Should you purchase your nootropics as ready-to-take capsules or in the form of bulk powders that you mix, measure, and encapsulate yourself? The answer to this question, as to many questions about nootropics, is a resounding “it depends.” There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods, and the relative superiority of either is largely up to each user’s personal preferences, budget, and goals.
Capping Your Own Nootropics Saves Money and Gives You Control
One of the most common reasons cited for packing your own nootropic pills is potential cost savings. Premade nootropic capsules can be substantially more expensive than the same nootropics in bulk powder form, and if you opt for preformulated “special blend” capsules that combine several compounds, the price is higher still. But while you’ll pay less cash for bulk nootropics, the cost of filling your own capsules is an investment in equipment, expertise, and time.
However, cost isn’t the only factor to be considered. Many nootropic users prefer to have complete control over every aspect of the smart drugs they consume, from specific combinations of custom-tailored dosages to hand-picked fillers. This level of customization and control is only possible if you buy all the components in bulk and take the time to precisely pack your own capsules. Most preformulated nootropics don’t include the more powerful, yet popular, components such as Noopept or those in the racetam family, like aniracetam/oxiracetam/phenylpiracetam, etc.
Though the prospect of simultaneously saving money and creating personalized nootropic combinations is appealing, it’s a project best tackled by experienced users. Knowing what to expect from the various nootropics available and being clear on the dosages that suit you best are key to getting the most out of making your own pills.
But for experienced nootropic users, buying compounds in powdered form and packing capsules can be well worth the effort. The small initial investment in required equipment can quickly be offset by the low cost of bulk nootropic powers, resulting in a net cost savings. Even more importantly, packing your own capsules can give you absolutely optimum results by putting you in complete control of every aspect of the process. You can create your own personalized blends, you select your own fillers, and you know exactly what each and every capsule contains.
What You’ll Need To Make Your Own Nootropic Capsules
If you’ve made the decision to start packing your own capsules, the first step is assembling your tools. The equipment you need for filling your own capsules is minimal and relatively inexpensive, but each item is basically indispensable.
- Empty gel capsules are number one on your equipment list. Empty caps are available in a variety of sizes, with size “00” (which holds about 735 mg) and size “0” (which holds about 500 mg) being most typically used for nootropics.
- A capsule filling machine is essential. There are many types and brands available but two of the most popular and commonly used are The Capsule Machine, which creates and automatically joins up to 24 capsules at a time, and the Cap-M-Quick, which can create up to 50 capsules at a time but does not automatically join the capsules. Capsule filling machines are built to accommodate one specific size of gel caps; The Capsule Machine and the Cap-M-Quick both offer models that will handle size “00” or size “0” capsules. Both brands are available from many online vendors, and both cost less than $30.
- A milligram scale is necessary for accurately weighing the materials you will put into your capsules. Milligram scales are widely available, with prices that range from less than $20 to well over $200.
- A mortar and pestle are recommended for mixing your nootropics and fillers. These sets are available everywhere in a variety of sizes and materials, with prices that start under $10.
- Nootropics and fillers in bulk powder form that you plan to encapsulate. While fillers aren’t strictly necessary if you’re hand-filling each capsule one by one, they are important if you’re using a capsule making machine in order to ensure each capsule is properly and evenly filled. Almost any edible non-reactive powdered material, including kitchen staples like baking soda, corn starch, and flour, can be used as a filler, but they add little but bulk to the finished product. Other popular fillers include protein powder, creatine, and glutamine which can be complimentary to the nootropics in the mix while providing the necessary bulk.
The Step by Step Guide
This guide will teach you how to make blended nootropic capsules, in a way that will give you an accurate and consistent final product.
Accuracy is crucial to getting optimal results, so when you’re ready to start filling your capsules, chose a time and place that will ensure you’re neither rushed or crowded. For the first time trying this, you’ll want to set aside at least a couple of hours when you can be relatively free of interruptions and distractions, and get your equipment arranged on a stable surface where you have plenty of room.
In this example, we’ll outline how to make 48 nootropic capsules containing 100 mg of picamilon (the active ingredient) and glutamine (the filler). In step six we’ll also cover more complex blends that involve more than one active component.
Step one: Load empty capsules into your machine. If you’re using The Capsule Machine, the number of empty capsules it can handle is 24.
Step two: Fill all 24 caps with your chosen filler material. If you plan to tamp down the powder in the final product, tamp down the filler in the caps at this point.
Step three: Empty all the filler you’ve just put into the capsules and weigh it. Divide the weight of the filler by the number of capsules (in this case, 24) to get the total weight of filler per cap.
Step four: Repeat steps two and three, using the nootropic you plan to encapsulate to get the total weight of nootropic per cap.
Step five: These first steps allow us to determine how much of each component can fit, in weight, per capsule. This is important because each nootropic compound can have a very different density and for making an accurate blend, this information is necessary. So in our example, let’s say that 24 caps of picamilon, our active ingredient, weighs 11,760 mg. Divide by 24 and we get a value of 490 mg a cap. The 24 caps of the glutamine filler weighs 17,160 mg. Divided by 24, we get 715 mg a cap.
Step six: The next step is determining the ratio of nootropic to filler. This step is somewhat complex, but absolutely essential to achieve maximum accuracy and optimal results.
Reddit user aleph32 came up with this handy formula that we’ve adapted:
Filler Density per Capsule * (1 – Target Active Weight per Capsule / Active Component Density per Capsule) = Necessary Filler Weight per Capsule
To illustrate this formula using the numbers from our example: 715 * (1 – 100 / 490) = 569 mg.
We then multiply our active ingredient target weight per capsule and the necessary filler weight per capsule by the amount of desired capsules:
569 mg glutamine x 48 caps = 27,312 mg glutamine
100 mg picamilon x 48 caps = 4800 mg picamilon
This formula can also be expanded to create blended capsules using more than one active ingredient.
Let’s say we wanted to add 10 mg of Noopept to our 100 mg of picamilon. We’d need to find out the density per capsule for Noopept and then plug it into an expanded version of the formula that looks like this when we use a 2nd (or 3rd, 4th…) active component.
Filler Density per Capsule * (1 – Target Active Weight per Capsule / Active Component Density per Capsule + 2nd Target Active Weight per Capsule / 2nd Active Component Density per Capsule) = Necessary Filler Weight per Capsule
For the example, let’s say that the density of Noopept is 500 mg per capsule and we wanted 10 mg per capsule, along with the 100 mg of picamilon, the formula would look like this:
715 * ( 1 – [100/490 + 10/500] ) = 555 mg. For 48 capsules, we’d need 4800 mg of picamilon, 480 mg of Noopept, and 26640 mg of filler.
Step seven: When you’ve worked out how much of each bulk powder you need, weigh out the total bulk powder of each component for your entire batch of 48 capsules.
Step eight: Use your mortar and pestle to thoroughly mix them. The best method for mixing nootropic and filler is to use the geometric dilution technique, a pharmaceutical process used to combine a small amount of one substance with a larger amount of another substance. Start by combining all of the nootropic (the substance to be used in the smaller amount) with an equal amount of filler and use the mortar and pestle to blend them thoroughly. When they are well blended, add an approximately equal amount of the filler to this mix and blend again. Repeat this process until the full amount of both nootropic and filler have been completely blended.
Step nine: When your nootropic and filler are thoroughly blended, use your capsule filling machine to create filled capsules.
Is Making Capsules Worth The Effort?
There’s no question that it can be a relatively complex process, particularly if you want to go the extra mile for optimum results by making sure your capsules hold accurate and precisely measured doses. However, measuring, determining ratios, and filling your own capsules gets faster and easier with practice.
Making your own nootropic capsules can save you a lot of money, give you the option of personalizing your blends, and put you in 100% control of every aspect of the smart drugs you’re taking, and offer you convenience of not needing to mess around with bulk powders every day.
Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.