Alpha BRAIN is likely one of the world’s most talked-about and popular nootropics, and manufacturer Onnit has made it the flagship of their “earth grown” supplements line. TruBrain is more of a newcomer to the space, and the compay, with real neuroscientists on staff, is specializing pretty much only in brain-boosters. While we’ve given great reviews to Alpha BRAIN (read our full review) and truBrain’s liquid shots (read our full review), there are some key differences between the two stacks.
Despite sharing some ingredients, l-theanine, tyrosine, and choline-based compounds, truBrain’s shots and Alpha BRAIN are aiming to boost brainpower through different mechanisms. TruBrain’s standard and Boost formulations contain the popular caffeine/l-theanine combo for smoother energy (though they do have a caffeine-free version), whereas Alpha BRAIN is a caffeine-free stack. TruBrain’s signature ingredient is oxiracetam, a powerful compound in the racetam group of compounds. While not as fast-acting as noopept, oxiracetam gave our testers a sustained, quickly-noticeable sharpness to their thoughts, focus, and memory recall.
Combined with a small caffeine boost and included nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium, truBrain’s shots are supplements that readily stand on their own, no stacking required. For people new to nootropics, and even for advanced users, they’re all you’ll need. The effects also seem to build over time, and we felt a significant boost in our second week of usage and beyond. (Though as with most nootropics, we do generally cycle off the supplement every month or so for at least a week.) If you’ve tried racetams before and have found their effects positive, this could be a good stack to try; if you’re sensitive to racetams or suspect you may be, truBrain may not be right for you.
In contrast, Alpha BRAIN tends to be a bit slower-acting than truBrain, and we don’t feel as immediate an energy boost, though it’s no slouch, and it has a broad ranging stack of natural ingredients that are popular among nootropic enthusiasts. We like the stack, and some of our testers pair the caffeine-free Alpha BRAIN with their morning coffee. We felt the best effects after about a week of use, and then slightly diminished effects after a few weeks; cycling off Alpha BRAIN for a week or so and then restarting once again provided an improvement in concentration.
Overall, truBrain acts a bit faster and feels more immediately potent. Alpha BRAIN‘s effects feel (at least to our testers, individual experiences may vary) more gradual and sustained, a fairly gentle, dependable mental boost that lasts pretty much the whole day.