How to Create a Nootropic Stack
Everywhere people are searching for ways to feel better and do better. One way to accomplish that is to take supplements that improve one’s health. Especially when it comes to the functions of the brain, for the the health of our brain dictates a lot of how we feel and how we perform in our everyday lives. So what supplements should we take? Unfortunately there is no clear one-size-fits-all answer. However, one thing that people often do is combine certain herbs, medicines, extracts, vitamins and other helpful supplements to improve their brain function. So this is a perfect opportunity to address exactly how to go about that.
Nootropic Stack or the Combination of Nootropics for better Performance
We are going to go over how to create a “nootropic stack”, which is a modern term for a combination of supplements taken together for brain health and mind enhancing effects. Our inspiration for writing this article was from reading through numerous other articles on “how to build a nootropic stack” feeling a sense of gut wrenching and head shaking after. So we hope to share with you how to build a custom nootropic stack that is accurate, healthy, complete, and practical. Let’s see how to create a nootropic stack.
Firstly, for better brain function, there is nothing better to start with than the grand-daddy of nootropics, piracetam. Piracetam has been shown to improve memory, attention, critical thinking, and reaction time. These are derived from your brain being able to form new neural connections more quickly, and with more solidarity. Piracetam is considered to be in the “racetam” class of substances. Many people use piracetam to think more clearly about their life, put them in a better mood, perform eloquent speeches, win sports competitions, get better scores on exams, and handle the day to day stresses of work. That is exactly the strength of piracetam and its family of analogues (such as noopept and phenylpiracetam), each delivering a similar result with a slightly different feeling and pharmacology. Millions of people around the world have been safely using piracetam for the last 30+ years and it is considered one of the safest synthetic supplements out there. However, with that being said, there are a number of people that do not react well to it. One should start with a small dose for about 3 days to determine whether piracetam works well with your physiology. If so, this would be a perfect start for your nootropic stack. If you don’t react well to it, we suggest not trying any of the analogues either and instead use other cholinergic supplements.
The second supplement you should consider for your stack is one that can boost choline levels in your brain. The primary issue with using a “racetam” is that it causes your brain to process information and learn new things at a rapid rate, consuming large amounts of choline. Reduced choline levels can be associated with headaches, migraines, and irritability. Just like how an olympian might consume 12,000 calories a day when training because they use so much energy. The more the brain processes, the more acetylcholine it will need. To get more acetylcholine one would simply need to supplement with a “choline donor” substance such as Alpha GPC, citicoline, centrophenoxine, or just plain spinach. You would probably need a ton of spinach, so supplementing with one of the other choline donors would be much easier. They are all very safe, have no more reported side effects than vitamin C and do nothing more than just make choline more available in your body. With that said, there have been studies that have shown that these choline donors taken consistently can produce similar effects to the racetams, which is actually quite impressive. So, especially if you are supplementing with a racetam, a choline donor is definitely an important part of your nootropic stack.
The next thing people would usually put in their stack is an energy source. The most traditional source of energy is caffeine. However, one should ask what kind of caffeine does one want to take? Also, should one try an alternative energy source? Or both? Starting with caffeine, the lowest on the totem pole is caffeine anhydrous. It is synthetic and usually comes with more side effects at lower dosages. The side effects of caffeine are numerous, but are most often anxiety, lack of clarity, reduced creativity, reduced oxygen flow to the brain, irritability, and shaking. This is why it is important to choose a quality caffeine source. So watch out for anything that does not expressly say where the caffeine comes from as it is probably caffeine anhydrous. The next is caffeine citrate and dicaffeine malate. Followed by coffee. Coffee is known to come with a crash at the end that gets people to drink another coffee, and be constantly fighting the energy-less, depressed, inevitable crash. Then you have your natural extracts such as green coffee bean extract, kola extract, and yerba mate extract. This type of caffeine has been grown from plants and extracted out to give you a balanced feeling that comes natural to the ingestion of these plants. Next will be teas, especially white or green tea. They are known to give a more balanced energy that reduce anxiety, mostly attributed to l-theanine, a relaxing and calming supplement. It is one thing to have energy, but just like you might see in a science fiction movie, unbridled energy can lead to disaster (thinking of iron man). Teas allow you to control it, bring the energy into focus, confidence, and a better sense in well-being. Guarana fruit extract is actually shown to have similar properties to tea in that it significantly improved focus  and reduced anxiety  when compared to coffee or yerba mate.
If you choose not to use caffeine or want to boost your energy further, the next step should be a “mitochondrial accelerator”. These are supplements that help your cells produce more energy. The exact form of energy that our body uses is a chemical called ATP. Examples of this include forskolin, theobromine, synephrine, cordyceps sinensis, and even methylene blue (a popular dye used for medical purposes). Each of these supplements work by improving the function of your mitochondria giving you energy at a cellular level. They have extremely low side effects, usually give an ambient feeling, and have no noticeable lack of energy after the effects wear off. For a great way to boost natural energy levels for long periods of time, try using some mitochondrial accelerators in your stack.
Great, so now you are thinking fast and you have the energy that could take you to the stars. But now it’s time to bring you back to earth by introducing adaptogens to your stack. Because the other supplements (especially caffeine) can cause your mind and body to work harder, your brain can become exhausted or unbalanced. An example is that caffeine, while energizing you and making you feel alert, also releases a lot of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your body to feel weak, stressed out, and irritable. So to reduce or possibly even reverse these negative side effects, one could take adaptogens. Adaptogens are a class of substances that brings balance to your body. They typically act by reducing anxiety, stress, over-excitement, and modulating hormone levels. To go back to the original example of caffeine, people usually supplement caffeine with L-theanine (found in green tea) to reduce cortisol levels and prevent over-excitement of neurons (jittery-ness). Other really powerful adaptogens include reishi mushrooms, ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, bacopa monnieri, and cordyceps sinensis. Adaptogens are very safe. If you were to eat handfuls of them, you would get a very expensive stomach ache at the most, followed by a very calming and relaxing feeling. When combined with a racetam and an energy source, the adaptogens will make one go from feeling excited and somewhat “on-edge” to feeling confident, aware, and collected, which is ultimately going to allow you to be more productive and will give you more of an executive presence. Some adaptogens we didn’t mention are maca, yohimbe, and ginseng. The only reason is that these supplements often have conflicts with other supplements and can actually make you feel worse when taken in a stack.
With a healthy diet containing lots of vegetables along with plenty of fermented foods and sunlight, one should not have too many issues with their neurophysiological activity. However, that only represents about 0.1% of the population. For the other 99.9% of us, it is important to supplement our diet with natural vitamins that boost brain power and allow us to live at our optimal health. Vitamins are molecules that are critical for our ability to live that our body is unable to produce itself. Some of these critical functions are responsible for the production of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and dopamine which are the building blocks to an enhanced mental state. Because your body is producing these neurotransmitters more quickly than normal, it is also using up valuable resources faster. In the case of acetylcholine (the learning chemical), one would need to supplement with not only choline and acetyl groups, but also would need vitamin B6 for example to put them together to create the final form: acetylcholine. The main vitamins that influence the production of these cognitive enhancing neurotransmitters are vitamin B3, B6, B5, B12, C and D3. Taking these vitamins are most important for people who are deficient in them, and for people who take other nootropic supplements such as the ones previously mentioned in this article. This makes neurovitamins an essential part of a nootropic stack.
The main minerals that affect brain function are the electrolytes (manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium) because they directly influence brain function by their ability to transmit signals. Electrolyte balance is of the most important things to regulate and is relatively common knowledge as pretty much everyone has heard they should stay hydrated. However, few people know that in order to be properly hydrated, it is essential to consume water along with all five main electrolytes. By consuming optimal values of electrolytes, one can experience clear thought, quick reaction time, a sense of motivation, and improved muscle function. Further minerals that are essential include: iodine for its role in the immune system which helps “clean” the brain, zinc for its role in facilitating the transportation of neurotransmitters, selenium for its hormone regulating abilities, iron for its vital role of delivering oxygen to the brain, and copper for its ability to develop neural pathways. As each of these is critically important, they should make a decent addition to your nootropic stack shopping list. So we highly recommend taking a multivitamin geared toward brain health when taking nootropics.
Our brain is a big chemical factory. Every second there are over 500,000 different proteins in your body and millions of enzymatic reactions. And each cell is like a car, including the exhaust system. The exhaust of your cells is CO2, free radicals and other waste. And when you increase the performance of your brain, you also increase the amount of waste. Neuroprotectors can come in the form of antioxidants and immune boosters. The antioxidants absorb the free radicals and the immune boosters help clean up the metabolic waste chemicals. Most people know what antioxidants are, but it is worth mentioning the best ones for the brain, for only certain substances can cross through the blood brain barrier. Some examples of highly potent antioxidants for the brain are grapeseed extract, ubiquinol, astaxanthin, alpha lipoic acid, and carnitine. As for immune boosters, there are many things that can help boost your immune system including proper breathing and exercise. Some supplements that can help your immune system boost your brain function are chaga, reishi, cordyceps mushrooms, lemon balm, ginseng, myrrh, and astragalus. Usually putting one or two of these from each category is enough to give your nootropic stack a good immunity boost.
Now you are familiar with each of the components of a nootropic stack. Depending on your tolerance levels, your immune system, your goals, and your preference of how you feel, you can adjust your stack as so. To give you an easy way to get all your bases covered we have done extensive research in each of these categories and have indexed hundreds of nootropic substances with dozens of research papers per substance, and have used all that research to create a formula that maximizes each of the above categories. You can check out THRIIV here. We suggest taking it with a high quality multivitamin to ensure you are not deficient in any critical neuro-vitamins or minerals. Or you can simply go purchase each of these ingredients individually which will actually cost you quite a bit more, up to you. However, we strongly advise that if you are not an experienced nootropic user, you can stick with THRIIV which is based on the accuracy of hundreds of research papers on neuroscience, then go from there. It’s only $10 to try and can save you from making mistakes with your neurophysiology which can be quite costly. Even if you don’t buy from us, we highly suggest you try stick as close to the THRIIV formula as possible as we hope for a safe and uplifting experience for everyone.