My supplement stack
I take a lot of supplements daily, and I think this can be useful to some people, so I wrote most of it down.
Overall these things make much more productive and better-feeling. In a long-term sustainable way.
Without these, life sucks. All are necessary parts of diet/lifestyle, but common deficiencies.
- Magnesium in a bioavailable form. Which means glycinate, or threonate if you're a millionaire.
- Vitamin D, multiple times the recommended daily dose. Everyone's massively deficient and those recommendations protect companies from being sued, not you from being deficient
- Sodium. I usually drink water with Himalayan salt first thing in the morning — though more in summer than winter — otherwise I feel as if I were hungover. (Dehydration is usually 95% of an alcohol hangover anyway, just drink water with enough minerals and you'll feel fine.)
Sodium is simply something that works for me, not sure why. Magnesium and vitamin D on the other hand are something basically everyone is deficient in, and those deficiencies are quite bad.
This is not just some duty to be "healthy", this is the foundation of feeling good. I usually notice that I forgot to take magnesium when I start feeling anxious. Vitamin D is similar, but more long-term because it's fat soluble, so it stays in the body for a longer time.
If you get seasonal depression, even to a light extent like feeling a bit more sad in autumn than in summer, that's vitamin D deficiency.
And if you're anxious more than you'd like, and you don't have a bioavailable magnesium supplement, that's the first thing to try. Anxiety is largely physiological and unrelated to any of your own thoughts or perceptions.
It's good to understand at least basic pharmacology here. Magnesium plays a major role in the inhibitory parts of your nervous system. Which is why it's so useful for anxiety. And sodium is an excitatory mineral, which is why a lack of it can make you depressed.
Magnesium is also a cofactor in converting vitamin D to the 25OH D, which is the useful form. So if you're magnesium deficient, dietary vitamin D supplements will work poorly as well.
These are general supplements similar to the ones above, but I don't consider them foundational because they don't have such a profound effect.
That said, they're still very useful and don't require really any consideration or research.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B
- Melatonin (0.3mg 3 hours before bed sublingually — hilariously specific but that's the right way to take it, swallowing 5mg pills like your local pharmacy wants you to can easily be counterproductive)
Glycine/taurine for sleep
- Taking both at once will diminish the effect of each, because they compete at receptors to a certain degree.
- Ashwagandha, decreases stress, lowers cortisol, stabilizes hormones.
I'm very much not a fan of when people go full "bro nootropics they make you smarter", but some of these substances are quite useful.
- Noopept, phenylpiracetam, oxiracetam. These are all good racetams, though I can't really explain the difference between them. Might require a choline source.
- Colouracetam is milder than the ones above, but better for some things (it's named colouracetam because for many people it makes colors more vibrant, so it's more appropriate for visual needs).
- Huperzine A, a nice cholinergic. It inhibits cholinesterase, though in a way that's not very selective for the "brain one", so it can give pretty annoying diarrhea.
- Nicotine, very good for cognitive work, though I usually take it for audiobook walks. It's also nice for waking you up in the evening when you want to work for a few more hours, without making your sleep bad. It's actually pretty alright for sleep, it will give you more intense dreams.
- Choline, taken in a neurologically bioavailable form. Alpha GPC, CDP choline, citicoline. These can be very individual, so might be worth trying a few.
L-theanine, the classic. Gives you a mindful headspace. High doses make me too mindful, which leads to almost anhedonia.
- Speaking of theanine, it's — alongside glycine, taurine, and magnesium — a very good supplement for treating any jitteriness, be it stimulant-induced or a externally caused.
- NSI-189, a very strong neuroplasticity supplement. It was in clinical trials as an antidepressant, and for some people it seems to work extremely well for that (especially if it's mostly anhedonia). I have some extensive research on it here.
Modafinil, preferably the right enantiomer (armodafinil). A very good functional stimulant — and also a very famous one. It's somewhat overrated, but it's pretty unique in being very sustainable with almost no tolerance onset.
- It gives a problem solving headspace, but with little control of that executive function. I can very easily get distracted by one idea and then spend hours on it, even if it's not important.
Isopropylphenidate, my favorite one. It's usually a very functional stimulant, but it stays completely clearheaded even at doses high enough to be somewhat recreational. It has practically no body load, but when you add even a bit of caffeine, it can cause strong body overstimulation. The only side effect on higher doses is slight anxiety or paranoia, but that's extremely mild compared to most other stimulants.
- Compared to modafinil, IPPH has much less task switching and more of tunnel vision. Good for working on a specific task.
- It has interesting pharamcology, it's based on methylphenidate but has a much lower affinity for the norepinephrine transporter, meaning it's much more dopaminergic. And it feels like that. It doesn't have that NE body load, but it enhances focus. It's kind of strange that the most functional MPH analogue is the most purely dopaminergic one, when you'd usually expect the opposite (e.g. 2FMA, an almost purely NE-releasing amphetamine being the most functional amphetamine).
- Selegiline. Not exactly an acutely-functioning stimulant, but a great supplement nonetheless. I wrote about it here.
- Caffeine, obviously. I'm (along with everyone else in my family) a fast metabolizer of caffeine so consumption is on the high end.
Kratom - can be quite good for work, but only white strains. Almost would put it into the stimulant section of this page. It can be nice for falling asleep, but opioid sleep is not high quality. I've used this substance extensively and the main findings (that I consider interesting) are:
- It's very forgiving for an opioid, I can take it daily for a month and I won't get any withdrawals.
- That said, higher doses will cause withdrawals. But those are still quite manageable.
- Kratom is absolutely glorious for fixing sleep deprivation. It literally feels like it reverses the deprivation, all of the negative effects go away. Worth nothing that by this I mean the short term. If you sleep little for one week and use kratom to fix yourself, you'll be completely fine. If you sleep little for two weeks, cognitive impairment will be unavoidable.
- Phenibut, occasionally on a walk or combined with a stim for coding. Always at night.
On a daily basis, I usually take these:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B
- Magnesium glycinate 2-3x a day
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Creatine 3 times a day
- Alpha GPC
- Krill oil
- Alpha Lipoic Acid in the evening
- Ashwagandha before bed
- Melatonin 0.3mg sublingual before bed
- Glycine before bed
- Lemon balm tea before bed