It’s been far too long since we’ve discussed Blue Star Nutraceuticals and their stellar line of products here on the blog. We’ve been on a bit of a brain-boosting supplement kick lately, and have been experimenting with various products to see how they fare in regards to improving performance in both work and workouts.
The latest one we’ve been using is Blue Star’s Elevate, which is an incredibly well-rounded mental productivity supplement specifically formulated to improve focus, performance and memory.
And that leads us to wonder, could this actually be a great gaming supplement in disguise as well? We’ll find out…
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Elevate is a capsule-based productivity supplement that’s almost completely stim free outside of the lone stimulant (Hordenine) included. Blue Star’s brain-boosting supplement is completely transparent and boasts a rather comprehensive formula.to keep you focused and calm even in crunch time!
Green Tea Extract (350mg)
Starting off a productivity supplement with green tea might seem a bit odd at first until you realize why it’s included. Sure, green tea contains a smidge of caffeine, which would help with energy and focus in its own right, but that’s not the real reason it’s included in Elevate.
Truth be told, Green Tea extract does many splendid things, but one of it’s lesser discussed attributes is in regards to cognitive benefits. When combined with L-theanine (another of the ingredients in Elevate), Green Tea extract has been shown to support attention and healthy memory by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for degrading the “learning neurotransmitter” acetylcholine, and alleviating cognitive decline.
It’s also important to note that Elevate’s Green Tea extract is standardized for 98% polyphenols and 50% EGCG which has many overall health effects as well as some minor fat burning properties as well![2,3]
Beta-Phenylethylamine (β-PEA) is naturally occurring biogenic amine found in the human brain that triggers a strong, albeit brief, release of catecholamines including adrenaline, dopamine, and noradrenaline. This fosters an incredible “feel good” sensation.[4,5] Even though its fast acting, the enhanced mood will be extra motivation for you to get stuff done!
Make no mistake, this is a stimulant! So that’s why we say Blue Star Elevate is low in caffeine, it’s definitely not “stimulant-free”.
Ginkgo Biloba (240mg)
Perhaps no single other herbal supplement is better known around the world that Gingko Biloba. It’s traditionally been used in the treatment of memory and treat assorted blood disorders. It turns out those ancient doctors knew their stuff as gingko biloba’s healing properties have been confirmed by modern research.
Some clinical trials have demonstrated it may enhance mental function in young people, but it’s been most effective in the elderly that suffer from Alzheimer’s, as it provides a measure of relief.[8,9,10]
L-Theanine has become insanely popular recently, especially in the pre workout market for its ability to take the “edgy” feeling off of stimulants, most notably caffeine. L-Theanine is great for enhancing the cognitive cognitive focus effects of caffeine.
Where L-Theanine really though is helping normalize the body’s stress response, particularly in high stress situations (like work) where feelings of anxiety and fatigue can get out of control.[12,13]
No doubt at some point during your work day, workout, or gaming session you’ll have ingested some amount of caffeine, and incorporating a healthy dose of L-Theanine will calm, cool, and collected no matter how daunting the task at hand is.
This is a large, and expensive dose. It’s really the make-it-or-break-it ingredient for you. Some people may feel a bit too relaxed at this high of a dose, and that may or may not be the vibe you’re looking for.
Rhodiola Rosea (170mg)
Adaptogens are ingredients that helps the body deal with all sorts of physical, emotional, and psychological stress. The most well known adaptogen is the herb rhodiola rosea, which has been shown in clinical trials to both improve endurance and alertness while simultaneously reducing mental fatigue from stressful situations. Basically, you’re less stressed and more focused in high pressure situations ultimately increasing productivity and performance!
Additional research on rhodiola notes improved cognitive functioning and memory due to its actions on the neurotransmitter systems for acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fat-soluble amino acid primarily found in the brain that supports healthy cognitive functioning. Clinical trials on the amino have shown it helps improve declining mental function and depression in the elderly.[16,17]
Other studies involving PS suggest it’s an incredibly effective anti-anxiety agent that lowers stress and cortisol levels, when dosed high enough. Last, but not least, phosphatidylserine has been documented to elevate post-exercise testosterone levels and mTOR-activity similar to that of phosphatidic acid (PA).[21,22]
All-around fantastic and underrated ingredient, we’ve loved it ever since trying Antaeus Labs PSyche, and this is also well-dosed, given that we often see it in 50mg and not 100mg.
Hordenine is an alkaloids extracted from Citrus Aurantium (a.k.a. bitter orange). Similar to synephrine and octopamine, which are also found in bitter orange, hordenine acts as a strong beta-2 adrenergic agonist.
Beta-2 agonists have two significant functions in the body. First, they increase energy expenditure, which can help with weight loss, but more importantly, they also function as a noradrenaline reuptake modulator.[24,25] This is a “sciency” way of stating that hordenine helps noradrenaline stays active longer in the body, resulting in greater focus, energy, and alertness.
It’s also worth noting that when paired with PEA, as it is here, Hordenine prolongs the mood-elevating effects of PEA – it behaves as MAO inhibitor.
You’ll see this displayed on the label as alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, but everyone knows it as Alpha GPC. This ingredients is a precursor to the “learning neurotransmitter” acetylcholine that’s found in the brain and linked to healthy cognitive function. Alpha GPC is incredibly bioavailable and is one of the best choline-containing compound you can take. It’s been shown through research to increase production of acetylcholine
Additional studies demonstrate notable improvements in mood, focus, “mind muscle connection”, and even power, endurance, and post-workout Growth Hormone (GH) output![28,29] There’s no other way to say it, but this ingredient is simply phenomenal!
It should come as no surprise that we’re huge choline here, and are always happy to see it in products.
Huperzine A (0.4mg)
Our final focus boosting ingredient is the potent nootropic Huperzine A. Whereas Alpha GPC and Rhodiola directly increase acetylcholine levels in the body, Huperzine operates a bit differently
Rather than directly increase acetylcholine production, Huperzine actually inhibits its breakdown via acetylcholinesterase inhibition. Acetylcholinesterase is the enzyme responsible for the degradation of acetylcholine. Simply put, Huperzine indirectly increases amounts of acetylcholine by preventing its premature breakdown.
Huperzine also supports overall brain health as it protects against the “neuron death molecule” glutamine, and possibly helps create new brain cells thereby making it “neurogenerative.”
As we’ve seen with all of Blue Star’s products we’ve covered on the blog, we again encounter their Xtreme Delivery Technology. This blend of absorption enhancers helps maximize the body’s uptake ability of the various ingredients included in Elevate.
The absorption blend includes Fumarate, BioPerine®, AstraGin™, Sodium Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Succinate. Most notable of these is AstraGin™, which is a trademarked blend of Astragalus and Panax Notoginseng shown to improve the absorption and bioavailability of ingredients as well as boost ATP production.
For enhanced mental performance take 2 capsules 30 minutes before desired results with 8 ounces of water. Do not take within 5 hours of sleep. Do not exceed 4 capsules in a 24-hour period.
One question that we were wondering is “would Elevate be good to stack with a pre workout?”
We reached out to Blue Star for this to see what they suggested, and ultimately, they said it could be stacked, “depending on the pre-workout – a user may enjoy / benefit from the experience.”
However, based off some personal experiences from the staff, they tried stacking Elevate and P.P.K. (Blue Star’s high powered pre workout), and suffice it so say, the results weren’t pleasant (meaning, feeling a little “too stimmed out” to have a productive workout).
So, take away is that if you’re going to consider stacking this with a pre workout, don’t combine Elevate with any other pre workout that has a good dose of nootropics. It’ll be overkill in our opinion.
A better option would be to only use a moderate stim-only product or stim-pump pre workout.
The “best” option would be Elevate and a small/medium cup of coffee… absolutely brilliant and incredibly cost effective!
There have been a flood of excellently crafted mental boosters hitting the market lately. The best trait all of these products have is their versatility. Supplements that help improve focus and cognition can be used for virtually anything, from simply doing work to exercise or even intense video gaming.
Elevate is one of the latest brain boosters in a quickly expanding market that’s grabbed our attention, literally! Don’t let this gem of a product go by before you see another nootropic product hit the wire!
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- Kim R, Yuk R, Park R et al. Improvement of Memory Impairment by the Combination of Green Tea Extract and L-Theanine through Inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase Activity in Mice. Laboratory Animal Research. 2008.
- Effects of the long term ingestion of tea catechins on Energy Expenditure and Dietary fat oxidation in healthy subjects
- Wang Y, Yang Z, Wei X; Sugar compositions, α-glucosidase inhibitory and amylase inhibitory activities of polysaccharides from leaves and flowers of Camellia sinensis obtained by different extraction methods . Int J Biol Macromol. (2010)
- University of Maryland Medical Center; “Gingko Biloba;” Updated May 2013
- NYU Langone Medical Center; “Enhancing Memory and Mental Function;” Updated August 2013
- National Institutes of Health; “Gingko;” Updated August 2013
- Sierpina V., et al.; American Family Physician; “Gingko Biloba;” September 2003
- Itil TM., et al.; Psychopharmacology Bulletin; “The pharmacological effects of ginkgo biloba, a plant extract, on the brain of dementia patients in comparison with tacrine;” 1998
- Giesbrecht, Timo, et al; “The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness”; Nutritional Neuroscience; 2010
- Kimura K, et al. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. (2007)
- Owen GN, et al. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. (2008)
- Khanum F., et. al.; Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety; “Rhodiola rosea: A versatile Adaptogen;” 2005
- Shevtsov VA, et al; Phytomedicine; “A randomized trial of two different doses of Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work;” 2003
- YU Langone Medical Center; “Phosphatidylserine;” Updated August 2013
- Kataoka-Kato A., et al.; Journal of Pharmacological Sciences; “Enhanced learning of normal adult rodents by repeated oral administration of soybean transphosphatidylated phosphatidylserine;” July 2005
- Gindin J., et al.; The Geriatric Institute for Education and Research, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel; “THE EFFECT OF PLANT PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE ON AGE-ASSOCIATED MEMORY IMPAIRMENT AND MOOD IN THE FUNCTIONING ELDERLY;” 1993
- Crook TH., et al.; The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology; “Effects of phosphatidylserine in age associated memory impairment;” May 1991
- Kato-Kataoka A., et al.; Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition.; “Soybean-derived phosphatidylserine improves memory function of the elderly Japanese subjects with memory complaints;” November 2010
- Frank M, et al; Hordenine: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and behavioural effects in the horse; Equine Vet J. (1990)
- Barwell C.; School of Pharmacy; “Deamination of hordenine by monoamine oxidase and its action on vasa deferentia of the rat;” 1989
- Nedergaard O.; British Journal of Pharmacology; “Action of various sympathomimetic amines on the isolated stripped vas deferens of the guinea-pig;” November 1968
- Barwell CJ et al, Deamination of hordenine by monoamine oxidase and its action on vasa deferentia of the rat, J Pharm Pharmacol. 1989 Jun;41(6):421-3,
- Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise.
- Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine administration increases the GH responses to GHRH of young and elderly subjects.
- Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine.
- Zhao, Q; Effects of huperzine A on acetylcholinesterase isoforms in vitro: comparison with tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine and physostigmine.; State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; 2002
- Ved, H; Huperzine A, a potential therapeutic agent for dementia, reduces neuronal cell death caused by glutamate.; Division of Biochemistry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; 1997
- Ma, T; Huperzine A promotes hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo.; State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University; 2013