All nootropics claim to do one thing or another for you – some improve focus, some keep you awake, some improve your photographic memory, etc. However, all individual nootropics hit a certain “peak” by themselves – for example, doubling your dosage of piracetam will do little for you. It might even decrease the effects.
The only way to break through the peak is by combining that nootropic with another nootropic, or even a few different ones. That’s what “stacking” is. You take a nootropic that you’re interested in, and you add different compounds to make it work more effectively in your body.
Not all nootropic stacks work for everyone, but by and large, there are a few stacks that most users recommend. We’ll list the most popular ones below – if you see a nootropic you’re currently taking in any one of these stacks, you may want to consider adding in the rest of the stack to enhance the effects you’re already feeling.
Stack #1 – Piracetam & Choline
You’ve probably heard of piracetam – it’s usually the first nootropic that people start with. However, you probably don’t know why you feel effects frm it.
We’ll quickly summarize: when you take piracetam, it interacts with your body to increase the amount of acetylcholine that your body produces. The theory is that with an oversupply of acetylcholine and choline interacting with your hippocampus (the memory center of the brain), both long term and short term memory are improved.
You get plenty of choline from food (eggs, etc.) but because you’re getting an excess of acetylcholine from piracetam, you need an excess of choline to “balance it out” and make sure that your hippocampus can use all of the extra acetylcholine. If you don’t get enough choline with your acetylcholine, some of the acetylcholine will be wasted. You take choline to ensure that it’s not.
Just to clarify – the above is just a theory. The working mechanisms for piracetam are not fully known. However, in 1981, scientists did a study giving one group of mice piracetam and the other group both piracetam and choline. The second group performed better on memory tests.
If you’re looking to “max out” the power of the infamous piracetam, consider this stack. For optimal results, combine 1.6g of piracetam 3x per day with 600mg of choline 1x per day.
Stack #2 – L-theanine & Caffeine
Believe it or not, yes, caffeine is considered to be a nootropic by some. You get stimulatory effects without a massive “crash” like you’d get from a traditional stimulant – adderall, methamphetamine, etc.
However, it does have its downsides. When you first start drinking coffee, you’ll feel like a king. But after a few cups and a few hours, you might start feeling a little bit worse – anxiety and “the jitters” are the most common side effects from excessive caffeine intake.
Stacking L-theanine with your caffeine is meant to reduce the side effects you get from taking an excessive amount. You’ll feel focused on the task (even if you’ve been slaving at it for hours), and most importantly, you won’t feel anxious. L-theanine has been said to reduce both physical and emotional stress.
If you’re a caffeine addict… whether that’s through pills, coffee, tea, or energy drinks… consider adding L-theanine to your diet. You should take 100mg – 200mg of L-theanine 3x per day, and for caffeine, just take it as you usually would. Easy.
Stack #3 – Piracetam, Aniracetam, & Oxiracetam
Triple whammy! If you’re a nootropic veteran, this stack is right up your alley.
The goal of this particular stack is to max out the benefits you get from racetams as a whole. Certain ones provide benefits that the others do not. For example, aniracetam will enhance your mood much more so than piracetam or oxiracetam will. But at the same time, you won’t get enhanced focus with aniracetam… you’ll need something like piracetam to give you that.
Before you get too skeptical, realize that nootropics, by definition, are not toxic to your body… even in large doses. So taking all three won’t harm you, but it might help you.
If you’re a beginner, we wouldn’t recommend this stack. Yes, it might help you, but even if it does, you’ll have no idea *how* it’s helping you. Not all nootropics work for everyone – the trick is to first pinpoint the ones that do, and then build on them from there. If you just toss a bunch of them together, you’ll have no idea which one is giving you which effect. You might be paying extra money for nothing.
Anyways, back to the stack – if you’re a veteran, feel free to mix piracetam, aniracetam, and oxiracetam in the standard dosages. Measure the effects felt vs. taking just one of the racetams. If it’s working for you, stick to it. The effects of one nootropic can be pronounced, but the effects of three can be truly disruptive.
Warning: increasing your racetam dosage increases the likelihood that you’ll experience headaches. Add in a choline supplement if this starts to happen. If that doesn’t help, ease off on the dosage until your headaches go away.
Stack #4 – Modafinil & Piracetam (or any other racetam)
For the first couple weeks of using piracetam, you’ll usually experience more energy than usual, even if you’re sleeping the same amount. But for most people, after a couple of weeks, these energy effects fade away, and you only get the creativity and memory ones.
If you find yourself constantly tired, this can be a problem. Sure, you’re more creative and you have a better memory from the piracetam, but you can’t really exercise any of those benefits if you don’t have the energy to go along with them.
That’s where modafinil comes in. It’s an OTC adderall alternative, and it’s pretty cheap. You stay awake all day with it. However, you don’t feel “stimulated” like you would with adderall, vyvanse, or ritalin, so there’s no crash at the end of the day.
You can mix both of these safely. Just make sure that you’re eating enough – modafinil is notorious for curbing your appetite.
The recommended dosage of modafinil is 200mg per day, and for piracetam, you can go anywhere from 3g to 10g per day. The standard dosage is 4.8g per day, broken down into three doses of 1.6g.
Try this stack if you’re in a group that needs to focus for long periods of time – programmers, writers, designers, etc. It’ll give you the creativity and memory boost you need to excel, and along with that, the energy to take action on those benefits.
How to build your own stack
Stacking nootropics isn’t terribly difficult. Because of how safe the vast majority of nootropics are, you can often stack them without any undesirable effects.
Start with a nootropic that you know you like. For most, this is a racetam, but there are many others out there.
Once you know that a certain nootropic is helping you, look around for what others have been stacking on top of it. That’s the best way to do it. You can also try to determine the working mechanisms and find another one that helps those mechanisms out… but unless you’re a scientist with extensive knowledge of chemistry, this is difficult… to say the very least.
It’s important that you only add one nootropic at a time to your stack. If you add too many, one of two things will happen – either you’ll feel great, or something will go wrong – you’ll feel dizzy, or nauseous, etc.
Either outcome is undesirable. Obviously, you don’t want to have any negative side effects, but even if you have positive side effects, you might be wasting money on unnecessary nootropics. For example, if you dive into the deep end with five different nootropics you’ve never used before, you might only really need two of them to give you the same effects. Get it?
And finally… be safe. Always do your research on a particular stack before starting. Considering the community behind nootropics, you’ll always be able to find someone who has already taken a very similar stack to what you’re considering.
Nootropic Stacks Recap
- Stacking different nootropics on top of one another can enhance the effects you feel from your doses
- Piracetam + choline is a good starting stack
- Caffeine + L-theanine is good for caffeine lovers
- You can combine all of the racetams to get the effects from all of them at once
- You can combine modafinil (stimulant) with piracetam to work at your best all day
- Creating your own stack is simple, just make sure to do your research beforehand
And that’s about it! Good luck, and if you find success with a certain stack, make sure to share it with the rest of the world so that everyone can benefit from your experiment.