Since the date of publishing this post, we really must give a hat tip to the folks at Onnit Labs for developing their flagship product Alpha BRAIN. They have done a terrific job of creating a fully-balanced nootropic. Currently the market leader, it has produced result for thousands of satisfied customers in delivering lucid dreams, mental drive, focus, and mental acuity. If you didn’t want to get your hands dirty with the research and ordering of separate ingredients, this isn’t a bad option. Read more about Alpha BRAIN here.
Other Nootropic supplements mentioned in this article:
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics, also called smart drugs, are chemicals, supplements, and functional foods that help your brain do its job like a champ. The best of these substances can noticeably improve things like cognition, memory, intelligence, motivation, attention, and concentration, and are therefore used for everything from test-cramming to bodybuilding.
A lot of nootropics can be bought legally over-the-counter, while others require a prescription or are outright illegal (Albert Hoffman, inventor of LSD, was rumored to have taken 10micrograms of his infamous molecule daily for the nootropic benefits).
Essentially, if a compound is non-stimulant cognitive enhancer and has few side effects and low toxicity, it falls into nootropic territory. Let’s take a look at some nootropic stacks for noobs – proven supplement combinations that are taken daily to give you the edge inside the gym and out.
The People’s Stack: L-theanine + Caffeine
The People’s Stack is for Joe Everyman. It’s mild enough to be taken daily yet powerful enough to give a modest yet very measurable boost in energy and mood. It’s great for focus and a favorite among students and bodybuilders alike.
This combination is well-known because it’s safe, effective, and has a very long history of use. This mini stack won’t cause unsafe reactions with any other food or drug you’re taking, and several studies show that it promotes health benefits like optimal lymphocyte function, neuronal cell protection, and my favorite: the reduction of psychological and physiological stress.
When combined, you’ll get the stimulant effects of caffeine without any irritating side effects like anxiety, increased blood pressure, and poor sleep. These common side effects of caffeine are neutralized by the L-theanine, which also serves to enhance attention (beyond what caffeine can normally provide).
Recommended Dose: 100mg or 200mg L-theanine three times per day for general nootropic benefits. For the best results, take 25-200mg caffeine with daytime doses a half hour before you lift.
The Cognitive Stack: Piracetam + Choline
This is another popular nootropic stack that people can’t seem to get enough of. The main benefits of this one include increased mental clarity, memory improvements, and an overall boost in optimal cognitive functioning. These substances work best when taken in conjunction with one another, and you’ll need to take them for a couple of weeks before you start seeing results. It’s worth it though, with this nootropic stack ranking high on the list of most widely-used and recommended cognitive combos.
I researched this stuff both through online sources and sources from my Bioethics Professor. It has the focusing power of Adderall without all the shakes and mood swings and it actually helps to enhance/stabilize moods (if you take it correctly). It has no toxicity rate so you can take 12g if you want, by why would you? Here is the correct way to take it:
Piracetam needs to build in your system; mainly, it needs to break the blood/brain barrier to be effective. This means that you can take 1g 3x a day and you will feel the effects within a few weeks or you can take an attack dose of about 3g 3x daily and you will feel the effects sooner. However, after your attack dose and after feeling the effects for the first time (it may take a while, be patient) you NEED to limit your dosage. I made the mistake of thinking more is more when really less is more.
Piracetam utilizes Choline (this is why it’s necessary to ensure you have enough Choline in your system whether it’s through nutrition or supplements) and if you do not have enough Choline in your system, you either suffer a massive headache (the kind of pain that a screwdriver to the temple will only distract you from) or you feel no effects. Lessen your dosage after the attack dose and you will feel stronger effects than if you continue the large dosage. Finally, some last tips:
1. This stuff is bitter as hell. Orange juice covers up the taste completely.
2. Take a Choline source with it.
3. Take fish oil with it (but not at the same time, much later).
4. Piracetam is water-soluble, so you need to take it on an empty stomach.
5. Be patient when waiting for the effects. It has to build in your system.
Recommended Dose: 3g Piracetam + 3g Choline 3 times per day (every 4 hours). In the case of this stack, there’s no need to take it at specific times relative your workouts.
*Update 1/8/2013 The online sale of Piracetam is being cracked down on by the FDA. On 12/14/2012 Piracetam has been pulled from all Amazon vendors. Here is a statement from one of the largest distributors, Smart Powder: “We no longer sell Piracetam. The FDA doesn’t allow it. They have chose to not allow the import of Piracteam anymore, so we are unable to sell it.”
The Novice Stack: Focus XT + Piracetam
This bad boy is for nootropic novices that want to graduate from the more humble beginner stacks we just mentioned. SNS Focus XT is a nootropic/stimulant supplement mix that gets rave reviews from just about everyone – especially bodybuilders. This powerful powder delivers a whole host of desirable effects like increased mental focus, clarity, energy, and concentration.
When taken with Piracetam (it already includes Choline), users will get all of the cognitive benefits we mentioned above, as well as more endurance, more energy, and the ability to train more intensely for longer periods of time without mentally checking out.
Recommended Dose: 1 scoop of Focus XT 30 minutes before working out; 3g of piracetam 3 times daily (4 hours apart). Note that if you aren’t taking a lot of Focus XT, you may need to supplement with choline (see above) to avoid depletion.
Don’t Miss: A Quick Guide to Bodybuilding Nootropics