Nootropics are substances that improve our mental performance and can help us stay on our A-game. Whether you're a student hoping to ace an exam, an athlete looking to take your performance to the next level, or a working professional needing a productivity boost, nootropics can benefit all lifestyles.
Although effective as standalone substances, "stacking" two or more complementary nootropics can boost their effects. You can build your own nootropic stack or purchase them pre-formulated. It is entirely up to you.
Here, we explain all you need to know about nootropics and how to build the best stack.
What Is A Nootropic Stack?
Nootropics are drugs, dietary supplements and other substances made using synthetic or natural compounds that improve cognitive performance, including focus, attention, energy, memory, clarity, mood, creativity, and motivation.
Nootropics can be taken on their own as singular ingredients or can be combined with other nootropics that interact with each other to produce a combined effect - they work in synergy. This means that taking a nootropic stack can exert stronger positive effects on brain function than if you were to take one substance on its own.
For example, caffeine exerts stimulant effects and improves brain function. But it also depletes the brain of important chemicals and later results in energy and mood crashes.
When taken alongside other nootropic substances that work in synergy with caffeine, such as l-theanine, these adverse side effects are dampened and positive effects enhanced.
Building A Stack
When building your own stack, it's important to use a combination of substances that work synergistically. Some nootropics don't work well together. They can cancel each other out or even produce negative outcomes rather than compound their effects.
A poor stack design can actually decrease the effectiveness more so than if you were to take a standalone nootropic.
A good nootropic stack not only considers how different substances interact with each other, but also how long each substance remains in your system.
Choosing the right ingredients, therefore, requires a bit of skillful alchemy. It is often much easier and more effective to pick a good pre-made formula, such as Mind Lab Pro, which contains all the ingredients you need.
Mind Lab Pro sources the cleanest, most potent nootropic ingredients. By combining 11 research-backed nootropics that synergize, multiply and complement standalone effects, this nootropic stack can help you perform at your best, day in, day out.
Below are some of the ingredients within this nootropic formula that we believe make the best nootropic stack.
Ultimate Ingredients For A Nootropic Stack
The brain is rich in phospholipids which form brain cell membranes, provide structural integrity and carry out a number of important activities that are important for brain function. During the aging process, brain phospholipid levels decline. This can cause neurological impairments like dementia and Parkinson's.
Citicoline helps prevent cognitive decline by increasing the synthesis of a phospholipid called phosphatidylcholine, which supports the regeneration and repair of brain cells.
But, its benefits to brain health don't stop there. Citicoline energizes the brain while optimizing neural pathways that power all thought processes. It is also a necessary component for the production of acetyl-choline, a neurotransmitter that is important for memory. People with cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's tend to have low levels of acetyl-choline.
According to research, citicoline can help improve clarity, attention, concentration, and focus and may help protect the brain against age-related mental decline 1.
PS is a phospholipid that is found in high quantities in the brain. Here, it helps support the release of neurotransmitters involved in brain function, such as dopamine and acetyl-choline, and optimizes neurotransmitter receptors. It also increases glucose metabolism for better brain energy and supports brain cell creation, maintenance, and repair.
Additionally, PS assists with the removal of damaged brain cells and toxic waste, which helps prevent further brain cell degradation.
Multiple studies have found that PS can help prevent cognitive decline and improve older adults' memory, mood, and mental performance 2. Consequently, PS has received an FDA-qualified claim for reducing mental decline.
Bacopa Monnieri contains bacosides that are active antioxidants. These help protect the brain from the harmful effects of free radicals, which contribute to aging and increase the risk of disease. It also works in synergy and enhances other brain antioxidants for further protective effects.
Bacosides also promote the release of neurotransmitters involved in mood, thinking, and memory. An analysis of multiple studies revealed that Bacopa Monnieri may be beneficial in improving attention and decision-making in particular 3. Researchers have also found it can enhance memory processing and the ability to store and recall memories.
Organic Lion's Mane Mushroom
Yes, that's right, a mushroom! The lion's mane mushroom is an edible fungus native to Asia. It gets its name from its unusual shaggy appearance that is thought to resemble a lion's mane. It has long been used for its medicinal compounds, which are believed to benefit brain health.
This unique mushroom provides nootropics called hericenones and erinacines that support better brain health by stimulating the growth of brain cells. Lion's mane also promotes nerve growth to support memory storage and is believed to help protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease.
A study in older adults with minor cognitive impairments found that daily lion's mane supplements improved brain function and memory. These effects ceased once supplementation stopped, further reinforcing the study's findings 4.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Maritime trees live in harsh salty and windy environments but have adapted through the development of a unique antioxidant complex within their bark.
Researchers have found that maritime pine bark's antioxidants can help protect the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress. It is known to improve attention, memory, and overall cognitive function.
As well as offering protection against oxidative stress, pine bark extract also increases the release of nitric oxide. This potent vasodilator relaxes blood vessels to increase blood flow to the brain, delivering vital oxygen and nutrients that energize the brain and boost brain function. It is believed pine bark may help reverse age-related mental decline by supporting brain regeneration.
L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that produces important neurotransmitters, including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These brain chemicals help the nervous system transmit messages and are involved in regulating our mood, memory, and brain function.
Under stress, neurotransmitters become depleted, which results in cognitive decline. You know that feeling of mental fatigue and irritability when you're stressed? A lack of neurotransmitters means your brain is not firing on all cylinders and cannot perform as well as it should.
L-tyrosine is well known for its ability to help your brain cope with stressful situations by restoring depleted neurotransmitters. According to one study, L-tyrosine improves mental performance and memory in young adults during highly cognitive demanding situations by increasing the production of dopamine 5.
L-theanine promotes relaxation by boosting levels of calming brain chemicals, like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, which also play a role in concentration, wakefulness, and thinking.
Meanwhile, it also reduces levels of excitatory brain chemicals that are linked to stress and anxiety, helping protect the brain from the effects of stress and age-related damage.
Research suggests L-theanine stimulates the activity of alpha brain waves, which relax the mind while increasing mental alertness and focus, resulting in a meditative state of mind 6.
Rhodiola rosea is a herb that grows in mountainous regions in Europe and Asia. Its roots are known as adaptogens, which help your body deal with stress by reducing the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol.
It also supports the release and transport of neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, which support brain energy and help stabilize mood.
Rhodiola rosea has antioxidant properties to protect the brain from age-related decline. Evidence suggests it can improve mental performance, learning ability, and memory function 7.
Vitamins B6, B9, and B12
All B vitamins are necessary for good brain health. But B6, B9, and B12 are particularly beneficial because of their role in homocysteine metabolism.
High homocysteine levels and deficiency in any of these B vitamins is associated with a greater risk of brain degeneration and cognitive decline. This synergistic trio can help improve mood, mental energy, information storage and support long-range brain health.
If only there was a pill you could take to kick your brain in gear… Oh wait, there is! Nootropics can improve all aspects of mental performance to help you unlock your true mental potential.
Singular nootropic ingredients help alleviate single issues. But when taken as a stack, their effects can be enhanced to target multiple areas of brain function.
Getting the balance of nootropic ingredients in a stack right can be a delicate process. Hence why many people turn to pre-made formulas, like Mind Lab Pro, which already contain everything you need.
All the nootropic substances listed above work in synergy together, with their combined effects helping you perform at your best at work, at play, or in any other area of your life. You never know what your brain may be capable of!
- Al-Kuraishy, Hayder M., and Ali I. Al-Gareeb. "Citicoline improves human vigilance and visual working memory: the role of neuronal activation and oxidative stress." Basic and clinical neuroscience4 (2020): 423.
- Cenacchi, Teresa, et al. "Cognitive decline in the elderly: a double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study on efficacy of phosphatidylserine administration." Aging Clinical and Experimental Research2 (1993): 123-133.
- Kongkeaw, Chuenjid, et al. "Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract." Journal of ethnopharmacology1 (2014): 528-535.
- Mori, Koichiro, et al. "Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: A double‐blind placebo‐controlled clinical trial." Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives3 (2009): 367-372.
- Colzato, Lorenza, et al. "Working memory reloaded: tyrosine repletes updating in the N-back task." Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience 7 (2013): 200.
- Nobre, Anna C., Anling Rao, and Gail N. Owen. "L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state." Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 17 (2008).
- Ma, Gou-ping, et al. "Rhodiola rosea L. improves learning and memory function: preclinical evidence and possible mechanisms." Frontiers in Pharmacology (2018): 1415.