Creating the most effective nootropic stack is a tricky business with so many nootropics available. In this article, we will look at the basics of nootropic substances, understand their benefits, and then discuss how to combine them for optimal effect.
- 1 What are Nootropics?
- 2 What is a Nootropic Stack?
- 3 Nootropic Stacking Options
- 4 Building a Custom Nootropic Stack: Things to Remember
- 5 Best Nootropic Stack for Beginners: Boosts Focus and Motivation
- 6 Best Nootropic Stack for Intermediate Users: Boosts Memory and Learning
- 7 Best Nootropic Stack for Advanced Users
- 8 PAO Stack: Supercharge Your Brain with Top Nootropics
- 9 Conclusion
What are Nootropics?
For the benefit of absolute beginners, nootropic substances – also called nootropics or smart drugs – are supplements or drugs that boost cognitive functions. These cognitive enhancers improve functions like memory, motivation, knowledge, focus, reasoning, comprehension, and language.
In simple words, the top nootropics promise to make your smarter.
This is where the appeal of nootropics lies: imagine, a pill that can make you smarter! You will be able to think more clearly, remember more, understand more, and focus more. What is there not to like?
But is that the truth? Does a nootropic substance or drug make you a smarter, and therefore, a better person? We will investigate that further in the article.
What is a Nootropic Stack?
The basic concept of nootropics is that one substance is good for boosting one function – for example, a compound that can enhance memory. Stacking refers to the process of combining two or more substances to create a more potent effect.
Each and every supplement acts to enhance a particular cognitive effect. Different substances in the stack complement the effect of each other, increasing the overall benefit to the user.
In the best nootropic stack, different substances create a synergy: the stack becomes more effective than the sum of its parts.
The best thing is, it is possible to combine different nootropics to enhance one specific faculty of the brain. So you can have different stacks for studying, for daily life, or for a relatively short burst of focus (like for an exam).
Nootropic Stacking Options
If you want to get started with nootropic stacks, you can approach it in any of the two ways:
Buy a Preformulated Stack
This approach is best for beginners – those just stepping into the promising world of cognition improvement through nootropic supplements.
A pre-formulated stack is a readymade solution – you can simply go to a shop and buy a bottle of nootropic pills right over the counter. In other words, a preformulated stack is the best nootropic supplement for absolute beginners. The manufacturer creates a combination and packs it into capsules, you just need to start taking the capsules.
Some popular brands of preformulated stacks are Alpha Brain, TruBrain, and BrainStack. While there may be plenty of other brands, these are the most tried and tested, and have a measure of reputation.
As with everything, there are pros and cons of buying a pre-formulated stack.
The biggest benefit is that you can start right away without worrying about the top nootropics. It is convenient, and it works.
Which brings us to the drawback of preformulated stacks – that it works the same way for every person, without accounting for individual needs. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is not desirable when you are looking to enhance specific brain functions.
How to overcome this problem?
Build Your Own Custom Stack
Creating your own nootropic stack gives you the ability to test different dosages with individual supplements – creating a customized stack that suits your requirements.
Building a custom stack allows you the flexibility to choose the top nootropics of your choice, mix them in proportions you want, and fixing your own dosage. You can also control the quality of each of the component that you use, creating the best nootropic stack for your purposes.
Another advantage of creating a custom stack is that it is usually cheaper on cost per dosage basis. Buying a pre-formulated stack means that you also pay for packaging and marketing charges. This can save a decent percent of costs for you.
To sum up, building your own custom stack is often cheaper and allows you more control and flexibility.
A possible drawback of creating a custom stack is knowing where to start, and what ingredient to add. This takes a fair amount of research, understanding the effects of individual nootropic supplements, how they interact when taken together, and how much to use.
Certainly, custom stacking is not for absolute beginners to nootropics. And it is not for everyone. If you have a little bit of DIY spirit inside you, and once you have been taking the supplements for some time, you can surely move on to creating your the best nootropic stack of your choice.
Building a Custom Nootropic Stack: Things to Remember
Here are some things to remember before you set on to create a custom nootropic stack:
One Nootropic for One Purpose
Research and understand each and every supplement that you intend to add to the stack. The best practice is to target one brain function with one nootropic – for example, NALT (N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine) for focus, or Noopept for memory.
Adding multiple compounds that will essentially act on the same function is a waste of effort and money.
This ‘One for One’ principle holds good not only for individual nootropic supplements but also for stacks. It is possible to design mini-stacks that are geared to address just one brain function, for example, a mini-stack for study, or a mini stack to take just before exams. We will discuss mini-stacks in the next sections.
There is an Optimal Quantity
More of a good thing is not always better. Even the top nootropics have an optimal dose, and it is best to learn the dose and stick to it.
Taking more than what is strictly needed will not necessarily improve performance. Conversely, it may even have a bad effect, or reduce the efficacy of other ingredients in the stack.
For example, a particular dose of caffeine will improve focus and attention. Too much caffeine will just make you jumpy.
When building a custom stack, or even experimenting with nootropic substances for the first time, it is always sensible to start with small doses and fewer substances.
Don’t pick too many supplements when you have just started, just pick one or two, and carefully see the effects on your mind and body. Too many substances are just likely to confuse you and you will not be able to discern their individual effects.
Also, start with small doses, and build up to the recommended dose to find your own tolerance level.
What is your motivation for using a nootropic stack? Always have an objective for creating and using a custom nootropic stack – what is it that you want to achieve with the stack? Would you be able to exercise the discipline to stick with the dosage at regular intervals? Will you pay enough attention to understand the effects of the nootropic supplements on your mind and body?
It is always good to ask yourself critical questions – after all, it is a matter not only of your body and health but also of your hard-earned money.
Design Your Own: Best Nootropic Stack
Now that we have understood the basic principles of making nootropic stacks, and leaned the precautions that we need to exercise, let us focus on the most important task – actually creating the best nootropic stack for your purposes.
We can approach the stack making based on the number and complexity of supplements used to create the stack. As such, we will have three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
Best Nootropic Stack for Beginners: Boosts Focus and Motivation
As explained earlier, the best approach for beginners is to start with simple supplements, and use as few as possible to start with.
Caffeine + L- theanine
This is the most popular beginner’s nootropic stack for several reasons:
- Has just two supplements
- The supplements are familiar to most of the beginners. Caffeine is found in coffee, while L-theanine is an amino-acid that is found in green tea.
- The benefits of both the nootropic supplements and the combined stack as well have been widely studied and confirmed by scientific research.
- Suitable for all age groups
Also, the ingredients are pretty cheap and easily available.
The way it works is that caffeine boosts focus and motivation, while L-theanine reduces anxiety and stress responses. In effect, you get the powerful boosts from caffeine, while the L-theanine cuts the jumpiness associated with too much caffeine, and relaxes you.
This nootropic stack promotes alertness, focus, attention, and an ability to switch between multiple tasks.
It is important to note that this stack is most effective during the first two hours of taking a dose – the effect gradually wears off after that. Caffeine and L-theanine are mixed in the ratio of 1:2 (100mg caffeine and 200mg of L-theanine).
Best Nootropic Stack for Intermediate Users: Boosts Memory and Learning
Once you are familiar with the concept of nootropic stacks for optimum benefits, it is time to move to the next level.
Here, we explore at another hugely popular stack that is tried and tested by most of the users:
Piracetam + Cholin
Piracetam is the parent compound of the racetam family and is one of the earliest nootropic supplements used to boost brain functions. In fact, the term “nootropic” itself was framed to describe the racetams.
The benefits of piracetam have also been established with plenty of studies and its benefits for wide cross-sections of users. It improves brain functions, memory, and skills like learning, reading, and comprehension. For this reason, it is considered the best nootropic stack for students.
Piracetam can be taken alone on its own, but its consumption increases glutamate absorption in the brain, resulting in slight headaches for some users. This issue is addressed by stacking Piracetam with choline.
Choline is not exactly a nootropic, but a nutrient that is needed for necessary functions like memory and muscle control. It also helps to smoothen the headaches that may result from Piracetam dose.
Recommended combination ratio is 8 parts of Piracetam to 1 part of choline.
When you have gained enough confidence, you can experiment by using different racetams – aniracetam, oxiracetam, or pramiracetam in place of Piracetam. They are all of the same family but have slightly different effects. It may also help you to discover which of the racetams actually works the best for you.
You could also experiment with Noopept in place of racetams.
Best Nootropic Stack for Advanced Users
For experienced users, a good approach would be to experiment with mini-stacks that are geared for use at a particular time of the day or to boost a specific function when needed.
What is important to note here is that the ingredients, that is, the nootropic supplements in the mini-stacks or the intermediate nootropic stacks are quick acting, focused on specific functions, and boost the mutual effect when combined.
So how does this work?
If you look at your normal schedule, you need to leverage different brain functions at different times. For example, you need to be alert in the morning as you begin to face the day, and drive to work. Sometimes you need to keep a high degree of motivation. Then you may need focus to tackle meetings or exams. And then, you need to wind down and relax in the evening. Or conversely, you need to pull an all-nighter, and need an extra boost of focus and energy.
The mini-stacks address each of the objectives separately. So, when you have a set schedule of going to work in the morning, and then coming back in the evening, you can create different stacks for each of these times.
For boosting brain functions in short bursts for exams or crucial meetings, you can rely on other stacks.
More specifically you can look at the following stacks:
- Caffeine Anhydrous 100 mg
- L-Theanine 50 mg
- Aniracetam 750 mg
- Alpha GPC 200 mg
- Fish Oil
You will notice this stack contains two of the previous stacks that we discussed, with some added ingredients to increase its value.
You could add still extra nootropic supplements as per your needs:
- Creatine HCI 750 mg
- Sulbutiamine 200 mg
- Noopept 50 mg (cycle with Pramiracetam 200 mg every 15 days)
- Aniracetam 750 mg
- Oxiracetam 750 mg
- Alpha GPC 300 mg
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom 2g ( or Huperzine A 1% 100 mcg once in 4 days)
- Phosphatidylserine 100 mg
Ideal for students – allowing you to stay focused and retain what you study
- Pramiracetam 300 mg
- Alpha GPC 300 mg
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom 2g
- L-theanine 200 mg
- Ashwagandha powder 450 mg
- Omega 3 Fish Oil
On test days, you could add the following to the stack
- Vinpocetine 20 mg
- Caffeine 100 mg
- Noopept 10 mg
- Oxiracetam (for maths, science subjects) or Aniracetam (creative, arts) 750 mg
Effective for exercises, workouts, or before any other physically demanding situation, to be taken 30 to 60 minutes before
- L- Citrulline 7 g
- Creatine 5 g
- Beta alanine 2 g
Take this stack 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.
- Magnesium Glycinate 400 mg
- Zinc Picolinate 10 mg
- Vitamin B6
- L-arginine 3g
- Pine Bark extract 100 mg
- L-tryptophan 1g
- L-theanine 100 mg (3 out of every 4 days)
- Phenibut 500 mg (every 4th day)
- Phosphatidylserine 100 mg
PAO Stack: Supercharge Your Brain with Top Nootropics
PAO stack stands for piracetam, aniracetam, and oxiracetam – three different members of the racetam family combined in a single stack.
Many people believe that being members of the same family, there would be significant overlap in the functions and effectiveness of the three ingredients. The fact is, while there is indeed a degree of overlap, the individual effect of each is significant enough that combining them is justified.
For example, piracetam improves memory and recollection, aniracetam boosts creativity, and oxiracetam improves alertness and motivation. Stacking them together could offer significant benefits.
When stacked together, the combined effect of the racetams is much greater than the sum of their effects. The positives of each reinforce the positives of the others, and the total benefit is greatly enhanced.
Your sensory perception may reach a much higher level, you will have a much higher level of energy, your motivations and memory will improve drastically, and your general mood and well-being may enhance vastly.
An important note here – this is a seriously advanced stack, not advised for beginners. If you are a beginner, and indeed want to graduate to the PAO stack, it is better if you have used the individual supplements separately, and monitored the effect of each carefully. Only when you are sure that each nootropic has a positive effect on you, should you move to stack them together.
If you are not careful with experimenting with the top nootropics before stacking them, it may become too much of a good thing. Your brain may virtually go faster and farther than you are ready for it – reversing all the benefits. You will loose focus, and become exhausted.
PAO dosage is not uniform in all cases – it will vary from person to person. You will know your own comfortable dosage by experimenting with each individually.
A suggested PAO dosage would be:
- Piracetam 800 mg
- Aniracetam 750 mg
- Oxiracetam 600 mg
- Alpha GPC 300 mg
Individual quantities of each of the supplements can vary, and the dosage can be spread over two different doses every day.
Nootropics are called ‘smart drugs’ for a reason – helping to boost different brain functions. They help to boost your memory, improve focus, brighten your mood, and generally make you more effective to address any mental challenges.
Creating a nootropic stack involves combining different supplements together to achieve the desired effect. When you use the top nootropics to create a stack, each supplement builds on the benefits of the other, the and the overall effect becomes much more
To build the best nootropic stack, understand your objectives, and then find the best supplements that fulfill those objectives. Experiment with different alternatives to find which works best for you.
It is also important to keep your physician in the loop – always discuss with a doctor the need to use nootropics and how it may affect you.