By Dorothy Parvaz
Arizona Daily Wildcat December 5, 1996
Along with the stale stench of final exams in the air (final exams, final projects, mammoth essays...whatever your punishment may be) comes the sharp sting of panic: how the hell are you gonna get everything done in time? No matter how on the ball you figure you are, you're probably a few chapters behind and are going to be hitting the caffeine trail. Hard. You may also opt for the (still) legal uppers available at most corner stores and super markets. You pretty much shouldn't even be thinking about taki ng any of these if you've got high blood pressure and/or are suffering from any cardiovascular maladies. That said, here's some of the stuff you can find, rated on a five-pill scale (five being the most effective, one the least).
Vital 4 U: Liquid Energy
Form: Suspicious looking packets of fluid that come in two flavors: chocolate cherry and Columbian coffee. Both taste the same after you're on your second consecutive all-nighter.
Promise: "Especially great for people-on-the-go, athletics, studying, late shifts, housewives, truck drivers, business people, weight lifter, joggers or anyone who wants to FEEL THE POWER to be their best!"
Key ingredients: Ginseng, caffeine, sucrose, vitamins C, B1, B2, B6. B12
Delivery: Nothing more than a sugar-rush, really. The caffeine/sugar combo delivers the same jittery feeling as three shots of sweetened espresso.
Form: See-through capsules filled with a fine greeny-brown powder.
Promise: "Dietary supplement for dieters & physical fitness."
Key ingredients: Ma Huang (otherwise known as "ephedra"), Kola nut, and Ginko Biloba. Ma Huang is pretty potent stuff. Too much of it will put stress on your adrenal glands (something you basically want to avoid). Ginko Biloba has a reputation as a "smar t" herb, but what it actually does is thin your blood, making it run through your brain faster. This supposedly improves your memory. Caffeine, by the way, also thins your blood.
Delivery: Hard core. There's even a "not for sale to those under 18 years of age" message on the back of the package (not something the Circle K clerk was aware of. I asked.) along with the curious warning that one should discontinue using the product should one experience loss of appetite or sleeplessness. Oh, not the desirable effects guess they figure you'll be so zapped that you won't notice these little things. Or maybe they're complying with those pesky Food and Drug Administration regulations. About 20 minutes after taking it I developed a neat little twitch in my left eye, but once that went away, everything was just fine.
Form: Three massive caplets that look like they're made of dirt. Smell like dirt too.
Promise: "Up Time was created for special people, people who believe in staying healthy, who believe in keeping fit, who understand the importance of feeling and looking their best. Up Time was created for you."
Key ingredients: Vitamin C, caffeine, Chromium Picolinate, Ginko Biloba.
Delivery: You'd be better off with a cup of French roast and a couple of cookies.
Your Life: Maximum Pak
Form: A package of colorful pills...
Promise: "A balanced, high potency vitamin and mineral system designed to provide nutrients which may be decreased with various daily activities."
Key ingredients: A little bit of everything. Coenzyme Q10, Siberian Ginseng, and "time-release high potency" multi-vitamins.
Delivery: The 1000 MGs of vitamin C give you a bit of a boost, plus the Coenzyme Q10 is supposed to be good for your brain, since it is said to strengthen connective tissue and favorably stimulate neurotransmitters. Taking the capsule, three caplets and r ed pill just mostly stimulated my gag reflexes. I took the pills, then took a nap.
Form: Three little pink speckled tablets that look like candy.
Promise: "Helps to restore mental alertness or wakefulness when experiencing fatigue or drowsiness."
Key ingredients: Just caffeine, baby.
Delivery: Just in case you can't drink coffee fast enough, these little guys will help you get by. They'll also help you oscillate your way through the night.
Form: See-through capsules with filled with green powder.
Promise: "Escalation is an all-natural formula useful in restoring energy and mental alertness when experiencing fatigue or drowsiness."
Key ingredients: Kola nut, Ma Huang, caffiene and ephedrine, which, by the way, is not natural. Ephedrine is Ma Huang's synthetic lab cousin, and is classified as a schedule V controlled substance in some states, which means that you can only get it by pr escription (as a bronchial inhalator in asthma medication, for example).
Delivery: Oh man. Jet-fuel in a capsule, Escalation will wake you up, and shake you up. I wouldn't recommend taking more than two at a time, though (the label says you can take as many as three). I started feeling all quivery and nauseous after taking tw o.
Form: Two green, gritty looking caplets.
Promise: "Chromolean with patented Chromium Picolinate is the new, advanced, high-powered, thermogenic approach to weight management."
Key ingredients: Ma Huang, Kola Nut and Vitamine C.
Delivery: Approach to weight management nothing. This stuff made me too nervous to study. I just mostly paced around and cleaned up my pad. If you're looking to get house work done, Chromolean is for you. If you're looking to study, avoid the stuff. You'r e better off getting some sleep.