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Onnit’s Alpha Brain is one of the best-renowned nootropic-based supplements available in the market. While many reviews attest that it does deliver its promised benefits, others feel otherwise, experiencing side effects now and then. But is Alpha Brain safe and good for your health?

Is Alpha Brain Safe?

Yes, Alpha Brain is safe to take.

One study showed less than 9% of users experience any side effects at all. And the potential side effects are minor (listed below).

What Is Alpha Brain And What Does It Do?

Alpha Brain is the brainchild of the Fear Factor host, UFC commentator, and Onnit co-founder/spokesperson Joe Rogan in 2010. Alpha Brain was designed as a nootropic-based dietary supplement to sharpen brain function, improve memory, cognitive processes, enhance concentration, and help with the flow state — all without using caffeine or other stimulants. 

Overall, it promises to help you achieve maximum productivity by “getting you in the zone” without the jitters and the crashes. 

Alpha Brain Range

Alpha Brain Range
Alpha Brain Range

Onnit’s Alpha BRAIN® is available in four forms —  the original Alpha BRAIN (capsules), Alpha Brain Black Label (extra strength), Alpha Brain Focus Shot, and Alpha BRAIN Instant, a drink mix powder made from the same formula used for the capsules. It was designed for those who want an alternative to swallowing capsules, and unlike most powdered supplements, it dissolves easily into water or any other beverage of your choice.

Alpha BRAIN® Instant serves as a convenient alternative for those who don’t like swallowing capsules or the bulk of carrying a pill bottle in their bag. It comes in portable packets that don’t take up a lot of space and lets you whip up a beverage anywhere. 

onnit trial

Alpha Brain Instant Blends

Alpha Brain Instant has three different blends, each with a specific target performance. 

  • Onnit Flow Blend – This Alpha Brain blend promotes wave production by providing amino acids and other plant compounds that promote optimal brain cell function.
  • Onnit Focus Blend – The Focus blend helps attain optimal levels of acetylcholine, the body’s principal neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls muscle cells, nerves, and hormonal glands. 
  • Onnit Fuel Blend – This blend promotes optimal nervous system communication and helps protect nerve cells, synthesize proteins, and promote overall cellular integrity.

Each Alpha Brain blend contains its own set of ingredients appropriate for its target effect, though all of them have these two common ingredients: 

  • Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 helps create neurotransmitters, which are important chemical messengers in the brain and help regulate energy use. Many studies show that having low levels of vitamin B6, especially among the elderly, can result in cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.
  • Cat’s claw extract – A woody vine endemic in the Amazon rainforest and Latin America whose extract has been shown to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF), fight inflammation and free radical damage, relieve depression and anxiety and improve cognition and mental focus.

Side Effects

Alpha Brain Instant is safe enough to drink since the ingredients are clinically tested to be safe and free from harmful substances. But that’s not to say they won’t cause some minor bumps along the way, though it’s not always the case.

While nootropics have promising health benefits, they tend to cause some side effects among certain people, especially those new to taking them, such as: 

  • Headaches – Some reviews report experiencing minor headaches after taking Alpha Brain. However, the likely culprit could be dehydration, not the supplement itself, as some users need to remember to drink water when they are too focused on their tasks. Drinking supplements without water could also irritate the throat and prevent a medication/supplement from functioning properly. Drinking water helps absorb important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from food, increasing chances of staying healthy.
  • Nausea – Taking Alpha Brain may cause nausea, especially on an empty stomach, so taking the capsule with a light meal is recommended. According to customer reviews on the website, people new to taking nootropic supplements tend to experience this but should be no cause for alarm or panic, as these symptoms are only temporary and will likely subside as you start to adjust to the supplement.
  • Jaw pain – Jaw pain can be a side effect of Alpha Brain. Some users report experiencing this side effect together with their headaches which could result from being in the zone and tightening your jaw as you focus on a project for hours. However, most online reviews report that the pain is not intense and lasts only a short time.
  • Jitters – While Alpha Brain is caffeine-free, you may still feel slightly jittery and anxious for the first 15-20 minutes after taking the supplement. These symptoms could be due to an elevated mood caused by the supplement, but it doesn’t normally linger for hours.
  • Insomnia – Since Onnit Alpha Brain contains nootropics, stimulants that promote wakefulness and intense concentration. Taking it late in the afternoon or at night will only cause disrupted sleep quality and even sleeplessness. It’s best to take Alpha Brain in the morning or upon waking up to experience optimal results and performance unless you’re staying up late or pulling an all-nighter.
  • Body odor – Although a rarer incidence, some reviews report that they’ve noticed a slight change in body odor after taking Alpha Brain, even reporting stronger odors. While a fairly harmless side effect, it’s handy keeping your deodorant with you, especially if you’re going out, just in case.
  • Minor vision problems – While nootropics claim to improve eyesight, some Alpha Brain users reported otherwise, experiencing vision problems like blurring. Like body odor, it’s also one of the rarer symptoms. 
  • Lucid dreams & nightmares – A rare but strange reported side effect of Alpha Brain is the occurrence of vivid dreams and nightmares. One Reddit user claimed to experience disturbing lucid nightmares after a week of using the supplement, which could be attributed to Huperzine A, a reversible cholinesterase inhibitor known for causing such side effects.

Possible Interactions

Suppose you take Alpha Brain simultaneously with other supplements, medications, or things like energy drinks. In that case, you have a higher chance of experiencing certain side effects, so taking them some hours before or after drinking the supplement is important to prevent interactions.

If you are pregnant, nursing, have or suspect a medical condition, or are taking any medications, it’s important to consult a medical doctor first before taking this product to rule out possible health problems in the long run.

Is Alpha Brain Safe?

With its side effects considered, newbies might be taken aback by Alpha Brain, but is it really safe to take? – Yes.

Alpha Brain is still one of the safest beginner nootropics available. In one trial done on the brand, only 9% of the participants experienced any side effects, and none were found severe, concluding that the product is well-tolerated by most users and that side effects are only fairly temporary. As of date, no serious health problems have been reported.

Serving Instructions

Adults should take it as a dietary supplement, take one serving mixed with 8 ounces of cold water or mix it with a beverage of your choice, while the capsule form should be taken with a glass of water. Both should be taken at least with a light meal to avoid headaches or nausea.

Don’t take more than the recommended amount to avoid any allergic reactions. Store the packets properly in a cool, dry place to keep the ingredients effective and keep them out of reach of children.


Taking a nootropic-based supplement like Alpha Brain Instant can be a great way to be at the top of your game by sharpening the mind, improving memory, and keeping you focused on your grind without using caffeine or other stimulants. Not only that, it helps you build muscle mass and relieves stress

But don’t forget to take the supplement as recommended and follow precautions to avoid side effects and possible interactions. Also, this supplement is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease and shouldn’t replace a healthy diet or standard health care. 

When in doubt, consult your dietitian or physician if you’re experiencing continuous side effects. You can also discuss the possible health benefits and risks of drinking nootropic supplements.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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