Onnit has the distinction of making high-quality supplements endorsed by many celebrities and athletes, and their emphasis is on using only earth-grown nutrients. Onnit’s flagship nootropic, Alpha Brain, has been tested in two human clinical trials and showed statistical significance on multiple areas of cognition. Alpha Brain is also marketed as a lucid dream enhancer, as are several other nootropics that boost acetylcholine (read on to see what I experienced during dream states after taking Alpha Brain).
We were very excited to try Alpha Brain after a few friends recommended it as a great compliment to their morning routines (including coffee; this is a caffeine-free nootropic). Read on to find out what we learned about this popular nootropic with lots of mainstream hype in our full Alpha BRAIN review.
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Table of contents
Alpha Brain comes in vegetable capsules, with 30 two-capsule servings per bottle.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCI) – 10mg
- Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble essential vitamin, involved in the production of neurotransmitters. Studies show that when taken in conjunction with Magnesium, B6 improved school attention in children diagnosed with ADHD.
- L-Tyrosine is well-linked to improving cognitive performance under conditions of stress, and the compound has been shown to actually reduce symptoms of stress itself, likely because it is involved in the production of dopamine.
- L-Theanine is an amino acid known to support a calm mood without inducing sleepiness. When used in conjunction with caffeine, it has been observed to reduce error rates while performing tasks.
- Oat Straw Extract (Avena Sativa)
- Oat Straw Extract has been tested as a cognitive performance enhancer. It works by reducing symptoms of both neurological stress and exhaustion.
- Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid required to maintain healthy nerve cell membranes. It supports cognitive function and the ability to learn and recall new information.
- AC-11 (Uncaria tomentosa Extract) – 350mg
- AC-11 is a proprietary Cat’s Claw Extract. Cat’s Claw has been studied for its ability to repair DNA and its anti-inflammatory properties.
Onnit Focus Blend
- L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha GPC)
- Choline is a vital compound in neurotransmission, and research suggests many Americans don’t get enough from their regular diets (in fact, choline-based nootropics are increasingly common, and some of our testers have experienced enhanced memory and focus simply from supplementing choline). It’s a common ingredient in many nootropic stacks, and we’re not surprised Onnit has included it in Alpha Brain.
- Bacopa monniera Extract
- Bacopa Monnieri is an herb used in Ayurveda as an antidepressant, and a cognitive booster. While performing stressful cognitive tests, those taking Bacopa Monnieri experienced the herb’s nootropic effects and reduced stress and cortisol levels.
- Huperzia Serrata Extract
- This plant extract is an Acetylcholinesterase (AchE)inhibitor. AchE breaks down the Acetylcholine, and Huperzia Serrata restrains the process, allowing more Acetylcholine to be available for the brain’s neurons.
Onnit Fuel Blend
- Leucine is an essential branched chain amino acid involved in protein synthesis and a number of other metabolic functions. We’ve seen it in many energy stacks before to great effect.
- Vinpocetine is a chemical derived from the periwinkle plant and is known to increase cerebral blood flow. Doctors in Hungary have been prescribing this compound to treat cerebrovascular disorders for decades.
- An antioxidant found in blueberries and grapes, this compound has known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties. Recently, studies have indicated a link between pterostilbene and improved brain health.
- Other Ingredients: Vegetarian Capsule (Cellulose, Water), Bamboo Silica
Read our review of Onnit’s fast-dissolving Alpha BRAIN Instant formula.
For mental performance: Take 2 capsules in the morning or early afternoon. For enhanced dream state aka lucid dreams: Take 1-2 capsules 4-6 hours before sleep. For those over 200 lb., dosage can be increased to 3 capsules per day. Do not exceed 3 capsules in a 24 hour period.
We had several BrainWiz testers take between 1 and 3 capsules per day.
What Our Testers Say
“Alpha Brain is one of the best nootropics I have tried. I feel alert and focused within 20 minutes of taking the pills and there is no jitteriness or crash. There is no afternoon fogginess, and I also noticed that I was remembering things quicker. I worked my way up to three capsules a day, but I felt the effects diminish the longer I took it.”
“I tried this as both a cognitive enhancer and, in the afternoon, as a lucid dream inducer. I like the clarity I get when I take it in the morning, and I have never experienced dreams like this before. When on Alpha Brain, I’m aware that I am dreaming, and the details are vivid.”
“I’ve been taking Alpha Brain first thing when I wake up, along with my morning coffee. I feel clear-headed, and focused well into the afternoon. I didn’t feel any jitters, and I appreciated that I didn’t have to modify my caffeine intake around this supplement.”
“I really enjoy the way I feel on this when reviewing Alpha BRAIN. I can feel an improvement on my decision-making time under stress, which is exactly what I’m looking for in a nootropic. I did feel the effects start to diminish after two weeks on it, so I took a couple of days off, and the effects came back.”
My Alpha Brain Experience
Alpha Brain is one of the most popular nootropics I’ve ever come across. So when it came time for me to review it, I was very excited.
I was excited for two reasons… First, Alpha Brain is the supplement that initially peaked my interest in nootropics a long time ago (after hearing about it on the Joe Rogan podcast). Second, I’ve read a lot of positive personal experiences.
Below is my day-by-day review of Alpha Brain…
I’d received my package from Onnit two days prior but knew that I wouldn’t have enough time to properly review it during those days so I waited until I had seven consecutive days to start.
I started day one by opening up the box it came in and took a half dose. I do this every time I take a new supplement just to see how my body initially reacts the first day. If there’s worst case scenario, I can mitigate how bad it is.
Luckily there was no bad reaction the first day of taking Alpha Brain. Surprisingly I didn’t feel much on day one but I chalked it up to only taking half a dose.
Since day one went off without any negative effects, I decided to take a full dose. About thirty to forty minutes later I started to feel the effects. The most noticeable initial change was a wave of mental clarity. It felt similar to drinking green tea but without the stimulant effects of caffeine. My brain felt “awake”, like when you wake up from a great night’s sleep and don’t feel groggy at all.
Day two was a Monday so after breakfast I got to work. There was a slight overall feeling of motivation/productivity during the morning that continued well into mid-afternoon. This mental clarity and motivation definitely helped me get a lot of things done that I would have previous procrastinated.
One thing I noticed on day two was that I wasn’t energized. This is probably because Alpha Brain doesn’t contain any stimulants. Since I’m used to drinking a cup of coffee or two in the morning, I didn’t feel that jolt of adrenaline from the caffeine.
Day three was filled with work calls and client meetings. One interesting thing I noticed was that I was able to speak much more fluently — without “ums” and “ahs”. That’s not to say I became a perfect orator but I definitely noticed a difference in the efficient way I was able to form sentences. My brain and mouth seemed to be working a bit more in unison.
Another day of emails, writing, and client work. The positive mental effects I noticed on days two and three hadn’t subsided, which surprised me.
I’ve yet to notice any negative effects. In fact, one of the nice positive effects was that I was able to get a nap in mid-day. For most people this is probably simple but since I usually drink a lot of coffee, it’s tough for me to take a nap (even when I’m tired). The caffeine keeps my brain awake. Since I had worked late the night before, I was starting to fade early afternoon so I laid down for a bit. During my 45-minute nap I noticed that my dreams were incredibly vivid. Upon waking up, I did a bit of research and realized this is a common occurrence among those who take Alpha Brain.
Surprisingly, the effects of Alpha Brain haven’t subsided, even with daily use. My mental clarity and verbal intelligence were both at an all-time high.
I ended up having coffee around 2pm with a client of mine and noticed that the caffeine mixed with Alpha Brain gave me a big boost of energy. Upon getting to the office, I found myself able to get more done in the next 3 hours than I had all day.
Because I experienced no negative side effects using Alpha Brain and drinking my daily morning coffee, I decided to have both in the morning on day six. This pepped me up a lot and led to me being able to get some big projects done.
One small negative was that I did find myself starting to become more mentally tired at the end of the day (at around 7pm). This could be because I was mentally exerting myself a lot during the day or because I was mixing caffeine and Alpha Brain.
The last day of me taking Alpha Brain and I started to notice a slight decline in its effects. Of course, this is totally normal with any supplement that is being taking consecutively. Onnit suggests cycling off of Alpha Brain once and a while so that your body doesn’t get used to it and progressively need more to feel its effects.
After comparing experiences and effectiveness, here are our best tips for getting the most out of Alpha Brain :
- Alpha Brain contains no caffeine, so it pairs well when you’re already taking in caffeine, like with your morning coffee. The quick energy “wave” our testers felt was also most desirable in the morning or early afternoon, to avoid an energy slump.
- Our testers experienced no negative side effects from this supplement. But as with any supplement or nutritional regimen, you should talk to your doctor or medical professional before use.
- Take just before eating to take advantage of an active digestive system and promote absorption.
- If you’re using the supplement to induce lucid dreaming, start with one or two capsules in the afternoon and work your way up to three.
Alpha Brain is an effective caffeine-free and BSCG Certified nootropic stacked with a number of effective earth-grown ingredients. This BSCG certification signifies that Alpha Brain is drug-free and comprised only of naturally grown ingredients, making it somewhat unique in the nootropic space. We were initially skeptical about its effectiveness given such a clean pedigree, but all four of our testers experienced noticeable cognitive boosts.
In addition to a cognitive boost, some users feel increased focus and stamina. When taken in the afternoon, Alpha Brain can induce vivid, lucid dreams at night. Though its perceived effects seem to diminish over time, taking a break from the supplement for a few days seems to be enough time for its effectiveness to return.