A product of the company Natrol, Cognium is a brain supplement that seems to have upheld its popularity well since its launch. But does this popularity truly deserve merit, or is it all part of a hype? Let’s find out.
Natrol Cognium Review
On their website, the manufacturers claim that this product can keep the mind sharp and memory strong. It does so by acting as an antioxidant for the brain, shielding it from free radicals and oxidation that causes aging.
So, while this claim is very similar to others made by other nootropics, why did we decide to put Natrol Cognium under the radar? Simply, because to this day, Cognium remains a reasonably popular nootropic among users. Many people still look for it online and want to know more about its benefits.
But in contrast to other similar products on the market, Cognium is very different in its construction.
This naturally raised our curiosity, and so today, we present a detailed review of our findings and our recommendation regarding this product.
Natrol Cognium Ingredients
According to the Natrol website, Cognium contains the most studied ingredient for memory among leading brain health supplements. That is a tall claim considering that Cognium has only one active ingredient, namely silk protein hydrolysate.
Silk protein hydrolysate is sourced from the threads of the silkworm cocoons. Its benefits, as cited by Natrol’s website, include the ability to energize the brain by increasing blood flow and glucose uptake in the brain’s memory and learning centers.
Our issue with this claim is that silk protein hydrolysate is a highly under-researched ingredient and one that is not usually seen alongside other more well-known nootropics. In addition, many of the other better-known nootropics come with support backed by clinical studies and scientific research, both with human and animal models.
Cognium, on the other hand, seems to be seriously lacking in this area, and the few studies that have been mentioned as resources don’t seem to be credibly quoted. But more on that in a bit.
For now, let’s take a closer look at this single-ingredient formula.
Cognium’s active compound goes by the name of Cera-Q Powder, which is 60% silk protein hydrolysate. Since this is not something you would usually see in a list of well-acclaimed nootropics, we decided to dig a little deeper into the science behind this ingredient.
When we turned to our two favorite resources for research – PubMed and Examine, we came up empty-handed. No wonder that this result caused a few eyebrows to raise. After all, Cera-Q could show no reliable studies to back up its nootropic claims.
A few, more recent websites call it “a new protein ingredient derived from a silk fibroin that has long been consumed for its range of health benefits.”
This is all very well but doesn’t hold much weight as far as scientific evidence is concerned. Unless there are some solid studies to show what Cera-Q can do for the mind, we can’t be sold on this ingredient at all.
But not to give up so easily on Cera-Q, we continued with our search and came across a few Korean studies on the subject. Now, Cera-Q is borne out of Korean traditional medicine, and sadly enough, these studies were also only available in the Korean language, which did not help our cause in the least.
But continuing with our pursuit, we did manage to find one study in English, which said that supplementing 280 mg of this compound could improve memory in healthy adults in just three weeks.
So, essentially all this makes Cognium only as good as its sole ingredient, Cera-Q. And Cera-Q doesn’t have much to boast for its validity, so overall, this makes Cognium a rather inconclusively researched product.
Plus, it would only make sense to add in/stack a few more ingredients to one main ingredient so it could give users more ways to help improve their overall cognition. But the experts at Natrol don’t seem to agree with this approach and choose to rely solely on Cera-Q instead.
Besides the main ingredient, there are 10 additional ingredients listed on the label. Many, if not all, are used as fillers to either compensate for the volume of the tablet or to make the structure of the ingredients more favorable.
- Dicalcium Phosphate is typically used to dilute substances and stabilize them for easier swallowing.
- Microcrystalline Cellulose is a form of depolymerized cellulose used as a pharmaceutical excipient and is used for its filling and binding properties.
- Maltodextrin works as a coating agent. It’s also used to dilute substances and increase calorie levels in oral supplements and viscosity in other products.
- Glyceryl Monostearate is a common emulsifier.
- Croscarmellose Sodium is used as a super disintegrant in pharmaceutical formulations.
- Silicon Dioxide works as an anticaking agent.
- Stearic Acid is an emulsifier and emollient that prevents water loss.
- Magnesium Stearate works to lubricate tablets and prevents contents from sticking during processing.
- Methylcellulose is used as a thickener and emulsifier.
- Glycerin also prevents water loss.
Natrol Cognium Side Effects
Given the very little (or almost non-existent) information about Natrol Cognium, it’s hard to pinpoint any side effects. The only ones that can be reported are those from people who have used the product and who typically report experiencing headaches, nausea, occasional diarrhea, stomach discomfort, and some brain fog.
Until more research-based conclusive findings become available, the side effects from this supplement will largely remain a grey area.
So, to determine whether using Cognium tablets is safe or otherwise will have to wait until we know more about this product.
That said, we do not recommend experimenting with under-researched products in any circumstances.
Natrol Cognium Dosage
Cognium comes with a simple-to-follow dosage of two servings every day.
You take it once in the morning and once in the evening with a meal with results of supplying the body with nutrients for cognitive benefits.
One serving of Natrol Cognium yields 100 mg of Cera-Q, which, as you will see coming up, can be problematic in meeting the recommended dosage.
Our Opinion About the Formula
Now that we have presented the science, (however limited), behind this product, here is our take on Natrol Cognium.
One major issue with Cognium is the recommended dosage. The optimal dosage, as suggested by the previously mentioned study, was 280 mg of silk protein hydrolysate. However, Cognium contains Cera-Q, which has only 60% of this ingredient. As such, one serving of Cognium, which comes to 100 mg of Cera-Q in a single tablet would only deliver 60 mg of silk protein, which falls drastically short of the recommended dosage.
In other words, users would have to take at least 5 tablets of Cognium daily just to meet the daily recommended dosage!
This also means going well over what the manufacturers recommend as daily servings. So how does that work out?
The fact that there is such a massive variance between what is optimally recommended and what it actually takes to get to that number is a red flag in our opinion.
We would never recommend anyone to go so over and beyond with any supplement, no matter how well-researched it is. But in this situation, that doesn’t even apply as Cera-Q remains concerningly under-researched.
Another consideration is the research papers quoted. For us, like many others researching the efficacy of supplements, PubMed is the gold standard for all such research. If a paper/article isn’t cited there, it becomes hard to validate its authenticity.
In the case of Cera-Q, this critical link seems to be missing entirely. Instead, what you have are a few pieces published in Korean academic journals. The one study that was listed on PubMed was retracted due to author misconduct, which questions the validity of the product and the research backing it on a whole new level.
And last but not least, is the time frame that Cognium promises to deliver in. Manufacturers claim to get all the promised benefits from this supplement in just a matter of three weeks.
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.