Wiki Article
Pre and Post loading
Last Edited By: Bluebelly on 19 Nov 2009 (+ 1)


Can neurotoxic effects be reduced by pre and post loading?

Firstly refer to all the harm reduction advice on this and other websites. The safest way to prevent neurotoxic (brain damaging) effects is not to use psychoactive substances at all. For those who do, the general advice is not too much, not too often and in a safe place.
Having said that, we also know that one of the risks with stimulant use is damage to the brain, either temporarily or possibly even permanently. See the How they work section for more information about this.

One idea to reduce this risk of brain damage is to take supplements to try and lessen the drop in neurotransmitter level and to promote restocking of neurotransmitters afterwards. This taking of supplements is known as pre or post loading.
Pre-loading is taking something such as supplements before using to help counteract the neurotoxic effects of ecstasy and other stimulants. Commonly suggested ingredients for pre loading include:

  • Serotonin precursors
    • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
    • Tryptophan Vitamin B-6
  • Anti-oxidants such as
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin E
    • Alphalipoic acid
    • Grape seed extract
  • Magnesium 100mg

Post-loading consists of the same supplements and possibly:

  • L-tyrosine or l-phenylalanine

How do they work?

5-HTP is the precursor chemical your body uses to make serotonin, and may therefore combat the lows of serotonin caused by MDMA use. Vitamin B-6 helps to convert 5-HTP into serotonin, thereby boosting its effect.
One theory is that MDMA is thought to be neurotoxic due to oxidized free radicals and therefore it is thought that the consumption of anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C may also reduce the harmful effects of MDMA. Magnesium is used as a muscle relaxer to minimize involuntary jaw-clenching associated with ecstasy use. L-tyrosine is a precursor for dopamine which is lost during stimulant use.
Don’t forget: It is also beneficial to drink water during and after the use of stimulants.

Pre and post loading is controversial and the jury is still out on its effectiveness. Our view is that it is possible it may help.  However, we recommend you talk to a health professional before commencing supplements.

For more information on pre and post loading we recommend enlighten's factsheet and the Bluelight posting here.

Bluebelly Recipe Book
With this information in mind we have consulted a dietician and nutritionist to help us come up with the most effective way to pre and post load. We were told that vitamins and minerals are best absorbed when taken as part of food. Therefore we want to gather recipes that contain the best advice for pre and post loading, and also are realistically easy and cheap to prepare. If you’re planning your weekend, consider knocking up one of Bluebelly or its members’ recommended recipes available in the Blue Room.

16 Feb 2010 11:20 AM | bluebelly wrote:

Also, if you can find a copy, this article describes pre and postloading practices of Australian MDMA users.

16 Feb 2010 11:09 AM | bluebelly wrote:

For further reading (other than the enlighten and Bluelight links in our article above) we would recommend this pre and postloading thread on drugs-forum (a site worth getting to know)

as well as their FAQ about MDMA

Hope this helps.

16 Feb 2010 11:08 AM | bluebelly wrote:

Thanks for the comment BG.
Research articles reporting on the effectiveness of pre and post loading are very hard to find. Most advice seems to come from anecdotal reports on what made people 'feel better'.

This article at describes the pre and postloading practices of youth in New York City and is worth a read. It also contains some links to articles on specific pre and postloading research.

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