A nutraceutical that also passes off as a dietary supplement, Alpha Brain from Onnit is a nootropic that supports cognition, memory, and focus on multiple levels.
If you’re familiar with the brand, you may know it to be endorsed by Joe Rogan. He is a business partner with founder and creator Aubrey Marcus. Rogan has used his celebrity status to expand the brand significantly.
So, is Alpha Brain only successful because it is celebrity endorsed, or do we actually have a clever nootropic behind the hype? Let’s find out with this in-depth Alpha Brain review.
What is Alpha Brain?
Manufactured by Onnit, Alpha Brain is advertised as an “Earth Grown” nootropic supplement stack that supports memory and attention.
At its core, Alpha Brain is a supplement with compounds that improve focus by delivering vital nutrients and oxygen to the brain.
The brand also has a liquid version of their popular nootropic going by the name of Alpha Brain Instant.
Alpha Brain Instant is sold as a powder drink that is easy to dissolve and may be preferred by individuals who distaste swallowing capsules.
That said, there really isn’t much of a difference in the taste of Alpha Brain and Alpha Brain Instant because both essentially share the same formula and deliver similar effects.
To check and validate the effectiveness of this nootropic, let’s go through this detailed Alpha Brain review.
Ingredients of Alpha Brain
Alpha Brain contains 11 active ingredients in its brilliant stimulant-free formula. This stack carries a mixed bunch of ingredients, with many having promising research to back their claims and others not so much.
The brand divides its ingredients into three blends that aim to address various phases of cognitive functioning.
So, to see what works in Onnit Alpha Brain and what may be dead weight, let’s take a closer look at its ingredient profile.
Onnit Flow Blend
One of the brand’s proprietary blends, Flow Blend, contains three very potent nootropics. It’s designed to target the brain’s production of alpha waves which can help you feel calm and relaxed.
Benefits of alpha wave generation include improved mental coordination, alertness, concentration, and a mind-body connection.
All three ingredients also boost neurotransmitter production.
Alpha Brain provides 650 mg of high-potency Onnit Flow Blend.
L-tyrosine is a nootropic staple for promoting focus and alertness, but these effects are enhanced when a person is in a stressful situation (1).
Stress can wreak havoc on neurotransmitter performance, whether from sleep deprivation, cold temperatures, or even multi-tasking. In this scenario, L-tyrosine restores neurotransmitter reserves to prevent the adverse effects of depletion.
It presents the effect of boosting working memory as tasks become more demanding. Some even equate this to enhancing energy and motivation where the mind challenges itself to perform better than when relaxed.
Its benefits can even extend to sleep deprivation, which can adversely affect your reaction time for skill performance. Studies done on this topic show that participants using supplementation showed the positive effects of improved vigilance and energy.
Commonly found in nootropic stacks, L-theanine is a compound present in green tea leaves. It is a potent brain supplement capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier and yielding its effects there (2).
Its most notable mechanism is creating alpha brain waves that help you with creativity and possibly treat depression.
It ranks among the top nootropics that create a highly effective synergistic effect on the mind. When used with caffeine, it reduces the effects of the stimulant while promoting its relaxing properties.
L-theanine also promotes dopamine and serotonin for better attention and mental clarity.
It remains one of the most well-researched nootropics for its health benefits, and its inclusion in Alpha Brain only goes to substantiate the supplement’s quality and potency.
The third compound in this blend is phosphatidylserine. This is an essential phospholipid that can protect brain cells, boost brain energy, and promote cellular integrity by crossing the blood-brain barrier.
It is often used to slow down age-related memory loss.
Phosphatidylserine also plays a role in improving dopamine release that helps keep memory sharp. It can also lower cortisol for better stress management.
When available in optimal quantities, it can present improved thinking skills, language skills, and concentration.
Oat Straw Extract
To further promote relaxation and calm, Alpha Brain uses oat straw extract. Considered a nervine herb, it promises to reduce anxiety while maintaining focus.
Oat straw extract also promotes cerebral blood flow by managing nitric oxide levels. This helps lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also helps boost focus and cognitive function soon after supplementation.
Oat straw also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It is rich in many antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, promoting heart health.
When used alone, oat straw is sold as powder and tincture but is also available in pill form.
Onnit Focus Blend
This combination of ingredients caters to producing and maintaining acetylcholine in the brain.
These nootropic ingredients include Alpha GPC, Bacopa Monnieri Extract, and Huperzine A.
A single serving of Alpha Brain yields 240 mg of Onnit Focus Blend.
Alpha GPC and citicoline are the two primary choline sources commonly used in nootropic supplements.
Choline delivery to the brain eventually converts it into acetylcholine, the primary neurotransmitter involved in various aspects of mental performance.
Alpha GPC is an acetylcholine precursor that makes it one of the formula’s most potent ingredients for executive function. This includes a multi-faceted improvement in memory, focus, mood, and concentration, among others (3).
It may also help fight fatigue while increasing stamina. This feature ties in with alpha GPC’s ability to improve athletic performance, making it a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements. Performance-wise, this is essentially where the body meets the mind.
Other than that, Alpha GPC also helps produce new brain cells, repair old ones, and make users feel more alert.
One of the most popular ingredients for cognitive function, bacopa monnieri, is also integral to boosting the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
It also provides antioxidant support to fight free radical damage and enhance neural signaling in the brain.
Bacopa Monnieri extract contains bacosides that can readily cross the blood-brain barrier, making them more in the brain. This makes bacopa one of the most effective nootropics for addressing cognitive decline and other brain-related issues (4).
Given these effects, bacopa has been used widely for treating conditions like anxiety and depression, Alzheimer’s, and possibly Parkinson’s disease.
Like other anxiolytic nootropics, bacopa also supports the nervous system, and regular consumption can promote a sense of calm and wellbeing.
Huperzia Serrata Extract
Sourced from the huperzia Serrata plant, huperzine A is an effective neurotransmitter for working memory, processing speed, and recall.
Huperzine A is also a powerful antioxidant that plays an active role in preserving mitochondrial health, keeping the brain functioning at its optimal.
While huperzine A doesn’t boost acetylcholine directly, it does inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine. This preventive mechanism allows adequate acetylcholine to stay in the brain, assisting cognitive function there.
Onnit Fuel Blend
The final blend in the Onnit formula contains nootropics that maintain a healthy brain environment. The goal here is to generate optimal nervous system communication.
Manufacturers use this proprietary blend to allow the brain to operate on all cylinders to keep things running well for an extended amount of time. This advocates lasting mental clarity.
Alpha Brain supplies 60 mg of Onni Fuel Blend (Pterostilbene, and L-Leucine) per serving.
A potent antioxidant, pterostilbene, crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it can help with various aspects of brain functioning.
For instance, animal studies show that it can potentially reduce anxiety and improve the state of mind. It may also help boost dopamine and improve working memory and cognition (5).
Another aspect is its anti-inflammatory potential which studies show to reduce oxidative stress caused by inflammation. Some evidence suggests that it may prevent Alzheimer’s disease by protecting the brain from beta-amyloid.
To optimize cognitive function, pterostilbene increases the proteins BDNF, MAPK, and cAMP that help neural growth and multiplication.
The other ingredient in Onnit Fuel Blend is L-leucine. This is an essential amino acid that purports to play a part in muscle protein synthesis and is quite popular among workout enthusiasts and bodybuilders.
However, evidence regarding its effectiveness for athletic performance is contradictory.
Like many other ingredients included in Onnit Alpha Brain, L-leucine can also cross the blood-brain barrier for improved bioavailability (6).
But despite the various claims for L-leucine’s cognitive benefits, solid clinical research is generally lacking. This makes us wary of its inclusion on Alpha Brain.
Cat’s Claw Extract
Cat’s claw extract has a nootropic presence, given its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This neuroprotective effect lets it boost brain health and functions in a lot of capacities.
It can also cater to brain health by repairing DNA and improving different performance areas.
As a nootropic, cat’s claw is also used by the biohacking community to calm an overactive mind. It has been seen to calm racing thoughts which can also improve the experience of sleep.
Cat’s claw can also boost acetylcholine in the brain and improve cerebral circulation.
Our Alpha Brain review confirms that a single serving provides 350 mg of Cat’s Claw Extract.
Vitamin B6 is an often-found nootropic in brain supplements. It is considered a nootropic supplement, given its role in neurotransmitter synthesis.
B6 helps synthesize dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, melatonin, and GABA. It can also improve blood vessel health and regulate homocysteine in the blood.
Alpha Brains grants 10 mg of Vitamin B6 in every dose.
What Are The Benefits of Alpha Brain?
Working as a comprehensive nootropic, taking Alpha Brain promises to deliver a host of cognitive improvements in the areas of memory, focus, mental processing, and productivity.
Improves and Supports Memory
Memory support is one of the main benefits of Alpha Brain. Successful biohacking requires nootropic supplements to adequately promote brain function by protecting memory, eliminating brain fog, and sustaining cognitive energy, and Alpha Brain delivers on all levels.
Its Bacopa content is an oxidant nootropic that supports mental clarity, retention, problem-solving, processing speed, and overall cognitive performance.
The phosphatidylserine in Alpha Brain can improve both short and long-term memory and is safe to dose every day.
Many people use Alpha Brain supplements to focus better on complex tasks. This is in sync with the brand’s claims that Alpha Brain can promote a flow state, the feeling of being completely immersed in a task.
Many of its ingredients have focus-boosting effects by promoting acetylcholine levels in the brain.
Alpha GPC, bacopa, and huperzine are all nootropics that fall into this category.
Enhances Mental and Thought Processing
The l-theanine in Alpha Brain is another supplement that increases alpha brain waves linked to creativity. This facilitates and benefits mental processing.
It is also known to have beneficial effects for relaxation and anxiety reduction, which can balance mood and promote attention processing.
Helps You To Think Clearly Under Stress
When you take Alpha Brain, its l-tyrosine component gets to work by exerting strong nootropic effects on mood management. The same goes for improving memory and cognition when the brain encounters stressful situations.
This is particularly helpful in stressful situations when the need to think is crucial. It also helps with cognitive flexibility allowing you to switch quickly between thinking about different concepts simultaneously.
Does Alpha Brain Really Work?
Onnit claims that using Alpha Brain promotes the ‘flow state’ or the point where you are so immersed in something that you are in an entirely non-distracted state of consciousness.
In other words, it achieves an optimal level of consciousness where you are able to tune out background noise and other distractions and give complete focus to the task on hand.
If you look closely at the nootropics in Alpha Brain, it’s easy to see that many of them do indeed enhance focus and concentration. There’s the mechanism of improving alpha wave frequency and creating more neurotransmitters.
This means that the brain can operate at an optimal level to excel at what you do.
Mind you; this is not the same as experiencing a caffeine rush that raises heart rate and blood pressure and can cause nervousness and jitters.
On the contrary, taking Alpha Brain yields a poised energy flow that clears the mind and enables you to declutter thoughts by improving focus.
To review how well Alpha Brain works, one efficacy study recruited healthy adults. It showed that taking Alpha Brain had a significant improvement on tasks of verbal processing and executive functioning (7).
How Long Does Alpha Brain Take To Work?
Alpha Brain capsules take more time to yield results than the powder form. This is because it takes more time for the body to break down the vegetarian capsules before absorption can start.
Many user reviews show that it typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour for Alpha Brain to produce any effects.
Alpha Brain Instant, however, is much better at delivering a quick hit or if swallowing capsules is not your cup of tea.
How long do the effects last?
Alpha Brain delivers its effects reasonably quickly when compared to other similar products.
Taking Alpha Brain produces results that have been reported to last for more than 6-8 hours.
Is Alpha Brain a stimulant?
Alpha Brain is a stimulant-free dietary supplement.
There is neither caffeine nor any other stimulant substance in its nootropic formula, which means that you get a smooth and steady energy flow like the flow state the brand advertises.
How Should I Take Alpha Brain?
Alpha Brain comes in two different bottle sizes with either 30 or 90 capsules.
Recommended for daily consumption, you can take two Alpha Brain capsules, preferably with a light meal.
This will make one 30-capsule bottle last for 15 days and the 90-capsule one for 45 days.
Manufacturers at Onnit advise that you should consult a medical doctor before you start to take Alpha Brain or any other supplementation, especially when expecting, nursing, or if you suspect a medical condition.
Does Alpha Brain Have Side Effects?
Our Alpha Brain review indicates that Alpha Brain is safe for the most part when taken as recommended. Since many of the ingredients are scientifically-backed, findings show them to be safe for use.
Also, being stimulant-free, Alpha Brain reviews generally show it to be safe for daily use.
However, as there are proprietary blends involved, there is a fair degree of uncertainty regarding individual doses for the included nootropics.
For instance, phosphatidylserine can have a blood-thinning effect, so it should not be used by people on blood thinners or those with blood-clotting issues.
The huperzia Serrata extract should not be taken alongside an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor drug as both work by the exact mechanism. This can have the side effect of excess acetylcholine accumulation in the system.
To avoid such adverse effects, serious supplements always offer complete transparency regarding their ingredient dose.
In the case of Alpha Brain, the most common side effects reported include stomach distress, nausea, headaches, and lucid dreaming. Some people also report experiencing anxiety and insomnia.
Just remember that Alpha Brain has been classified as a dietary supplement that does not intend to treat, cure, or prevent any illness.
Alpha Brain Limitations
Many nootropic brands use proprietary blends, which only makes their effectiveness questionable. Unfortunately, Onnit follows suit by hiding some of its nootropics in the same way.
Alpha Brain places some very effective nootropics as part of its proprietary blends where it only mentions the total dose of the mixture and not its individual ingredients.
Another point of concern is the inclusion of some ingredients that have only been used in animal studies which makes it hard to determine their effects on human subjects.
Our Alpha Brain review also indicates that the price is high and may not fit everyone’s budget.
Where to buy Alpha Brain Supplement?
Alpha Brain is available for purchase through the brand’s official website.
One bottle containing 90 Alpha Brain capsules sells for S79.95 from the official Onnit website.
That is a premium price tag likely unsuitable for everyone. However, you can avail of some discounts for better value when you subscribe and order a continuous supply.
The company offers free global shipping on orders exceeding $150 and provides a money-back guarantee for all products purchased via the website.
Alpha Brain contains high-efficacy ingredients to potentiate the effects of cognitive efficiency, focus, and memory to keep you targeted and productive throughout the day.
Even though it seems to yield a subtler outcome compared to other heavyweights of the nootropic industry, it remains among the more quality-conscious nootropics available in the market.
Individuals who are already taking more powerful supplements may find this formula too weak to deliver any noticeable outcome. But since Alpha Brain has managed to stay relevant among the biohacking community for so long, they are doing something right.
However, if you plan to experience a more distinct cognitive outcome, then there are other promising nootropics to investigate.