How To Create a Beginner Nootropic Stack

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 how to stack 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 of nootropics that is perfect for you.

What is a Nootropic Stack?

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. 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 its own.

There are two ways you can get started with nootropic stacks.

Preformulated 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.

Custom Stacks

Creating your own stack gives you full flexibility to be creative as you want and to make changes to you stack components and dosages as you see fit. Creating your own stack is also much more economical than purchasing a brand name preformulated stack since you aren’t passed along the extra costs of marketing and packaging. Most people that get serious about nootropics opt for designing their own stack for these reasons: full control and cheaper price tag.

The main negative of creating your stack is that new users are often unsure of where to start, what to take, and how much to dose. We recommend that new users stick to the stacks in this guide or this popular nootropic stack for something a more ambitious.

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 tedious or complicated for you, read our Alpha Brain Review for more details on our favorite preformulated nootropic.

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.

Before You Start Taking a Custom Stack

You need to establish a couple things to yourself first before you start taking a nootropic stack.

First, you need to understand that more isn’t always better.

Let’s 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 the desired effects.

If you are going to start your own nootropic stack, you need to keep this concept in mind. Start with a low dose to see how a certain supplement affects you before taking a full dose. Always err on the side of too little and then slowly increase your dosages as you see how your mind and body react. It’s also a good idea to get familiar with each nootropic in your stack on its own before trying several new nootropics all together for the first time.

While nootropics are generally considered safe, using some common sense and precaution can go a long way.

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.

Now on to our third point…

RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH.

This is the most important part of any designing any successful nootropic stack.

If you haven’t done so yet, you should take some time to read our guides to some of the more popular nootropics such as piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam, pramiracetam, and Noopept.

Despite the many users of nootropics and anecdotal reports, they are still very new supplements and as such an essential part of making a stack to take the time to research what the are putting in their body.

Its also a good idea to take some time to learn how the nootropics you take actual work. 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. Pubmed is a great resource for studies and the Longecity forums are a good place to read up on experience reports.

If you are on medication, have any physical or psychological issues, you should consult with a medical professional if you want to be certain that it is safe for you to take nootropics.

Design Your Own Nootropic Stack

You can be smarter, study harder, and be more motivated if you design your stack correctly, and there is always room to change and modify your stack as time goes on to modify your needs.

The possibilities really are endless. But…

Our advice: start simple.

If you are a beginner to the nootropic world, you should start by keeping things simple.

Caffeine + L-Theanine Nootropic Stack

Sometimes the simplest stacks can be the most effective.

For example, stacking two supplements you’re probably already very familiar with, caffeine, which is found primarily in coffee, and L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, is a highly praised and inexpensive stack among nootropic users that like to keep things simple. Taken together, usually at a 2:1 ratio of L-theanine to caffeine, results in a boost of mental energy that is tamed into a cool focus by the L-theanine. It’s a perfect example of how two different nootropics can work together in tandem to round each other out and produce excellent effects.

To Be Taken As Needed

An Example Beginner’s Nootropic Stack

Taking things a step further would be to stack nootropic compound such as piracetam with choline supplementation, another great starting points for beginners.

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 built upon for something more advanced.

So let’s get right into it. Here is an example of timing and dosage.

Morning

Afternoon

An 8:1 ratio of piracetam to choline is often recommended but there are recommendations that vary as much as a 3:1 ratio to as little as a 50:1 ratio. Other people don’t even take choline however I wouldn’t recommend this since choline and piracetam have a very synergistic relationship and will only maximize the stacks potential.

Although a beginner could start with another racetam than piracetam, we recommend it as a good place to start due to its low side effect profile and it will also give a good baseline to compare other nootropics to. Basically, its a good introduction to the racetam family of nootropics and from there you can expand to others.

An Alternative Beginner’s Nootropic Stack

Aniracetam is another popular beginner-friendly choice to build a stack around. Here’s what a beginner’s aniracetam stack could look like.

An Intermediate Nootropic Stack

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 before experiencing its 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.

Here is an example of how an experienced nootropic stack regimen may look. As you can see it has daily components for morning and afternoon as well as specific mini-stacks for special occasions.

Morning

Afternoon

Intense Study or Focus Days

Continue taking your normal stack as usual but add:

Immediately Before an Exam

Right before a mentally demanding situation such as an exam you can add these nootropics.

Sleep Stack

Before bed, preferably at a time “natural” to your sleep cycle.

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. This is an example of the basic evolution of a beginner’s nootropic stack to something more complex. There are 1000’s of different variations of this you could do, this is just an example of how you can get more creative with your stack and progress from a novice to a more advanced user.

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:

  1. Swap out piracetam for different racetam, such as aniracetam, oxiracetam, or pramiracetam.
  2. Change your choline source. Try CDP Choline or Centrophoxenine for slightly different benefits and effects.
  3. Add another nootropic supplement to the mix. A Nerve Growth Factor promoting supplement such as Lion’s Mane Mushroom would be a good choice for its long term benefits.

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 that we call 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 our Photographic 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.

  • Kirk

    Hi. Can you come up a nootropic stack for college students? Thank you.

  • Clyde Atkins

    Thanks for the thorough article. Just a heads up — the links to piracetam “Via Amazon” are broken.

  • ajop

    I’m trying to make a stack I like aniracetam for the right brain qualities and anxiety aspects but like the idea of having the left brain logic qualities is there a stack that can boost both sides creative and logic fix mood or anxiety? Or is that too much to ask for hahahah is there a stack already? I also read l-theanine should not be consumed with too much caffiene if you are not sensitive to caffiene would it be a problem?

    • admin

      Check out this stack:
      http://www.braintropic.com/best-nootropic-stack/

      It’s pretty balanced. Generally though, nootropics enhance both sides of your brain pretty evenly. Some are just more oriented towards one type of thinking. Stacking a “left side” and a “right side” nootropic actually is very effective at creating a balanced stack, ie. Aniracetam and Oxiracetam.

      And the reason the l-theanine should not be consumed with too much caffiene is they have a synergistic effect, and could increase the effects.

  • Nikki

    Are there any stacks for “I can’t get out of bed, and when I do it’s unproductive?” Can’t concentrate. 36 mother of 4. When at work it’s 20% effort at best

    • Braintropic

      Hi Nikki, if you’re looking for a stack that will give you energy and motivation, there are several options for you. Have a look at this stack. It is a little bit advanced but you can try simplifying it to sulbutiamine, caffeine, and NALT. Another alternative to try would be stacking L-theanine with caffeine. If you like, report back with your experience. Best of luck and we hope our recommendations will give you the boost you need.

    • jim goldstein

      Nicki, I am new to trying nootropics. I am in my 60s and different than your situation as my kids are grown adults. But, I have been taking the L-theanine wih caffeine. I got the capsules from Powder City.com. Good pricing and quick shipping. I also stack it with rhodiola rosea in the morning. In afternoon, I take another rhodiola capsule. At night, I take an l-theanine capsule and I sleep like a baby which helps in the a.m. You can also get powders which are a tad less expensive but more hassle. I would be curious what Braintropic thinks of my combination but it seems this is a simple way of starting at a reasonable cost. Good luck. You have your hands full! I am sure you will get more focus and be relaxed. Jim

  • blake

    I’m assuming you capsule each ingredient of your stack individually. You don’t combine all your ingredients into one capsule. Am I correct in my assumption?

    • Braintropic

      Capping individually is easier. Making your own blended capsules is possible but it involves using fillers and some math. Also, while capping can make things more convenient, it also isn’t also absolutely necessary. Especially with a racetam like aniracetam, using a scoop can be accurate enough.

  • MK

    Hello All

    Need some help with my situation.
    i’m 32 years old, I have a $500 budget, i need to make 2 stacks one for productive to super productive days, other for shielding the brain from alcohol damage and occasional amphetamine use, these stacks should have very minimal side effects. i had alcohol for 9 years, i quit alcohol since past 2 years, My job needs my brains, i used to have very good long and short term memory, i remember the punishments i got from my math teacher for not doing my home work, I was in 2nd stranded at that time.But my alcohol abuse killed the natural memory power i had. now it’s hard to remember stuff happened from 2 years ago, I want to reverse this situation in the next few years, i’m searching for a stack ( this stack is gonna be the second stack which is gonna improve total brain health).

    Please suggest me with ideas.

    • Braintropic

      For a stack that promotes overall neuron health and restoration, have a look at our Nerve Growth Factor stack. That might be exactly what you’re looking for.

  • Mrskorea

    If I take alphabrain what other notropics would you suggest to add along with it.

    • Braintropic

      It depends on your goals. If you are looking for a general cognitive enhancement you can try pairing the Alpha Brain with a racetam such as piracetam or aniracetam.

      • Mrskorea

        thanks i was looking for a jump start on the “Best Nootropic Stack” that you have listed. I wanted to start out simple and consolidate in a way. In the future I will add more or build a custom stack

      • Mrskorea

        Oh BTW have you or anyone else heard of nootrabrain?

        • Braintropic

          I haven’t but after reviewing the ingredients, it is quite a simple blend that you can put together on your own for a much better price.

  • V

    Can you take Paramiractam and Oxiracetam at the same time? and if so what dosage?

    • Braintropic

      It is quite popular to stack different racetams together for synergistic results. I’ve heard of people stacking 200 mg of pramiracetam with 800 mg of oxiracetam.

  • Thumper

    For people who are experiencing the effects of stressful lifestyles (childbirth, overwork, alcohol and substance use, etc). don’t forget the fogginess and lack of motivation also come from the rest of the body–not just the brain.

    I overworked and over-partied for years, and recently discovered that improving my health also has distinct nootropic effect! A little regular exercise, maybe a little weight loss, good hydration and a better diet help clear out a lot of the gunk that’s floating around in the bloodstream and messing up my ability to focus. A lot of the crap affects the liver’s ability to clean and filter the blood, so that’s also something to think about.

    and best of all, when you improve your metabolism, you get much better effects from the nootropics you take.

  • Lskin

    I am a 52 yr old woman, trying to pass my state boards. I have severe test anxiety as such I have failed 3 times. Because of this, I do not have recall of things I have studied. Learning is not as easy as it was in my youth. So I am new to nootropics and stacking. I have done some research and was wondering if stacking POA with choline would help with my issue?? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Braintropic

      For anxiety induced cognitive impairment, I’d build a stack around nootropics with anxiolytic properties. The racetam that is most renowned for it’s anti-anxiety properties is aniracetam. I would personally start with something as simple as aniracetam plus a choline source. Experimenting with the addition of herbals such as ashwagandha and/or bacopa monnieri may be worthwhile as well.

      • Lskin

        I just received my order today, Aniracetam, piracetam, and oxiracetam and Alpha GPC. What is the normal dose of each and how often do I take each? I got capsules to make it easier to start out. Thank you for your help!

        • Braintropic

          This should help guide you: The PAO Stack

          Good luck!

          • Lskin

            Okay, so started taking Aniracetam, Alpha GPC, L-the anime (because I tend to drink a lot of coffee) on Saturday, no real difference. (I know it takes awhile) Sunday added piracetam to the stack, no change. Monday am 5:30am,same stack, Aniracetam, piracetam, Alpha GPC, L-theanine, felt a little better waking up, more energy, made a nice morning, but I felt like I was dragging a little by 1:00, so took second dose of my stack, and when 4:00pm came along, I really felt like I was crashing, extremely tired trying to drive home, very sleepy. Am I not stacking right? Or taking on a good schedule?
            Thanks for any help.

          • Braintropic

            I’d stick to something as simple as the aniracetam, Alpha GPC, L-theanine, for a couple of weeks before adding any more components to the stack. Feeling sleepy may or may not be related to the stack so experimenting with removing components (or reducing dosages) can help pinpoint any issues. Finding the right stack, and dosages, can take some time.

  • Chrystal

    OK, here is a quick history. I was born with Bipolar Disorder and ADHD and insomnia. Because of an abusive childhood I also suffer from PTSD with major panic attacks. I am currently on Zoloft, Geodon, Mirtazapine and Ritalin just to try and function like a “normal” person. My wish is to get off all meds though it scares me to death. I have tried suicide 6 times since I was 8 yo (now 32.) My son, 10 years old, also inherited ADHD and Bipolar Disorder from me as well and he is on Guanfacine. I’m not sure what to try and stack for myself. My hope is to also have another baby at some point but not while I’m on these meds. Also, can my son try anything to help him. The Guanfacine does little to help and it makes him tired and not want to eat. It breaks my heart. Any and all advice will be very helpful!

  • Denise

    Hey, I am currently writing my PhD. thesis and am already behind my work. I need focus, creativity, motivation, concentration but also need to improve my memory and reduce my anxiety and nervousness. I can’t take Sulbutiamine as I am on a SSRI antidepressant (Sertraline 50mg in the evening). I also take Wellbutrin 300 mg in the morning and Omega 3 and Gingko Biloba twice a day. I have bought Alpha-GPC, Caffeine, Theanine, Huperzine A, Noopept, Phenylpiracetam, Pramiacetam and Aniracetam and am not completely sure how to stack them to get the best out of it. I am completely new to nootropics, so I probably should start low. Any thoughts on that? Also is there anything I could take instead of Sulbutiamine with similar benefits? Thank you!

    • Braintropic

      Starting slow is highly recommended, especially if you are new to nootropics. Introducing one or two components at a time, over a period of a few weeks, would be ideal so that you can get a good feel of how things are affecting your system.

      There isn’t really a direct sulbutiamine replacement. Aniracetam has some crossover in terms of effects so that should help.

      Talking to your prescribing doctor would also be wise to ensure that there
      are no contraindications to anything you have been prescribed.

  • Labros

    I have a general question,when you are making your stack,do you take the same amount of a nootropic as if you would take it individually?Also, what if one nootropic is water soluble and the other is fat soluble ?What do you do in that occasion?My current reason for nootropics is studying for exams,i ordered noopept,oxiracetam,phelynpiracetam,aniracetam,choline and piracetam.I ordered them from powdercity but it takes weeks for it to arrive here,so from the nootropics i ordered which ones should i use for studying and which ones on the exam day?

    • Braintropic

      It is generally recommended to lower the doses of individual components of a stack that have similar effects or have similar mechanisms of action.

      Whether supplement is water soluble or fat soluble, the only difference is how your body will absorb it and store it. There is no need to ingest them any differently, unless you are trying to dissolve them before taking.

      As for your question about which nootropics to take for studying vs. exam day, have a look at our nootropic stacks for students guide for some ideas.

  • Gerry

    New to the nootropic world. I noticed powder city sells capsule forms of the racetam and choline sources. Instead of measuring the powders would using the pre measured capsules work equally as well when stacking nootropics? Also if using the powdered form could you mix it in coffee? Thanks

    • Braintropic

      They would work equally well. Capsules offer extra convenience but they lack the ability to fine tune dosages. You could theoretically mix powder form nootropics into your coffee but the taste would likely turn you off.

    • Braintropic

      You pay a bit more for the convenience and also lose the ability to fine tune dosing if you’re into that but otherwise it’s a worthwhile option!

  • Existential Crisis

    Would be worth noting that phenibut also builds tolerance very quickly. It’s not advised to be taking more than 2-3x/wk unless you want to experience negative side effects.

    Small things like this are important, but figured I’d just add that for anyone curious about using phen, which is great! (but has the potential to mess you up if used wrongly)

  • Jason Serraow

    I’m trying the Nootopic stack for the first time, and due to lack of availability of many,only these are available Piracetam,Sulbutiamine,Acetyl L-Carnitine,Ginkgo Biloba. Any suggestion on should I approach with these. A response would be well appreciated as. And yes,the aim behind is to max. my efforts for an exam.

    • Braintropic

      Those nootropics could be the basis of a good starting stack. Look into the addition of caffeine and L-theanine, a popular combination for increased focus.

  • blue stack

    for the alpha gpc component in formulations, does it have to this type choline? i think i might be able to get cheaper choline that not alpha gpc.

    • Braintropic

      The other two choline sources that are able to pass the blood-brain-barrier and have demonstrated nootropic effects are citicoline and centrophenoxine. Here’s our guide to choosing a choline source if you’d like to read further.

  • ps976

    I also have a general question. About water soluble racetam’s in general. Would there be any harm in premixing them in water for consumption later in the day (for about 8 hours)? Assumptions would be that the misture would stay at room temp. and would be in a dark bottle or stored in a dark location.

  • Jessica Mitchell

    I’m looking for alternatives to using stimulant medications on my children. What if anything changes or is recommended if I want to try stacking for my kids.

  • Ryan

    What would you suggest for a shift worker? I’m referring to the times you should take your stacks

    • Braintropic

      It’s common for people to take nootropics 30-60 minutes before the mentally demanding tasks begin and then once again 4-5 hours later. This type of dosage timing attempts to capitalize on the nootropic’s acute effects.