Potent Pills and Potions: Legal Alternatives to Prescription Drugsby TC
Hey, you gotta' problem?
No. I haven't slipped into Brooklyn-ese. I seriously want to know if you have some sort of problem that can be fixed by Big Pharma.
Despite the Government and a nation of wet nurses railing against drugs that fall under the category of "performance enhancement," a good chunk of the deafening din of the coins dropped into the pharmaceutical industry's coffers fall exactly under that classification.
Oh, these drugs might not allow you to hit home runs or blast golf balls into the stratosphere, but they'll improve you in any number of areas.
Hell, it almost begs a re-write of the song, Ball of Confusion:
Sleep deprivation, humiliation, follicularization,
Insomniation, aggravation to T-Nation,
Ball of Confusion,
That's what the world is today
The sales of pills are at an all time high
Young folks walk around with
Their heads in the sky
Boners abound in the summer time
And, the beat goes on.
Okay, maybe it was a stretch, but you get the point.
Don't get us wrong, though. We, obviously, have nothing against the actual drugs that improve performance or make you a better you in general, only the way they're marketed; the prices they charge, and the coy way they pretend that they don't know about the off-label uses of many of these drugs.
Luckily, we at Testosterone and Biotest like to think we're free from that particular brand of hypocrisy.
We make all kinds of self-improvement supplements that, in many cases, work as well or better than their expensive, can't get 'em without twisting your doc's arm, getting a freakin' prescription, or forking over your paycheck because they're so damned expensive, drugs.
Below are several categories of medical/psychological problems, some mild and some not so mild. Under each category, I've presented the prescription drug or drugs that's use--or off-label use--has been known to ameliorate or remedy the professed problem/condition.
And, after each prescription drug, I've presented a Biotest counterpart that ameliorates, remedies, or enhances each problem/condition.
Judge for yourself how we stack up.
"I Have to Drive This Truck-Full of Pineapples to the Coast in 36 Hours Without Falling Asleep. Can You Help a Brother Out?"
Prescription: Provogil, Nuvigil
Provogil, or Modafini, is a drug used to treat narcolepsy, shift work disorder, and "excessive daytime sleepiness." Rather than give you a methaphetamine-like lighting bolt to your brain pan, it's much more subtle, so much so that researchers have classified it as a "wakefulness promoting agent."
The Air Force allegedly gives it to fighter pilots to make sure they can keep their eyes open after 40 sleepless hours.
Provogil's sibling, Nuvigil, acts in much the same way and the manufacturer is actually promoting it as the drug of choice for businessmen who have to make a presentation after catching a red eye the night before.
Biotest: Spike Tablets
Spike tablets employ a trio of substances that provide much the same wakefulness of Provogil or Nuvigil, but with a few pleasant and desirable side effects.
One of the ingredients, thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide, was alleged to be a secret weapon of European cyclists, in addition to being used in post-surgical patients to restore their zest for life.
Additionally, the compound has been shown to have positive effects on memory and cognitive ability.
Spike Tablets also contain Yohimbine HCL, which, aside from being a stimulant, was commonly used (in pre-Viagra) days to treat erectile dysfunction.
Now I know Consumer Reports doesn't like yohimbine, but there is one unifying trait among all supplements that are demonized by mothers, wet nurses, and nanny-state poo-poo heads: they generally work. And when things work, they can have side effects, especially when taken in amounts that surpass label recommendations. So yeah, if you plan on taking a basket full of yohimbine in one sitting, it'll do bad stuff to you.
Regardless, those two compounds—thiamine di(2-methylpropionate) disulfide and yohimbine HCL—combined with guarana-berry extract and theophylline, make Spike tablets a superior (at least in my book) alternative to Provogil or Modafinil.
Up Yours, Lance Armstrong!
Ereythropoietin, or EPO, stimulates the production of red blood cells in patients with anemia or kidney failure.
Red blood cells, as you know, carry oxygen, and the more red blood cells you have, the more oxygen your blood can carry, allowing you to exercise longer.
Unfortunately, it can be fatal if you don't know what you're doing. Take too much and your blood can turn into sludge, at which point your heart makes a skkklunnnkkk noise and quits.
Biotest: Surge Workout Fuel
Surge Workout Fuel enhances work production, endurance, and recovery in a whole host of ways. In effect, it contains three functional "stacks," the first of which contains citrulline malate, L-Leucine, and Beta-alanine.
These three compounds work to increase muscle protein synthesis and ATP production, combat muscle oxidation, and optimize pH, the net effect being a boost in anaerobic and aerobic performance. In short, it allows you to train harder and recover faster.
The second "stack" consists of rice oligodextrin, Palatinose, and D-Glucose, which pulls substrate-loaded fluids into muscle cells, potentiates glucose transport into muscle, and acts as a powerful anti-catabolic agent.
The third "stack" consists of an armada of electrolytes that accelerate hydration and stave off poor exercise performance or premature fatigue and muscle cramping.
Put those all together and it equates to a supplement that allows you to surpass your previous endurance threshold by miles, reps, or pounds.
Best of all, it won't kill you.
Sure, I'm clowning around with that last line, but it's a valid point. This stuff is safe and it's super effective, as countless endurance cyclists, track athletes, and lifters can attest.
"I'm so Sorry, This has Never Happened to Me Before!"
Prescription: Cialis, Levitra, Viagra
All of these drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis. None, however, despite popular notions, increase your sex drive. The main difference between these drugs is the time it takes for them to take effect and the duration of each.
Viagra and Levitra take about a half hour to kick in and last 4 or 5 hours, while Cialis kicks in as little as 15 minutes and can last up to 36 hours.
Each of the drugs affects the circulatory system, so caution is urged in those with cardiac issues. Viagra also occasionally affects your vision so that the whole world is temporarily cast in blue, but it's kind of pretty.
Biotest: Alpha Male
Unlike the three drugs listed above, Alpha Male coaxes your body into manufacturing Testosterone. Increased levels of Testosterone almost invariably affect the sex drive, allowing you to achieve harder erections more frequently, in addition to reducing the refractory period (the time in-between erections).
Alpha Male has a multi-pronged approach, employing four different substances t(super-concentrated Tribulus terrestris, Vitex agnus castus, Eurycoma longifolia, and forskolin) that affect both the pituitary and the testes, thus assuring the strongest surge of Testosterone possible. This will most certainly lead to better sex.
Let me use an analogy to illustrate the difference, though. Using Viagra or Cialis is like putting a super-charged fuel in your engine—the effects are potent but short lived.
Using Alpha Male, however, is like overhauling the engine and adding horsepower. Many users of Alpha Male are astounded by their increased sexual prowess, so much so that many have started moonlighting as porn stars. Okay, not really, but they really do swear by the stuff.
"You Don't Happen to Have the Name of Michael Jackson's Doctor, Do You?"
Prescription: Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata
These drugs are classified as "sedative hypnotics." While they help you fall asleep, they're designed to wear off after a few hours. They're preferred by many insomniacs who just need a nudge to wander off to lullaby land and who don't like to wake up too thick-headed or, in the case of Michael Jackson, dead.
While the drugs are effective and relatively safe, they've been known to cause sleep driving, sleep eating, and even sleep sex, the latter of which might not be a big deal, unless your sister-in-law, or worse yet, your mother-in-law, is sleeping innocently on the downstairs couch.
They're also habit forming, which may or may not be a problem, until you run out of them, or forget to take them with you on your vacation to Fiji.
Z-12 is terrific for people who not only are insomniacs, but who might occasionally need the guarantee of a good night's sleep, like the night before an exam, a big job interview, or a crucial athletic event.
You can also use a smaller dose during the day for those times when you're nervous or anxious or want to march into your post office with a semi-automatic to extract a measure of revenge for perceived insults.
Z-12 is an encapsulated, non-addictive formula that contains three anxiety reducing, sleep-inducing ingredients:
• 4-amino-3-phenyl-butyric acid HCl (PhGABA)
• 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
One of the cool things about Z-12 is that it appears to be amazingly safe. There have been no signs of toxicity reported with any of its ingredients and side effects are almost non-existent. Furthermore, you wake up without a trace of the "hangover" associated with virtually every prescription drug on the market.
This is My Cholesterol!?! I Thought it was Today's Dow Jones Industrial Average!
Prescription: Atorvastatin (Lipitor), Rosuvastatin (Crestor), Simvastin (Zocor)
The preceding three drugs are known as statins and they belong to a class of drugs known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. What they do is inhibit an enzyme known as HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a big role in the production of cholesterol by the liver.
Cholesterol, as you know, gums up your circulatory system, which may cause a stroke or, worse yet, make you take an eternal dirt nap when your heart stops thumping.
Cholesterol, however, is a weird, misunderstood beastie. No one can figure out what the optimal level is, and much to the delight of statin salesman everywhere, doctors keep dropping the desired range lower and lower with each passing year, causing them to write even more statin prescriptions.
Weirdly and paradoxically, almost as many people with "low" cholesterol die every year from heart disease as those with "high" cholesterol.
Despite the confusing mortality rates from heart attacks and stroke, one thing seems to be certain: statins have reduced the death rate from these diseases.
But is it because the drugs are reducing cholesterol rates, or is it something else? A lot of researchers think that statins have had a positive effect on death rates because they have an anti-inflammatory effect, and that's where the Biotest alternative comes in.
When you have inflammation, white blood cells known as macrophages proliferate, and they play a major role in atherosclerosis, which is characterized by plaques that reduce blood flow.
Much of this inflammation is caused by primitive, rudimentary hormones called eicosanoids. If you ingest a lot of omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in just about every processed food, your body makes a lot of these pro-inflammatory eicosanoids.
However, ingesting omega-3 fish oils, the kind found in abundant quantities in Flameout, puts the kibosh on these pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. The net result is a profound anti-inflammatory effect that's comparable to that achieved by statins.
And while just about any quality fish oil might have a similar effect, Biotest's Flameout capsules are so pure, so highly refined, that taking just one is pretty much the equivalent of taking 6 to 8 run-of-the-mill fish oil capsules.
So if you're not ready to go on statins yet, and not ready to risk the rhabdomyolosis (a rare, painful condition characterized by the breakdown of muscle cells) associated with statin use, try Flameout, the healthy alternative.
If I Cut the Green Wire, It'll Defuse the...Hey! Did You Hear that Susan Boyle is Going to be on "Glee" This Season?
Prescription: Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
So you can't focus, huh? Find yourself driving to work, only to "awaken" from your daydream and discover that you missed your freeway exit ten miles back? Can't read more than a paragraph of your physics textbook without thinking about naked coeds? It's pretty common.
Most pharmacy freaks resort to amphetamines, which, oddly enough, make hyper kids calm down, but have the opposite effect on people who don't have ADHD.
Drugs like Adderall speed up the production of norepinephrine and dopamine, which is techno-speak for speeding up your brain and making college kids learn, like, real good.
Unfortunately, the number of possible side effects is as daunting as a mid-term exam, including such things as headaches, stomach upset, insomnia, irritability, depression, anxiety, changes in blood sugar, increased blood pressure, possible fre, fre, freakin' Tourette's like syndrome, seizures, and oh yeah, possibly death.
More likely, however, is the rebound effect, which is characterized by depression or irritability as the stimulant wears off. This gives the drugs a high potential for addiction since no one likes feeling like someone ran over their dog when the drugs wear off.
Biotest: Power Drive
Power Drive contains three compounds prized by the nootropic, or "smart drug" crowd:
L-Tyrosine is converted by the brain into the stimulatory neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. All of these stimulatory compounds work together to decrease fatigue and diminish subjective confusion.
Phosphatidylcholine increases levels of another neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which, along with controlling motor unit recruitment and increasing reflex and reaction times, also improves memory.
DMAE, in particular, is prized by the nootropic crowd, and it works much the same as phosphatidylcholine in that it increases levels of acetylcholine.
I know all that stuff because I just took some Power Drive! It's just like those people who spent the night in a Holiday Inn and are now super capable!
Nah, but you get the point.
While Power Drive was developed as a workout supplement (since it increases motor unit recruitment), it was found to be especially useful in promoting creativity, wakefulness (without jitters) and, in particular, increased focus.
While athletes ranging from power lifters to marksmen to golfers swear by Power Drive, it's also become a mainstay in the Clearasil festooned medicine cabinets of students (and writers) everywhere.
Yeah, yeah, this article is self-promoting. It shouldn't matter. The benefits of these supplements should be evident, and their superiority—either from sheer effectiveness or in lack of nasty side effects—makes them a valid alternative to many prescription medications or drugs.
Sometimes, you absolutely need to stay awake.
EPO, for when you don't care if your blood turns to sludge.
"Damn it, I just took my Viagra 10 minutes ago, but I don't think I can stall for another 50 minutes until it takes effect!"
Z-12 will allow you to sleep just about anywhere.
Heart disease is all about inflammation.
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