"...you want me to review what?!..."
That was exactly my words when discussing my latest review product; a small bottle of vitamin supplements from Europe. This has to be the most unusual review I've ever done!
These are no ordinary supplements I'm soon to discover, they contain a little extra to help you focus and be able to concentrate more. Now, I'm a world class sceptic when it comes to the herbology department and I looked at the bottle like it actually contained snake oil.
Now, the thing you have to understand is that these pills do not contain caffeine or guarana which are stimulants that give you a buzz and help your reaction times. This is a mix of multi-vitamins and some other supplements that are designed to give your brain a boost and help you to focus more on what you are doing.
A quick Wikipedia of the more obscure ingredients in the list reveals nothing as dangerous as Ritalin or such, but rather more natural components that will not leave you addicted or depressed.
The first thing I think should be done is to find a suitable situation that requires massive amounts of concentration and co-ordination, then pop some pills and see what happens.
Computex 2008! Perfect! - A week long struggle to organise chaos and play eagle-eyed reporter in Taipei.
So, readying myself for the first day of Computex, I knock back one of the pills; which is one of the three daily recommended. I then sling my laptop bag over my shoulder and set out for the halls.
There's no noticeable "buzz" or "kick" from the pill and I was not expecting any; after all, it is essentially a multi-vitamin supplement. There is also no way of quantifying how much this pill was going to help me to focus, so I just had to measure it against my experiences when I attended the next Computex day without pills in my system.
The first day on the pills went extremely well; I felt as though I was able to handle the rushing around and talking to industry representatives, asking difficult questions, getting the scoop on products under development, etc. etc.
Now it was time to try without the pills. The next day I left them at home so I wouldn't be able to take one, no matter how bad the day may have gotten.
The second day passed and it went okay, but I felt like I was slower getting out news stories and I felt there was too much going on in my head to remember all of the details.
There might be something in these pills after all...
To see more of the differences, I took pills for a few more days and then on the last day of Computex went cold-turkey, and the difference was noticeable. I found it hard to concentrate and had to make sure I wrote down everything because I was forgetting important bits to write into the news posts. It seems these pills can make a difference when the pressure is on.
This is just one test, however, so to get a different angle I tested them with a gaming session; playing Team Fortress 2 against my pals back home.
On the first night, I munched down a pill and found I was going good for about four hours before I started to feel tired and needed a rest. So far, so good...
The next night without them, I felt tired much quicker than the night before. About two and a half hours in I found myself needing more breaks to get a drink and rest for a while in an effort to get my concentration back. Obviously there is something to be said for these super-vitamin pills.
Here is a list of the ingredients from FpsBrain:
Energy 31 kJ/ 7 kcal
Protein 1,70 g
Carbonhydrates 0,002 g
Fat 0,05 g
L-Tyrosine 900,00 mg
L-Glutamine 450,00 mg
Choline 270,00 mg
Ascorbic Acid 90,00 mg
Vitamin E 15,00 mg
Niacin Amide 27,00 mg
Selenium 60,00 g
Calcium Pantothenate 9,00 mg
Vitamin B6 3,00 mg
Vitamin B2 2,40 mg
Vitamin B1 2,10 mg
Folic Acid 300,00 g
Biotin 225,00 g
Vitamin B12 1,50 g
It occurs to me that if these little pills help me to focus during tradeshows and gaming sessions, they should be an invaluable tool during exam time at university. With my final year approaching fast, I'll be keeping this little bottle of pills handy for the days when I need the extra edge to make sure I can come out on top.
The great thing about these is that they are non-addictive and have no side affect (provided you are not allergic to any of the main ingredients) and they are essentially a multi-vitamin, meaning they provide a nice boost to your immune system, which is critical in times of stress.
I highly recommend people to give these a go. If you have exams coming, or periods where you need total concentration, these can help. But be warned, these are not a "magic pill" that you can just pop in and expect to be totally focused. It's a supplement, and as such is designed to help you; not do it all for you.
For more information, check out their website here.
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