Nootropics are known to act alone, but there are times when you should add more than one type of nootropic in a stack. It is like making an herbal tea out of more plants simply because you want to feel more than one aroma. The same thing applies to a nootropic stack, only instead of going “I want to taste some mint and lemon,” you go “I want to improve my mood and sharpen my focus.” Combining the right nootropic with the other will get you to your custom-made result.
Contrary to what many people believe, a “nootropic stack” doesn’t mean a bunch of pills that have been stacked one on top of the other. It means that they have been combined in order to achieve a perfect effect. For example, combining a racetam with a thiamine will get you all the benefits that a racetam has to provide without the headaches. These nootropics will complement one another and will be building off on each other’s effects. The result will be a positive reaction which will have a very strong impact on your brain. Some nootropics increase the receptors’ ability to receive and harness the acetylcholine while others can reduce the deterioration that acetylcholine sometimes goes through. Leveling your acetylcholine with the most suitable kind of nootropics will definitely improve your own cognitive abilities.
How to Stack Nootropics
When looking for a good nootropic stack, most people generally go in one of 2 directions: they purchase a pre-made stack, or they build their own. The direction you go usually depends on the amount of knowledge you have around nootropics and your budget.
Pre-made Nootropic Stacks
The pre-made stacks are the ones manufactured directly by retailers. For instance, Alpha Brain is defined as a stack simply because it retains more than one proprietary formula in a single pill. There are pros to buying pre-assembled stacks, but there are also cons. Let’s have a look at them:
- Pros: Pre-made stacks represent the best way for beginners to get started. They will no longer have to go shopping in utter confusion for separate nootropics which they have no actual understanding of. This way, they can get a combination close to their goals, without exposing themselves to the risks of a reaction. A stack can be in the form of one large pill or smaller, multiple pills.
- Cons: If you purchase a pre-made stack, you won’t be able to control what enters into it, whether it’s dosages or ingredients. While this may not seem like a big deal, not everyone accepts nootropics the same way – simply because each individual has a different construction. For example, those who weigh more than 200 pounds will obviously need a larger dose. The “one pill fits them all” won’t work in their cases.
Each individual chooses their stack option based on how much knowledge they have on nootropics. If you do not have enough information, don’t start doing risky combinations – learn your way around. Begin with a pre-assembled stack and try to see how it works for you. If, however, you already have the foundation for dosing and combining nootropics, you can go the other way and start experimenting yourself. No one other than yourself knows what your brain craves for the most.
Designing Your Own Stack
For the best results, experts would generally recommend that you learn how to build our own stack of nootropics – but that is only if you have a clear understanding of the effects of each nootropic and their nuances. No one can easily create the perfect stack if they’re new, and generally, it takes a lot of time until you master the art. But just as we experienced with the pre-made stacks, there are pros and cons to designing your own stack. Here’s what I believe you should know about experimenting on your own with nootropics.
- Pros: You have full control over what goes into your body. You can match, mix and play with products from different retailers, and you can always swap items from your stack once they no longer have any effects on your body and mind. Unlike the pre-made stack, you can actually make a pack that has been custom-built for you.
- Cons: It’s very easy to get the dosages wrong, especially if you are inexperienced. Whether it’s a smaller or a higher dosage, you can end up feeling side effects or no effects at all – not even the good ones. It can also be more expensive to buy the nootropics separately as opposed to them already stashed together. Go for the “trial and error” option before setting on a certain combination of nootropics.
Before trying to come up with your own stack, I recommend that you take each nootropic supplement separately at first, to see what effects they have on your body. It will be very difficult to point out the good effects from the bad (and the causes) if you have more than one substance stashing itself in your body.
Once you combine the nootropics, you will enter stage two of your analysis. You will see if the effects are for the better, for the worse, or with no changes whatsoever. It may take a few tries until you get to your perfect combination and dosage, but in the end, your brain will definitely thank you. You will be rewarded with some of the best cognitive enhancers in the world – and they will have been made solely for your use. But before grabbing every nootropic you can find on a shelf, here are the three main steps you will need to follow so you don’t send your brain into overdrive. It’s not as difficult or as expensive as you may think either.
How to Build Your Own Nootropic Stack
Step #1: Pick a Racetam
The racetams are the most readily available nootropics nowadays, and out of all types of brain boosters, they have the most noticeable effects on your brain – which occur almost immediately. The racetams are also the first nootropics that have been going around since 1960, which means that scientists had more than half a decade to improve their effects. Beginners should first take a look at piracetam, the first ever nootropic. It’s the drug that started this whole nootropic craze, and it’s a good kick start. Piracetam is fairly strong, but not enough to become overpowering on your newbie-to-nootropic body.
After you finish analyzing the effects that piracetam has on your brain, you should try bumping it on another level using the next generation racetams, such as oxiracetam or aniracetam. They are generally all improved versions of piracetam which have an even stronger effect than the classical piracetam.
Those in need of an even powerful dose may want to use Noopept as well. While it is not a racetam, but a peptide, it still acts in a similar way as most of the racetams do: it boosts up your acetylcholine system while also affecting the glutamate. The best thing about Noopept, however, is that it is superiorly bioavailable. It has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier faster and more effectively than most of the racetams, which is where the “1000 X better than any Racetam” thing started.
Step #2: Pick a Choline Supplement
As fast as they may act in improving your cognitive functions, racetams have this inconvenient side effect that comes along for the ride: a headache. It has been discovered that some choline packed together with the racetam can reduce the headache, but also boost several other areas from your brain.
Let me explain this better: the racetams have the ability to improve the functions of the acetylcholine that already exists in your brain. But if there is not enough choline to encourage the production of acetylcholine, your brain starts feeling the deficiency and the racetam starts working on its own at random. A headache is your brain’s way of saying “Ding, ding! I ran out of choline; I need more!”
You can get choline from foods, such as eggs. But the reason why I recommend supplements is because you’d have to consume at least six eggs every day to get at least an adequate choline amount. Whether it’s Centrophenoxine, Alpha GPC or Citicoline, these kinds of supplements will aid the racetams in improving the functions of your brain.
Step 3: Pick an Herbal or Natural Nootropic
I may have talked a lot lately about racetams, cholines or other smart-sounding, chemical-created nootropics that have their origin in labs. But remember when I made that big list of natural nootropics at the beginning of the book, made out of herbs and other similar stuff? Well, sometimes, those can be some of the best nootropics you can treat yourself with.
Some users are perfectly content with only adding two products in their stacks (the racetam and the choline). However, others noticed that if they also add an herbal or a natural nootropic in their stack, this can strengthen their cognitive function even more. A natural nootropic will be able to improve your memory, focus, attention, concentration and synaptic plasticity with the least amount of side effects. Some of the most used natural nootropics are Gingko Biloba, L-theanine, caffeine or Bacopa Monnier. Some people will only add a supplement from that list while others will make a stack out of two or more. True enough, a natural nootropic may not work as well as a synthesized one, but as part of a stack, you may realize that they can have very impressive results.
Now, which product you’ll choose will depend solely on yourself and what you believe your brain will need. Whether you need a boost of energy or one to help you focus, you might want to check the properties of nootropics available and see which one combines best with the other. Depending on the way your body handles the nootropic, you may want to cut the standard dosages for each product down in halves, so that you get a full dose of multiple combinations. Start low and work your way up with the dosage.
The 6 Best Nootropic Stacks for 2019
Since there are millions of people experimenting with nootropics, one thing led to another, and now we all know which combination works best for what. Here are a few of the most popular stacks I gathered from Reddit user and various blog posts.
1Caffeine and L-Theanine
This is probably one of the most used combos offering cognitive enhancement, and personally, it is also one of my favorites. Caffeine works by boosting the brain and provides it that sharp edge while L-theanine works by inhibiting the adverse effects of caffeine. I will give you a personal example here: as a coffee junkie, I have reached the point where I can no longer figure out which amount of caffeine is good for me. If I drink too little, I get sleepy; if I drink too much, I get the jitters, headaches and get sleepy. You generally have to find that in-between line. Still, when you start drinking coffee as if it is apple juice, you can easily go “Oops” and wonder why your head feels like it is about to blow and why that unicorn on your desk has suddenly started dancing (careful of that 7th cup of coffee, mates).
Well, this is where L-theanine steps in. By combining it with caffeine, it inhibits some of the negative effects brought on by caffeine, such as anxiety, sleep cycle disturbances and high blood pressure. You will feel more energetic, alert, concentrated, and less like a train that is about to go off the rails. By combining an energy booster like caffeine with a nerve soother such as L-theanine, you will get that neutral mood that will allow you to feel like a human being throughout the rest of the day. You can also mix these two with some Piracetam or Aniracetam for an extra kick.
2Alpha GPC and Pramiracetam
This one has the nickname of the “study stack.” So many students use this stack during their most critical times that they could actually start building a shrine to it.
These two provide a significant nootropic effect with the least amount of money (yet another reason why students love it). Pramiracetam contributes with the intelligence boost while Alpha GPG gives you that mental energy you want so much. Piracetam, Aniracetam or Oxiracetam instead of Pramiracetam will have similar results – It is just less expensive with our first choice. Pramiracetam will give you a massive amount of focus and concentration, working directly with your productivity center. It is one of the best nootropics to use when you’re loaded with tasks but short on time.
Pramiracetam will function by increasing the demands on the acetylcholine in your brain. Since Alpha GPC influences the production of that neurotransmitter directly, it will make sure that all requirements will be met.
3Citicoline and Noopept
There’s nothing like taking the best out of your cost to value ratio. Sure, Noopept is a bit more expensive than the members of the racetam family, but at the same time, you don’t need to use as much Noopept as you have to use, say, Piracetam – because Noopept is 1000 times more concentrated than a racetam. If you break down the costs based on how many dosages you get, you will actually use half the price you used with Piracetam.
Plus, the effects of Noopept are just like Pramiracetam, only better. If you combine Noopept with a choline such as Citicoline, you’ll produce enough acetylcholine needed to keep up with that all-nighter you’ve been “saving up” for. Also, remember that you will need to use a choline-based nootropic together with your Noopept, regardless of whatever source you may be adding as well. The choline will keep the acetylcholine production up, and thus, you won’t have to worry about a headache caused by a deficiency of the neurotransmitter.
4Oxiracetam and Aniracetam
This one is recommended for those users who already have some experience with nootropics. Some people found that stacking two racetams together can double the effects on your brain while others see it as the perfect recipe for a migraine. Depending on the construction of each individual’s body, a double stack of racetams is believed to amplify the cognitive benefits of each other. Others, on the other hand, did not seem to experience any enhancement, simply because the racetams washed each other out. It all depends on your body and on how it can handle nootropics, which is why you ought to experiment a bit – see where things go.
The two most popular racetams for this type of stack are oxiracetam and aniracetam. Even though they are both racetams, they still have different ways of acting. Oxiracetam will target the memory and how well you retain the information while aniracetam will work with improving your mood. Together, they form the combo for the perfect smart, happy person.
5Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam
If two racetams are good for the brain, what can we say about three of them? Are they better? Possibly; or so experienced nootropic users say. This stack is known as PAO, and it will work to enhance your cognitive abilities – although in a slightly different way than what I have previously mentioned above. You will get the mood enhancing effect offered by aniracetam, and combine it with the power boost and cognitive enhancing effect of Oxiracetam and Piracetam. Talk about suddenly becoming a superhero – you may even become the next Superman.
Usually, nootropic users only take one of these supplements and add them to a stack. What they do not realize is that while they are part of the same family, they all have different results. By only taking one of these supplements, you end up missing out on the effects provided by the other. The PAO stack is the fastest and surest way to ensure that you are boosting up your brain to its full capacity. Or, at least, as full as it’s scientifically possible.
6Ashwagandha and St. John’s Wort
There are some people who want to stay away from synthesized products at all cost. Regardless if we’re talking about food, drinks or medicine, they try to avoid it and find a natural way to approach the problem (due to the attractive prospect of fewer side effects). So why these two plants in particular? Well, there’s a reason for that as well.
Depression and social anxiety generally come together in a package. For example, you may not want to talk to anyone because you’re going through social anxiety – which in turn, makes you feel lonely and then depressed. The same thing can be applied in reverse: you feel depressed, so you don’t want to see or talk to people. Once you combine ashwagandha and St. John’s Wort, you can tackle both depression and anxiety – simply because the effects will intermingle. St John’s Wort has the ability to work with your serotonin levels, raising the levels to the point where you no longer feel depressed. On the other hand, ashwagandha targets your central nervous system, relaxing your nerves and making you feel less anxious.
Nootropic users need to keep in mind that ashwagandha and St. John’s Wort work more on your overall state of mind than they do on your cognitive function. Indeed, they do have a slight brain-boosting ability, but if you still feel lazy after taking this combo, you might want to combine it with something like a stimulant or a racetam.