What Is Nootropic Stacking?
Stacking nootropics has increasingly become a popular concept among nootropics enthusiasts—for a number of reasons. First, stacking allows users to get maximum benefits from each nootropic ingredient they stack with.
Secondly, stacking ‘smart drugs’ has become an excellent option for users to combine the specific nootropic ingredients they want—based on how safe and effective they perceive these ingredients to be. But as fun as stacking may seem to be, it needs to be done carefully to achieve the desired effects 1, and most importantly understand the right combination and dosage to use when designing your stack. Again, you need to know a couple of nootropics (both synthetic and natural) that you can use to prepare your stack, as well as how to optimize the benefits of each nootropic for best possible results.
Above all, you need to know how to actually make your stack. Below is a detailed guide on everything important to know regarding stacking nootropics, ranging from notable nootropics to some of the best nootropic stack ideas you can try at home.
Synthetic vs. Natural Nootropics
Natural nootropics are basically nootropics that are derived from plant-based substances. Some of the popular natural nootropics include Dopamine Brain Food, CILTEP, and Smart Caffeine. Synthetic nootropics are artificial nootropics, or simply nootropics that are prepared in the lab. Some of the popular synthetic nootropics include Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam among others.
Notable Herbal and Natural Nootropics
Apart from synthetic nootropics, there are also several notable herbal and natural nootropics. Most of them provide benefits that are almost similar or similar to synthetic nootropics. Below is a breakdown of some of the notable natural and synthetic nootropics.
The nootropic herb has widely been used in traditional medicine, thanks to its cognitive enhancement ability. In a study2 done specifically to establish the cognitive enhancement ability of this herb, it was demonstrated that participants who took daily tablets containing 399 mg of dried Bacopa Monnieri extract experienced a significant improvement on their cognitive function. Research 3further shows that this herb doesn’t only boast powerful antidepressant effects, but it also offers strong pain-reducing capabilities as well.
The nootropic herb has widely been used in traditional medicine, thanks to its cognitive enhancement ability. In a study4 done specifically to establish the cognitive enhancement ability of this herb, it was demonstrated that participants who took daily tablets containing 399 mg of dried Bacopa Monnieri extract experienced a significant improvement on their cognitive function. Research 5further shows that this herb doesn’t only boast powerful antidepressant effects, but it also offers strong pain-reducing capabilities as well.
The natural nootropic is widely revered for its powerful ability in enhancing cognitive function and memory. It helps with inhibiting the activity 6 of an enzyme that suppresses acetylcholine, thus increasing the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, especially dopamine and norepinephrine. This helps fight cognitive decline and further lowers the risk of mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease 7.
This edible, medicinal mushroom is regarded as one of the most potent natural nootropics. There is substantial proof that the edible mushroom can aid with enhancing brain function 8 and further protect the brain cells against degeneration. In addition, it can help modulate the immune system 9 besides providing several other health benefits.
This powerful herb has for centuries been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a rejuvenator and tonic. In modern times, this herb is increasingly been used as a nootropic for fighting anxiety 10 and for promoting relaxation. There are numerous human studies that point to the ability of this herb in aiding with fighting insomnia, reducing stress, and fighting aging signs11.
Though not classified as a nootropic, caffeine can work in a similar way to nootropics by improving mental performance 12. It is also a common ingredient in various nootropic products owing to its psychoactive nature brought about by xanthine, an alkaloid compound mostly contained in caffeine. Due to its psychoactive nature, caffeine can help stimulate the central nervous system thus temporarily increasing mental alertness 13. It makes a great nootropic stack once combined with other nootropic supplements like L-Theanine.
This natural adaptogenic herb has been associated with a wide array of medical benefits, and it can also be used effectively as a natural nootropic. Some of the nootropic benefits of this herb include alleviating stress, improving mood and lowering fatigue as well as boosting concentration 14. However, the herb should only be used in moderate dosages for it can have some side effects like irritability, restlessness and increased heart rate.
For More Info
Check out our individual supplement overviews for each of these natural nootropics below.
Notable Synthetic Nootropics
The world of synthetic nootropics is full of a vast number of nootropic products, all of them claiming to help with enhancing mental function by improving cognition, boosting memory, and promoting mind relaxation. Though the effectiveness of some synthetic nootropics is questionable, there are some notable synthetic nootropics with a proven level of effectiveness. Below are a couple of notable synthetic nootropics.
The potent synthetic nootropic boasts of powerful nootropic properties, and it is one of the frequently used synthetic nootropics. It is mostly used for enhancing cognition 15, reducing fatigue, and promoting good mental health. Moreover, it can be used for treating excessive sleepiness occasioned by narcolepsy 16. It is, therefore, a favorite choice for helping those who work at night to stay awake.
It is a powerful nootropic drug derived from a combination of four drugs namely amphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, dextroamphetamine saccharate, and amphetamine aspartate monohydrate. It is mostly used for treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 17. The potent nootropic stimulant is also known for increasing mental performance by boosting brain power and improving cognition function18, thanks to its cognitive nature.
The nootropic drug is the main compound in the family of racetam nootropic supplements. It enhances cognitive functions and boosts mental ability, in addition to enhancing the brain functions that are associated with the Central Nervous System (CNS). The smart drug is further beneficial in improving learning ability, improving mood, boosting focus and concentration as well as boosting motivation levels19.
This multi-faceted nootropic is used for enhancing cognition and overall mood. Like with other racetam nootropics, Aniracetam has the ability to increase cholinergic neurotransmission 20, which is vital for protecting the brain cells against damage. Most users use this nootropic for purposes of improving memory and learning, which is large as a result of its vital role in promoting synaptic function21 in the human brain.
The nootropic is also one of the synthetic nootropics in the racetam family, and it is largely used for purposes of stimulating cognitive function and enhancing cognitive processes like memory and attention 22. It is a mild CNS stimulant, and it also has similar effects to other racetam nootropics. The nootropic is specifically known to aid with countering neuro-damage brought about by dementia 23, and for preventing the damaging of brain cells due to chemical exposure.
This is, by all means, the most popular and powerful nootropic of the racetam family. It is known to provide a powerful boost to the overall cognitive function 24. It has been known to improve memory, learning capacity, concentration and focus 25. It has low toxicity levels and thus it can be tolerated by most users.
For More Info
Check out our individual supplement overviews for some of these synthetic nootropics below.
Make Your Own Nootropic Stacks
Making your own nootropic stacks has several benefits over purchasing premade stacks. First, it helps you get even more creative and choose the specific ingredients that can actually benefit you. You also get an opportunity to combine the ingredients in dosages that are safe and effective, thus helping you avoid some of the harmful effects linked with pre-formulated stacks. Most importantly, making your own stacks can be way cheaper than purchasing the stacks that are sold over the counter. But before making your own nootropic stacks, here are a couple of important things to know.
Start With The Easy Stuff
This is critically imperative especially if you are getting started with nootropics. In other words, keep things simple. For instance, you can start stacking with two nootropic ingredients that you are already familiar with; for instance, coffee and a suitable nootropic like Theanine. Rather than combining several ingredients that you know nothing about, it is better to start with two nootropic ingredients that you are conversant with and look into ways of leveraging the benefits of each ingredient. Again, regardless of the nootropic stacks you are designing, there are some activities that you need to perform in order to increase brain power so that your stack can get a boost.
Exercise is known to play a vital role in increasing brain elasticity, consequently increasing the size of your hippocampus 26. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory retention and learning. While each nootropic ingredient in your stack can help improve your brain performance, exercise still remains a reliable way of optimizing cognition 27 and mental wellbeing.
Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for ensuring you get the most out your nootropic stacks. Even without taking your nootropic stack, sleep remains crucial for optimal learning 28 and overall memory function. Research 29 shows that sleep triggers brain changes that strengthen memories thus solidifying memory retention and promoting learning. Therefore, without enough sleep, there is no way you will benefit fully from your stack irrespective of how effective it is.
Diet is not just important for the physical health, but for mental health as well. Again, eating a healthy diet is equally important to your mental wellbeing as it is to your physical wellbeing. Therefore, eating a healthy balanced diet while taking your nootropic stacks will make things even better.
Research, Research, Research
This is crucial for crafting any nootropic stack. Therefore, take time and research on various nootropics such as Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Noopept and Piracetam among others. Proper research helps you discover some of the nootropics that actually work well. It also helps you figure out the best nootropic ingredients to pair with each other. That way, you won’t waste time stacking ineffective ingredients that can provide little or no value at all. Through research, you will be able to look at past studies 30 and see reports from past nootropic users. This is the surest way of establishing precisely what can work and what can’t.
Once you have formulated your stack using the right combination of ingredients in terms of dosages, go ahead and give it a try. Note whether there are any effects—positive or negative. Without testing, you can never experience the real effects of the nootropic ingredients you are stacking with.
Give it Time
Most nootropic users expect nootropics to work in a magical way, or rather give them instant results. But like with using any drugs, nootropic take time before they can actually take effect and produce the desired effects. Accordingly, give your stack time, probably a week or two before you conclude whether it is working for you or not.
Evaluate and Adjust
When stacking, you might not get it right the first time. At times, you can go wrong with combining ingredients in their right dosages. This can make your stack ineffective or worse still make it so potent, consequently producing negative effects. Therefore, evaluate your stack and make any necessary changes to ensure it produces the best results.
Natural Stack Ideas
The idea of making your own nootropic stacks other than purchasing the formulated nootropic supplements can be exciting. Again, knowing you have full control of the ingredients to combine in your stack can be very impressing. In fact, making a nootropic stack that features the right ingredients of your choice and the right dosage per ingredient can be the best thing for any nootropic enthusiast. Here are some natural stacks ideas to get you started with making your own stack that can guarantee you great results.
L-Theanine & Caffeine Stack
This stack makes it easy for the cognitive enhancers in Caffeine and L-Theanine to work together. This popular nootropic stack is very effective in enhancing mood and cognitive performance, owing to the combined effects of these two ingredients 31. Once these ingredients are combined, they help create a wide array of synergistic benefits, thus amplifying and reinforcing the cognitive effects 32 of each ingredient on its own. Caffeine and L-Theanine are highly effective and safe when combined in a ratio of 100mg of pure caffeine to 200mg of L-Theanine.
Recommended Cognitive Boost Stack
* 100mg Caffeine
* 200mg L-Theanine
Bacopa, Rhodiola & Choline Stack
This stack enables you to get optimal health benefits from Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea, and Choline. Choline on its own has been known to aid with improving liver function, boosting energy levels as well as maintaining health metabolism33. It further helps with the synthesis of acetylcholine, an essential neurotransmitter that helps maintain healthy brain cells. But while stacking, keep the standard dosage of choline at 250mg 34, since this is the standard dosage of choline for healthy adults according to WebMD. The other beneficial ingredient in this stack is Rhodiola Rosea, which poses significant amounts of nootropic properties 35. The herb further helps with boosting energy levels and promoting better moods. Clinical doses of this nootropic herb are around 200mg to 600 mg 36. Bacopa Monnieri is another herb that is topped up on this stack, courtesy of its wide array of health benefits. It is especially known for aiding with memory function 37. It provides antioxidant protection against damage to critical memory spots. The recommended average dosage of this herb should be 300 mg 38. Basically, this stack combines some of the most powerful nootropic ingredients that can help improve your mental health.
Recommended Daily Stack
* 150 mg Alpha GPC
* 300 mg Bacopa Monnieri
* 300 mg Rhodiola Rosea
Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri & Lion’s Manes Stack
Pairing these 3 nootropic ingredients can help create a wonderful stack that can potentially elevate your brain health. Bacoppa Monnieri can do a great job in enhancing cognitive ability 39 when used in a standard dosage of 200mg to 600 mg 40. On its part, Lion’s Mane can be a great herb to combine in your stack, thanks to its ability to promote the growth of new brain cells 41, thus giving your brain power a major boost. It also boasts powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore making it effective for combating cardiovascular disease by stopping inflammation. Ginkgo Biloba in the stack is essential in increasing concentration 42 and lowering the risk of dementia and other mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. WebMD recommends a standard dose of 40 mg43 of Ginkgo Biloba extract. The best way to make this supplement is by combining the three ingredients when they are in form of an extract.
Recommended Brain Health Stack
* 1500 mg Lion’s Mane
* 300 mg Alpha GPC
* 300 mg Bacopa Monnieri
Synthetic Stacks Ideas
although synthetic nootropic ingredients are perceived to be unsafe compared to their natural counterparts by many people, when taken safely by following instructions and recommended dosages, you can still make a great combination of synthetic nootropic stacks as long as you include the right combination of these nootropic ingredients when making your stacks.
Racetams and Choline Stack
This is a nice stack for both beginners and experienced nootropic users alike, and it features a great combination of mind enhancing ingredients. Racetams are suitable for tasks that need enhanced cognitive function, once paired with a 250mg 44 choline supplement. The choline in this stack will not just help optimize the cognitive properties associated with Racetams, but it will also offer essential benefits such as improved liver function and increased energy levels. Because Racetams have different properties and effects, they ought to be stacked in different dosages. The recommended dosage of Racetams like Aniracetam is 1,000 -15000 mg45 a day for maximum effects. Other popular Racetams such as Piracetam should be used in dosages of 40-100 mg for children and 1,200-4800 mg thrice a day for adults 46. Potent racetams like Noopept have a standard dosage of 10-30 mg daily 47.
Recommended Racetam Stack
* 2400 mg Piracetam
* 400 mg Aniracetam
* 300 mg Alpha GPC
Premade stacks are a nice option for nootropic users who aren’t willing to stack with a variety of nootropic ingredients, or those that aren’t conversant with stacking. There are some popular premade stacks that can be bought over the counter. Here are some of the suitable options for premade stacks that are ideal for nootropic users.
Alpha Brain By Onnit
This is arguably the most famous premade stack, and its popularity has soared tremendously ever since it was introduced in 2010. The premade stack is available in form of a dietary nootropic supplement, and users have reported experiencing improved function 48 upon using it. It is clinically proven49 to boost memory, clarity and focus even when used in a single dose.
Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee
Grown in Honduras, this organic coffee is a medium-roasted coffee. Each brew contains Lion’s Mane to support your concentration and Chaga to provide support to your immune functions.
The premade stack boasts a unique combination of spices and herbs, which work in tandem with each other to boost brain power. Some of its notable ingredients include cordyceps mushroom and coffee, and they are all FDA-approved 50 and paired in their right dosages. The main benefit of this premade stack is that it is safe since it is made from all-natural ingredients.
Stacking nootropics is truly a fun way of getting as many benefits as possible from every ingredient you choose to stack with. First, you can choose to stack with natural or synthetic nootropics. Nevertheless, whatever way you choose to combine your ingredients with each other, always remember to maintain the standard dosage of every ingredient so as to get optimal benefits, and to avoid harmful effects.
The good thing with stacking is that it always gives you the benefit of experimenting with as many ingredients as you can, provided you will optimize each ingredient in the best way possible. Again, you have to create a conducive environment for your stacks to work effectively, by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet. Most importantly, you can always try new stacking ideas so that you can continue receiving more benefits apart from the cognitive benefits attributed to each nootropic.
If you aren’t ready with stacking yet, you can try some of the premade stacks from a reputable nootropic store. However, ensure that the premade stack you are purchasing has the right combination of ingredients and are FDA-approved.