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Neuriva Review: Is This Brain Supplement Effective?

Written by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on May 1, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

4.3

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Support for Claims:4.3
  • Ingredient Safety:4.0
  • Value for the Price:5.0
  • Brand Transparency:4.0

Neuriva is a brain supplement designed to support 5 factors of brain health: focus, memory, learning, accuracy, and concentration. There is quite a bit of research supporting the potential cognitive benefits of its two active ingredients, coffee cherry extract and phosphatidylserine.

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Neuriva Review: Is This Brain Supplement Effective?

Pros

  • Strong evidence to back up product claims
  • No significant side effects to note
  • Formula is unique. No other similar formulas on the market.

Cons

  • PS from plants may not be as effective as from animal sources
  • Contains soy-based ingredients
  • May negatively impact sleep for those sensitive to its ingredients

What Is Neuriva?

Neuriva is a brain health supplement by Schiff Vitamins, who also make other popular products like Airborne and Move Free.

According to the manufacturer, Neuriva is clinically proven to improve neuron health, fuel memory, and increase learning ability.

The claim is that the two active ingredients, cherry coffee extract and phosphatidylserine, target 5 indicators of brain performance.

This includes helping improve: focus, memory, learning, accuracy, and concentration.

The ingredients achieve this goal by increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

BDNF is a protein that improves communication between brain cells, enhancing brain performance.

Decreased levels of BDNF have been associated with poor learning ability and cognitive decline.

Due to its important role in helping maintain brain health, there is quite a bit of interest around BDNF in the scientific community.

There have been over 6,000 papers published on this subject since 2014. But are the two active ingredients in Neuriva optimal for increasing BDNF?

Evaluation of Ingredients

Neuriva is a simple product with only two active ingredients:

Neurofactor Coffee Cherry Extract (100 mg)

Coffee cherry extract is made from the red-colored fruit that wraps around the coffee bean. The extract, unlike coffee, does not contain any caffeine.

There are quite a few studies on the impact of coffee cherry extract and BDNF levels in the body. A 2013 study found that taking 100 mg of the extract regularly increased BDNF by 143%.

Another 2013 study found that coffee cherry extract doubled BDNF concentrations compared to regular coffee or a placebo.

A more recent 2019 study evaluated the impact of the coffee cherry extract on cognitive performance in 71 adults with mild cognitive decline.

Subjects were given 100 mg of coffee extract or a placebo for 28 days.

Subjects who received the coffee extract experienced significant improvements in reaction time and improved accuracy in tasks.

This suggests that using coffee extract may increase processing speed, attention, and focus in people with mild cognitive decline.

Although many of these are small studies, these are just a small sampling of the many randomized control trials that support the use of 100 mg per day of coffee cherry extract to improve BDNF and mental performance.

While it appears cherry coffee extract does increase BDNF, there isn’t yet great support that increasing BDNF will make a significant impact on brain function. 

As far as dietary supplements go, this ingredient has been fairly well studied.

Plant-Sourced Phosphatidylserine (100 mg)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is found in cell membranes. It plays a role in communication between cells and apoptosis or cell death.

The active dosage used in most studies is between 100–300 mg/day.

A 2015 review of the evidence on PS and brain health found strong scientific evidence to suggest that it plays a role in cognitive activity, brain aging, and functional ability.

One thing to note about the PS in Neuriva is that it is derived from soy. Most of the research has used PS derived from animal sources.

But the soy-derived may be just as effective. A 2008 comparison of bovine and soy-derived PS found them to be comparable.

One 2010 study evaluated the use of soy-derived PS on memory function in the elderly and found that it did improve function.

Non-Active Ingredients

There are several non-active ingredients in Neuriva. These include a variety of fibers, thickeners, and anti-caking agents:

  • Rice bran
  • Hypromellose
  • Carrageenan
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Pectin
  • Monocrystalline Cellulose
  • Silicon dioxide

Verdict on Claimed Benefits

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

  • Supports brain healthGold Star Evidence
  • Improves focus, memory, and learningStrong Evidence
  • Improves accuracy, and concentrationStrong Evidence

Side Effects, Safety, and Dosage

Neuriva is meant to be taken once a day at bedtime. The dosages of the active ingredients seem to be supported by the current research.

There are no known side effects of Neuriva.

Note that the PS is made from soy, so it might need to be avoided by those with a soy allergy.

I would consider Neuriva safe for most adults and women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding.

You should always speak to your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.

Some people may experience insomnia or upset stomach with PS. If this is the case, you might want to take Neurvia in the morning instead of at night.

Cost and Where to Buy

There are 4 different versions of Neuriva sold on the website, Amazon, and most pharmacies like Walgreens or Target.

From the Schiff website, a bottle of:

  • Neuriva Original is $32.99
  • Neuriva Plus is $49.49
  • Neuriva Gummies is $24.99
  • Neuriva De-Stress is $24.99

The product is slightly less expensive on Amazon.

They also have a rewards program where you can get a discount if you sign up for a membership.

The price of Neuriva is about average for products that contain PS or coffee cherry extract. Most cost around $30–$40 for a one-month supply.

BUY NEURIVA ON AMAZON

Comparison to Alternatives

Neuriva itself is offered in four different variations:

  • Original: Active ingredients are PS and coffee cherry extract.
  • Plus: Active ingredients in the Original plus B-vitamins. The addition of B-vitamins is likely unnecessary and adds a significant cost to the product. 
  • Brain Performance Gummies: Original in gummy form. Good for people who don’t like swallowing pills. 
  • Brain Performance De-Stress: Coffee cherry extract, L-theanine, and French Melon concentrate. L-theanine is known to provide a calming effect, good for stress.

I was unable to locate any products that have the exact formulation as Neuriva.

There are many other PS products and coffee cherry extract products available on the market, but none that combine the two.

If you are interested in both of these ingredients, you could take two separate supplements, but Neuriva is likely your best bet.

The Bottom Line

One thing to note, there was a class-action lawsuit against Neuriva, saying there is not enough evidence to support its marketing claims for improving brain health. This lawsuit is now closed and refunds will be provided.

If you are concerned about your memory or concentration abilities, this product may be worth trying.

Schiff offers a “Brain Gym” that you can access with a purchase of the product. This is a valuable add-on to using the product.

The claims made by Schiff about the active ingredients in Neuriva seem to be well-documented with few side effects.

Using Neuriva in combination with other lifestyle changes and their “brain gym” exercises may help improve your working memory and focus.

A Word from Our RD

It is important to realize that improving and maintaining brain health involves much more than simply taking a supplement.

The brain is also impacted by stress, diet, exercise, and how often you “exercise” your brain.

Brain health activities, like puzzles, learning a new skill, or playing a musical instrument, can help you stay “sharp.” 

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