Your brain is your control centre, so it goes without saying that a cognitive improvement is an improvement across the board. Increased focus, mental acuity and general cognitive functions are powerful claims, but that's exactly what Onnit Alpha Brain aims to deliver. Is it capable?
Well yes and no, as with many things in life perfection is an unrealistic goal, and it's quite rare to find a supplement without some concessions made. However what is realistic is a transparent representation of what you're offering, and its here and Alpha brain is found lacking. Its use of proprietary blends obfuscates the most crucial information in terms of its ingredients list, the dosage. We can at least see the ingredients in alpha brain, though without knowing how much of each is present we're unable to determine how effective it might be at achieving such lofty claims.
Let's take for example, the inclusion of L-Tyrosine within Alpha Brain's Onnit Flow blend. The entire contents of the flow blend is 650mg with this being shared in unknown amounts by three ingredients. For a proper dosage of L-Tyrosine you're needing around 500mg, which is just very unlikely. If that is properly dosed however, it then leaves the other two ingredients pushed aside leaving them completely and utterly neutered.
We'll go into more detail as to how we've come to this conclusion, but it's for this reason and others that we do not recommend Onnit Alpha Brain, and would instead like to direct your attention to Hunter Focus, a nootropic supplement that has our full endorsement. It's got a great collection of ingredients of which they are completely transparent, leaving anyone capable of conducting their own research to determine their effectiveness. If you do so choose then you'll find just how well researched the formula is, with each individual ingredient effectively dosed to be pulling it's weight, leading to improved focus, mood, and overall brain function.
Generally we recommend Hunter Focus , which is currently the most comprehensive nootropic on the market, and it's completely transparent so we can see that all of the ingredients are correctly dosed.
On the host site there is an expected suspicious amount of positive feedback with some complaints to be found if you simply look a little closer.
These reviews are often complaining of there being no observable positive change as well as come complaints regarding the customer service they receive, with many of these complaints being levied at the difficulty they had attempting to get a refund. There were also a couple of complaints about alpha brain side effects, particularly nausea, which is possible with a few of the ingredients in Alpha Brain.
On amazon once again we're greeted by the same suspicious amount of positive feedback. Complaints here are largely the same as mentioned previously.
Onnit Flow Blend 650mg
Tyrosine is a non essential amino acid that the body makes from another amino acid, phenylalanine. It's essential for neurotransmitter production, including epinephrine, norepinephrine and the more commonly known dopamine. These three work together to create improved memory, motivation and focus overall. The issue here is that we're left wondering if the dosage is correct, as what we'd want to see is around 500mg of L-Tyrosine. It seems unlikely that they would only leave 150mg for the other three ingredients present, so we're going to say this is likely an under dosed and ineffective inclusion.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is actually naturally occurring and can be found in tea. Tea is known for having anti-stress properties and it's L-Theanine that you can thank for that. It essentially increases levels of serotonin, GABA and dopamine in the body, that provides raised alertness alongside helping you to maintain a calm and relaxed demeanour. It's best we don't repeat ourselves too much but once again attention needs to be brought onto the dosage, as we'd really like to see around 200mg of the stuff. It seems a common issue here is that the right ingredients are being used, just not enough of them.
Oat Straw Extract
We found a study showing the effectiveness of this ingredient being potentially quite strong, with a reasonably high increase in working memory against a placebo. We won't waste your time too much, the dosage within the tests started at 430mg, there's simply not enough room for it to be able to be dosed effectively, leaving it in uncharted territory. On top of this, we really did find one study, so it's clear further research needs to be done before we can conclusively say definitively say that Oat Straw Extract is effective, as until these results are replicated there's just not enough data.
Interestingly Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance which covers and helps to protect brain cells and carries messages between them, and research suggests this declines with age. There's several clinical trials that suggest in may boost cognitive functions, as people who supplemented reportedly scoring higher on short term memory, mood and concentration tests. We'd be wanting about 100mg of the stuff, so it's somewhat likely this has been properly dosed. It certainly seems more logical to properly dose what you can whilst leaving the others lesser, though this is of course just speculation.
Just to put things into perspective, for everything in this blend to be properly dosed the combined mass would have to be 1,230mg. When compared to the 650mg we get, it's just less than half of what it'd take to get a proper thumbs up from us. Seems their knowledge is there, and they perhaps opted for lower doses as a way to save money, then attempted to cover it up with their proprietary blend.
Onnit Focus Blend 240mg
Alpha GPC 139.6mg
Alpha GPC has been found to increase motivation in a group of 40 volunteers. The study had the volunteers record their emotions following the KOKORO scale and found an increase of motivation in those supplemented with 200mg of Alpha GPC. This is impressive, though unfortunately leaves us under dosed here as thankfully we can determine the dosage used thanks to Alpha Brain divulging the doses of the other two ingredients present.
Bacopa Extract 100mg
Bacopa may very well be the most widely used ingredient in any modern nootropic supplement, and there's a very good reason for this. If you've researched cognitive enhancers before you'll have come across this one for sure, as it's quite well known for it's ability better balance mood, slow cognitive decline and improve cognitive function overall. This is thanks in large part due to an abundance of bacosides A and B present. Clinical research conducted on the effects of bacopa extract on cognitive performance typically started doses at around 300mg, and again it seems we are doomed to repeat ourselves.
Toothed Clubmoss 0.4mg
The clubmoss Huperzia Serrata has been used for centuries in Chinese folk medicine, and it's uses in the modern day have extended to treat alzheimer's disease, though further research is needed to determine its effectiveness here. The active ingredient, huperzine A, helps to prevent the build up of plaques on the brain that develop with age, helping to retain more youthful brain function.
Onnit Fuel Blend 60mg
This one has left us scratching our heads a bit, as its presence within the fuel blend might leave you to believe it will provide you with some form of energy, but we could only find clinical trails for L-Leucines ability to help stimulate muscle growth. We're not particularly convinced it's inclusion here will help optimise nervous system communication, as suggested by Onnit on the Alpha Brain product page.
Pterostilbene is a naturally occurring compound primarily found in blueberries. Structurally similar to the better known resveratrol (thanks to is presence in red wine) leading to comparable properties, though animal studies suggest that pterostilbene has an impressive 80% bioavailability to resveratrols 20%, leading some to believe it's more effective. A fine inclusion, doesn't really help improve cognitive performance but its anti-oxidant effects are welcome nonetheless.
Vitamin B6 10mg
The thing with vitamins and most dietary supplements is that their inclusion is kind of like adding a drop of milk to combat a really spicy dish when you've already developed a strong heat tolerance; you're not going to be able to tell it's there. For a few of us that might not be the case, but unless you're not getting enough vitamin b6 in your diet already then you will not see a benefit for its inclusion. See when our bodies are presented with these vitamins and minerals it will absorb what it needs and simply waste the rest through urine, rendering supplementation often completely useless.
Cat's Claw Extract 350mg
This is kind of the stand out ingredient for alpha brain, not commonly seen so let's see how it fairs. Its use in medicine dates back at least 2,000 years as the indigenous people of South and Central America would use it to ward off disease. Now there have been very few clinical trials on the effectiveness of Cats Claw extract and those that have been done have not tested it's ability to boost brain performance and in fact, cat's claw extract isn't really thought to have an effect in this area. Onnit claims its use in Alpha Brain is to support the flow blend with its ability to promote cellular integrity, but we don't really see how it can do that.
Overall Alpha Brain has an impressive list of ingredients and we would hope at least some of them are properly dosed, but the liklihood is that there's probably just one or two ingredients here that might have an impact on your cognitive abilities but unfortunately the vast majority of what is present here will either be too weak to do good or isn't very effective to begin with.
If you'd like a more transparent product with a strong and well researched list of ingredients then we'd highly recommend Hunter Focus. You'll find that any shared ingredients, such as Bacopa, are properly dosed in Hunter Focus and thankfully there's plenty more high quality and clinically proven ingredients present. We believe it's simply better value for your money and although you may be missing out on alluring celebrity endorsements what you find instead is simply a solid product.