Updated: Jan 9
If you've been researching microdosing protocols, you've likely heard about the Stamets Stack. Here, we take a deep dive into the Stamets Stack, its components, potential benefits, and optimal dosing protocol.
The Stamets Stack is named after renowned mycologist Paul Stamets who has been credited with introducing the concept of "stacking". Stacking refers to the practice of combining non-psychoactive substances with a microdose of a psychoactive substance in an effort to enhance its effects.
The Stamets Stack includes Lion's Mane functional mushroom, Niacin (vitamin B3), and psilocybin in either mushroom or truffle form. Stamets claims that the combination of psilocybin and Lion's Mane has the ability to support the development of new neural pathways and also repair existing neurological damage.
The neuro-generative and neuro-regenerative qualities of Lion's Mane have been demonstrated through multiple studies. In one study, scientists administered a neurotoxin to laboratory mice that damaged a part of their brain and resulted in them demonstrating symptoms similar to dementia. Upon the consecutive introduction of Lion's Mane to the mice, scientists observed a reversal of the neurological damage and dysfunction caused by the neurotoxin.
The Role Of Lion's Mane
Lion's Mane is a powerful medicinal mushroom long revered as a nerve-tonic for its regenerative qualities. Rich in β-glucan polysaccharides, Lion's Mane packs potent anti-cancer, immuno-modulating, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and neuro-protective qualities. This mushroom has also been known to have anti-microbial, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic, and wound healing properties. Most notably, it has been shown to promote an increase in the production of NGF (Nerve Growth Factors).
The mushroom resembles the lion's mane, hence its name!
Lion's Mane is used for a wide variety of benefits including:
Improving Cognitive & Memory Performance
Lowering Anxiety & Enhancing Mood
Enhancing Focus & Mental Energy
Reducing Brain Fog
Improving Sleep Quality
Supporting Healthy Inflammatory Response
Supporting Digestive Health
Balancing Blood Sugar
Supporting Immune Functions
Enhancing Overall Health In Pets
The wide range of its neural and cognitive benefits make it an excellent companion to psilocybin.
While there are many Lion's Mane mushroom brands available in the market, high-quality mushroom supplements are far and few in between. After extensive research and years of seeking, I recommend the Real Mushrooms brand for its ethics, quality, and transparency.
The Role Of Niacin
Niacin or Vitamin B3 is a naturally occurring vitamin in the body that is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan. Niacin is critical for the healthy functions of nearly every part of the body.
Niacin is naturally obtained through a diet of meats like fish, turkey, and liver, as well as whole grains, avocados, and nutritional yeast.
The key role of niacin is to synthesize coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP), both of which are critical to 400 important biochemical reactions in your body predominately involved in obtaining energy from food. Niacin is also an essential antioxidant that supports the regeneration of skin, muscles, nerves, and DNA.
Some of the reported benefits of niacin include:
Boosting Brain Functions
Balancing Fat Levels In Blood
Reducing Blood Pressure
Reducing The Impact Of Type 1 Diabetes
Improving Skin Health
The recommended daily dose of niacin is 14-16 milligrams. Health experts warn against taking larger quantities but the Stamets stack calls for 100-200 mg which is a considerably higher dose than the standard recommendation. With that said, the "flush effect" is the only adverse effect we were able to identify. The "flush effect" is a harmless yet uncomfortable sensation of heat, tingling, itching, and skin redness that can occur shortly after taking a large dose of niacin. It resolves after 10-30 minutes. Despite this, medical professionals and Stamets own patent documentation recommend that anyone taking over 500mg of niacin must do so under the care of their healthcare professional.
The flush effect of niacin is due to its vasodilating qualities. Paul Stamets suggests that this quality of niacin along with its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier makes it an excellent agent for delivering psilocybin and lion's mane deep into the neural extremities where neurogenesis occurs. While there are "no-flush" versions of niacin sold, Stamets protocol explicitly mentions avoiding the "no-flush" variety.
In his 2018 patent application for the Stamets Stack, Stamets claims that the stack “enhances the neurogenic benefits” of psilocybin.
Dosing And Protocol
The Stamets Stack for microdosing contains the following quantities of each ingredient:
Psilocybin Mushroom Powder = 100mg – 200mg
Lion’s Mane = 50 – 100 mg
Niacin = 100 – 200 mg
The Stamets Protocol involves 4 active dosing days followed by 3 integration (no dosing) days. Continue for four weeks of dosing, then take a reset period of 2 weeks by not dosing. Many microdosers repeat the protocol multiple rounds or indefinitely.
While the Stamets Stack is popular, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is right for every individual. Microdosers are encourages to approach slowly, keep track of their responses, and adjust as needed. A personalized microdosing protocol crafted by a professional is strongly recommended for anyone taking mood-altering medications or diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Always consult your doctor before starting a supplement or microdosing regimen.