Alpha Brain Review Summary
For such a popular nootropic, Alpha Brain has a very weak formula. There are quite a few ingredients in the formula that we really don’t need, and as our regular readers will know, we absolutely detest dead weight. If a substance doesn’t provide a significant, concrete benefit (one explicitly promised by the product), then it shouldn’t be there. Simple.
There are some good ingredients in Alpha Brain, no question. We get a substantial serving of Alpha-GPC, for example. This will provide a significant lift in focus and learning capacity. Yet this doesn’t make up for all the useless dead weight this formula is carrying. Alpha Brain has been a leader in the industry for a while, but the market is evolving and refining fast – it can’t compete with the best products of the day anymore!
Where To Buy Alpha Brain
Alpha Brain can be bought directly from Onnit. Their official website is secure, and they’re a trustworthy company in our opinion.
Full Onnit Alpha Brain Review
Alpha Brain doesn’t need much in the way of an introduction. It was one of the first serious nootropic supplements designed for the mass market. Onnit were pioneers in the industry. They saw that focus and memory supplements had incredible potential, but they remained something only advertised and traded online (often through shady websites). They realized that there was enormous demand for premium, high quality, reputable nootropic supplements – demand that was being left unfulfilled.
With the creation of the Onnit brand, which focuses on “total human performance”, these guys sought to change that, bringing nootropics decidedly into the mainstream.
Their offerings rapidly expanded, and today Onnit produce protein powders, nootropic energy drinks, and general health supplements. They are incredibly popular products, in part fuelled by the ingenious marketing tactics employed by Onnit (and the quality of the products of course).
So what is Alpha Brain supposed to do exactly?
Who is it designed for specifically?
Onnit are very explicit when it comes to what Alpha Brain does. According to the official website, it is a comprehensive, daily nootropic stack for total cognitive enhancement.
Users are told that they can expect the following key benefits:
- Enhanced focus
- More mental clarity
- Better memory function
- More lucid dreaming
- Improved mood
That is a very interesting range of benefits. It is particularly intriguing to see a nootropic that seeks to encourage lucid dreaming. Many people have theorized that more active dreaming might help with mental and emotional health, and some have speculated that lucid dreaming may be linked to better cognitive function.
We’re not going to dwell on that for too long here – that is a subject for a separate article.
It is clear though that Onnit have tried to make Alpha Brain a truly comprehensive, daily, all-in-one nootropic.
It promises to deal with everything – the classic triad of focus, memory, clarity is covered.
So Onnit say, anyway.
Does Alpha Brain really work as advertised?
Is it safe for long-term use? What are the main side effect risks?
How does it compare to our favorite focus and memory supplements on the market right now?
In our comprehensive Alpha Brain review below, we pick this popular nootropic apart. We examine the ingredients, dosing, and health risks. We see if the ingredients are truly backed by the latest scientific literature, as Onnit claim. In the end, we’ll tell you what we think of the stack as a whole. Please post any questions in the comments section at the end!
Alpha Brain Formula
Let’s take a closer look at the Alpha Brain formula:
There’s some good points here, but they are massively outweighed by the bad.
The main problem is obviously the use of proprietary blends.
We hate prop blends. We think you should avoid them AT ALL TIMES.
This is especially true when they contain benign filler ingredients or ingredients that may cause side effects at large doses.
Alpha Brain contains both of these sorts of ingredients.
In terms of value for money, we think this is a poor choice. We can see why this product was so popular in the early days of the market. But with the newer products that have come out in recent years, Alpha Brain’s formula just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Overall, we think you can do a lot better.
What We Like
We fundamentally dislike proprietary blends, but some still have some positive points that are worth pointing out.
For one thing, it’s clear that Alpha Brain is no scam nootropic.
Onnit have used some very high quality ingredients in here, and they haven’t thrown them all into one, big, homogeneous proprietary blend. We can get some sense of the serving sizes involved.
For instance, Alpha Brain contains Alpha-GPC.
This is one of the most effective and potent nootropic substances in existence.
Alpha-GPC rapidly raises acetylcholine levels in the brain, which in turn increases focus, mental clarity, and learning capacity. Everything from short-term memory function and recall speed have been shown to improve as a result of Alpha-GPC supplementation.
It also has carryover benefits related to brain cell development and long-term cognitive health.
We don’t know how much Alpha-GPC we get in each serving, of course, but the 240mg blend is divided between Alpha-GPC, 400mcg of Huperzine A, and an unknown quantity of Bacopa monnieri.
Thankfully, Bacopa monnieri is another superb natural nootropic which can provide benefits in doses of around 150-250mg per day.
There is feasibly enough blend to accommodate both Alpha-GPC and Bacopa monnieri here, although the doses are not going to be particularly impressive.
In an ideal world, we’d have about 20mg of Alpha-GPC and 200mg of Bacopa monnieri.
That is the standard most modern nootropics aim for, and of course, either ingredient could be seriously low dosed for all we know!
What We Don’t Like
Unfortunately, the weaknesses of this product vastly outweigh the strengths.
Our main issue is the heavy use of ingredients that provide little to no real benefit. Several of the ingredients in Alpha Brain have never been shown by clinical trials to enhance cognition in any way.
To make matters worse, we don’t know how some of these ingredients have been dosed.
THIS IS WHY WE HATE PROPRIETARY BLENDS!
For all we know, these rather benign ingredients could make up almost all of their respective blends, meaning that the useful ingredients are barely present at all.
Take a look at the Onnit Flow Blend, for example.
Here we have a 650mg blend, which contains some good nootropics like Tyrosine and Phosphatidylserine.
The problem is that it also contains Oat Straw. How much, we have no idea.
Could be 649mg, could be 1mg.
This is a real problem because Oat Straw doesn’t do a great deal.
We’ve never seen any compelling evidence saying that it enhances focus, memory, learning, or mood.
We can’t find any hard, scientific evidence showing that it does anything at all.
You could be paying for 649mg of an ingredient that provides no palpable, tangible benefits at all.
You could be forking over your hard-earned cash for 649mg of an ingredient that isn’t going to affect your day to day mental performance in any way.
This just doesn’t cut it in today’s market.
We could repeat this with several of the ingredients in Alpha Brain. Cat’s Claw is here and it is dosed very well – it actually gets its very own blend (a distinction not reserved for Bacopa monnieri or Alpha-GPC). Sadly though, this isn’t because Cat’s Claw is more effective or valuable than these other nootropics.
We’ve never seen a convincing human clinical trial in which Cat’s Claw was found to significantly improve cognitive function.
So it is for Leucine too. In fact, the Leucine gives us added concerns.
This is just a basic amino acid found in lots of foods. It is practically ubiquitous in the human diet.
We don’t know how much we get per serving. But since this ingredient provides no added benefits, and is so cheap to source, we can only assume it is being used as a filler.
Why else is it here?
It isn’t because it enhances cognitive function, that’s for sure.
Onnit Alpha Brain Side Effects
As far as side effects go, Alpha Brain poses some fairly serious problems.
It certainly doesn’t seem to be any more risky on the side effect front than many other products available at the moment.
Every ingredient has been tested in various clinical trials (to a greater or lesser degree), and they are all thought to be generally safe for human consumption. While no substance is 100% safe and side effect free for everybody, Onnit have not included any ingredients that are particularly risky.
That’s fine by us!
Long term supplementation doesn’t seem to be a serious concern – none of the ingredients in Alpha Brain have ever been found to have long-term, adverse health effects.
However, the fact that we don’t know the doses involved is a MAJOR ISSUE.
Proprietary blends pose significant problems when trying to appraise side effect risks.
Dangers are always linked to serving sizes, and we expect to be told how much of each substance we’re expected to consume each day.
That Alpha Brain doesn’t divulge that information is pretty much unforgivable for us.
While the ingredients involved here aren’t particularly dangerous at high doses, we still don’t appreciate being kept in the dark. It remains true that prop blends pose fundamental problems in evaluating risks. Since there is absolutely no good reason to use a prop blend, we deem this completely unacceptable.
There is also a concrete side effect concern in the use of Huperzine A and Alpha-GPC.
Huperzine A must be cycled if you are to avoid side effects.
Huperzine A effectively shuts off the brain’s ability to regulate acetylcholine levels. It inhibits the enzyme which destroys acetylcholine. Obviously, this means more acetylcholine being free in the brain, which at first means more brain power.
Yet more acetylcholine is desirable only up to a point. Too much, and side effects are inevitable.
Common side effects of having too much acetylcholine in the brain include:
- Muscle cramps
- Loss of motivation
- Loss of focus
The longer you use Huperzine A for without a break, the worse side effects will be.
The fact that Alpha Brain includes Huperzine A along with an unknown dose of Alpha-GPC compounds this issue; you are essentially shoveling more acetylcholine in while preventing any excess from being disposed of.
Side effects will begin to occur rapidly, and their severity will escalate quickly.
It is vital that you consider this carefully when using Alpha Brain.
While the ideal cycle length of Huperzine A is more of a matter of art than science at this point, we think a good way to begin is taking Huperzine A for no longer than 3 weeks before taking a significant break (7 days at least).
None of the other ingredients pose any notable side effect risks, but the fact we don’t know exact doses really does irritate us.
Most other nootropics today list their individual ingredient serving sizes on the bottle. Alpha Brian is very much a relic of the past in that regard.
If you think you’re struggling with serious memory problems or cognitive decline, talk to a doctor.
Onnit Alpha Brain Review Conclusion
Early Alpha Brain reviews focused on the quality of the ingredients and the originality of the formula. They weren’t wrong. Onnit Alpha Brain was one of the first products to take the nootropics market seriously. They realized what dedicated focus and memory supplements can do, and that existing products were largely terrible.
Alpha Brain was a breath of fresh air.
But that was then.
The market has matured significantly.
Compared to the most effective, comprehensive supplements on the market today, Alpha Brain doesn’t look too good.
The formula is divided into proprietary blends. These are fundamentally bad and to be avoided. Lots of manufacturers can reveal their full formula and still make a lot of money, so whatever their reasons are, Onnit are failing here.
The formula also contains lots of dead weight; ingredients that provide little to no added nootropic benefits.
We don’t know how much of the formula these ingredients command – POTENTIAL FILLERS SHOULD BE AVOIDED LIKE THE PLAGUE.
Finally, there’s the need for cycling. Any stack that contains Huperzine A needs to be taken as a cycle, with lengthy breaks every few weeks. This lowers the overall efficacy of the stack.
All things considered, Onnit could have done much better here.
But for the time it was developed, we can see why Alpha Brain has proven so popular. The glowing Alpha Brain reviews are not lying. They’re just dated. Much better nootropics are available today.