Best nootropic stack for cognition and productivity

Nootropics usually only offer subtle benefits, but if you combine nootropics in what is known as a stack, the effects can become quite strong. The best nootropics stack combines only nootropics that act synergistically with one another. In other words they potentiate or increase each others benefits. For example, piracetam alone produces subtle benefits but in combination with choline the effects are much more pronounced.

Benefits of this stack

This stack was designed with the best nootropics that offer the most bang for your buck. Originally, it was meant to mimick adderall’s benefits, but without the side effects. However, why stop there? Why not more benefits?

Each nootropic selected in this stack provides a unique benefit. They were chosen because of their proven effects in both research and anecdotes, i.e. they are tried and tested. Many of these nootropics provide similar benefits, but do so in different ways that do not antagonize one another. In other words, they are synergistic.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Improved memory and learning
  • Increased verbal fluency
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Increased motivation
  • Improved mood
  • Increased creativity
  • Enhanced vision – more vibrant colors
  • Increased enjoyment of music
  • Improved focus
  • Decreased brain fog – Feel sharper and think faster
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Better sleep
  • Vivid dreams
  • Increased confidence

The best nootropics stack

Below is the list of the nootropics you should take. The dosages are generally for reference use, but every person is different. If you find yourself not getting the benefits described above or worse you experience side effects like brain fog, you need to start over. What this means is you need to stop every nootropic you’re currently taking and slowly adding them back into your stack. For example, start by taking caffeine for a few days and notice the effects it has on you. Next, add in L-Theanine and again notice the effects it has over a few days to a week. Ideally, you should notice a difference the first day.

Now, add in one of the racetams and see if it has any immediate effects. In most cases, you should not notice anything in the first few days. This is because the racetams typically take weeks to start working. However, there are anecdotes of users who experience an immediate effect. Despite this, you should carefully monitor yourself to see what effects it has on you.

Likewise, noopept is a tricky one as research shows it takes a few weeks to start working, but despite this there are several anecdotes it produces an immediate effect. Again, this really varies from person to person, but in general it should take a few weeks before it starts to work.

Everything considered, you should wait a few weeks between adding these nootropics to your stack. Of course you can just take a shotgun approach, but ideally you’ll want to slowly add in each nootropic.

Modafinil should only be used when needed, i.e. when you know you’re going to be sleep-deprived. Or, if you want to wake up early one day, after at least 6 hours of sleep, and want to accomplish as much as you can. The reason for not taking it everyday is because of tolerance. Despite the research finding no tolerance during chronic modafinil use, several anecdotes have reported tolerance to the nootropic effects of modafinil. Particularly, the increased motivation and improved mood effects appear to diminish with chronic use. Thus, it’s best to use it acutely over the span of a few days a week.

While they all work together in a synergistic manner, probably the most important nootropics of this stack are aniracetam, coluracetam, and caffeine. If any of the others don’t work, these 3 together should provide most of the benefits described above.

How this stack works

Caffeine

An antagonist of the adenosine receptors, caffeine has been shown to increase dopamine activity in the striatum. It does this by upregulating the dopamine d2 and d3 receptors. Caffeine has many benefits, but the most prominent are decreased fatigue, improved mood, increased energy, and enhanced focus.

L-Theanine

An amino acid found in tea, L-Theanine works by increasing GABA and dopamine release. It’s thought to be the main compound responsible for the soothing effect of black and green tea. There is a misconception that only green tea has high amounts of L-Theanine, but both black and green tea are in fact high in L-Theanine.

If you get your caffeine from tea alone you probably don’t need to buy L-Theanine. But, if you get caffeine from coffee or caffeine pills then you definitely need to get this nootropic. The reason being caffeine has a tendency to increase anxiety. L-Theanine can reduce anxiety by increasing GABA and dopamine levels.

Regardless, caffeine and L-Theanine are perfect for one another as caffeine upregulates dopamine receptors and L-Theanine increases dopamine release. If you plan on taking modafinil with caffeine it is strongly advised you add in some L-Theanine to counteract over-stimulation and anxiety.

Piracetam

A well-known nootropic of the racetam family, it’s been shown to improve memory and learning, increase creativity, and enhance vision. Research has shown that 4.8 g twice daily is the optimal dosage for giving the best nootropic effect. Piracetam’s mechanism of action is not fully known but it has been found to modulate glutamate and acetycholine levels in the brain. Regardless, it does not seem to antagonize any of the nootropics in this stack.

Alpha-GPC

Alpha-GPC is a precursor to acetylcholine and has been shown to increase choline levels in the brain. It is commonly used to counteract the side effects of piracetam, aniracetam, and other racetam nootropics. It’s believed that the racetams deplete acetylcholine levels which causes headaches, brain fog, and memory impairment. Thus, Alpha-GPC can reduce these side effects by increasing brain acetylcholine levels. However, Alpha-GPC on its own is a nootropic that can improve memory and learning.

Aniracetam

Another racetam, but aniracetam’s mechanism of action differs significantly from that of piracetam. It was found to act on the 5-HT2A receptors, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and the dopamine D2 receptor. Aniracetam’s main benefits are decreasing anxiety, improving mood, improving focus, and decreasing brain fog.

Agmatine

Agmatine is a very complex nootropic that multiple actions on different neurotransmitters. However, for the purposes of this stack, it was chosen because it acts as an NMDA antagonist. This is important as several of the nootropics in this stack increase glutamate activity, which in excess can theoretically cause neurotoxicity. Agmatine is insurance in case this theory turns to reality. Furthermore, agmatine can help reduce or even prevent tolerance to several nootropics like modafinil and caffeine. Moreover, on its own agmatine has many benefits, some of which include improved mood, decreased anxiety, enhanced sleep, and improved workouts.

Coluracetam

One more racetam, coluracetam is a high-affinity choline uptake enhancer. In other words, it increases the utilization of acetylcholine in the brain. Anecdotal reports mainly find coluracetam to improve mood, enhance vision, and improve energy.

Noopept

A derivative of piracetam, it’s said noopept is 1000 times stronger than piracetam. However, such a claim has yet to be proven. For one, noopept is not a racetam. In fact, it does not work at all like the racetams. It’s thought to increase neurogenesis in the brain by either increasing nerve-growth factor (NGF) or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Noopept’s prominent nootropic effect is that it improves long-term memory. This is seen time and time again in user reports. Old memories thought to be forgotten resurface in vivid detail. However, it takes a few weeks before it starts working and this makes sense given its purported mechanism of action.

Modafinil

Essentially a longer-acting and more effective caffeine. Modafinil was thought to improve cognition, but the results are quite mixed with some studies finding an increase in cognition in adults with ADHD and others finding no change in healthy adults. Some studies have even found an impairment of cognition and creativity with modafinil usage. Regardless of these findings, modafinil is an excellent nootropic for productivity. This is especially true if you are doing work that is mostly logical and does not require creativity, like studying for school for example.

Summary

NootropicDosageMain Benefits
Caffeine100 mg

  • Increases wakefulness

  • Improves mood

  • Increases energy

L-Theanine200 mg

  • Decreases anxiety

  • Improves focus

  • Decreases caffeine side effects

Piracetam4.8 grams 2-3 times a day

  • Increases verbal fluency

  • Improves memory and learning

  • Increases creativity

Alpha-GPC300 mg

  • Improves memory and learning

  • Increases sharpness or quickness of thoughts

  • Decreases brain fog

Aniracetam750 mg with a meal

  • Improves mood

  • Decreases anxiety

  • Enhances pleasure from music

Agmatine500 mg, before bedtime

  • Helps to prevent tolerance, especially to stimulants

  • Has antidepressant-like properties

  • Increases confidence

Coluracetam3 mg sublingually

  • Enhances vision - makes colors more vibrant

  • Improves mood - can also reduce depression

  • Enhances the effects of Alpha-GPC

Noopept10 mg sublingually

  • Greatly improves long-term memory (after 2 weeks)

  • Can induce vivid dreams

  • Is neuroprotective

Modafinil200 mg in the morning

  • Increases motivation and reward

  • Decreases sleepiness

  • Induces a logical state of thinking (but may hinder creativity)

Closing thoughts

Be patient and don’t expect immediate results. Some of the mechanisms behind these nootropics involved include neurogenesis and alterations of neurotransmitters which can take weeks to have an effect.

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