My Personal Stack (Stress/Anxiety and Memory)

As I mentioned in the introduction thread, I’m in an incredibly demanding college program. There’s a huge amount of memorization and learning to do, and in addition to the several hours per day I spend in my classes, there’s usually 2-4 hours worth of material to study afterwards as well. Between the different classes, there’s an exam or practical on average every 7-10 days. Add onto this the stresses of having to become a single-income household…and the fact that I’m an extremely uptight, high-strung, type-A perfectionist (or as my wife puts it, the single most stereotypical Capricorn she’s ever met), and you have a recipe for disaster. Three nervous breakdowns just in the first 10 weeks of my program, compared to my previous record of 1, ever.

So I decided to try to do something about it, other than stress counseling. Quite a bit of reading later, I had my go-plan. I had a simple, straightforward stack of nootropics with a fair amount of science and anecdotal vouching behind them. Former experience with some of the compounds had me aware that they took a bit of time to accumulate in your system, similar to beta-alanine, so I had a month or so (3-4 weeks specifically) of a higher dose to try to reach peak saturation sooner.

So for my “acute phase,” the dosage was like this:

  • KSM-66 Ashwagandha Extract - 1 gram, split into multiple doses throughout the day
    Ashwagandha is honestly something I’d call a “superfood,” or…“supersupp” or something. The amount of studies behind it, the many beneficial effects it has, the potency of the effects…It’s honestly astounding, and is something I would recommend everyone take. The relevant benefits for my purposes are a significantly noted decrease in stress, cortisol, and anxiety.
  • Bacognize Bacopa Monnieri Extract - 600mg, split into 2 doses
    Bacopa is a pretty popular herbal nootropic. It’s less awe-worthy than Ash, but it’s still a noted anti-anxiety supplement with quite notable benefits to memory.
  • Rhodiola Rosea Extract (3% Rosavins and 1% Salidrosides) - 400mg (or so, I don’t weigh this out, I just know 1/8th of a teaspoon is about right) once per day or mixed into a drink and sipped on throughout the day
    Rhodiola is almost as good as Ash as far as adaptogens go. It’s less of a miracle-drug, but what it does do, it does very well. What I take it for is significant decreases in depression and day-to-day fatigue, and equally significant increases in mental cognition and a general sense of well-being. And lastly…
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom - 1.5 grams daily
    Put simply, Lion’s Mane has been shown to increase brain plasticity and encourage the growth of new neurons, essentially making you generally better at learning.

After my few weeks of “acute” dosing, my “maintenance phase” lowered the doses to:
KSM-66 - 600mg daily, split into 2 doses
Bacognize - 300mg daily
Rhodiola - 400mg daily (This is just a really good dose of Rhodiola, this is one compound where more is not better, too much has actually been shown to have reduced efficacy)
Lion’s Mane - 1.5g daily (like Rhodiola, this was never dosed acutely, so I didn’t need to lower it)

I could go on about the benefits I’ve gotten from this, but I’ve typed a huge amount already, so suffice to say that my day-to-day is much easier, my stress levels are way down, and I can generally just study over something in detail once and run a quick recap the night before an exam, rather than having to study and re-study over and over to commit it to memory.


I’m a big fan of bacopa, however, I’ve only used the one from Himalaya. Ever hear of holy basil?

I’ve heard of it, never used it though. Good experiences with it?

One of the best sleep stacks I ever used was a combination of kava and holy basil. Seems to be a good adaptogen.

Both were in tincture form.

Thanks for posting this here. Bacognize is awesome. That’s a next-level ingredient.

Do you find that training helps with stress? Cardio? Weights?

Ever do any meditation?

Man everyone swears by ashwagandha, but that stuff messes me up pretty bad. Talk about getting major bouts of depression and intense mood swings / with unstable mood. Holy crap, I had 2-3 bottles in 2016, and every run, it was the same effect

Oh crap, I’ve been in a sh1tty mood lately, and I’ve been taking this. I wonder if that’s a factor.

Eek, hope we didn’t just hijack this thread. Sorry 'bout that :stuck_out_tongue:

At those doses, I doubt it. NOW food’s standalone ashwagandha extract seems like it’s standardized comparably to Sensoril, not KSM-66. Taking a 20mg dose is probably not having a significant impact on your mood because the common dosages of sensoril I’ve seen are 225mg or more.

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I suspected it was pixie dusted with all the goodies. NOW makes great single-ingredient products, but there is still money for them selling pixie dusted products like this one to chumps like me. LOL

@Caribou have you ever heard of or used n-back training? It’s been shown to have a substantial effect on various aspects of memory, although its translatability to intelligence or other memory metrics is always doubted. A new paper was published just last month about the effectiveness of this type of training showing fairly rapid improvement in working memory. There are free websites and apps for it and even though there are studies showing it works and studies showing it doesn’t, I figure that’s similar to a lot of the supplements you’re already taking. Might be worth checking out. Can’t get better value than free.


@Mike I lift heavy, and I find that it gives immediate catharsis, but not much in the long-run. I’m a pretty gentle guy, so getting fired up, letting the rage out, and pushing myself to exhaustion is great for relief of whatever I was worried about pre-gym, but by the time I finish showering I’m fairly rejuvenated and back to the status quo.

As for meditation, I do a bit right before sleep to help me drift off, not sure what it does for my daily stress levels but it sure is relaxing for bedtime.

@Twenty I’ve never heard of this at all, but I’ll definitely look into it! I’ll take what I can get being as I have to memorize every nerve and what, specifically, they innervate, in just a couple of months. :sob: