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How To Feel 15% Better Every Day With L Dopa, Caffeine, 5 HTP And ZMA

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I only have one goal in my personal life: to be as consistently happy as possible. And I only have one goal in my business life: to make you as consistently happy as possible. Everything on this website is written with your happiness in mind, from having a mission to managing your money to getting women – every article is nothing more than a strategy that I hope will make you feel happier.

With this supplement stack I feel like I’ve had a major breakthrough in the happiness department. I’m not saying the stack works miracles, but over the last two months of experimentation I would say I’m on average 15% happier every day – that is a big number to me. Now I usually don’t put anything out to you guys until I’ve done at least six months of experimentation but I’ve been so impressed with the results that I wanted to get it out to you now, especially since I’ve been having a lot of guys reach out to me with mood issues.

The theory behind the stack is to supplement your key mood lifting neurotransmitters to correct deficiencies you might have from not getting enough nutrients from your food. We’re evolved to eat a natural, healthy diet which in term provides our body with optimal levels of nutrients which in term supports optimal levels of mood lifting neurotransmitters. Your consistent happiness depends on consistently having high levels of these neurotransmitters in your system.

Unfortunately we live in an age of fast food, GMOs and FODMAPs like gluten, dairy and onions being a big part of most people’s diets. Most people are not getting the nutrients they need from their diet and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the rise of these types of foods has corresponded with a massive rise in depressive and anxiety disorders. Despite all our prosperity, we’ve strayed so far from what we’re evolved to be eating that we end up paying the price with our well-being.

To be able to absorb the nutrients you need , having a healthy gut is crucial.  In fact many researchers now refer to the gut as the second brain due to how important it is to your physiology. Some evolutionary psychiatrists like Emily Dean go as far as saying that all mood disorders, including conditions as serious as schizophrenia, may come from having an unhealthy gut.

Gut health is incredibly important, but healing your gut is well beyond the scope of this post. What I recommend is clean eating combined with gut friendly supplements. This will help you absorb nutrients more effectively as well as make the supplements in this stack more effective at correcting deficiencies. I’ll admit I don’t always eat clean but I’ve been eating better and the effects are noticeable.

I know for a fact that in my case, after many years of unhealthy eating that I’ve damaged my gut. To correct the damage I’ve done I’m on a protocol of eating raw fish 3 times a week for Omega 3s, doing a spinach juice daily, and doing my best to avoid FODMAPs except for my weekly cheat meal.  I also take a hardcore 100 billion count probiotic every morning and digestive enzymes with every meal. If you’re serious about making this stack work for you I would recommend you do the same.

In the past I’ve tried variations of this stack but never found much of a noticeable effect, I credit cleaner eating and aggressive gut supplementation for at least part of the results I’m now getting. With that said, I can’t lie to you guys, I love food and eating clean every day is extremely difficult for me for anything more than the period of a cutting cycle. I definitely slip up a lot but I’m doing better then I was before and it’s made a big difference.

I also realized a couple other reasons why the stack wasn’t as effective in the past:

  1. I was expecting too much: don’t expect an immediate phenibut level mood boost, instead expect a gradual leveling out of mood
  2. I was expecting results too soon: you really need to give the stack a full month for the effects to kick in
  3. I was taking the supplements in isolation: combining the supplements together has been much more effective
  4. I wasn’t timing the supplements properly: taking the ZMA and 5 HTP at night is crucial, not only to avoid drowsiness in the day but because they enhance the quality and restoration of your sleep which is important for waking up in a good mood

The way I designed the stack was to have each supplement focus on one of your four key mood-regulating neurotransmitters – acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin and GABA. Your personal happiness is really nothing more than having consistently high levels of these chemicals circulating throughout your body.

A simple way of understanding how these neurotransmitters work is by classifying them into uppers and downers: acetylcholine and dopamine promote energy, wakefulness and goal oriented behavior whereas serotonin and GABA are inhibitory neurotransmitters that promote relaxation, comfort and a sense of well-being.

This is of course oversimplified. Mental health and the complexities of neurotransmitters are well beyond the scope of this post, as well as my expertise. But being a practitioner as opposed to a scientist, what I do know is how to hack my neurotransmitters and how the results affect me on a personal level. For the results that you should expect, we need to dig a bit deeper into how your neurotransmitters work:

Neurotransmitters

Acetylcholine

Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter responsible for your cognition, memory and arousal.  I’ve been supplementing my acetylcholine with 100 – 200 mg of caffeine and half a liter of water every morning for the past 7 years with good results. I find this way more efficient than coffee and a lot cheaper. For less than the price of one cup of Starbucks coffee I can buy an entire month’s supply of caffeine.

The way I take caffeine is with a few sips of water before I hit my morning workout. Then I come back and drink at least half a liter to keep hydrated and negate the diuretic effects of the caffeine. I then fast until noon which gives me solid energy for about four hours because I don’t have digestion slowing me down. This routine transformed me from a sluggish night owl with no energy to an early morning go getter.

This might be too much caffeine for you if you’re not tolerant to stims but I need a good amount to combat my sleep apnea. If you’re not tolerant to stims you might also find that caffeine comes with some anxiety but if you follow the full stack here you’ll be able to knock off a large chunk of that.

With that said, of all the supplements in this stack, caffeine is by far the most addictive and comes with the quickest tolerance. I’ll admit I’m 100% addicted and need caffeine to have a productive day, but the benefits for me outweigh the addiction. I’ve quit caffeine before but my life is hands-down better with caffeine in it than without it.

Dopamine

Dopamine is like nature’s natural amphetamine and controls our energy, excitement about new ideas, and motivation.  Dopamine is associated with the “pleasure system” of the brain and makes you feel happier and motivated to perform. Dopamine is also responsible for a lot of your sexual desire.

L DOPA works by directly raising your levels of dopamine which is why I’ve stacked it with 5 HTP as it counteracts the slight sexual side effects of increased serotonin.

Serotonin

Serotonin is produced in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and is associated with anger regulation, mood, and sleep. Serotonin provides a healing, nourishing and satisfied feeling in the body.  When serotonin levels are high and balanced you can sleep deeply and peacefully, enjoy relaxing activities and think rationally.

5 HTP works by increasing tryptophan, a direct precursor to serotonin. If you’ve ever felt tired after a big turkey dinner it’s because of the high amounts of tryptophan in turkey. That’s why it’s important to take your 5 HTP before bedtime as opposed to during the day.

GABA

GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter of your nervous system and is linked to relaxation, anti-anxiety and well-being.  Supplementing with magnesium is a great way to increase your levels of GABA. ZMA has zinc, magnesium and B6 which I feel is the optimal magnesium delivery system. Studies show that magnesium deficiency is extremely common and I would bet money that you’re not getting enough.

I take ZMA as opposed to pure magnesium because I believe it’s absorbed better in this combination as well as coming with the bonus benefits of zinc and B6. ZMA has been proven to increase testosterone in zinc deprived, high intensity athletes. I haven’t noticed a difference but I’m on TRT. If you are deprived you might find daily zinc to be an effective, natural test booster.

Another way to get magnesium is taking daily epsom salts bath, in fact I would say it’s more powerful than supplementing. I don’t have a bathtub in my place so that’s not an option for me but I was having a nightly epsom salt bath at one point in time. It’s definitely not the most manly thing in the world, but it’s a great way to get relaxed before bed and keep your magnesium and in turn your GABA levels up.  This is a good option if you don’t want to go the ZMA route.

Another way to keep your GABA levels up is by using theanine, a GABA agonist that many guys take with caffeine in the morning. I’ve had decent results with it but I prefer to keep my GABA receptors fresh during the week so I can blast phenibut recreationally on the weekends as a reward for a hard week’s work.

Phenibut like theanine is also a GABA agonist that crosses the blood-brain barrier but it’s a lot more powerful. It is definitely not something you should take daily. Once or twice a week is all you want to do with phenibut. Since it works acutely you can add it to your stack as an occasional option and get the benefits from it that day.

Review

Legality

  • 5 HTP, ZMA, caffeine and L Dopa are legal OTC drugs

Ordering

  • I recommend ordering supplements from iHerb, especially if you live outside the USA, they slaughter amazon when it comes to prices, ease of ordering, loyalty credits and reliability of products (you’re ordering from them, not some random dude’s store on amazon)
  • Now that I live in Thailand Amazon isn’t even close to an option, not only do large supplement orders regularly get seized but the shipping charges cost more than the order
  • You can also use my iHerb code: $5 off your first order

Dosage

  • L Dopa: 1 tab in the morning standardized for a total of 60 mg of L Dopa, this is half the dosage recommended on the bottle, the recommended dose made me feel too impulsive
  • Caffeine: 100 mg to 200 mg in the morning with an optional 100 mg to 200 mg at lunch (if you have no tolerance for stims start at 50 mg per day)
  • 5 HTP: 1 capsule at night with ZMA for a total of 100 mg of 5 HTP (you can take 2 capsules occasionally if you’re struggling to fall asleep)
  • ZMA:  3 capsules at night with 5 HTP for a total of 15 mg of Vitamin B6, 450 mg of magnesium and 30 mg of zinc
  • Pro Tip: to remind yourself to take your pills at night, leave the bottles on your bed

Brand

Caffeine, ZMA, 5 HTP, L Dopa

Cost

  • ZMA: $25.48 per bottle, $12.74 per month
  • L Dopa: $12.73 per bottle, $4.24 per month
  • 5 HTP: $9.24 per bottle, $4.62 per month
  • Caffeine: 7.00$ per bottle, 2.33$ per month

Come-Up

  • Caffeine: 30 minutes
  • L DOPA: 1 – 2 weeks
  • 5 HTP and ZMA: Sleep and relaxation come about 45 minutes after the first nightly dose but consistent brighter moods take about 1 – 2 weeks to notice
  • Total Stack: You should expect 3 to 4 weeks for the maximum effect of the stack to kick in but you’ll find noticeable effects within the first week

Positive Effects

  • 15% daily boost in mood (this is huge)
  • Stack negates anxiety effects of caffeine, caffeine induced anxiety triggers in my stomach barely activate
  • Easier to be calm and positive
  • Slight increase in daily energy
  • Less aggression over small things that normally would have made me angry
  • Overall feeling of being centered, the effects are subtle at first and are not a happy high like phenibut but more like a gradual evening out of mood

Side Effects

  • 10% reduction in sex drive from 5 HTP, serotonin always comes with some sexual side effects
  • With that said, this is almost a bonus for me as I feel calmer and think about sex less during the work day which helps me focus better
  • Also I’ve noticed no problems with erections or ejaculation, just slightly less sexual energy which is really only noticeable when I do tantric energy masturbation practice
  • Increased impulsive behavior from L Dopa if you take the recommended dose, this is why I cut the recommended dosage in half and recommend you do the same, at a half dosage you shouldn’t notice the negative effects

Rating

  • 9/10

Troubleshooting

  • One thing you should do is keep an eye on L Dopa use in the long-term
  • Of all the supplements in the stack it’s the only one that comes with potential for more serious side effects including dopamine dysregulation
  • Taking a 60 mg dose instead of the recommended dose will help prevent side effects but you should still closely monitor how you respond over the long term
  • If you do notice effects in the future it is definitely not something you should ignore, but also something you shouldn’t worry about too much now because you can always modify your dosage or stop taking it altogether
  • The first step would be taking a full week off of L Dopa and then modifying to a 5 days on 2 days off protocol to see how you feel
  • If that doesn’t work for you then cut it out altogether, you’ll still get a lot of the benefits of the stack without the L Dopa
  • Also, as just a general protective measure, it’s always a good idea to take a week off all drugs and supplements at least once a year to refresh your receptors, this is especially important with caffeine

Conclusions

  • The combination of these four supplements is a very effective natural stack for raising your baseline mood
  • I’m usually hesitant to recommend any type of mood altering drug on a daily basis but I feel with this stack, because you’re correcting a deficiency with supplements naturally produced by your body, you’ll adapt with minimal side effects and without developing a tolerance
  • If you’re in therapy for your mood and your practitioner is recommending hardcore pharmaceuticals, I would recommend running this natural stack by your doctor before you accept going on SSRIs
  • In summary, I recommend this protocol for anyone struggling with their mood in combination with my anti-depression techniques and putting a strong focus on your mission and four yearly goals

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. This website does not promote or endorse any illegal use of medication of any kind. NO LIABILITY WILL BE ASSUMED FOR THE USE OF THIS ARTICLE AND/OR ADDITIONAL POSTINGS HEREIN.


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28 Comments

  1. Peter
    May 9, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    If you spent six months testing it then I’ll give it a shot and report back. Damn having to ship this stuff to New Zealand.

    P.s. Your link for the HTP goes to the Dopa Mucuna product.

  2. May 9, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on the links, I’ve fixed it.

    As for the testing I’ve actually only done two months on this stack, what I said was I normally do 6 months at least on every supplement but after two months on this stack I was impressed enough to put it out. As far as shipping goes, iHerb is pretty damn good internationally, I get mine within a few weeks in Thailand at only a $4 international shipping charge per order that includes getting it past the labrynth that is Thai customs. The last time I ordered with swansons I had a $200 order of completely legal supplements seized.

    With that said, I’m not sure how New Zealand looks but if its inconvenient you should be able to get the whole stack at a high end health food store although you’ll probably pay a bit more. Just stick with now foods, doctor’s best or Jarrow for high quality brands and you’re good. All the best with it my man.

  3. Vegas
    May 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Do you take phenibut anymore?

    btw can I cut that 200mg caffeine to an 100mg ?

  4. May 18, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Yep absolutely you can, I use a mini steak knife.

  5. Dominic
    May 28, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Started this stack.

    The night supps knock me out, the morning ones give me a good starting point for the day.

    Haven’t had any impulse to jerk off lately. Not sure if that’s from the stack or a temporary natural decline.

    Thanks for posting.

  6. May 30, 2016 at 1:53 am

    Glad to hear. It’s probably from the stack, I noticed about a 10% drop in sex drive but no problems with erections.

  7. Vegas
    July 11, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Will.
    I’m currently taking all these stuff without 5htp and I have since a few week ago depressions and anexity, I had some depression and anxiety before but usually it last for some days but right now it feels I have it for a couple weeks.
    Do you suspect it’s from any supplement I take right now?

    Right now on the morning I take;

    200mg caffeine
    2 capsules L-Dopa
    9 mg boron (read a lot of studies that it boost free testosterone)
    1 capsule B-vitamin complex
    30mg zinc

  8. July 12, 2016 at 7:04 am

    The anxiety might be from the caffeine and L Dopa, but I wouldn’t say the depression is. For lowering anxiety I would cut the l dopa and caffeine doses in half and take the 5 htp and ZMA, 5 HTP and ZMA are crucial parts of the cycle for balancing out the increased dopamine. Or you can always cut everything out and see how you feel.

  9. Mike
    July 13, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Hey Will, looking to pull the trigger on this stack immediately. Just wanted to hear quickly how your stack is currently going? I know you wrote the article after the first two months, just was a curious on an update. Thanks as always brother.

  10. July 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Hey Mike, so last week I did a caffeine reboot because my tolerance was getting a bit high which made a big difference. I realize that I’ll have to do a reboot once a week every year or find another stim to cycle caffeine with, unfortunately ephedrine is not legal where I live now otherwise I’d use that every day.

    Also what I’ve done to prevent tolerance from L Dopa and 5 HTP is to cycle off them on the weekend, let my dopamine and serotonin receptors recharge and instead blast phenibut on saturday and sunday. I haven’t had long enough to experminent with the new method but it’s looking good so far.

    Also if kratom is legal in your country and you do well with it, you can add one day of kratom to the mix.

  11. January 18, 2017 at 4:35 am

    Just wanted to share my experiences with this stack. If done like Will says… it works great. DO NOT Take the L-Dopa and Caffeine after say 11 am because, with me anyway, it seems to not get countered by the 5HTP and ZMA.

    I have had some good days and some bad with this stack. Immediately I noticed my sleep was incredible but I dont seem to see much from the L-Dopa. The ZMA (I think) makes me dream stronger, meaning I remember them. The 5HTP and/or ZMA is really lowering my heart rate as well during sleep and its very noticable. Im still tinkering with times to take for me and it looks like at least for now, I need to take everything a lot earlier. I also mixed in some Yohimbine during the middle of the day recently… DONT DO THAT. Just skip the morning Caffeine and L-Dopa if you are going to do that. Hope this helps.

  12. January 18, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Great points Ricard, glad to hear you’re getting some effects, you can drop the l dopa if you’re not getting anything from it.

  13. ricard
    January 28, 2017 at 1:54 am

    So after doing this stack for two weeks… I am finding that the L Dopa just adds a ton of anxiety. So I’m just going with the caffeine in the morning only. If you have a suggestion for replacing the L-Dopa… let me know.

    Thanks again for what you are doing. Great stuff.

    You should do an article on anti-anxiety. A lot of men struggle with it.

  14. February 2, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Hey Ricard,

    I hear you, if the L Dopa is giving your anxiety, then def drop it. I don’t have a suggestion because my bet is any dopamine agonist would cause you anxiety. Will def put something together in the future on anxiety, for now the best compounds I know are phenibut (in moderation), theanine in less moderation, and 5 htp which you can use pretty liberally in my opinion. Kratom and kava kava also work well in moderation. As for anxiety releasing techniques, HIT cardio daily in mornings, stretching yoga/daily in mornings, and heavy weights twice a week to fatigue are awesome, so is a long hot shower followed by a cold shower – I take two to three a day.

    Also watch your caffeine intake, caffeine is a double edged sword, great for depression and energy, bad for anxiety and calmness, try and limit it to only as much as you need.

  15. Ricard
    February 14, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Update: So I’ve been taking the stack and variations of it for a month now. I highly recommend everyone taking these individually at first. I for example already have high dopamine levels (im motivated, easily sexually aroused and impulsive), so taking L-Dopa kind of screwed me up. However, the 5-HTP and L-Dopa really have helped with anxiety, depression and sleep. I am now considering taking Theamine in the mornings to see if it calms me a little more. I have no issues with energy so I have cut the caffeine due to anxiety. Will, thank you so much for your help. This really helped me in a big way and is much better than prescription drugs which I was considering.

  16. February 15, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    My pleasure, and I’m guessing you mean you kept the 5 htp and zma which is great. And glad to hear its been working for you. If you’re interested I just did a video on theanine which you can check out. Keep playing with it until you get the right stack for you my man.

  17. Ricard
    February 16, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Yes Sir, 5HTP and ZMA! Thank you again for what you are doing. Keep up the good work. Again, anyone trying this for the first time, just know that a variation of this may be best for you so experiment. Im trying the Theamine now and will give you my update after a few weeks. I have also reintroduced the caffeine. Bottom line for me: No to the L-Dopa.

  18. February 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Great stuff and thanks for the feedback

  19. Ricard
    February 19, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Will,

    Any thoughts on L-Tryptophan? How it would interact with the caffeine, zma, theamine and 5-HTP? When to take it? Dosage? Side effects, etc… Thanks in advance.

  20. February 22, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    L tryptophan and 5 htp are one in the same my man

  21. ricard
    March 7, 2017 at 9:54 am

    wondering if you noticed liftmode taking down phenibut and a lot of other sups they were selling. I was surprised.

  22. March 9, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    I did notice that, not sure whats going on with them.

  23. Austin
    May 4, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Hi will,
    I’m confused as to which probiotic supplement u are taking. As there are two different brands on your website, the one you linked here and the other on your website Resources page.
    Thanks!

  24. May 4, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Hey Austin, either one is good my man

  25. Dave
    May 25, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Hey Will,
    Just stumbled upon the site and as a grad student myself I’m loving it, you have a lot of useful free info here man so thank you!

    As for this stack I saw in your more recent videos you dropped the L-Dopa. Just wondering what prompted you to do so?

  26. May 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks Dan,

    I dropped it because even though it gave a mood lift, I felt it increased my impulisivity (especially sexually) and my anxiety more than I wanted, but some guys to fine with it. You can give it a shot and try it out for yoursefl though, or skip it all together.

  27. austin
    June 16, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Hi will,
    do you take this stack with the multi vitamins in your ‘resource’ page? because the vitamin b6 content of zma and the multi vitamins are really high would it be overkill?

  28. June 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I do, that might be true but I don’t worry about getting more vitamins/minerals

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