The Best Nootropic Stack For Ultimate Brain Performance

The Best Nootropic Stack For Ultimate Brain Performance

Best Nootropic Stack

As nootropics become more popular, so too do nootropic stacks.

This idea of mixing and matching different nootropic supplements, also known as stacking, is one of the most effective ways to boost brain performance significantly.

Stacking goes beyond the idea that if something is good, more must be better, as it utilizes the synergistic power that two (or more) compounds can elicit from each other.

In other words, 1 + 1 = 5!

The following article dives deep into the concept of nootropics stacks, reviews some of the more popular preformulated stacks, and gives insight into what makes the best nootropic stack!

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Nootropic Stacks vs. Individual Nootropic Supplements

Nootropic brain supplements are smart drugs that have various actions on brain functioning.

They can enhance learning, boost memory, and improve natural mental performance.1Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

Nootropics can also help the brain and body to resist stress conditions such as low oxygen or electroconvulsive shock.2Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

Nootropics may also protect the brain from damage by physical and chemical toxins. 3Amy L. Roe et al, The Safety and Efficacy of Botanicals with Nootropic EffectsCurr Neuropharmacol. 2021

All these functions vary depending on the formulation of a nootropic supplement and its main ingredient.

Nootropic Stacks

On the other hand, a nootropic stack is formed by the combination of various nootropic supplements together.

All the components of a nootropic stack should act synergistically, enhancing and augmenting the effect of each other.4Ruchi Malik et al Towards better brain management: nootropicsCurr Med Chem. 2007

Most importantly, a nootropic stack should be safe.

When properly formulated, a nootropic stack can significantly enhance overall brain performance.

A suitable formulation of nootropic ingredients presents many cognitive benefits that boost memory, brain energy, mental processing speed, and memory and retention skills.

The right stack consisting of brain supplements, including the best nootropics, may also stave off cognitive decline, promoting an overall healthy brain.

Nootropic Synergy – Mixing Nootropics

The best nootropic stack for your needs includes nootropic ingredients that work synergystically to maximize their effectiveness.

Although tempting, throwing the kitchen sink of even the best nootropic supplements in a formula is not wise as you may encounter adverse effects.

When used together, many nootropic supplements biochemically antagonize each other, cancel out their effect, and lead to zero benefits.

That’s why it’s important to carefully do your research and make sure you understand how to pair each nootropic supplement.

The Best Nootropic Stacks Understand Timing

Every supplement has a half-life in the body, meaning a specific time after which the amount will reduce to half.

Stacks are devised to act effectively, keeping timing and half-life in mind. This is true even for agonists.

Using too many synergistically acting nootropics in a stack might lead to a worse outcome than an expected good one simply due to half-life complications and other biochemical factors.

Excessive use may have zero to abnormally large effects on the body.

Always try supplementing lower dosages first and give enough time to observe their effects.

You can adjust the dosage slightly if you feel the body needs more.

Make sure to avoid overdosing on nootropics alongside other powerful nootropics because you don’t know what the outcome would be in that case.

Nootropics and Brain Health

Nootropics have many cognitive benefits that contribute to overall powerful, healthy brain. An effective nootropic stack increases these benefits exponentially.

Nootropic stacks, loaded with potent cognitive enhancers, encourage the release of brain chemicals escalating brain energy and mental function.5Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

Nootropic stacks have also been shown to promote the growth of brain cells, and strenghtening brain cell membranes, henceforth preventing brain degeneration and promoting brain cell repair and brain health.6Philippe Taupin, Nootropic agents stimulate neurogenesis. Brain Cells, Inc.: WO2007104035Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2009

A good nootropic stack helps you reach peak mental performance and brain power preventing brain degeneration.

Nootropic Stack Benefits

Nootropic stacks can improve brain function in many ways, and are used for everything from focus and memory improvement, to boosts in mental processing and overall mental clarity.7María Medrano et al Acute Effect of a Dietary Multi-Ingredient Nootropic as a Cognitive Enhancer in Young Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Triple-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover TrialFront Nutr. 2022

Many preformulated nootropic stacks like Mind Lab Pro and the Alpha Brain nootropic stack contain a range of natural nootropic supplements, each with their own set of benefits.

These nootropics can increase the blood flow to the brain, which boosts memory, mental processing speed, and cognitive performance. 8María Medrano et al Acute Effect of a Dietary Multi-Ingredient Nootropic as a Cognitive Enhancer in Young Healthy Adults: A Randomized, Triple-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover TrialFront Nutr. 2022

This helps individuals who have to retain a lot of new information daily, including high performing professionals, students, and even athletes.

Daily use can make learning and productivity more fruitful because the brain is more open to accepting and processing new information.

Nootropic stacks have also been shown to improve mental energy.9Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

This sharpens the focus and improves brain health and performance.10Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

Thus an individual is better able to focus on studies and routine tasks. An increase in concentration is likely to improve the quality of work.

What To Look For In A Nootropic Stack

A nootropic stack should be composed of an amalgam of ingredients acting in synergy.

It should contain a good blend of natural ingredients including a mix of nootropic supplements, herbs, adaptogens, mushrooms, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and as few added ingredients as possible.

The best nootropic stack should consist of a proportion of cofactors for cellular processes such as magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins.

Those making their own personal nootropic stack may opt for stacking smart drugs and synthetic nootropic supplements like racetams and noopept. We discuss some strategies for those below.

You also want to look for substances that mitigate or inhibit ingredient side effects.

Using l-theanine with caffeine is an example of this as l-theanine can take the edge off and lower the stimulatory effects.

Caffeine

Caffeine, when used in moderate doses along with other suitable nootropic supplements, can prove to be a beneficial nootropic.

Caffeine stacked with L-theanine is used as a beginner nootropic supplement.

It enhances cognitive functioning and learning.11Bryant J.Jongkees et al, Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands—A reviewJournal of Psychiatric Research. 2015

Caffeine is one of the most predominant names in energy boosting. It increases mental alertness and brain function.12Bryant J.Jongkees et al, Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands—A reviewJournal of Psychiatric Research. 2015

A few milligrams of this brain supplement is enough to increase mental clarity, cognitive functioning, and cognitive energy13Jorge Gutiérrez-Hellín and David Varillas-Delgado, Energy Drinks and Sports Performance, Cardiovascular Risk, and Genetic Associations; Future ProspectsNutrients 2021

Proprietary Blends

A proprietary blend is a special combination of ingredients in a nutritional supplement that is designed for a particular function.

Like a secret recipe, the amounts and ratios of the custom blend components are considered a trade secret.

Proprietary blends are looked down on because you can’t quantify how much of each ingredient is included.

This is not necessarily bad, but something to keep in mind.

As nootropic supplements have a crucial role in overall brain health, the blend can not be something to solely rely on as you don’t know what could be the effect of the amount of each component in a blend.

Best Overall Nootropic Stack

Following are some of the overall best nootropic stack products for healthy brain function.

Mind Lab Pro:

A standalone nootropic, Opti-Nutra is the company behind Mind lab pro.

Mind lab pro is a universal nootropic supplement that enhances cognition and boosts your mental health.14Mind Lab Pro® v4.0

It has 11 natural nootropic ingredients and scientifically proven brain-boosting ingredients.

Mind Lab Pro focuses on supporting a wide range of cognitive functions.15Mind Lab Pro® v4.0

The composition of Mind lab pro targets six areas of optimization.

The supplement also creates a nootropic synergy that targets four different areas of neural performance.16Mind Lab Pro® v4.0

Mind Lab Pro also enhances memory, mindset, structure, and performance and effectively improves cognitive performance, while helping to fight cognitive decline. 17Mind Lab Pro® v4.0

Qualia Mind

Qualia Mind Nootropic Stack

Qualia Mind is a nootropic supplement stack developed through extensive research.

It boosts brain energy and enhances focus, memory, and mental clarity in many neurological systems.18Qualia Mind

It has also been shown to enhance cognition.

The primary function is to upregulate the production of Brain-Derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) along with other neurological pathways that mediate the function of the brain.19Qualia Mind

It has 28 ingredients working in synergy.20Qualia Mind

These brain supplements also go a step ahead by supporting the synaptic formation, acetylcholine signaling, and mitochondrial function. 21Qualia Mind

Thesis

Thesis is a company that optimizes brain function by developing a personalized nootropics stack for each individual using a quiz.22Thesis

After assessing the brain’s requirements and using high-quality nootropic products, the company devises a nootropic stack that allows the brain to do whatever it does more efficiently.23Thesis

It promotes clarity, motivation, and logic.24Thesis

Neurofuel

Neurofuel

Neurofuel is also a nootropic stack available in the market to increase focus and motivation.

It also claims to improve long-term memory.25Alpha BRAIN®

It contains artichoke herbal extract, vitamin B6, Forskolin, and Acetyl-L-Carnitine synergistically improve the brain’s healthy cognitive function.26Alpha BRAIN®

The stack is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and paleo-friendly.

Alpha Brain

Onnit Alpha is another predominant nootropics stack.

This smart drug improves memory and supports cognitive function assisting in intense mental exertion.27Alpha BRAIN®

Better than other nootropics in this regard, it assists the brain in producing alpha waves and causes lasting mental clarity.28Alpha BRAIN®

Therefore it helps the brain achieve peak mental performance.

A potent nootropic stack, it enhances cognitive skills and cognitive health.29Alpha BRAIN®

The supplement also reduces brain fog.30Alpha BRAIN®

DIY Nootropic Stacks

It’s essential to keep a few things in mind if you’re combining nootropics to form your own nootropics stack, primarily the synergy and complementary mechanism of each ingredient in the stack.

As mentioned above, just combining the best nootropic supplements can only get you so far.

A nootropics stack is more than just a bunch of ingredients. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship between multiple nootropic supplements.

Synergy between nootropic suppelements specifically means that adding two or more nootropics may not be equal to the actual numerical sum of the components but may result in a greater than anticipated effect.31Kyle R. Roell, An Introduction to Terminology and Methodology of Chemical Synergy—Perspectives from Across DisciplinesFront. Pharmacol., 2017

That’s 0 plus 0 may be equal to 1, or 1 plus 1 may be equal to 4.

You cannot stack nootropics that do not complement each other and act synergistically.32Kyle R. Roell, An Introduction to Terminology and Methodology of Chemical Synergy—Perspectives from Across DisciplinesFront. Pharmacol., 2017

If each ingredient behaves differently or oppositely, then using them in a stack would be useless.33Kyle R. Roell, An Introduction to Terminology and Methodology of Chemical Synergy—Perspectives from Across DisciplinesFront. Pharmacol., 2017

Also keep in mind that not all stacks work for everyone.

Everyone’s brain reacts differently to different chemicals; therefore, it is essential to make a formulation that works for you.34Kyle R. Roell, An Introduction to Terminology and Methodology of Chemical Synergy—Perspectives from Across DisciplinesFront. Pharmacol., 2017

Many companies like Thesis make a customized nootropic according to every individual’s specific needs.

Stacks can also be made for a particular purpose. Like there can be a stack for the whole day.

Another stack may be specific for night or day, depending on your daily activities.

A stack may also be suitable to be used before exercise or studying to increase the outcomes of the activity.35Kyle R. Roell, An Introduction to Terminology and Methodology of Chemical Synergy—Perspectives from Across DisciplinesFront. Pharmacol., 2017

Since specific stacks may not work for everyone as everyone reacts differently to different substances, it is necessary to always check with a trained professional before making any changes to the diet and supplement regimen.36Kyle R. Roell, An Introduction to Terminology and Methodology of Chemical Synergy—Perspectives from Across DisciplinesFront. Pharmacol., 2017

Best Nootropic Starter Stack

The most basic starter stack of nootropics is the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, which act in synergy to augment energy and focus.

L-theanine’s main cognitive benefit is to promote alpha brain waves promotes the feeling of
“being in the zone” and calming the anxious mind.

These two benefits bolster caffeine’s ability to increase mental alertness and reduce brain fog with more focused mental energy.

Overall, this stack helps in increasing mental clarity and alertness, and mental clarity.

Racetam Stacks

Racetam stacks involve the combination of a choline source and a racetam.

Piracetam (racetam) supplements have a lot of significant advantages for brain function, but they must be taken in substantial doses and in combination with a choline source to work.37Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

This is because racetams work to deplete choline stores.

Always use choline like alpha gpc or cdp choline or huperzine A while taking racetams to counter this negative effect..38Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

Racetams include piracetam, oxiracetam, phenylpiracetam and aniracetam.

These stacks have many benefits. They have long been known to prevent cognitive decline.

They have several impacts, including enhancing memory and learning ability, enhancing attention span, focus, and concentration, and even assisting in mood enhancement.39Noor Azuin Suliman et al, Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural NootropicEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016

Best Stack For Learning and Memory

Some of the best nootropic stacks for boosting learning and memory include the following ingredients:

L-Tyrosine

This ingredient assists in stress reduction, relieving anxiety, and improving mood.

It can improve cognitive function, thus maintaining cognitive performance even under extreme stress.

Tyrosine helps steady cognitive performance during acute stress and boosts mental function and blood flow.40Zizhen Xie et al, A review of sleep disorders and melatoninNeurol Res. 2017

Lion’s Mane

Lions Mane Mushroom has been used to support nerve growth factor in the human brain.

It has a neuroprotective role in neurodegenerative diseases by virtue of its composition of a large amount of structurally different bioactive components, including polysaccharides, erinacines, hericerins, steroids, alkaloids, and lactones.41Ramón Martínez-Mármol, Hericerin derivatives from Hericium erinaceus exert BDNF-like neurotrophic activity in central hippocampal neurons and enhance memorybiorxiv. 2020

Lion’s mane is known to boost memory, increase brain energy, lower brain fog, and help with overall learning.

Alpha GPC

Like the maritime pine bark extract, alpha gpc is used for Alzheimer’s, stroke, and dementia is reduced caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.42Song Hee Lee et al, Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairmentBrain Res. 2017

It also enhances memory and thinking skills.43Song Hee Lee et al, Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairmentBrain Res. 2017

Best Nootropic Stack For A Calm Mood

The best stack for a calming mood includes the following ingredients:

Magnesium

Magnesium is among the most abundant minerals in the body.

It controls the activity of neuronal ion channels in the brain.

Magnesium, through its effect on neuron plasticity, boost cognitive function, recall, and memory.44Inna Slutsky et al, Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesiumNeuron. 2010

Magnesium threonate is typically the best form for mental performance due to its ability to cross the blood brain barrier.

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri for Studying

Among the best nootropics accessible, Bacopa monnieri has been used as an Ayurvedic for several years. Researchers have shown that Bacopa is as effective for anxiety as Lorazepam.

The compound is resistant to memory loss and has been shown to enhance brain health and cognitive functions.45ChuenjidKongkeaw et al, Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extractJournal of Ethnopharmacology. 2014

Reishi

Reishi mushroom is a powerful immune system supplement when combined with adaptogenic mushrooms like shiitake mushrooms.

It has potential nootropic effects and provides mood support and enhanced brain focus and energy.46Oleg B Shevelev et al, Hypotensive and neurometabolic effects of intragastric Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) administration in hypertensive ISIAH rat strainPhytomedicine. 2018

Best Nootropic Stack For Neuroprotection

If neuroprotection is the main aim behind your nootropic stack, then it should contain the following ingredients:

Alpha GPC (or CDP Choline)

Alpha gpc is used for Alzheimer’s and stroke. It also cures dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.47Song Hee Lee et al, Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairmentBrain Res. 2017

It also benefits cognition in individuals with mild cognitive impairment.

It also enhances memory and thinking skills.48Song Hee Lee et al, Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairmentBrain Res. 2017

Improving blood circulation helps in neuroprotection.49Song Hee Lee et al, Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairmentBrain Res. 2017

Methylene Blue

Methylene blue is a potent synthetic nootropic that increases mood memory and longevity.

It’s a mitochondrial booster with many cognitive and physical benefits.

Although not typically known as a brain supplement, methylene blue has been touted for improving cognitive performance.

It also eliminates social anxiety and makes you feel younger.

Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is a more robust version of thiamine suitable to improve cognitive function.

It is one of the best standalone nootropic supplements.50Bernardo Starling-Soares et al, Role of the Synthetic B1 Vitamin Sulbutiamine on HealthJ Nutr Metab. 2020

It has been linked to memory improvement and improving a wide array of cognitive skills. 51Bernardo Starling-Soares et al, Role of the Synthetic B1 Vitamin Sulbutiamine on HealthJ Nutr Metab. 2020

Best Nootropic Stack For Cognitive Energy

Cognitive energy can be enhanced using the following ingredients in a nootropic stack.

Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is stronger in effect than thiamine.

Sulbutiamine is essential for improving concentration and vigor and reducing memory loss.52J Micheau et al, Chronic administration of sulbutiamine improves long term memory formation in mice: possible cholinergic mediationPharmacol Biochem Behav. 1985

It is able to prevent inflammation helping the brain make wise decisions by keeping the brain functioning.

Sulbutiamine is required for the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh).53J Micheau et al, Chronic administration of sulbutiamine improves long term memory formation in mice: possible cholinergic mediationPharmacol Biochem Behav. 1985

In your brain, ACh is used to transmit messages between neurons.

It is also essential for memory, learning, and cognition.54J Micheau et al, Chronic administration of sulbutiamine improves long term memory formation in mice: possible cholinergic mediationPharmacol Biochem Behav. 1985

Sulbutiamine makes your body more resilient to stress.

Insufficient energy might affect one’s motivation and mood.

Thiamine can improve your mood and protect you from anxiety and despair.55J Micheau et al, Chronic administration of sulbutiamine improves long term memory formation in mice: possible cholinergic mediationPharmacol Biochem Behav. 1985

Alpha GPC (or CDP Choline)

Alpha GPC improves cognitive function and mental performance. It can be considered both a medication and a supplement.56Song Hee Lee , Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairmentBrain Res. 2017

Adrafinil

Adrafinil is a stimulant that fights against fatigue, increases the processing performance of the brain, boosts energy, and increases wellbeing.57Ana Sousa et al, Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic of the cognitive enhancer modafinil: Relevant clinical and forensic aspectsSubstance Abuse. 2020

FDA’s Warning On Mixing Supplements and Nootropics

The FDA warns producers and consumers about mixing supplements and nootropics for fear of adverse reactions.

Combining prescription drugs and nutritional supplements may have adverse and fatal effects.

Some consumers might think that a supposedly “natural” product, such as fish oil or herbal supplement, can do them no harm.

Safe does not always equate to natural, therefore very natural nootropic stack may not be safe.

Bring a list of all the prescription drugs and dietary supplements you take whenever you visit a doctor’s office.

Include the dosages and the number of times you take them each day.

Some people find it most convenient to pack up all of their prescription drugs and dietary supplements in one suitcase before going to the doctor.

Call your doctor before adding a dietary supplement to your daily regimen and inform them of all the supplements and prescriptions you are currently taking.

Additionally, let your doctor know if anything about your health has changed, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or have recently undergone surgery or an illness.58FDA 2022, Mixing Medications and Dietary Supplements Can Endanger Your HealthFDA 2022

This is also one big reason why I tout the preformulated nootropic stacks over making your own nootropic stack.

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Author

Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for HolisticNootropics.com and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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