What’s going in my Nootropics stack?

Greeting Nootronauts. Last time I counted down my Top Four Smart Drugs.

Now it’s time to design my Nootropics stack. A stack describes what you’ll take, how you’ll take it, in what dosage, when you’ll take it and for how long. As usual I’ve taken to the intrawebs to see what others are doing.


Preformulated versus make-your-own stacks

First let’s explore our options. You can opt for a preformulated stack like Alpha Brain, Nootroo or Brain Stack. This is a solid option because it’s more convenient just to take one pill or powder a couple of times a day. On the downside, It’s one size fits all, so you can’t customise your stack to your needs.

You’re other option is to buy each ingredient separately and make your own stack. If you buy in bulk this is definitely cheaper. But if you do that you need to understand synergy and response curves. Synergy is about how these things work together. For example you start smashing out some Modafinil and Caffeine (both of which have a stimulant effect), then it may not just add the stimulant effects together, but instead multiply them. Meaning 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 2, it may equal 4. So it’s best to think about how the different powders have overlapping effects and make sure your stack has balance. It might also be smart to start with lower doses if you do stack multiple drugs with the same effects.

Response curve is all about finding the sweet spot and generating a sustained effect when you want it (work hours) and a strong drop off when you don’t (bedtime). This generally means changing up dosages and taking stimulants in the morning (so they’ve worn off by the night) and cognitive enhancers both morning and afternoon, to keep you focused all day.

As you can see, this is the benefit of making your own over a preformulated stack: You can cut the cost while experimenting with this synergy and response curve to find a mix that works for you. But the other issue here is safety. You are screwing with your brain chemistry. While the research so far does not suggest serious effects, there is no real proof of long term safety. So proceed, but with caution. Start with small doses of one smart drug, then perhaps add a second. Do lots of research. Find your sea legs pirate, before tackling the horn.


If this all sounds too risky or too much effort, go with the preformulated option.

Enhancements to your Nootropics stack

Next you need to work out what mix of enhancements you want. Memory, concentration, wakefulness, better decision-making, social fluidity, neuroprotective effects or creativity/holistic thinking?

I’m after a general memory, creativity and intelligence boost more than a wakefulness boost. I don’t have to pull all nighters, but I do a lot of mentally intense work. A bit of social fluidity and anti anxiety would be a bonus too, for the dog and pony (business development and sales) side of things, but it’s not essential.

If you’re not sure what smart drugs have what effects, check out my Top Four Smart Drugsor this reddit nootropics wiki.

How do you take it?

Smart drugs come in pill or powder form. They need to get to your brain. But if you swallow pills or powers, they’ll be digested and much of the desired effect may be lost, because your stomach acids break down the chemicals and only some of it makes it to the blood stream.

Then they have to get past your blood brain barrier. Evolution has been refining this fence for thousands of years and it’s designed to stop nasties sneaking into your brain via your blood supply….and it’s very effective.

When you add those two things together, you’re probably looking at maybe 15% of the active ingredient getting to your brain when you swallow it. But there is an answer.

Sublingual is a fancy word for sticking it under your tongue. This is easily done with small dosage powders and most pills contain powder too, so you can also do it with preformulated stacks. The reason that this works is that there are a bunch of blood vessels there that absorb the ingredients and deliver it straight to the brain. But do your research. Not all smart drugs work better when taken under the tongue and some are downright dangerous.

Pramiracetam is too potent to be taken under the tongue, while Noopept is greatly enhanced by dosing sublingually. Also, if your stack ends up being a few teaspoons 3 times per day, then it’s probably not practical to do it under the tongue.

Please also be aware that smart drugs usually taste bitter or chemically or sour, or like sulphur, basically they all taste like shit. Swallowing means they will taste bad, but only for a short time. Pills avoids the issue all together, but under the tongue means dealing with taste for a good few minutes until it’s absorbed.

I’m open to under the tongue, especially if I end up using a preformulated pill containing Noopept, but I’m not convinced yet. Also experienced Nootronauts swear by cranberry and grapefruit juice chasers.

Where does that leave me?


Given i’m a noob Nootronaut, I should probably start with just one smart drug at a low dose. But I want a range of effects including memory creativity and intelligence, so my drug of choice needs to focus on these effects. Also if the dosage is small enough and it’s suitable, I’m willing to try the sublingual method.

So i’ve decided to go with Noopept and Alpha GPC (because it contains Choline that can modulate the potential side effects of Noopept). Ideally I should buy the powder and measure it out myself, to save money. But then I need milligram scales and I’m not up to that. So I’ll need to find a reputable seller that offers pills with a powder inside.

Anyway I’ll deal with where to buy in another article.

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