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What is a Nootropic Stack?

By Dr. Usmarah Hussain

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What is a Nootropic Stack

Nootropic stacks have very quickly become the ideal method for performance enhancement for many students and people in high-pressure workplaces. Why? Because of their powerful effects that last much longer than the ones produced by single nootropic products and other smart drugs. But for those who are new to nootropics, the concept, and purpose of “stacking” may not be clear enough.

This article will help you familiarize yourself which what nootropic stacks are, why you may consider using them, and the pros and cons.

What Are Nootropic Stacks?

In simplest terms, nootropic stacks are a mixture of nootropics combined with other nootropics. When you combine at least two or more of these brain-enhancing formulas, what you get is called a stack. These stacks can either be a mix within the same type of nootropics, such as a mixture of racetams or between different types, such as mixing choline with ampakines.

Whether you are stacking different types of natural nootropics, synthetic nootropics, or both of them together, the stacks are available in plenty of useful combinations. The only problem with them is the confusion and hard work required to learn how each of them works, how to make an ideal mixture, and how much of it to take safely without overdosing.[1]

Why Stack Nootropics?

Nootropics, when taken on their own, can be extremely beneficial for brain health. So why is there a need to stack them? Here are five reasons why you may consider forming your very own nootropic stack:

  • To complement the benefits of the nootropics combined
  • To enhance the effects of each nootropic in the mixture
  • To counteract some of the side effects of certain nootropics
  • To create better synergy between different nootropics
  • To take maximum advantage of all other health benefits provided by the nootropic ingredients

For most people, the purpose of stacking is to enhance the effects of every single nootropic added to the blend so that they can be utilized to their full potential. This is because synthetic or natural nootropics have different mechanisms of action and effects on the brain. For example, you may combine a nootropic that enhances cognition with one that increases attention and boosts mood.

Nootropic Stack

There is a nootropic stack for everyone, whether you are a college student who wishes to improve your memory and brain power or an office employee who wants to control their anxiety and maximize productivity in a high-pressure workplace.

Characteristics of a Good Nootropic Stack

Starting with a single nootropic is relatively easy as you have plenty of supplements to choose from depending on your wants and needs. However, when it comes to stacking two or more nootropics, that’s when things start getting complicated. Stacking random nootropics together does not mean it will always lead to the desired result. It requires a fair amount of experimenting and knowledge to get the right mix that can support you in achieving what you wish.

Whether you are making your nootropic stack or buying a preformulated one, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Creates Synergy

The concept of stacking nootropics has been created to enhance the action of every single ingredient. For instance, if you are relying on aniracetam to boost cognition, stacking it with a choline supplement can boost the effects. Aniracetam increases the amount of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps with memory, attention, and motivation.

On the other hand, a choline-based supplement can improve the cognitive benefits of aniracetam while working as an antioxidant to protect the brain. These synergistic effects can provide greater benefits to people who use both nootropics as a stack.

Targets a specific outcome

Some nootropics promote learning and memory; others help neurons grow and function; a few enhance concentration and focus, while some lower stress and anxiety. Although some nootropics can have more than one effect, it totally makes sense to stack the ones whose common properties can enhance a particular cognitive effect.

Prevents negative interactions

A good nootropic stack must include ingredients that work collaboratively without canceling the benefits of each other. For example, l-theanine may counter the side effects of caffeine but may also lower its energizing effect. [2] Hence, try a stack with ingredients that fully complement each other.

Simpler formulations

In most cases, the simpler a nootropic stack is, the better. You will often find that the best nootropic stacks out there are the ones with up to 2 to 5 ingredients. Having tons of ingredients in a stack does not necessarily make it better or more effective.

The aim of stacking must always be to target a particular effect or target with as few ingredients as possible. A simpler formulation also helps keep the cost low, minimizes the risk of interactions, and allows users to monitor each ingredient separately and make adjustments as necessary.

Getting Started With Nootropic Stacks: What are Your Options

So you have finally decided to get yourself a nootropic stack. Kudos for taking the step. But how do you get started, and what are your options? Let’s find out.

Pre-Formulated Stacks

If you are a beginner with not much knowledge about stacking nootropics, you may consider using pre-formulated stacks. These stacks come in the form of bottled off-the-shelf stacks. Keep in mind that most of these pre-formulated stacks are designed to serve a certain purpose. They can also be an excellent way to introduce yourself to the stacking world and are certainly more convenient than weighing ingredients and mixing them to create your own.

You can read some of our nootropic reviews to find effective pre-formulated stacks.

Self-Formulated Stacks

The second option you have is to go for a self-formulated stack. Unlike the pre-formulated versions, these stacks give you a chance to experiment with different nootropics, components, and dosages of the stack. This option is, however, best for those who are experienced and knowledgeable about nootropics and how to mix and match them.

Pros and Cons of Stacking Nootropics

Not sure if you should be stacking nootropics? Mentioned below is a list of pros and cons to help you decide.[3]


  • Helps boost cognitive functions beyond the capacity of a single nootropic supplement. This is because different nootropics adopt different working mechanisms to get the job done. Hence, combining them usually leads to stronger effects via multiple pathways.
  • Within a stack, one nootropic can often counter the side effects of another. For instance, choline can lower the undesirable effects of certain types of racetams. In short, a good nootropic stack usually has few side effects.
  • You can enjoy multiple benefits of different supplements together because of the broad range of effects that a nootropic stack brings to the table.


  • With more variety comes higher costs. So most nootropic stacks are likely to be a bit more expensive than individual products.
  • You need to be well-experienced and have adequate knowledge if you wish to build your nootropic stacks. Experimenting with them with no knowledge may lead you to create ineffective stacks while putting you at risk of overdosing or experiencing negative health effects.[4]
  • Stacks are likely stronger than single nootropic products, and their improper use may sometimes lead to dependence or other side effects.
  • Weighing and mixing your own nootropic stack may be more cumbersome. However, you will always have the option to use a preformulated stack to counter this disadvantage.

Conclusion: Flexibility is the Key

Nootropic stacking is much more than a trend with potential benefits for the brain and cognition if done rightly. However, remember that everyone has a different brain chemistry, and what works for one may not necessarily work for the other. Therefore, do not hesitate to change your stack if you feel it’s not giving you the expected results.

Remember, you always have the option to change something up if the stack isn’t working right. You may experiment with the dosage, the ingredients, or even the number of times you take the supplement. Just make sure not to make these changes too frequently and always be careful to avoid side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as a bad nootropic stack?

A poor nootropic stack is a combination of substances that work antagonistically to each other. Antagonism means that ingredients that you have added to a stack are simply canceling out each other’s effect, ultimately decreasing the overall effectiveness. For example, if you mix a few ingredients that stimulate the brain with others possessing sedative properties, they may as well cancel out each other, voiding both effects.

Where can I find ingredients if I wish to make my own custom nootropic stack?

Plenty of vendors are working online and in physical stores that provide a variety of nootropic ingredients in raw ingredient format as well as pre-formulated forms. You can also ask them for encapsulated and premeasured options in addition to the powdered form for custom encapsulation.

Do I still need to sleep for 8 hours if I am using a nootropic stack?

People who are running on a sleep deficit have imbalanced neurochemistry as the body mostly secretes neurochemicals during sleep. As a result, brain performance is negatively affected, or in other words, the brain is not as “clean” as it needs to be to give its best. In such circumstances, even the most powerful nootropic supplements have to fight the beta-amyloid protein structures and other hindrances to boost cognition and brain function. So if you sleep well while taking the nootropic stack, their effects will be more rapid and pronounced. Do not ever use nootropic stacks as an excuse to sleep lesser.


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