Halostachine, also known as N-methylphenylethanolamine, is a natural alkaloid extract from the Asian shrub, Halostachys capsica. It is also a metabolite of phenylethylamine (PEA), a compound that is found in cocoa beans that is responsible for the famous “feel-good effects.” Halostachine as a dietary supplement is geared towards both nootropics users and bodybuilders who need a fat burner.
That said, let us have a closer look at the mechanism of action, benefits, dosage, and synergies of this well-respected thermogenic and nootropic.
What Does Halostachine HCL do?
When ingested, halostachine is rapidly absorbed and undergoes fast metabolism. It is metabolized by monoamine oxidase (MAO) and has a half-life of 5 to 10 minutes. (1) Therefore, the effects of halostachine are felt soon after its consumption, making it an excellent pre-workout supplement. Moreover, the fact that it increases blood flow to the muscles as well as oxygen availability to better equip the muscles for a smashing workout gives it an upper hand as a better pre-workout and stimulant.
Halostachine works by mimicking the actions of high stimulants such as ephedrine and other beta agonists. However, it is less potent than ephedrine and is believed to be safer. One of the reasons as to why the FDA banned ephedrine is because in high doses it causes high blood pressure and can lead to heart attacks and even death. (2) Although halostachine works on the same receptors as ephedrine, it is more benign and a safe alternative to achieve the desired effects. Clinical studies have shown that halostachine does not elevate the heart rate, even when administered multiple times. (3)
As a beta agonist, halostachine works on beta-adrenoceptors to cause smooth muscle relaxation, stimulate glycogenolysis in the liver and stimulate renin release in the kidneys. (4) In the brain, the action of beta-adrenergic receptors plays a role in brain neurotransmission. (5) Furthermore, halostachine stimulates the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, the main neurotransmitters of the sympathetic nervous system. The two help to increase alertness, focus, mental energy and also, to induce the breakdown of fatty acids.
What Are the Benefits of Halostachine HCL?
1. Improves Mood
Increase in beta-adrenergic activity is related to improved mood states. (6) Halostachine as central nervous system stimulant works on these receptors to correct anger-anxiety, depressive feelings, and tension anxiety. However, that is not the most striking mood-advantage of halostachine. As a metabolite of phenylethylamine (PEA), it causes the release of feel-good chemicals- serotonin, dopamine, and tyramine, just like after taking a cup of cocoa. (7)
PEA is a mood elevating hormone-like compound that heightens focus, attention, goal-directed behavior and task-completion. These effects bring about a sense of well-being and optimal on-the-move motivation. (8) PEA is the same hormone that is released when one experiences a runner’s high. (9) It is closely related to amphetamines, but without the long-lasting effects that amphetamines cause.
2. Increases Energy
Halostachine increases energy mainly by affecting adrenaline and noradrenaline levels, core neurotransmitters for the flight or fight response. In readiness for an emergency, they both trigger the release of glucose from energy stores, and that is why they are popularly known as the kings of energy in the athletic circles. (10) In the liver, they stimulate glycogen breakdown, a process known as glycogenolysis. Through phospholipase linked receptors, they cause degradation of glycogen to glucose, using glucose-1-phosphate. In the muscles, the glycogenolysis process is also activated, especially when coupled with exercise. (11)
Adequate energy levels are not only essential for meeting normal body functions but also for the provision of fuel to the working muscles and brain. That is why longterm deficit of energy leads to a loss of muscle mass resulting to loss of endurance and cognitive decline. (12) Therefore, regular intake of halostachine improves brain function, prevents early fatigue and keeps one mentally and physically active throughout the day.
3. Burns Fat
Halostachine has a significant effect on lipolysis and in fact, it was first introduced in the market because of its fat burning action. Lipolysis is not only the process that breaks down fats but also a way in which the body mobilizes stored energy during fasting or exercise. In normal circumstances, lipolysis is inhibited by insulin and accelerated when catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline) are stimulated. (13) We already appreciate that one of the mechanisms of action of halostachine is by encouraging the release of catecholamines.
These catecholamines activate adenyl cyclase, which in turn increase the concentration of cAMP and activates hormone-sensitive lipase enzyme. (14) This brings about a breakdown of fatty acids and their release into the plasma. The fatty acids are then broken down to generate energy. The rate of blood flow to the adipose tissue also increases, potentiating the activity of adipocytes.
Other than being lipolytic, halostachine is also thermogenic, meaning that it causes an obligatory increase in heat expenditure by burning calories. Green tea has the same effect, due to the caffeine and catechin-polyphenol content. (15) Such compounds increase basal body temperature by boosting metabolism and fat burning. Furthermore, the higher the metabolism, the easier it is to melt fat during a workout. Stimulating thermogenesis is particularly beneficial when on a calorie-restricted diet, to prevent adaptive metabolism.
4. Suppresses Appetite
Another weight loss-linked benefit is that halostachine causes a noticeable reduction in overall hunger and cravings. When the beta-agonist receptors are activated, they rev up the physiological state to put eating on hold. In normal circumstances, when one does not eat, hunger should result. However, after taking halostachine and the adrenaline rush spikes, it increases metabolism of glucose, which effectively blocks the brain from signs of hunger. (16) Low levels of glucose in the brain, are primarily responsible for activation of hunger pangs.
5. Enhances Focus
Halostachine can be used as a nootropic to boost mental focus. Although much of it does not cross the blood-brain barrier, it exerts its brain-boosting effects by use of catecholamines. When the brain is flooded with these catecholamines, it activates a heightened state of physical and mental alertness. That is mainly by an effect of systemic vasoconstriction and vasodilatation of cerebral vessels, which improves blood flow and causes a powerful surge of energy to the brain. (17) This helps one to zone-in on specific tasks, may it be a workout, studies, or work.
These mental focus-enhancing actions also increase cognitive performance by the virtue that they stimulate the activity of the central and peripheral nervous systems. By increasing blood supply to the brain, it means that halostachine does not only target a specific area of the brain. Its overall effects also contribute to augmented cognition and better neuronal signaling. Therefore, not only the attention span that improves but also fluid intelligence.
Suggested Dosage, Synergies & Administration of Halostachine HCL
Being a beta-adrenergic agent, the doses of halostachine tend not to be so high. The average dose for most users is 50mg in one to two servings daily. As a supplement for workout energy, 50mg should be taken upon waking up and a second dose just before the workout or six hours after the first dose. Halostachine is a fast-acting supplement, and the effects will are felt within 10 minutes at most. On non-training days, 50mg in the morning once daily is enough for a boost of mental and physical energy throughout the day. As a fat-burner, the first 50mg is taken upon waking up and the second dose just before fasted cardio.
For synergy, halostachine can be stacked with low dosed alkaloids such as Higenamine. (18) Halostachine should not be taken together with anti-depressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors as they counteract each other. In case of any cardiovascular and any other chronic conditions, the opinion of a qualified healthcare professional should first be sought.
History & Origin of Halostachine HCL
Naturally occurring halostachine was initially discovered by Syrneva from the plant Halostachys capsica. Later, Halostachine was also isolated from perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and tall fescue, (Festuca arundinacea). The original structure that was proposed was later found to be erroneous and was subsequently corrected by Menshikov and Rubinstein. (19) The presence of the active compound, N-methylphenylethanolamine in the brain was first demonstrated in rats, by experiments conducted by Saavedra and Axelrod. (20) This discovery opened ways for studying the nootropic benefits of halostachine. Today, halostachine is included as a constituent of many dietary supplements and is also sold on its own. However, it has not been developed as a prescription drug.
Final Thoughts on Halostachine HCL
Halostachine may not be one of those supplements that have been in the market for decades. Nevertheless, it is a very powerful stimulant that has been progressively gaining popularity in the recent years since the establishment of the potential dangers of ephedrine. Here are some strong points to summarize what halostachine is all about:
- It is a natural alkaloid extract from an Asian shrub known as Halostachys capsica. It can also be obtained from ryegrass and tall fescue.
- Is also a metabolite of phenylethylamine (PEA) found in cocoa beans.
- It was first discovered by Syrneva, and its structure affirmed by two scientists, Saavedra and Axelrod.
- Halostachine has a similar structure to ephedrine and works in the same way, by activating the beta-adrenoceptors. In regards to potency, halostachine has a toned-down potency as compared to ephedrine, but it is much safer. Ephedrine was banned from the market as it poses significant cardiovascular risks.
- For the nervous system, halostachine works by influencing neurotransmission and the level of adrenaline and noradrenaline.
- As a result of activating the sympathetic nervous system, it causes an increase in energy levels, oxygen availability and improvement of mental focus.
- As a metabolite of phenylethylamine (PEA) halostachine leads to an improvement of mood as it contributes to increase in levels of serotonin, dopamine and tyramine, the key “feel-good hormones.”
- Triggers release of glucose from stores, through glycogenolysis and lipolysis. This makes it an excellent stimulant for general energy levels throughout the day and a pre-workout. The fact that its action time is 5 to 10 minutes also favors it as one of the best pre-workout supplements.
- Aids in fat loss by activation of adenyl cyclase and lipase enzymes. It is also thermogenic, and as a result causes the body to produce heat by burning more calories.
- Reduces overall hunger and cravings by increasing metabolism of glucose, and suppressing appetite centers in the hypothalamus.
- Enhances mental focus and cognitive performance by increasing blood supply, oxygen levels, glucose uptake and neuronal signaling in the brain.
- The average dose of halostachine is 50mg once or twice daily.