There’s this film called Limitless where the guy somehow gets it all, understands the universe, and finally knows where a woman wants to eat. There’s also a film called Lucy that explored the 10-percent brain theory (like, we normally just use 10% of our brain everyday) and the things Lucy could do after just unlocking the whole 100% was insane.
In both films, the main characters took some sort of brain pill that made them god-like. While we all wish a pill like that existed, the closest we can get to are what you call Nootropics.
What are Nootropics?
Nootropics are supplements made specifically for the brain, an exact opposite when it comes to the usual supplements we see for muscle building or energy. Nootropics can be either for brain health or to provide a bit of brain boost to temporarily enhance cognition, mood, alertness, and focus.
Most nootropics out in the market can either be synthetic or natural and you’ll mostly see them included as part of a bigger blend of ingredients in popular supplement brands. And that’s one thing you should not be happy about.
Not being purist or anything here but it’s really way, way better to build your own stack whether it’s for exercise or for your overdue college paper. There are many reasons why premade nootropic stacks are bullshit but we’ve narrowed it down to just five compelling reasons.
You can’t choose your own ingredients
This is the first and foremost reason as to why you should avoid premade nootropic stacks.
Let’s say you have a tight deadline for some major exam paper and your buddy told you about how amazing nootropics are. You’re a lazy guy, maybe partied too much during review week, so you’ll bite anything at this point.
You did your research and found a few interesting ingredients that might just help. You then go out to the nearest supplements shop but instead of finding the nootropics you want; you get stuck with nootropic brands that have ingredients you have absolutely no idea about. Since you really need to finish that paper, you’re left with no choice but to take a gamble with whatever the shop sells.
The scenario above may not always happen to people but it’s a pretty good way of explaining the importance of choosing your own ingredients.
When you choose your own ingredients, you know the different benefits and side effects of each compound and by buying premade nootropic stacks, you’re taking risks of wasting money and swallowing something that may not work the way you expected. If you’re not careful, you might end up buying something that can mess with your system and harm you.
Sometimes our bodies also react differently to certain ingredients. You should know this firsthand. If not, consult your doctor and have yourself tested for allergies or conditions that could become complicated if you take certain compounds. Stacking nootropic blends yourself avoids these complications.
When it comes to building stacks, it’s important to know the clinically effective doses of if the doses given to each ingredient will have some sort of synergy with other compounds. Some reputable companies list down the doses for each of their ingredients while others would rather hide the doses under the guise of prop blends.
A proprietary blend, better known as prop blend, is when the company behind the supplement does not want the user to know how much each ingredient has per serving. Some companies make use of prop blends to avoid copycats or competitors from knowing their exact formula, others hide behind prop blends because they don’t want their customers to know the doses used on their “premium ingredients” are ineffective. This is a pretty common scam tactic called Fairy Dusting.
Stacking allows you to know not just what you put inside your stack but how much of each you added. Knowing the numbers behind each nootropic will help determine the duration of effect as well as each compound’s potency.
But that’s not even the worst part. You end up coughing up money on small and useless doses. By useless, we mean clinically ineffective doses. Like, they sell it to you but shit ain’t working.
Some of these companies claim to make you a god overnight but holyshit, the only thing it’ll make you is sick to your stomach specially when it comes to kitchen sink supplements. Kitchen sink supplements give you like 30-50 ingredients and expect them all to work under a 500 mg serving size.
Knowing how much you add also helps determine your personal tolerance to specific nootropics and you are able to make adjustments based on the results you get from each experiment.
Unnecessary additives and colorants
This is pretty self-explanatory. Supplement companies will do anything to lower the cost or add some sparkles to their product, sometimes at the expense of the health of their consumers. It can be in the form of colorants like the ones in this list by the FDA or other ingredients like magnesium stearate, carrageenan, and titanium dioxide. Here’s a list of common additives.
Mind you, most of these additives are actually pretty safe in controlled doses and some of the fillers were added only as a process enhancer (to make machines yield more) but why have them when you can afford not to, right?
Weird and questionable ingredients
Some companies would do whatever it takes to make their product either appear “innovative” or cheaper and these companies usually add weird ingredients with names you can’t really pronounce the first three or four times.
Companies use them either due to a questionable or small study that merely hints of any benefits or because it’s part of some form of traditional medicine.
Regardless, nothing beats the ingredients you know from the inside-out and the best way to keep yourself from swallowing weird herbs is to avoid buying premade stacks.
Okay, this is a pretty economical reason. Premade stacks are often priced up to more than twice their manufacturing cost. That’s because companies charge customers for overhead costs, shipping, manpower, label design, and even the rent paid for the shelves these supplements are placed on.
Money doesn’t grow on trees and the best way to save money on your chosen ingredients is to buy in bulk. Some online sellers offer good discounts and the best part is some of these ingredients aren’t even expensive to begin with.
Price check: Premade vs Your Stack
One of the most popular premade nootropics available is Mind Lab Pro. It’s known to have some of the best nootropics out there but is also known to cost as much as $65.00 for a one-month supply. Pretty steep, right? Let’s compare the actual product vs your own stack.
|Ingredient||Weight||Retail price per capsule/table, USD*||Actual price per stack, USD|
|Citicoline (Cognizin®)||250 mg||0.4 per 500 mg||0.2000|
|Bacopa monnieri (45% bacosides, whole plant)||150 mg||0.20 per 500 mg||0.0600|
|Lion’s Mane Mushroom (full spectrum)||500 mg||0.20 per 750 mg||0.1333|
|Phosphatidylserine (Sharp-PS® Green derived from sunflower lecithin)||100 mg||0.30 per 150 mg||0.2000|
|Pterostilbene||0.5 mg||0.24 per 100 mg||0.0012|
|N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine||175 mg||0.13 per 300 mg||0.0758|
|L-Theanine (as Suntheanine®)||100 mg||0.20 per 200 mg||0.1000|
|Rhodiola Rosea (3% rosavins and 1% salidroside) (root)||50 mg||0.13 per 450 mg||0.0144|
|Vinpocetine||6 mg||0.10 per 10 mg||0.0600|
|Huperzine A||0.2 mg||0.12 per 0.2 mg||0.1200|
|Price per capsule, USD||1.083333333||0.9648|
|Two servings per day, USD||2.166666667||1.9296|
|30 Day supply, USD||65||57.8887|
Based on the table, you can save almost $8.00 per bottle. It’s not just the price you’ll be benefiting from. You also get to guarantee the safety and efficacy of your stack as well as have the capability to customize it according to you needs.
The ingredients used aren’t exactly as expensive as popular brands. Like we said earlier, when you pay for a bottle, you pay for everything else that handled that bottle.
When you build your stack, you might just have one, two, three, or even more nootropics combined depending on your purpose or need. If you can build a $1.00 per day stack, without a doubt it would be better than most supplements priced the same or more and most supplements play around $45.00 to $55.00 per month.
No matter how you build your nootropic stack, you’ll have all the advantages in the end: You won’t be paying for shit you don’t need, you’ll be able to play around with the dosage, and you know exactly what your stack will do and how strong it can get.
*Price list c/o Amazon products taken as of September 9, 2016
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