DISCLAIMER: It’s important to note that the science behind this supplement guide and their protective effects are based on animal studies, which don’t necessarily translate to humans. It does however make sense in theory and there are plenty of anecdotal reports of supplementing having a noticeable effect on the negative after-effects of MDMA use.
So what happens when you drop? Serotonin, the same neurotransmitter that moderates appetite, sleep, learning and mood is released. This is the same thing that is released when people fall in love. This leads people to feel less anxious, more social and more empathetic. But it's not all good news.
How can MDMA cause damage?
The main cause of drug-induced neurotoxicity is something called Oxidative Stress. This occurs when there is an excess of toxic chemicals known as 'free radicals' in the brain. When the levels of these free radicals become too high in the brain, the body no longer has enough antioxidants needed to remove them all. Our brains are then left unprotected, and the free radicals may go on to harm our neurons.
Neurons can also be damaged through another process called excitotoxicity. This happens when the excitatory neurotransmitter Glutamate, which is toxic to cells in high concentrations, rises to higher levels in the brain. This can result in over stimulation and the damage or self-destruction of neurons. Magnesium is the substance the body uses to naturally protect itself from glutamate induced brain damage. Using MDMA or other stimulants at high doses can lead to excitotoxicity.
There is a lot of debate about MDMA's potential neurotoxicity and whether it’s a concern for human users. However, if you're taking any drugs recreationally – even just alcohol – it's much better to be safe rather than sorry. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your brain from oxidative stress, reduce your chances of doing damage to the cells in your brain.
How supplements can help?
Na-R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (Na-R-ALA)
Na-R-ALA is a potent antioxidant that can fight off excess free radicals, helping prevent oxidative stress and neurotoxicity. A 2001 study showed it prevented MDMA neurotoxicity in rats, even when body temperatures rose.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
Another potent antioxidant that synergises with R-ALA, has shown to prevent MDMA neurotoxicity in rats.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a powerful, slow release antioxidant. The effects carry on to benefits that protect one from heart diseases, liver diseases, diabetes, and neurological decline with age. It has been shown to fully prevent serotonergic deficits and changes in the glial response induced by MDMA.
An important one and something most of us are deficient in. Supplementing Magnesium will give your body the substance it needs to naturally protect its neurons from killing themselves due to excitotoxicity. Magnesium can also reduce or prevent teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and muscle tension. Some forms known to be really well absorbed by the body include, Magnesium L-Threonate, Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Glycinate.
A common antioxidant found in fresh fruit and juice, especially citric fruits. has shown to prevent MDMA neurotoxicity and liver toxicity in rats. Vitamin C from fresh fruit and juice is preferred as it's better absorbed by the body. Vitamin C and other antioxidants are known as 'free radical scavengers'. This is because antioxidants can prevent oxidative stress in your body by hunting down and removing the excess free radicals before they can damage or destroy neurons.
Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract contains vitamin E and flavonoids. Rats deficient in vitamin E were found to experience an increased severity of MDMA induced neurotoxicity. Vitamin E and flavonoids are also potent antioxidants that will fight off excess free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Not to be confused with grapefruit seed extract.
Ginger root extract
Ginger root extract has traditionally been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda to ease digestion. Studies have shown it to reduce symptoms of nausea. It has also been shown to act as a neuroprotectant in studies with mice.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to enhance cardiovascular function, immune health, heart health and energy metabolism. It plays a crucial role in mitochondrial function and is found in almost every cell in the body. Research shows that it plays an important role as an MDMA neuroprotectant in mice.
Green Tea Extract (ECGC)
Green tea extract contains EGCG, an antioxidant which fights free radicals. Can also reduce the difficulty of urinating which some people experience while on MDMA. ECGC has also been shown to improve memory of ex-MDMA users whilst taken in conjunction with 5-HTP
DO NOT CONSUME 24 HOURS BEFORE OR AFTER MDMA INGESTION, AS MAY INCREASE CHANCES OF SERATONIN SYNDROME.
Your body creates serotonin through a two-step process. First, the amino acid Tryptophan, which we get in our diets, is converted into 5-HTP. 5-HTP is then used by your body to make serotonin. MDMA use can block the enzyme in the body that converts Tryptophan into 5-HTP. So, for a couple of weeks after use, a lot of the tryptophan you're consuming through your diet isn't turning into serotonin. Taking 5-HTP skips this first step and will help replenish your serotonin levels much more quickly. Taking it with Green tea extract as EGCG will help to make sure it's your brain that's getting the serotonin, not your gut.
Melatonin is produced naturally by your body in low light and helps regulate your sleep pattern. Taking melatonin can help you get to sleep after taking stimulants. It is also a potent antioxidant that will help prevent any lingering free radicals from inducing oxidative stress and doing more damage. Purchased online, or in pharmacies.
Vitamin B6 helps the body convert food into fuel. It is needed for healthy skin, hair eyes and liver. Vitamin B6 helps the body create serotonin hormones, which influence mood and melatonin, which helps regulate the body clock. It has also been shown to increase serotonin levels within a study of monkeys.