October 05, 2017

The Best Nootropic Stacks for Energy, Focus, Memory & More


Nootropics taken on their own can greatly increase the power of your mind. But, taking them as a stack can help to enhance the effects and take advantage of other health benefits. Here you'll learn about what nootropic stacks are, how to get started with nootropic stacks, what makes an effective nootropic stack, the pros and cons of nootropic stacks, the top 3 best nootropic stacks, as well as the best nootropic stacks for studying, energy and focus, depression, and more.



Nootropic stacks have fast become the performance-enhancing method of choice for many students at top Colleges and Universities as well as in the workplace. Why? Because of their potentially powerful and longer lasting effects than single nootropics and other types of smart drugs. Are you new to nootropics? Then, you'll learn what you need to know to get started with nootropic stacks here. Have you been using nootropics and/or been experimenting with nootropic stacks for quite some time? Then, here, you'll likely learn about some of the new and best nootropic stacks designed for specific uses and particular types of nootropics.

Who are Using Nootropic Stacks?

In many ways, Silicon Valley software gurus can be credited for popularizing the culture of smart drugs. Due to the high pressure and high stakes of competing in the tech industry, tech entrepreneurs have turned to nootropic stacks to increase performance and boost productivity. Renowned entrepreneurs such as Dave Asprey, for example, take nootropic stacks of up to 15 pills a day[1]. Another growing trend of nootropic use is in the workplace. According to the Harvard Business Review, Carl Cederström suggests, it's only a matter of time before smart drugs become commonplace at work[2]. Students are another group with whom nootropic stacks are highly popular with. In a report published by the AAP, survey findings show that up to 20% of Ivy League students are using nootropic stacks to improve academic performance. In addition, the report concludes that the same students are very likely to continue using nootropics after graduation[3].

Why Have Nootropic Stacks Become So Popular?

One of the main reasons why nootropic stacks have become so popular is due to their ability to enhance brain cognition and improve memory.

Let's you and I do a quick memory test. Below are 3 sets of random numbers between 0 and 99. The aim of the game is to see how many numbers you can correctly recall in the sequence they are given. The only two rules are; (1) you have up to 1-minute to look and remember each set of numbers, and (2) you must hide the numbers when recalling your answers. To get started, click the '+' on one of the number sets below and start your 1-minute timer. When the 1-minute is up, click the '-' on the number set. Then, open up a notepad on your computer or phone, or take a pen and piece of paper, and write down the numbers in the sequence you remember them. When you're done. Click the '+' button on the number set and see how you did. Ready to begin?

Memory Test

Set 1, 5 numbers: 9, 54, 20, 17, 6

Set 2, 10 numbers: 80, 68, 47, 58, 25, 9, 64, 20, 96, 70

Set 3, 20 numbers: 33, 52, 29, 77, 60, 79, 3, 22, 16, 1, 99, 17, 81, 70, 3, 12, 7, 19, 78, 13

How did you do? Did you remember them all? Most people can correctly recall set 1, some people can correctly recall set 2, and very few people can correctly recall set 3. What does this have to do with nootropic stacks? Let's say you had no problem with remembering set 1, had some trouble remembering set 2 and, found it extremely difficult remembering set 3. With a nootropic stack that is designed to increase memory, you would more likely be able to correctly recall set 2 and even set 3. That's the power of nootropic stacks and one of the key reasons why they have become so popular.

What are Nootropic Stacks?

Nootropic stacks are simply a combination of two or more nootropics.
Nootropic stacks are simply nootropics combined with other nootropics. Two or more nootropics combined make a nootropic stack. Stacking nootropics can either be a mix [within] the type of nootropic. For example, a mix of Racetams, or a mix of natural nootropics. Or a mix [between] the types of nootropics. For example, mixing Racetams with Natural nootropics. Or, mixing Cholines with Ampakines. Or, mixing Racetams with Cholines and Vitamin-B derivatives.

Whether you're stacking various types of synthetic nootropics, natural nootropics, or a combination of both, nootropic stacks can come in a multitude of combinations. The problem is, with the various types of nootropics available, it can be confusing and overwhelming to learn how each nootropic works, what best to mix it with, and how much to safely take. To save you time, hassle, and perhaps even some money and disappointment, I've listed, for you below, some of the best nootropic stacks for certain types of nootropics as well as the best nootropic stacks for certain types of needs.

Why Stack Nootropics?

Nootropics taken on their own are extremely effective. But, there are several reasons why people stack them. For instance, these are to:

5 Reasons To Stack Nootropics

  1. Enhance the effects of each of the combined nootropics.
  2. Complement the benefits of the combined nootropics.
  3. Create greater synergy between a combination of nootropics.
  4. Negate some of the side effects of particular nootropics.
  5. Take advantage of other health benefits provided by other nootropics.
For most users, the purpose of a typical stack is to enhance each nootropic so that all ingredients are utilized to their full potential. This is because, nootropic supplements, whether natural or synthetic, have different effects and mechanisms of action on the brain. Therefore, using two or more nootropics allows you to acquire a larger variety of benefits from different nootropics. For example, you may combine a nootropic that enhances cognition with another that increases attention and elevates mood.

Whether you are looking to increase your brain power and boost your memory as a college student, or to increase focus and attention, and lower anxiety if you work in a high-pressure environment, there is a nootropic stack for everyone. Each stack listed below is specially formulated to achieve the targeted effects as efficiently as possible.

What Makes an Effective Nootropic Stack?

Starting out with a single nootropic is the easy part. You can choose from a wide-range of supplements with different effects to suit your needs or wants. It gets complicated, however, when stacking two or more nootropics. Just stacking nootropics doesn't necessarily mean it will produce the desired result. A fair amount of knowledge and experimenting is needed to get the right mix to achieve the desired effect(s). So, whether you are buying a preformulated stack or making your own, here's a few important things you need to know about what makes a safe and effective nootropic stack.

Creates Synergy

  • The stacking of nootropics is primarily meant to enhance the action of each component. For example, if you are using aniracetam to improve cognition, it helps to stack it with a choline supplement such as CDP Choline. Aniracetam acts by increasing the levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps to increase attention, memory, and motivation. While, on the other hand, CDP Choline helps to enhance the cognitive effects of aniracetam while protecting the brain and acting as an anti-oxidant. The synergistic effects of providing extra choline from the nootropic CDP Choline will, therefore, help to boost the effects of aniracetam making it one of the best nootropic stacks.

Targets a Particular Outcome

  • Some nootropics promote memory and learning, others enhance focus and concentration, some help neurons to grow and function, while others lower anxiety and stress. Although some nootropics have more than one effect, it makes sense to stack nootropics whose properties enhance a particular cognitive effect. This is the reason why there are stacks for memory and learning, stacks for energy and focus, stacks for stress and anxiety, and stacks for depression. Some of the best nootropic stacks are those that are designed to target a particular outcome.

Avoids Negative Interactions

  • A good stack must contain ingredients that work together without canceling out each other's benefits. For example, L-Theanine helps ease the adverse effects of caffeine but may lower its energizing effect. Therefore, when stacking nootropics, ideally you want to combine nootropics that compliment each other.

Simplicity

  • In most cases, the fewer the components in a stack, the better. Quite often you'll find, the best nootropic stacks are those that contain 2-5 different nootropics. Having more than 5 nootropics in a stack doesn't necessarily mean it will be better. When stacking nootropics, the aim should always be to target a particular outcome or effect. Using a minimum of nootropics in one stack also helps to keep the costs low, minimizes the risk of adverse interactions, and allows you to monitor every ingredient so as to make adjustments accordingly.

How to Get Started with Nootropic Stacks

There are two main ways to get started with using nootropic stacks.
  1. Firstly, you can use pre-formulated stacks from a manufacturer. These are bottled off-the-shelf stacks that are great if you are starting out with nootropics. Pre-formulated stacks will often be designed to serve a particular purpose. They also serve as an excellent introduction into stacking and are more convenient than weighing and mixing your own stacks.
  2. Secondly, you may opt for a (custom) self-formulated stack. Unlike pre-formulated stacks, a self-formulated stack allows you to experiment with different nootropics, dosages, and components of the stack. It is advised, however, that you only mix your own stacks if you are experienced and knowledgeable with nootropics. This is to ensure that you mix the right ingredients with the right amounts for the best and safest effects.

Pros of Nootropic Stacks


  • Helps to boost the cognitive effects beyond the peak of a single nootropic supplement. This is because nootropics have different mechanisms of action. Therefore, using more than one supplement helps you to achieve stronger effects via several pathways for maximum benefit.
  • One nootropic in a stack can counter the adverse effects of another. For example, choline helps lower the unwanted effects of some racetams. A well-designed stack can, therefore, have much fewer side effects as a result.
  • You are able to take advantage of the multiple benefits of different supplements. Because nootropics have a broad range of effects, using several at once gives you a wider spectrum of advantages such as improved memory recall, reduced anxiety, better neuronal growth, and more energy.

Cons of Nootropic Stacks


  • It's more expensive. Although most nootropics are affordable, using a combination of different supplements will increase the total cost.
  • You need to have the experience to build your own. Custom nootropics should only be designed by those who understand nootropics. Experimenting with nootropic stacks without adequate knowledge may lead to creating an ineffective stack, puts you at risk of overdosing, or experiencing adverse health issues.
  • Stacks are much stronger than single nootropics. Therefore, improper use may lead to dependence and other side effects.
  • It is more cumbersome to use a nootropic stack if you have to weigh and mix your own. Using a preformulated stack, however, will solve this issue.

Top 3 Best Nootropic Stacks

Caffeine and L-Theanine

One of the best nootropic stacks is the combination of L-theanine and caffeine. It's also one of a few stacks that are better supported by science than any other nootropic substance. Anybody who regularly drinks coffee will know how effective it can be at promoting mental awareness and concentration. But, according to experts at the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, caffeine may also help to prevent cognitive decline in healthy individuals[4]. On the other hand, L-theanine's purported benefits differ from caffeine but are equally valuable. In a report published by the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition report[5], clinical studies show that L-theanine allows users to relax without experiencing drowsiness.

There's no doubt that L-theanine and caffeine are valuable on their own, but the substances' power is truly unleashed when they're combined. For instance, when consumed alone in high dosages, caffeine can cause jitteriness and anxiety. Combining L-theanine, however, tampers with these effects. This was, for example, discovered in a 2008 Nutritional Neuroscience study[6]. The study found that subjects who consumed L-theanine and caffeine together performed better on attention-switching tasks than those who used caffeine alone. The study concluded that the combination could prove most beneficial for those undertaking cognitively demanding pursuits (e.g. studying, problem-solving, etc.)

Piracetam and Choline

The market boasts a vast range of nootropics these days, but Piracetam, developed in the 1960s by Belgian pharmacologists, remains among the most popular. It has a long and well-documented history of success, particularly among seniors in the midst of cognitive decline. Cognitive improvements are prompted by the enhanced cellular membrane fluidity Piracetam promotes. Piracetam also amplifies the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is linked to focus and memory. Some Piracetam users, however, complain of headaches or other mild side effects.

These can be avoided by boosting the presence of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain—which is exactly what Choline accomplishes. Choline, a precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, makes Piracetam and other Racetam nootropics far more effective than they would otherwise be on their own. For such reasons, the combination of Piracetam and Choline is one of the best nootropic stacks for focus and memory.

PAO Stack

Racetam nootropics hold many similarities but, they are by no means identical. Nootropic enthusiasts claim to derive the greatest benefits from Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam (PAO) when they're consumed together. Each Racetam outperforms the others in a specific area. So, what makes this one of the best nootropics stacks is, when taken at the same time, users enjoy the full range of mental benefits. The bulk of existing research indicates that nootropics are safe and effective when consumed in correct dosages. These miracle drugs hold great promise, both as immediate cognitive enhancers and long-term treatments for a variety of conditions.

The Best Nootropic Stack for Studying

The best nootropic stacks for students are typically those that boost memory formation and recall while increasing attention, focus, and motivation. Studying demands an enormous amount of mental resources and often for long periods of time. Use the nootropic stack below to get the most out of studying. The best nootropic stack for studying contains daily doses of the following:
  • 300-600mg Piracetam: A highly potent study aid which helps boosts memory and the retention of information. Take Piracetam as either one or two doses daily.
  • 300-600mg Alpha GPC: This boosts acetylcholine in the brain, and creates synergy when used with racetams. It increases focus and memory and counters negative side effects of racetams such as headaches.
  • 200mg L-Theanine: This lowers stress, improves focus, and allows you to relax and sleep better. L-Theanine also counters the jittery effects of caffeine if you are taking coffee to ward off sleep.
  • 1-2 caps of Lion's Mane: This natural nootropic elevates the levels of Nerve Growth Factor, which boosts brain functions such as memory formation and cognition.
  • 450-900mg of Ashwagandha Powder: This natural supplement increases the body's tolerance to stress which, for example, is a major problem for students facing exams.
Taking 20-30mg of vinpocetine before a test will also help to improve your memory. 100mg of caffeine a day also works well with racetams to boost focus and mental performance. Adding a multivitamin and omega-3 supplements will additionally improve your brain health and well-being.

Best Nootropic Stack for Energy and Focus

To maximize the effects of nootropics on mental focus and energy, a combination of racetams, choline boosters, and natural supplements that increase mental focus and energy is recommended. The following is one of the best nootropic stacks available:
  • 800mg to 1,200mg of Piracetam: Taken daily, this will significantly improve your cognitive ability. It is also well tolerated and therefore best for beginners.
  • 500 to 1,000mg Centrophenoxine: This is a source of Choline, which also has neuroprotective properties. Centrophenoxine works well with racetams to boost cognition, focus, and attention.
  • 300 to 600mg of Alpha GPC: This is another cholinergic compound which enhances the effects of Racetams.
  • 250mg to 500mg of L-Tyrosine: Contains high levels of L-Dopa, which boosts the levels of dopamine to elevate mood and make you feel energized.
  • 400mg of Sulbutiamine: This compound is renowned for its effect in increasing alertness, focus and attention. It also elevates mood and improves memory.
For greater results, you may want to substitute Aniracetam or Noopept for Piracetam. Although Piracetam is effective, its effects are milder. Synthetic nootropics such as Modafinil, Adrafinil, or Phenylpiracetam are much more efficient at boosting focus and attention and can be a short-term alternative during exams or high-stress situations. However, this recommended stack is less potent and suitable for everyday use.

The Best Nootropic Stack for Depression

Certain types of nootropics have an extensive capability to elevate your mood. Some also help to fight depression, lower stress and reduce anxiety. Due to the rising interest of nootropics for depression, below is one of the best nootropic stacks for overcoming depression:
  • 1,000mg of Aniracetam: This racetam is famous for its mood elevating properties. It is also a potent stimulant that makes you feel motivated and full of positive mental energy.
  • 200mg to 300mg of 5-HTP: This is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for mood. 5-HTP fights depression without adverse effects.
  • 200mg of L-Theanine: This nootropic fights depressed mood by lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • 15 to 30g of Mucuna Pruriens: Contains high levels of L-Dopa, a precursor to dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
  • 250 to 350 mg of Phenibut: This is a derivative of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps to prevent stress and lower anxiety.
  • 300 to 500mg of Valerian Root: This natural nootropic increases the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA—which lowers stress.

Best Nootropic Stack with Piracetam

Piracetam was the first Racetam to be synthesized and is still highly popular today. However, it has much milder effects than other Racetams. Adding it to a nootropic stack can greatly enhance its effects and reduce its downsides.
  • 800mg to 1,200mg Piracetam.
  • 400mg Aniracetam.
  • 400mg Oxiracetam.
  • 200mg L-Theanine.
  • 100 to 200mg Caffeine.
Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam are all Racetams which, when combined, enhance the effects of each other. Aniracetam is more powerful and has a mood-elevating benefit, while oxiracetam adds an energizing effect to the stack. The caffeine increases focus and stimulation while L-Theanine creates a relaxing effect.

More on Piracetam

Best Nootropic Stack with Vyvanse

Vyvanse can significantly increase your ability to focus and stay energized, making it a popular prescription for ADHD and ADD. However, like with the Piracetam stack, using Vyvanse with other nootropics can enhance its effects and lessen its adverse effects. For this Vyvanse stack, the combined nootropics smoothen the excessive stimulation of Vyvanse and prevent mental crashes making it one of the best nootropic stacks in its class.
  • 30mg of Vyvanse: Taken daily.
  • 15mg of Noopept: A potent nootropic that enhances cognition, memory, and mental acuity.
  • 200mg CPD Choline: Provides more choline for better cognitive function.
  • 200mg L-Theanine: Fights low mood and depression by inhibiting cortisol hormone.
  • 1,000mg fish oil: High in omega 3 fatty acids for better mental health and function.
  • Orange Triad Multivitamin: Rich in multivitamins which are essential in the production of neurotransmitters and general brain health.

Best Nootropic Stack with Noopept

Noopept is one of the best nootropics in the market today. This is one of the best nootropic stacks proven to enhance cognition, memory, alertness and ability to reason.
  • 10 to 30mg of Noopept: Taken daily.
  • 5mg of Huperzine A: An acetylcholine booster that enhances the cholinergic properties of Noopept.
  • 300 to 600mg of Alpha GPC: A source of Choline to compliment the actions of Noopept.
  • 400mg of Sulbutiamine: Has mood-boosting properties which enhance those of Noopept.
For even greater effects, you may want to use Noopept with Aniracetam with a choline booster such as CPD Choline.

More on Noopept | More on Choline

Best Nootropic Stack with Modafinil

A study jointly conducted by the Harvard Medical School and Oxford University conclusively showed that the nootropic modafinil boosts creativity and learning and also enhances your ability to plan and make decisions[7]. A similar study by Imperial College London showed that sleep-deprived surgeons using the Modafinil were less impulsive and better at planning and redirecting their attention[8]. Modafinil, a highly effective synthetic nootropic, is one of the most popular nootropics due to its ability to enhance cognition, improve mental focus and ability to plan. To go past the peak of this nootropic, however, and achieve even better results, here is the best nootropic stack containing modafinil.
  • 300mg of modafinil: Once every morning.
  • 100mg Caffeine: The stimulant properties caffeine will help to boost the effects of modafinil.
  • 30mg of Yohimbine HCL: This is a natural stimulant to keep you energized through the day.
  • 500mg Alpha GPC: To help boost choline levels and enhance modafinil effects.
  • 1,000mg Fish Oil: For essential Omega-3 fatty acids for better brain health and functionality.

Best Nootropic Stack with Adderall

Adderall is a powerful mood enhancer and stimulant. This is one of the best nootropic stacks with Adderall to help improve mood in addition to enhancing cognition.
  • 100 to 200mg of Caffeine: For greater stimulation and focus.300 to 400mg of L-Theanine for calming effect
  • 300 to 400mg of L-Theanine: For calming effect.400mg of aniracetam for greater cognitive enhancing ability
  • 400mg of Aniracetam: For greater cognitive enhancing ability.

See also: The Best Nootropics For Mind, Memory, Motivation & More.

Summary

Nootropic stacks are a popular method of enhancing cognition, brain health and function. The best nootropic stacks should synergistically promote the effects of each component and, allow you to go beyond the peak of each nootropic. While stacking nootropics are an effective way of enhancing the results from taking nootropics, it can also be a cost-efficient and reliable way of getting the best out of your nootropic supplements. Combine Adderall and Vyvanse to smooth out their overstimulating effects as well as enhance their potency. Safe and effective, nootropics enhance memory, alertness, and sensory perception. If you decide to self-formulate your own nootropic stacks ensure you know about the nootropics you're using and the correct dosages. If you decide to use pre-formulated/off-the-shelf stacks, ensure they are manufactured by a trusted label and follow the recommended dosages.


References

  1. Segall, L, and E. Fink. "Are smart drugs driving Silicon Valley?" CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 26 Jan. 2015.
  2. Cederström, C. "Like It or Not, “Smart Drugs” Are Coming to the Office." Harvard Business Review. N.p., 19 May 2016.
  3. "Many Ivy League Students Don't View ADHD Medication Misuse as Cheating." American Academy of Pediatrics. N.p., 14 May 2014.
  4. Nehlig, A. "Is caffeine a cognitive enhancer?" Journal of Alzheimer's Disease: JAD. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d.
  5. Nobre, A. C., A. Rao, and G. N. Owen. "L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state." Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. 2008
  6. Owen, G. N., H. Parnell, E. A. De, and J. A. Rycroft. "The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood." Nutritional Neuroscience. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2008.
  7. "Review of 'smart drug' shows modafinil does enhance cognition." University of Oxford. N.p., 20 Aug. 2015.
  8. Shafazand, S. "Effect of Pharmacological Enhancement on the Cognitive and Clinical Psychomotor Performance of Sleep-Deprived Doctors: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Yearbook of Neurology and Neurosurgery 2012 (2012): 160-61.