DRMacIver's Notebook

My current protocol for energy levels

My current protocol for energy levels

People keep asking me questions about my recent miracle increase in mood and energy level, so this is a full write up of what I’m doing.

Disclaimer: None of this is medical advice. I’m not competent to give you medical advice. This is a document of what I’m currently doing, which it may or may not help you to emulate, but also depending on your current health situation some or all of it may not be a good idea for you, and I’m not competent to tell you which bits.


I’ve recently had a really dramatic increase in mood and mental energy levels, reversing a years long trend of things getting worse and worse for me over time. I credit this mostly to taking Inositol, although there are some confounding factors and fears of placebo effect that make me less confident in that than I’d like to be (I’m still very confident, but it feels obviously true and then I have to add in a bunch of “OK, but…” caveats).

The theory goes as follows: Inositol is an essential sugar that the brain uses. Its lack causes issues in energy levels and mental health, among other things, and as a result it can be an effective treatment for those. It is produced by digestion, so if you have digestive problems you may not be producing enough of it, and supplementing with it can plausibly help.

To the best of my ability to determine the above is pretty established science, though inositol as a medical intervention for these issues does not seem to be common (it’s considered an established treatment for PCOS, and the fact that it can help mood seems to be known but not commonly used).

Anyway, I started taking inositol after Elizabeth Van Nostrand suggested it in a conversation, and immeditaely felt more like a functioning human being than I had in years. I’ve mentioned this on Twitter and discord and a bunch of people went “Well I’ll give it a go” and some small but non-negligible fraction of them seem to have seen the same results. I think we’re up to 5 or 6, but I don’t know how many people have tried it. My guess is this corresponds to somewhere in the 1-10% region, in a population probably heavily selected for having these problems.

Known side effects of inositol which at least one person has reported after this are headaches, tiredness, and stomach problems. I had some stomach problems at the beginning, but not particularly bad ones and frankly I’m used to a bit of stomach pain so I ignord it. It seems to have gone away, but that may be because of other things I’m doing to fix my digestion.

In addition, there may be long-term consequences (unclear to me if bad consequences) to taking inositol. I don’t really understand these yet, but the reason it gets used as a treatment for PCOS is that it has effects on a bunch of hormones. I’m currently ignoring this, but do need to do some detailed research. I do think at the levels I’m taking it at it’s probably pretty safe.

What I’m taking

I’m currently taking 1-1.5g of inositol in the morning, and sometimes I take another 0.5-1g in the afternoon. Variation is because I’m doing some not very scientific experiment to find the right amount and timing. I started at 0.5g first thing and even that made a big impact.

I’m currently treating 2g as the maximum definitely safe daily dose, but it’s likely that it’s higher than that. 2g is roughly the amount that your body is supposed to produce per day, PCOS treatment protocols seem to be 4g or even higher. At present I have no plans to go above 2g, and am hoping to reduce that over time if the rest of what I’m doing works.

The rest of what I’m doing, which is plausibly what made the stomach side effects from inositol go away, is an attempt to actually fix the digestion problems that I think are probably underlying why inositol has such a large benefit for me.

These are:

I’m also trying to eat a little bit of sauerkraut every day. Fermented vegetables are meant to be good for gut health, and I have problems with digesting brassicas, and some vague notion that eating a little bit of it while also trying to repair my gut microbiome might encourage the sort of bacteria that are good at digesting brassicas. This seems to be at the bare minimum not hurting. Maybe it’s also helping, who knows.

I’ve also today started adding a scoop of freeze-dried pineapple to my morning green-stuff-and-bacteria drink. There are a bunch of ultra low confidence reasons why this might be a good idea, but I wouldn’t put much faith in this particular suggestion for now.

My stomach and digestion seem to be significantly happier as a result of these, although I have no idea at the moment whether this will result in a long term fix or just a short term palliative.