- Contains large serving of unusual but potentially valuable ingredient
- Contains large serving of choline bitartrate
- Uses sub-par cholinergic
- Contains DMAE which may cause problems for some users
- Huperzine A requires cycling - not for continuous use
IQ² Review Summary
The manufacturers of IQ² nootropic pills, IQ Squared Labs, actually got in touch with us and asked us to do a full IQ² nootropic review. This only ever really happens when manufacturers care what their users think, and when they actually have confidence that their products will work.
After taking a close look at the formula, we think that this natural nootropic could delver good benefits for many users. It contains a fairly rare ingredient (cocoa powder) which has a high flavanol content.
The inclusion of DMAE and an inferior cholinergic (choline bitartrate), and the lack of any ingredients that are known to help the brain make long term adaptations (e.g Lion’s Mane) are really the only things that let this product down.
Where To Buy IQ²
IQ² nootropic pills are available directly from the manufacturer. We always advise people to buy natural nootropics from the makers themselves, as third party merchants can either over-charge or sell you an out-dated batch.
Full IQ² Nootropic Review
As we stated in the review summary above, the makers of IQ² nootropic pills actually got in touch with us directly. They asked us if we’d be interested in doing a full and impartial review of their product.
Obviously we jump at such offers. It is quite rare for manufacturers to go out and actively seek fair and unbiased reviews of their products. All too often, manufacturers want to only seek out positive reviews. Some even go as far as to throw tantrums at negative reviews! Customers should take note of IQ² Labs’ willingness to let their product stand on its own two feet.
Who are IQ² Labs exactly?
IQ² Labs, or IQ Squared to write their name in a different way, are a fairly new nootropics company. As far as we can tell, their only product, IQ², has only been on the market for a matter of months, but it is already generating a lot of talk on nootropics forums.
According to IQ Squared, IQ² can deliver pretty much the full spectrum of nootropic benefits:
- More mental energy
- Improved focus
- Better memory
- Faster learning
On top of all of these, IQ²’s ‘Cognitive Performance Progress Bar’ seems to claim to be able to “reverse age-related cognitive decline”. That’s quite a dangerous claim in our opinion, but we will come back to this later on in the review.
All of this sounds wonderful, especially since IQ² only uses 100% natural, plant-derived ingredients. But the important question remains: will it work?
Does the IQ² formula stack up against the claims made by the manufacturer? Can it really improve all of these aspects of brain function at once? Is there anything better out there?
Let’s take a closer look and find out. Here is our full IQ² nootropic review.
IQ² Nootropic Ingredients
Before we start discussing the IQ² nootropic formula in detail, it’s better if you can have a look at it yourself. Here is the full ingredient listing, as it appears on the bottle:
How Is This Formula Supposed To Work?
We discussed the IQ² formula with the manufacturer. According to them, IQ² is a ‘two-punch’ supplement.
It is designed to work in a kind of two-stage manner. First, it is supposed to improve blood flow to the brain. This has an almost immediate effect on cognitive function and overall brain health. Improving blood flow to the brain without merely raising systemic blood pressure means more oxygenated brain cells, and more efficient nutrient delivery to the areas of the brain that need it most.
As more research emerges indicating that poor oxygenation is one of the causes of age-related cognitive decline, ensuring good cerebral circulation seems more important then ever if we ant to maximize cognitive performance in the future.
Once this has been achieved, the next ‘punch’ in the formula is the elevation of key neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
Specifically, IQ² is designed to increase the availability of neurotransmitters associated with learning, memory, and focus. The main neurotransmitter we are referring to here is of course acetylcholine.
The way that the makers intend IQ² to work is illustrated in the ‘Cognitive Performance Progress Bar’ they have created. You can find this bar on their website. Here it is:
As you can see, like all good nootropics, IQ² isn’t designed to ‘kick in’ right away. Instead, the manufacturers don’t see real benefits being felt for at least 8 weeks. This is how all natural nootropics should be designed. Supplements that promise anything else probably aren’t worth bothering with.
However, there is something very troubling on this progress bar.
The bottom row is labelled “reverse age-related cognitive decline”. This is a gravely irresponsible thing to put on the website for a nootropic.
No natural nootropic substance can reverse cognitive decline which is the result of ageing.
It is possible to slow the onset of age-related cognitive decline, just as it is possible to slow the onset of age-related physical decline.
But claiming that your supplement can undo the damage inflicted by time will only give false hope to some people who are probably feeling desperate. No natural supplement can reverse the decline of cognitive function; as you get older, your faculties will inevitably worsen. The process can be slowed, but reverting your brain back to that of a 21 year old-you is impossible.
Does It Deliver?
To really evaluate whether or not IQ² really works in this way, we have to take a look at the individual ingredients and see how they work both on their own and together as a whole.
We’ll start with the ingredient that sets IQ² apart from its competitors: cocoa.
It seems to be trendy these days to spell cocoa “cacao”, but it is the same thing.
Cacao has been shown in numerous clinical trials to be effective at increasing vasodilation (making your blood vessels dilate, allowing through more blood), and improving circulation.
This study found that cacao supplementation increases blood vessel dilation. However, the researchers found that the effectiveness was incredibly dose dependent: the lowest amount given to participants was 2g, which produced the smallest results. The group that showed the best response were given 26g of cocoa daily!
IQ², by contrast, contains just 400mg. That is more than you will find in many supplements, but it is still not a sizable amount. This is especially true when you realise that dark chocolate is 85% cocoa by weight.
You will get more cocoa by eating a few squares of dark chocolate than you will from taking IQ².
Vinpocetine is also thought to increase cerebral flood flow. Indeed, this claim has been backed up by some early clinical trials.
As far as elevating neurotransmitter levels goes, IQ² will invariably deliver.
Choline bitartrate confers choline to the brain, meaning that you are able to create more acetylcholine to meet the demands of greater mental activity.
Huperzine A inhibits the production of acetylcholinerase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down acetylcholine.
DMAE is also known to increase choline availability, much in the same way as choline bitartrate.
However, we have some issues with these ingredients.
For starters, there are significantly more efficient cholinergics out there than choline bitartrate. Alpha GPC is much better at raising choline availability in the brain, while CDP-Choline is both more efficient at conferrign choline, and it confers other benefits.
You can learn more about the differences between cholinergics here.
Huperzine A works for the vast majority of people. It reliably prevents acetylcholine from being broken down, meaning that more of it remains available in the brain.
However, it must be cycled. prolonged use invariably leads to inhibited mental performance, and many users report side effects when taking Huperzine A uninterupted for long periods of time.
Finally, IQ² really lacks any ingredient that can help make the benefits of taking the supplement particularly long-lasting.
There are no ingredients which encourage the brain to make long term adaptations to its higher level of functioning.
Some top-level supplements encourage the release nerve growth factor, which prompts the brain to make new neural connections, and to physically grow to cope with the new workload it is placed under. This process is similar to building muscle, with nerve growth factor playing the role of insulin and testosterone.
This is a big shame. Long-term adaptation is what we are after, and nootropic stacks should seek to deliver this crucial benefit.
How To Take IQ²
Here is an image of the directions section on the product’s label:
As you can see, the manufacturers allow for people to eventually start double-dosing, assuming that their tolerance is high enough for that.
That would mean consuming a fairly large amount of caffeine in a single day. If you also drink coffee and tea throughout the day, then your caffeine intake will be significant if you do also begin double-dosing.
That may work well for lots of you, but we urge you to be careful. caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and you may think you have a greater tolerance than you actually do. If you do intend to increase dosage over time, please start small and gradually build upwards.
What Are People Saying About IQ²? – ‘Customer’ Reviews
Here are a selection of reviews taken from the merchant website. While we don’t think any one of them is ‘true’ or ‘false’, we think looking at these reviews can give you a general idea of what IQ² nootropic pills are all about.
This user makes a mistake common among people relatively new to mental supplementation: the source of caffeine does not matter – caffeine is caffeine. Whether it comes from guarana or coffee, it still has the same chemical structure, and it still affects the brain in exactly the same way.
If the caffeine from guarana was different to the caffeine from coffee, then it wouldn’t be called caffeine. Simple as that.
Guarana seeds are different to coffee beans of course; aside from taste, guarana contains more caffeine than coffee by weight. But once the caffeine is synthesized, it is exactly the same regardless of source.
IQ² Side Effects
Three ingredients in IQ² nootropic pills are likely to cause any problems: Huperzine A, guarana extract, and DMAE.
While the amount of caffeine found in the guarana seed extract is quite small (just 80mg), if a user does decide to double-dose, and continues to drink tea and coffee throughout the day, then they may begin to experience some of the side effects associated with a large caffeine intake: jitters, anxiety, lack of focus.
However, taking the recommended minimal dose and consuming a moderate amount of caffeine from coffee and tea shouldn’t lead to anyone experiencing these side effects.
DMAE is a difficult one.
Many, many people use this stuff on a daily basis. They seem to experience no side effects, and they get good results.
However, we have come across plenty of people saying that DMAE eventually gave them headaches, among other nasty side effects. On more than one occasion, we have read a testimony where the user eventually found DMAE to be undermining their focus and concentration.
On top of that, some studies have found that when DMAE is fed to pregnant mice, their offspring are born with birth defects.
More research is needed here obviously, but until we get to grips with why DMAE does this, we tend to advise people to avoid it. Other substances are more effective, and seem to be more reliably tolerated than DMAE.
Finally, we come to Huperzine A.
This stuff works incredibly well. The only problem with it is that it requires cycling. If you use it for a prolonged period of time, side effects are inevitable.
These side effects are basically the reverse of Huperzine A’s benefits. They include a lack of focus, demotivation, and poor working memory. People also cite headaches and tiredness among the side effects of prolonged Huperzine A usage.
It is imperative that you take this into account when using IQ²!
IQ² Nootropic Review Conclusion
All-in-all, this looks like it is a fairly average natural nootropic stack.
The formula isn’t bad by any means. It combines ingredients that do improve blood flow, and others that will increase the availability of key neurotransmitters in the brain.
It will no doubt deliver cognitive benefits for many users.
The problem is that the ingredients used are sub-par. There is also nothing novel in the way that IQ² works. Other ingredients will improve blood flow more effectively, and there are much more potent cholinergics than choline bitartrate and DMAE out there. Other stacks contain such superior ingredients.
Although it contains a relatively unusual ingredient (cacao), that ingredient doesn’t really pack a big enough punch to make this supplement anything special. It is effective at improving blood flow, but the amount of cacao found in IQ² is less than you would get by simply eating a few squares of dark chocolate.
Vinpoectine is also thought to improve blood flow, but it has many other mechanisms of action, and by itself it is not a particularly potent booster of cerebral blood flow.
It is also a benefit you can get from other, more effective substances, such as Ginkgo Biloba. This stuff is found in plenty of nootropic stacks, and it is incredibly good at improving blood flow when taken in small amounts.
IQ² is not a bad nootropic. We would not go out of our way to warn people off using it. However, we do think that there are natural nootropic stacks out there that deliver the same benefits, but more so, and quicker.
Other stacks will also be set up to make the benefits long lasting.
Stacks such as Mind Lab Pro promote nerve growth factor, meaning that the brain can make adaptations and retain its higher level of functioning in the long term. It also contains substances like Bacopa monnieri, which really are long-term nootropics. Finally, Mind Lab Pro doesn’t contain Huperzine A, which means that it doesn’t require cycling.
To put it simply, you could do a lot worse than IQ², but you could do a whole lot better if you are looking for a reliable, safe, long-term nootropic stack that gives you the most bang for your buck.