Recently, some supplement companies have been combining common nootropic ingredients with vitamin and mineral stacks most often seen in multivitamins. This results in an impressive-sounding label of many, many ingredients, promising a broad list of supplements that aid brain function and health while providing some of the nutrients we’re most deficient in from a dietary standpoint. But after trying several of these formulas, our testers have come to an early conclusion, and it’s a relevant takeaway when comparing stacks like FOCUSfactor with established nootropics like Alpha BRAIN.
For us, at least, these combo nootropics + multivitamins don’t work all that well.
FOCUSfactor isn’t actually our least favorite of the multivitamin nootropics we’ve tried, but if anything, the brain boost it provides is mild and short-lived (read our full review of FOCUSfactor). After trying it, we doubt the amount of nootropics in its “synergistic and proprietary formulation” is enough to really provide much of a boost, and there doesn’t appear to be a lot of method to their madness; they’ve thrown a bunch at the wall and seem to hoping something sticks. Some of our testers thought FOCUSfactor stacked well enough with coffee and/or caffeine, but taking 4 to 8 capsules/day ultimately wasn’t worth the effort.
In contrast, Alpha BRAIN is a broad-spectrum nootropic stack many of our testers really like. [Read our review of Alpha BRAIN and the new, faster-acting Alpha BRAIN Instant.] It has a broad ingredient list, but every inclusion is accounted for and seems to have a logical place in the stack. Our testers have tried Alpha BRAIN in both its consumer-facing forms, regular pills and the newer Alpha BRAIN Instant drinks, and have reported a lot of positives with few negatives. It’s also backed by two clinical studies that speak to its effectiveness, although it’s important to note these were both funded by its manufacturer, Onnit.
Alpha BRAIN is a caffeine-free stack that affects everyone a bit differently, so our testers use it in different ways from each other, and that includes variability on dosage and timing, definitely one we’ve played around with to see what works best for us individually. (For example, of our testers tends to be a bit sensitive to bacopa, which can cause his mind “to race” a bit if taken too close to bedtime; however, cutting to a half dose and taking Alpha BRAIN in the morning seems to reduce this while still providing noticeable nootropic benefits.)
Overall, FOCUSfactor has failed to stay in our rotation as far as favorite nootropics, while Alpha BRAIN, in both its forms, has stayed very close to the top of our testers’ lists. When it comes to combining nootropics with multivitamins, maybe there is only so much that can fit into one stack.