Natural Stacks is a company that "gets it," when it comes to the topic of supplements.

Their company mission is to deliver the best supplements with minimal, high-quality ingredients that are backed by credible scientific research to prove their efficacy.  Not only do they use minimal ingredients, they also only include the most bio-available forms of each ingredient.  So basically, your likelihood of actually absorbing the supplements is highest with their products.  And yes, many companies don't care about that.

The company is run by a slew of former and current athletes and biohackers who love to geek out about ways to "live optimal," as the associated podcast refers to their work.  The Optimal Performance Podcast, hosted by Ryan Munsey, is one I listen to regularly.  I also got to talk with Ryan about this product review and it's obvious he really knows his stuff and just wants to share health!  The whole company is like that; they just want to help improve quality of life and their avenue of doing so is by attacking the usually-vague supplement industry.  

So, out of their big line, what did I try?

MycoBOOST

Do you do 'shrooms?  Because Natural Stacks totally does now.  And this kind will enhance your health instead of destroying it.

MycoBOOST is one of 3 new medicinal mushroom nootropics that Natural Stacks now offers.  This particular product out of the “stack” of 3 mushroom supplements touts cordyceps mushrooms as its key ingredient.  The main benefit of this particular mushroom? Increased endurance.  Side effects?  Oh, you know.  Just improved immunity, better glucose tolerance (go away, diabetes risk!), reduced fatigue, increased antioxidants in the body, and reversed inflammation markers.  Yes, reversed.  Not just prevented.  Reversed.

The full science and tons of linked studies can be found on the Myco Stack page, but basically this new wave of including ‘shrooms with medicinal value in your day is a great one to jump onto.  And, of course, it’s organically-sourced and water-extracted, yielding the highest quality version of the ingredient.  My food and supplement snob is appeased.

The only other ingredient in MycoBOOST is Yerba Mate, which is basically the leaves of a plant known to boost metabolism and increase cellular function.  On top of that, studies have recently come out to prove obesity prevention characteristics in Yerba Mate that include better satiety (feeling full), reduced blood sugar, and reduction of fat cell creation.  The antioxidant properties in Yerba Mate are also greater than those of green tea.  Whoa.

Basically, this product is a capsule of superpowers.

My own experience with incorporating this into my routine is varied. I started out with one capsule per day for the first few (a serving is two) just to see if I noticed anything from the first inclusion.  I noticed a slightly greater alertness the first couple of days, but honestly not much more.  Again, that was on half a serving.  

I then skipped taking it for several days and then began taking one full serving in the morning, or two capsules.  Again, the alertness returned but I also found myself kicking butt at several new physical challenges that quite honestly scared me to think of trying.  These included more yoga and an endurance-based class at a studio called Crush Fitness here in Austin, which caters to lots of distance runners.  Distance runner, I am not.  And I totally kicked ass in that training session.  Not to toot my own horn, or anything. ;)

My third method of implementation was to double my dosage of the capsule: two in the morning, two in mid-afternoon.  This happened to line up with spring break and my weekend to visit the family, which quickly turned into playing nurse with my mom to my sick brother.  He supposedly didn’t have the flu, according to the doctor’s swab, but he totally had every symptom of it.  While my mom began coming down with similar symptoms to him by the last day I was there, I never got sick and returned to work on Monday feeling just as great as ever.  This is, of course, just a personal correlation (i.e. I can't prove causation).  But it's good to note the reported immunity benefits of cordyceps and that my little double-dose experiment lined up with this stroke of health.

The last way I decided to test MycoBOOST was to only take one dose, two capsules, in the afternoon.  After skipping it altogether for a few days, I chose to take some in the afternoon on a day in which I worked at all 3 of my jobs.  I could feel myself crashing around 3pm on the way between jobs 2 and 3 of the day, so that’s when I took the MycoBOOST.  Keep in mind, I’d been awake since 4 AM and knew that I was staying late at job number 3 to take the new medical yoga classes being offered at the studio after closing.  AKA I wouldn’t even be heading home for the day until after 8 PM.  

Boy, am I glad I tried the afternoon trick that day.

I got to number 3 and after about half an hour, was ready to keep going.  It was a productive afternoon of shadowing the nurse practitioner, meeting new clients of the recovery center, and generally answering emails/doing other web work along the way.  The yoga class afterward was a success and I left feeling full and proud of the long day.

Since trying each of the uses above, I can now navigate when I may need a bit of a “boost.”  I’m convinced these capsules are what let me power through 2 hours of sleep one night after going dancing for a sorority event, getting home at 2:30 a.m., and having to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to train people the next morning.  Just, ya know, another abnormal "boost" to note. 

Overall, I am so glad I got to test the effects of cordyceps in the form of MycoBOOST because it’s one of the types of mushrooms I’d yet to incorporate into my routine.  I’m new to the idea of medicinal mushrooms overall, but have been using chaga on and off for immunity benefits since this past winter.  It should also be clarified that I didn't take any chaga while trying MycoBOOST, just so no correlations were muddled.  Clearly, the effects of MycoBOOST did not go unnoticed as highlighted in my many stories above.  They weren’t immediate, but they did change the game.  My hectic life can take any boost possible to push through right now!

To try some MycoBOOST for yourself, click here.

The effects of this stack aren’t as immediately noticeable for me as the Serotonin Brain Food was, but my endurance seemed to slowly increase and get me through the day.  Plus, you know, possibly avoiding the flu was nice.  Because of the range of benefits and noticeable effects over a longer-term of this high-quality supplement I still think it deserves:

Rating: 9/10

GABA Brain Food

Let me just preface this product with a piece of advice: READ THE SERVING SIZE.  

I seriously felt so dumb because when this product was coming out, Ryan Munsey on the Optimal Performance Podcast (the podcast affiliated with Natural Stacks) warned about not exceeding the serving size.  In my head while listening to that I was all like, “well duh.  Of course not.”  

Well duh.  Of course yes.

I took 3 capsules instead of the advised 2 because I like to pretend I know everything.  So… basically I got a little loopy off of this stuff the first two times I took it.  Like, I made sure that all I wanted to do the rest of the evening was relax (since I wasn't sure how it would affect me) and put on some Joe Rogan comedy specials.  I was ROLLING with laughter.  Which, he's hilarious anyway, but I felt under the influence.  Then I got smart and somehow remembered the OPP episode and checked the bottle to see the little “2 capsules” serving size, so oops.

BUT!  After taking the CORRECT amount of this product, I was significantly chilled out and got to relax after a long day with my active mind, without feeling high.  Which, I’m not gonna lie… more than 2 capsules makes you feel a little high.  But DON’T DO THAT.  You don't want to mess with your body's own production of GABA, especially since this product does have actual GABA in it (along with ingredients that help it cross the blood-brain barrier).  Okay, I’ve done enough warning here.

Long story short: I love this stuff to get me to stop stressing about work I need to do tomorrow.  It’s great to watch some comedy with.  And to just be a little freer right before an awesome night’s sleep.  Because it'll get you that, too. :)

Rating: 10/10

Serotonin Brain Food

I think this product can be described with a little narrative.

My schedule looks something like this for the semester:

  • Wake up at 4am or 4:30am.  Never later.
  • Pack all of my food, clothes, books, etc. for the day
  • Go to work
  • Go from work to my internship
  • Go from my internship to class
  • Go from class to my second internship
  • Leave the second internship to go home, scarf some dinner, lay everything out for tomorrow, and fall into bed because I need to wake up at 4am again the next day.

I'm a little busy.

On one of the days in which I thought I had to go to the internship first (meaning I don't have to wake up until 4:30! Yay!) my alarm was set for 4:30am.  As soon as the sound began, I knew I'd made a grave mistake.

I had work in 30 minutes and didn't have anything packed for the day.

Normally, this would set off an immediate panic mode in my mind.  This isn't the kind of job you can be late to.  I literally unlock a gym to let in angry old country club men for their 5am workout and will be chewed out if I'm not 5 minutes early.  I've been 2 minutes late before.  They tried to get me fired.  However, this was the 5th day since I had begun incorporating the Serotonin Brain Food into my daily routine.  

What luck!

This hiccup in my oh-so-careful routine felt just like that: a hiccup.  It didn't shift my world.  I calmly (but, mind you, still quickly) got out of bed, sped through a condensed version of my morning routine, and somehow got into my truck within 15 minutes and was unlocking the door 2 minutes before open.  The members thanked me for being early.

This stuff kept my head cool.

Now, I don't want to make it seem like this is just a bottle of serotonin.

It's not.

This product is actually a mix of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids combined to push the body toward creating its own serotonin.  And there's no additives to the mix!  AKA, this is as all-natural as you're going to get.  

And it's not like this is going to solve all of your problems with stress and anxiety.  Instead, it's more of a baseline "zen" feeling that threads your day and makes disturbances suddenly seem not so bad.  And it's not like you have duller feelings.  It just seems easier to step back and look at them as disturbances and not complete turmoil.  Which, for me, is super important because I have a terrible history of putting too much on myself and subsequently stressing out about it (see above daily schedule). 

It's also good to note that you're likely to get the most benefit from it when eating a diet that is tolerated by your body, too, because that increases the likelihood of maximal absorption.  I've been keen on eating very well to my own absorption capabilities lately, so that could definitely be a factor as to why I felt this so much.  But that's just a thought. :)

Based on the quality of the product ingredients and my own body's response, I would say it deserves a...

Rating: 10/10

If you would like to purchase some Serotonin Brain Food for yourself, click here.

Ingredients: L-Tryptophan, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), Magnesium (Magnesium Glycinate), Since (Zince Glycinate), Rhodiola Rosea.