CILTEP, from Natural Stacks, provides optimal mental performance

CILTEP: How Does It Stack Up?

Ciltep promises increased memory, focus, and mood. But how does it stack up?

Ciltep is a nootropic stack for memory and focus consisting of multiple cognitive enhancers in one pill.

Natural Stacks, the makers of Ciltep, promise “increased motivation, improved concentration, mood, and enhanced ability to study.” As a daily supplement, it is supposed to reduce brain fog and improve overall cognitive ability. It also may have effects on mood and energy.

Ciltep is actually one of the first commercially available nootropic stacks to come to market, debuting in 2012, and it has many fans around the world, including some of the most popular members of the “neurohacker” community, like Tim Ferris and Dave Asprey.

But is it still the right choice in today’s more sophisticated nootropics scene? Let’s find out.

CILTEP Ingredients

Ciltep is consists of these ingredients:

  • Artichoke Extract 900 mg.
  • Forskolin 20 mg.
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine 750 mg.
  • L-Phenylalanine 500 mg.
  • Vitamin B6 5 mg.

The idea is that these individual cognitive enhancers work together in a synergistic way that can improve mental abilities in a way that they cannot individually.

How It Works


Ciltep may increase long-term potentiation, which could improve memory storage

Ciltep is designed to induce long-term potentiation (LTP) in the brain. LTP is the process of encoding new memories in your synapses. This is crucial for overall mental functioning.

Its primary mechanism of action seems to involve the neurotransmitter cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). cAMP is involved in many biological processes, including LTP.1<a href=””  target=”_blank”>Cyclic AMP,</a> PubChem. 2019

Ciltep can raise levels of cAMP by inhibiting an enzyme called PDE4. PDE4 is responsible for breaking down cAMP, so by decreasing PDE4, Ciltep indirectly increases cAMP. Artichoke extract seems to be primarily responsible for this action.

The compound forskolin also seems to be able to increase cAMP levels in the brain directly.

This nootropic stack also includes Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), a compound that may be able to fight stress and fatigue.

The L-phenylalanine may provide some support to the dopamine system, although the evidence on this is very mixed.

Ciltep rounds out this mix with vitamin B6, a crucial mineral cofactor in many metabolic and mental processes. Supplementing with more B vitamins is rarely a bad idea.

How To Take Ciltep And When To Take Ciltep

Foodie Factor

Most people find that Ciltep pairs well with their morning coffee

The makers of Ciltep recommend that you take 1-3 pills in the morning, ideally on an empty stomach. Many people report good results in taking their daily dose with coffee or tea for an added kick.

It may take a few days or weeks of supplementing to experience the benefits of this product fully. However, some users report feeling at least some positive effects immediately.

It’s generally a good idea to cycle a nootropic like Ciltep. Most people who take this nootropic stack long term adopt a 5-days-on-2-days-off or every-other-day schedule. Cycling prevents your brain from building tolerance and gives your system a chance to rest.

Where To Buy Ciltep

You can purchase Ciltep online directly from the Natural Stacks website, or Amazon.

It is also available at some local retailers, depending on your location, but it is generally going to be cheaper and more convenient for most people to order online.

Is Ciltep Safe?

There are currently no published trials on the safety of Ciltep. However, there are no reported cases of any life-threatening or dangerous reactions to this nootropic.

The individual components are mostly natural and relatively benign. The most common complaint from users is occasional nausea.

That said, anyone under the age of 18 should not take CILTEP. The effects of nootropic substances on developing brains are mostly unknown, so it is better to play it safe.

Ciltep For ADHD

Bahaa A. Shawqi

According to some users, Ciltep can increase focus

Ciltep may be useful for people with ADHD. There are no clinical trials for Ciltep as a stack, but some of the ingredients do have some research behind it for treating ADHD.

Forskolin’s effect on cAMP may improve symptoms of this disorder according to one preliminary study.2Andersen SL. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Changes in the second messenger cyclic AMP during development may underlie motoric symptoms in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),</a> Behav Brain Res. 2002

ALCAR may also help treat inattentive-type ADHD, but does not seem to be particularly useful for most people suffering from this condition.3Arnold LE, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a multi-site, placebo-controlled pilot trial,</a> J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2007

Vitamin B6 deficiency is also associated with ADHD symptoms.4Mousain-Bosc M, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders,</a> Magnes Res. 2006

There are many anecdotal reviews online that say this nootropic stack helped them with their attention problems. There are also some saying that it did NOT help, and potentially made it worse. So, as with any nootropic supplement, your mileage may vary.

Ciltep For Depression


Artichoke extract is a main ingredient in Ciltep

Ciltep is primarily marketed as a nootropic for focus, energy, and attention. However, some users do report better moods while taking it.

Supplementing with ALCAR, a primary ingredient in CILTEP can improve depressive symptoms in mice by raising levels of norepinephrine and serotonin.

There is also one preliminary trial indicating that it can significantly decrease signs of depression in human patients versus placebo, although more research needs to be done to confirm these findings.5Smeland OB, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice,</a> Neurochem Int. 2012 6Veronese N, et al. Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplementation and the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Psychosom Med. 2018

There is a small trial that indicates forskolin may improve depressive symptoms in depressed and schizophrenic patients. However, this study was small and involved IV infusions of forskolin, so it’s hard to tell how this effect might translate in a product like CILTEP.7Bersudsky Y, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>A preliminary study of possible psychoactive effects of intravenous forskolin in depressed and schizophrenic patients. Short communication,</a> J Neural Transm (Vienna). 1996

There is also evidence that B6 deficiency can also cause depressive symptoms. So, if you aren’t getting enough of this vitamin in your diet, the B6 in CILTEP may be useful for raising your mood.8Hvas AM, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Vitamin B6 level is associated with symptoms of depression,</a> Psychother Psychosom. 2004

Overall, this stack seems to work well for some people’s moods, but there are probably better nootropics out there if you are looking for relief from depression.

Ciltep For Anxiety

The only component of CILTEP with clinically proven benefits for anxiety is ALCAR, which has lowered anxiety in rats.9Levine J, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Effect of intraperitoneal acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) on anxiety-like behaviours in rats,</a> Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2005

There are some reports of CILTEP decreasing anxiety from users, but there are also occasional reports of it increasing anxiety in some people. Again, your mileage may vary, and if you are looking specifically for anxiety relief, there are probably better products out there, in our opinion.

Ciltep For Quick Thinking And Brain Fog

eberhard grossgasteiger

Ciltep is formulated to help clear out symptoms of brain fog

This is a category where CILTEP seems to shine consistently. Many users report increased clarity and mental sharpness while taking this nootropic stack.

While there are no clinical trials we can point to at this moment, there’s no shortage of glowing reviews claiming it can improve overall focus and cognition.

Poker player Martin Jacobson credits CILTEP for helping him win the 2014 World Series Of Poker Winner. (Keep in mind Natural Stacks, the maker of CILTEP did sponsor Jacobson, so you can take his endorsement with a grain of salt.)10<a href=””  target=”_blank”>Natural poker drugs,</a> Poker Discover. 2015

The forskolin/artichoke extract combo in this stack does seem to be responsible for this effect. These two components can increase cAMP levels in the brain, which can improve cognition and also trigger a downstream effect of raising dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels.11Almeida LE, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Autocrine activation of neuronal NMDA receptors by aspartate mediates dopamine- and cAMP-induced CREB-dependent gene transcription,</a> J Neurosci. 2009

This could have an overall positive effect on cognition, cutting through brain fog and increasing mental sharpness.

The addition of ALCAR in this nootropic stack can add to this effect. This ingredient can alter energy metabolism in the brain and further boost serotonin and noradrenaline, according to animal studies.12Smeland OB, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice,</a> Neurochem Int. 2012

Ciltep For Increased Motivation

Many users report increased motivation from CILTEP.

However, some people do claim it can give them a “washed out” feeling, especially the day after taking it. Tim Ferris claims that although CILTEP is effective, he feels the need to sleep longer while on it.

The Benefits Of Increasing cAMP

cAMP seems to be the primary mechanism Ciltep works through

CILTEP primarily works by increasing cAMP levels in the brain. There are many potential benefits to doing this.

cAMP is responsible for neuroplasticity and encoding new memories. So higher cAMP levels could improve memory encoding and recall.13Jörg-Peter Ewert. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>cAMP and Memory,</a> Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions. 2013

It also seems that cAMP may indirectly raise levels of catecholamines (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine), which can have a periphery effect on mood, motivation, and focus.14Smeland OB. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice,</a> Neurochem Int. 2012

Raising cAMP can have anti-aging and brain health benefits, possibly increasing longevity.15Zhuoran Wang, et al. <a href=””  target=”_blank”>Cyclic AMP Mimics the Anti-ageing Effects of Calorie Restriction by Up-Regulating Sirtuin,</a> Sci Rep. 2015

There are also metabolic and weight-loss benefits associated with increasing cAMP.16Jay H. Chung. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Metabolic benefits of inhibiting cAMP-PDEs with resveratrol,</a> Adipocyte. 2012

For Diets

CILTEP could have positive physical effects as well as mental ones. Theoretically, forskolin’s action on cAMP could alter metabolism in a beneficial way for people looking to lose weight. It has recently gained traction in the media as a fat-burning supplement.

So does that mean CILTEP could be a diet aid? Well, this is still not settled science. While there is one rat study showing that forskolin can prevent obesity, the few human trials on the subject do not show apparent weight-loss effects.

However, there is evidence that forskolin may encourage beneficial changes in body composition and muscle mass, as well as increase serum testosterone in men.17Doseyici S, et al. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>The effects of forskolin and rolipram on cAMP, cGMP and free fatty acid levels in diet induced obesity,</a> Biotech Histochem. 2014 18Shonteh Henderson, et al. <a href=””  target=”_blank”>Effects of Coleus Forskohlii Supplementation on Body Composition and Hematological Profiles in Mildly Overweight Women,</a> J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2005 19Michael P. Godard Brad A. Johnson Scott R. Richmond. <a href=”″  target=”_blank”>Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated with Forskolin Consumption in Overweight and Obese Men,</a> Obesity. 2015

So, while the jury is still out, it appears that this nootropic may have at least some effect on metabolism and physical health.

CILTEP is appropriate for vegan, vegetarian, and keto diets.


Ciltep and Caffeine

Most users agree that CILTEP works well combined with caffeine. CILTEP and caffeine seem to potentiate each other positively, leading to more energy, motivation, and focus.

This is especially the case with “smart coffee,” which has additional brain-boosting nootropic ingredients.

If you are going to try CILTEP, we highly recommend this combo.

Reviews From The Internet


“In terms of bang for the buck…it’s hard to say that there’s anything out there that I’ve tried that can rival it.”


“I’ve tried it. I really really wanted it to work but didn’t notice anything. I blinded myself against a placebo and guessed wrong with like 60% certainty. I still have a good deal of it so I’ll probably try again in the future but it was a disappointment.”



“Working in an investment risk management role, I wanted a nootropic to help keep me on top of my game. Of the ones I’ve tried, Ciltep is by far the best and is now an integral part of my morning routine. I take three pills with a cup of green tea every weekday morning. My job requires me to make critical decisions in a matter of seconds, and there’s a noticeable difference in my job performance on days where I’ve taken Ciltep versus days I haven’t. Ciltep gives me a heightened sense of alertness without making me jittery like other nootropics. I find that I’m able to think far more clearly (especially early in the morning where I’d normally be a little foggy) and am a better problem-solver and decision-maker because of it.”

-bizzle dizzle

“I have a caffeine sensitivity right now, so I don’t couple it with any caffeine (as recommended, not required). The effects are still great though – until about 5 or 6 hours in, then there’s a terrible 1-hour crash, after which point it takes the rest of the day for my brain to get back to normal operating levels. Yuck.”



Users should take 1-3 pills per day, in the morning on an empty stomach.

Side Effects

The most common side effects that people seem to complain about are nausea and headache. However, most people do not see any real negative reactions from this nootropic stack.20<a href=””  target=”_blank”>I Tried CITEP and it gave me a massive migrane,</a> Reddit 21<a href=””  target=”_blank”>Ciltep Debunked,</a> Reddit

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About the author:

Erik Levi

Erik Levi is a co-founder of and a certified holistic nutritional therapy practitioner.

As an NTP Erik takes a nutrition first approach to health. He has worked with many different people to help them use nutrition to optimize their quality of life.

Erik believes that mental health is a physiological process and cognitive enhancement is not something that can be achieved by just taking some pills with good Amazon reviews.

Instead, true cognitive enhancement comes with the right balance of nutrients, movement, and gratitude. Erik continues to stay up to date with the most current nootropic and holistic health research and promises to deliver the best solutions possible.

You can check out his personal health blog/podcast/YouTube Channel all under the name Holistic A-Hole.

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