Alpha Brain from Onnit, a world-renowned brand that is probably most famous for being marketed by popular podcaster Joe Rogan.
He claims that it helps him interview and helps him to form better sentences. But does it hold up as one of the best brands out there, or is it just effective marketing?
There’s no denying the explosion of the body-hacking movement, and trying to gain the edge over the competition is the 21st-century super-power most knowledge workers are trying to gain an advantage through.
Though not all nootropics are created equal, finding the right option is never an easy task.
Some nootropics might be far too underpowered, whilst others might have too much filler that doesn’t actually help you out, which wastes your time and money.
Looking for the edge that can help you stay focused, drive up productivity and make you feel like a super-human is only a good thing and the efforts that have been put into this industry are thanks to the big hitters out there spreading the word.
So let’s see if Alpha Brain should be the next item on your supplement stack and whether it can help you reach higher levels in life.
- Our Trial Run – Alpha Brain Real World Performance
- Our Verdict
- Alpah Brain Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Articles
As far as ordering Alpha Brain, it was a relatively harmless experience. All we did was head to the Onnit website and purchase a one-time-only tub with 90 capsules.
There is an option to choose the subscription service that saves a little on money by sending you out a new batch every 7-90 days depending on your usage. They recommend every 45 days which nets you 15% off with the purchase.
When the product arrived we found no issues with the packaging, and the screw-top lid felt secure enough to know that it wouldn’t be exposed to external air.
We also like the simple design on the front, and the gold and white color scheme looked smart and professional.
Alpha Brain is available in four forms:
Now it’s time to take a look at the ingredients. Alpha Brain promises to make more alpha waves and support the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay information from the brain. But does it walk the talk?
First on the ingredients list is Vitamin B6 with a serving size of 10 milligrams at 588% of the daily value. Straight off the bat, we could see that this wasn’t just a nootropic.
Vitamin B6 directly relates to energy production during exercise and helps in the muscle recovery process, which means that this would make a great option for those with a rigorous exercise program.
And as we were about to find out, this wasn’t the only workout aid featured.
Next on the list of ingredients was Uncaria tomentosa, commonly referred to as Cat’s Claw. This is an Amazonian vine that has been shown to produce anti-inflammatory properties and reduce feelings of fatigue.
Studies indicate that a dosage of 250-350 milligrams once per day is a standardized amount, and this amount can support many of the ingredients featured in Alpha Brain to help fight tiredness under stress.
Onnit Flow Blend
After this, we noticed that they have three sections dedicated to Onnit’s varying blends. First up was Onnit Flow Blend, which includes several ingredients that include L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Oat (straw) Extract, and Phosphatidylserine.
Overall there are some good ingredients in this blend, but we have one issue that we’ll highlight in just a second.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that is commonly found in proteins such as chicken and egg whites. It’s used to produce noradrenaline and dopamine, which in turn reduces stress during occasions when stressors are high. This stops the depletion of noradrenaline and may help reduce stress-induced memory and attention deficits. This would typically be taken at around 500-1000 milligrams taken around 30-60 minutes before an acute stressor.
L-Theanine is typically found in green tea, alongside caffeine and green tea catechins, which can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. However, you won’t have to worry about losing your ‘edge’ and it is said to not cause drowsiness when taken. You often see L-Theanine paired with caffeine in pre-workouts because not every user wants to experience caffeine ‘jitters’ and a crash, especially when dealing with high doses of caffeine.
L-Theanine helps to nullify the negative effects associated with caffeine stimulation, helping to mitigate an out-of-body sensation that puts customers off. A typical dose would be around 100-200 milligrams per serving.
They have included Oat (straw) Extract, which is not something you normally see in a nootropic and is typically supplemented for its health benefits. This compound has been extracted from oats and is thought to provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that can help with digestion and absorption, especially of the ingredients found in Alpha Brain. The typical dose is around 800-1,600 milligrams served per day and is found to be most effective.
The final ingredient that comes with the Onit Flow Blend is Phosphatidylserine, an amino acid that is found in high amounts in the brain which contributes to cognitive functioning, often found in lots of fish sources. Research indicates that Phosphatidylserine can improve cognition, reduce cognitive decline and reduce cortisol levels with most evidence showing a reduction in exercise-induced cortisol levels.
A typical dose of Phosphatidylserine is roughly 300 milligrams per day, though this is usually spread between three doses of 100 milligrams.
We mentioned that we had one issue with this blend (in fact, all of the blends featured in Alpha Brain.) There is no disclosure of dosage labeled with each ingredient. We had no idea of the serving and wouldn’t be able to say whether the quantity was where we would expect it to be for each item.
Although it states that the Flow Blend is 650 milligrams, if we calculate this at the lowest daily serving we’d expect that would equal 1,700 milligrams. This is well under 2/3rds of what we would expect from a reasonable daily dose. This is a letdown as most consumers are becoming savvy to the ingredients found in nootropics and would want a full breakdown of the serving size per item.
The dosage might be so low per item that it might not even have an effect on some users, so consider this before making a purchase
Onnit Focus Blend
Let’s now take a look at the Focus Blend that also comes with Alpha Brain. The Focus Blend is designed to target optimal acetylcholine levels.
Acetylcholine is one of the body’s most important neurotransmitters, and it controls nerves, muscle cells, and is responsible for the control of hormonal glands.
One of the best ingredients featured in this blend is L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine or Alpha-GPC for short. This is a compound used for cognitive-promoting properties and overall cognition.
It’s also been shown to improve overall power output and increase growth hormone, making it a top ingredient for pre-workouts. A standard dosage of Alpha-GPC is 300-600 milligrams, but some studies use a dosage of 1,200 milligrams per day that is divided into three doses of 400 milligrams.
Next, they’ve included Bacopa, a herb that is used in traditional medicine for its cognitive benefits and longevity. It has been shown to help nerve signaling by promoting the growth of parts of the nerve cells that receive messages from other nerves.
It also helps with short-term memory and will help you recall information in a shorter time frame. This time they’ve actually included the dosage of Bacopa you get, and their dosage is 100 milligrams per serving.
Whilst we’re glad that Bacopa has been included because of its many benefits, the dosage is lower than we would like, where we typically see a dose of up to 300 milligrams. At 66% less than what is considered optimal, it’s not a great serving for the price you pay.
The final ingredient in the Focus Blend is Huperzia Serrata, commonly known as Huperzine-A. This inhibits an enzyme that degrades the learning neurotransmitter and has been shown to stop the breakdown of acetylcholine. The standard dose tends to be within the range of 50-200 micrograms. Something of note with Huperzine-A is that it may need to be cycled, which is worth considering if you plan to take Alpha Brain habitually.
This is because it can remain in the body for quite some time and a typical cycle is roughly 2-4 weeks, though further research is needed to determine the optimal cycle length.
Similar to the Onnit Flow Blend, all of the ingredients in the Focus Blend except Bacopa do not have a breakdown of their dosage so we can’t say for certain whether you are going to be getting an ideal serving size.
They’ve given 240 milligrams as the amount per serving, but because they’ve included some of the dosages of the ingredients found in the Focus Blend, we can’t help but surmise that some of the items are going to be lower serving sizes than are optimal.
Onnit Fuel Blend
The final Blend included in Alpha Brain is designed to maintain a healthy brain environment, which aims to further optimize neural communication, and features two ingredients; Pterostilbene, and L-Leucine.
L-Leucine is an amino acid most commonly known as the most important branched-chain amino acid that activates protein synthesis to help build muscle.
This is commonly found in many protein sources including whey protein shakes, beans, dairy, sesame seeds, eggs, oats, and lentils. Alpha Brain continues to feature more ingredients that would double up as a pre-workout, and the inclusion of Leucine is no different.
Pterostilbene is a derivative of resveratrol that is better absorbed, giving it the aptly titled ‘better resveratrol,’ albeit with less total research and studies.
You find this in blueberries, making this a great healthy addition to the Alpha Brain stack, and it’s designed to promote cellular integrity that helps to protect the brain and nerve cells.
Our Trial Run – Alpha Brain Real World Performance
After we took the time to review the ingredients, we wanted to test the nootropic. We decided to focus on how it would help with focus and fatigue so we tested it throughout a standard 8-hour workday, with a 60-minute break in the middle for 2 weeks.
We didn’t test it for a workout and we gave a 2 week washout period to avoid mixed results with other nootropics and made sure to take Alpha Brain with breakfast.
In our trial run, we didn’t notice any side effects, mainly because the nootropic is not overly loaded with a lot of ingredients at high doses.
Some nootropics can cause anxiety, nausea, stomach ache, and headaches, but we felt clean throughout the 8 hours.
Overall we could feel the effects of the nootropic and noticed better focus and motivation. We also felt more energized and could recall information quicker.
Something that we really liked was finding a strong focus when working after the 4-5 hour mark. We are aware that some of the brands in this price range can fade after this period but Alpha Brain kept a steady focus for 6 hours before it began to fade off.
We were happy to find that the flow state lasted longer than on other brands in the marketplace. We experienced 2-3 hours of good flow without feeling fatigued or losing focus.
We imagine that the recommended dose won’t be enough for those who are experienced with nootropics and would consider going for 2-3 capsules.
If we had to summarise Alpha Brain, we’d say that it is a great entry-level option ideal for those that are dipping their feet into the world of nootropics, and are looking to see if it is right for them.
Alpha Brain covers a wide range of goals and does more than just cover cognition and focus goals, which we assume is the number one reason you are reading this review.
It provides support with health-supporting ingredients such as Pterostilbene and Uncaria tomentosa and would be suitable for those looking for added support if their diet is lacking in certain nutrients.
It can also help support exercise performance, as it contains several key components such as L-Leucine, L-Theanine, and Alpha-GPC that can simultaneously improve focus, drive up protein synthesis and drive up power output.
If you do not currently take a pre-workout and are looking for an all-in-one solution, whilst it doesn’t contain all of the major components of an effective pre-workout it would be a good option if paired with a good cup of coffee.
With that being said, there are some drawbacks to Alpha Brain that are worth noting.
Although this could be considered a ‘hybrid nootropic’ as it also positively impacts the user’s health and can double as pre-workout, the problem with this is that it waters down the main role of the nootropic – brain function and cognitive performance, and we’d like to have seen more cognitive enhancing ingredients featured such as L-Dopa, Theobromine, and Taurine.
And if you’re not fussed with pre-workout properties or antioxidants because you already eat a healthy diet this might seem like a hiked-up price for add-ons that are unnecessary for you.
Because we are unaware of the dosage for a number of the ingredients, we’re unable to comment on whether it’s worth the money, and this will be a case of putting on your lab coat and testing for yourself.
Our final point is that you can simply buy these ingredients in singular form and then pick the ones that you feel will benefit you the most, and double up the quantity to reduce costs.
For example, you could purchase Alpha-GPC and Bacopa, buy these individually, and then take them at the recommended daily dose.
Because we don’t know how much Alpha-GPC is in Alpha Brain, you’ll know exactly what you are getting and because we know the dosage of Bacopa is typically 200 milligrams less than optimal, you can increase the dosage at no extra cost.
Alpha Brain is included in the Onnit Total Human daytime packs that we also reviewed. That would be the most cost effective way to add this nootropic to your diet while easily creating a full, daily supplement stack.
Alpah Brain Frequently Asked Questions
When Should You Take Alpha Brain?
Always check the packaging which will show you the directions of use and recommended daily dose.
We feel that it’s best taken in the morning when accompanied with breakfast, and have noted that some users have mentioned stomach issues when they have taken Alpha Brain on an empty stomach.
Is Alpha Brain Safe To Use?
As with any new supplement, we recommend that you consult with your doctor before starting a nootropic.
With that said, Alpha Brain is safe to use and the ingredients have all been researched and the BSCG (Banned Substances Control Group) has confirmed that it is ok to use.
How Long Do The Effects Last?
This will vary between individuals, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
If you’ve never taken a nootropic before, you could expect the effects to be more potent and last longer, however, if you’re used to nootropics you might find a reduced period.
Therefore as a ballpark figure, we expect Alpha Brains effects to last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.
Can Alpha Brain Help With Adult ADHD?
There is some evidence to show that the ingredients L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine can help reduce ADHD in adults, although further research is needed to confirm this.
If you want to experiment with this, we recommend a trial period of 2 weeks (like we did in our trial run) to confirm the efficacy for the individual.