Although nootropics are useful on their own, they can be made even better with a concept called “stacking”.
A nootropic “stack” involves pairing various nootropic substances together with the goal of improving the overall benefits.
Nootropic stacks can be purchased “pre-formulated”, or you can build your own. Here we discuss how you can begin formulating your own nootropic stacks, and how to maintain it over time.
If you’re still not sure where to start once you reach the end of this article, we’ve also include 2 basic nootropic stacks to get you started.
First Of All, What Is A Nootropics Stack?
A nootropic stack is a combination of nootropic substances. A good nootropic stack will combine substances that work well together, and take them at the right time.
When substances work together, they are said to be “synergistic” with each other.
What is Synergy?
Synergy occurs when 2 or more substances have compounding effects with each other. Their effects become far stronger in combination than either of them separately.
An easy way to understand synergy is with a simple math equation, whereby the values represent the effects of the substances.
Normally, 1 + 1 = 2
This is what happens when you mix things together in most cases.
With synergy however, you get something more like 1 + 1 = 10
The effects of one compounds the effects of the other, and vice versa, making an effect far stronger than the original substances.
The opposite of synergy is something called antagonism. When this happens, the effects cancel each other out. This would be like saying 1 + 1 = 0
Synergy & antagonism are important concepts when it comes to formulating nootropic stacks because it can determine a good nootropic stack from a bad one.
A Bad Stack
A bad nootropic stack is the combination of substances that are antagonistic together.
With a poor stack design, you can increase the nootropic supplementation regimen, while simultaneously decreasing its effectiveness overall.
As discussed earlier, antagonism means that the ingredients in the stack are cancelling each other out, rather than improving their overall effect.
For example, combining substances that stimulate with other substances that are sedative will essentially cancel each other out, voiding both effects.
A Good Stack
A good nootropic stack will include ingredients that compliment each other through synergy.
Good nootropic stacks take into account how long each substance will stay in the system, and how they’ll interact with the other nootropics taken throughout the day.
Preformulated Nootropic Stacks vs Custom Nootropic Stacks
Everybody is different and will have a different interaction to the same thing. Making nootropic stacks yourself allows you to formulate your own according to your body and how it responds.
You can make your own stacks by purchasing encapsulated nootropic substances and taking them in combination, or by purchasing raw, powdered nootropics to encapsulate yourself.
Preformulated nootropic stacks tend to be more expensive, but take out all of the guesswork involved with synergy and dosing, as well as the time involved with weighing, and filling capsules.
1. Identify Your Goals
This is the first step in deciding what nootropics to include in your stack. If you’re looking to increase your learning and memory during study, your stack will likely look very different than someone trying to alleviate stress and promote more relaxed cognitive states.
It’s possible to have multiple goals with your nootropic stack (such as improving concentration at work or school in the day, and improve sleep at night), however, it’s important to identify what these goals are, and to try and limit them, to just 1 or 2.
This helps you isolate the compounds that are going to give you the strongest effect for these specific goals, and makes it easier to track your improvements.
Keep in mind you can always adapt your nootropic stack later on to address other goals.
2. Research Your Options
Your next step is to investigate the options available that can help you with the specific goals you set above. There are many resources for this online that discuss the different benefits of nootropics.
Try starting a list of all the nootropics that target your specific cognitive goal as you conduct your research.
3. Consider Synergy
This part may take some time, and can be different from person to person. Many people start by finding compounds with known synergy, and experiment from there with gradual changes to their nootropic stack over time.
Things to consider in terms of synergy are:
- Cofactors for cellular processes (Magnesium, Zinc, B Vitamins)
- Neurotransmitter promoters (like Racetams) with nutritional precursors (such as Alpha GPC)
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (Passionflower, Muira Puama, Bioperine)
- Substances that address side effects of other ingredients (such as L-Theanine with Caffeine)
- Bioavailability enhancers (such as bioperine)
4. Check The Doses
After deciding what you want to include in your stack, it’s important to check the doses. Although most nootropics have few side effects, it’s essential that you understand the dose of any and all supplements you take. This is not exclusive to nootropics.
Taking a wrong dose can bring on side effects. We include the dosage instructions on all of our products on the packages.
In addition, it’s important to understand what the potential side effects might be so that if they were to appear, you can figure out exactly what’s causing it, and either reduce the dosage, or stop that particular supplement altogether.
Patience is key when it comes to supplementation. Too many people begin taking their nootropic regimen expecting them to turn into Bradley Cooper from Limitless after just a single dose. Unfortunately, this is not how this stuff works.
Most nootropic stacks take between 3 and 14 days to take effect. This is especially true with nutrition-based nootropic ingredients because it requires a shift in nutritional status before changes are experienced.
When you start taking your stack, the best thing to do is stick to it for about 2 weeks, and avoid thinking to much about it. Take note of how you’re feeling in the days leading up to your new nootropic regimen, then compare them to how you feel after about 2 weeks on the nootropic stack.
Maintaining Your Nootropic Stack
There are a few things to keep in mind when taking your nootropic stack long-term.
The first is that it’s best to take breaks from time to time. These are often referred to as cycles, which are designed to prevent your nootropics from compounding in the bloodstream.
This happens when you mistakenly take more of the nootropic substance before it’s completely cleared from the system over long periods of time.
Over time, the nootropic concentrations build in your bloodstream, and can begin to cause side effects if breaks aren’t taken occasionally.
This isn’t the case with all nootropics, but is still a recommended practice.
Some popular examples of nootropic cycles include:
- 3 days on, 1 day off.
- 1 month on, 5 days off
- 3 months on, 1 week off.
Make Changes to your Stack Slowly
If you suddenly change your entire nootropic stack, you won’t know what caused any of the changes that followed. This isn’t useful when it comes to improving your stack.
Instead, the best way to go about changing your nootropic stack is to make changes one at a time, waiting 2 or more weeks in between these changes.
Getting Started On Custom Nootropic Stacks
This all may seem confusing, but in reality it can be very enjoyable to experiment and explore new combinations to see what works best for you.
The simplest way to get started is to find a nootropic stack that someone else uses. You can make changes slowly from there.
Below we’ve even included 2 very simple stacks to get you started.
Nootropic Sample 1: For Learning & Memory
|Caffeine||100 mg or a Cup of Coffee|
|Alpha GPC||325 mg|
|Alpha GPC||325 mg|
|Magnesium Taurate Blend||250 mg|
Nootropic Sample 2: For Mood & Sleep
|Ashwagandha KSM-66||300 mg|
|Magnesium Taurate Blend||250 mg|
|Ashwagandha KSM-66||300 mg|
Where To Find Ingredients For Custom Nootropic Stacks
We sell a variety of nootropic ingredients in pre-formulated, and raw ingredient formats. We offer options for both pre-measured and encapsulated, as well as in powder form to allow custom encapsulation.
Visit our shop to get started with nootropic stacking today!