contract without Acetylcholine.
-The importance of choline for maintaining health in adults has been recognized for some time, but recent work points to its critical role in brain development.
-L-tyrosine is one of the 20 amino acids that are used by cells to synthesize proteins.
-Tyrosine is converted to DOPA by tyrosine hydroxylase, an enzyme.
-It plays a key role in signal transduction, since it can be tagged with a phosphate group (phosphorylated) by protein kinases to alter the functionality and activity of certain enzymes. (In its phosphorylated state, it is sometimes referred to as phosphotyrosine.) Tyrosine is also precursor to the thyroid hormones; thyroxine and triiodothyronine; the pigment melanin, and the biologically-active catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
-Patients with a Thyroxine deficiency have symptoms including excess weight gain, cold hands and feet, and decreased basal metabolism. L-Tyrosine has been found to assist in optimizing thyroid hormone levels, increased mood, concentration, and productivity.
-L-Tyrosine is used to treat conditions including depression or mood disorder, poor coping ability, fatigue, low sex drive, low metabolism, and drug abuse (when combined with Tryptophan). It can also improve endurance under stress and is effective as an appetite suppressant. When taken properly, L-Tyrosine can assist a sluggish thyroid and aid the dieter in losing excess, unwanted pounds.
-To enhance cognition.
-Involved in the metabolism of food into energy.
-Mild mental impairment in the elderly showed a significant improvement of several performances during and after Acetyl-l-carnitine treatment.
-To significantly reduce severity of depressive symptoms in the elderly.
-To significantly improve items measuring quality of life.
-Improve both spatial and temporal memory, and reduce the amount of oxidative damage to RNA in the brain's hippocampus, an area important in memory.Acetyl-l-carnitine is widely used as an energy supplement.
-Patients showed statistically significant improvements of visual memory and attention
-Studies demonstrate that ALC treatment is efficacious in alleviating symptoms, particularly pain, and improving nerve fiber regeneration and vibration perception in patients with established diabetic neuropathy
-Increase sperm mobility in men.
-It has been shown to have some anti-catabolic effects as well by preventing the decrease in plasma testosterone levels after chronic exercise stress.
-ALCAR inhibits the excessive release of Cortisol in response to Stress and inhibits the depletion of Luteinising Hormone Releasing Hormone (LHRH) and Testosterone that occurs as a result of excessive Stress.
-ALCAR increases plasma Testosterone levels (via its influence on Acetylcholine neurotransmission in the Striatal Cortex of the Brain)
-One study showed 2g each per day of L-carnitine & ALCAR beat testosterone in increasing erections and orgasms in men
-Dimethylaminoethanol is related to choline and is a biochemical precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and found naturally in fishes like sardines and anchovies. It is reported to have nootropic effects.
-It is believed that Dimethylaminoethanol is methylated to choline in the brain. It is known that Dimethylaminoethanol is processed by the liver into choline.
-Short term studies show an increase in vigilance and alertness, with a positive influence on mood. Long term studies showed dimethylethanolamine to increase the lifespan of animals in which it was tested.. It is possible dosage is a major factor as a determinant in dimethylethanolamine's overall effects -- i.e., a higher than recommended dose may produce opposite effects in some individuals, hence, more is not always best.
-Vinpocetine has several possible actions, including increasing cerebral blood flow and metabolism, anticonvulsant, cognition enhancement, neuroprotection and antioxidant. It has also been reported to inhibit the acetylcholine release evoked by excitatory amino acids and to protect neurons against excitotoxicity.
-Huperzine A, is a naturally occurring sesquiterpene alkaloid found in the extracts of the firmoss Huperzia serrata. The extract has been used in China for centuries for the treatment of swelling, fever and blood disorders. Recently in clinical trials in China, it has demonstrated neuroprotective effects. It is currently being investigated as a possible treatment for diseases characterized by neurodegeneration particularly Alzheimers disease. Clinical trials in China have shown that huperzine A is comparably effective to the drugs currently on the market, and may even be a bit safer in terms of side effects.
-Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, having the effect of warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness. Beverages containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks enjoy popularity great enough to make caffeine the world's most popular psychoactive drug.
-The principle mode of action of caffeine is as an antagonist of adenosine receptors in the brain. The reduction in adenosine activity results in increased activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine, largely accounting for the stimulatory effect of caffeine. Caffeine can also increase levels of epinephrine, possibly via a different mechanism. Acute usage of caffeine also increases levels of serotonin, causing positive changes in mood.
-Caffeine is metabolized in the liver by the cytochrome P450 oxidase enzyme system (specifically, the 1A2 isozyme) into three metabolic dimethylxanthines, which each have their own effects on the body:
Paraxanthine (84%) Has the effect of increasing lipolysis (Fat burning!), leading to elevated glycerol and free fatty acid levels in the blood plasma.
Theobromine (12%) Dilates blood vessels and increases urine volume. Theobromine is also the principal alkaloid in cocoa, and therefore chocolate.
Theophylline (4%) Relaxes smooth muscles of the bronchi, and is used to treat asthma, and increase ease of breathing.
-Caffeine is considered an ergogenic: increasing the capacity for mental or physical labor. A study conducted in 1979 showed a 7% increase in distance cycled over a period of two hours in subjects who consumed caffeine compared to control tests (Ivy et al. 1979). Other studies attained much more dramatic results; one particular study of trained runners showed a 44% increase in "race-pace" endurance, as well as a 51% increase in cycling endurance, after a dosage of 9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight (Graham & Spriet 1991). The extensive boost shown in the runners is not an isolated case; additional studies have reported similar effects. Another study found 5.5 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body mass resulted in subjects cycling 29% longer during high intensity circuits (Trice & Hayes 1995).