Cortex Generation 1
- Contains Uridine Monophosphate
- Contains CDP-Choline
- No fillers in proprietary blend
- Best ingredients low-dosed
- Missing key aspects of a comprehensive nootropic stack
- Manufacturer exhibits stupid albeit hilarious behavior
Cortex Generatin 1 Review Summary
Since Ryan Michael Ballow (nee Critchet) finally decided to reveal the details of his mystery brain pills, we have updated our Cortex Generation 1 review. What we saw was definitely not worth the wait.
What we have here is a good dose of Bacopa monnieri, a pretty pathetic dose of CDP-Choline by any standards, and some Uridine Monophosphate; a very interesting addition. This isn’t a half-bad stack by any means. But it isn’t overly exciting either. Is it worth $34.99? We don’t think so.
We tried to be impartial in re-writing this review, ignoring the creator’s antagonistic and, quite frankly, ludicrous behaviour. But of course Mr Ballow urged us to take his failings into account in our review (to stop being so “myopic”, as he put it). He believes that his struggles should influence our opinion of his product. So, despite our best judgment, we let his personality reflect the scores.
Where To Buy Cortex Generation 1
Cortex Gen 1: Workhorse (terrible name, we know) is available from the official online store. it is also available on Amazon. We think buying direct is a bad idea; Mr Ballow is liable to get very upset with any complaints!
Full Cortex Generation 1 Review
When we first published our Cortex Generation 1: Workhorse review in 2016, we received some pretty unusual feedback from the manufacturer.
Essentially, Michael Ballow, serial YouTube experimenter, entrepreneur, and Chief Political Analyst at the Red Doctrine (a magazine he created, populated, and staffed in its entirety before deleting it all), took issue with our analysis.
We focused heavily on the fact that we didn’t know the doses. Mr Ballow said that we should stop being “myopic” and consider how hard it is for people like him to offer what the big supplement manufacturers can; i.e, transparency, peace of mind, and confidence.
We don’t care how hard it is for a manufacturer. We don’t care why you are failing to compete. Thrive or die is the law of the market, and that’s fine by us.
Well, now his insecurities have melted away and he has released the Cortex Generation 1 formula in its entirety, doses and all!
So, we’ve updated our Cortex Gen 1: Workhorse review accordingly.
Before we get into the details, let’s examine some of the claims made by Ballow as to what users can expect from Cortex Generation 1:
That’s quite an impressive array of promises.
These are all certainly things that only a high quality, comprehensive, full spectrum nootropic can deliver.
The question is, then, can Cortex Generation 1 deliver?
Is Cortex Gen 1 a leading nootropic? Or is it just another dud brain pill cobbled together in some guy’s basement?
Is Cortex Generation 1 safe? Are there any serious side effect risks?
Most importantly, how does Cortex nootropic compare to other stacks on the market today?
We answer all of these questions and more in our full Cortex Generation 1 review below. We look at the formula in greater detail, as well as the behavior of the creator, Ryan Michael Ballow. If you get to the end of the review and have any questions, just let us know in the comments section. If you’ve tried this nootropic for yourself, then we’d LOVE to hear what you thought of it! Please post your experiences at the end.
As stated above, the Cortex Generation 1 formula has now been released in full.
Previously, the label showed this as the ingredients:
That may still be the case, but the official website now lists each ingredient’s individual serving size:
That is a pretty interesting formula.
At first glance, it looks pretty good.
There’s certainly nothing offensive in here. Cortex Gen 1 contains some superb ingredients, and one ingredient that we don’t often see in natural nooropic stacks.
Here is a brief overview of each ingredient, what it does, and how it can help with cognition.
Uridine Monophosphate: Uridine monophosphate is a nucleotide that binds to other molecules to form RNA; the nucleic acid responsible for gene coding and expression.
While the method of action remains unclear, several studies have shown that uridine monophosphate supplementation can lead to significant improvements in memory function and learning ability.
In one study, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, found that adult gerbils fed a number of compounds experienced clear improvements in their ability to learn, remember, and focus.
Bacopa monnieri: A herbal extract used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to enhance memory, alleviate stress, and slow mental decline. It has some pretty impressive anti-oxidant properties, and it is being studied closely for its ability to improve memory retention and recall.
Some manufacturers are suggesting that it has the ability to improve synaptic communication, but we have our doubts as to whether this is its primary mechanism of action. Bacopa seems to work better the longer it is taken for, which is exactly what we want from a daily nootropic stack.
CDP-choline: Also known as Citicoline, CDP-choline is one of the many substances that you can take if you want to raise your acetylcholine levels. Choline is a biological precursor to acetylcholine, which is a key neurotransmitter for a number of brain functions.
In fact, CDP-Choline is one of the best cholinergenics there is. It not only quickly and efficiently raises acetylcholine levels, but it also has other, secondary nootropic benefits. You can learn more about it here.
Supplementing with choline is not an efficient way to increase the availability of acetylcholine, as it is not properly able to cross the blood-brain barrier. CDP-choline offers a more reliable way of giving your brain more acetylcholine to work with (although in my opinion, more efficient substances exist). A superb ingredient for any stack, if the dosage is right.
Artichoke extract: Cortex Generation 1 is not the only nootropic to contain artichoke extract, but it is one of the few. Many people dismiss this ingredient as ineffective, while others think it is a panacea, but a lack of study means that both extremes are wrong. I’ve written about the promise this stuff holds on my nootropics ingredient page.
Early research suggests that artichoke extract may have the ability to suppress the enzyme PDE4. PDE4 is responsible for the breakdown of cyclic adenosine monophosphate. In theory, this should lead directly to improvements in focus and concentration ‘stamina’.
Our Thoughts On The Formula
As you can see, the ingredients used in Cortex Generation 1 are pretty good.
It certainly compares favourably to many other natural nootropics reviewed on this website.
While the formula is pretty limited, we don’t really have any wastage in here. There are just scientifically-proven, effective nootropics with a good range of uses.
That said, there are still some pretty major issues with this supplement. Unfortunately, we think these issues hold Cortex Generation 1 back from being a great nootropic.
Major Issue – Low Doses
the main ingredient in Cortex Generation 1 is probably CDP-Choline.
CDP-Choline is without question one of the most reliable and powerful natural nootropics on the market today. If not the most effective.
CDP-Choline works primarily by quickly increasing acetylcholine availability in the brain. Acetylcholine is the ‘learning neurotransmitter’; greater levels means more efficient neuron communication, which means higher cognitive functioning.
We think this stuff is probably going to do most of the actual leg work when it comes to boosting your focus, mental clarity, and ability to learn.
Yet we only get 80mg per serving of Cortex Gen 1: Workhorse.
That is a SERIOUS let-down!
The best stacks on the market today will generally not use less than 150mg, and that is on the low end of the spectrum.
Ideally, we’d like to see somewhere in the region of 250mg per serving, if not more.
The amount of Uridine Monophsophate we get in each serving of Cortex nootropic could also be considered somewhat small.
Uridine is not a widely used substance, so it is difficult to find concrete data on its ideal dose.
However, we do have some rough figures available.
As many users pointed out on this Longecity thread, 250mg of Uridine Monophosphate is considered an effective dose when taken sublingual.
Other threads recommend using anywhere between 150mg and 250mg, as often as twice per day.
Each serving of Cortex only gives us 150mg, which is on the low end of the recommended spectrum.
Couple that with the low dose of CDP-Choline, and this stack suddenly looks pretty impotent.
Major Issue – Overpriced
The ingredients used in this nootropic are all readily available in most countries for very reasonable prices.
Since there are only 4 ingredients, and the doses are so low, it might be much more cost effective for you to simply reconstruct this stack for yourself!
For example, you can get a 10g bag of CDP-Choline for around $10. That’s about 125 servings at the dose used in Cortex Generation 1.
You can also get a 25g bag of Uridine Monophosphate for around $12. At the dose used in Cortex Generation 1 nootropic stack, that’s over 160 servings.
Bacopa monnieri can be picked up for a similar price, and you can always just eat more artichokes if you want to benefit from artichoke powder.
So by building the stack yourself, you can get a 3 month’s supply for the price of 1!
Minor Issue – Limited Range Of Effects
We are also very aware that the range of effects with this stack is pretty limited.
We have some superb ingredients here, for sure, and if their doses were better we’d expect some great short and medium term improvements in focus, memory, and mental clarity.
However, there are some key elements to a fully comprehensive nootropic stack missing from Cortex Gen 1: Workhorse.
For example, there’s no short term anxiety fixes in here.
Anxiolytics attenuate feelings of stress, allowing you to stay focused on the task at hand and to not let your mind become clouded with worry.
Substances like Tyrosine or Rhodiola rosea, two well known anxiolytics, do just that.
When combined with cholinergics like CDP-Choline, these substances can have a profound effect on your cognition.
That they are missing from Cortex Generation 1 is a serious flaw to this nootropic stack.
We are also missing any serious anti-oxidant content.
We are missing any ingredients to help improve cerebral blood flow.
We are missing an awful lot, come to think of it.
One thing that might be said of Cortex Generation 1 is that it is a very medium to long-term focused nootropic stack.
None of the ingredients in this product will have a noticeable effect for many weeks, or possibly even months.
With the low doses being used here, we wonder whether many of you will feel any effects at all, even in the long-term!
Ryan thought we were stupid for not taking his own personal struggles into account when appraising his product, as if his failings should make us like his product more.
We never usually allow personal considerations to come into our reviews, but since he asked so nicely, we decided to look at him as part of the review.
Ryan’s stupidity, erratic behavior, and delusions of grandeur do not reflect well on Cortex Generation 1.
If you check out his replies to our initial review below, you’ll see that he confuses his failings as a manufacturer, his insecurities and fears, for our motivations as a consumer.
He thinks we need to factor in the struggles of a manufacturer into our review. We obviously don’t. This is the free market, not kindergarten.
He thinks that something that took a long time and a lot of money to develop must therefore be good. This is called affirming the consequent; a common logical fallacy. He even applies this logic to himself, constantly bragging about how many companies he has founded in arguments (you can start a company in 5 minutes online).
His vocabulary is strained and unnatural; a sure sign of an unintelligent person trying their hardest to sound educated.
He repeatedly commented on the review form the same IP address under different names, using stock phrases like “armchair” – a basic thing to avoid when trying to sound like different people.
His performance on a Reddit AMA was nothing short of a disaster. That thread is littered with wonderful examples of his stupidity.
His ramblings on his Twitter about the “liberal media” are incoherent at the best of times.
He thinks “logic” is the same as common sense – another clear sign of someone who wants to mask their lack of intelligence behind a wall of words they don’t understand.
All in all, Ryan has not been a great advertisement for Cortex Generation 1.
Since we were told that we were “barking up the wrong tree” by Mr. Ballow (confusing the phrase for a threat), we have actually heard very little.
That was until we discovered what Ryan has been doing with his time. It seems he has been spending a large portion of his time doing one of two things:
- Taking Modafinil
- Writing articles for a pseudo-political “news” site he has created
- Musing about how amazing he is at business and the stupidity of younger people
You can find the latter by searching for his YouTube channel.
Unfortunately, Ryan has removed all of the videos he created for The Red Doctrine; a political magazine which he wrote, published, broadcast, and to which he appointed himself as Chief Political Adviser.
We can’t imagine how many hours Ryan poured into The Red Doctrine, or how many throats he had to step on to earn his title of Chief Political Analyst, but it seems like a great waste to us.
In any case, there’s still plenty of gold to be found on his channel today.
Here’s a brilliant video, which shows just how mentally super-charged the most entrepreneurial of entrepreneurs has become:
We think he has clearly just left a conference and been irritated at how well some other people are doing.
Notice how he loathes how they spew out lingo, before going on to wonder aloud: “Did he ever look at a real life P&L statement and try to optimize expenses…you know and revenue…to modulate…to positively modulate the P&L statement.”
You showed them Ryan!
Cortex Generation 1 Side Effects – Is It Safe?
We don’t think there’s really much to worry about with regards to side effects here.
The doses being used here are nothing extreme, and the substances themselves are generally thought to be safe and side effect free for the vast majority of people.
The only minor concern would be UMP.
This stuff does have some effects similar to stimulants, and it is known to increase the action of things like caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants such as meth-amphetamines.
You should reduce the use of these substances while using UMP on a regular basis. Stacking UMP with large amounts of caffeine or another stimulant might have fairly serious consequences.
On the whole though, this nootropic looks pretty safe.
The ingredients used here are all well understood, and they have been thoroughly tested in clinical conditions on humans. They are thought to be generally safe for human consumption, even in the long-term.
Few of you are going to experience side effects with this one, and when they do occur, they’re invariably going to be mild.
However, everyone is an individual.
We don’t know you, your current state of health, or anything about your medical history. We therefore can’t promise that any supplement is 100% for everybody.
You must do your own research.
We are not doctors.
This is not medical advice. You MUST talk to a qualified health professional if you have ANY concerns about using Cortex Generation 1. Any concerns whatsoever. Don’t rely on information you read online. Only your regular physician can give you the advice you need to stay safe.
No matter how convincing you might think Mr Ballow is, we don’t think ANYBODY should start using Modafinil or any other synthetic brain drugs.
They are extremely dangerous, they may have adverse consequences in the future, and they can easily backfire.
Ryan plugs Cortex as a great accompaniment to Modafinil.
But it’s clear from his behavior that the Modafinil isn’t doing him any favors!
If you don’t want to end up like Ryan – babbling inanely on your YouTube channel about how you’re better than everyone else – then don’t follow how advice on what is and isn’t safe to take!
Cortex Generation 1 Review Conclusion – For Elite Achievers? – Not Likely!
Cortex Generation 1: Workhorse contains some really good ingredients.
These ingredients can deliver serious, lasting improvements in focus and memory in the medium to long term.
However, we are not overly excited about the potential of Cortex Generation 1 nootropic stack. There are several problems with this supplement that really prevent it from being a great nootropic.
For one thing, with just 4 ingredients, the formula covers a limited number of cognitive functions. There’s no anxiety control, no short term mental energy booster, and no brain circulation promoters.
The best ingredient in this formula, CDP-Choline, is seriously under-dosed.
We also think the Uridine dose is low.
These are the two most important ingredients in this stack, and they are dosed very low.
All things considered, we really don’t think there’s anything special about this stack.
When you consider how cheaply you could construct this stack by buying the constituent ingredients individually, buying Cortex Generation 1 really doesn’t make any sense.
You will get better results opting for a more comprehensive, complete, and potent stack. Look for a CDP-Choline content of above 200mg and a wider variety of brain functions supported.
Ryan Michael Ballow might think this is the nootropic for “elite achievers”, but we clearly have a different understanding of what an “elite achiever” is than him.