What I Put In My Natural Nootropics Stack
A Natural Nootropics Stack For Every Do-Gooder?
So today I want to talk about something a little different, something I don’t usually talk about at Support4Good and that is: which nootropics I use to increase my performance, sharpen my focus and increase my energy when I feel I need to have an extra edge.
Starting a social innovation business or any business for that matter can feel like an exercise in swimming upstream.
Like the majestic salmon, businesses, small NGOs and especially organizations who are trying to do good will likely experience significant resistance, not only from other businesses, from friends and family from your community but even from yourself, basically anywhere and everywhere!
In trying times when you’re putting it all on the line, you can’t afford to underperform.
When A Natural Nootropics Might Help Your Mind Perform Better?
Now, a little transparency. The supplements that I will tell you about are the actual ones that I use myself. I’m not endorsing any brands officially, but I will put an affiliate link to the supplements that I use. I encourage you to shop around. The ones I’m sharing here are the ones I choose, but you may like something else.
All I know is that this particular stack works well for me and may or may not work well for you. It might be too strong or not strong enough and the dosages I take might need to be adjusted to fit your constitution.
Okay, so let's get into it.
First, I’ll give you the whole list and then I will go into a little bit of detail about each of the supplements. I am not a health and wellness expert, so I’ll only go into a level of depth in explaining them to you that I feel comfortable doing and will try to pepper disclaimers throughout, constraining my commentary to information you could easily Google yourself.
Remember, we all build our narratives based on personal experience and the information we have on hand. I hope in the end you’ll gain some helpful understanding of what each supplement does.
Finally, the magic of the stack is that they all work together, synergistically.
My Natural Nootropics Stack: (taken 3 to 4 times per week in the morning)
I’m physiologically male so I take a men’s multivitamin- multivitamins vary, but I take
And my non-synthetic, natural nootropics stack is:
- Jarrow Formulas Alpha GPC, 300mg
- Mushroom Wisdom Super Lion’s Mane, 2200mg
- NOW Foods double-strength L-Theanine, 200 mg
- Source Naturals N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, 300mg
- MRM Acetyl-L-Carnitine, 500mg
- and Himalayas Bacopa, 1000mg
What do all these supplements do and how do they work together?
What’s the role of the multivitamin?
To my mind, as a simple consumer, a multivitamin like
taken several times per week allows me to cover the bases in case I haven’t eaten the best diet, and to be honest sometimes I haven’t. There are a plethora of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are vital to optimal health.
Some of them are abundant in the food we eat, our bodies produce some of them internally, and for others, we can look to vitamins to ensure a solid supply of these vital nutrients.
You wouldn’t drive your car without oil in the engine and similarly, you couldn’t function without sufficient iron.
Even though a healthy diet supplies the majority of vitamins and minerals I need, I do like to supplement at least a minimum of one to two times per week and no more than four times per week. This is just what I do to ensure I get what I need. It doesn’t make it right for everyone.
Let me just say for the rest of this article that while I am not an expert on the science, I am well within my depth concerning my personal experience with this natural nootropic stack (IMHO the BEST nootropic stack).
L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine is a compound that already exists in our brains and one of its chief functions is to help deliver choline to the brain. Its unique talent is to transfer choline across the blood-brain barrier so as a supplement it enables and accelerates the transfer of choline cross the blood-brain barrier.
So I guess the next question is: why is it important to transfer Choline cross the blood-brain barrier?
Why does the brain need choline? That’s an easy one because choline produces acetylcholine- the body needs choline (it’s actually a precursor of acetylcholine) for the production of acetylcholine and Alpha GPC.
why does the brain need acetylcholine then?
Ok, The crux of the matter. According to this article at https://study.com/academy/lesson/acetylcholine-definition-function-deficiency-symptoms.html study.com, acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which is essentially like a mailman who both picks up the mail and delivers it to its recipient. Acetylcholine enables muscle function and all of this taken together regulates the endocrine system and more to the point, that the use of alpha GPC in clinical studies has shown promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, memory loss and dementia.
Bottom-line: Alpha GPC, enables the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to move all of our other nootropics stack supplements across the blood-brain barrier allowing them to quickly have their collective effect.
I didn’t introduce lion’s mane into my natural nootropic stack until the third iteration, the current one, the one I’m happy enough with to write about now.
Lion’s mane just feels good. Healthline.com says,
“Research has found that lion’s mane may protect against dementia, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression and help repair nerve damage.”
And it benefits the proliferation of healthy bacteria in the intestines and gives an immune system boost to boot.
Part of my testing and experimentation with a nootropic stack has included changes I’ve made in response to the feedback my body has given me. Earlier combinations felt too harsh or too jittery. I’ve even had mild palpitations as a result of a misaligned stack so always be careful if you test any combination of supplements, even over-the-counter ones that are legal everywhere in the world.
For me, when I added lion’s mane to the mix it’s stabilized some of the negative side effects I was experiencing before adding it. There’s another ingredient or two that help with this, but lion’s mane just feels good to me.
It’s green tea guys! What could be more healthy and innocuous then green tea?
Honestly. This one is proven to be a stress reliever, and we all know how we need to relieve stress. If you show me someone without stress I’ll show you an alien.
Recent research has shown that glutamate, an agitating neurotransmitter, can be bound to its “docking bay” known as a receptor by our hero l-theanine. In addition to what l-theanine does with glutamate, it has been shown to do with a host of other bodily functions that need “the chill pill”. l-theanine walks into the room and everybody just relaxes. it’s cool man.
A sticking point with l-theanine is that you can’t get enough of it by drinking green tea alone unless that’s all you do and that wouldn’t be healthy. So in this case, to get the nootropic effect from l-theanine it’s necessary to take it in a more concentrated form which is in the form of a supplement. In my case, I take one 200 mg capsule of NOW Foods double-strength l-theanine.
Acetyl-l-tyrosine is a more water-soluble version or form of the compound l-tyrosine. I take N-Acetyl-l-tyrosine as opposed to L-Tyrosine because somebody sold me on the idea of having a more water-soluble and more easily absorbed form of tyrosine, but there is some debate, all non-conclusive, but…
I don’t have a proverbial horse in the race so let’s look a bit at what l-tyrosine does and refer to an article or two to get some perspective on the difference between acetyl l-tyrosine and l-tyrosine.
L-tyrosine can elevate the levels of dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. What this does is increases performance in stressful situations and aids in the performance of tasks and thoughts related to memory.
L-tyrosine is produced by the body so we already have it and it’s already doing what it does. Thanks to good old science we’ve recognized its value and with a well-calibrated nootropic stack, we can get ourselves some more of it and use the chemistry of our body to our advantage.
Could straight l-tyrosine be the better supplement?
I read this article with citations https://www.prbreaker.com/blogs/news/tyrosine-vs-n-acetyl-tyrosine-are-companies-using-the-inferior-form and if I am to believe their conclusions, I would have to agree. Among the evidence in this article is that acetyl-l-tyrosine performed worse then l-tyrosine particularly in the areas that its role had originally been justified; crossing of the blood-brain barrier and successful absorption.
I’ll be coming back to this article later after testing l-tyrosine against in acetyl-l-tyrosine to offer my experiential feedback.
You know those little guys, the independent little organisms that live in our brains?
No, not the voices in your head, I’m talking about mitochondria y’all! Let’s be clear, mitochondria are actually symbionts, meaning they are symbiotically living with us but they are no longer independent.
Now I could track that back and flesh that out a little more but I might get a little woowoo so…
We call mitochondria organelles now, but that’s the third wave feminism on that tip. On second thought I can’t resist exploring this further or at least giving you path to go explore further on your own so check out this article , and here’s one person’s comment from that article https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/39476/are-mitochondria-alive:
“The definition is a matter of philosophy and not everybody agree. And typically “can it live by itself?” would be a pretty misleading question given that it would exclude all parasite from the realm of living things. If you push the concept of ecological interdependence a little further it would even yield any living individual to be excluded from the realm of living things. A wolf for example is not a living thing just because it depends on its preys and on the plant that is producing its oxygen (and other species with which it has a relationship).”– Remi.b Oct 11 ’15 at 20:05
Anyway, mitochondria produce energy, they are energy factories and acetyl-l-carnitine boosts those little puppies. In short, acetyl-l-carnitine is a performance-enhancing supplement with a positive impact on enabling quicker recovery times. You may not be an athlete, but everyone exerts themselves physically and mentally and all of that puts physical stresses and demands on the body, some of which can benefit from an unfair advantage and be mitigated by the use of acetyl-l-carnitine, an essential member of this nootropic stack.
Lastly, let’s talk about bacopa and I don’t want to talk bad about it, but it is the supplement that I have the most love hate relationship with.
Why? Because for me, it’s the opposite of lion’s mane: it does not make me feel good. Instead, it’s side effects grind on me and dries me up. It feels harsh and difficult to digest… but it clearly contributes to the nootropics stack that I’ve used now for a long time with very clear results.
A quick anecdotal story: I was in India many years ago traveling alone sick with a stomach full of giardia and (the other thing that everybody complains about an India that I can’t remember right now) dysentery. I went to several conventional pharmacist/doctors and they gave me the equivalent of an atom bomb for my stomach that made me feel like I was bleeding inside.
In other words, what they did didn’t help. Finally, in desperation, I went to an Ayurvedic doctor in Varanasi and he gave me a concoction that within two days removed the illness that had plagued me for almost a month and had taken 50 of my precious pounds off of my body.
Bacopa is an ayurvedic herb that has been used for who-knows-how-long how long… a long time. It is used today for the same things that it has been used for in the past: to enhance memory. And it is being applied to our contemporary illnesses such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s with clinical success.
Side effects can include nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea and that sort of thing and I think I’ve experienced some of those. As a matter of fact, I think bacopa is the ingredient that prevents me from taking my nootropic stack more regularly.
I find it’s too harsh to take 5 days a week and that I’m usually maxed out after three or four days so I listen to my body and have made that adjustment. While it may sound like a limitation, I’m actually thankful that the inclusion of bacopa in my natural nootropics stack builds a moderating and countervailing force into my regiment that prevents me from relying too heavily on the use of these supplements.
What are the effects I experience with this natural nootropic stack?
I usually take supplements with a cup of coffee after drinking some water and having breakfast in the morning. Other times I take them before breakfast and it really depends on the time in between when I take the supplements and when I’m ready to leave my house to begin my day because I feel a heightened level of focus hit me, usually on my way to work and I like to keep the less focused, softer side of my personality pliable when saying goodbyes to my wife and daughter.
What usually happens with me as I go about my morning commute, it’s almost as if there’s a self-realization of focus that can even be slightly exhilarating somewhere around 45 minutes after I take this natural nootropic medley.
From this point forward with this particular stack I find it works best for me to do work that I can really get deeply involved in. Meetings, conferences and conversations are fine as well but there is a bit of an edge that I believe comes across slightly sharper than normal, so my favorite tasks are either design or research oriented things that I can work on without a lot of interruptions.
On these days when I use the supplement I can count on having more energy and winding down from my day later than on days when I don’t supplement. Usually I’m buoyant and ready to continue solving problems related to my business from morning until the evening and that’s pretty normal generally but it’s definitely enhanced when I use a natural nootropic stack.
What I talked about so far are performance enhancements, and particularly with regard to energy and endurance I can enjoy a clear improvement. The parts that’s less difficult to observe on a day-to-day basis are the long-term benefits of using some of these supplements. A number of them have shown very positive results for Alzheimers and dementia patients, and in counteracting the general degradation of memory as one ages. For these potential benefits alone I plan to continue using nootropic supplements for a long time as an insurance on the longevity of my mental capacities.
So there you have it.
As I’m sure I’ve said before, I’m not a doctor and I am not recommending you do anything. Take no action based on this article unless you assume the full responsibility of your actions on your own.
If you do want to explore these supplements, there are two things I do when I’m experimenting with something whether it be a supplement or a new yoga posture or some other random thing I think of right now.
- I always go slowly at first to make sure that I don’t make any mistakes and to carefully observe and learn from what’s happening and then
- I slowly increase speed and sophistication of the activity until I feel that the Optimal Performance has been achieved and at that point I usually stop.
Each of us have a point where we know we need to stop in any endeavor or activity so know yourself, and maybe with the help of a natural nootropic stack like this, know yourself better.
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