If you’ve been browsing the site, you likely already know the benefits of some basic nootropics such as those in the racetam family. All of the supplements we discuss here have cognitive enhancing effects on their own but if you want to fully experience nootropics then you’ll want to combine individual nootropics to create a synergistic effect. Whether it’s for daily memory enhancement in your day-to-day life, studying for college, or just for those people who want to maximize their mind’s potential, there is a combination for you.
What is a Nootropic Stack?
- 1 What is a Nootropic Stack?
- 2 Preformulated Stacks
- 3 Create Your Own Custom Stack
- 4 Examples and Advice to Forming Your Own Stack
- 5 More Stack Ideas
A nootropic stack, simply put, is the combination of two or more supplements that have beneficial effects on memory, learning, focus, or motivation, in order to create a synergistic effect in the brain greater than any increase in cognition than the supplements you “stack” could create on their own. Basically it’s a supplementation technique that many nootropic users take advantage of to boost the abilities of their brain further than any single supplement could do on their own.
There are two ways you can get started with nootropic stacks.
One option is to simply buy a preformulated stack from a supplement manufacturers that has created their own combination of nootropics into capsule form such as the popular Alpha Brain.
These “off the shelf” nootropics have the benefit of being guaranteed to work to some degree and offer convenience over weighing out and mixing your own nootropic combinations.
The downsides of choosing a preformulated stack is that you lose the ability to experiment with dosages and individual components of the stack.
However, make sure you stick to reputable companies when choosing a preformulated nootropic. This is why Alpha Brain and BrainStack are our pre-made stacks of choice as they are developed by reputable companies and their nootropics are held in high esteem.
BrainStack gives a stimulating focus over while Alpha Brain provides a more meditative, creative focus. They are both effective cognition boosters. You can read our BrainStack Review and Alpha Brain Review for more information on the top two most effective preformulated nootropic stacks available.
Create Your Own Custom Stack
This is the way I usually choose to go simply because I am very specific on what I want, and if something isn’t working, I like having the option to change the amount I am supplementing, or be able to take it out without changing anything else I am supplementing at that time.
The customization of making your own stack, and cheaper price tag depending on what you want in your stack, is appealing to many users in the nootropic and cognition enhancing communities.
But, a negative of creating your stack is that new users usually don’t have a clue what they want or what dosage to take. I would recommend for new users to stick to stacks in this guide or this popular nootropic stack for something a little more ambitious.
This can easily lead to someone taking a supplement wrong and not trying to find a Bottom Level Effective Dose (more on this below), which can make someone think the excessive side effects they experience from taking too much of a supplement, or lack of any effects they could experience from taking too little.
However, if you do the research, and are willing to adjust the dosages of your supplementation until you get the effects you want, creating your own stack is the way to go. If making your own custom stack sounds too boring, tedious, or complicated for you, read up on one of our favorite preformulated stacks.
NOTE: If you plan to make your own stack, many nootropics come in bulk powder form. You’ll need an accurate scale to measure your doses. Read our article on the how to measure and consume nootropics for more details.
How Do I Create My Own Stack?
So you’ve decided to build your own stack. Great. Now you need to establish a couple things to yourself first before you go around buying tons of supplements you don’t need.
First, you need to understand what the Bottom Level Effective Dose is.
I’ll use coffee as an example.
If you go out and drink an entire pot of coffee at once, you are probably going to feel like pretty terrible, unless you have heroic tolerance to caffeine.
Comparably, a sip of coffee probably won’t have any noticeable effect on you. Most people need a cup or two of coffee to get a good amount of effects without a overly terrible amount of side effects.
If you are going to start your own nootropic stack, you need to apply this concept. I recommend starting with a low dose to see how a certain supplement affects you. Its much easier to increase the amount over time than take too much and have to deal with tons of crappy side effects.
That way, you can see if you have taken enough to give you the effects you want. If not, the next day just up it a slight amount.
This is an important concept for anyone who wants to know how to make a nootropic stack. I would recommend buying an accurate scale from someplace cheap with high quality like amazon.com to be sure you are measuring the correct amount out if you plan on filling capsules.
You can find more information on what type of scale and capsules are best here.
Second, you need to ask yourself a few things like:
- What do I want to accomplish with this stack?
- How much am I willing to spend?
- When and how often am I willing to take this stack?
- Is this a stack I need to take over time to get effects from?
- Am I willing to deal with any negative effects from this stack?
- Is this stack safe?
Answer these questions, and expect your answers to change as you research more and more in the nootropic world and realize what is possible with these supplements.
This leads me to my third point…
RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH.
This is the most important part of any designing any successful nootropic stack.
Despite the many users of nootropics and anecdotal reports, they are still very new supplements, and as such I think it should be an essential part of anyone making a stack to do the time and research what the are putting in their body, especially given to the fact that everyone has different brain chemistry and only YOU know how your body reacts to things best.
Make sure you know how the nootropics you pick work and what the mechanism of action is. Knowing how one nootropic works could be a deciding point in picking another, picking two that work on the exact same pathways in the point is just a waste on money and probably effects, whereas you could pick two with different effects and get a synergistic effect that will increase memory in the brain to a greater degree.
Another important part of researching is looking at studies and experience reports by other nootropic users. This is the best way to find out if something is effective or not. I recommend Pubmed for studies and the Longecity forums for experience reports. This is also a great way to find out the mechanism of action, Bottom Level Effective Dose, and what stacks are most effective together.
If you combine all these aspects, you can easily create a nootropic stack that will greatly increase memory in the brain.
You can be smarter, study harder, and be more motivated if you choose the right stack, and there is always room to change and modify stacks as time goes on to modify your needs.
The possibilities really are endless to enhance your cognition if you create a nootropic stack.
Examples and Advice to Forming Your Own Stack
Our advice: start simple.
Benefits of starting with piracetam and a choline supplement:
- Easy – Only two nootropic supplements involved.
- Cheap – This combination is relatively cheap compared to more advanced nootropics.
- Safe – Both have a high safety threshold.
- Synergistic – They complement each other well.
- Room to grow – It’s a good foundation that can be amended for something more advanced.
So let’s get right into it. Here is an example of timing and dosage.
For me, a 10:1 ratio of piracetam to choline is the best, but I’ve seen people recommending as much as a 3:1 ratio to as little as a 50:1 ratio. Some people don’t even need to take choline, however I wouldn’t recommend this since choline and piracetam have a very synergistic effect in addition to their own strong nootropic effects.
Although a beginner could start with another racetam than piracetam, I’d recommend it because it has a low side effect profile and give a good baseline to compare the rest to, because most people like the results and do decide to progress to a stronger type of racetam.
Some people decide the racetam family are just not for them because of they don’t like piracetam and move on to other types of nootropics. Basically, its just a good taste of what the racetam family has to offer, and I think everyone should have a taste of the nootropic taste before they decide to eat the whole brain enhancement cake.
Braintropic’s Advice: Be Flexible
Everyone’s brain chemistry is different. Because of this, what works for one might not work for another. Therefore don’t be afraid to change up your stack. If something isn’t working, change something up! You might need to change your dosage, number of times you take your supplements per day, or even add or drop a supplement into the mix. Of course, don’t make changes every day; you’ll never know what change you made is the one that is making the difference in your nootropic stack.
If you feel like you need to amp up your stack a bit, I would recommend you try one of three options. These are more advanced options, so be sure to try out some of the prior advice before making these changes, as the average beginner might not know enough to take these effectively. You can:
- Swap out piracetam for different racetam, such as aniracetam, oxiracetam, or pramiracetam.
- Change your choline source. Alpha-GPC or Centrophoxenine are a bit pricier but boast more powerful nootropic effects and other brain improving benefits over other choline sources.
- Add another nootropic supplement to the mix. A Nerve Growth Factor promoting supplement such as Lion’s Mane Mushroom or Neural Vasodilator would be a good choice. I would recommend the Lion’s Mane Mushroom as it gives a lot of long term benefits if you plan on taking the stack for awhile.
In your busy, daily life, I would bet you do not do the same thing all day long, every single day of the week. Most likely you set aside time to study, go to class, exercise, go to work possibly, and every now and then maybe find time to sleep.
All these different activities have different mental requirements and engagements, some of them are well suited to an increase in brain power from nootropics and other don’t really require a boost. Sometimes you need to really get in the zone before your final exam for a class, or you are way too hyper from caffeine or something and need to get to sleep so you don’t ruin your sleep cycle for the important lectures you have the next day.
Maybe you just need an extra push for your morning or evening studies.
Or perhaps need an extra night of sleep after partying and studying for 3 days straight.
It wouldn’t make sense to take something to give you that extra boost all the time, not only would you be overdoing it, but you wouldn’t have the same strength of effects because the nootropics you would use for a task specific mini-stack are usually very fast acting and not suitable for long term use for one reason or another. Usually, a good candidate for a mini-stack nootropic is that it has one of these qualities: Fast acting and potent. Not something that takes weeks to build up to have even slight effects.
- Not something you could take all the time. For instance, Huperzine A can cause acetylcholine tolerance if you take it for an extended amount of time, which would decrease the effects of your overall stack.
- Strongly attributed to a certain effect. This could be a strong focus booster or something to help you sleep.
- Synergistic. Usually something with a different mechanism of action than your main nootropic stack makes a great specialized stack ingredient because it will increase the effects of everything.
Remember, you should only try a stack this complicated once you’ve started getting very comfortable with more basic nootropic supplementation.
But there you go, that is an example of the basic evolution of a beginner’s nootropic stack. There are 1000’s of different variations of this you could do, this is merely just an example of how you can get more out of your stack and progress from a novice to a more advanced user. Check out our stacks section for new updates, I will be posting tons of unique, specialized stacks for your needs weekly.
More Stack Ideas
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to stack nootropics, we’ve got some more for you. For example, one of our all-time reader-favorite stacks that increases motivation, memory, and creates Adderall-like focus is here: The Best Nootropic Stack. A second stack that you can try will increase the vividity of your mind and dreams to unfounded levels and has been described as giving one “near photographic memory” is here: Nootropic Memory Stack.
If you are interested in making your own nootropic stack, or looking for new ideas, we regularly will add new ones, so stay tuned for more. The key is to do your research and see what works best for you.