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Utopia - How Does It Work?

Posted on July 11 2018

Utopia is our best-selling product, for good reason. Evidence-based nootropic ingredients, in a supplement formulated to maximise your focus, productivity and mood.

Utopia combines cutting-edge cognitive enhancers to enhance 3 key areas to allow you to work harder, smarter and more effectively:

  • Enhances focus - the ability to avoid distraction is key to maximising your productivity. Utopia's unique formula allows you to work with tunnel-vision-like focus.
  • Improves mood, and induces euphoria - we all know that you work better when you enjoy what you're doing. By releasing the reward neurotransmitter dopamine, Utopia not only makes you feel good but also makes you learn to love the work you're doing over time!
  • Improves memory - your ability to remember and recall key information can make your working day much more efficient. Many of the ingredients in Utopia have been shown in clinical research to improve memory.  

Utopia is not a smart drug... but it feels like one.

 

Utopia-Works

 

Cognizin® Citicoline (500 mg)

Cognizin® increases brain levels of choline, which is used to synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine - vital to many processes involved in learning and memory. Cognizin® is far superior to other forms of choline in 2 ways: 

  1. It's almost completely absorbed by the body - up to 50% of regular forms of choline (such as choline citrate or bitartrate) are metabolized before the body can absorb it [1-2]. In comparison, 92-94% of Cognizin® is absorbed by the body and converted into useful metabolites [3-7].
  2. It can also enhance dopamine output - Cognizin® is metabolized into choline, but also into the precursor to the nucleoside uridine. Uridine helps the body to release more dopamine, which can improve short and long-term memory [8], associative learning [9], language and attentional processes [9-10], and creative/abstract thinking [11].

In a 2014 study, both 1000 and 500 mg doses of citicoline improved measures of working memory [12].  Another study showed that a 500 mg dose improved the function of the part of the brain involved in reasoning, memory and language [13].  Finally, a recent study measuring the effects of a caffeine-citicoline beverage (110 mg caffeine, 250 mg citicoline) in healthy young adults showed that, compared to placebo, supplemented subjects performed significantly better on tests measuring reaction time, concentration, and attention [14].


Huperzine A (200 mcg)

Huperzine A is a compound derived from Huperzia serrata, a moss-like plant native to India and Southeast Asia. Huperzine A inhibits the enzyme that degrades acetylcholine, thus enhancing the effects of Cognizin® [15-17].

It isn't there just to help out Cognizin®, though - research indicates that doses as small as 100-200 micrograms of Huperzine A is enough to significantly improve measures of memory and learning performance in healthy individuals [18-19].


Caffeine (200 mg)

Caffeine remains a staple ingredient in many brain-focused supplements, and for good reason - caffeine is safe, affordable and effective. Caffeine blocks the action of adenosine, which is a central nervous system inhibitor. As a result, caffeine keeps the central nervous system running so you feel less tired, more alert, and in a more positive mood [20]. Caffeine also acts like Huperzine A, inhibiting the enzyme that degrades acetylcholine - further enhancing the effects of Cognizin® [21].

In research, caffeine in doses ranging from 100 mg to 500 mg in healthy subjects has been shown to enhance athletic performance, cognition, perceived exertion, vigilance/alertness, reaction time, and potentially memory and concentration [20, 22-26].


Mucuna Pruriens (150 mg)

Mucuna Pruriens Seed Extract is one of the most exciting ingredients in Utopia. Mucuna Pruriens is a plant indigenous to the Eastern Hemisphere with a wide array of purported applications in alternative medicine.  The seeds of this plant, also known as velvet beans, are particularly rich in L-DOPA, your body's precursor to the neurotransmitter Dopamine [27]. Dopamine exerts a number of effects throughout the body, but the ones important to Utopia involve the brain - as we noted before, Dopamine release can improve short and long-term memory [8], associative learning [9], language and attentional processes [9-10], and creative/abstract thinking [11].

If you have lower dopamine levels, you might get a greater cognitive benefit from L-DOPA supplementation [28]. When Parkinsons patients with low dopamine levels are supplemented with L-DOPA, their creativity is increased beyond what you'd expect - a lot of them had an increased drive to paint and write poetry [29-32].

However, L-DOPA supplementation in healthy individuals is still very worthwhile - a number of studies using doses of 100-200 mg of L-DOPA have shown improvements in reaction time, information processing, muscle memory formation, working and long-term memory, and other learning outcomes [33-38].

Lastly - Dopamine is the reward neurotransmitter. Put simply, it regulates your motivation and incentive to perform a task. By taking Utopia before work, or any cognitively-demanding task, there will be a release of Dopamine as you're doing the task; with Utopia, you'll learn to love the work you're doing [39].


Vitamin C (500 mg)

Vitamin C is the newest addition to Utopia, and acts in 2 ways:

  1. It enhances the absorption of Mucuna Pruriens Seed Extract [40] - In research, adding just 200 mg of Vitamin C to 100 mg of L-Dopa enhanced its peak concentration by nearly 20% [40].
  2. It prevents potential side effects of Mucuna Pruriens Seed Extract consumption [41].

You might be wondering why we included 500 mg of Vitamin C. We wanted to ensure that your bloodstream is saturated with Vitamin C to maximise the synergistic effects it has within the formula. According to studies, anything above 400 mg is enough to ensure saturation in healthy, young adults [42]. Additionally, we use Vitamin C as a tart flavor enhancer in Utopia as opposed to citric acid. This allows us to get the dual effect of flavor enhancement and ingredient synergy, so a slightly higher dose is required.


 Ingredient
Research Dose
Utopia Dose (per scoop)
Caffeine 100-500 mg
200 mg 
Cognizin® Citicoline
250-2000 mg 
500 mg
Huperzine A 100-200 mcg 200 mcg
Mucuna Pruriens Seed Extract (containing L-DOPA) 100-200 mg 150 mg
Vitamin C 200-400 mg 500 mg

How Long Do The Effects Last?

Lastly - Utopia was not formulated randomly. All of the ingredients were picked for specific purposes, and a lot of them work synergistically with each other to create the unique "Utopia Experience". 

We also wanted to mitigate the 'crash' that a lot of people experience when consuming caffeine alone. Utopia's formula provides a smooth ride from beginning to end - caffeine and L-DOPA levels peaking quickly to provide an instant feel-good 'hit', before Cognizin® and Huperzine A take hold to keep your productivity and performance elevated for hours.



References and Further Reading

    1. Flower RJ, Pollitt RJ, Sanford PA, Smyth DH. Metabolism and transfer of choline in hamster small intestine. The Journal of Physiology. 1972;226(2):473-489.

    2. Zeisel SH. Dietary choline: biochemistry, physiology, and pharmacology. Annu Rev Nutr. 1981;1:95-121.

    3. Sarkar AK, Ghosh D, Haldar D, et al. A rapid LC–ESI-MS/MS method for the quantitation of choline, an active metabolite of citicoline: Application to in vivo pharmacokinetic and bioequivalence study in Indian healthy male volunteers. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis. 2012;71(0):144-147.

    4. Secades JJ, Lorenzo JL. Citicoline: pharmacological and clinical review, 2006 update. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2006;28 Suppl B:1-56.

    5. Agut J, Font E, Sacristan A, Ortiz JA. Bioavailability of methyl-14C CDP-choline by oral route. Arzneimittelforschung. 1983;33(7A):1045-1047.

    6. Cansev M. Uridine and cytidine in the brain: their transport and utilization. Brain Res Rev. 2006;52(2):389-397.

    7. Secades JJ. Citicoline: pharmacological and clinical review, 2010 update. Revista De Neurologia. 2011;52:S1-S62.

    8. Berke JD, Hyman SE. Addiction, dopamine, and the molecular mechanisms of memory. Neuron. 2000;25(3):515-532.

    9. Shellshear L, MacDonald AD, Mahoney J, et al. Levodopa enhances explicit new-word learning in healthy adults: a preliminary study. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2015.

    10. Costa A, Peppe A, Mazzu I, Longarzo M, Caltagirone C, Carlesimo GA. Dopamine treatment and cognitive functioning in individuals with Parkinson's disease: the "cognitive flexibility" hypothesis seems to work. Behav Neurol. 2014;2014:260896.

    11. Faust-Socher A, Kenett YN, Cohen OS, Hassin-Baer S, Inzelberg R. Enhanced creative thinking under dopaminergic therapy in Parkinson disease. Ann Neurol. 2014;75(6):935-942.

    12. Knott V, Smith D, de la Salle S, et al. CDP-choline: effects of the procholine supplement on sensory gating and executive function in healthy volunteers stratified for low, medium and high P50 suppression. J Psychopharmacol. 2014;28(12):1095-1108.

    13. Silveri MM, Dikan J, Ross AJ, et al. Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR Biomed. 2008;21(10):1066-1075.

    14. Bruce SE, Werner KB, Preston BF, Baker LM. Improvements in concentration, working memory and sustained attention following consumption of a natural citicoline-caffeine beverage. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014;65(8):1003-1007.

    15. Cheng DH, Ren H, Tang XC. Huperzine A, a novel promising acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Neuroreport. 1996;8(1):97-101.

    16. Yang G, Wang Y, Tian J, Liu J-P. Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(9):e74916.

    17. Liang YQ, Tang XC. Comparative effects of huperzine A, donepezil and rivastigmine on cortical acetylcholine level and acetylcholinesterase activity in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2004;361(1-3):56-59.

    18. Morasch KC, Aaron CL, Moon JE, Gordon RK. Physiological and neurobehavioral effects of cholinesterase inhibition in healthy adults. Physiology & Behavior. 2015;138:165-172.

    19. Sun QQ, Xu SS, Pan JL, Guo HM, Cao WQ. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999;20(7):601-603.

    20. Davis JK, Green JM. Caffeine and anaerobic performance: ergogenic value and mechanisms of action. Sports Med. 2009;39(10):813-832.

    21.  Pohanka M, Dobes P. Caffeine inhibits acetylcholinesterase, but not butyrylcholinesterase. Int J Mol Sci. 2013;14(5):9873-9882.

    22. Marriott BM. Food components to enhance performance: an evaluation of potential performance-enhancing food components for operational rations. Washington, D.C eBook: National Academy Press; 1994.

    23. Lieberman H, Tharion W, Shukitt-Hale B, Speckman K, Tulley R. Effects of caffeine, sleep loss, and stress on cognitive performance and mood during U.S. Navy SEAL training. Psychopharmacology. 2002;164(3):250-261.

    24. Borota D, Murray E, Keceli G, et al. Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans. Nat Neurosci. 2014;17(2):201-203.

    25. Smith A. Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food Chem Toxicol. 2002;40(9):1243-1255.

    26. Baker LB, Nuccio RP, Jeukendrup AE. Acute effects of dietary constituents on motor skill and cognitive performance in athletes. Nutr Rev. 2014;72(12):790-802.

    27. Brain KR. Accumulation of L-DOPA in cultures from Mucuna pruriens. Plant Science Letters. 1976;7(3):157-161.

    28. Pearson-Fuhrhop KM, Minton B, Acevedo D, Shahbaba B, Cramer SC. Genetic variation in the human brain dopamine system influences motor learning and its modulation by L-Dopa. PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e61197.

    29. Faust-Socher A, Kenett YN, Cohen OS, Hassin-Baer S, Inzelberg R. Enhanced creative thinking under dopaminergic therapy in Parkinson disease. Ann Neurol. 2014;75(6):935-942.

    30. Schrag A, Trimble M. Poetic talent unmasked by treatment of Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2001;16(6):1175-1176.

    31. Walker RH, Warwick R, Cercy SP. Augmentation of artistic productivity in Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2006;21(2):285-286.

    32. Kulisevsky J, Pagonabarraga J, Martinez-Corral M. Changes in artistic style and behaviour in Parkinson's disease: dopamine and creativity. J Neurol. 2009;256(5):816-819. 

    33. Rihet P, Possamai CA, Micallef-Roll J, Blin O, Hasbroucq T. Dopamine and human information processing: a reaction-time analysis of the effect of levodopa in healthy subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2002;163(1):62-67.

    34. Eckart C, Fuentemilla L, Bauch EM, Bunzeck N. Dopaminergic stimulation facilitates working memory and differentially affects prefrontal low theta oscillations. Neuroimage. 2014;94:185-192.

    35. Knecht S, Breitenstein C, Bushuven S, et al. Levodopa: faster and better word learning in normal humans. Ann Neurol. 2004;56(1):20-26.

    36. de Vries MH, Ulte C, Zwitserlood P, Szymanski B, Knecht S. Increasing dopamine levels in the brain improves feedback-based procedural learning in healthy participants: an artificial-grammar-learning experiment. Neuropsychologia. 2010;48(11):3193-3197

    37. Floel A, Breitenstein C, Hummel F, et al. Dopaminergic influences on formation of a motor memory. Ann Neurol. 2005;58(1):121-130 

    38. Shellshear L, MacDonald AD, Mahoney J, et al. Levodopa enhances explicit new-word learning in healthy adults: a preliminary study. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2015

    39. What is the role of dopamine in reward: hedonic impact, reward learning, or incentive salience?". Brain Res Brain Res Rev28 (3): 309–69. 1998. PMID 9858756.

    40. Nagayama et al, The Effect of Ascorbic Acid on the Pharmacokinetics of Levodopa in Elderly Patients with Parkinson Disease,  Clin Neuropharmacol 2004;27:270–273)

    41. Conference lecture notes, Medical Management of Early PD, Samer D. Tabbal, M.D. May 2016

    42. Linus Pauling institute, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-C#reference7

 

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