This post is a detailed response to that question.
But unlike most of the articles and reviews on this site, in this case I’ll explain the specific reason why I’m using a nootropic. Instead of providing details and clinical studies for each of these supplements.
You can find more detail on where each supplement comes from, why it’s used, clinical research, dosage notes, side effects and types to buy by clicking through to each full review.
First, I’ll give you the list of what’s in my daily stack. And then I’ll explain in more detail below why I use that supplement.
My hope is this will give you a fresh way of looking at and evaluating what you are using. And some ideas on what you can do to update your own stack.
These are the nootropic supplements I’m currently using. And note that this list is updated whenever I make changes to my nootropic stack:
- Alpha GPC
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
- Coconut Oil
- Mucuna Pruriens
- N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
- N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
- Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi for men
- Mind Lab Pro®
- Performance Lab® Energy
- Performance Lab® Vision
- Performance Lab® Prebiotic
- Performance Lab® Sleep
Why I’m using each nootropic supplement
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Lipoic Acid boosts the production of acetylcholine (ACh) and increases glucose uptake in brain cells. Resulting in more mental energy and less fatigue. My doctor prescribed Alpha Lipoic Acid because it counters insulin resistance as well. I get 150 mg of R-Lipoic Acid from each dose of Performance Lab® Energy which I use twice per day.
Aniracetam is a derivative of the original nootropic, Piracetam. I’ve found it to be one of the best antidepressants I’ve ever used. It seems to work by activating dopamine D2 and D3 receptors. I use 750 mg twice per day.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
ALCAR is a derivative of the amino acids lysine and methionine. It’s a required precursor for the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh). It increases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), boosts mental energy, and promotes cerebral blood circulation.
My Adult ADD brain needs the ACh, mental energy, and BDNF helps repair any damage caused by the Ritalin I use daily. Performance Lab® Energy provides my morning and noon dose of ALCAR. And I use another 800 mg late afternoon along with NALT to prevent a stimulant crash.
Berberine increases adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is the master metabolic switch in each of your cells. It regulates blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. It also increases levels of all the major neurotransmitters.
I use Berberine because my lab tests showed I was insulin resistant and bordering on pre-diabetic. I take 500 mg of Berberine 3-times per day. The caprylic acid in unrefined coconut oil helps absorption of Berberine. And I take Milk Thistle with each dose to prevent possible DNA damage.
Coconut oil is 90% saturated fat. Nearly 60% of the fats are medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs). I use a tablespoon of unrefined Coconut Oil each time I take my nootropic stack to assist absorption of fat-soluble nootropics in my stack.
But Coconut Oil is a nootropic in its own right. It bypasses your normal digestive system and goes directly to your liver where it’s converted to ketones.
Ketones are carried throughout your body including your brain for use in the citric acid cycle to produce Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP fuels your mitochondria which improves alertness, cognition, memory, and mood.
And Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and helps protect your brain from inflammation. I use 500 mg of Curcumin C3® Complex 3-times per day which includes BioPerine and helps absorption of this nootropic.
DHA is essential for maintaining brain health, memory and learning functions. DHA reduces brain inflammation, stimulates new nerve cell growth, and assists in brain cell repair. I use 1000 mg of DHA per day.
DMAE helps eliminate lipofuscin and free radicals from brain cells. I use DMAE 250 mg once per day for 5 out of 7 days per week. And the only reason I use it is because the L-Carnosine in my stack promotes lipofuscin.
L-Carnosine is a great anti-aging supplement. It’s involved in neurotransmission, binds to and helps remove AGEs (Advance Glycosylation End-products), increases energy output from mitochondria, and assists in removing heavy metal toxins.
I use 500 mg of L-Carnosine twice per day. But it produces lipofuscin as a byproduct which is the reason (and ONLY reason) I also supplement with DMAE.
Mucuna Pruriens (L-DOPA)
L-DOPA is a precursor to the formation of the catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. I’m Adult ADD, and my brain desperately needs extra dopamine which is the reason I use this supplement.
I use 120 mg of L-DOPA (Mucuna Pruriens 15% extract) 3-times per day.
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) as a nootropic supplement replenishes intracellular levels of the master antioxidant glutathione. As a result, NAC prevents oxidative stress on brain cells and eliminates free radicals.
But I use NAC primarily because it has the unique ability to enable dopamine neurons to recover their function. Important for me because I’ve been using methylphenidate for years to control symptoms of Adult ADD. Which can take a toll on dopamine receptors.
I use 1,000 mg of NAC twice per day which is a little more than the ‘normal’ recommended dosage of 600 mg up to 3-times per day.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
NALT potentiates extracellular increases in dopamine which my brain needs for the Ritalin I use to treat Adult ADD.
I’m also hypothyroid and NALT stimulates the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
I take 500 mg of NALT 4-times per day. The last dose in late afternoon and combined with ALCAR to prevent a stimulant crash.
Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi
I use the Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi for men every day. It makes a profound difference in the way I feel.
And when I did the research on how each of the 13 vitamins and 13 minerals affect my brain. I realized I wouldn’t get the full benefit of my nootropic stack without adequate levels of these vitamins and minerals.
Mind Lab Pro®
Mind Lab Pro® is the base of my nootropic stack. And I’ve been using it since I discovered it 2 ½ years ago. This is after experimenting with various pre-formulated nootropic stacks starting back around 2008.
I love this stack because it works. The ingredients are pure and of the highest quality. Opti Nutra Advanced Nutraceuticals is the same company who make Performance Lab®.
Mind Lab Pro® contains Citicoline (CDP-Choline), Bacopa Monnieri, Lion’s Mane, Phosphatidylserine (PS), N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, Pine Bark Extract, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, and Vitamin B12.
Mind Lab Pro® is designed to be used by anyone from athletes to students to the elderly.
Performance Lab® Energy
I chose Performance Lab® Energy because I’m always looking for a way to save money on supplements. In this case, I was able to consolidate ALCAR, R-Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, and PQQ in one formula. Nootropic supplements I was using every day.
ALCAR has been part of my Adult ADD stack for years, and my doctor prescribed Alpha Lipoic Acid and PQQ for health issues I’ve been dealing with.
Performance Lab® Vision
This one area of my health I’ve been neglecting. Which is silly when I think about it. Because I’ve been wearing contacts and glasses for years. It just never occurred to me I could have better vision by using supplements.
But the eyes are directly connected to the brain I’ve been researching and writing about. And if nootropic supplements can have such a life-changing, profound effect on the brain …
The very first day I tried Performance Lab® Vision I noticed that things around me looked like they were in hi-definition and glare was reduced.
And because I spend long hours looking at and writing on a large monitor, I now experience far less eye fatigue. The bonus is continued use of Performance Lab® Vision means it’s less likely I’ll experience macular degeneration as I get older.
Performance Lab® Prebiotic
I’ve been using a Probiotic supplement for years. But they’re more expensive than most of the other supplements I use. And knowing exactly what my gut microbiome needs is a bit of mystery.
Then I heard about prebiotics and how they feed the microflora already present in my gut. The right prebiotic simply supports the beneficial bacteria already present in my gut.
Performance Lab® makes a Prebiotic sourced from chicory root called Orafti® Synergy1. And I felt its effects the very next day. I felt better, no constipation, sugar cravings vanished, I had more energy and thinking was clearer.
Performance Lab® Sleep
I absolutely need a good night’s sleep every single day to perform at the level I do. And over the years I put together a sleep formula that helps me go to sleep fast and stay asleep. Feeling refreshed in the morning.
Performance Lab® Sleep is identical to what I was buying as separate supplements for my sleep stack. And it’s cheaper.
Sulbutiamine is directly involved in the citric acid cycle that provides adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy for your mitochondria. It plays a role in maintaining optimal levels of GABA in your brain which improves mood.
When I combine Sulbutiamine with Aniracetam I can work effortlessly for hours on end. And this combo is better than any prescription antidepressant I’ve ever tried.
Vinpocetine is a semi-synthetic derivative of vincamine, an alkaloid derived from the lesser periwinkle plant (Vinca Minor L.).
This is one of the nootropics in my stack that if I run out I can feel the difference within a couple of days. For me, the effect is that profound.
I use 10 mg of Vinpocetine 3-times per day.