People are often surprised when I list all the nootropic compounds that I take. Surprised or maybe they are simply confused by the weird scientific-sounding names that they have never heard before. I probably sound like a nuclear physicist that eats his own textbooks. This post is about what I take, how I take it and what results I’ve had. But before I rattle off a list of long words preceded by a number of milligrams, I would love to share what I most enjoy about these life-enhancing ingredients.
What I love about Nootropics
The best thing about nootropics has to be, obviously, enjoying the positive life-improving results after doing tons of research, finding the things that will help me and then applying the research and getting the benefits. It’s super satisfying! I read heaps of medical research papers and check blogs and forums and products from other companies to get a clear picture of what the hell a compound that I am researching does before I order it. By the time I am checking out of a cart somewhere I have a fairly solid, scientifically backed, feeling of confidence that the new things that I plan to add to my collection will bring me an improvement. When the new additions arrive and I add them to my regimine, it’s like adding another machine gun to the top of my turret. OP damage to the enemy awaits!
Secretly though, the second best thing that I love about nootropics is when I get a new ingredient or stack delivered to my house. Placing orders online and then intentionally forgetting that I ordered anything makes me feel like I’m getting christmas presents when a package arrives. I rip open the box with very little respect for the care and time taken to grow the tree that was used to make the cardboard that the box encasing my treasure is made from. I then excitedly read the labels on the package, sometimes open the packet and look at the capsules or powder and then proceed to check the warning on the container, if there are any, to make sure they match my 10 hours of tedious research. Then I put the new container in my Nootropics box and smile gleefully knowing I will be taking the stuff the next morning.
Improvements can always be made
I have been slowly developing my personal nootropic system for over a year and a half now. At one point a few months ago I felt like I had found a decent groove in my routine. My brain was working great and everything I was taking seemed to be adding a big bunch of value to my life. But I am not the kind of person to chill at the top of a hill when there are higher peaks to explore and building a nootropics company motivates me to keep researching new or personally unexplored compounds. After doing a fresh round of research I decided to add a few more treats to my regimine.
The newest additions to the family
Following the deep dive into the research, I decided to add the following compounds: Citicoline, Alpha GPC, Phosphatidylserine, DHA and Lutein. “Welcome to the family you beautiful, wonderful things!” Yes. I talk to my supps haha. Anyway… These compounds show massive nootropic potential and I actually feel like I had been silly to overlook them in the first place. I think I overlooked them mainly because of their price, with Citicoline and Alpha GPC being slightly more pricey compared to everything else I had in my collection thus far. I am happy to report though that, after adding them in, I immediately felt a big surge in positive effects and it seems it was money well spent. Hoorah. Since all the new ingredients arrived I have been playing around with my stacks and tweaking what I take and when I take it. At the moment I find I am settling on a routine that works great for me. I wonder if I have found my secret sauce.
Below, for your pleasure, I have added a breakdown of everything that I take right now, accurate to the time of writing this. The list is broken up into what I take on weekdays and weekends. For clarity, on weekdays I have a morning stack and an afternoon stack and on the weekends I only have one stack. As an aside, I think of the weekends as mainly being just a washout period. On some weekends I consciously don’t take anything at all and every 6 to 8 weeks I take a whole week off from supplements completely to totally washout and reset. K. Getting on with it… Here’s the list:
- 25mg Sceletium extract (Zembrin)
- 100mg forskolin Extract
- 800mg Tyrosine
- 300mg Phenylalanine
- 500mg ALCAR
- 100mg Taurine
- 80mg Grape Seed Extract
- 60mg DMAE
- 40mg Gingko Biloba (50:1 Extract, min 24% Gingko flavone glycosides & 6% Terpene Lactones)
- 10mg CoQ10 (as Ubiquinone)
- And either 300mg AlphaGPC or 250mg Citicoline (depending on how I’m feeling. I tend to take the Citicoline on extra busy days.)
Sporadically I add in the following if my intuition guides me to:
- 10ml Carlson Labs, Norwegian Cod Liver Oil (1000mg DHA & 800mg EPA)
- 20mg Lutein
- 4mg Zeaxanthin Isomers
- 750mg Cordyceps Mushroom Extract
- 1000mg Chaga Mushroom Fruiting Body
- 880mg Reishi Mushroom Powder
- 120mg Reishi Mushroom Extract (10% Polysaccharides)
- 350mg N-Acetyl-Tyrosine
- 200mg Phospholipid Complex (containing 100mg Phosphatidylserine)
- 150mg Bacopa Monnieri Extract (standardised to 20% Bacopasides)
- 60mg Gingko Biloba Extract (24% Gingko flavone glycosides & 6% Terpenes)
- 50mg Pterostilbene caffeine cocrystal
- 50mg Ashwagandha Root Extract (standardised to 1.5% Withanolides)
- 50mcg Huperzine A
- 240mg Gingko Biloba Extract (56.8mg flavone glycosides & 14.2mg Terpene Lactones)
- 1g Bacopa Monnieri (40mg Bacosides)
- 10ml Carlson Labs, Norwegian Cod Liver Oil (1000mg DHA & 800mg EPA)
- 24mg Lutein.
- 100mg Soy Lecithin
- 75mg Soy Phospholipid Complex
- 10mg Vinpocetine
- 167mcg Huperzine A
- 25mg Phosphatidylserine
- 150mg DMAE
The unmentioned extras
A lot of the things that I take are in capsules that include B vitamins and other things like Folate, Phosphorus and Calcium so I also get a full hit of that stuff too from my stacks. I also usually add about 1000mg of high quality vitamin C into one of my water bottles every day. So there you have it. “Quite a lot” you might think?! Luckily many of the ingredients are already combined in capsules or pills so I only end up taking like 5 or 6 pills or capsules at a time, which might still sound like a lot but that’s nootropics baby! And it works for me.
Why two stacks a day?
Another thing you might ask is: “What’s up with the two seperate stacks on weekdays?” Well firstly, as I am so busy and active everyday and getting run down is easy for me. I HATE getting sick so the mushrooms are there for daily immune support and so far I have avoided a few seasons of flu and colds so the mushrooms are here to stay. Plus I feel like the Cordyceps give me extra energy later in the afternoon when I might normally feel a lazy slump. This is so important for me because when most people are finishing work at 5pm and going home to chill, I am moving on to the second half of my day with gym, socialising, hobbies and trying to get a few more things done before l finally switch off around 11pm. I can’t afford to be tired when there is so much life in me wanting to be lived. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I take the mushrooms and the second installment of nootropics in the afternoon to split up the amount that I take at one time in order to maximise absorption. I take a heap of stuff already in the morning before I eat and this second dose goes in about an hour or two after I have my first meal at around midday. I do intermittent fasting so this works well for me.
My secret weapon
On mornings when I feel like I need a little bit of extra pep, I take a mix of 200mg of L-Theanine, 144mg of coffee berry, 100mg organic cacao powder and 100mg of Matcha green tea powder. The L-theanine gives the caffeine from the other ingredients a smooth kick and picks me up really well. Caffeine with L-Theanine in a 1:2 ratio is my go-to whenever I have a super busy day or if I feel like I want some extra energy. I often take this also if I am going to a party and want to be able to be social and engaging past my bedtime of ten o’clock. Since I don’t take drugs or drink alcohol this has been a life-saver when I go out with my friends who often party on through to sunrise.
I have had experience of not taking any stacks for a month at a time when I do medical drug trials or when I am overseas and don’t like bringing all my bottles with me for fear of ending up in some South-East Asian prison awaiting trial to explain what all the unknown white powders were that I was caught with at the airport lol. So when I get back on my supplements I notice that it normally takes about 2-3 weeks before I feel like I am absolutely noticing their full effects. Generally, on a good day, when I am a few weeks into the program, I experience the following definite effects: Solid memory, fast and accurate memory recall, finding my words quickly in a conversation, being able to clearly plan in my head and think things through smoothly and deeply and my favourite, NO BRAIN FOG!! with very limited mental fatigue.Oh yeah, and I can concentrate continuously for hours without needing many breaks. There are probably more I guess but I notice these effects the most as these are the effects that I most wanted from taking nootropics in the first place.
Do the good times last though?
People also often ask me if I need to take everything all the time and if the positive effects totally disappear when I stop taking them for a month or more. Well, the short answer is yes & no. I have noticed that in my washout periods I don’t quite get the insane speed, sharpness and mental energy that I have when I am 2 weeks into my supplement routine but my brain is still way better than it used to be before I started taking nootropics. I imagine it to be like having a team of mechanics and technicians working on my car every night while I’m asleep. Some work on the engine, others work on the exhaust pipes wheels and transmission etc and some are working solely on amplifying the bass in my car’s sound system ; ). My car functions at it’s best every day because of the special treatment it gets and the mechanics are repairing things continuously so the car stays in fantastic condition. But If I tell the crew to go on holiday for a few months, it doesn’t erase all the work they did before they got on their flights to Fiji. I personally feel like the supplements I have taken have caused some permanent positive changes. I am taking things that promote neurogenesis for example and other things that improve my long term potentiation which could permanently improve synaptic connections. The stuff I take has at least 20 more positive effects on neurocognitive functioning and all of them may result in permanent improvements.
So there you have it. That’s what I take and how I play with it all. It will no doubt change again and again as the journey unfolds and my knowledge increases. For now I’m pretty happy with how my brain is working and I’m enjoying the rhythm I’m in. The only thing that I think is worth tweaking right now is waking up and going to bed earlier and making sure I exercise in some way everyday. Perhaps I’ll share more of that part of my story another time.