Alpha Brain Review: Nootropic Supplement for Memory and Focus

Nootropic supplements are mainstream, Alpha Brain by Onnit are a very well known brand. Find out how Alpha Brain can improve memory and focus and enhance brain productivity.

Alpha Brain review

Onnit Alpha Brain Review Summary: Alpha Brain contains some potent brain boosting ingredients. Unfortunately, Onnit is cagey about revealing the amounts, inclusion rates are important. Without knowing them, there is no way to be certain if Alpha Brain is likely to provide you with the results you expect

Pros: A well respected manufacturer, Ingredient profile is good, positive customer reviews and independent comments.

Cons: Inclusion rates not revealed, a few negative comments, other brands preferred.

If you are looking for a nootropic supplement to increase brain productivity Noocube is setting the bar. Noocube contains a very strong ingredient profile that benefits memory, focus, and concentration. It can also reduce mental stress and anxiety and improve processing speed.

Onnit Alpha Brain Review

Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement manufactured and distributed by Onnit Labs Inc. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and has been trading since 2010.

Although the company presently offers a diverse range of health and wellness supplements, Alpha Brain is its flagship product. It’s a daily supplement produced in capsule form.

Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement manufactured and distributed by Onnit Labs Inc.

The front of the bottle boasts an ability to help support memory and focus and provide daily cognitive support.

Customer reviews suggest Alpha Brain generally lives up to claims made relating to memory and focus. However, customer feedback also suggests the formulation does not work for everyone. There also appears to be some pretty unpleasant potential side effects but it’s only fair we make it clear customers who report negative issues are in the minority.

Our Alpha Brain review provides all the pros and cons of using this product. In addition to stating what the supplement is designed to do, it also evaluates the abilities of the ingredients Onnit has chosen to make them possible.

Towards the end of the review, we will also take a closer look at customer feedback, the potential side effects, and the cost of using this particular brain-boosting product.

What are the Benefits of Alpha Brain

As we’ve already mentioned, the bottle states the supplement helps support memory and focus.

The sales page on the Onnit website adds a few more benefits:

  • Free from caffeine
  • Aids mental processing
  • Helps with flow state

The formulation also allegedly makes it possible to think more clearly under stress and react more quickly.

How Does Alpha Brain Work?

The Alpha Brain formulation is designed to help your body manufacture extra alpha waves and neurotransmitters.

The human brain produces alpha waves during times of relaxation and other times that involve a calm state of mind. Stress-relieving pursuits such as meditation and yoga can be very good for boosting alpha wave activity.

Increasing alpha wave activity is a good way to stimulate creativity and elevate intuition. Better alpha wave activity also makes it easier to practice visualization techniques. Of course, if visualization is not your thing, this particular benefit will not be of interest to you.

However, stimulating alpha wave activity enhances memory too, this is a benefit that generally interests everyone who is already using or considering using nootropics.

Neurotransmitters enable the mind to communicate with the body so it stands to reason anything that boots neurotransmitter activity can only be beneficial. Among other things, improvements in neurotransmitter activity can deliver faster reflexes and more rapid mental processing.

Alpha Brain Usage Guidelines

Onnit suggests a dose of two capsules per day, preferably taken with a light meal.

Onnit Alpha Brain Ingredient Profile

The Alpha Brain formulation consists of 11 active ingredients, most of which are housed in proprietary blends.

Each 2-capsule serving provides:

Vitamin B6 (10 mg)

Cat’s Claw (350 mg)

Onnit Flow Blend (650 mg)

  • L-Tyrosine
  • L-Theanine
  • Oat Straw Extract
  • Phosphatidylserine

Onnit Focus Blend (240 mg)

  • L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha GPC)
  • Bacopa Monnieri Extract (100mg)
  • Toothed Clubmoss standardized to 1% Huperzine A (400 mcg)

Onnit Fuel Blend (60 mg)

  • L-Leucine
  • Pterostilbene

Alpha Brain Ingredient Evaluation

Onnit fails to disclose the inclusion rates for most of the ingredients. This makes effective evaluation of the blend as a whole very difficult.

Ingredient quantity is as important as ingredient ability. That’s why recipes provide exact weights and measures. Imagine trying to bake a cake and not knowing how much sugar to put in it. Add too little and it would not taste right. Put in too much and would be too sweet.

When supplement manufacturers fail to disclose inclusion rates, you just have to take it on faith that they know what they are doing and got the “recipe” right. A lack of inclusion rates is always far from ideal.

Vitamin B6 (10 mg)

Vitamin B6 is a popular energy drink ingredient.

Obviously, the nutrient’s ability to revitalize the body and mind is not the reason it’s included here but it’s certainly a nice bonus.

Vitamin B6 plays an important role in neurotransmitter synthesis.

Researchers have been aware of its ability to enhance neurotransmitter activity for a long time and this water-soluble vitamin can be so beneficial it’s sometimes used for treating autism.

Cat’s Claw (350 mg)

Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a species of vine that grows in South American jungles. Extracts from the vine are key ingredients in many of the best nootropic products.

Cat’s claw provides antioxidants with neuroprotective capabilities. The ingredient is very good for boosting overall mental performance and research from 2019 suggests it may also help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Onnit Flow Blend (650 mg)

This is the “flow” blend so we can only presume it’s meant to enhance the flow of thoughts and enable clearer thinking.

Let’s see if the ingredients can do this.

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid. The body uses it to build muscle. The brain uses it to manufacture neurotransmitters. Its ability to do this should lead to enhancements in mental focus and help reduce anxiety and stress.

This is, of course, presuming an adequate dose.

L-Theanine is another amino acid. It’s often sourced from green tea. It’s mainly associated with a unique state of mind that many people describe as an alert state of calm. Anyone who is in this state should feel relaxed but not drowsy and be able to think clearly without the distraction of stress.

Oat Straw Extract comes from the stems of the common oat plant. Extracts provide antioxidants called avenanthramides that improve blood flow to the brain.

The main oat straw benefits are improvements in memory and concentration and protection from stress.

Phosphatidylserine is a compound that’s necessary for healthy nerve cell membranes. Supplements that provide it may help prevent brain ability from deteriorating with age. The ingredient may also be good for enhancing short and long-term memory.

However, research suggests that 300-800 mg per day is an effective dose.

There is no way to ascertain if Alpha Brain provides this. In order to do so, around half of the Flow Blend would need to be Phosphatidylserine.

Onnit Focus Blend (240 mg)

No great mystery here. This blend houses the ingredients that have been added specifically to boost mental focus.

L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha GPC) is associated with this nootropic benefit. It’s good for improving memory function as well. In Europe, Alpha GPC is a key ingredient in prescription medication for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri Extract is another popular nootropic ingredient and, in this case, Onnit reveals the Focus Blend provides 100 mg.

Although the herb is a popular nootropic that offers value in several areas, including enhancing focus, 100 mg is not a particularly generous dose. Some of the best nootropic supplements offer considerably more.

Toothed Clubmoss is a moss species that provides Huperzine A. The compound supports good cognitive health by inhibiting the breakdown of an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

Acetylcholine is a key player in memory function. It also enhances brain plasticity, helping to support mental flexibility.

Onnit Fuel Blend (60 mg)

Is this blend meant to fuel mental activity? We can only presume this is so.

L-Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than other amino acids do.

Research shows this valuable amino acid helps maintain healthy levels of an vital neurotransmitter called glutamic acid.

This is important because, when the brain lacks sufficient glutamic acid, it impairs energy metabolism. Once you know that, it becomes clear why Onnit appears to be including L-Leucine as brain fuel.

Pterostilbene is a compound present in blueberries. It’s chemically similar to the grape extract resveratrol.

Rat-based research indicates Pterostilbene may promote energy metabolism but there is no way to be certain it will do the same for humans.

Alpha Brain Customer Reviews

Some customers say the supplement works well. Others say it does nothing for them at all or report side effects.

Let’s take a look at some positive customer feedback.

“I have to say that my thinking is clearer and I can schedule my day far better than before I started taking Alpha Brain”

“The kicker for me is that I can remember things that I used to forget – like peoples names and places that I have been too.”

Now let’s take a look at a few negative customer reviews for Alpha Brain

“Hmm not noticed any difference. Maybe I am wiser now no to buy something that I shouldn’t have!

“It makes me feel tired all the time.”

Alpha Brain Side Effects

Although most people appear to be able to use this supplement without any negative issues, there still appear to be some potential side effects. Some of them are rather unusual. For instance, one customer says the supplement gave him “100% liquid burning diarrhea.”

Some of the other side effects customers report include:

  • Cold sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Slurred speech
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling tired
  • Blurred vision

Headaches, and/or stomach and bowel issues appear to be the most likely side effects. Reports of these types of side effects turn up again and again.

There are quite a lot of ingredients in the formulation and most of them are included in unknown quantities, so it’s hard to speculate which ingredient or combination of ingredients may be causing the problems.

However, due to the severity of some of the side effects customers are reporting, we suggest not using this supplement without seeking expert medical advice first.

Where to Buy Alpha Brain – Purchasing Options and Considerations

You can buy Alpha Brain from the manufacturer’s website. It’s also available via Amazon. Regardless of which option you choose, the price is generally the same. A 45-day supply of capsules costs $79.95.

However, customers who order via Amazon get free shipping. Customers who order from the Onnit website can get free shipping too but only if the value of their order is at least $150.

Customers who place larger orders via the Onnit website get a 25% discount. If they add an extra bottle and make it three, they get a 30% discount instead.

The Onnit website also allows people to buy Alpha Brain via Subscribe and save. This secures a 15% discount that brings the cost per bottle down to $67.96 (all prices correct at the time of this review).


Onnit offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and, at first blush, the terms seem pretty reasonable. The company’s only stipulation is it expects its customers to use the product for at least two weeks to “give it a fair shot.” Unlike a lot of competing companies, it doesn’t even ask for the bottles back. Customers can keep them.

However, things are not as clear-cut as they may seem. The guarantee is only valid on single-bottle purchases of “entry size” supplements.

This is where things get tricky. If you presume that means a normal, single-bottle purchase, you are wrong.

Although many people may not bother to follow the link, the pop-up page that supplies the “Keep-It Money-Back Guarantee” information provides access to the “Keep It Page.”

This page lists all the products that qualify for the guarantee and it does not appear to be accessible from any of the other pages on the site.

All the Onnit supplements appear to be present, but the bottles only provides a 15-day supply of pills.

In all fairness to Onnit, the 30-capsule option is available via the Alpha Brain sales page but the default option is 90 capsules. Many people may not notice the arrow that signifies the presence of a drop-down menu. Even those who do, may not select it and take a look at the options presented there.

Onnit Alpha Brain Review Conclusion

Alpha Brain contains some very credible nootropic ingredients. Unfortunately, Onnit is cagey about revealing the amounts. As we mentioned earlier in this review, inclusion rates are important. Without knowing them, there is no way to be certain if Alpha Brain is likely to provide the “recipe” for your mental success.

Some of the best nootropics on the market have very similar formulations and the manufacturers reveal all the inclusion rates. Overall, this Onnit supplement does not compare well.

The side effects some customers report are also a cause for concern. The cost of using this product is an issue too. It cost more than some of the nootropics that have greater credibility and better customer reviews.

So, although Alpha Brain has many desirable features, there are alternative nootropics that have more.

Other Similar Nootropics to Alpha Brain

Here are some comparable supplements to Alpha Brain that can also improve memory and focus.

  • Noocube – a market leading nootropic supplement that can enhance cognitive function and boost brain health.
  • Genius Burn – a multi action nootropic and fat burner that make just overreach by providing too many benefits.
  • Addrena – A supplement designed to improve memory and focus, billed as an alternatives to Adderall.
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about the author

Henry Washington BSc, BSc, MA, PhD. Fascinated with the study of human behavior, and how this affects our day-to-day lives. Has read more books on the subject than he can count and has an extensive collection of academic papers to match. Published in the following journals: Nature, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Trends in Neurosciences, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Brain research reviews and Cerebral Cortex.