The Best Nootropic Stack for Beginners (Expert Shawn Wells)

In our second podcast episode, Optimizing Brain Performance with Shawn Wells, the master formulator dropped so much information it was tough to keep it all straight.

But one of the most important pieces was around the 40-minute mark, where we talked about Shawn’s best nootropic stack for beginners:

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The best nootropics for beginners

So if you’re just getting started in this whole nootropic / cognitive enhancement scene, let’s keep it simple here. Four things to consider – two of them quite basic that everyone should take, one of them a source of choline (especially important if you don’t eat eggs), and one of them a bit more on the “smart drug” side of things:

  1. Alpha-GPC, 600mg 3x/day

    Best Nootropics for Beginners

    Tons of stacks that beginners can take, but this one’s stimulant-free and has something for everyone!

    Also known as alpha-glycerophosphocholine, this is your source of choline, and admittedly an expensive dose. However, it’s beyond th2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1122-6e clinical dose, and it’s sure to liven your day and prevent cognitive decline.[1]

    Athletic and Weight Loss Benefits

    This dose of Alpha-GPC also has strength gains — at an even lower dose than we have here[2] — and there’s some pretty solid weight loss research on choline as well![3] (That study used a larger dose of a less-bioavailable form of choline).

    The study Shawn mentions with growth hormone release from Alpha-GPC also showed biomarkers of fat oxidation increasing,[4] so we believe the fat loss effects on the other forms of choline should still apply to this dose of Alpha-GPC.

    Some labeling concerns

    Important to note is that Alpha-GPC is a very sticky substance and needs to be bound to something — typically silica. This means you should see “Alpha-GPC 50%” on the label. If not, we suggest passing and looking at the next company.

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  2. Methylcobalamin (Vitamin B12) (5-15mg/day)

    This one’s here to improve sleep parameters (you may get some interesting dreams with B12!) and to prevent deficiency.[5] It’s cheap and worth taking.

    While Shawn didn’t discuss the dose in the video, he’s since told us that he recommends 5-15mg per day.

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  3. High-DHA Fish Oil

    Another supplement well worth taking, regardless of its nootropic benefits — DHA. Short for Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA has been shown to increase IQ in babies that receive it supplementally, mildly improve symptoms of ADHD in children (based upon a large meta-analysis),[6] enhance memory in health adults,[7] and even help reduce risk of major neurodegenerative disorders.[8]

    Those studies cited only scratch the surface. Unless you’re a serious fatty fish eater, this one’s a no-brainer.

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  4. Noopept (start at 10mg, but can work up to 30mg/day)

    Noopept

    Noopept is one of the most serious memory-boosting nootropics you can use, just make sure to pair it with a source of choline to avoid brain fog. Not a problem here!

    This is the more “smart drug” type recommendation, and slightly more aggressive one, yet it pairs quite well with the choline from Alpha-GPC.2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1122-6

    Noopept is often considered a part of the “racetam” family, but works in a milder and longer-term fashion. Its main capability is by helping to increase levels of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF),[9] which help influence the growth of new neurons and synapses.

    The science goes deep on this one, so we refer to our Noopept mega-guide if you wish to learn more.

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There are tons of other ingredients, but this is a good stack with a little bit of everything, and should help with general health on top of cognitive function.

A stimulant-free stack so you can stack your own!

There are also no stimulants listed above, so anyone can use it, and you can add it to your existing morning coffee, pre workout supplement, energy drink, fat burner, etc.

Discussion on Vitamin D

In the video above, we discuss Vitamin D a good bit too, but there’s not a ton with regards to cognition there. Either way, it’s still great to take – 5000IU of oil-based Vitamin D3 is the current go-to. Great to take with that high-DHA fish oil.

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References

  1. De Jesus Moreno Moreno M; “Cognitive improvement in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia after treatment with the acetylcholine precursor choline alfoscerate: a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial”; Clinical Therapeutics; 2003 Jan; 25(1):178-93; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12637119
  2. Bellar D, LeBlanc NR, Campbell B; “The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength”; J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015; 12(1):42; http://www.jissn.com/content/12/1/42
  3. Elsawy, Gehan, Osama Abdelrahman, and Amr Hamza. “Effect of Choline Supplementation on Rapid Weight Loss and Biochemical Variables Among Female Taekwondo and Judo Athletes.” Journal of Human Kinetics 40 (2014): 77–82; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4096089/
  4. Kawamura, T, et al; “Glycerophosphocholine enhances growth hormone secretion and fat oxidation in young adults”; Nutrition; 2012 Nov-Dec; 28(11-12):1122-6; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22673596
  5. Clarke, Robert, et al; “Screening for vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency in older persons”; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Volume 77, Issue 5; 1 May 2003; Pages 1241–1247; https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/77/5/1241/4689831
  6. Bloch, Michael H., and Ahmad Qawasmi; “Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for the Treatment of Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptomatology: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”; Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 50.10 (2011): 991–1000; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625948/
  7. Stonehouse, Welma, et al; “DHA supplementation improved both memory and reaction time in healthy young adults: a randomized controlled trial”; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Volume 97, Issue 5; 1 May 2013; Pages 1134–1143; https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/97/5/1134/4577127
  8. Lopez, LB, et al; “High dietary and plasma levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid are associated with decreased dementia risk: the rancho bernardo study”; The journal of nutrition, health & aging; January 2011, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 25–31; https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12603-011-0009-5
  9. Ostrovskaya, R, et al; “The nootropic and neuroprotective proline-containing dipeptide noopept restores spatial memory and increases immunoreactivity to amyloid in an Alzheimer’s disease model”; Journal of Pharmacology; 2007 Aug; 21(6):611-9; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17092975
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