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Alpha Brain Review: Is It Safe & Effective?

By Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Medically Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD

Last Updated on June 2, 2022

Dietitian Rating:

3.3

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:3.0
  • Ingredient Safety:3.0
  • Value for the Price:3.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Alpha Brain is a dietary supplement claimed to improve memory and cognitive function. While some of its ingredients have health benefits, there is limited research on its overall long-term effectiveness.

Written by
Melissa Mitri, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist, weight loss specialist, and expert health writer with over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. Melissa has worked in a variety of healthcare settings helping clients improve their diet through an individualized approach.
Medically Reviewed by
Anthony Dugarte, MD
Medical Reviewer
Anthony Dugarte, M.D., C.S.C.S. is a health and wellness writer and medical content reviewer. In addition to dedicating the last 7 years to medical research, Dr. Dugarte also has more than a decade of experience in strength and conditioning, nutrition, and rehabilitative exercise, as well as authoring and reviewing health and wellness-related content.

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Alpha Brain Review: Is It Safe & Effective?
Photo Credit: Onnit

Pros

  • Some ingredients have health benefits
  • Allergen-friendly
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • Good price

Cons

  • Limited research on long-term effectiveness
  • Potential for mild side effects
  • No third-party testing

What Is Alpha Brain?

Alpha Brain from Onnit is a dietary supplement intended to improve memory, mental speed, and focus.

It is considered a nootropic, which is a supplement that claims to support certain brain functions.

Alpha Brain is free of caffeine, dairy, and gluten. It is also keto-friendly.

Alpha Brain is a popular supplement promoted by celebrities, including Joe Rogan. The claims are that it helps you stay in the “zone” flow state longer to enhance concentration and productivity.

It does this, in theory, by helping you produce more alpha waves to enhance your focus and creativity.

Alpha waves are a type of brain wave that can help you feel more calm, focused, and present.

Alpha Brain is available in pill form or as Alpha Brain Instant, which is in powder form. For those who don’t like to swallow pills, the powder form may be a better option.

This Alpha Brain review discusses the evidence behind the ingredients, safety, and how it compares to other popular alternatives to help you decide if it's the right option for you.

Does Alpha Brain Work? Evaluation of Ingredients

Alpha Brain contains four main ingredient blends – Onnit Flow Blend, Cat’s Claw, Focus Blend, and Fuel Blend.

1. Flow Blend, 650 mg

The Flow Blend is intended to promote alpha wave production in the body, improving concentration and focus.

The ingredients are as follows:

L-tyrosine

L-tyrosine is an amino acid that may improve cognition. The research has shown mixed results.

For example, a research review showed improved cognitive performance when under short-term stressful situations, while others have shown no effect. (1)

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is a type of fat that may help our nerves communicate with each other. Some research shows it may potentially improve memory, but only in the short term. (2)

Oat Straw Extract

Oat straw extract is an extract from a plant. It may improve attention span in older adults, according to a 2011 study. However, the dose was much higher than what is in Alpha Brain. (3)

Summary

Based on the available research on these three ingredients in Alpha Brain, the dose of the ingredients may not be enough to be effective. More clear research is also needed to demonstrate the long-term benefits.

2. Cat’s Claw, 350 mg

Cat’s Claw is an extract from the bark of a rainforest vine. There are no clear-cut studies that show any benefits from taking it. (4)

3. Focus Blend, 240 mg

This blend present in Alpha Brain contains two ingredients claimed to help with focus.

Huperzia Serrata

Huperzia Serrata is a form of moss native to Asia.

According to a systematic research review, Huperzia Serrata may play a role in improving measures of cognitive function and daily living activity.

However, it is unclear what doses were given to produce these benefits and if the amount present in this focus blend would be enough.

This ingredient was also only studied in those with Alzheimer’s, which may not translate to all populations. (5)

Bacopa

Bacopa is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. One small 2016 study showed improved measures of memory and cognitive ability after taking 150 mg of bacopa daily for six weeks.

This dose is similar to what is present in this focus blend. (6)

Summary

More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of this blend used in Alpha brain for the general population, specifically in those who don’t have a neurological condition such as Alzheimer’s.

4. Fuel Blend, 60 mg

L-leucine: An amino acid similar to resveratrol, the antioxidant present in red wine. It is claimed to protect the brain and nerve cells.

However, most of the research on it is related to its potential role in building muscle and weight loss.

Alpha Brain Clinical Study

There was one clinical study in 2015 done directly on Alpha Brain, where improved memory was seen after six weeks. (7)

The participants specifically were seen to have an improved ability to recall recent information and practice higher-level thinking.

However, the randomized study was small (only 63 people) and was sponsored by the manufacturer. This could lead to bias in the study design and in how the results are interpreted.

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

Below is our summary of the available evidence for the claimed benefits of Alpha Brain based on the available research:

Improved memoryModerate Evidence
Enhanced mental speedModerate Evidence
Improved focusModerate Evidence

Alpha Brain Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

The instructions for taking the Alpha Brain pill are two pills daily, preferably with a light meal.

For the Alpha Brain Instant powder, the dose is one packet mixed with 8 ounces of cold water. It is also preferable to be taken with a light meal.

There have not been reports of any severe side effects from this product. However, a few milder side effects were seen.

In a 2013 study, huperzia serrata was shown to cause gastrointestinal side effects in mice, such as vomiting, indigestion, and diarrhea. (8)

Additionally, a 2009 randomized trial showed similar side effects in those taking bacopa, primarily increased stool frequency, abdominal cramping, and nausea. (9)

These are potential side effects in general in those new to taking nootropics. Always speak to your medical provider before starting any supplement to determine what is best for you.

Cost and Where to Buy

Alpha Brain can be ordered directly from the company’s website (Onnit.com) for the following prices:

  • 1 Bottle: $34.95 for 30 capsules, $79.95 for 90 capsules
  • 2-Bottle Package: $26.22 for 30 capsules, $59.97 for 90 capsules
  • 3-Bottle Package: $24.47 for 30 capsules, $55.97 for 90 capsules

The 2 and 3-bottle package comes with the Facts of Life E-Book by Joe Rogan.

The following chart breakdowns the cost per serving based on the quantity you purchase at once:

1 Bottle 2 Bottle Bundle 3 Bottle Bundle
30 Count $2.33/serving $1.75/serving $1.63/serving
90 Count $1.78/serving $1.33/serving $1.24/serving

As you can see, the per serving cost ranges from $1.24 to $2.33 depending on the quantity you purchase at once. $1.24 per serving is lower than some of Alpha Brain's competitors.

Alpha Brain is also sold on Amazon for the same price (with the option to subscribe and save.)

However, we recommend purchasing this supplement directly from Onnit’s website to get the 90-day money-back guarantee and other offers.

Shop Alpha Brain

Comparison to Alternatives

Alpha Brain is a nootropic that has a few differences from others on the market.

From a cost perspective, it is more reasonably priced. Other nootropics, like Prevagen, can cost up to $90 a month.

Alpha Brain is similar in price to products like Neuriva but contains more ingredients.

Alpha Brain is also one of few nootropics that don’t contain caffeine. While caffeine is a well-known nootropic, this is a good thing for someone who may be sensitive to caffeine’s effects.

Alpha Brain vs. Mind Lab Pro vs. Neuriva

Alpha Brain Mind Lab Pro Neuriva
Our Rating 3.3 4.3 4.3
Active Ingredients L-tyrosine, Phosphatidylserine, Oat straw extract, Cat's claw, Huperzia serrata, Bacopa monnieri, L-leucine, Pterostilbene, Huperzine A Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Citicoline, Bacopa monnieri, Organic lion’s mane mushroom, Phosphatidylserine, N-acetyl L-tyrosine, L-theanine, Rhodiola rosea, Maritime pine bark extract Coffee cherry extract, Phosphatidylserine
Cost $1.24–$2.33/serving $1.73–$2.30/serving $1.33/serving
Dose 2 pills daily with a light meal 2–4 pills daily 1 capsule per day, taken with or without food
Claimed Benefits Memory, mental speed, and focus Focus, memory, and clarity Supports brain function, sharper mind, clearer thinking

Other Popular Alternatives to Alpha Brain

Mind Lab Pro
Dietitian Rating
4.3
Neuriva
Dietitian Rating
4.3
SuperBeets Memory & Focus
Dietitian Rating
4.3
Roman Focus
Dietitian Rating
4.0
Prevagen
Dietitian Rating
2.7

The Bottom Line

While some of the ingredients in Alpha Brain do have research to back them up, the results may vary for different people.

In particular, studies have pointed out that those who have an actual medical diagnosis that causes cognitive impairment may be more likely to see results from some of the ingredients used in Alpha Brain.

More research is needed to determine the long-term benefits a person with normal cognitive function may experience from Alpha Brain.

Because of the 2015 study done on Alpha Brain producing early promising results, the various positive reviews from customers around the web, and some short-term evidence on the ingredients, this supplement may be worth trying.

Always consult with your medical provider before starting any new supplement.

Consider This as Well

If you are looking to boost your brain health, try these natural ways:

  • Eat plenty of brain-boosting foods such as avocados, fatty fish like salmon, berries, broccoli, nuts, and spices such as turmeric can keep your mind sharp.

  • Stay active daily. For example, just going for a daily 30-minute walk can enhance your focus and concentration.

  • Engage in activities that challenge your mind. For example, doing a daily crossword puzzle, reading a book, or learning a new hobby.

If you are concerned about your cognitive health, consult with your doctor for advice and to outweigh the pros and cons of taking a cognitive-enhancing supplement.

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At WellnessVerge, we only use primary references for our articles, including peer reviewed medical journals or well-respected academic institutions.

  1. Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands--A review:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26424423/
  2. Phosphatidylserine supplements: Can they improve memory? - Mayo Clinic:
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/phosphatidylserine/faq-20057764
  3. Acute effects of an Avena sativa herb extract on responses to the Stroop Color-Word test:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21711204/
  4. Cat's Claw:
    https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/cats-claw
  5. Huperzine A for Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24086396/
  6. Efficacy of Standardized Extract of Bacopa monnieri (Bacognize®) on Cognitive Functions of Medical Students: A Six-Week, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5075615/
  7. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel group, efficacy study of alpha BRAIN® administered orally - PMC:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4595564/
  8. The effects of huperzine A on gastrointestinal acetylcholinesterase activity and motility after single and multiple dosing in mice:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570168/
  9. Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial:
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20590480/