Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement that has been around for a few years. It was created by Onnit Labs and has become quite popular. Some people swear by it – including Joe Rogan-, while others say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. So, what’s the truth? Is Alpha Brain safe and effective? What are the side effects? And are there any alternatives?
In the current world, it’s hard to stay focused and productive when you’re feeling mentally foggy or scatterbrained.
Feeling forgetful, unfocused, and scattered are all common problems that can impact your productivity and daily routine.
That’s why many are looking at nootropic supplements to help them with their productivity, mood, focus, and general cognitive performance.
For instance, Alpha BRAIN® is one of the most popular nootropic supplements on the market. It has been clinically studied to help support brain function, including memory, mental speed, and focus. Made with all-natural ingredients, Alpha BRAIN® is also non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan.
On paper, this looks great. But in this Onnit Alpha Brain review, I will dive deeper and truly discover if it’s as efficient as they say, or if the negative Alpha brain reviews have some truth to them.
How does Alpha Brain compare to the best nootropics? Let’s find out.
Alpha Brain Review at a Glance
- Caffeine free
- Some of the ingredients have been shown to improve brain function in humans
- Ingredient quantities hidden behind proprietary blends
- Low dosages – low effectiveness
- Biased trials backing their claim
- Mixed user reviews
- Some of the ingredients may cause side effects in large dosages
Alpha Brain Ingredients
Right from the get-go, I see the first big red flag. Onnit Alpha brain hides its ingredient quantities behind a proprietary blend.
Proprietary blends are when a supplement company decides to pool several ingredients together and only lists the blend’s total weight on the label, rather than revealing the quantities of each ingredient.
The problem with this is that we have no idea how much of each ingredient is actually in the product. This could mean that some ingredients are present in such small amounts that they’re ineffective, while others may be present in such high doses that they could cause harmful side effects.
This is not the level of transparency I like to see from a supplement company. If they’re confident in their product, they should have nothing to hide and should be transparent about all their ingredients and quantities.
Alpha Brain Active Ingredients
Divided into the Onnit Focus Blend, Onnit Fuel Blend and Onnit Flow Blend.
L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is involved in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. It is also a precursor to L-DOPA, which is a key player in the synthesis of dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of pleasure and motivation. L-Tyrosine has been shown to improve brain function and memory, as well as alleviate stress and fatigue.
According to Examine, “L-Tyrosine supplementation may help alleviate acute stress-induced cognitive decline by restoring catecholamine levels in the brain”.
The recommended dose is 500-2000 mg per day.
An amino acid found in green tea that’s been shown to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness.
L-Theanine is thought to work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which play important roles in regulating mood and cognition.
Additionally, L-Theanine may help to reduce the negative effects of stress by modulating the activity of the hormone cortisol. A growing body of research suggests that L-Theanine can be an effective way to promote relaxation and well-being.
Oat Straw Extract (Avena sativa):
A traditional herbal remedy for nervousness and anxiety.
More recently, oat straw extract has been studied for its potential cognitive benefits. One small study found that participants who took oat straw extract for eight weeks showed significant improvements in attention span and working memory.
Another study found that oat straw extract may help to improve symptoms of ADHD. While more research is needed to confirm these effects, oat straw extract shows promise as a natural treatment for cognitive problems.
However, dosages in Alpha Brain are much lower than in these studies, which makes me believe any possible effectiveness can be forgotten.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid that is found in high concentrations in the brain.
PS is thought to play an important role in cognitive function, and research has shown that it may help to improve memory, attention, and learning.
Additionally, PS has been shown to help protect the brain from age-related damage.
PS supplementation of 300 to 800mg is therefore beneficial for short and long-term brain health. Once again, Alpha Brain probably does not reach the lower limit.
Cat’s Claw Extract (350mg)
Cat’s claw is an herbal supplement that is sometimes taken for cognitive support.
Some people believe that it may help with memory, focus, and concentration.
While there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, some preliminary research in animals suggests that cat’s claw may have some potential benefits.
However, more research is needed to determine whether cat’s claw is effective for cognitive support in humans.
A water-soluble vitamin that’s necessary for the proper function of many enzymes in the body.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to improve mood and cognitive function. It is thought to work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B6 is 1.3-1.7 mg per day. Alpha Brain contains 10mg of Vitamin B6.
Alpha-GPC (L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine):
A choline-containing compound that’s found in the brain.
Alpha-GPC is thought to improve cognitive function by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory.
The recommended dose of alpha-GPC is 250-1200 mg per day.
Bacopa Extract (100mg)
Bacopa is an herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
It is thought to improve cognitive function by reducing stress and anxiety.
Bacopa has also been shown to improve memory and learning in healthy adults. In this study, they used 150mg, and Alpha Brain does have as much.
Toothed Clubmoss (Huperzia Serrata, 400mg)
Toothed clubmoss is an herb that contains the compound huperzine A.
Huperzine A is thought to improve cognitive function by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It does so by inhibiting Acetylcholine breakdown.
Since acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory, some studies have found that huperzine A may help to improve memory and cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
However, more research is needed to determine whether huperzine A is effective for cognitive support in healthy adults.
L-Leucine is an essential amino acid that plays a variety of important roles in the body.
Among other things, it is involved in muscle growth and repair, blood sugar regulation, and brain function. Leucine is especially important for athletes and bodybuilders, as it helps to stimulate protein synthesis and promote muscle recovery.
However, its benefits are not limited to the physical realm. L-Leucine also plays a role in cognitive abilities, helping to improve memory and protect the brain against age-related decline, in particular in conjunction with other essential amino acids.
Pterostilbene is a compound that’s found in blueberries. Most of the research has been done on the antioxidative properties, which help you combat free radicals in your body and brain.
A bit of an odd addition.
The inactive ingredients in Alpha Brain include vegetable cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide, and vegetarian Capsule (hydroxypropylmethylcellulose).
Alpha Brain Benefits Reviewed
As previously discussed, Alpha Brain is marketed as a nootropic supplement that can help you with the following areas:
- Aids mental processing
- Increases mental performance
- Caffeine free – avoid jitters
- Helps with flow state
- Promotes focus
- Supports memory
- Prevent brain fog
While some of these ingredients in Alpha Brain have been shown to improve cognitive functions in humans, the majority of the research has been done on animals or in test tubes.
What’s even worse is that most of the ingredients in Alpha Brain are hidden behind the proprietary blends, which makes it even harder to judge their efficiency.
No Effective Dosages
However, what has really surprised me in this in-depth Onnit Alpha Brain review is to discover that key nootropics are in small dosages. So small in fact that will not be effective.
Some examples include:
- Bacopa Monnieri (100mg) – you would need at least 150mg to notice any effect.
- L-Tyrosine (500mg) – the effective dosage should be between 500-2000mg.
- Alpha-GPC (?) – dosages of 250mg to 1000mg are usually recommended. Alpha Brain fails to reach this target.
- Phosphatidylserine (?) – As mentioned in the ingredients, research suggests dosages around 300 to 800mg, which is Alpha Brain is very unlikely to reach.
This means that many of the claims Alpha Brain including “support cognitive functions, including memory, and focus” should not be as effective as advertised.
Onnit Alpha Brain Clinical Trials Are Not to Be Trusted
So what about the randomized controlled trials carried out in 2016 that claimed:
“The use of Alpha BRAIN® for 6 weeks significantly improved recent verbal memory when compared with controls, in a group of healthy adults. While the outcome of the study is encouraging, this is the first randomized controlled trial of Alpha BRAIN®, and the results merit further study.”Solomon TM, et al., 2016 in Hum Psychopharmacology.
On paper, this should mean that the benefits of taking Onnit Alpha Brain are scientifically proven, yes?
Well, no. And there are a few reasons for that.
- The research was funded by Onnit, the company behind Alpha Brain. Therefore, it was a biased trial from the start.
- No other trial or scientific paper has been written proving the discoveries. Being able to replicate results is one of the fundamental pillars of scientific discoveries. The fact that no one else has replicated or found further benefits, makes me question the findings.
- Even in the conclusion, they state that further research is required.
In summary, it seems like a heavily biased and potentially skewed source, and one not to be trusted.
Side Effects of Alpha Brain
The vast majority of the ingredients in Alpha Brain are considered to be safe for most people. However, there are a few that may cause some side effects, especially in large dosages.
The side effects of Alpha Brain are usually mild and may include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking the supplement and consult a doctor.
More About Alpha Brain
Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement made by Onnit. Onnit was founded by Aubrey Marcus, who is an entrepreneur and author. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and was founded in 2010.
Aubrey believes in holistic health and aims to provide support for total human optimization. This is, he believes that we can power up all aspects of our life through a combination of exercise, food and supplements.
In fact, Alpha Brain was the first product in Onnit’s lineup and remains the most successful one.
Since, they’ve expanded their repertoire to supplements (nootropics, digestive enzymes, greens), foods (protein powders, MCT oils), and even apparel and fitness equipment.
Some stand-out products include:
Total Nitric Oxide – a stim-free pre-workout aimed to increase nitric oxide production and enhance your sports performance.
Shroom TECH Greens – a supplement to boost your greens intake and provide you with the antioxidants and phytonutrients your body needs.
Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate – a protein powder aimed to boost your protein intake and power your workouts and recovery.
Onnit Labs is the scientific research arm of Onnit. They have published research on a variety of topics, including cognitive enhancement, sports performance, and anxiety relief.
Regarding the cost of Alpha Brain, it must be said that it is affordable.
It’s currently available in 30 and 60 capsule bottles and you can make use of subscription discounts to make them cheaper (15%).
- Prices start at $34.95 for a bottle of 30 capsules, without a subscription –> $1.65/serving
Other premium nootropics like Qualia Mind, Mind Lab, or Hunter will cost you a little extra, but these tend to have larger dosages and more nootropics. In my experience, it’s worth expending a little extra to make sure you are getting effective dosages.
If you want to purchase Alpha Brain, I recommend you do it directly from their site to make use of the money-back guarantee.
What Do Alpha Brain Customers Say?
Let’s have a look at some Onnit alpha brain reviews by those who’ve purchased it to improve brain performance, mental clarity and mood.
Positive User Reviews
I take one in the morning to help me focus at work and another one before my workout with a slight meal/snack. It’s my go to all day every day for the past 6 months and really does take care of my over all focus and energy needs.Rii Agui
This product does exactly what it says! Increases memory and focus and even gives an all day long feeling of energy as well! I can’t say enough about Alpha Brain except that it will now be part of my daily regimen for life!Sumstxguy
Amazing focus. I love how this supplement brings me clarity and focus throughout my day. Highly recommend to anyone who struggles with their attention span.Joyful
Negative Alpha Brain Reviews
It kills me to write this as I had such high hopes… Unfortunately, it did not live up to any expectations. I had zero change in any cognitive ability.Replikant
Doesn’t seem to help. I’m in an academic environment where studying and focus is needed but I don’t feel like it’s making a difference.Zach8
I honestly never felt the slightest change. I ordered two bottles with the hopes for what they advertised. I’m a woman in my early 40’s who’s up early and work a very physically hard job. I also run a crew so I’m running around with lots of tasks to remember. I wanted more focus and help with my memory. I got nothing. I have less than a weeks worth of the product left after the 30 day supply and will not be reordering. I am still just as foggy and tired and mentally exhausted. I was expecting a clear change from my regular ‘blah’ feeling. Nope! I don’t not recommend.BSMN
The vast majority of the ingredients in Alpha Brain are considered to be safe for most people. However, there are a few that may cause some side effects, especially in large dosages. The side effects of Alpha Brain are usually mild and may include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking the supplement and consult a doctor.
The jury is still out on this one. Some people swear by it, while others claim it did nothing for them. The fact that most of the ingredients are hidden behind proprietary blends makes it hard to judge their efficiency. Additionally, key nootropics are in small dosages, which means they are not likely to be effective. The clinical trials are also not to be trusted as they were carried out by the company itself.
If you are looking for a cognitive enhancer, there are better options available on the market. However, if you want to try Alpha Brain, make sure to speak to a doctor first, especially if you have any existing medical conditions. Additionally, start with the lowest possible dosage to see how your body reacts to it.
Verdict – Alpha Brain Review Alternatives, Safety & Effects
Overall, it seems that Onnit Alpha Brain is not as effective as some of the other brain boosting supplements on the market.
Firstly, the clinically tested nootropic ingredients are in low dosages and are hidden behind proprietary blends, which makes it difficult to judge the efficiency. This is a huge red flag for any nootropic supplement, where dosages will always be crucial in order to be effective.
Additionally, the clinical trials that have been carried out are not to be trusted as they were done by the company themselves and are not replicated by any other scientific source.
Lastly, some of the ingredients may cause side effects in large dosages, which is something to keep in mind if you do decide to purchase Alpha Brain.
Consequently, there are better dietary supplements available that use clinically proven ingredients in higher doses, like my daily go-to Hunter Focus. I suggest that if you are looking for cognitive enhancers and mood boosters, you look at top-quality brands like Hunter or Mind Lab Pro, instead.