Qualia Nootropic Review Summary
The pre-made Qualia nootropic stack has only just been launched to the mass market, but it has gone from conception to being a well-known supplement in record time. This is no doubt due in part to the manufacturer’s aggressive marketing program, and the product’s unique formulation.
Qualia’s formula is split into two ‘steps’; a morning blend and an evening blend. They both contain some great ingredients at generous doses.
However, Qualia’s formula is over-stretched. It contains some worrying ingredients (Noopept, DHEA and Hordenine to be precise), none of which are necessary in a natural nootropic stack and all of which pose significant side effect risks. Qualia’s formula simply doesn’t justify the extortionate price tag: $149 for a single month!
Where To Buy Qualia
Qualia nootropic can be bought directly from the manufacturer: Neurohacker Collective. In our opinion it is always better to buy straight form the maker so you know exactly who to complain to if things don’t work out as promised.
Full Qualia Nootropic Review
If you have been searching for various nootropic stacks over the past few months, then you will have no doubt seen ads for the new Qualia nootropic stack showing up all over the place. This aggressive advertising campaign in part explains why you will find an extensive Qualia review on almost every professional supplement rating site around.
The other reason being that Qualia seems to be a genuinely innovative nootropic: its formula is arranged differently to most focus and memory supplements, and it certainly tries to cover more ground than most.
As always, we will try to review Qualia without letting any of the hype influence our opinion. If the stack looks good, we will say so. If it looks over-hyped, we’ll say that too. So, let’s get down to it.
What is Qualia nootropic supposed to do?
According to the manufacturers, the Neurohacker Collective, Qualia was deisnged to “help you transcend these limitations [brain fog, anxiety, cognitive decline, etc] so life can be experienced with clarity, potency, and emotional resilience.”
On the official Qualia website, we are told that Neurohacker Collective “designed a formula that deliberately balances subjective effects to give meaningful enhancement in a comprehensive way – a whole system upgrade.”
This is exactly the kind of talk we want to hear from a nootropic producer, although ideally it would be expressed in a clear, concise way, with less bombast and a lot less marketing drivel.
“Balancing subjective effects to give meaningful enhancement” could have been pulled straight out of a brochure for luxury cottages or artisan coffee grounds.
In any case, the Neurohacker Collective are at least very clear about what you can expect from using Qualia:
That really is the full range of what is possible with a natural nootropic stack.
Not all brain supplements strive to touch all of these areas. it will be very interesting to see if Qualia is able to actually do so.
If it can, it will be one of the best nootropic stacks on the market today.
Let’s find out together if Qualia is everything it is cracked up to be. Here is our full Qualia review. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below. We are always delighted to hear what our readers have to say.
Qualia Formula Review
As stated above, the Qualia nooropic stack is divided into two portions or ‘steps’; a morning step and an evening step. Each one is designed for a specific purpose.
Before we get into a discussion about each ‘step’, take a look at the whole Qualia formula. We’ll show each ‘step’ individually. Here’s step one’s formula:
And step two:
That is quite a gigantic formula.
Generally speaking, we like supplements which rely on a select group of effective, scientifically proven ingredients. Stacks which contain too many ingredients are likely to be over-stretching themselves.
Let’s find out if Qualia is such a supplement.
To make it easy for ourselves, we’re going to look at these two blends individually. We will then discuss how they are likely to work together at the end.
We will also consider in this Qualia review whether or not the $149/month cost is justified.
Qualia ‘Step One’ Formula Review
There are some really interesting ingredients in here. But there are also ingredients which we are less pleased to see. We’ll start with the good.
What We Like
Very few stacks contain artichoke extract. To our knowledge, only CILTEP by Natural Stacks actually makes good use of artichoke extract. We don’t know why this isn’t used more, because it is a potentially brilliant natural nootropic (not to mention a potentially potent cholesterol reducing agent).
Artichoke extract is thought to be a powerful cognitive enhancer due to its ability to naturally suppress PDE4; an enzyme which breaks down some of the messenger molecules in the brain (cAMP molecules to be exact). Greater cAMP molecule concentrations means better intracellular communication, which in turn means enhanced cognitive functioning.
Studies have shown that this can have long-term positive effects on memory function.
Rhodiola Rosea root extract is a reliable cognitive booster. It is known to reduce fatigue, decrease anxiety, and it is even thought to promote longevity. Several studies have shown that it supports cognitive function in stressful situations. The 300mg in Qualia is more than you will find in most stacks.
The Purenergy Blend and L-Theanine combination is also worth mentioning.
The Purenergy blend provides 90mg of caffeine and just under 120mg of pterostilbene.
That caffeine dose is about the same as a cup of black tea; nothing of concern unless you have a severe caffeine aversion.
Pterostilbene is a derivative of resveratrol; the antioxidant which makes red wine so good for us (alright, the grapes are good for us too).
The inclusion of this antioxidant here is probably due to its ability to lower blood pressure. As hypertension is an unwanted side effect of caffeine consumption, keeping blood pressure low is key.
Theanine also helps attenuate the side effects of caffeine while working in synergism with it, strengthening its good effects.
Together, these three ingredients should provide a very subtle energy lift in the morning without producing unwanted side effects.
Now for those ingredients we wish weren’t in the formula.
What We Don’t Like
We can’t quite believe that Qualia contains DHEA.
DHEA is a steroidal hormone. It is produced in the adrenal gland, and it is the most abundant free steroid hormone in the human body. It is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen.
Many people think of this stuff as “testosterone lite”, which is why it is found in so many scammy ‘safe steroid’ supplement you see advertised on shady websites.
Using DHEA as a supplement is, in our opinion, a terrible idea.
It is poorly understood, the list of potential side effects is long, and there is little evidence that it contributes to better cognitive functioning. The makers of Qualia claim that it boosts blood flow, but the evidence for that is weak.
For anyone looking to use a natural nootropic stack to be on their A-game at work, we think Noopept is also a terrible option.
Noopept can basically be thought of as concentrated piracetam.
It produces similar effects as piracetam but at much lower doses.
For those of you who are familiar with piracetam and the truckload of problems that come with it, we’ll rest our case there.
For those of you who aren’t, check out our short primer on piracetam and its dangers.
Centrophenoxine is simply a more easily absorbed form of DMAE; just like CDP-Choline is easier for the body to take up than choline itself.
DMAE confers choline to the brain, thereby raising acetylcholine availability, which in turn allows for optimal cognitive functioning.
However, we have serious concerns about DMAE, and about centrophenoxine by extension.
For starters, it is nowhere near as reliable or effective at raising choline availability as Alpha-GPC or CDP-Choline, or even choline bitartrate for that matter. If you want a job done, just use the best tool, even if you are going to use it again later.
Secondly, DMAE use seems highly unpredictable. Some users report no side effects, some report many, and others report no effects to speak of at all.
Finally, very few studies have been conducted on centrophenoxine itself. One of the only ones we could find noted that many of the benefits of using this compound were down to cerebral re-hydration.
Qualia ‘Step Two’ Formula Review
The ‘step two’ formula is much larger than step one, as it comes with a comprehensive, well-dosed vitamin stack.
In our opinion, this is a very over-stretched, bloated formula.
Qualia’s makers have clearly tried to cover all bases with this formula, but they would have done much better by choosing one or two ingredients for each goal and letting them do their job.
And just like in ‘step one’, we have some unwanted ingredients which have absolutely no reason to be here.
What We Like
There are lots of good ingredient in this blend with good serving sizes.
Bacopa monnieri is one of the most well-proven memory-boosters in existence. It has been shown time and again in robust clinical trials to help improve recall speed, learning ability, and to help slow down age-related memory loss.
The 300mg in Qualia nootropic is twice as much as you need to feel the benefits of bacopa supplementation.
Ginkgo biloba improves cerebral blood flow, which in turn helps oxygenate and feed your brain cells. Importantly, it does this without raising systemic blood pressure.
Again, the dose in Qualia is just right, if perhaps on the conservative side.
Citicoline, or CDP-Choline, is one of the best choline-boosting agents available. It efficiently and effectively raises choline levels in the brain, allowing for maximum acetylcholine synthesis. it also confers a range of peripheral benefits which we discuss at length in this article.
Unfortunately, 75mg is far short of what we would like to see here. Most high quality stacks contain more than 200mg.
Alpha GPC is a cholinergic, just like Citicoline. There are a few reasons why you might include the two in the same stack, but we don’t think there is a great deal of benefit to be had by doing so.
In any case, 100mg is still short of the 200mg we would like to see in a serious nootropic stack. We think the manufacturers should have just picked their preferred cholinergic and dosed it properly.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is an extraordinary nootropic substance. We are only just beginning to properly understand all of the things it can do. But even at this early stage, we know that it has the ability to promote Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) production. This actually stimulates neural cell growth, allowing your brain to capitalize on its higher level of functioning and make it long-term.
500mg is ideal for Lion’s Mane dosing.
Phosphatidylserine is a fat-like substance which makes up a large proportion of the brain’s physical mass.
Supplementing with PS is unnecessary, but if you’re interested in maximizing brain power and supporting long-term brain function, making sure your intake is adequate is a good first step.
Finally, we have vinpocetine.
This stuff has a place in every nootropic stack, and it is certainly a welcome addition to the Qualia formula.
Vinpocetine is thought to have several properties which all contribute to improved cognition: circulation enhancement, memory support, antioxidant.
Trials have been done on vinpocetine, and the results are quite encouraging: it seems reliably able to improve short-term memory function and reduce reaction time.
What We Don’t Like
This formula is completely over-stuffed.
In an attempt to include every substance ever linked to cognitive enhancement, Neurohacker Collective have (somewhat ironically) produced a supplement that lacks clear focus.
For instance, the use of two different cholinergics alongside Huperzine A is pointless.
Huperzine A itself is a poor choice for this stack. It is a good choice for some, but not here.
Huperzine A requires regular cycling. Every 4-6 weeks, you need to take some time off to allow your acetylcholinesterase levels to return to normal.
However, some of the best ingredients in Qualia nootropic (i.e bacopa monnieri, lion’s mane, and CDP-Choline) need to be taken consistently for a number of days and weeks before they start to make a difference. A week break will prevent some of these ingredients from ever really having a big impact on your brain function.
On top of that, we have some ingredients that have no proven cognitive benefits.
Hordenine is a stimulant often found in cheap fat loss supplements.
It is thought to have adrenergic effects; that is, it is thought to affect noradrenaline.
There is no evidence that this stuff actually works in humans how some people claim it does. Even if it were the case that Hordenine’s touted effects had clinical backing, they would have limited use in a nootropic stack such as Qualia.
Another example is theobromine.
Many people claim that this stuff has stimulant properties, and indeed it does. it is just that they are almost absurdly weak. Some estimates have put theobromine’s stimulant potency as low as 10 times smaller than caffeine’s.
Curcumin is a classic example of a health food finding its way into a supposedly dedicated, performance-enhancing supplement. This stuff is derived from Tumeric. Many people think it can cure every ailment imaginable, from an upset stomach to cancer. Yet there is no evidence that it improves cognitive function.
Does The Qualia Nootropic Formula Fit Together?
We can see the reasoning behind splitting the Qualia nootropic formula into two distinct parts.
One part, to be taken in the morning, can deliver an instant energy boost and set your mind going for the day.
The second part, to be taken in the evening, provides all of the real nootropics; the substances that will actually affect memory function, focus, and learning in the long term.
The problem is that both formulas have been over-stretched unnecessarily.
Neurohacker Collective have obviously been quite eager to cover every possible base with Qualia, but in doing so they have not focused on what it is exactly that they want Qualia to do.
It contains some superb natural nootropics. In fact, it contains almost all of the ingredients we would want to see in a professional nootropic stack.
It also contains some ingredients that have no business being in a memory supplement or a mental energy supplement.
It contains ingredients with a high chance of causing side effects, and others which have not been properly studied.
What is here in abundance is enthusiasm and expansiveness.
What is lacking is balance and focus.
Qualia Side Effects
If you’ve slogged your way through our whole Qualia review up to now, then you wont be surprised to learn that there are a few ingredients in this nootropic which could pose a side effects risk.
The manufacturers have used pretty much every natural supplement ingredient they could get their hands on, so some riskier ones were bound to find their way into the formula.
The two big concerns here are the DHEA content and the combined cholinergic serving.
DHEA should not be played around with.
It is the active ingredient in many “safe steroid alternative” supplements,none of which work and all of which are dangerous.
DHEA is a steroid hormone. It is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen. Supplementing with DHEA is therefore not something to undertake lightly.
Its efficacy as a supplement even for boosting testosterone or estrogen is seriously under-studied. The potential side effects are many, and we don’t have enough information to comment on their likelihood.
When you add up the Citicoline, Alpha-GPC, and Centrophenoxine content, you get 425mg of cholinergic per daily serving.
On top of that, you have 50mcg of Huperzine A (the label should say Huperzia Serrata rather than Huperzine A, which is what the 1% refers to).
This is going to be pushing your acetylcholine levels far too high. This in turn will cause a range of side effects, some serious.
It is crucial that you talk to your regular doctor before using Qualia, or any nootropic for that matter. They know better than you, and they certainly know better than a supplement manufacturer.
Qualia Review Conclusion
If you have skipped to the end of your Qualia review, then you are probably looking for the answer to one very simple question: is Qualia worth the massive $149/month price tag?
In our opinion, the answer is no, not at all.
Most Qualia reviews we have looked at have focused solely on the potent, scientifically-proven nootropics in this stack.
If you do that, then you can’t do anything but conclude that it is an amazing supplement. Qualia contains pretty much every ingredient ever thought to have a positive impact on cognition.
The problem is, when you look deeper, you’ll find that it also contains ingredients which are thought to influence cognition, but which have never been proven to have any influence whatsoever.
It contains some ingredients that have never been linked with enhanced cognition.
Most regrettably of all, it contains some ingredients that are downright dangerous: the steroid hormone DHEA, the weight-loss stimulant hordenine, and the new piracetam, Noopept.
If you are genuinely interested in improving your mental performance, enhancing your working memory, boosting your mental energy, and supercharging your drive and focus, you would be better off using a more focused stack than Qualia.
If your performance in work depends on you being on top of your game, then using a stack with such a high side effects risk is probably the wrong decision.
You can enjoy all of the potential benefits of Qualia and none of the risks for a fraction of the price. Check out any of our top rated stacks and see if any of them are what you have been looking for.