BrainSmart Focus Review Summary
This is quite a staggering product to have to review. BrainSmart Focus claims to be an “award winning remedy for ADHD”.
Not only can we find no evidence to suggest that BrainSmart Focus can actually “remedy” ADHD, but we can’t find any evidence that this stuff has actually won an award.
There is nowhere near enough of the best ingredients to make a difference to concentration levels if you normally have no learning or focus difficulties, let alone if you have an attention deficit. Other ingredients contribute nothing to enhancing focus or concentration.
Where To Buy BrainSmart Focus
We usually advise people to buy directly from the manufacturer.
Full BrainSmart Focus Review
Some of you will no doubt have come across BrainSmart products before. In fact, if you’ve spent any time at all exploring the world of nootropics, it will have been difficult to avoid seeing the word BrainSmart.
BrainSmart produce a range of focus and memory supplements. Some of you will have read our review of BrainSmart Ultra. This is supposed to be their “all-in-one” nootropic.
But the majority of their products are designed to serve specific purposes. They have one for memory, one for mood, and one for focus.
BrainSmart Focus, as you might have guessed, is designed as a focus and concentration supplement.
It is not clear whether or not it is supposed to be used alongside the other BrainSmart supplements, but like a lot of pure focus and concentration pills, it is designed specifically for when you need extra mental stamina.
However, BrainSmart Focus is not quite like many other focus supplements reviewed on this website.
The makers of BrainSmart Focus explicitly claim that their product is an “Award Winning Remedy For ADHD/ADD”:
This is quite a bold claim. Brain supplements can help with lots of things; memory, concentration, mental energy, and mood. But we are yet to come across a natural nootropic that can genuinely “remedy” ADHD.
It may well be possible to attenuate some of the symptoms of ADHD, but as far as “remedying” ADHD goes, we think much more than a simple pill is probably necessary.
But we can’t simply dismiss this product out of hand. Despite our skepticism about its claims to being an ADHD remedy, it could still turn out to be a great focus supplement.
We’re going to review BrainSmart Focus just like we review every other natural nootropic on this website. We will of course discuss whether BrainSmart Focus really stands up to its claims to be a “remedy” for ADHD, but we will also discuss its efficacy as a focus supplement more generally.
Forst we’ll take a look at BrainSmart Focus’ ingredients, then at what others are saying about it. Finally, we’ll look at the potential side effects. So without further ado, here is our full BrainSmart Focus review.
BrainSmart Focus Ingredients
BrainSmart contains 9 ingredients. Each ingredient’s serving size is shown clearly on the website and on the product label. Here is the complete formula breakdown:
Many focus supplements do not disclose their full formulas on the product bottles, let alone on the manufacturer websites. This is because, more often than not, what they contain isn’t worth the money they are charging you.
So rather than telling you honestly what you’re getting for your money and risk you thinking it through rationally and going elsewhere, they withhold that information and simply bombard you with their marketing tricks: imagery, hyperbole, commands, time restrictions, and the illusion of a bargain.
Generally speaking, if a product does this, we counsel complete avoidance.
Thankfully, we don’t see that with BrainSmart Focus. Instead, we are shown exactly what we’re getting for our money before we actually part with any.
You may not think about this if you aren’t a vegetarian, but making your capsules vege-friendly is a must in today’s market. More people than ever before are eschewing meat, and to make your product unsuitable for a growing customer base is just plain stupid.
BrainSmart Focus’ Unusual Ingredients
There are two ingredients in BrainSmart Focus that you have probably never come across before. These are: Ascophylum Noodsum and Acerola Extract.
The other one that might sound unfamiliar to you, Paulina Cupana, is actually just the latin name for Guarana. We’re sure most of you know at least something about Guarana. If not, then don’t worry, we’ll discuss it briefly later.
Since the other ingredients in BrainSmart Focus have been discussed extensively on this site, we’ll give them a passing summary at the end. The bulk of our formula review will concentrate on these three ingredients.
We’ll start with Acerola Extract.
Acerola Extract is a plant native to the West Indies. This is why you may have heard it referred to as West Indian Cherry or Antilles Cherry. It has been used in some traditional medicines as a cure for nausea, diarrhea, and dysentery.
As far as we can tell, the main reason that Acerola Extract is taken today is due to its high concentration of Vitamin C.
Most people could do with consuming more vitamin C on a regular basis. It is a strong anti-oxidant, and it helps with everything from strengthening your immune system and burning fat to helping keep your skin clear and healthy.
However, aside from its high vitamin C content, we can’t find any evidence for Acerola Extract having any nootropic properties of any kind. There are no clinical trials, or even anecdotes, hinting that this stuff helps keep you focused. We can therefore question why it has been included in this focus supplement.
Let’s move on to Ascophylum Noodsum.
This stuff is a little more interesting than Acerola Extract, but its suitability for a focus stack is just as questionable.
For starters, we need to say that this stuff is believed to hold some promise as a general health supplement. It is thought by some to have the ability to supercharge the immune system, so it may well turn out to be a very good complimentary ‘medicine’, to use that word loosely.
As one fairly recent study noted: ” Altogether, these beneficial cellular effects of phlorotannin-rich A. nodosum extract could be used in topical therapeutic formulations against aging.”
Now, it also needs to be said that these properties have been observed in studies using far greater amounts of this stuff than is found in BrainSmart Focus.
Studies looking at the various uses of Ascophylum Noodsum have tended to use around 4g of the stuff, compared to the 100mg found in this supplement (ref).
So not only do we have an ingredient with little to offer in the way of improving focus and concentration, but a dose as low as 100mg does not even appear to have been properly studied.
What About The Other Ingredients In BrainSmart Focus?
Some of the other ingredients in this supplement are actually much more promising in terms of enhancing focus.
Ginkgo biloba is a tried and true nootropic substance. It is reliably able to improve memory function and mental energy in almost all users. It is very safe at reasonable dosages, and assuming that you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition that would make it dangerous.
It works by increasing cerebral blood flow without increasing systemic blood pressure. Basically, it allows for more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your brain cells than usual. This means that brain cells which may have been under-nourished have a chance to flourish, while the rest get an energy boost.
However, 50mg is far less than we would expect to see in a professional nootropic stack. Most studies showing benefits from Bacopa monnieri have used at least 100mg; many have used 300mg.
Green tea extract is packed full of anti-oxidants and polyphenols which we known contribute to overall health and support longevity.
This stuff also contains a very useful substance for improving focus and concentration: theanine. Theanine has a synergistic relationship with caffeine, heightening the latter’s stimulatory effects while reducing its less palatable side effects. This brings us neatly onto our next substance.
Green coffee bean extract may sound exotic, but it is simply the raw, un-roasted form of your old friend the coffee bean as you know it.
Many people prefer this form because it contains some compounds known to help with burning fat. However, as far as increasing focus in concerned, we want coffee for its caffeine. In that department, green coffee doesn’t seem to have any benefit over its roasted, brown cousin.
The same story goes for guarana, or Paulina Cupana as the makers like to call it. Guarana seeds contain a fair amount of caffeine; more than coffee beans by weight. But there is nothing special about the caffeine in guarana. It has the same structure as every other type of caffeine (otherwise it wouldn’t be called caffeine).
Finally, we come to omega-3 oil.
We discussed the potential benefits of supplementing with omega-3 oils on a regular basis in our article on Krill Oil. We drew attention o the fact that DHA rich oil is more valuable from a nootropic perspective, as well as the potential benefits that krill oil (and the vegan alternatives) has over cod liver oil.
Can BrainSmart Focus Cure ADHD?
As we have already discussed, BrainSmart claim that Focus is an effective, “award winning” remedy for ADD/ADHD. They are very explicit about this on their website.
This is the most explicit claim we could find, and it leaves little to the imagination:
Now, as far as we’re aware, ADHD is not caused by poor brain circulation or low “oxygen flow to the brain”, which are essentially the same thing.
In fact, scientists are not yet entirely sure what causes ADHD. Some even speculate that it is not a definable syndrome, but rather a collection of symptoms with myriad causes, ranging from the environmental to the genetic.
We also can’t find evidence for how ADHD is related to enzyme secretion. Nor can we see how BrainSmart Focus is able to address enzyme secretion in any way.
All things considered, we think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that this stuff is a remedy for ADHD. Certainly some of the ingredients in this supplement can help improve focus and concentration. But those ingredients are only just dosed high enough to begin to make some difference to people without an attention deficit disorder.
The 50mg of Ginkgo biloba in this stack will barely begin to make a difference to your memory and learning capabilities. For someone with pronounced ADD/ADHD, it probably wont even begin to scratch the surface.
So we know that this one particular claim is perhaps a little unfounded.
But that doesn’t mean that this supplement still shouldn’t be considered by plenty of people out there who may not necessarily be suffering from ADD/ADHD, but who may simply want some help improving their focus.
These may be people who have a particularly demanding work schedule coming up. Maybe they are a web developer with multiple deadlines all looming and some grueling nights ahead of them. Maybe they are students with final examinations coming up and cramming sessions on the cards.
Can BrainSmart Focus help these people?
According to the manufcaturer, BrainSmart Focus does many things not necessarily related to ADHD:
As discussed earlier, these focus pills do contain substances that are known to improve focus and concentration. Ginkgo biloba, green tea extract, green coffee bean extract, guarana, and omega-3 oil all contribute to improved cognitive performance.
Importantly, they all contribute to better mental function in different but complimentary ways.
Yet the dosages in BrainSmart Focus, and the fact that these are really the only effective ingredients, mean that this supplement is unlikely to make a significant impact on your day-to-day concentration levels.
Even the combined caffeine dosage is a little under-whelming. Neither extract has a stated caffeine content, so we can only speculate as to how much caffeine we are getting from our 70mg of guarana and 50mg of coffee bean extract.
But it is likely to be less than the 100mg or so of pure caffeine we usually see in top quality stacks that do want to provide a caffeine kick (e.g Modafy).
We tend to stay away from supplements that rely on a caffeine kick to boost our focus. We all drink lots of tea and coffee anyway, and our problem is rarely one that caffeine can fix.
But some people could stand to really benefit from a caffeine injection. These people will no doubt want a substantial caffeine kick. Halfheartedly including caffeine in your focus supplement just fails to provide what some of your customers want while turning off others who are highly sensitive to caffeine.
On the BrainSmart Focus website, you’ll notice this sticker:
But if you scoot on over to Better Nutrition’s Awards page and look up the winners for 2013, BrainSmart Focus is nowhere to be found!
We urge you to take a look on the website yourself in case we’re missing something, but this definitely seems to be the right page.
BrainSmart Focus Side Effects
As far as side effects go, we think BrainSmart Focus looks very safe.
The main reason why we don’t think this supplement will deliver many benefits is because the ingredients either do very little, or they are very under-dosed.
As such, it is unlikely that you will experience any side effects whatsoever from using this supplement (or any effects at all for that matter).
The only major concern is the caffeine content.
If you are very sensitive to caffeine, then you should be careful taking anything with any kind of coffee bean extract or guarana extract in there.
The two extracts do just deliver caffeine, and you know that you will be getting less than 120mg of straight caffeine (since the combined dose of both extracts is 120mg).
But all the same, that is roughly equivalent to one large cup of strong black coffee. As stated above, if you are highly sensitive, then stay away, but if you aren’t less than 120mg is probably not going to cause too many side effects.
If you experience any side effects at all while using this supplement, discontinue use. If possible, please post your experience in the comments below. It will no doubt help other users.
BrainSmart Focus Review Conclusion
Some of you will no doubt remember that our BrainSmart Ultra review was less than complimentary.
Unfortunately, our BrainSmart Focus review isn’t much more optimistic.
This stack is sold as an “award winning remedy for ADHD”.
We can’t see anything that makes us think this stuff would be able to effectively treat ADHD, and we can’t find any evidence of it having won an award!
The more reasonable claims of the manufacturers, that BrainSmart Focus helps increase concentration, do have some basis in truth. Yet the ingredients that would contribute to better concentration and mental energy are dosed quite low.
The combined caffeine content is probably no larger than what you can get from a large cup of strong black coffee. The Ginkgo biloba serving should, in our opinion, be upped by about 100%.
The other ingredients seem to contribute very little to focus and concentration.
We therefore don’t think this would even be a particularly effective stack for boosting mental energy levels or heightening focus. As far as treating ADHD goes, talk to a doctor; don’t try to cure a serious condition with suspect brain pills you bought online.