Want to boost your brainpower the vegan-friendly way but don’t know where to start?
Brain optimization comes with a lot of experimenting to find what works. It involves trying different compounds, keeping a log of what works, and how well it works.
However, it’s also one hell of an investment, and if you don’t have the budget to test different products, how do you conclude? We’ve learned that there isn’t a “sole nootropic” that provides you with the entire array of brain benefits you’re looking for, but instead, you can take what it’s called a stack, which is basically a supplement that includes all the nootropics you need.
In this article, we’ll go over how to find the right vegan nootropic stack, and we’ll also provide you with a list of 6 vegan nootropic stacks ranked from best to worst.
How to Find The Right Vegan Nootropic Stack
What constitutes a high-quality nootropic stack? It’s not unusual to find counterfeit products masquerading as genuine brand name supplements or even well-known brands filling their supplements with anything but the content on the label.
An example of this stems from an investigation done in 2013 by Canadian Researchers, where the team used DNA testing on 44 bottles of brand name supplements sold by 12 companies.
Many of the dietary supplement bottles contained none of what was claimed on the label, and instead, they had ingredients like rice, wheat, soybeans, etc. What they were initially hoping to find were actual nootropic ingredients like Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s wort, and Ginseng.
So how do you find brands that actually sell effective nootropics that provide you with the brain hacking benefits you’re looking for? Here are 7 things you should be looking at.
1. Brand Reputation
Before we speak about actual brand reputation, we believe there’s something important to be emphasized in the first place.
Do NOT purchase your nootropics from drug stores, department stores, or supermarket brands of supplements. Drug stores sell drugs and have very little incentive to create high-quality supplements to compete with their main source of revenue — pharmaceuticals.
When deciding on a particular brand, be sure to fully analyze the brand’s about us page, to find out what the company is actually about, including how long they’ve been in business and what type of philosophy they spread. We’re very supportive of truly transparent brands.
They should also have a proper customer service system in place, and you should be able to reach out to them in case you have a question or complaint. If you find that there’s an unusual absence of a responsive customer support team, this is an instant red flag.
A company that fully trusts its products is more than willing to stand by them, and if you have any criticism in mind, a good company is willing to listen and correct mistakes.
2. Quality Assurance
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration does not oversee every single supplement as they do with pharmaceuticals, despite regulating dietary supplements to a certain extent.
In fact, there is a law that prohibits supplement makers from marketing spoiled or misbranded products. And while the FDA does take action against such companies, it usually only happens after the brand and its products have reached the market.
This means brands are essentially policing themselves, and only when a product is reported or found to be defective, does the FDA take action.
Supplements that come from China, India, and Mexico are more likely to contain toxic ingredients and even prescription drugs. As such, always verify the origin of the supplement.
More importantly, choose reputable brands with a track record of providing clean, high-quality products. Reputable companies will have a lot of information on their product, including the origin and purity of each ingredient, as well as certificates proving that the products have been thoroughly tested (usually by a third-party lab).
Finally, check to see if the labels are free of toxins, pesticides, and herbicides. This can be usually found in the form of certification seals.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can always contact the manufacturer and ask how they produce their products. It’s usually available on the website, but they should be able to provide you with a Certificate of Analysis if you ask for it.
3. Certificate of Analysis (CoA)
Qualified independent labs test dietary and nootropic supplements for quality, potency, and toxicity, which manufacturers will usually feature on product labels. And some supplements even include a QR code that you can scan with your phone — which will either allow you to download the Certificate of Analysis to your phone or send you to an internet page with the certificate.
This being said, the best way (especially if you buy products online) is to check the manufacturer’s website. Not only can you easily access the aforementioned certificate, but you can verify how comprehensive their testing programs are. If for some reason, the supplement company does not have a comprehensive testing program in place, you shouldn’t purchase from them.
Keep in mind that there is no “correctly” established dose for dietary supplements. Meaning, most labels will contain commonly used and safe dosage recommendation.
However, it’s quite possible that those dosages might not provide you with a cognitive benefit, because they might be too low. If you end up in that situation, be sure to contact the manufacturer to obtain more information.
At the same time, it all comes down to the level of tolerance you have to this type of supplement, and whether or not you’re trying them out for the first time.
5. Other Ingredients
“Other ingredients” often refer to inactive ingredients, or ingredients within supplements that are used to increase shelf life, bind tablets together, improve consistency, improve moisture resistance, help stabilize ingredients, add bulk (to fill capsules), as well as add color and flavor.
Gelatine, an animal-based ingredient, is often among these ingredients and it often acts as a binding or thickening agent.
These ingredients, while approved as safe by the FDA in small quantities, are damaging when consumed in less controlled amounts. For example, Titanium Dioxide, a pigment used to color supplements, can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction.
Therefore, if you can, try to avoid “other ingredients” with shady sounding names.
The TOP 2 nootropic stacks we’ve included in this list have no extra ingredients, apart from the tapioca-based Nutricaps® capsules that are 100% vegan.
Put simply, bioavailability refers to how well nutrients can be absorbed by your body.
For example, a common ingredient found in nootropics called turmeric is poorly absorbed by the human body. The same goes for L-tyrosine, which is essentially an amino acid that is involved in the synthesis of dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine in the brain.
If you wish to boost the bioavailability of these ingredients/nutrients and make full use of their benefits, you either have to find other forms of the same ingredient that are much more bioavailable — swapping L-Tyrosine with N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) for example.
Or, in cases like Turmeric, you have to stack it with another ingredient like Piperine to dramatically boost its bioavailability. Hence why nootropic stacks are much better than “sole nootropics”.
Another thing to consider is whether a certain supplement is more effective by being consumed in a specific “form”. By form, we mean… an extract versus the whole herb.
That comes down to the ingredients on an individual level, and while manufacturers may be aware of things like this, it’s the highly reputable manufacturers that will ensure you’re consuming a certain ingredient/nutrient in the right form for the best results.
Top 6 Vegan Nootropic Stacks in 2020
Mind Lab Pro Nootropic (Editor’s Choice)
Mind Lab Pro is a high-end cognitive booster comprised of 11 nootropics that work in 6 different bio-pathways to trigger a full array of brain benefits.
Unlike most nootropic stacks that target 2-3 brain pathways, Mind Lab Pro provides you with a complete formula that optimizes as many brain functions as possible.
Plus, it completely avoids theoretical nootropic compounds and sticks to fully evidence-backed nootropics that are known to positively affect brain function.
Performance Lab Mind Nootropic (Runner-Up)
Created by the same manufacturers behind Mind Lab Pro, this nootropic stack by Performance Lab is not seeking to cover as many nutritional bases.
That being said, it’s still a very appealing option — despite containing a slightly more limited number of nootropics, it’s still a very effective stack for those looking to boost focus and recover from mental exertion.
Qualia Mind Nootropic
Qualia Mind is different from the previous nootropic stacks, it contains a panoply of micronutrients not provided by nootropic ingredients.
In fact, it contains 28 vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and non-GMO ingredients, with only 6 of them being actual nootropic compounds. Then there is a mixture of vitamins, antioxidants, adaptogen extracts, amino acids, and choline donors.
According to the manufacturer, this product results from hours of research and development by top scientists in complex-systems modeling, neurobiology, organic chemistry.
HFL Body Brain Energy Nootropic
The Body Brain stack contains 21 ingredients, which according to the manufacturer, will provide you with the ultimate cognitive performance.
Body Brain is a very complex and advanced nootropic stack, which contains a compelling mixture of choline compounds, adaptogen herbs, amino acids, and antioxidants.
It’s very similar to Qualia Mind, in the sense that the ingredients (while some may seem underdosed), have a good synergy where mutual benefits are triggered when stacked.
Peak and Valley Brain Booster
This mood-enhancer by Peak and Valley is a natural adaptogen formula that protects your body against stress, but it also contains medicinal mushroom extracts and herbs that increase focus, and improve memory.
This solution is basically an adaptogen blend comprised of maca root, ashwagandha, snow mushroom, and lion’s mane, all of which are evidence-backed ingredients.
You won’t find a single synthetic ingredient in this formula and you can expect a better absorption rate (as well as quick results) because the supplement comes in a powder.
Lumultra is not a stranger within the nootropic scene, it’s actually a quite popular stack in the United States and offers an interesting combination of energy, focus, and memory nootropics.
In fact, a glance at the label and you can see the ingredients divided by blends: a Focus, Energy, and Memory blend and the ingredients below each.
However, and this is something we dislike about this supplement, you’re left without knowing the number of nutrients within each ingredient — so you’re essentially in the dark, and won’t know whether or not it’ll bring you benefits or result in nothing.
What Are Nootropic Supplements?
Nootropic is a scientific word used to describe cognitive enhancers or smart drugs.
However, we have to make an important distinction here — smart drugs are generally synthetic substances created inside labs. On the other hand, nootropic supplements are substances derived from nature that provide you with cognitive benefits.
Many of the substances found in nootropic supplements have been used for thousands of years, in Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and other ancient healing arts.
Did you watch the film Limitless starring Bradley Cooper?
This movie was centered around the use of nootropics and the potential they represent.
Unlike the reality depicted in the film, nootropics are not limitless drugs that give you access to unlimited knowledge or the ability to instantly become more intelligent.
Don’t get me wrong, nootropics have incredible benefits, but we have to be realistic about them.
Are Nootropic Stacks The Same Thing?
Not quite — nootropic stacks are a combination of one or more nootropic supplements that create specific cognitive benefits.
A single nootropic supplement can only be used to improve one aspect of your brain, while nootropic stacks allow you to boost several aspects of your brain. They contain ingredients or substances that trigger different areas of the brain.
There are two known ways in which you can use nootropic stacking:
- By taking preformulated nootropic stacks such as the Mind Lab Pro
- Or by creating your own stack, meaning, taking supplements together or in a sequence.
If you haven’t already, check out the best vegan nootropic stacks we’ve reviewed above.
Who Uses Nootropics?
People from different areas and walks of life seek the best nootropic supplements and drugs, especially in high-performance environments.
Here are some of the types of people looking for nootropic supplements:
- College Students
- And the list goes on.
High achievers are always looking for solutions that provide them with an edge. Entrepreneurs, namely the ones in Silicon Valley, rely on nootropics for extra brainpower to be more productive, make better decisions, and capitalize on opportunities.
In fact, a well-known entrepreneur that is quite an avid supporter of nootropic stacks is Tim Ferris.
He has a deep interest in anything that might improve his physical and brain function, so he’s constantly experimenting and testing reputable products on himself.
Do Nootropic Supplements Work? What Are Its Benefits?
Yes, they definitely work, but at the same time, it also comes down to the individual.
When you take the time to read reviews, you’ll find that some supplements work for some people but not for others, while some people feel more side effects than others, too.
Most synthetic substances are derived from ingredients extracted from nature (specifically, plants), and there are certain substances in these plants that can:
- Increase communication between neurons
- Promote brain cell health
- Support neuroplasticity
- Stimulate the growth of new neurons and synapses
- Help balance neurotransmitter levels
- Improve energy metabolism in neurons
Substances that manage to improve ANY cognitive function are often denominated as “smart drugs” or cognitive enhancers.
But we have to keep in mind that our DNA is different, and our brains are also wired differently, so what might work marvels for you, might actually induce annoying side effects on other people.
That being said, if a supplement is considered to be the best, it’s because it works for most people, and the only that is accomplished is when A LOT of people have tried it, which is exactly what has happened with stacks like the Mind Lab Pro and the Performance Lab Mind.
If you’re having a hard time finding the ideal nootropic stack, we hope this page provides you with the right option.
We’re confident every single one of these nootropic stacks works, not only because of the reputation the companies have but also because of their formulation.
Nootropic stacks like the Mind Lab Pro and the Performance Lab Mind have been tested thousands of times by users all around the world, and are by far the most reputable.
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*Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.
Here Is Our #1 Recommendation For Vegans
Future Kind’s Essential Vitamins: This is our favorite vegan supplement. It’s not the typical multivitamin because it was formulated to specifically address potential shortcomings in the vegan diet. It contains the essential vitamin B12, vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA & EPA) delivered in necessary doses so you don’t have to worry about potential deficiencies. If you wish to learn more about it, you can check out the review we did on it.