How to Cap Your Own Nootropic Pills and Blends
There are multiple methods to capping your own blends; however, many of them are shoddy and produce inferior results. An excellent post on reddit provides a detailed explanation on the materials you need and the best method to get the most accurate nootropic blend.
What You Will Need
- A capping machine and empty gelatin capsules. The thread suggest two capsule machines for a DIY pill capsule filler, the Cap-M-Quick and The Capsule Machine. The first can cap 50 at a time, but you have to manually join the capsule ends together. The second only does 24 caps at a time; however, it will join the capsule ends together automatically. Both machines can use size 0 and size 00 capsules.
- A milligram scale to weigh your powders. If you are using nootropics, it’s best to get a milligram scale with 1mg accuracy. Some nootropics such as noopept call for miniscule dosages that less sensitive scales may not weigh accurately.
- The nootropics or supplement powders for your blend.
- A powdered filler to fill in the space in your capsules your active compound does not. Some suggested powders include baking soda, corn starch, flour, creatine, glutamine, etc. There is more information on choosing your filler below.
- A mortar and pestle to thoroughly mix your supplements and filler.
- Empty Gel Capsules
Take the guesswork out of encapsulation. Try a DIY encapsulation kit.
How to Make Your Capsule Blends
Going forward, this guide assumes you are using The Capsule Machine. All of the steps are the same if you have a different capping machine, except you will have to join the halves yourself.
- Load 24 empty capsules into your capsule machine and fill them with your chosen filler. If you plan to tamp down your final product, then tamp down during this step.
- Empty the filler from the capsule machine and weigh the filler powder.
- Divide that weight by the number of capsules to get the total weight per capsule.
- Repeat the above steps with your active compound.
Determine Your Supplements’ Ratio
You will need to determine the ratio between your supplements to adequately dose your compounds. Here is the given example using picamilon as the active compound and glutamine as the filler:
Each capsule can hold 490mg of picamilon or 715mg of glutamine. Assuming you want each capsule to contain a 100mg dose of picamilon, you will need to use the following equation to determine how much glutamine you will need per cap.
- We know 490mg Picamilon takes up the same amount of space as 715mg of Glutamine so (100mg Picamilon x 715mg Glutamine)/ 490mg Picamilon = 146mg of Glutamine. This is the amount of Glutamine that is equal to 100mg of Picamilon; this will need to be removed so the active compound and filler both fit in one capsule. Thus 715mg Glutamine – 146mg = 569mg Glutamine. That is the amount you will need to per cap.
This method is much more exact than the simpler method of merely subtracting 100mg of Glutamine to allow for the 100mg of Picamilon. This is because volume and weight are two different beasts. Just because two products have the same weight does not mean they will have the same volume, as you can see here. 146mg of Glutamine is equal to 100mg of Picamilon volumetrically.
Mixing Your Active Compound and Your Filler
Now that you have the appropriate amount of supplement powders, you need to mix them in a way that will get you the most accurate distribution. No one wants to painstakingly measure out each individual dose of both supplements per cap. To do this you will need to use the geometric dilution method. It goes like this:
- Take all of your smaller powder (in this example, Picamilon) and mix it in your mortar with an approximately equal amount of your larger powder (in this example, glutamine). You will need to blend this for together with your pestle for a few minute.
- This is your “Mix 1” and should now be roughly 9.6g (4.8g of Picamilon + 4.8g of Glutamine). Now, add an equal amount of glutamine (9.6g) to this mix and blend for a few minutes again.
- Now your blend should be 19.2g (9.6g from Mix 1 + 9.6g of Glutamine). Add in the remaining Glutamine (12.912g) and blend one final time.
Now you are ready to make your capsules! By taking the time to accurately measure and blend your powders, you can ensure that you are getting an accurate dosage. In this case, 100mg of picamilon and 569mg of Glutamine.
Capsule Filler Machine Instructions:
If you have never made your own nootropic capsules before, following the instructions above may be intimidating. To help you better understand the process, we are including a picture tutorial below.
- To mix and accurately dose your nootropic blend, you need 5g of Picamilon (red milligram scoop included), 30g of Glutamine (1/8 tsp scoop included), a digital milligram scale, and a mortar and pestle.
- Of the 5g of Picamilon, you need 4.8g. As I have a 5g bag, I weighed out 200mg and set it aside. My bag now contains 4.8g of Picamilon. Of the 30g of Glutamine, you need 27.312g so simply measure out 2.688g on the scale and set it aside as well.
- Mix your 4.8g of Picamilon with 4.8g of Glutamine. My Glutamine came in 5g bags, so to get 4.8g I followed the same step as I did for Picamilon above. Mix thoroughly for a couple of minutes using your mortar and pestle. You should now have 9.6g of your blend (Mix 1). Add 9.6g of Glutamine to Mix 1 and blend with your mortar and pestle again. You should now have 19.2g. Add in the remaining 12.912g of Glutamine and blend one final time.
- Now that you have your active ingredient and your filler properly mixed, it is time to fill the capsules. You will need size 00 empty capsules, The Capsule Machine, and your blend. Load your capsules into the holes. The long halves of the capsules go in the base, the shorter halves go in the lid.
- Set the base of your capsule machine on the provided stand and set it on a plate or shallow bowl to catch any spilled powder. Then dump some of your blend onto it and use the provided scraper to fill the capsules.
- Remove the base from the stand. You can now place the lid with the capsule tops on the base. Press down hard to join the capsule pieces together. The base is on a rigid spring and will flatten with adequate pressure.
- You can now press down on the back of the lid to release your capsules. Repeat this process to get 48 capsules.
Do I Even Need a Filler?
This may seem like a lot of work when you could just use your active compound to fill your capsules. Some people simply do not like half empty capsules. However, there is a major reason why fillers are used, and that is dosing accuracy.
When you use a capsule filling machine, you simply pour the calculated, pre-mixed powder onto the tray and then scrape it across the surface into the capsule holes. It is nearly impossible to get the same exact amount into each capsule. As a result some will be fuller than others and your doses will be inaccurate.
However, if all you need to do is completely fill the capsule with a premixed blend then you will not need to worry about inaccurate doses. Of course, you could always measure out every single dose individually, but that will take up quite a bit of your time.
Choosing Your Filler
Sodium bicarbonate is a common filler, but it will not provide additional benefits like other synergistic fillers.
Some people are perfectly fine picking a non-reactive substance like baking soda and leaving it at that. However, if you do not want to spend all that time measuring and mixing your blend just to have it be partially filled with an inert substance, you can use smart fillers.
What this means is you can pick a filler that is non-reactive with your main compound but that has benefits of its own. While baking soda has its uses, there are plenty of other options out there. So what can you use instead?
Synergistic Filler Options
The example above used glutamine. However, the individual did not pick it at random. Glutamine is a precursor to GABA and Picamilon is hydrolyzed into GABA once consumed, which makes these two supplements synergistic. The released GABA can then activate GABA receptors to produce an anxiolytic response . Picamilon is primarily taken for its mood boosting and anti-anxiety benefits; glutamine can further enhance these effects.
Another option is creatine. Not many are aware of this, but creatine has nootropic benefits. While most people take it as a preworkout supplement, it can also be used as a neuroprotectant as well as a way to mitigate brain fog that accompanies many nootropics . Creatine supplements can also improve fluid intelligence .
This next suggestion, whey protein, is most often included in pre- and post-workout blends. However, that does not mean protein powder is without cognitive benefits. One study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that whey protein can improve cognition in individuals susceptible to stress .
Citric acid can also be used as a filler when encapsulating your blends. While it is commonly used in cosmetics, citric acid also has positive implications for physiological stress and fatigue. One a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-way crossover study compared citric acid against l-carnitine and a placebo to see which, if any, could improve levels of salivary chromogranin A, a physiological stress marker. Citric acid lowered levels of salivary chromogranin A as well as subjective feeling of fatigue where as l-carnitine did not . It also provides antioxidant benefits.
Alternatives to Capping Your Supplements
If you don’t have a capping machine or don’t have the time to properly mix your supplements, there are a few alternative solutions. Many people choose to cap their supplements because of the bitter taste, so the main goal is to mitigate this issue.
One alternative is to mask the bad flavor with a good one. Many people will cut their bitter nootropics with stevia or citric acid to improve the taste. Another option is parachuting. This method is fairly simple. All you need is rice paper and your desired supplement. You pour your dose onto a small square of rice paper and then grab all of the corners and twist until it looks like a little upside down parachute. You can read more about these methods here.