What is a Nootropics Stack? Pros, Cons and Recommendations | psysci.co

What Is A Nootropics Stack?

Everything you need to know about stacking nootropics

You will have heard of nootropics, unless you are very new here.

Nootropics, or ‘smart drugs’, are widely used by a wide variety of people (academics, business people, athletes) in order to improve their cognitive performance and hit their peek.

However, some people are not satisfied even with this boost.

Some want to avoid the plateau associated with supplementing with smart drugs, and to hit an even higher plain.

This is where stacks come in.

Simply put, a nootropic stack is a combination of two or more smart drugs.

Someone would combine them in order to create an effect greater than only one supplement.

Often, smart drugs can be combined in ways that give synergistic effects, creating results that are greater than the sum of its parts.

For example, some nootropics can have negative effects that can be alleviated by other nootropics, and these can combine in a way that also accentuates their positive effects. 

What Types Of Stacks Are Available?

Nootropic stacks essentially come in two forms: they can be ready made or you can build your own.

Each of these come with their own pros and cons. 

Some would recommend starting with a ready-made stack, as they save time, and the correct doses are all worked out for you and thus they are safer.

However, if you are a more experienced user of nootropics, you may want to try a nootropic stack built at home.

These allow for more control, further personalization, though they are more labour intensive and more time consuming.

So, if you want to stack, then there is not only one way to go about it. If you are only a beginner, then ready-made stacks may be for you.

However, if you are more of a connoisseur, then you can go deeper into the esoteric world of mixing your  own stack.  

Either way, you probably have questions.

What Are The Pros and Cons of Stacking?

Nootropics FDA approval

Stacks are becoming more common, and therefore you may know someone who has used a stack, or you may have heard about them, or heard someone waxing lyrical about their benefits.

Here, we can provide you with some of the most discussed pros and cons, and help you to make your own mind about whether or not you want to stack.


  • The cognitive effects produced by the stack will go above and beyond what a single nootropic can offer. Nootropics work on your brain in different ways, and therefore stacking can improve the effects of your supplements due to their often-synergistic effects.
  • Single nootropics can often have negative effects or side effects. Stacking can help to alleviate this, as one supplement can help to prevent the adverse effects of another. For example, choline can reduce the effects of racetam nootropics. If you get a well designed stack, you will actually have fewer side effects. 
  • Taking more than one supplement can give you greater effects in a broader spectrum, for example improved cognitive function, memory, improved brain plasticity, and even more.


  • Stacking nootropics is obviously more expensive than taking a single supplement.  Stacking will obviously cost you more, and can get extremely expensive, depending upon how you stack.
  • If you decide to make you own stack, rather than buying a ready made stack, then it may be a more long-winded and complicated process than you are used to. However, you can always buy a ready made stack, or realize that, just like making a cake, the effort may be worth it.

Is Stacking Nootropics Safe?

One question you have is probably ‘are they safe?’

Well, here is the lowdown.

Building a nootropic stack takes experience. 

We already discussed how safe nootropics are in some depth, but stacking safety is another subject all together.

You need to develop this experience (take them individually, test out their effects, make sure they agree with you) in order to ensure that you can produce an effective and, more importantly, safe, stack.

If you don't have the expertise, then you may produce a stack that will lead to overdose or side effects, and that will also be ineffective. Stacks are also a lot stronger with their combined effects.

If you don't properly prepare them, they may lead to dependence. Supplementing with nootropics can be a risky business.

Of course, there may be benefits, but also possibly significant drawbacks. When you take a supplement, you are probably working out a cost/benefit ratio.

You will want to improve your cognitive function, and work harder with better results.

However, you must bear in mind that our brains are complex things that are not meant to be messed around with too much. First, you may want to try all of the traditional techniques for improving cognitive function: more sleep, a healthy diet, meditation.

If you must, stack, but perhaps do it in moderation. However, some are more positive about nootropics and stacking.

For example, Barbara Sahakian, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, thinks that there may be some potential for using nootropics in healthy people, and thinks that further research should be undertaken on this.

Though certain people should not take nootropics, for example adolescents whose brains are still developing, nootropics could be useful, and therefore we need to engage in a debate on what is and what isn’t acceptable use.

The big issue for Sahakian is the lack of long-term studies. More of these must to be conducted for us to make any definite pronouncements. Some even claim that stacks can be safer than using single nootropics.

If you come by a well-made stack, then you may find that that the synergistic way they work together may accentuate the positive effects of one supplement whilst negating the side effects of another.

 For example, L-Theanine helps reduce the side effects of caffeine.

What Are Some Recommended Stacks?

Another question you may have will be the type of stacks that you shoud use. There are many stacks on the market, and many different combinations if you want to produce your own. Here are some potential options;

  • L-Theanine with Caffeine
    This is undoubtedly one of the most popular and widely discussed stacks. Some take it every day.  

    This stack has been particularly popular amongst students, and has a long history of use.

    Caffeine can produce anxiety, irritability, stress, and increased blood pressure, but these effects are tempered by combining caffeine with  L- Theanine.

    It seems to reduce the negative effects of caffeine whilst enhancing the positive.

  • Piracetam and Choline
    Piracetam has a long history of use, having been used since the 60s. Racetams often take quite a long time to start working.

    Choline is often used to facilitate their effects by amplifying them. Some racetam users experience headaches. Stacking with choline may alleviate this.

    This is because choline activates neural pathways that may be inhibited by using a racetam, as it boosts the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is the very thing that is lacking, and thus causes the headaches, in Piracetam users

  • Noopept and Citicoline
    These drugs are often used because, for the stacker, they are extremely good value, especially given the effects that they have.

    Though Noopept may seem expensive at first glance, it is 1000x more concentrated compared to the original Racetams, and thus much better value.  

    If you use Noopept, you will want to combine it with a source of Choline, as it ensures your brain is prepped effectively, and that therefore you will not suffer from acetylcholine deficiency, which may lead to headaches.

So, this is a lot to take in. Stacking nootropics can be complicated or it can be simple. 

You can make your own and you can buy them ready-made. What we would suggest is that, if you have tried a number of nootropics and are relatively experienced in supplementing, then you may want to move onto the next stage. 

If you do, we suggest starting with tried and tested formulations, or getting a ready-made stack. We think this is a route into stacking that will allow you to dip your feet into the water without fully diving in. 

To get started check out some of our recent nootropic reviews below: