Stacks have been all the rage in supplementation for the last 30 years. Rather than making “kitchen sink” supplements, as they did in the 70s and 80s with massive pill packs and jugs filled with everything from wide-ranging herbal ingredients to steroids mixed with protein and carbohydrates, the industry pivoted to allow people to have the ability to make their own “perfect” blend of ingredients, because no supplement hits two people the same way, especially when stimulants are involved. And with that pivot, the necessity of stacks arose.
Fast forward to the present, and many of us have a need for creativity and alertness with a side of the altered states you’d get with substances that most people use for recreational, rather than performance enhancing purposes. This is the psychotropic wonderland in which Chaos and Pain’s Nootropic stack lays. It’ll provide you with enough energy and focus to be a beast on the virtual battlefield, Frazetta while tagging a bridge underpass, or to just giggle your ass off while you watch Nic Cage’s recent trippy and hyperviolent flicks like Mandy, Mom and Dad, and A Color Out of Space.
Here’s what Chaos and Pain’s Nootropic Stack boasts in each combined serving:
Caffeine– 400mg. Since we’ve all abandoned Red Bull and Monster for Bang and Reign, we’re used to much higher levels of caffeine. 400mg is enough to wake up even the most stim-dependent of us (though it might not get all that hyped).
“CAFFEINE DOES NOT USUALLY AFFECT PERFORMANCE IN LEARNING AND MEMORY TASKS, ALTHOUGH CAFFEINE MAY OCCASIONALLY HAVE FACILITATORY OR INHIBITORY EFFECTS ON MEMORY AND LEARNING. CAFFEINE FACILITATES LEARNING IN TASKS IN WHICH INFORMATION IS PRESENTED PASSIVELY; IN TASKS IN WHICH MATERIAL IS LEARNED INTENTIONALLY, CAFFEINE HAS NO EFFECT. CAFFEINE FACILITATES PERFORMANCE IN TASKS INVOLVING WORKING MEMORY TO A LIMITED EXTENT BUT HINDERS PERFORMANCE IN TASKS THAT HEAVILY DEPEND ON WORKING MEMORY, AND CAFFEINE APPEARS TO RATHER IMPROVE MEMORY PERFORMANCE UNDER SUBOPTIMAL ALERTNESS CONDITIONS. MOST STUDIES, HOWEVER, FOUND IMPROVEMENTS IN REACTION TIME” (NEHLIG).
PEA (beta-phenylethylamine)– 250mg. PEA is a fast-acting, naturally occurring trace amine neurotransmitter that improves creativity, sexuality, mood, mental activity, attention, motivation, alertness, awareness, energy, and sensory perceptions. Additionally, it seems to fill the neurological gap for which amphetamines are generally prescribed for patients with ADHD.
“PEA IS A TRACE AMINE WHOSE MOLECULAR MECHANISM OF ACTION DIFFERS FROM BIOGENIC AMINES, SUCH AS SEROTONIN OR DOPAMINE. ESPECIALLY LOW OR HIGH CONCENTRATIONS OF PEA MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH SPECIFIC PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS. FOR THOSE DISORDERS THAT ARE CHARACTERIZED BY LOW PEA LEVELS (E.G. ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER) PEA HAS BEEN SUGGESTED AS A ‘SAFE’ ALTERNATIVE TO DRUGS, SUCH AS AMPHETAMINE OR METHYLPHENIDATE, WHICH ARE ACCOMPANIED BY MANY UNDESIRABLE SIDE EFFECTS.”
“PEA HAS STIMULANT EFFECTS WHICH LEAD TO THE RELEASE OF SO-CALLED BIOGENIC AMINES, INCLUDING DOPAMINE AND SEROTONIN (BAILEY ET AL., 1987; ROTHMAN & BAUMANN, 2006). UNLIKE AMPHETAMINE, PEA HAS DIFFICULTIES MAINTAINING HIGH CONCENTRATIONS IN THE HUMAN BODY, DUE TO ITS OXIDATIVE DEAMINATION TO PHENYLACETIC ACID BY THE ENZYME B MONOAMINE OXIDASE (MAO) (YANG & NEFF, 1973). PHENYLACETIC ACID, HAS AN EFFECT THAT IS SIMILAR TO THE ACTIVITY OF THE NATURAL ENDORPHINS, AN EFFECT THAT IS KNOWN AS A “RUNNER’S HIGH'” (IRSFELD).
Bioperine– 20mg. Bioperine is a spicy little substance that’s derived from black pepper. Beyond making food delicious, black pepper also increases the effectiveness and duration of caffeine and PEA, which means you’re more hyped for a longer period of time. And if that means you sprinkle a little pepper into your coffee, we support that decision- not only does it add a little kick to your caffeine, it also enhances the coffee’s effects and in fat loss.
L-Tyrosine– 1 gram. L-tyrosine reduces stress in high-tension situations and helps to prevent stress-induced memory deficits- critical for remembering those tiny details that mean the difference between winning and losing in high-stakes battle royal situations. “L-tyrosine prevents some of the cognitive decline in response to physical stressors, an effect of interest to almost noone outside the military” (Young) and anyone who’s taking COD seriously enough to supplement for it.
Lion’s Mane– 750mg. Lion’s Mane Mushroom is an Asian remedy for stress reduction, the alleviation of depression, and improved cognition (Mori, Nagano).
Rhodiola Rosea– 200mg. Rhodiola is nearly magical- it stabilizes mood, lowers anxiety, promotes mental function, improves sleep, and alters perception of difficult shit, so that it seems easier than it is to do. In one study, they used five different cognitive tests to prove the efficacy of rhodiola rosea extract (RRE).
“THE TESTS CHOSEN REFLECT AN OVERALL LEVEL OF MENTAL FATIGUE, INVOLVING COMPLEX PERCEPTIVE AND COGNITIVE CEREBRAL FUNCTIONS, SUCH AS ASSOCIATIVE THINKING, SHORT-TERM MEMORY, CALCULATION AND ABILITY OF CONCENTRATION, AND SPEED OF AUDIO-VISUAL PERCEPTION. THESE PARAMETERS WERE TESTED BEFORE AND AFTER NIGHT DUTY DURING THREE PERIODS OF TWO WEEKS EACH: A) A TEST PERIOD OF ONE RRE/PLACEBO TABLET DAILY, B) A WASHOUT PERIOD AND C) A THIRD PERIOD OF ONE PLACEBO/RRE TABLET DAILY, IN A DOUBLE-BLIND CROSS-OVER TRIAL. THE PERCEPTIVE AND COGNITIVE CEREBRAL FUNCTIONS MENTIONED ABOVE WERE INVESTIGATED USING 5 DIFFERENT TESTS. A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN THESE TESTS WAS OBSERVED IN THE TREATMENT GROUP (RRE) DURING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS PERIOD. NO SIDE-EFFECTS WERE REPORTED FOR EITHER TREATMENT NOTED. THESE RESULTS SUGGEST THAT RRE CAN REDUCE GENERAL FATIGUE UNDER CERTAIN STRESSFUL CONDITIONS” (DARBINYAN).
Ashwagandha– 500mg, an Ayurvedic herb that aids in stress reduction, helping to keep you cool and collected whether you’re battling it out in a gore-filled fighting game or just trying to stave off permadeath one more day when doing some sandbox gaming (Chandrasekhar).
5-HTP– 100mg. 5-HTP is another potent mood enhancer that increases serotonin production to provide anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and sleep benefits.
Vitamin C– 200mg. – Vitamin C has been proven to lower anxiety levels in healthy individuals and has been shown to help stabilize mood in depressed individuals.
L-Theanine– 100mg. – L-Theanine elevates levels of the neurotransmitters GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, as well as promoting a state of wakeful relaxation by enhancing alpha brain waves.
And if that wasn’t enough, this badass stack contains Zeaxanthinand Lutein to keep your eyesight sniper-sharp; Stearoyl Vanillamide, which enhances your adrenaline output without making you sweat like a fat kid standing too close to the mixer in a soap factory; Vitamin B-6, which improves the uptake of 5-HTP, ensuring a greater release of serotonin and thus greater improvement in mood; and sodium, which is a critical mineral in managing mood.
The real fun, however, comes with the inclusion of Kanna. Bacchus contains a full gram of this African plant, which contains alkaloids that have been revered for centuries by indigenous tribes for their mood enhancing and anti-anxiety properties. Unlike most anti-anxiety compounds, kanna makes you more energetic than tired, especially when combined with other stimulants. The stoners over at Erowid describe kanna as an “Inebriating Sedative,” and have found that at the right dosages you can get a little goofy, which is always a good time.
In short, Chaos and Pain’s Nootropic stack is the ideal Fortnite companion, or whatever your gaming obsession du jour might be these days (I’m pretty busy with Gauntlet and COD: WW2 these days). That said, it’s also awesome just whenever- any time is a good time to be hyper, clear-headed, and goofy all at once.
Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62.
Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71.
Irsfeld M, Spadafore M, Prüß BM. β-phenylethylamine, a small molecule with a large impact. Webmedcentral. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jan 28.
Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-72.
Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Hayashi C, Sato D, Kitagawa K, Ohnuki K. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7.
Nehlig A. Is caffeine a cognitive enhancer. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S85-94.
Young SN. L-Tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress? J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 May; 32(3): 224.
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