How To Create Your Own Nootropic Stack
Its Monday morning and my kids are just starting to get ready for school.
My 10 year old comes out to my office and just stands there in the doorway with a puzzled look on his face.
I smile at him and ask why he is looking at my like that.
He responds with, “I’m just wondering what you are doing. You look kind of like a mad scientist with all those tubes and powders.”
I can’t help myself and start laughing. Then I go on to tell him that I am mixing my supplements for the week so I don’t have to do it every morning.
This kind of conversation happens frequently in our house. My kids are always looking at me funny when they see me with electrodes stuck to my heard or I am trying out some new device or supplement. Sometimes my two oldest ones even ask me why I am so weird.
Enough about that.
What I was doing was mixing a bunch of nootropics together to experiment with a few new nootropic stacks.
What Is a Nootropic Stack?
Simply put, a stack is just a combination of different ingredients that are taken close together or at the same time.
The ultimate goal of stacking nootropics together is to improve the overall effects of them. There are some other reasons that people choose to combine them though.
Improve Multiple Areas of Cognition
Most nootropics have one or two main effects. These could be improvements to memory, focus, learning or a reduction to things like stress and anxiety.
By stacking nootropics together, you can enhance these individual effects and get even more effects that wouldn’t be possible from just one.
Minimize The Depletion of Certain Neurotransmitters
To understand this concept, we need to look at how most nootropics effect our brains. Most nootropics effect one of four major neurotransmitters in the brain.
They influence them by regulating or increasing the amount of them in your brain. Some nootropics may increase their amounts, while others may interact with your brain to make some of them more available.
Do Your Research
The first things that you need to decide are which nootropics to include in your stack. This will differ for people depending on the reasons they are making the stack. If you are new to nootropics, I suggest you experiment with different nootropics first before you start combining them.
Here are a few articles you can check out about different nootropics and their properties.
You should also check out the individual ingredients on sites like Examine and Pubmed
If you are really wanting to try a stack but don’t have much experience or the motivation to mix your own, I suggest these 3 stacks to get started with.
- Qualia– Check out the two articles that we wrote about Qualia below.
- Alpha Brain
Make Your Own
Once you are familiar with various nootropics and their effects, you can start combining them.
If you have one or two desired effects that you are looking for, you can combine ingredients that influence those effects. When trying out a new stack, I usually start with a choline source, a racetam and one or two natural nootropics.
Having a choline source in your stack is very important. It gives your brain the needed neurotransmitters to maintain optimal function. It also can improve memory, protect against oxidative stress and has general anti-aging properties for the brain.
Choline is a very important nutrient for brain health and supports the production of a very important neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. It also helps to balance out the effect of other nootropics that could reduce the amount of acetylcholine in your brain. I always include some source of choline if I am going to be using a racetam in the stack.
Alpha-GPC is a popular source of choline because it requires 46% of the dosage of citicoline to achieve the same result. It is also being added to some pre-workout supplements because of the effect it has on body composition and power output during exercise.
Standard dose is 300-600mg at a strength of 50%. The reason for the 50% is that at 100%, it will absorb quite a bit of moisture and turn in to a clumpy paste making it harder to measure.
Citicoline or CDP choline is not quite as effective as Alpha-GPC for most people but is still a good source of choline.
Standard dose is 500-2000mg.
This source of choline is one of the most popular forms because it is cheaper than other sources.
Standard dose is 500mg.
The family of nootropics known as racetams first came in to use in the early 1970’s with the sale of piracetam. Since then there has been many more racetams to come along. They are all similar but can have very different effects. Listed below are some of the most common racetams and their effects. If you would like to learn more about them, check out this article that we wrote a while back: Racetams – A Whole Family of Nootropics
Some natural nootropics have been used for many centuries in many different cultures around the world. When working on enhancing any aspect of my health, I always look at natural ways first. Nootropics are no exception. Before I ever tried any racetams or other chemical compounds, I experimented with things like lions’s mane and bacopa. Once I was comfortable with them and their effects, I moved on to the others.
The are many natural nootropics to choose from. Here is a small list of the most well know. You can find more information about the first five in the article we wrote on Natural Nootropics.
- Lions Mane
- Protects the brain and helps to heal it from physical damage
- Reduces anxiety and helps with depression
- May slow or help to prevent Alzheimer’s and senile dementia
- Bacopa Monnieri
- Improves memory
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Helps protect against oxidative damage
- Increases alertness and concentration
- Decreases fatigue
- Improves short term memory
- Counteracts negative effects of caffeine
- Reduces physical and mental stress
- Increases attention and focus
- Improves memory and learning
- Increases blood flow in the brain
- Improves memory and learning
- Improves overall cognition
- Rhodiola Rosea – 250mg
- Reduces anxiety and fatigue
- Increases focus
- Improves visual reaction time
- Huperzine A – 8-20mg
- Increases focus and attention
- Improves memory and learning performance
- Prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain
- Mucuna Pruriens – 5mg
- Reduces stress
- Helps to detoxify the brain
- Regulates levels of dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline and serotonin
- Increases growth hormone
- Artichoke Extract & Forskolin – 750mg Artichoke Extract and 5mg Forskolin
- Increases ability to learn
- Improves memory
- Increases focus and alertness
If you are really interested in experimenting with nootropics and upgrading your cognitive performance, then stacks are the way to go. No two brains are alike, so you have to find what works for you. That takes quite a lot of trying out new combinations and ingredients.
Citizen science is the future of high performance and optimal health and longevity. That being said, please share in the comments what particular nootropics and stacks work well for you so that it may help others to dial in their own stacks.