Many beginners read about nootropic stacking and get confused due to the plethora of information available. Stacks can be very effective but can also have downsides if used improperly. The key to a successful stack is balance and patience.
The best stacks are built through trial and error and should be a combination of both nootropics and brain nutrients. The most advanced stacks are built to increase the efficiency of neurotransmitters as well as to improve the health of the brain long term.
Understanding your neurochemistry is the first step to a successful brain stack. A highly successful stack for one person may not be the best for another person. One common mistake is to pile on too much too fast. This makes it hard to pinpoint what is working and what is not. Cholinergics, ampakines or dopaminergics may be working but it may be impossible to tell which area to focus in if you are using all at once.
Using too much can create too many side effects and turn you off nootropics for good. Also, some nootropics can work against each other. This is where a complete understanding of neurochemistry comes into play. Follow these steps to understand the proper steps to building an advanced beginner stack.
Step 1: Build a Solid Foundation
Starting with the basics is always your best bet when building a nootropic stack. Starting with the basics would be to start with a cholinergic that has been well researched and proven. Piracetam and noopept are great to start with as powerful cholinergics. You may decide to use these or other racetams like aniracetam as a starting point.
Buy several cholinergic nootropics and see what works best on its own. When picking out a cholinergic, some are good to stack and others not so much. The ones not recommended to stack are already powerful on their own and do not usually get benefits from adding in weaker products. Here is what works and what doesn’t when stacking together.
Stack well together (as cholinergics)
Work well alone (as cholinergics)
Step 2: Add Choline if needed
Once you get a cholinergic stack formulated, you may decide to add in acetylcholine-boosting compounds. There are several reasons for this. Adding in acetylcholine, choline and related phospholipids may help to add synergy and make the stack even more powerful. They may also contribute to side effects. This is why a stack has to be completed in steps.
Choline can add great benefits. Choline and acetylcholine boosting compounds like lecithin, choline salts, alpha GPC and citicoline are all part of this family. These compounds may interact differently with your body. Some may produce benefits or side effects while others may not.
Generally it is recommended to add in a choline source but try each unit in the cholinergic stack independently. This will help you to determine if something is causing a reaction. From here determine how to further formulate the stack.
Step 3: Add Supporting Supplements & Nutrients
Once you are confident in your basic nootropic stack you may decide to create an advanced stack. By this time you should have a basic understanding of your neurochemistry. Adding in further supporting nootropics as well as brain nutrients and antioxidants is a true brain stack. The goal of an advanced stack is not only to improve cognitions, but to help to preserve the brain and reduce brain aging.
There are some things to help boost a cholinergic stack. Adding in an ACh inhibitor may help to provide synergy even further. This is another step you can take if cholinergic nootropics are working very well for you. This method is usually done after adding choline and is best for those highly deficient in choline. Adding in an ACh inhibitor may add in further side effects so do it independently of adding a choline source.
You may decide to add in more non-cholinergic nootropics and stimulants. Many of these nootropics may help to provide neurotransmitter support. Improving levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine may all help to add improved benefits to a stack. You may decide to enhance the stack further by creating a mood/anxiolytic stack based on your needs.
There are many natural supplements that help to improve neurotransmitters. Going in depth into this goes beyond the scope of this article and is another topic. This area will come with experimentation and learning.
Step 5: Modify the stack
As you build your nootropic stack you will add in and remove certain supplements. You will find what works and what doesn’t. You may decide to cycle or change stacks in the morning and the evening. This is where the experienced nootropic user learns their body and creates a stack for peak optimal performance.