Home Fitness I Tried Alpha Brain & It Didn’t Work (My 2024 Review)
I Tried Alpha Brain & It Didn’t Work (My 2024 Review)

I Tried Alpha Brain & It Didn’t Work (My 2024 Review)


Have you ever wondered if a supplement could enhance your cognitive abilities? That’s precisely what Onnit’s Alpha Brain promises to do. So, I put Onnit’s Alpha Brain to the test.


  • Two Formula Options: Alpha Brain and Alpha Brain Black Label provide a premium or more cost-effective option depending on your budget.
  • Allergen Free: Non-GMO and gluten-free, so it’s suitable for most food intolerances.
  • Stimulant Free: It contains no caffeine, which means no jitters or crashes. However, the black-label formula has caffeine.


  • Price: One of the most expensive nootropics ranging between $1.51 to $6.25 per serving, depending on the product.
  • May Not Work As Advertised: Some may not notice effects as strongly as evidenced by the underdosed ingredients and reviews.
  • Side Effects: While there are no reported side effects for this formula or individual ingredients, there is a potential for mild side effects like with any supplement.

Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain Nootropic Brain Supplement

Non-Stimulant Nootropic For Instant Brain Boost

Supports cognitive functions, including memory, mental speed, and focus.

Alpha Brain

What Is Alpha Brain?

Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement designed by Onnit Labs, a lifestyle company known for its range of health supplements and fitness equipment.

Joe Rogan and Aubrey Marcus champion it as a cutting-edge brain supplement for enhancing cognitive function. It’s one of the first nootropic formulas to have double-blind placebo-controlled trials performed on it’s formula.

Does that make it the gold-standard nootropic supplement?

Nooceptin Nootropic

Quick Verdict

Alpha Brain Ingredients

Alpha Brain vs Black Label

The main issue with Alpha Brain’s ingredients is the dosages are hidden behind proprietary blends. These ingredients aren’t anything new or groundbreaking. In fact, you’ll find these ingredients in most well-known nootropics with their dose listed. However, I’ll estimate doses as best I can.

Onnit Flow Blend

At the heart of Alpha Brain is the Onnit Flow Blend, touted to support a state of peak mental performance—what we often refer to as being “in the zone.” The blend contains:

L-Tyrosine (Proven)

L-tyrosine is noteworthy for enhancing cognitive adaptability, aiding in the seamless transition between different tasks [1].

This property is particularly valuable in high-pressure situations or when managing multiple tasks simultaneously [2].

Studies suggest consuming at least 2 grams of L-Tyrosine can significantly improve overall mental performance.

The entire Onnit Flow Blend is 650 mg, and I’d estimate approximately 300 mg is L-tyrosine. Regardless, it’s well under the efficacious dose needed to see brain-boosting improvements.

L-Theanine (Proven)

L-Theanine is increasingly recognized for its mental health benefits. Research highlights its effectiveness in reducing stress and anxiety, with recommended daily doses ranging between 200-400 mg [3][4].

Notably, L-theanine is unique in its ability to induce relaxation without causing drowsiness, making it a vital element in supporting mental well-being, particularly in stressful situations.

I’d estimate there’s approximately 150-200 mg of L-theanine in this blend making it potentially viable there’s some positive brain boosting effects.

Oat Straw Extract (Speculative)

Oat Straw has garnered attention for its potential to enhance cognitive functions. Research suggests that 800mg of oat straw extract may improve task performance speed, memory recall, and executive functioning [5].

However, these initial results call for further, more comprehensive studies to establish oat straw’s consistent cognitive benefits reliably.

There’s little room left in the Onnit Flow Blend for two more ingredients. I’d estimate there’s approximately 100-150 mg of Oat Straw Extract, well under the 800 mg dose.

Phosphatidylserine (Proven)

A daily intake ranging from 100-300 mg of phosphatidylserine has been shown to positively impact memory in older adults experiencing cognitive decline [6].

Additionally, it holds potential benefits for individuals dealing with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental conditions [7].

I’d estimate that the remaining 50-100 mg of the Onnit Flow Blend contains phosphatidylserine, potentially giving you some benefits.

Cats Claw (Speculative)

For some reason, Cats Claw isn’t added to a specific blend but is a standalone ingredient on the label.

Although cat’s claw is frequently included in nootropic blends, no published study has been done to verify the nootropic’s efficacy. Its inclusion is predicated on traditional applications and potential advantages that empirical research has not yet demonstrated.

Onnit Focus Blend

Next is the Onnit Focus Blend, designed to aid with mental acuity. This blend includes:

Alpha-GPC (Speculative)

Alpha GPC shows promise in enhancing cognitive functions, outperforming caffeine in tasks like serial subtraction [8].

However, current research on Alpha GPC’s effectiveness remains preliminary, suggesting the need for further investigation to fully establish its role in cognitive health supplements.

The entire Onnit Focus Blend is 240 mg. With 3 ingredients in this blend, I’d estimate there’s only 100 mg of Alpha GPC.

Bacopa Monnieri (Proven)

Bacopa Monnieri is well known for its ability to improve cognition. Research indicates that consuming 300 mg daily greatly enhances memory acquisition and retention, especially for older people.

An overview of the studies proving the efficacy of Bacopa Monnieri is provided here:

Memory Retention: Healthy elderly people using 300 mg of bacopa daily benefits in memory retention [9].

Attention Speed: Results from a meta-analysis indicate that Bacopa Monnieri is especially useful for increasing attention speed [10].

Cognitive Performance: Studies have demonstrated that bacopa may be used to safely improve cognitive function as we age [11].

Memory Recall: Research suggests that bacopa may improve memory-free recall capabilities [12].

I’d estimate approximately 100 mg of Bacopa Monnieri is leaving you well under the 300 mg dose.

Toothed Clubmoss – Huperzine A (Speculative)

For athletes in high-impact sports, Huperzine-A might be beneficial, with a suggested dose of 1mg/kg of body weight daily to potentially assist in recovering from traumatic brain injuries [13].

Huperzine-A is notable among speculative ingredients for its possible role in enhancing brain function and assisting Alzheimer’s disease patients [14].

However, the immediate cognitive and physical benefits of Huperzine-A are not yet confirmed, requiring more research for validation [15].

I’d estimate there’s approximately 40 mg of Toothed Clubmoss, giving the 1% Huperzine A, which is well under the 1mg/kg dose.

Onnit Fuel Blend

For brain metabolism, the Onnit Fuel Blend packs:


The only paper I could find regarding L-leucine and its cognitive protective effects was a rat study suggesting leucine drops in the brain’s spinal fluid when newborn rats are separated from their parents and could damage neurons, resulting in cognitive impairment [16].

Therefore, taking leucine may reduce this symptom. Extrapolating this to humans is far-fetched. Further, L-leucine is an amino acid in all the meat and protein powder you eat.

Since the Onnit Fuel Blend is only 60 mg, there’s likely only 40-50 mg in Alpha Brain.


Pterostilbene may combat cognitive decline in relation to aging [17]. Further, it may have stronger effects than resveratrol [18].

I’d estimate there’s 10-20 mg in the Onnit Fuel Blend.


Alpha Brain was the first nootropic formula to publish peer-reviewed research on their product. They found taking Alpha Brain for 6 weeks significantly improved tasks of delayed verbal recall and executive functioning compared to a placebo-controlled group [19].

While there’s nothing wrong with the research being funded by Onnit, the two leading researchers on the paper received funds for consulting with Onnit.

This presents a red flag regarding study bias.


Alpha Brain is on the higher end of the spectrum for nootropics. Here’s how it breaks down by bottle size and subscription options:

Alpha Brain (15 servings)Alpha Brain (45 servings)Alpha Brain Black Label (20 servings)
One Time$34.95 ($2.33/serving)$79.95 ($1.78/serving)$124.95 ($6.25/serving)
Subscription$29.71 ($1.98/serving)$67.96 ($1.51/serving)$106.21 ($5.31/serving)

Benefits of Alpha Brain

My honest opinion is there aren’t many benefits of taking Alpha Brain. The real ingredient doses are hidden behind their blends, and the total dose of the blend is still well under the efficacious doses of the single ingredients.

There are better-formulated nootropics now available as the nootropic space has grown with the same ingredients at higher doses. For example, NooCube and Mind Lab Pro have similar ingredients but with higher doses.

However, there is one benefit behind this formulation.

Stimulant Free

Having no stimulants means you can take this any time of day to potentially see a boost in brain power. If you have a late-night study or work session, you can pop a serving of Alpha Brain without disturbing your sleep.

User Testimonials And Reviews

There are many testimonials sharing similar views to those I expressed above in the benefits section. For example:

“I been taking the alpha brain for a few weeks now and notice nothing different or no noticeable changes when I take it. Feels like a huge was of money, still take it every day hoping to feel it but still nothing.” – Stephen

Others have had the opposite experience:

“Alpha Brain has been helpful in my ability to focus, memory, and recall. Only a few weeks in but I am pleased.” – Dr Eric.

Regardless, it may take some personal experimentation.

My Experience With Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain Side Effects

Most things advertised by Joe Rogan should be taken with a grain of salt. Onnits Alpha Brain is no different. I’ve been taking Alpha Brain before cognitive tasks like podcasting, coaching, or writing.

In fact, I took Alpha Brain before writing this review. I haven’t felt the instant beneficial effects of being more focused or mentally agile, as claimed.

Your experience may differ, but based on my experience and the small doses of ingredients, I’d lean on the side of it potentially not giving any further brain-boosting benefits.

Who Is Alpha Brain For?

Biohackers and Health Optimizers

I would consider Alpha Brain appropriate for biohackers and health and wellness optimizers due to its lackluster formulation and lack of advantages. This group is very attuned to their bodies and enjoys experimenting with different substances and products.

Biohackers can tell if Alpha Brain provides brain-boosting benefits for them.

Joe Rogan Fanatics

I’m a Joe Rogan podcast listener and thoroughly enjoy it. But if you’re a fanatic and want to continue supporting the empire, then using Alpha Brain makes perfect sense.

Alpha Brain vs Alpha Brain Black

Onnit’s Alpha Brain Black Label is an entirely different formula. If there’s an Alpha Brain formula that will deliver a brain boost, it’s the black-label version. Here’s the ingredients in Black Label that are not in the original formula:

Velvet Bean – L-Dopa (Speculative)

Velvet beans may have neuroprotective abilities [20]. However, there’s no supporting evidence the active ingredient L-dopa enhances learning and cognitive function in healthy adults [21].

This was taking 100 mg of L-dopa with 25 mg of benserazide. Alpha Brain Black Label contains 150 mg of L-dopa.

Lions Mane

The possibility of Lions Mane Mushrooms to improve brain function intrigues me. Research indicates 600 mg enhances stress reduction and improves cognitive performance, especially in young adults [22].

Shortly after ingesting 1 g, there are reports of further improvements in working memory, complex attention, and reaction time [23].

These mushrooms seem to show promise regarding mental agility and mood, even though most of the data has yet to be researched.

Unfortunately, Alpha Brain Black Label has only 500 mg of Lion’s Mane and uses the fruit and mycelium. Typically, you want to avoid mycelium as the active compounds are in the main mushroom.

Lifetime mushroom researcher Jeff Chilton explains this in the podcast below:

Citicoline (Speculative)

In conversations on improving memory, Citicoline frequently comes up. Studies indicate that taking 500 mg daily may help with episodic memory or remembering certain experiences and events, especially in older adults [24].

Additional research indicates that ingesting at least 500 mg daily may help healthy people’s cognitive function [25].

The composition of Alpha Brain Black Label contains 250 mg of citicoline. This amount falls short of what research suggests as an efficacious dose.

Caffeine Anhydrous (Proven)

This is where Alpha Brain Black Label gives the instant mood and brain function boosting benefits. It’s the compound we all know and love. Even though it’s only 25 mg of caffeine, when paired with L-theanine, there is a synergistic effect for one of the most effective nootropics.

The benefit of the caffeine L-theanine stack is it enhances both physical and cognitive performance. Such as improved reaction time, visual processing speed, working memory, alertness, and reduced tiredness and mental fatigue [26][27].

This is where the Alpha Brain Black Label outperforms the original formula. The downside is you don’t want to take it at night close to bed since stimulants will keep you awake.

Toothed Clubmoss – Huperzine A (Speculative)

For athletes in high-impact sports, Huperzine-A might be beneficial, with a suggested dose of 1mg/kg of body weight daily to potentially assist in recovering from traumatic brain injuries [28].

However, the immediate cognitive and physical benefits of Huperzine-A are not yet confirmed, requiring more research for validation [29].

Alpha Brain Black Label includes 200 mcg of Huperzine-A per serving, considerably less than the 1mg/kg body weight recommendation.


Lutemax2020 has been incorporated into the Alpha Brain Black Label formulation with little research backing its cognitive enhancement claims.

Currently, the evidence to support its inclusion in a nootropic supplement isn’t available.

Alpha Brain Black Label

Alpha Brain Black Label Nootropic Brain Supplement

Stimulant Nootropic w/ Caffeine

Supports cognitive functions, including memory, mental speed, and focus.

Alpha Brain Black Label

Alpha Brain Alternatives

In my quest for cognitive enhancement, I’ve had the opportunity to sample various nootropic supplements, each providing a unique edge. While Alpha Brain is a popular choice, several other options are worth considering.


Nooceptin Nootropic

Nooceptin is a cognitive enhancer called a SAP Nutra nootropic, which is specifically formulated to enhance memory, attention, and overall cognitive function, without the need for stimulants. Instead of providing immediate advantages, it guarantees enduring, gradual enhancements in cognitive well-being.

It offers advantages such as enhanced memory and concentration, along with a lasting increase in energy without the subsequent drop experienced with caffeine-rich products.

Individuals seeking to enhance their cognitive abilities, including students, gamers, professionals, and the elderly, are advised to consider taking Nooceptin.

The brain supplement contains Lion’s Mane Extract, Citicoline, Rhodiola Rosea Extract, L-Theanine, Bacopa Monnieri Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, and Panax Ginseng Extract.

While many compounds have been proven to have positive effects, others are still regarded as speculative. Nooceptin is promoted as a non-stimulant alternative for improving cognitive function over a prolonged period, with noticeable effects often observed between 7-14 days.

Although Nooceptin may have underdosed components and a greater price, it could be a valuable resource for individuals seeking a cognitive enhancement without the usage of stimulants.

Our Nooceptin review provides an extensive analysis of this cognitive enhancer.



Braini’s ability to improve cognitive function has garnered popularity. It differs from others due to its rapid onset of action and simple, straightforward substance list that promotes long-term cognitive growth.

Braini contains important chemicals like Peptylin, which is well-known for its possible neuroprotective properties, even if it doesn’t provide an immediate rush of euphoria.

NeurXcel is rich in omega fatty acids, and Wild Canadian Blueberry extract is well-known for its antioxidant properties and ability to assist cognitive processes.

Clinical studies supporting Braini show notable gains in cognitive flexibility, executive functioning, and decision-making skills.

This nootropic is particularly helpful for older people, athletes, those with dyslexia and attention issues, and people who are concerned about their neurological health.

You can read the in-depth breakdown in our Braini review.

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is a prominent nootropics company that has gained attention for its ability to improve cognitive function. Numerous reviews, including positive and skeptical viewpoints, provide an extensive understanding of this cognitive enhancer.

I have personally used Mind Lab Pro for mentally taxing tasks and have felt positive results.

With features like improved focus, memory retention, and cognitive processing speed, it’s suitable for various people, including students, working adults, and senior citizens.

The supplement is also environmentally friendly, using vegan-certified, plant-based capsules and striving for bottles made entirely of recyclable materials.

You can read our in-depth breakdown in our Mind Lab Pro review.



NooCube is a supplement for cognitive enhancement that is gaining attention due to its claimed instantaneous effects on brain sharpness. Several ingredients, including L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, and Bacopa Monnieri, all known to have cognitive-boosting effects, are included in its formulation.

Still awaiting more thorough investigation, the effectiveness of several substances, such as huperzine-A and alpha GPC, is debatable.

NooCube aims to improve alertness and cognitive performance, is made without stimulants, and openly shares the dose of each ingredient.

A broad spectrum of people can benefit from this nootropic, including combat athletes, working professionals, students, seniors, and gamers. It offers several cognitive advantages without the jitteriness or other adverse effects of caffeine.

You can read our in-depth breakdown in our NooCube review.

Alpha Brain Side Effects

There are no scientifically reported side effects of Alpha Brain and the included ingredients. However, some anecdotal testimonials report feeling nauseous and experiencing headaches.

This will be on an individual case-by-case basis.

Frequently Asked Alpha Brain Questions

What is Onnit’s Alpha Brain?

Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement designed to improve cognitive functions such as memory, mental clarity, and focus. It contains a blend of natural ingredients aimed at enhancing brain performance.

How Is Alpha Brain Black Label Different From The Original Alpha Brain?

Alpha Brain Black Label is a more potent version of the original Alpha Brain, offering stronger effects on focus, cognitive function, and stress management. It has added caffeine and a few other ingredients that Alpha Brain doesn’t have.

Are There Any Side Effects To Taking Alpha Brain Supplements?

Some individuals may experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, or jitteriness. It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Can Alpha Brain Supplements Help With Stress?

Alpha Brain Black Label, in particular, has been associated with better stress management due to its potent mix of nootropic ingredients.

Is Onnit’s Alpha Brain Worth Its Price?

The value of Alpha Brain depends on individual experience; some may find the cognitive benefits justify the price, while others may prefer alternative nootropic supplements.

Is Alpha Brain Worth It?

In my experience and analysis, Alpha Brain isn’t worth it because of the underdosed ingredients and hefty price. Though more expensive, Alpha Brain Black Label is better than Alpha Brain because of the extra ingredients and caffeine, which works with L-theanine for a powerful brain-boosting effect.

Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain Nootropic Brain Supplement

Non-Stimulant Nootropic For Instant Brain Boost

Supports cognitive functions, including memory, mental speed, and focus.

Alpha Brain


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James de Lacey James is a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. He owns Sweet Science of Fighting, is a published scientific researcher and has completed his Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. He's combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.