I remember when I first started taking nootropics. I remember getting frustrated that nothing I ever bought actually worked. Piles of powder and supplements lay strewn across my cabinet and I struggled to find a stack which worked well for me.
It was at this time I purchased my first bottle of Alpha Brain. I wanted something that took all the work out of finding the right stack.
I had heard of Alpha Brain before but I steered clear largely because of the marketing hype and the price tag. However, after researching the ingrediants I decided what the hell, let’s give Alpha Brain a shot and see what happens.
My Review of Alpha Brain
I got to give it to Joe Rogan and company – the marketing behind Alpha Brain is absolutely gorgeous. The bottle has a sleek design and you get the feeling you’re about to tumble down a rabbit hole when you pop the pills.
Joe Rogan appears to be a smart guy and stands behind his products. But can Alpha Brain truly deliver the potency Joe speaks about?
First, lets discuss the unique ingredients in Alpha Brain before I dive straight into my personal review of the product.
Alpha Brain Ingredients
Vitamin B6 – Okay, nothing crazy so far. Vitamin B6 is a crucial nutrient for cognitive perfomance and required for over 100 metabolic processes within the brain. B vitamins are the signature brain boosters so seeing one of them on this list is comforting.
L-Tyrosine – Again, very good stuff. I’ve discussed L-Tyrosine in many of my videos and include the supplement in most of my personal stacks. By itself, L-Tyrosine gives me laser sharp focus. It’s a strong precursor to dopamine which is well known for giving you those feelings of calm cerebral focus and energy.
L-Theanine – Another one of my favorites. Lots of studies to back this one up too. L-Theanine is present in green tea and has been shown to produce alpha brain waves in the mind (is this where they got the name??) L-Theanine is extremely calming at the right dose.
Oat Straw Extract – Oat straw has a lot of benefits for the body but the one we are most interested in is its effects on cognitive functioning. A study conducted by the Journal of Alternative Medicine revealed oat straw changes the EEG spectral frequencies of the brain, leading to increased cognitive performance. It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Phosphatidylserine – Try to say this one 10 times fast. ONNIT has appeared to have done their research. This is another great amino acid which contributes heavily to cognitive functioning. Low amounts of this critical nutrient can lead to brain fog and cognitive decline. Studies have proven that Phosphatidylserine has considerable effects on the cognition of the elderly and dramatically improves ADHD symptoms.
Cats Claw Extract – Cats Claw is an herb native to the peruvian rainforests and reported to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects on the body. How much of this contributes to cognitive functioning? Who knows, I couldn’t find any studies to prove this stuff boosts cognition. It’s definitely not harmful however.
Alpha-GPC – The good stuff. Alpha GPC is a highly bio available version of Choline and a precursor to Acetycholine – perhaps the greatest neurotransmitter responsible for memory and mental performance. Alpha-GPC is a great nootropic in of itself and stacks well with most nootropics out there.
Bacopa – Bacopa is a well researched herb and has seen long term use in ayurvedic medicine as a potent memory and cognitive booster. Bacopa is an adaptogen meaning it balances out systems within the mind and body. I always recommend including atleast one adaptogen in any nootropic stack so it’s good to see this here. Bacopa has been proven to increase memory recall and performance when used over the long term.
Huperzia Serrata – A species of club moss with an active compound known as Huperzina A. This compound is reported to have potent cognitive effects on the brain. It’s benefits are largely due to the compounds effects on Acetycholine. As mentioned, low levels of Acetycholine are a root cause of brain fog and memory deficit.
L-Leucine – I had previously never heard of this one before. It’s the main component in branch chain amino acids which are required for the rebuilding of muscle and protein synthesis. Why is it included in Alpha Brain? No idea!
Vinpocetine – This was a nootropic I experimented with on its own even before Alpha Brain (thanks Vitamin Shoppe.) It’s touted as a neuroprotective agent and may increase blood flow in the brain. I didn’t notice any significant effects from supplementing with Vinpocetine. I imagine it’s a great supplement for decreasing damage to nerves and cells but may not do anything to enhance your existing functioning.
Pterostilbene – Examine.com says it best
Low doses of pterostilbene (for a human, 10mg or less usually) seem to hold some benefit for cognition, and are thought to be one of the bioactive components of blueberries (alongside the anthocyanin content). Higher doses may not have said neurological effects, but higher supplemental dosages of pterostilbene (in the 250-500mg range usually) seem to have benefit for reducing cholesterol and glucose in research animals. The reduction in blood glucose and improvement in insulin sensitivity is quite potent, with a few studies noting that it is comparable to metformin as the reference drug.
Again, I can see some benefit of this but not a whole lot.
My personal experience using Alpha Brain
I used Alpha brain for a total of 15 continuous days. There are 30 pills in the bottle but 2 are a single serving. Kind of shady if you ask me but whatever.
What I liked about the Alpha Brain were the immediate effects. I could definitely tell there was L-Tyrosine in this stuff but the experience was much different. I had a sharp sense of focus and my clarity was on point.
Sitting down and doing a task was a whole lot easier. Without nootropics I’m fidgety and exhibit all the classic signs of someone with ADHD – wandering eyes, inability to concentrate, and fidgety.
These are of course the hallmark signs of someone who is bored. If you have to do something boring I think Alpha Brain is a great nootropic stack for sitting down and doing something you really don’t want to be doing. For me that’s paperwork and filling out forms.
Over the course of the 15 days I noticed my memory recall steadily improved. I was able to recall bits of information from days back with great ease (thanks Bacopa.) My standard memory is at a great deficit – I often times have a hard time remembering what happened even the previous day.
I can say subjectively that Alpha Brain boosted my overall mental performance.
Does Alpha Brain work?
I think if you’re at a cognitive deficit Alpha Brain will do wonders for your mental functioning. However, if you’re already a “high mental achiever” Alpha Brain will do very little for you. If you are excercising, eating right, and taking care of yourself you might not notice the effects of Alpha Brain. However, if these areas of your life are lacking I have no doubt you will feel a significant boost in brain function and performance.
It’s a great all in one stack for those that just want something that works.
My concerns with Alpha Brain
The problem with Alpha Brain and all other pre made pill stacks for that matter is not getting a high enough dose of each nootropic. I also don’t like how the bottle does not reveal how much of each nootropic is in the pill. For certain nootropics to be effective they need to be delivered in a large enough dose. L-Theanine for example is best dosed at the 100 – 200mg range. I doubt the dose even comes close to that in Alpha Brain.
In order for them to cram all these ingredients in an easy to swallow pill they have to reduce the amount of each nootropic.
However, I still think Alpha Brain is a great stack for someone who wants a “pop and go” solution to their mental performance.
Final thoughts about Alpha Brain
Looking at the ingredients there’s a lot of solid stuff in Alpha Brain. There’s also a handful of things that lack studies or don’t have any real effect on brain cognition.
With that said, I think Alpha Brain is not the perfect solution but a decent one for individuals looking to experiment with cognitive enhancers. Certainly better than anything you will find at the front of your local gas station!
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