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Remarkable SCT Mental Improvements from Sarcosine, Acetylcholine but Sleep Issues

brainfog nmda cognition adhd

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#1 neurosphinx

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Posted 08 March 2022 - 03:23 AM

Hello everyone,


I am a lifelong sufferer of brainfog, attention problems, and general cognition issues. I heavily relate to SCT (Sluggish Cognitive Tempo) symptoms. In particular, I have horrible working memory and verbal fluency. In my default state, I generally have an empty mind. I also struggle following conversations, meetings, lectures, and most anything auditory. I've tried many prescriptions and supplements with a recent focus on NMDA agonism/antagonism and/or acetylcholine. Separately, sarcosine and any ACh supplements cause significant improvements in my symptoms. The downside is that I pay the price in sleep quality, even at very small dosages and taken in the morning. This offsets any temporary boost from the supplements.


I've read several accounts of others running into problems with both of these supplements when it comes to sleep. Boosting ACh gives me a "shallow" sleep where I wake up a lot in the night and struggle to reach a deep sleep. This is unsurprising given the importance of ACh levels at different points in the sleep cycle. Separately, sarcosine feels slightly more restful to me but still detrimental overall.


Unfortunately, supplementation with ACh precursors like choline disagrees with me. I can handle eggs, but other standard suggested choline supplements like alpha-gpc, fish oil, krill oil, chia seeds, etc give me extreme brainfog, irritability, and worse memory. On the NMDA front, I tolerate glycine well and take it before bed for better sleep and mild improvements in memory and cognition the next day. I strongly believe I have some sort of NMDA dysfunction and/or ACh issues. I'm looking for advice on other supplements to pursue that might have similar MOA or offset the problems I'm seeing. I'm also open to other suggestions. What explains my extreme sensitivity to these supplements?


Maybe this further muddies things, but I also get the "hangover effect" where I see several positive effects to my mood and mental state after a night of heavy drinking.


Additional Notes

  • I suffer from anhedonia and moderate depression. I'm prescribed ketamine which I take 300mg once bi-weekly. This works well for me and, given it's action as an NMDA antagonist, further leads me to wonder if my problems are all NMDA-related.
  • Slow COMT
  • MTHFR C677T AA mutation
  • General blood tests have come back with no notable issues
  • Good diet with emphasis on avoiding anything enriched with folic acid
  • I get regular exercise and am in shape
  • Good sleep routine besides when disrupted by supplements
  • No other supplements taken during my self-experimentation with each med/supplement to limit variables
  • Breaks in between trying supplements so I can return to baseline
  • Little to no problem with motivation


ADHD Meds Tried

  • Adderall - too stimulating, no working memory or brainfog improvements
  • Vyvanse - too stimulating, decrease in working memory
  • Methylphenidate - causes brainfog
  • Dexedrine - a bit too stimulating, no improvements in brainfog or memory
  • Dexmethylphenidate - good focus, no improvements in brainfog or memory
  • Strattera - massive brainfog the first day so I discontinued, also weird side effects
  • Guanfacine - slight improvement in focus, slight improvement in brainfog, no memory improvements

Recent Supplements Tried

  • Glycine - 2g taken before bed, improves sleep. Mild improvement of symptoms next day.
  • Hydroxycobalamin + L-methylfolate - 400mcg - 2000mcg. I get a boost of energy and slight pop in colors from folate that negatively impacts my attention, similar to many other
  • Sarcosine - 250mg gives me clean stimulation, focus, and memory improvement all day but disrupts sleep
  • L-serine - 1g before bed, no noticeable effects
  • D-serine - 500mg in the morning, mild mood improvement.
  • ALCAR - range of dosages. Taken in the morning. 100mg+ will significantly affect my sleep. Improvement in memory, verbal fluency. Only see big improvements to my symptoms with higher dosages (300mg-1000mg)
  • Ceylon cinnamon (for the sodium benzoate) - AChE inhibitor. Taken in the morning. 1/4 tsp. Improvement in memory, verbal fluency. Bad sleep
  • Magtein (magnesium l-threonate) - AChE inhibitor. Taken in the morning. 675mg. Improvement in symptoms. Bad sleep
  • Aniracetam - don't remember dosage, I think I could tell my sleep was going to be bad so took some Benadryl
  • NADH - don't remember dosage, elevated mood, dumpy mood the next day
  • Many, many other supplements that either do nothing or make symptoms worse

Edited by neurosphinx, 08 March 2022 - 03:27 AM.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: brainfog, nmda, cognition, adhd

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