This article has been published for reference purposes (originally published in 2016) and does not represent beliefs or ethos of the current Peak Nootropics editorial team.
Everyone is looking to get the best out of their nootropic stacks. Unfortunately, there is a huge pitfall within every person’s journey to attain high mental acuity. This pitfall is known as stress and it is unavoidable. Fortunately there are supplemental aids known as adaptogens which we can enforce to help combat internal stress.
An advanced nootropic stack should have adaptogens involved to help combat stress. Even through stress may be from external factors, it affects us internally by raising a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is an enemy most people should combat, especially those whom are looking to increase cognitive function. The hormone may even directly influence the effectiveness of our beloved nootropic racetams.
Before enforcing an adaptogen supplement in our stack we should look at two things first. The things to evaluate are if you are getting adequate sleep and exercise. Unfortunately, it works as a “Catch 22” because often higher cortisol leads to insomnia and lower energy levels. This is where the term “overtired” may come in because you may feel the need to sleep but no physical capability to do so. In this case, it is hard to get more rest and exercise.
So what can a nootropics user do to combat the negative influence of stress and cortisol levels? Adaptogens are the answer and they may influence your cognitive ability even further. Nootropic users almost always have more stress than people not using nootropics. This is simply because, a person looks for nootropics generally to help fight cognitive difficulties involved in jobs and studies.
THREE ADAPTOGENS TO ADD TO YOUR NOOTROPIC STACK
Here at Peak we recommend three adaptogens. There are more, but these are the ones that have proven their weight and the best “bang for your buck”. Do not let yourself be fooled by the fact that they are herbal. Many pharmaceuticals are created from herbal constituents and the chemicals in these adaptogens are no different. They are extremely powerful and may perhaps change your life and boost the whole effectiveness of your nootropic stack.
There are a few worthy things to note before using adaptogen nootropics. First off, don’t expect them to work overnight. Sure, you may experience some benefit from the first dosage but, adaptogens like most nootropics have cumulative effects which means they should be used for a week to two weeks to see full results. Like nootropics, they may also be very subtle at first and become more effective with time. Another thing to take note of is that these adaptogens are not without side effects so be careful and don’t overdo them.
Ashwagandha is an adoptogen and powerful nootropic. It contains powerful alkaloids that have been used for centuries in herbal medicine. Ashwagandha has mood boosting benefits and may combat anxiety and depression. Some people also claim that Ashwaganha can help with sleep. This fact likely pertains to cortisol levels as the plant is thought to influence it.
Many nootropics users who have tried Ashwaganha have claimed it has a significant impact on their memory and focus. Not all mechanisms are understood and the nootropic effects may pertain to cortisol levels or other mechanisms. Ashwaganha can be stacked with other adaptogens and is primarily known as an adaptogen for mood-increase and sleep promoting benefits. It should be used in a dosage of 2-6 grams a day for minimum of 2 weeks to see full effects.
RED KOREAN GINSENG (PANAX)
Red Korean Ginseng is a type of Panax Ginseng that is carefully cultivated. If you were to choose a type of Panax Ginseng, Red Korean is best. It is also thought that Red Korean Ginseng affects cortisol levels but this adaptogen is known mostly for its energy promoting benefits. It is known to give a non-jittery type of energy. Combination of Red Korean Ginseng with Ashwaganda is also a highly synergistic combination.
Red Korean Ginseng has a number of health benefits but is known mostly for its effects on energy levels. The increase in energy levels is thought to come from the mind and does not interact with the central nervous system in the same was as stimulants like caffeine. Red Korean Ginseng is usually well tolerated however generally less so than Aswagandha. Most nootropics users recommend a dosage of 500-1500mg.
Rhodiolia Rosea is a powerful adaptogen that has been largely marketed and misunderstood. It makes the list of the top three nootropic adaptogens because it is great for focus and motivation. It may also interact with mood and could possibly be dopaminergic/serotonergic. Rhodiolia may also affect cortisol levels and improve sleep quality if used properly. It is also highly synergistic when combined with either of the other two adaptogens.
Most people who take Rhodiolia Rosea experience some benefit. As stated with the other adaptogens, use this one for a minimum of two weeks. One thing to note with Rhodiolia, is that it should be stacked. Because of the possible dopaminergic mechanisms, it could cause tolerance. Most people recommend a dosage of 250-750mg used for two weeks on/one week off.