Parties of all kinds have been a long part of human history. Tribal gatherings were prevalent before “civilization”, the Greeks and Romans drank more wine than water, and the Medieval ages saw the rise of liquor, beer, and other intoxicants to help people enjoy themselves.
Modern partying can be even more taxing on the human body given the plethora of synthesized and processed enhancers that are on the market for people to purchase. When we discuss nootropics used to recover from partying, we are addressing a few main points:
- Sleep deprivation
- Substance use (alcohol, MDMA, etc.)
- Long bouts of cardio (festivals, concerts etc.)
The human body is one of the ultimate survival mechanisms forged from millions of years of evolution. Nonetheless, functioning optimal and merely surviving after a party are two different things. For those who want to be able to get things done, feel better, and reduce the side effects, this nootropics guide can help through three main focuses:
- Mineral replenishment
- Neuro protective components
- Stimulating / back to work components
[NOTE: These nootropics are not meant for daily use to offset treating your body poorly. Instead, they are tools to make occasional partying less impactful on the body in a negative way. There is also scant laboratory research regarding these substances and alcohol, so there will be personal info plus anecdotal consensus.]
Optimal Mineral Replenishment
When we think of nootropics, we often jump to the latest and greatest like phenylpiracetam, coluracetam, sulbutiamine, and others. In reality, the body needs to start replenishing the vitamins and minerals lost during a party. While partying human bodies deplete inordinate amounts of nutrients and need strategic supplementation to improve:
Partying typically includes a lot of dancing, moving, and sweating. For people like me who love to dance (especially with electronic dance music) and naturally sweat a lot, magnesium is one of the most important micronutrients. After vitamin D, it is the second highest deficiency in the world and replenishment is key.
By taking a magnesium supplement, you can provide your body with the raw materials to create new mitochondria and churn out more ATP (energy). When sleep deprived, getting an extra boost of energy is exactly what is needed. Make sure you take bioavailable forms of magnesium including glycinate. If you think you have low magnesium, use an EXA test because serum tests only look at 1% of your total magnesium. You need 400 mg per day normally. After raves you need even more and food doesn’t have a lot.
All of the B vitamins (including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, B6, B12) are essential for optimal human performance. When partying and consuming other substances, absorption of these vitamins is minimal. Most people are depleted of these essential nutrients, which is why a B complex is a perfect option post-party. One great option is the MegaFood Balanced B Complex.
Vitamin B6 is essential for enzymes that improve dopamine and serotonin levels. Vitamin B12 and folate are essential for the methylation process, which is necessary for DNA synthesis and energy metabolism.
For alcohol drinkers, B vitamins and zinc are a couple major concerns (aside from water). Alcohol inhibits zinc absorption, which requires supplementation of some sort on the next day. There are three types of zinc, but citrate is the best of the three (others being sulfate and gluconate).
If you are going to supplement with zinc, it may be best to do it at a different time than magnesium. Evidence suggests the two micronutrients might compete for absorption. In a pinch and on an empty stomach, there should be room for both, but definitely don’t use with calcium.
While choline is perfect for enhancing memory and protecting against neurological degradation, it is a nutrient deficiency that up to 90% of Americans struggle with. In animal models, there developed “more severe signs of choline deficiency…” suggesting it can deplete levels further.
The best sources of choline are CDP choline and alpha GPC choline, which have been combined in the Optimal Choline Complex. Taking this a day after partying with or without alcohol can help to improve mental energy and prevent nutrient deficiencies.
Neuro Protective Component
While replenishing vitamins and minerals is a necessary first step for improving cognition after parties, taking modern nootropics can alleviate some of the neurological damage done by the substances and abuse. Many of these substances are anecdotally known to improve cognition the day after a party.
These cognitive enhancers discovered in the 1970s was one of the first that showed vast memory improvements. Studies with various racetams and alcohol are not as prevalent as those in healthy adults, but there is evidence racetams can have positive effects on the brain in a party situation.
Tests in 1979 showed a particular racetam “mitigated some behavioral and toxic manifestations of the effects of alcohol in tests on mice and rats.” More importantly, “[R]acetam[s] also attenuated some toxic symptoms of the acetaldehyde in mice.” The study concluded that a particular racetam was a good candidate to mitigate alcohol states of people who abused alcohol.
For chronic alcohol users, racetams may reduce hippocampal neuronal loss and prevent withdrawal symptoms (which often lead to seizures and / or death). Long-time users of alcohol can see benefits of taking a racetam on a long-term basis as well as the day after partying. For neuro protective benefits, higher doses of racetams may be useful.
Despite the usefulness of this nootropic for alcohol users, racetams and alcohol should not be combined if at all possible. Anecdotes suggest that racetams can reduce the effects of alcohol causing drinkers to consume too much.
Aniracetam / Oxiracetam Specifically
The research on other more potent racetam analogues is not as robust as other compounds, but they are still helpful. Aniracetam can help control alcohol seeking behavior and the development of abuse / addictions (if you wake up after partying seeking a drink, I’m looking at you).
Oxiracetam is researched as a neuro protective primarily after some chemical agent is utilized with mice and rats. The neuro toxicity of these compounds can be halted and in some cases reversed by oxiracetam, which is a great option after a long day of partying. Considering these are more potent, they can be taken at a lower dose and provide many of the same benefits of racetams generally.
This is an extremely experimental enhancer, but it is possible to purchase in the right communities. This is considered by many in the nootropics community to be a huge discovery. The Washington State University researchers was synthesized in order to repair brain damage that has already occurred (example: from party substances like MDMA, alcohol etc).
According to the scientists who developed it, dihexa is supposed to be 10 million times as much BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) for synapse formation.
Back to Work Component
For busy professionals and students, a day of partying can’t interfere with work the next day. Getting back to work requires a few nootropic stacks or supplements that can stand alone to improve work flow and manage sleep deprivation.
Caffeine + L-Theanine
This is one of the most basic stacks for cognitive enhancement, but it works. Compounded caffeine consumption can’t fix a poor sleep schedule, but it will wake you up after a night or two of sleep deprivation. Adding L-theanine to the mix is a perfect addition so that you can more readily focus on your work. Use a 1:2 ratio of caffeine to L-theanine and note that a typical 8 ounce cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine.
It isn’t just for weight lifting meat-heads. Creatine improves ATP synthesis (energy), which is exactly what people need after a sleep deprived night full of dancing. Creatine is best taken on a regular basis as there is a “loading phase”; as-needed might not be the best option. Taking 5 grams of creatine will show results in a couple of weeks or start with a loading phase of 20 grams for 5 – 7 days to get the effects quicker.
If you want an anti-fatigue agent that will keep you going longer after a rough night, but you don’t want to use creatine regularly, rhodiola rosea is a perfect as-needed option. It is extracted from a root of a northern altitude plant used across Asia and Europe for thousands of years. Using 500 – 1000 mg of rhodiola will be a stimulating boost as you recover.
Adrafinil / Modafinil
I’m usually not a big fan of Modafinil, but if there is one place where it can be useful, it is after a night of sleep deprivation. Due to my own reservations, I would not even use it when completely sleep deprived; some people would benefit if they cannot handle work / responsibilities without a big boost. Modafinil requires a prescription in the United States, but adrafinil is a similar compound that is metabolized to similar effect in the liver.
There is also other analogues of Modafinil coming on the market soon as well. We will have something special for wakefulness in the near future!
Tools of the Trade
Hard working individuals the world over seek an outlet to relax, have a good time, and recharge their batteries. Partying can be a lot of fun, but often leaves the body tired, depleted, and poorly equipped to get work done. By strategically replenishing vitamins and minerals, seeking neuro protective agents to prevent toxicity, and using stimulants to enhance mental energy, you can have a great time and be productive the next day. Just ensure you utilize these tools carefully and consume nootropics to mitigate heavy partying occasionally rather than on a regular basis.