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Last modified on October 9th, 2021
If you’re looking for a real Alpha Brain review, we finally put one together. The Alpha Brain supplement from Onnit is tremendously popular, particularly since Joe Rogan endorses it. With that being said, does it live up to the hype?
Specifically, in our Alpha Brain review, we’ll go over what this supplement is supposed to do, how it works, and the ingredients. We also researched some real customer reviews so you can find out whether or not it delivers.
What is Alpha Brain?
Onnit Alpha Brain thus far has sold more than a million bottles. Possible benefits of Alpha Brain include:
- Reduced brain fog
- Increased focus
- No crash
- Created with natural ingredients like bacopa and cat’s claw
- Alpha Brain is one of the original top-selling nootropics, having been introduced in 2011
- Supports memory
- Endorsed by Joe Rogan
So how does Alpha Brain theoretically achieve all of the above? Below we go into the research about each of the individual ingredients, so you can learn more about whether or not this product is right for you and also whether the science supports the claims above.
We should also note that as was touched on above, Alpha Brain is considered a nootropic. A nootropic is a supplement that supports functions of your brain, including your focus, mental speed and memory.
Specifically, Alpha Brain is designed to help support your natural production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that move information around in your brain, and also to make more alpha waves.
Alpha Brain can help create an optimal environment for your brain to function at its best basically. So, with that in mind, we continue with the rest of our Alpha Brain review.
What Are Alpha Brain Waves?
The Alpha Brain supplement is often associated with the term alpha brain waves, so having an understanding of what this actually means could be helpful if you’re reading this review to decide if you want to buy the product.
There’s constant electrical activity going on in your brain because your neurons are communicating with one another. There are five types of brain waves. They vary from moving very slowly to very fast.
Alpha waves are in the middle.
You typically produce alpha brain waves when you are awake, but you’re not focused on any particular task.
When you wake up in the morning, for example, you might be adjusting to getting up and starting to think about preparing for your day, but you aren’t trying to solve challenging problems or processing big chunks of information.
When you’re producing alpha waves, you tend to be fairly relaxed and calm.
Research has shown that when you do things like meditate, your brain responds with alpha waves.
When you’re producing alpha waves, you can feel more of a sense of well-being. You can also be more creative when you’re producing alpha waves.
There was a study in 2015 where researchers found that they could trigger a burst of creativity if they worked to specifically increase alpha waves.
There’s also research that shows if you have depression, you may have an imbalance of alpha waves. In a small study carried out in 2019, with a brain stimulation technique, researchers found alpha waves could be increased, which could reduce symptoms of depression in people with major depressive disorder.
Alpha Brain Ingredients
For our Onnit Alpha Brain review, we think it’s important to break down each individual ingredient and the science that supports its benefits. This also tends to be the best way to determine if there are any possible side effects.
Onnit Flow Blend
Each of the ingredients in this supplement, as you’ll figure out reading the rest of this Alpha Brain review, is grouped into categories. These are proprietary blends, which we talk more about the pros and cons of later in the Alpha brain review.
The Onnit Flow Blend is the first. The Onnit Flow Blend includes:
- L-theanine: This is an amino acid that triggers the release of the feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, which are serotonin and dopamine. These are hormones that help with relaxation by increasing alpha wave activity. L-theanine can also help improve reaction time and attention.
- L-tyrosine: This amino acid helps your body naturally produce dopamine and adrenaline. It has been shown to help with cognitive performance, particularly when you’re facing a stressful situation.
- Phosphatidylserine: This is a fat that’s in our cell membranes, and it also plays a valuable role in the function of our brain.
- Oat straw extract: Oat straw comes from a plant called Avena sativa. It may have a number of health benefits, including improved mood and brain function and reduced inflammation. It’s also high in zinc, manganese, and iron. Some people feel that it helps with stress and it may improve physical and sexual performance.
According to Onnit, the goal of the above ingredients is to promote a “flow state,” which would mean more alpha brain wave activity. When your alpha brain waves are high, research shows that you’re calmer, more focused, and more organized.
This formula also includes cat’s claw. Cat’s claw has a lot of purported benefits. For example, it may help improve the immune system, and it may help with rheumatoid arthritis.
It may also help promote general cellular health.
Onnit Focus Blend
The Onnit Focus Blend is the next set of ingredients we’re going to cover in our Onnit Alpha Brain review.
The Focus Blend includes something called Alpha-GPC. This is a precursor to acetylcholine, which is one of our most important neurotransmitters. Acetylcholine controls hormones, muscle cells, and nerves.
The Focus Blend has huperzia Serrata which can help reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine. Huperzia Serrata has been shown in some studies to improve memory and protect the nerve cells of the brain. It’s even used in Asia as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
The third ingredient in the Focus Blend is Bacopa Monnieri, which is also called Brahmi. This is one of the most interesting ingredients in the world of nootropics to us right now. Bacopa has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years to help with treating epilepsy, reducing anxiety and improving memory.
Research does show it may help with anxiety and stress, and it may also improve brain function.
Onnit Fuel Blend
The Onnit Fuel Blend, according to the maker of this supplement, is meant to help create a healthy and optimized brain environment and fuel neural communication.
One ingredient in the Fuel Blend is called pterostilbene. This is a derivative of resveratrol. Pterostilbene is the main antioxidant in blueberries, and it’s been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammation effects as well as benefits for vascular and neurological disease.
L-leucine is a branched chain amino acid or BCAA. Leucine is an amino acid used in protein synthesis. It also plays a role in many cellular functions and processes including metabolism and tissue regeneration.
Are There Any Alpha Brain Side Effects to Be Aware Of?
As part of this in-depth Alpha Brain review, we did significant research to figure out if we could find any side effects related to this nootropic supplement.
Overall, Alpha Brain is considered a safe nootropic, but you should talk to your doctor and go over all the ingredients and any medications you take first. This is true of any supplement.
Possible but rare side effects we found for Alpha Brain include
- Nausea and stomach upset
- Vivid dreams
- Anxiety or jitters
There is another potential Alpha Brain side effect to be aware of related to the ingredient Huperzine A.
Huperzine A is an inhibitor of something called acetylcholinesterase. This means that acetylcholine slowly builds up in your brain, and that can have positive effects like improved concentration and reaction times.
However, if you have too much acetylcholine in your brain, it can have opposite effects. For example, you could experience headaches, confusion, low mood, and a lack of motivation. If the acetylcholine keeps building up more in your brain, you may have more severe side effects like cognitive impairment, muscle cramps, and blurred vision.
The best way to avoid this type of side effect is to first use Alpha Brain only as instructed and second, not to exceed the maximum dosage.
The other way is to cycle your use of Alpha Brain. This is recommended with all types of supplements.
Essentially this means that you don’t take Alpha Brain every day, or you give yourself days off from taking it on a regular basis. This will not only help prevent side effects, but it can also keep the supplement working well.
One of the most compelling things about this supplement that wanted to make us do our own in-depth Alpha Brain review is the fact that randomized, double-blind controlled studies have been done looking at its effectiveness.
That’s rare to find with supplements. In one study, the use of Alpha Brain for six weeks significantly improved recent verbal memory in a group of adults compared to a control, for example. It also included executive functioning.
How Do You Take Alpha Brain?
You should take only two Alpha Brain capsules a day. Don’t exceed that. You should also talk to your doctor before using it. The instructions indicate that it’s best to take Alpha Brain with a light meal. We suspect this is pretty important because it can help reduce the risk of nausea or other stomach-related side effects that some people do experience.
What Do Customers Say In Their Alpha Brain Reviews?
As part of our own Alpha Brain review, we looked at a variety of sources to see what real customers and users have to say about Alpha Brain, its effectiveness, and any possible downsides.
First, as far as Reddit reviews, they’re not great. A lot of people writing an Alpha Brain review on Reddit said they got no noticeable difference from using it, including when they took a double dose. Several users said that even though they took it for a few weeks, it had no effect.
With that being said, there seems to be a difference, at least according to Alpha Brain reviews on Reddit, for people who take it for a few months versus a few weeks. People who take it long-term definitely said they get results.
Some users on Reddit reviews did experience side effects from taking Alpha Brain, such as anxiety and vivid dreams.
We also noticed something worth pointing among people on Reddit who leave an Alpha Brain review—they feel a little misled by Joe Rogan because many of them started using it due to his endorsement.
There are, of course, users on Reddit who say they get results in the shorter term from Alpha Brain. For example, some say it made them feel mentally sharper. According to some Alpha Brain reviews on Reddit, people also say it helps them process their thoughts a little easier.
There are Reddit users who stack Alpha Brain with other products, like lion’s mane and feel that gives them better results.
The Amazon Alpha Brain reviews were more favorable.
Of the nearly 9,000 current Alpha Brain reviews on Amazon, the average rating is 4.5 stars out of 5.
We should note that while many of the Alpha Brain reviews on Amazon said it was a helpful product, there was a fair amount of them who had symptoms including nausea and vomiting. Some people also said they had hot flashes when taking this product.
The highlights among the favorable Alpha Brain reviews were clearer thinking, more productivity and reduced brain fog.
Another downside of Alpha Brain is that it’s expensive at nearly $80 a bottle if you get 90 capsules.
Our Problem with Proprietary Blends
As part of our overall Alpha Brain review, we want to point something out.
All the ingredients in Alpha Brain are part of what’s called a proprietary blend, and there’s no clear indication as to how much of each product is in it.
While this does make taking a lot of supplements at one time more affordable, it tends to make them less effective. Usually, when there are proprietary blends in a product like Alpha Brain, there are very low doses of each individual ingredient.
While this could be fine for some people and there are thousands and thousands of users who say they get benefits, for other people, it might be better to take some of the individual ingredients at higher doses.
We provided more details about how you might be able to do this with the individual ingredients in Alpha Brain. We selected a few of what we think are the most critical ingredients in Alpha Brain to highlight as far as how proven they are and how well-researched each is.
If you were to take L-theanine on its own, benefits might include:
- Anxiety and stress relief—there is quite a bit of research showing that L-theanine can help reduce anxiety and stress without making you sleepy, including randomized controlled trials.
- Increased focus—Taking L-theanine for focus works especially well if you combine it with caffeine.
- Immunity—L-theanine may help improve the function of your immune system and reduce upper respiratory tract infections.
- Anti-cancer effects—When taking L-theanine with chemotherapy, the cancer treatment seems to work better.
- Blood pressure management—In one research study, in people who experienced high blood pressure during stressful situations, L-theanine helped reduce it.
We couldn’t find any reported side effects from taking L-theanine, and it’s thought to be a safe supplement, although you should ask your doctor before you take it.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid and dietary supplement. Benefits of taking an L-tyrosine supplement include:
- Dopamine—Tyrosine helps your body make dopamine which regulates your pleasure and reward centers.
- Thyroid hormones—L-tyrosine also plays a critical role in the regulation of your thyroid hormones.
- Mental performance—This amino acid may help improve mental performance, especially when you’re in a stressful situation.
- Depression—There’s mixed evidence on whether or not tyrosine could help symptoms of depression, but some research has found it might, likely because it can increase the production of neurotransmitters.
Alpha-GPC is probably one of the more powerful ingredients in Alpha Brain. It’s often used to improve athletic performance as well as mental performance. There have been both human and animal studies done for decades that have shown Alpha-GPC can improve memory also.
Bacopa, which is also called Brahmi, is one of the most promising nootropics right now, in our opinion. It’s a great addition to the lineup of Alpha Brain ingredients.
- Antioxidants—Brahmi has very powerful antioxidants that can protect your body from free radical damage. In one study in rats with dementia, a Bacopa supplement reduced free radical damage and also signs of memory impairment.
- Reduced inflammation—Bacopa can suppress the release of cytokines, which stimulate an inflammatory immune response.
- Brain function—The reason Bacopa is included in Alpha Brain is likely because it may help with brain function. In an animal study it improved the ability to retain information and spatial learning. The same study also showed increased dendritic length, which is related to memory and learning. In a human study, taking 300 mg of Bacopa a day improved the processing rate of information, learning rate and memory.
- ADHD symptoms—Bacopa has been shown in some research to help with symptoms of ADHD like impulsivity and restlessness.
- Anxiety and stress—Bacopa is an adaptogenic herb, which means it can help improve how your body deals with stress. A study in animals showed Bacopa had anti-anxiety effects that were similar to lorazepam, which is a prescription benzodiazepine.
- Blood pressure—Bacopa may help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. For example, in an animal study, it helped reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressure because it releases nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
Alpha Brain Review—Final Thoughts (Do We Recommend It?)
In this Alpha Brain review, we’ve given you a lot of information, so we wanted to sum it all up and provide our recommendation as to whether or not it might be worth trying.
- Alpha Brain has great ingredients that have been proven to help with mental health, focus, and concentration, as well as having other benefits.
- The Onnit Alpha Brain reviews are mixed. Some people think it’s a great supplement, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
- For the people Onnit Alpha Brain doesn’t seem to work for, it might be better to explore taking some of the ingredients individually.
- Some of the most proven ingredients in Alpha Brain include L-theanine, L-tyrosine, Alpha-GNC, and Bacopa.
- While there isn’t evidence of major side effects related to Alpha Brain, some users report things like nausea, vomiting, vivid dreams and headaches.
Our takeaway? Based on our Alpha Brain review, we’d say it has the potential to be a good supplement for some people to reduce anxiety and stress and improve thinking and concentration. It may not work for everyone, and some people might benefit from getting higher doses of some of the ingredients. This is a common downfall of a supplement with proprietary blends rather than single ingredients.
While Joe Rogan often touts Alpha Brain, we think some people will find it’s very helpful and other people won’t. It may just come down to getting the okay from your doctor and then trying it for yourself.