Alpha Brain is probably the most recognized nootropic supplement on the market. Onnit, the brand that developed it, sold more than 1 million bottles from appr. 2015 – 2019.
With so many bottles sold, Alpha Brain surely must be a great nootropic supplement. But is it really?
Its formula hasn’t changed since its early days, and it may be showing its first signs of aging.
Let’s find out more.
Alpha Brain Review
Alpha Brain is a brain supplement that was developed to:
- Improve your memory
- Enhance your focus
- Improve mental speed
According to the explanation on their website, it acts like gear for your brain.
With 12 nootropics, it could very easily provide all the benefits. However, as you will soon see, Alpha Brain has one terrible secret.
And we are very worried about it!
Alpha Brain Ingredients
Alpha BRAIN’s formula is caffeine and gluten-free, and it contains 12 nootropic compounds.
Here is the Onnit Alpha Brain ingredients list:
- Oat straw extract
- Vitamin B6
- Cat’s Claw extract
- Bacopa Monnieri
The first overview of the formula looks all right, but nothing special. Alpha Brain contains a few well-known nootropics, a few under-researched compounds, and at least one risky nootropic!
However, by far the biggest issue is that all nootropics are combined into three different blends:
- Onnit Flow Blend
- Onnit Focus Blend
- Onnit Fuel Blend
This means that we do not know the exact amount of each nootropic in this stack, but just a total amount of combined nootropics per blend (with a few exceptions).
Proprietary blends are risky, and we tend to avoid them.
Anyhow, let’s look at the ingredients more in detail.
L-Tyrosine – Dosage Unknown
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that shows potential cognitive benefits when we are stressed out. Besides, it may improve our overall well-being and have positive benefits on our memory.
The optimal dosage is 500-1500 mg, so it is highly unlikely Alpha Brain contains a high-enough dosage.
L-Theanine – Dosage Unknown
L-Theanine is also an amino acid that can enhance our focus and attention. It has positive effects on sleep as well. It is especially effective if you combine it with caffeine.
Sadly, Alpha Brain contains no caffeine.
Oat Straw – Dosage Unknown
Oat Straw is an under-researched compound that has been traditionally used for mood-improvement and as an anti-inflammatory agent. While it may be a good brain enhancer, we lack studies to confirm it.
Vitamin B6 – Dosage Unknown
Vitamin B6 is one of the essential B-Vitamins that our body needs for healthy functioning.
Phosphatidylserine – Dosage Unknown
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid, crucial for our brain functioning. It is involved in brain signaling. Since it naturally decreases with our aging, supplementing may be beneficial.
The optimal dosage is around 300 mg/day, and it is highly unlikely Alpha Brain contains such a dosage.
Cat’s Claw – 350 mg
Cat’s Claw is one of the nootropics in this supplement that is not part of blends, so we know its exact amount. While it may be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory agent, we saw no studies that would confirm any other benefits of this Amazonian wine.
We have no idea why Onnit added it to their stack.
Alpha-GPC – Dosage Unknown
Alpha-GPC is a choline compound, important for increasing the levels of acetylcholine in our brains. Acetylcholine is our learning neurotransmitter that is involved in memory formation as well. Alpha-GPC is an excellent source of choline.
Since the standard dosage of Alpha-GPC is 300-600 mg, it is practically impossible that Alpha Brain contains enough of it.
Bacopa Monnieri – 100 mg
Another great nootropic, but completely underdosed in Alpha Brains’ formula – Bacopa Monnieri. This nootropic compound is one of the best memory boosters on the market. It is also effective for decreasing anxiety and depression.
Sadly, you need at 300 mg of Bacopa Monnieri extract that contains 50%+ of active bacosides to see the results. Alpha Brain is far from that.
Huperzine-A – 400 mcg
Huperzine-A is a special extract that works somehow similarly to choline compounds. However, instead of increasing the levels of acetylcholine, it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down this neurotransmitter. By doing this, it may improve our cognitive performance.
The standard dosage of Huperzine-A is 50-200 mcg, according to Examine. Since this compound needs to be cycled every 2-4 weeks, it is very risky to include such a high dosage in a supplement!
L-Leucine – Dosage Unknown
L-Leucine is part of BCAAs amino acids, most-known in the bodybuilding community. What does this compound to do our brain, though? Well, we have no idea, because we couldn’t find any research that would prove any other benefits of this amino acid. What a shame!
Vinpocetine – 5 mg
Vinpocetine is a nootropic that can increase blood flow, improve our memory, but sadly also reduce our reaction time. The standard dosage is 30-45 mg, so Alpha Brain falls short again.
Pterostilbene – Dosage Unknown
Pterostilbene is a great anti-oxidant, similar, but more potent to resveratrol. It is even better absorbed than resveratrol, but less researched.
The optimal dosage has not been established yet.
Our Opinion About The Formula
We tried Alpha Brain pills several times in the past years. Not only did we not feel the benefits, but we also experienced a few adverse effects.
We followed the instructions from Onnit before trying this nootropic supplement. Based on our initial product check, we expected a few potential benefits, such as improved focus and alertness.
It is difficult to say if we experienced that during our test – if we did, the effects were very mild, but it could as well be just a placebo effect.
On the other hand, we felt slightly slick when we took 2 capsules in the morning. The sickness returned a few times during our tests, so it was not coincidental.
We believe it happened because of Huperzine-A, but it could also be because of a combination of other nootropics.
Sadly, we don’t know the exact amount of all nootropic compounds in this stack, so it is hard for us to make any smart conclusions.
Based on our experience, we do not recommend supplementing Alpha Brain nootropic.
Alpha Brain Dosage
Onnit recommends taking 2 capsules of Alpha Brain per day. By taking two capsules, you overdose on Huperzine-A, and you probably get a too low amount of many other nootropics.
Therefore, it is hard to recommend an optimal daily dosage.
If you do decide to take this product, do not forget about cycling it. The optimal cycling period has not been found yet, but experts recommend taking it for 2-4 weeks and then staying at least 1 week off.
Alpha Brain Benefits
Can you expect any benefits from Alpha Brain?
Yes, some people report feeling more alert, being more focused, and having more energy. If you are a vegan or strict vegetarian, you have a higher chance of feeling the benefits. In our opinion, this happens because you probably have a lower amount of choline in your brain.
How long does Alpha Brain last?
If you experience any positive effects from Alpha Brain, you can expect them to last for a couple of hours.
Alpha Brain Side Effects
Is Alpha Brain considered safe?
No, we cannot rationally mark it as a 100% safe nootropic supplement. This doesn’t mean it is hazardous, but we lack very important data to say if it is safe or not.
We usually avoid products that have proprietary blends. Also, we generally avoid supplements that contain Huperzine-A.
The most common side effects of taking too much of Huperzine-A include:
- Brain fog
- Lack of focus and motivation
As you can see, the side effects are just the opposite of why you are taking this supplement. So be careful.
Where To Buy Alpha Brain?
If you want to buy Alpha Brain, you can do it on their official store or even on Amazon.
However, as we mentioned before, we currently do not recommend buying it. Here is our final recommendation.
Thomas Roy is a passionate researcher of nutraceuticals and food supplements. He has been testing, experimenting, and developing formulations since 2013. It is his goal to educate consumers about the quality of the supplements they are regularly taking. By developing practical tests for measuring the efficiency of nutraceuticals, he honestly believes this industry has a great potential to become a very transparent one.