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    Thread: Awake in Dreams: Acetylcholine

    1. #1
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      Awake in Dreams: Acetylcholine

      Lucid Dreaming and Acetylcholine

      I watched The Random Show with tech-investor Tim Ferriss, where he talks to technologist Kevin Rose about numerous topics—such as, Bitcoin, 2021 resolutions, favourite books, etc.—and I was surprised to see Ferriss recommending Stephen LaBerge's Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, which is a gem I happen to own. He also touted acetylcholine-raising supplements which increase the chances of lucidity in dreams. I thought that perhaps awareness should be raised here as an aid.

      I'm not really one for supplements, but adding its precursor choline to your diet might be a good idea. Beef liver, boiled eggs and cod fish will automatically raise your acetylcholine levels. It isn't surprising why this neurotransmitter promotes lucid dreaming ...

      Acetylcholine induces longer periods of REM sleep. It boosts memory (crucial for dream signs and MILD), learning, attention and other cognitive functions. It also promotes arousal, CNS reward, neuroplasticity and enhances alertness upon awakening (good for the DEILD method, too).

      But you cannot inject it. Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme in our bodies which immediately breaks down acetylcholine—hence the reason why the latter has no therapeutic value as an intravenous drug.

      However, at optimal levels, it is cerebrally beneficial. Knowing how much of an unfavorable impact Alzheimer's disease—largely responsible for the deficits of dementia—has on cognition and other mental faculties in general, it is not surprising that the work of the British physiologist Ann Silver on such neurotransmitter in the mid-'70s led to the eventual use of cholinesterase inhibitors to treat neurodegeneration.

      So, if anybody has doubts, I hope to allay them with an emphasis that its benefits are scientifically vouched for. I wonder how many people here have their eye on their acetylcholine levels, so to speak ...
      Last edited by Summerlander; 01-24-2021 at 06:00 AM. Reason: Additional
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      THE PHASE = waking consciousness during sleep hybridisation at 40Hz of brainwave activity conducive to lucid dreaming and autoscopy.

    2. #2
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      Having conducted extensive experiments with supplements over the last 10 years (a lot of it for lucid dreaming purposes), I do have a lot of experience with affecting Acetylcholine levels.

      Just briefly, my two main personal observations:
      • Choline sources do not directly promote lucidity, but they do promote vividness. Types I have used are: Lecithin, Choline Bitartrate, Alpha-GPC, DMAE (this one is subject to some scientific debate as to its ability to supply Choline).
      • Anything that counteracts Acetylcholinesterase boosts lucidity (e.g. Huperzine, Galantamine).

      I find it interesting that supplying Choline has one effect, but removing the molecule that destroys Acetylcholine has a quite different effect.
      Last edited by Voldmer; 01-24-2021 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Had written Choline, where Acetylcholine was intended
      So ... is this the real universe, or is it just a preliminary study?

    3. #3
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      Ahhh ... Yes, Voldmer!

      So, am I correct in assuming that boosting choline levels, which promotes vividness, increases the chances of lucidity with the potentiality of a chemical 'domino effect', whereas acetylcholinesterase antagonists such as Galantamine directly promotes lucidity?

      Thank you for your input, here. You have certainly peaked my interest! It sounds to me that the mitigation of the enzyme that disables acetylcholine is more beneficial to the practice of lucid dreaming (or it seems to expedite the process) than the supplementation of choline (which is also useful).

      For the sake of avoiding misinformation, can you provide me with some links with more information about Galantamine? I also wonder about recommended dosage with these substances, what is safe, etc. It must differ, of course, from person to person, but there must be a healthy balance to be maintained here.

      I keep hearing positive things about Galantamine ...

      Apparently, Huperzine is a great booster, too, as it seems to improve cognitive functions even in people with Alzheimer's.

      On a side note, for everybody, consider egg yolks, avocados, dark chocolate, spinach, kale and nuts in order to promote brain function, cerebral health, and to avoid mental decline with age.
      Last edited by Summerlander; 01-24-2021 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Typographical
      THE PHASE = waking consciousness during sleep hybridisation at 40Hz of brainwave activity conducive to lucid dreaming and autoscopy.

    4. #4
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      I agree that increased vividness from supplemented Choline could trickle down into enhanced probability of lucidity. Basically, because the dreams are more vivid, they trigger a more substantial psychological involvement, and this could provide the spark for lucidity. Personally, I have experienced this quite a bit from Lecithin, but not so much from other Choline sources. I do suspect that quality of supplement may have been of importance here (not all brands are equal).

      I don't have any particularly useful links to hand about Galantamine. Here in the EU, Galantamine is only available as a prescription medicine to Alzheimers patients (maybe to sufferers of other forms of dementia as well). I obtained it from a US-based retailer years ago (8 mg capsules), and did my own experiments. One result was that Galantamine has an almost magical effect on dream vividness and lucidity, but another result was that it feels 10 times as stimulating as caffeine, and most of the times I could not sleep after having taken Galantamine. Another DV' user, FryingMan, did have similar experiences. If you search for Galantamine here on DV you will find several stories from experiments undertaken by members.

      Huperzine A is my current weapon against Acetylcholinesterase, and it works, but it is much less potent (in every way) than Galantamine. For me, it is much more useful because I can actually sleep after ingesting it.
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      So ... is this the real universe, or is it just a preliminary study?

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      Thank you so much for the extra info—it warrants further commentary; so I will come back. I just wanted to briefly say that I had to edit my response above as I made the mistake of saying 'acetylcholine inhibitor' instead of 'acetylcholinesterase inhibitor'—which is what Huperzine and Galantamine are. I completely missed that. All rectified.
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      THE PHASE = waking consciousness during sleep hybridisation at 40Hz of brainwave activity conducive to lucid dreaming and autoscopy.

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      My current stack is:
      100mg - 5HTP 30 mins before bed

      Sleep 4-5 hours wake up
      4mg galantamine
      500mg choline (bitrate)

      - induces lucids pretty regularly. Take 4-5 days off before using again.
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      I wonder, how long are you using these supplements?
      Several years ago I had and used various ones (galantamin, alpha GPC, cholin, 5-HTP, ... - basicaly everything Thomas Yuschak mentioned in his excellent book) and it worked pretty well.
      BUT
      From that time my LD occurence just vanished and I did not experienced LD for years basically. Now I just struggle to get back on track but for time being I´m just not successful.

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lucidreaman View Post
      I wonder, how long are you using these supplements?
      Several years ago I had and used various ones (galantamin, alpha GPC, cholin, 5-HTP, ... - basicaly everything Thomas Yuschak mentioned in his excellent book) and it worked pretty well.
      BUT
      From that time my LD occurence just vanished and I did not experienced LD for years basically. Now I just struggle to get back on track but for time being I´m just not successful.
      This is a really good example of a lesson for lucid dreamers. Supplements cannot replace diligent practice. In fact, because they work so well (I know! I've had my fair share of Galantamine lucids), they can cause us to get lazy. [Not saying that's necessarily what happened to you, Lucidreaman. ]

      I think it's okay to use supplements in moderation. I personally wouldn't take it more than once or twice a week max, if I'm going to at all (and I haven't since Lucid Dreaming Day). In moderation, with continued practice, it can be good for motivating purposes. It's motivating because when we get lucid we're reminded what we're working for, and helps us advance our lucid goals. It also can help set a lucid pattern.

      I don't know the long-term effects on the brain, though. I would also be hesitant to use them long term just because using a substance can cause the body to stop producing the substance naturally. Then, it can take a long time to get back to normal after stopping supplements.
      Last edited by MoonageDaydream; 07-31-2021 at 09:03 PM.
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    9. #9
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      I will just add, that in that time, before I opted for using the supplements, I was having about 2-4 LD a month.

      And, what also makes me a bit uncertain about their long term influence and starting using them nowadays again, is that since the book publication there are no informations about Yuschak's explorations or follow up. And one would expect that he could come up with some very interesting ones because his book was quite optimistic about the overal outcomes. I feel just some void here in this regard.

      Regarding my getting back on track, my weakness is mainly being not able to persuade myself to write down the journal. I AM actually pretty lazy in the midnight when I wake up from some dreams, after all. :-)

    10. #10
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      A little caution should always be urged with any product that is being promoted. Hyperbolic testaments to the efficacy of supplements in aiding lucid dreaming should be taken with a pinch of salt. If your choline levels are raised, then you are likely to experience a mnemonic boost which promotes consciousness in the REM stages of sleep. But that is it! Acetylcholinesterase antagonists such as Huperzine and Galantamine do not guarantee lucid dreams—especially if ingested without any practice.
      Last edited by Summerlander; 09-09-2021 at 12:19 PM. Reason: Typographical
      THE PHASE = waking consciousness during sleep hybridisation at 40Hz of brainwave activity conducive to lucid dreaming and autoscopy.

    11. #11
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      I can vouch for what Voldmer says -- galantamine dreams are wickedly strongly vivid, "more real than waking" style, but my brain on galantamine for me is like watching fireworks with my eyes closed (literally, the imagery is just crazy), and I'm so wired that I almost never (maybe 1 in 20 times? and that's after hours of trying to stay relaxed and calm) can get back to sleep. I'm also very sensitive to caffeine in waking life, maybe that has something to do with it (just a little bit makes be quite wired and even nauseated). I usually took the recommended stack of melatonin at bedtime, 4-5 hours sleep, 4-8mg galantamine, and AlphaGPC with Choline Bitartrate (all per Yuschak, the OP should definitely pick up his book if you're interested in pursuing supplemented LDing).

      I'm also not a huge fan of supplements (but think once in a while for a boost is fine). I think they're fine for helping to correct dietary deficits, but long-term what fosters lucidity most in dreams is being lucid while awake: self-awareness, purposeful attention, reflection, memory work. BE-ing a lucid person.
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