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Nutraceutical Brain Boosting (& Free Schwag)

Let’s start by petting (or shooting) the elephant in the room. All the snarksters will assume that I’m interviewing Dr. Richard Clark Kaufman on nutraceuticals because his NEURVANA company is an h+ advertiser. Not true. My corruption is entirely based on the free schwag!

See, a couple of years ago I was at a Humanity Plus conference down in San Jose and not getting enough sleep when a fellow h+er handed me a bottle of an experimental nutraceutical labeled “Euphoria.” I immediately popped two of them and had an alert and informative day. Sleeping conditions remained the same that night, but Dr. Kaufman’s formulation saw me through the following day without a hitch. Another h+er had some and reported borderline psychedelic effects, but I’m pretty sure she has an extra supply of endogenous DMT in her brain.

Anyway, although I used the “Euphoria” sparingly, I eventually ran out. I missed it.

I was dimly (truly) aware that the h+ advertiser NEURVANA was the same fellow who had made the Euphoria, but I resisted the temptation to ask for free stuff. Then another h+er suggested that I should interview Dr. Kaufman because “he knows more about smart nutrients than anybody.” Ahh, a perfect excuse to feed my head.

For those cynics who are sure that drugs work, but beta-phenethalymine (e.g.) must be total hype because it can be marketed as a refined nutrient — I invite you to present your “logic.”

And even more to the point, Dr. Kaufman asked me to run this announcement… free schwag for h+ readers! “NEURVANA Edge is offering free sample packs of NEURVANA Edge formulations for you to experience cognitive and performance enhancements first-hand. All you do is pay the cost of shipping and handling. As a special offer for H+ Magazine readers, NEURVANA Edge is providing ‘Free Shipping’ on any size product order. Enter the Coupon Code "hplus" during checkout to receive this special offer. Visit the NEURVANA Edge website at to take advantage of this offer.”

h+: How do you arrive at the combinations that you put in your nutrient pills?

Richard KaufmanDR. RICHARD CLARK KAUFMAN: For me, formulating nutraceutical products is an ever-evolving creative process that goes beyond scientific empiricism and reductionism. I began formulating nutraceuticals with the publication of my book The Age Reduction System, which is a complete system to slow down, halt and reverse biological age. At this time, I was co-director of the Center for Biogerontology, a life-extension medical clinic in Los Angeles.

I realized the clinic’s patients required a series of nutraceutical products to add to their aging-intervention and life-prolongation plans. So I formulated them and formed Age Reduction Corporation to market Anti-Aging Health Systems. It was the launch of a career in formulating nutraceuticals. In our clinic, we monitored our patient’s progress, measured their before-and-after biological ages with regression equations. That enabled us to see the causative and effective results.

Since that time, I have formulated hundreds of nutraceutical products for some of the largest and most successful supplement manufacturers and distributors in America. In fact, I was the first person to use melatonin in consumer dietary supplement products. I was also the first person to recommend 5-HTP to users of MDMA (Ecstasy) for restoring depleted serotonin levels. My guiding principle remains: create innovative nutraceutical formulations that really work and help people conquer their personal health challenges. Unfortunately, there are a lot of snake oil supplements being sold as miracle cures and too many copycat health products in the marketplace.

Formulating a great nutraceutical product requires vision and creativity extending beyond scientific empiricism and deductive reasoning. Often I have a vision of something that doesn’t exist but is needed for a specific health condition or enhancement. The rest is a systematic, scientific process of engineering my vision into the right combination of nutraceutical agents that produce the desired biological actions on human metabolism. A great nutraceutical formulation — like a great food dish — has a certain touch, taste and feel beyond the label claims. A consistently challenging issue is verification, and proving clinical efficacy for skeptical health professionals. Unlike the pharmaceutical industry, the nutraceutical/supplement industry doesn’t have billions of dollars to spend on conducting double-blind clinical trials on individual formulations for supporting their marketing claims.

Several years ago, I felt compelled to tackle the supplement industry’s widespread problem of poor delivery. When a nutraceutical is given orally, its bioavailability — and ultimately, its efficacy — depend on the solubility and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Many dietary supplements have a very low bioavailability and efficacy when taken orally due to several interacting reasons. Plus the composition, shape, size and morphology of many dietary supplements inhibit their transport entry into target cells and structures. My solution was to formulate them into a nanosized delivery system that mimics plasma lipoproteins. I filed a patent for a lipoprotein-like nanoparticle delivery system that can improve the delivery of nutraceuticals across biological membranes into the systemic circulation, shield the molecules from extensive pre-systemic metabolism, avoid uptake by the reticuloendothelial system, and increase their transport into the cells of desired targets.

So as a result, I’ve introduced NEURVANA Edge. They are a family of what I call “super nutraceuticals.” They’re formulated to greatly increase mental and physical performance as well as slow down the aging process.

h+: What sort of enhancements do you expect people to achieve by using them?

RK: Since my days of co-directing a life-extension clinic, I have continued my research in developing formulations for slowing down the process of aging, helping extend healthy lifespan and combating age-related disorders with nutraceuticals in place of drugs. I’m driven to develop biological agents in targeted formulations and delivery systems capable of improving human mental and physical performance up-to-and-beyond the limits of human genetic coding. R.U., I want to take a pill that prevents growing old, restores or maintains youth and develops “super human powers.” The things many h+ readers want for themselves.

This requires identifying and corrected underlying metabolic defects, as well improving individual pathways of human functions for higher performance with targeted interventions of biological agents. It’s not so simple as taking a bunch of antioxidants and praying they work. It necessitates reprogramming our neural networks, cellular functions and the neurorendocrine/hypothalamic brain axis control of homeostasis. This is my driving force behind in developing the NEURVANA Edge family. They’re a significant advancement in developing peak mental and physical-performance and whole-body wellness. They’re important for helping to extend healthy lifespan and preventing many post-maturational diseases. They incorporate my patent-pending “NanoSphere Delivery System” of natural phospholipids for greater bioactivity. And they do so without producing the side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Brain neurotransmittersThe NEURVANA Edge family of nutraceutical products features the neurotransmitter/neuromodulator beta-phenylethylamine or PEA. Taken orally, PEA easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. It therefore becomes rapidly available to increase the activity of the major neurotransmitters. PEA increases the effects of dopamine for well-being and feeling pleasure. It increases the effects of norepinephrine — the brain’s stimulant for wakefulness and higher performance; and acetylcholine for improving memory and mental activity. And it stimulates serotonin for better mood, emotion and impulse control.

PEA has been referred to as an “endogenous amphetamine” by different researchers. It has an amphetamine-like structure and actions on the central nervous system that boost cognition, alertness, wakefulness, attention, energy and endurance. Unlike the drug stimulants that are addictive and harmful, PEA is natural, free of harmful side effects and non-addictive. It’s a highly concentrated neurotransmitter in the limbic system, the brain’s emotional center that plays a major role in our motivation, physical drive, feelings and social activity.

Think of PEA as a chip upgrade and amplifier for your brain’s neural processor hardware. It increases the signal strength of billions of brain neurons to release more neurotransmitters to improve human biological functions. Like a fast-processing high-memory CPU, PEA amplifies, modulates and improves brain functions and performance in nanoseconds.

If I may indulge in a product recommendation, the two formulations that I think every transhumanist, life-extensionist and h+ reader should consider using are NEURVANA Pro and NEURVANA Tranquil.

NEURVANA Pro is the embodiment of the core NEURVANA concept. It amplifies the neurotransmitters in your brain for longevity, increased mental activity, slower aging, peak body-and-mind performance and youthful functioning. Its cumulative activity as a “catecholamine activity enhancer” improves the activity of dopamine/noradrenalin neurons, which have a pivotal role in regulating aging. The efficiency of your catecholamine brain machinery plays a major role in determining the quality and duration of your life. Higher performing, longer-living individuals have a more active, more slowly deteriorating catecholamine system than their lower-performing, shorter-living peers.

I particularly formulated NEURVANA Pro as a safe, natural alternative to Ritalin and Adderall for improving attention and bad behavior. It’s a safe, natural alternative or complement to the widely-used drug stimulants Adderall and Modafinil for increasing learning, memory, cognition and athletic performance at school, home, work and play. Current research supports my belief that PEA triggers neurotransmitters for neurogenesis and brain plasticity to form new brain cells, information-processing connections and functions that increase cognition, learning, memory, skills, smartness and performance.

Within twenty minutes of taking two tablets of NEURVANA Pro, people normally feel an immediate shot of pleasure, bliss and emotional well-being. Users constantly report that it up-lifts their mood, mental activity, motivation, attention, alertness, energy, libido, and sensory awareness.

Neurvana Tranquil. Photo: multifunctional formulation is NEURVANA Tranquil. I formulated it as a natural alternative to Xanax or Prozac, a safe chill pill for anxiousness, depressive moods and calm. It’s also a safe and natural alternative to sleep meds such as Ambien or Lunesta for a deep, restful nourishing sleep.

Most people experience occasional bouts of anxiety and tension. NEURVANA Tranquil restores calm through a combination of neural inhibitors, the GABA receptor activator Phenibut and theanine with the indoleamine transmitter activator 5-HTP. This helps you to quickly relax and places your mind in a serene, harmonious and peaceful zen-like state. Another tangible benefit is better impulse control.

NEURVANA Pro (or our formulation MoodBrightner) and NEURVANA Tranquil as a team are “chronobiotics” for keeping your biological rhythms in sync. They optimize the balance between your “Daytime Energy Cycle” and “Nighttime Sleep and Repair Cycle” by raising the levels of stimulatory neurotransmitters during the day and inhibitory neurotransmitters at night. Working as a team, they resynchronize biological oscillators with each other and the environment. This helps to inhibit the age-related decline of the neuroendocrine system, which is regulated by circadian clocks, from causing a cascading decline in our health and well-being.

Chronic phase shifts and deteriorations in the circadian system contribute to premature aging, significant declines in mental and physical performance, and many health conditions. It’s a problem that most of us face due to our modern working schedules, fast-paced culture and shifting lifestyles.

Healthy, stable, longer-lived people have consistent time characteristics between their daytime energy cycle and nighttime sleep and repair cycle of circadian-regulated biological functions. The cellular processes of life are regulated along a 24-hour cycle by a circadian timing system composed of molecular clocks within each cell. Each cell contains a central coordination system of interconnected molecular loops involving at least 12 circadian genes. These cellular clocks are coordinated and regulated by circadian pacemakers in the hypothalamus and other areas in the brain. They provide an adaptive advantage for our survival and prevent cellular damage.I will claim that NEURVANA’s chronobiotic maintenance of circadian synchronicity helps prevent accelerated aging, degenerative disorders, and neurological decline. Heart disease, dementia, cancer, hypertension, strokes, immune disorders, sexual dysfunctions, sleep abnormalities, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress are all tied to circadian desynchronization of biological functions.

Evidence shows that restoring the integrity of biological rhythms that are desynchronized and preventing temporal disorganization from damaging physiology can inhibit degenerative disorders and may extend the healthy human lifespan. Synchronicity is a natural approach for cognitive enhancement and high-performance wellness. It’s nature’s cure for depressive mind states, chronic fatigue, attention problems, learning disturbances and low immunity.

The NEURVANA Edge website has extensive information about each NEURVANA nutraceutical formulation. There you can find my technical papers about synchronicity and other contemporary topics for health-and-performance enhancement and judge them for yourself.

h+: OK, so what about scientific proofs? Have you performed double-blind experiments, or can you point to experiments that show results from specific nutrients in your mixes?

RK: Like 99% of all nutraceutical/supplement companies, we have not conducted double-blind clinical studies on our formulations. NEURVANA Edge reports on and posts online links to the peer-reviewed research studies documenting the actions and biological effects for the nutraceuticals in our formulations. Significant clinical trials and experimental research for individual nutraceuticals in our formulations are discussed in a series of technical papers that I wrote, as I mentioned earlier. The more technical reader can follow the references from those to Medline, Embase and other scientific databases for more details. If any reader wants to contribute to conducting clinical trials on NEURVANA formulations, they should contact me.

Most of the nutraceutical ingredients in NEURVANA’s formulations have extensive research monographs that are posted online. These tech papers have detailed scientific citations and references. These monographs are easy to locate through a Google search. My upcoming new blog on the NEURVANA Edge website will post the most recently published scientific studies of efficacy.

An increasing number of health practitioners are using NEURVANA Edge Formulations in complementary and alternative therapy for their patients, so we do get to monitor their clinical progress and patient outcomes. I would argue with skeptics that if the NEURVANA formulations didn’t work on their patients, the physicians would stop ordering.

Of course, buyer beware. Too many supplement companies hire gifted technical copywriters that spin their horrific product formulations as miracle cures. It’s easy to cite in vitro experimental research, in vivo studies and anecdotal evidence in a marketing masterpiece of scientific fiction for product support. There are no regulatory agencies to prevent this prevalent practice. In the final analyses, all I can say about my formulations is… try them.

h+: I’m particularly interested in the area of cognitive enhancement, whether through nutrients or drugs. I have no doubt, for example, that a nutrient like beta-phenylethalamine or a drug like vasopressin will give me stimulant effects. But I wonder about any cumulative intelligence increase from regular usage. Do you think there are actual cumulative intelligence increase nutrients and/or drugs and what would you point to as evidence?

Richard KaufmanRK: There is scientific support that beta-phenylethalamine (PEA) and other nutraceuticals can increase your cumulative intelligence through different neural pathways and mechanisms. According to the pioneering research of Dr. Joseph Knoll, a respected neurochemist, pharmacologist and emeritus professor, PEA is a “catecholamine activity enhancer.” According to Knoll’s researchers, PEA improves the activity of dopamine/noradrenalin neurons, which have a pivotal role in regulating aging, learning, cognition and other neural functions.

Dr. Knoll points out that by rehabilitating our brains’ catecholamine system with enhancer substances (including PEA and its derivatives), it’s possible to transform a lower-performing, shorter-living individual into a better-performing, longer-living one with more youthful mental and physical functions.

Furthermore, PEA is the parent compound of l-deprenyl, a catecholamine-enhancing, dopamine-increasing, neuroprotective compound with proven life-extension and cognitive-enhancing actions in animal research. It’s interesting that l-deprenyl produces a huge spike in brain PEA.

When taken orally, PEA easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is rapidly available in the brain as an excitatory neurotransmitter, a signal amplifier of neurotransmitter activity and a neurotransmitter transport regulator for homeostasis. This can result in accumulating cognitive improvements.

PEA is a natural excitatory neurotransmitter with its own receptor, and it has a chemical structure similar to amphetamines.PEA is highly concentrated in the limbic system of the brain, the center for human emotions. As I said, it produces mental and physical stimulation, but without the harmful side effects of drug stimulants. PEA increases norepinephrine catecholamine activity for energy production, focus and wakeful cognition while inhibiting reuptake for longer more pronounced levels of activity. In other words PEA is “endogenous brain speed.”

PEA also increases the action of acetylcholine for cognitive functions by stimulating the AMPA glutamatergic receptors, and improves mental alertness and mood by suppressing the inhibitory effects of GABA-B receptors. In addition, it stimulates dopamine nerve terminals and activity for greater feelings of pleasure and well-being. Lastly, PEA enhances serotonin release for an uplifting effect on mood, emotions and control. The interaction of PEA with its chemical receptors sends signals to the brain that can improve emotional behavior, motivational drive, impulse control, social behavior, sexuality, creativity, and sensory perceptions for an overall higher level of performance in life pursuits.

PEA is an endogenous mesencephalic enhancer and signal amplifier, meaning it causes a greater release of cognitive-and-performance enhancing neurotransmitters in response to a given nerve signal. It’s like “cranking up the volume” of nerve-cell activity, or adding octane booster to your gasoline. In a split second, PEA induces higher concentrations, a continuous strong release, and to a lesser degree, induces greater activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine and serotonin.

PEA is also a neurotransmitter regulator of homeostasis for maintaining your metabolic equilibrium. Recent research has focused on how the binding of PEA with trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1) in the brain controls the binding of neurotransmitters with nerve receptors and regulates the nervous system to offset disrupting changes. PEA seems to limit overstimulation of nerve cells by excessive neurotransmitter signaling, thus preventing nerve cell damage and abnormal functioning.

The research strongly suggests that PEA is an important homeostatic protector of your neural activity and circuitry. In practical terms, PEA has the potential to prevent you from overamping and frying neural circuits from the abuse of the stimulants amphetamines and cocaine. On a side note, there’s a whole vein of research on using PEA to control substance addictions.

This research supports scientifically what you said about cognitive enhancers in your article in Whole Earth Review way back in the mid-1980s:

“INTELLIGENCE INCREASING DRUGS might be labeled "Cognitive Enhancers”.… What many of these drugs and nutrients have in common is that they produce effects similar to effects people are seeking from popular stimulants such as caffeine, amphetamines and cocaine. These popular drugs temporarily enhance cognition and memory, and amp up the user’s energy levels only to leave the user depleted. Cocaine and amphetamines might properly be labeled as short-term intelligence-increase drugs and long-term intelligence-decrease drugs.”

Brain of ManThese research findings are part of the practical methods I pioneered to permanently improve cognition, sensory perceptions, creativity and other traits by inducing neural “up regulation.” This plan also prevents dumbing down from “down regulation,” transmitter depletion and nerve damage due to acute or chronic neurotoxicity from overloading your body with certain stimulants and drugs. Let me summarize how it’s done. Very specific combinations of agonist nutraceuticals, smart nutrients and drugs are taken in precisely-controlled daily “low dosages” to create new neural circuits and brain activity by activating targeted neural pathways projecting into function-specific brain regions and forming new connections. This results in the creation of new synaptic connections, more effective signal pathways, and increased efficiency of neural transmission. The outcome is higher levels of cognition and other neural functions that you want to accentuate, based on what you’re taking in your mix. This represents a practical application of “brain plasticity”: the ability to form new connections throughout life, selectively change neurons, reorganize neural networks, and create new or improved neural functioning.

Regarding evidence for actual cumulative intelligence increase from the regular use of nutrients and/or drugs, let me say this. I have a library of published research about different nootropics (i.e. smart pills) as evidence and have personally observed and measured cognitive improvements in patients taking nootropics. I’m sure you have read many of these articles and even written about them.

In fact, a paper just came out on March 7, 2010, reporting that, for the first time, scientists showed that Ritalin boosts cognitive abilities in animal research by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Ritalin produces these effects by enhancing brain plasticity — strengthening communication between neurons where they meet at the synapse.

PEA triggers neurotransmitters for neurogenesis and brain plasticity to form new brain cells, information-processing connections and functions that increase cognition, learning, memory, skills, and performance.

Modafinil is a wake-promoting drug used for treating sleep disorders that many people also use to enhance cognition. Researchers found that Modafinil acutely elevates extracellular dopamine located outside of cells in the brain by blocking the dopamine transporter. Both Modafinil and Ritalin’s actions occur in the amygdala, a brain region known to be critical for learning and emotional memory. Unfortunately Ritalin, Modafinil and Adderall (a legalized amphetamine compound that‘s essentially speed), boost cognition by altering brain neurotransmitters in way that scientists say increase their potential for abuse and dependence. I’ll make the claim that NEURVANA can substitute for Ritalin or Adderall, but people will have to make up their own minds.

The reason is that PEA works by activating and increasing the neurotransmission of dopamine, other catecholamines, and acetylcholine in the brain, and can be safely taken over an indefinite period of time. PEA doesn’t continue to over-activate neurons in the brain to the point of damage like the above-mentioned prescription stimulants. I plan to write this up on my blog.

h+: Words are one thing. The only way to confirm it is by testing it on yourself. For example, you could take an I.Q. test that measures different abilities. Begin a regimen of smart pills combined with mind-training exercises. After four months retest and look for score improvements.

RK: To help everybody improve themselves, NEURVANA Edge is offering free sample packs of NEURVANA Edge formulations for you to experience cognitive and performance enhancements first-hand. All you do is pay the cost of shipping and handling.