Christian Guzman’s Stim-Free Nootropic Returns for 2023

Christian Guzman’s Stim-Free Nootropic Returns for 2023

GHOST and Christian Guzman, athlete entrepreneur of social media fame, have a long history of collaboration. To date, they’ve worked together four times to bring us some truly awesome flavors and formulas. Most recently in 2021, the duo released V4 of their series, which included three different supplements — one of which included Ghost Focus Stim-Free.

Ghost CG Focus

Ghost Focus is back – Christian Guzman’s Focus Stim-Free Collab has returned for 2023!

After a two year hiatus, the fifth collaboration between GHOST and Guzman has arrived with two new SKUs to accompany your supplemental lineup.

Ghost Focus is a powerful formula that capitalizes on the high demand for brain-boosting supplements we’ve seen in recent years. No longer are consumers looking for a merely physical enhancement – they want to kick their mental capabilities into high gear as well.

What makes GHOST Focus so interesting is that it’s stim-free. Using the highest-quality, research-backed ingredients like Cognizin citicoline, Focus will have you scribbling down complicated mathematical equations on your walls and bar napkins. Alright, that may be an exaggeration, but you will likely feel sharper and “switched on”.

This year, the collaboration has a new Strawberry Lime flavor. We’re going to dive into the details of the Focus formula, but don’t forget to check out our video as well.

Ghost Focus’ formula is quite similar to a lighter, stimulant-free version of Ghost Gamer, without the gaming-specific ingredients.

The label has both one and two scoop breakdowns — our listings are based upon two scoops. We’ll also focus on the cognitive effects of these ingredients, although most of them are multifaceted:

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCl – 2000mg

    Ghost CG Focus Stim-Free Ingredients

    Stay focused without the stims, just like CG!

    Also known as ALCAR, Acetyl L-Carnitine is the form of supplemental L-carnitine that can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why we prefer to see it in nootropic supplements.[1]

    Rewinding a touch, we often see various forms of carnitine in fat burners (Ghost Burn has two forms, half of it being ALCAR), since it helps with fatty acid transport to the mitochondria,[2] the cell’s “powerhouses”. Even without thinking about weight loss, this is still very positive, since we need to transport lipids in our brain as well. We always emphasize that carnitine’s best results come in those who are deficient – vegans, vegetarians, elderly, and exhausted athletes.[3,4]

    Getting back to our nootropic purposes, research has shown that ALCAR supplementation exhibits neuroprotective, neurotrophic, and antidepressant effects.[5] Additional studies have been published reporting a reduction in cognitive decline and an enhancement in brain synaptic response and overall learning capabilities.[6,7]

    ALCAR’s synergy with choline

    When talking about weight loss, we often cite several studies that show improved synergy with choline through increased carnitine retention,[8-11] and choline is a nutrient that’s dosed extremely well (covered later). That research still stands, but there’s additional synergy worth noting on a simple chemistry level:

    ALCAR Choline Acetylcholine Synthesis

    More synergy! If you’re low on acetyl groups, your choline may not get to the acetylcholine that you want. ALCAR (Acetyl L-Carnitine) listed above helps with that bottleneck.

    In the choline sections below, we’ll discuss acetylcholine, our “learning neurotransmitter” that’s released by the nervous system for inter-cell communication. In order to produce more, we need both portions of it – the choline and the acetyl groups. ALCAR provides those acetyl groups, and does so in a way that crosses the blood-brain-barrier discussed above.[1]

    With plenty of choline alongside, we’re set to have far fewer bottlenecks in generating this neurotransmitter, which will be great for anyone trying to avoid nasty brain fog.

    So there are two reasons why the choline + ALCAR combination is a slam dunk in a powdered nootropic.

  • L-Tyrosine (Vegan Fermented) – 1500mg

    Ghost Focus Christian Guzman

    Get it done

    L-Tyrosine is no stranger to nootropic formulas either. This non-essential amino acid is used for various purposes, but the two we’re zeroing in on today is neurotransmitter production and sleep deprivation support.

    Tyrosine is a chemical precursor to several important catecholamine neurotransmitters, including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine — all used to signal cellular communication and fire things up. Dopamine increases focus, cognition, motor function, and motivation.[12,13] Epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) activate our flight-or-fight response, boosting lipolysis and heart rate when we need them.[14,15]

    Sleep deprivation support from tyrosine

    Exhausted social media stars who run businesses like Christian Guzman are no stranger to lack of sleep. While we never recommend poor sleep hygiene, it does happen, and is important to understand how to best perform in its wake.

    Over the years, we’ve learned that there’s an incredible string of research showing that L-Tyrosine significantly boosts performance in sleep deprived individuals.[16,17] This has been performed over a half-dozen times, with research looking at tyrosine’s effects when exposed to low-sleep, stressful situations, and they’ve all shown success![16]

    Ghost CG Pre

    Christian Guzman is back for the fifth installment of his GHOST collaboration with a brand new pre-workout formula.

    There’s even enough data to have a systematic review on the matter, and one that was performed on members of the military states the following: “Nonetheless, we suggest that tyrosine or caffeine could be used in healthy young adults in a military context to enhance cognitive performance when personnel are sleep-deprived.”[17]

    Again – turn off your phone and get some sleep. But if you’re having a rough day after a rough night, consider some Ghost Focus with that L-Tyrosine included. The 1500mg dosage, by the way, is above average – we’re usually happy to get one gram.

  • Taurine – 1000mg

    Another ingredient with several uses, we often talk about taurine because of its incredible endurance enhancement, which has been shown by several studies in a meta-analysis, confirming that it works after just one use.[18] However, its benefits span the entire body, and that includes neuroprotection.

    Ghost Chips Ahoy Christian Guzman

    But can it top Chips Ahoy?!

    Taurine is an organic acid that works as an osmolyte, modulating water transfer and calcium concentrations throughout the body. It’s one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain, muscle, retina, and various organs, serving several roles in the central nervous system.[19,20]

    Despite taurine being a “conditional amino acid”, since our bodies can produce it but benefit from more, a great deal of information can be learned from a published review titled “Taurine: A ‘very essential’ amino acid”,[19] which shows the author’s insistence that it’s actually extremely essential to get enough of.

    The issue is that insufficient levels are linked to several health consequences, including neuron damage, development abnormalities, renal dysfunction, and cardiomyopathy.[19] It’s also critical for eye health, since it’s crucial for photoreceptor development.

    Taurine Benefits

    Taurine’s Benefits (endurance-wise) can be seen after a single use![18]

    Researchers are humble enough to admit that we don’t fully understand all of its mechanisms of action,[19] but we’re learning that one of its many cognitive improvements comes from the restoration of GABA receptors and taurine transporters.[20] This leads to reduced oxidative stress and neuroinflammation along with stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis and synaptic function.[20]

    In addition, research has shown taurine to be an important component in neurotransmission, and inadequate amounts (or inadequate intake) can lead to very poor memory and learning capabilities.[21]

    In general, this “conditionally essential amino acid” seems more and more “essential” with each passing year, especially given the poor quality of our food and agriculture these days.

  • Choline Blend (1100mg): Alpha-GPC (Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline 50%) – 600mg and Cognizin Citicoline – 500mg

    Now it’s back to the choline ingredients we referenced in the carnitine section – Ghost included two high-quality forms in Focus, making a blend that we absolutely love.

    The basics behind choline supplementation

    Ghost Gamer Sour Patch Kids Blue Raspberry

    Want focus with just a bit of stim? Then check out Ghost Gamer!

    In general, choline is a critical nutrient in the class of B-vitamins that helps maintain cell membrane structure and integrity.[22] And for our cognitive needs, it’s also the precursor to acetylcholine, which we always call “the learning neurotransmitter”, as it’s found in high concentrations in neuromuscular junctions, is of critical importance to the brain’s synapses, and is highly involved in cell-to-cell communication.[23]

    With more acetylcholine, we get improved memory, learning, attention, alertness, and even better balance and coordination.[24,25] When discussing pre workout supplements, we often talk about the “mind-muscle” connection it provides.

    On the opposite side of the coin, there are serious health issues that can arise when there’s a choline deficiency, ranging from general brain fog all the way to fatty liver disease and damage to organs and muscle.[26]

    So there’s no question choline is insanely important. Question for supplement formulators is, what type do you include?

    Christian Guzman’s answer? Both.

    • Alpha-GPC: Highly bioavailable, crossing the blood brain barrier


      Improved acetylcholine utilization provides for an ‘anti-blurring’ effect so that new and old memories do not get confused

      Alpha-GPC is the first form, with a clinical dose of 600 mg provided in two scoops of Ghost Focus. This super-bioavailable form of supplemental choline is also known as alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine and is quickly absorbed. But more importantly, Alpha-GPC is able to cross the blood brain barrier,[27] making it a fantastic partner with the acetyl L-carnitine listed above, as it can help your brain synthesize more acetylcholine.

      Beyond this ability, we’ve also seen some incredibly research in terms of power and performance at this dose,[28-31] and have already touched on the weight loss synergy with carnitine above.[8-11]

      This is already more choline than most supplements use. But Ghost and Guzman aren’t nearly done yet:

    • Cognizin Citicoline: boost dopamine and norepinephrine!

      Cognizin Citicoline: The Brain Choline

      Cognizin® Citicoline is dubbed the The Brain Choline not just because it provides choline, but because it also supplies cytidine, which is also needed for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine

      To top off choline stores even more, we have citicoline, scientifically known as Cytidine 5′-Diphosphocholine and CDP-Choline. This is a phenomenal feel-good choline source because citicoline can boost norepinephrine and dopamine levels, and has been shown to boost dopamine receptor density too![32]

      We’ve gone on the record countless times discussing how much we enjoy choline blends. There are many ways to do it, and this is likely the most expensive, but it’s also probably the hardest-hitting.

      Since we first wrote this article, we’ve gone much deeper down the citicoline rabbit hole. See our article titled Cognizin® Citicoline: The Brain Choline for more information!

  • Aquamin (trace minerals derived from Red Marine Algae) – 500mg

    There may not be any direct evidence for cognition support here, but there are still benefits worth discussing. Aquamin is a naturally-sourced marine-based mineral complex that’s derived from red algae (Lithothamnion spp) – it’s a great source of calcium.[33]

    Ghost Energy Citrus

    Alternatively… stack it with Ghost Energy!

    Research has shown that Aquamin helps with bone and joint support,[33,34] so that’s generally the primary benefit. We’re supporters of the trace minerals inside, as we’re trying to alleviate any mineral deficiencies without adding a massive amount of added ingredients.

  • Raw Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Water Powder – 500mg

    On top of supporting flavor, coconut water powder can help enhance hydration status, which is critical to all aspects of health, not just the brain’s.

    Multiple studies have linked impaired cognition, mental fatigue, and brain fog with simple dehydration![35,36] Along with Aquamin, coconut water powder may help you keep your hydration status, including important electrolytes along with the water.

    One research study found that coconut water was just as good as a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink in terms of whole-body rehydration.[37] This is why we see it in several supplements, ranging from Ghost Amino (taken during workouts) to Ghost Gamer.

  • AstraGin (Astragalus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng) Root Extracts – 50mg

    The industry’s favorite absorption-enhancing ingredient, AstraGin is a unique blend of plant extracts made by NuLiv Science. In our article titled Astragalosides and Ginsenosides: Differentiating NuLiv Science’s Ingredients, we recently dug deep into the science behind the benefits of its constituents.

    The long story short is that AstraGin is best known for its ability to increase the absorption of other ingredients by the activation of transporters in your small intestines.[38] This has been tested on several different amino acids often taken by athletes. In addition, AstraGin may improve gut health by reducing inflammation and promoting integrity of the GI lining.[38]

  • Added Vitamins

    Ghost Focus Stim-Free has a blend of added vitamins that include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Niacin, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.

    Of these, the two we want to point out are Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P) as vitamin B6 and methylcobalamin as Vitamin B12, which we like far more than the pyridoxine and cyanocobalamin (respectively) that’s used in cheaper formulas. Reasons below:

    • P5P over Pyridoxine

      Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine Cell Death

      What’s the deal with Pyridoxine causing all of that cell death?! It’s probably best not to supplement it. In this chart, higher is WORSE![39]

      Pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP or P5P) is the body’s preferred form of B6, and is easily dephosphorylated and absorbed.[40] Consider pyridoxal to be the animal form, whereas pyridoxine is the plant-based form. More often than not, the form closer to what’s found in animal tissue is the form that’s more readily bioavailable, and that’s the case here.

      Even more important is the fact that research has found too much supplemental B6 in the form of pyridoxine to potentially cause severe sensory neuropathy![41] This has not been found in food-derived or animal-sourced B6 that’s higher in pyridoxal. What’s happening is actually quite ironic: a 2017 study found that supplemental vitamin B6 from pyridoxine inhibits B6-dependent enzymes in the body, and competitively limits P5P absorption![39]

    • Methylcobalamin vs. Cyanocobalamin

      GHOST x CG Pre

      Meanwhile, Ghost has opted for methylcobalamin, the active form of vitamin B12, as opposed to the cheaper cyanocobalamin, which is inactive. This is our litmus test for whether a supplement company really cares, because it’s more expensive and not a ton of people look this closely at the label. Reason being, in order to “activate” the cheaper cyanocobalamin form, the body must remove cyanide from it in order to convert it to methylcobalamin![42]

      In addition, to carry out the above process with cyanocobalamin, the body must provide a valuable methyl group,[43] adding another tax to your body! In general, researchers have concluded that it’s less effective than methylcobalamin,[44,45] which isn’t surprising.

      So why do we still see cyanocobalamin instead of methylcobalamin? You can probably guess why – but Christian Guzman and Team Ghost aren’t having it.

  • Normally, we get a lemon variation, and this one’s in that realm, but definitely the most different we’ve seen in a while:

    There is certainly a time for a boatload of caffeine and other stims like synephrine. They serve a purpose. When you really need to dig deep, these ingredients can give you the quick burst of energy you need to get the job done. If a high-stim option is what the moment calls for, the new GHOST CG Pre is a stellar option.

    On a regular basis, though, you don’t need to be over-stimulated. On the daily grind, smooth, clear-headed concentration is the goal. GHOST Focus is the perfect tool for that job. Whether you’re low on sleep or having trouble breaking through the brain fog, Focus will give you what you need to settle in and do what needs to be done.

    After quite a long break, we’re psyched that GHOST and Guzman are renewing their partnership with this fifth volume for the collection.

    The team first introduces Focus in season 7 episode 19 of their Building the Brand YouTube Series titled “Five Legendary Years”:

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