NSI 189 Review (Suprising ‘Side Effect’)

NSI 189 is a nootropic drug that is still in the clinical-experimental stages of research. It has been shown in studies to alleviate major depressive symptoms and to increase the size of the hippocampus (the ’emotional’ part of the brain) by generating new brain cells. Depression & loss of brain cells are both related issues in the world of MMA. Check out Cat Zigano for example, discussing the issues on the Joe Rogan Podcast.

There is some good information about it on the self-hacked website and also on reddit.com:


NSI 189 for Depression

I’ve had depression & anxiety literally since I can remember. It hit it’s peak post-university-graduation. It was a bit of a vicious cycle, I’d feel depressed, lethargic and extremely ‘foggy’ and then (understandably to a certain extent) people treated me like I was thick as sh!t (despite having a first class degree & an MSc) and then I’d feel sorry for myself, more depressed and worse…I was suicidal on and off for a few years.

Anyway, pity party over, I’ve gone to extreme lengths to take ownership of this problem – I hate it when people blame a black dog or external factors – for me diet, exercise, meditation, getting outdoors more and doing yoga have all had a massive, positive impact on me. Stoic philosophy is also great by the way.

I reached a bit where I was a bit kinda bored and pissed off a lot of the time. So; probably stupidly, after trying lions mane mushroom which also increases brain cells, I thought I’d try NSI 189. I’ve had 4 concussions, one put me in the hospital for a few days, so I thought brain injury might also be something that’s causing my lethargy.

I took 40mg for 6 weeks and my energy levels are definitely up. It doesn’t help with anxiety but I definitely don’t feel like I have to drag myself places, or to work anymore, I’ve got more of a spring in my step.

It’s not something I can recommend, because for all I know my brain might actually be in worse shape a few years down the line – I don’t think there are any long term studies – but if you are very depressed, this, or even psychedelic mushrooms (in a safe & controlled setting with guidance) are potential ‘solutions’.


NSI 189 Review

For me, 1 month later, I can say I’ve had some good results. More energy and a much more vivid eyesight too. Especially when outdoors – outlines and distances seem much clearer – it’s pretty cool.

Oh the suprising side effect – this was the improvement in my depth perception and long distance eyesight!

Good luck and please leave a comment with any questions



Article for Entertainment Only. Consult your doctor etc.



Posted in MMA, Nutrition, Philosophy, Psychology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy Ways to Increase Positive Energy

Not directly MMA related, but an optimistic mindset and enthusiasm will definitely help with the grind of training and pre-fight nerves.

Positive Self Talk

Have a mantra such as “Cool, calm & collected”

Here‘s a list of other possible mantras

Positive Room Entrance

Each time that you walk into a room, pick out 2 things you like and think about why. Make it as random & obscure as possible.


Remember a Happy Memory

You can’t think both positive & negative at the same time. Recall a time that you were really happy to improve your mood.


Smile & Breathe Deeply

Works best if you are anxious in my own experience. Anxiety is a survival response – you wouldn’t smile and breathe deeply if your live was in danger – thus the body provides feedback that all must be well and there’s no need to worry.





Posted in MMA, Musings, Psychology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Experience with Psilocybin Mushrooms

Blog Post for Entertainment Purposes Only

So I’ve had a range of amazing mental health issues since I can remember, mainly depression & anxiety related. I was a proper angry kid, weirdly MMA got me into yoga, which in turn catylsed my development into a peace loving stoic hippy.

I went to Amsterdam for my 30th birthday and took a Golden Teacher truffle. I bought the tasty treats and took them back to our hotel.

It was only a 50% dose, so I wasn’t tripping (much), but I did feel like my body was weightless for most of the time.

About 10 minutes in, I decided to meditate…I started to see myself as this big floaty cloud – it felt wonderful; but then when any angry, hateful or negative thoughts crept into my mind, the cloud started to turn black, jagged and I felt like I was falling. It was pretty cool and eye-opening, I texted my friend saying “hate is a construct of the ego” then made a cup of tea.

Psilocybin mushroom


This helped to reinforce the thought that ‘love is the answer’ and that anger only does damage to yourself – the thinker. What you think, becomes your reality.

You don’t see many angry, hateful people loving live, do you?

I now avoid at all costs saying anything negative (especially about others), thinking negatively (bit trickier) or being around judgemental and negative people (also tricky). In my mind’s eye I still see & feel the hateful cloud thing when I’m around any negativity, whether it’s from myself or others.

Important things to consider:

  • Legal in Amsterdam, mushrooms are Class A drugs in the UK once prepared
  • Be around people you trust and be somewhere you feel safe
  • Psychedelics such as mushrooms, DMT etc are regarded as unsafe for those taking SSRIs


Scientific Research on Psilocybin Mushrooms

Research on psychedelics such as mushrooms and LSD is gradually gaining more interest and investment. Here are a few links:

Reduced Depression & Anxiety in Cancer Patients

Reduced Anti Social Behaviour

For Treatment of Depression

You may also find this study interesting:

“Self-medication with psychedelics was not highly frequent; although when it occurred, it was rated as significantly more effective as treatment offered by a medical professional. Current findings support research exploring the potential of psychedelics in the treatment of psychopathologies.”


Image Source

Other things I’ve done that I’ve helped my mental health include:

  • Meditation
  • Massage, foam rolling, massage chair
  • Anything to improve my gut health & allergies e.g.Rosemary, probiotics
  • Magnesium
  • Yoga
Posted in Musings | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Book of 5 Rings – Summary

Born in the 16th century, near the end of the Japanese civil war, Miyamoto Musashi was a nomadic samurai who fought in a small number of battles, but dozens of duels. He is known as Japan’s greatest swordsman.

The book has had a huge impact on culture in East Asia and on business etiquette.

There are several cross-overs in the book with Stoic philosophy and even Buddhist mindfulness, with Musashi emphasising several times:

Get Beyond Love and Grief
Live for the Good of Man

i.e. Don’t be overly dramatic, get on with what needs to be done without complaining.

Do Nothing that is of No Use

Don’t have a ‘flash’ fighting style, as this is of no practical use.
Don’t complain, as this has no use.

Step by Step Walk the Thousand Mile Path

Once you’ve determined where you want to be, be present in the moment and take it a step at a time.

Musashi also talks about being focused during a battle or duel; or dying. He no doubt was an expert at achieving ‘flow state‘ and achieved this by constant practice, rather than a typical form of meditation.


Again, the above quote makes me think of both Stoic & Buddhist philosophy.

Self-absorption is a distraction and useless when it comes to battle. It’s also pretty bad for your mental health.

In Strategy You Must Know The Ways of Other Schools

Basically the philosophy of MMA, JKD and cross-training in the martial arts. If you are a Gracie BJJ practitioner, you should still know the ways of Tenth Planet so you can defend or counter them.

A Thousand Days of Training to Develop. Ten Thousand Days of training to Polish

This quote sounds a lot like the 10,000 hours rule – to become a master at something, you need to practice for 10,000 hours. There’s also the 80/20 rule – in that you can gain 80% competency in 20% of the training required to become ‘masterful’ at something.

The 80/20 rule can actually be applied to lots of different scenarios – see this video.

Resentment and Complaint are Appropriate Neither for Oneself or Others

Complaining is pointless. Resentment is pointless. Both waste and take up energy, so don’t bother with either.

Do Not Act Following Customary Beliefs

Question everything. Conventional wisdom would have us belief that high carbohydrate diets are the healthiest – but are they? Lose your preconceived ideas and research it for yourself.

Accept Everything Just the Way it is

Another Stoic-like quote and reference to not being a complaining bellend. Change things if you can, if you cannot, accept them.

Never let Yourself by Saddened by a Separation

If someone dies, or leaves, be respectful but not saddened. This serves no purpose.


Pragmatic Thinking is Essential

Reminds me of the book by Dan Harris called 10% Happier, whereby he filters the thoughts that he attends to with the phrase “is this helpful?”.

Being angry, jealous and resentful is generally not helpful, unless you can manage these thoughts to motivate yourself to do something positive.

Feeling sorry for oneself is rarely helpful to anyone. So don’t do it.


It will seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. Bows are difficult to draw, halberds are difficult to wield; as you become accustomed to the bow so your pull will become stronger.

Everything is difficult at first. Tolerate the struggle, learn, build strength and improve.

My favourite quotes from the book:

1. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
2. Accept everything just the way it is.
3. Never be jealous.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19. Do not fear death.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
21. Never stray from the Way.
22. Resentment and Compliant are Appropriate Neither for Oneself or Others
23. Never Fear Death

The only thing I would potentially add to Musashi’s teachings for modern day use, would be to have an enduring sense of humour – as outlined in Victor Frankl’s Book Man’s Search for Meaning – a dark sense of humour & sense of purpose helped him to survive the concentration camps:

mans search for meaning quote

Having said that, Musashi gave zero fucks so maybe didn’t require any level of comic relief, as he would not have seen a duel or battle as a hardship or something to be endured – next level shit.

Posted in MMA, Musings, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cardio Hacks for MMA

Wim Hof

Check out the Wim Hof Breathing Technique, this will increase the strength and power of your lungs, providing a better ‘base’ for your MMA specific cardio.



Baking Soda

Baking soda buffers lactic acid, allowing you to grapple and fight at a higher intensity before getting a burning sensation in your muscles.

Start off with 5g in a large glass of water, and sip it slowly. If you go over the top and have too much you can get diarrhoea.

baking soda

Control Your Emotions & Adrenaline

If you are too tense before a fight, you are likely to have an adrenaline rush in the first round.

This will give you super-human strength for around 30 seconds to a minute, but after that you will be completely bollocksed.

Control your heart rate with breathing techniques and positive visualisation.

See my articles here and here about staying calm in your first fight.

Cut Out Dairy


If you have any problems with your breathing, with your sinuses or even with your skin, you should experiment with cutting out dairy. For me, cutting out dairy was life-changing, and I went from using 2 steroid inhalers and a ‘reliever’ inhaler everyday, to using none.

Incidentally, if you have asthma, try quercetin and/or nettle as a natural anti-histamine. Chances are that you are allergic to dust or pollen and that triggers your asthma, so try a natural anti-histamine before bed or before going outside.

Quercetin also protects your brain, which is a bonus for combat athletes (ref).


Tabata Intervals Replicating MMA

There is no true hack (sorry) – you still have to put in the hard work. Circuit training & tabata intervals that replicates MMA techniques and fundamental ‘compound’ movements is the best way to build MMA-specific cardio.

Tabata intervals involve working at 100% intensity for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second break, then another 20 seconds of 100% intensity….until you complete 4 minutes of exercises, including the 10 seconds rest.

Supplements for Cardio


I prefer to stick to whole-foods and holistic nutrition where possible but I still think some supplements have there place. Beta Alanine has a similar, acid-buffering affect on the muscles and can be used instead of baking soda or even as well as.

As an ex-meathead, muscle-pumps, especially in my forearms were always an issue when grappling – I would lose my grip completely. Taurine is very good for preventing muscle-pumps, I recommended it to my friend who does enduro-motor-cross and he said the difference was amazing.




Posted in MMA, Nutrition, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Grow New Brain Cells (6 Potent Hacks) 🤓

brain damage mma

MMA is a new sport, established in the 90s (although Vale Tudo & NHB fighting has been around a lot longer).

It’s still a bit of an unknown, in terms of the long term health implications.

With ex-fighters in their 40s, like Big Daddy Gary Goodridge, developing a range of quite severe brain & mental health problems; if you’re a fighter, you should be doing everything possible to protect your brain from unnecessary damage.





The technical term for being ‘punch drunk’ is – Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

At the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, where the bulk of the research is being done, they describe CTE as “a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.” The tau protein builds up and disrupts normal brain function, leading to symptoms such as “memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.”


Can You Grow New Brain Cells?

“Bring me problems, not solutions” I hear you say. And yes, yes you can grow new brain cells, which is good news for anyone competing in a contact sport.

Here’s some foods & supplements that can help you do this:

Lions’ Mane Mushrooms

Mushrooms are amazing. Their consumption either results in some kind of agonising death, or in the case of chaga, reishi, cordyceps & lion’s mane mushrooms – some kind of significant health benefits (except for the white button mushrooms, which are shite, boring & don’t do much).

lions mane mushroom infographic

By increasing the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), lion’s mane results in the formation of new neurons/brain cells.

Research on Lion’s Mane Mushrooms (AKA Hericium erinaceus):

Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.

In conclusion, the aqueous extract of H. erinaceus contained neuroactive compounds which induced NGF-synthesis and promoted neurite outgrowth in NG108-15 cells. The extract also enhanced the neurite outgrowth stimulation activity of NGF when applied in combination. The aqueous preparation of H. erinaceus had neurotrophic but not neuroprotective activities.


Other studies on lion’s mane mushrooms:


For MMA fighters and other athletes, it’s also worth being aware that lion’s mane mushroom can enhance the immune system. It also has potent anti-cancer properties.

Incenditally, magic mushrooms (psilocybin mushrooms) can also generate new brain cells (ref) and treat depression (ref).




Huperzine A & NSI-189

Huperzine A and NSI-189 are both proven to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus – the area of the brain which is related to emotions.

Huperzine A increases the amount of acetylcholine in the brain; which in turn results in the growth of new brain cells. Study here.

You can increase the effect of huperzine A on the brain by taking it with green tea.

NSI-189 is being researched as both an anti-depressant & a cogntive-enhancer – it actually increases the size of the hippocampus in just 28 days of use. It may prove beneficial to victims of stroke (ref) and those with nerve damage.

Royal Jelly & Fish Oil

Like NSI-189, royal jelly may protect the brain, and act as an anti-depressant (ref). A natural supplement (from bees), royal jelly might be a good supplement for those wanting to avoid synthetic supplements like NSI-189.

Nutritionists recommend consuming 2000 mg of royal jelly per day for brain health. It is important that your royal jelly contain at least 6% 10-HDA.

Last but not least – fish oil is also a great supplement for those looking to protect their brain (ref). You can obviously get fish oil from your diet, but avoid farmed fish, especially fish that is smoked – smoked, farmed fish is arguably one of the most toxic foods there is (ref).

Aerobic Exercise & New Brain Cells


Research on animals suggests that sustained, moderate or low intensity aerobic exercise is more effective than high-intensity exercise when it comes to generating new brain cells.

Prevention is Better than Cure

To protect your brain in the first place – Don’t drink alcohol after a fight or sparring session!

When alcohol reaches the brain, it disables function by damaging the connective tissue at the end of neurons (ref). This is the last thing you want after getting punched in the head!

Drink water post fight, and take an anti-inflammatory such as meriva curcumin –  as it has potent ‘neuroprotective’ effects (ref).

Avoiding stress is another, potent way to protect the brain. So the Diaz brothers may be on to something – smoking blunts every day!

As well as protecting brain cells, athletes should also look to minimise the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain.

Turmeric, lion’s mane mushrooms, broccoli sprouts, vitamin D, CBD and organic blueberries help to minimise plaque formation.

Conversely, too much iron & copper in the diet, may increase the plaque formation.

Allergy sufferers should look to use quercetin as their anti-histamine, as this has been shown to have neuro-protective properties (ref), as opposed to synthetic anti-histamines which have been linked to a range of brain-degeneration issues & diseases (ref).

Diet & take Supplements at your own risk. For informational purposes only.



And Finally

The hippocampus is the only proven area of the human brain, to be capable of neurogenesis

The Hippocampus is the elongated ridges on the floor of each lateral ventricle of the brain, thought to be the centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system.

There is growing animal research however, to show that the pre-frontal-cortex section of the brain, may have some restorative properties when NDMA and/or ketamine is consumed.

A neurotrophic hypothesis of depression: role of synaptogenesis in the actions of NMDA receptor antagonists.

Molecular and cellular studies have demonstrated opposing actions of stress and antidepressant treatment on the expression of neurotrophic factors, particularly brain-derived neurotrophic factor, in limbic structures of the brain. These changes in neurotrophic factor expression and function result in structural alterations, including regulation of neurogenesis, dendrite length and spine density in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (PFC). The deleterious effects of stress could contribute to the reduced volume of these brain regions in depressed patients. Conversely, the actions of antidepressant treatment could be mediated in part by blocking or reversing the atrophy caused by stress and depression. Recent studies have identified a novel, rapid-acting antidepressant, ketamine, in treatment-resistant depressed patients that addresses the limitations of currently available agents (i.e. delayed onset of action and low response rates). We have found that ketamine, an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, causes a rapid induction of synaptogenesis and spine formation in the PFC via stimulation of the mammalian target of the rapamycin signalling pathway and increased synthesis of synaptic proteins. These effects of ketamine rapidly reverse the atrophy of PFC neurons caused by chronic stress and correspond to rapid behavioural actions of ketamine in models of depression. Characterization of a novel signalling pathway also identifies new cellular targets that could result in rapid and efficacious antidepressant actions without the side effects of ketamine.

In very controlled and specific doses however, too much ketamine has been shown in addicts, to literally produce holes in sections of the brain! (ref)

Posted in MMA, Nutrition, Psychology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 50 MMA Blogs And Websites For Mixed Martial Arts

Very glad to report, that Blackbeltwhitehat.com has been named as the 28th best MMA blog on planet earth – not too shabby!

You can check out the other 49 blogs on the list provided by our friends at Feedspot.com


Posted in MMA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dangers of Weight Cutting in MMA

So, Big Yoel fails to make weight again for a title fight.

Pretty gutted for him to be honest, missing by 0.2lbs, he must have been tempted to remove an eyeball or something to lose the extra.

Hopefully the UFC will do something sooner, rather than later to stop all the weight cutting issues – which keep buggering up their pay per view cards.

Weight Cutting Dangers

Boxers have been weight cutting for decades – but MMA has taken the whole process to a new, dangerous level.

Dehydration leads to reduced blood volume – the heart compensates by increasing heart rate and blood vessels also constrict to increase blood pressure.

Blood flow is also reduced to several vital organs including the kidneys (reduced blood flow to organs is also known as “ischemia”). This reduced blood flow, in layman’s terms – can proper fuck the kidneys, right up.

If dehydration is severe, then the kidneys start to fail to do their main job – filtering of the blood, also known as glomerular filtration. This is not good – toxins build up in the kidneys.

There are several reasons why this happens – all pretty complicated though to be honest.

Rather strangely – the body starts to produce fructose

“The fructose is metabolized to fructose-1-phosphate, but in the process there is marked intracellular ATP consumption, leading to intracellular phosphate depletion, activation of AMP deaminase, and the generation of uric acid, oxidative stress, and the production of chemokines”


Chemokines are small protein molecules that are produced by the cells of the immune system. They cause the migration of immune cells to the kidneys so they can target and destroy invading bodies such as microbes. This causes all kind of problems with inflammation.

The take home message is – your kidneys start doing weird shit, and can eventually completely shut down.

Low Blood Volume & Shock

The reduced blood volume can also result in a condition called -Hypovolemic shock. This is also pretty nasty and can result in damage to major organs including the brain.

The reduced volume of water in the brain, is also going to be a bit of a shitter on fight night when your opponent is trying to knock your heed off.

Issues with electrolytes can also be present with weight cutting – resulting in seizures, blood clots and even coma.

In summary – don’t cut too much weight, it’s dangerous…be like Mark Hunt, he’s fat & awesome:

Posted in Fitness, MMA, Nutrition | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Beastgear Hand Wraps Review

Great Product as ever from BeastGear!

As far as handwraps go, they are as good as they get – usual great attention to detail and care in the product from the manufacturer/brand.

Extra long, strong material, stretchy, comfortable, well made (not like flimsy almost see-through cheap wraps). Good quality fastener.

Gorilla logo means it looks badass!

Available from Amazon here

Posted in MMA, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan

I’ve been suffering with pretty painful joint and back issues this week, and I think I’m going to give intermittent fasting another go.

I tried it once before and lost too much weight. This time I’m going to add some raw honey and cherry juice to try and increase the calories.


12pm – Overnight oats (200g), raw honey, goji berries, ginger, cinnamon, banana – 750 kcals

3pm – Handful of pecans or a banana – 200 Kcals

5pm – Overnight oats, ground almonds, flax seed, cacao powder – 500 kcals

6.30pm – Main meal with cherry juice – 600 kcals

8pm – Smoothie, organic veg, banana or avocado, peanut butter, coconut milk – 700 kcals


Overnight oats are a great way to get more calories in, they gone down a treat; much easier than standard oats. I add a little apple cider vinegar as this supposedly reduces the acidity.

Tins of coconut milk, or powdered coconut milk are also handy for calories.


Weekends I’m going to go low carb.

Cooked breakfast

Salad with goat’s cheese and egg

Main Meal


Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects

“Intermittent fasting and caloric restriction have been shown to extend life expectancy and reduce inflammation and cancer promotion in animal models”

“These results indicate that RIF attenuates inflammatory status of the body by suppressing proinflammatory cytokine expression and decreasing body fat and circulating levels of leukocytes”



Role of Intermittent Fasting on Improving Health and Reducing Diseases

Such periods of fasting can limit inflammation, (7) attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells, (8) improve circulating glucose (9) and lipid levels (10) and reduce blood pressure. (11) In addition to that, studies undertaken in animals and humans have suggested that fuel selection is altered and efficiency of metabolism is improved while oxidative stress is reduced.


Posted in Fitness, MMA, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment