Simple Nootropic Stack

So my girlfriend is having trouble studying and focusing while adjusting to the college life. So, any ideas as to some simple, easy daily nootropics products to maximize cognitive function? I’m not looking for Adderall for her, just some simple things that go well together. She’s a lifter, so she already takes creatine, which has been shown to improve cognitive abilities as well. Thoughts?



I knew plenty of people who actually did this for finals…

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Lion’s Mane is VERY good long-term (I remember reading that it takes about 6 months of routine use to achieve full effect) but has no real effect at all in the short term. Took it all through my early college days, helped tons with retaining info.


And a choline source, CDP or AGPC. If she starts getting brain fog or potentially depression, this is why, and should be cut.


The two human studies we do have on lion’s mane, although neither of them actually measured cognition/memory in healthy young subjects, seemed to at least start working by 8 weeks. In subjects with cognitive decline, by week 8 cognitive function scores were improved, but these effects continued to increase at week 12 and even more at week 16. It may be able to help with anxiety by 4 weeks though, based on the other human study.

Either way, I view lion’s mane as something like bacopa, where you do want to take it daily for weeks to really notice the benefits. With that in mind, bacopa is another great ingredient for memory, and perhaps also for helping with anxiety as well.

I’m also still not sold that the 500mg lion’s mane extract in Mane Brain is sufficient. The two human studies used 2g/day and 3g/day of powder, so not an extract. Mane Brain claims a 10:1 extract, which, even if it is true, does not mean it’s actually 10x more potent than the raw powder is. For example, Nootropics Depot sells a lion’s mane extract with 25% beta glucans, but they say it’s a 1:1 extract, and they recommend 1g/day. Mane Brain’s extract only has 15% beta glucans, and you’re only getting 500mg/day. ND also has an 8:1 extract with 15% beta glucans (the same as in Mane Brain), and they recommend 1g/day for that too, so I’m not really sold on 500mg/day of their extract being sufficient.


As far as an actual basic stack goes:

-Choline source:
–CDP Choline: 250mg
–Alpha-GPC: 200-300mg

–Huperzine: 100mcg
–Sage (huperzine will likely be easier for most people to buy/use by merit of being more common)

If you want to step it up another notch, add either some Noopept (10-20mg) or Piracetam (2.4g).

If you want some energy to go with it, you can always have caffeine, and if you want to balance/calm it, you can add theanine, and if you want to extend the duration of the caffeine, you can add some l-ornithine HCL. Theacrine, while sort of lackluster on its own replacing caffeine IMO, goes well with caffeine, as coingestion increases its bioavailability, giving you some more energy that doesn’t seem to be subject to the same tolerance as caffeine itself.

For daily use, bacopa is solid, as I mentioned in my previous post. 300mg/day of a quality extract like Bacognize or Synapsa is a solid dose. If you also want lion’s mane, 2-3g/day of powder (an extract doesn’t seem to be necessary) is a good dose as well.

Another observation about Mane Brain; they list 300mg of a 30:1 bacopa extract, and say it’s equivalent to 3000mg of powdered bacopa, but 300mg x 30 = 9000mg, not 3000. Not really sure what’s up with that.

Ah, that’s what I was thinking of–4 months, not 6.

But yeah, I was about 5 months into it when I started my gross anatomy course, which was an absolute shitload of memorization, and I really do credit the Lions Mane with helping me through it.

I’m not a Dr. but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night…

That said…

I’ve used the following for extended periods of time (meaning daily)

  • AlphaBrain by Onnit
  • Ciltep by Natural Stacks

I’m 50…I work from home and travel a lot. And quite honestly the following has worked best for me…Anything containing caffeine…for example:

  • Brain Candy from Biotest
  • BrainBridge from ManSports
  • Nootropimax from Performax
  • PreWorkout drink (PreJym is really good for this)

Not kidding…The daily ‘stuff’ turned out just ok for me…I didn’t notice any difference when I didn’t take anything and felt more alert…

If I need an afternoon boost Nootropimax (while on the road) was great…

This is more of an FYI on my experiences. And trust me I’ve considered all of the Nootropics include Mane Brain (or is it Main Brane)

My suggestions

Choline (if you aren’t using a racetam dose it lightly)
-CPD choline
250 mg every two days as a mild choline boost
-Alternatively DMAE if CDP is too expensive

Stuff to take with meals
2 grams per day, after a while this can be reduced
-Chromium picolinate
Take it with a high carb meal, with the ALCAR

If you are eating something before studying avoid anything that is high in fat and carbs, pick one or the other.

-Rosea rhodiola
if she finds herself fatigued
if she finds herself stressed

Ashwaganda is less expensive, but I do think rosea is very good.

Before she sits down to study do some lifting or exercise.

Other then that caffiene, l-theanine and teacrine are all good options if you just need a pick me up, I would suggest around a 10th of what ever you are currently taking.

If you want long term options, racetams, bacopa, a magnesium supplement and loins mane are good options, but you do need to stick with them for a while to really get a benifit.
I would suggest magnesium first if she isn’t in this for the long game.

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Product recommendation?

Also what dose chromium would you say?

I would likely go with this one, since its the best bang for the buck without having to cap it yourself.

This one might also be good, but its lower dose and more expensive

For the chromium I got a 1000 mcg one since it came in nice tablets instead of capsules, You could likely do lower, there doesn’t seem to be a danger using it multiple times a day even at that dose, based of the velositol research.

You might be able to find it at a local store fairly easily, its pretty cheap.

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You definitely want an extract with rosavin and salidroside. 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside is the most common, and a good extract, but 3% rosavin and 2-3% salidroside is the closest you’ll get to the SHR-5 extract that was used in a ton of human studies. Some research has suggested that rosavin can potentiate the effects of salidroside, so having both is ideal.

Barlowe’s has a quality extract:

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Hey guys!

Which do you think is best, Citicoline or Alpha GPC?

CDP choline is a better supplement imo.

AGPC is a slightly better choline source but cdp has other benefits, plus it isn’t a nightmare to work with.

All these suggestions are great, so I think the next thing to do is get serious about a routine.

She needs to get the important stuff done EARLY in the day. College life is full of distractions and not everyone can handle the flexibility. This is the time to set the tone.


I’ve always found that I’m by far most motivated and inspired late at night, but that’s not always feasible when you have an 8am that’s a 70 minute drive away.

I’d hate to be “that guy”, but I’m gonna…
A keto diet does wonders for clarity and focus.

Yup…I went there.


However, it took a solid month or so of keto before I noticed the mental results. I can now multitask on complex projects at work like a bad ass. I can now skim through technical docs and report back the key points to stakeholders without even trying (I have a long history of poor reading due to lack of attention or adhd whatever).
Everyone is different, though. Keto is the only thing that had an observable positive impact to me mentally; no supplement nor medication has ever done that for me. Okay, with the exception of Concerta back in the day (which is basically speed…glad I got off that shit). I think most anecdotal reports on these supps are just placebo…but again, everyone is different.

Hope she finds something that works.


You do know what some (several) ingredients discussed in this thread have multiple double-blind placebo-controlled studies demonstrating their effectiveness, right? That literally means that they do something more than just the placebo effect.