Home Fitness Alpha Brain vs. Focus Factor (I Tried Both For 30 Days): Who Wins In 2024?
Alpha Brain vs. Focus Factor (I Tried Both For 30 Days): Who Wins In 2024?

Alpha Brain vs. Focus Factor (I Tried Both For 30 Days): Who Wins In 2024?


Alpha Brain and Focus Factor are two nootropics most people are familiar with. The first is backed up by prominent podcasters and celebrities, and the second capitalizes on a vast distribution model, making it an easy choice for non-pretentious users.

But which is better? I’ve tried both and extensively studied them to give you the answer.

Quick Verdict

In this comparison of lackluster nootropics, Alpha Brain easily wins. With all of the proven nootropic ingredients found in both products, Alpha Brain wins by having much higher doses of each. Although it’s also underdosed, the formulation is solid, and many people find it beneficial after long enough administration.

Focus Factor is dramatically underdosed with a 640 mg proprietary blend, where many ingredients require almost or as much alone to be effective. I think the only reason it is so popular is its availability, making it an easy choice for many, and the fact it has been on the market for 20 years.

IngredientsAlpha Brain
DosageAlpha Brain
Short-Term EffectsAlpha Brain
Long Term EffectsAlpha Brain
Third-Party TestingDraw
Clinical ResearchAlpha Brain
Side EffectsDraw
User ReviewsDraw
PriceFocus Factor

Alpha Brain Nootropic

Quick Verdict

What Is Alpha Brain?

Is Alpha Brain Worth It

Alpha Brain is a nootropic created by Onnit Labs, a well-known maker of health and fitness supplements and equipment. The product’s popularity is in no small part due to the endorsement by Onnit co-founder and celebrity Joe Rogan.  

This product is advertised as a cutting-edge, caffeine-free brain blend that will help optimize your cognitive function. It was one of the first nootropic formulations studied in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

It is suitable for students, professionals at work, gamers, entrepreneurs, and many other groups searching for optimal cognitive performance.

My Alpha Brain review goes into more detail about the formulation and my experiences.

What Is Focus Factor?

Focus Factor Nootropic

Focus Factor is a popular brain supplement that has been trusted on the American market for over twenty years. It is created to boost numerous elements of cognitive performance, including memory, concentration, and focus.

The company also manufactures various other supplements and items, including energy drinks and shots.

Focus Factor nootropic is one of the few nootropics widely available at major retailers like Costco, and it also boasts a double-blind, placebo-controlled study showcasing the entire formulation’s effectiveness.

If you want to know my complete experience and detailed breakdown you can read my Focus Factor review.

Alpha Brain vs. Focus Factor Main Differences

Alpha Brain vs Focus Factor


Alpha Brain is a comprehensive brain supplement that promotes memory, focus, and mental processing. The formulation contains several ingredients known as potent brain boosters.

Onnit describes the supplement as the “ultimate way to get in the zone” by promoting brain wave activity. Another mechanism through which Alpha Brain works is by supporting the levels of a key neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

Focus Factor promises largely the same benefits, courtesy of its comprehensive blend of over a dozen ingredients. The product also contains a solid multivitamin stack, which can replace your current vitamin supplementation.


The main issue with both products is that the ingredient lists are not transparent, and the exact dosages are hidden behind blends.

Alpha Brain at least divides the formulation into three blends, each with its own specified total. These are the Onnit Flow Bled, Focus Blend, and Fuel Blend.

Things with Focus Factor are even worse, as the whole 15-ingredient stack is crammed into a 640 mg blend, which is the most underdosed formulation I’ve seen.

There are two more potent versions of Focus Factor, Extra Strength and Max Strength, with 798 mg and 868 mg blends, respectively, which is still miniscule in amount. 

A few of the ingredients in the two formulations match, as they are key components of many other nootropics.

We have no way of detailing exactly how much of each is in the two products, but I will give you an example to illustrate how badly Focus Factor underdosed is.

Alpha Brain’s Flow blend contains L-tyrosine, L-theanine, Oat Straw, and phosphatidylserine, and the blend is 650 mg. The entire Focus Factor blend for all 15 substances is 640 mg.

I will start with the shared ingredients.

The amino acid L-theanine is a potent antioxidant used in practically all nootropics due to its demonstrated effects on stress and anxiety reduction, verbal fluency, and executive function [1][2].

L-tyrosine, another mainstay nootropic element, has been proven to improve mind flexibility and multitasking [3].

Bacopa monnieri continues the list of shared ingredients. The Ayurvedic herb increases verbal learning, memory acquisition, and delayed recall by assisting brain receptors in processing information [4].

Huperzine A is known for potentially aiding in recovery from brain injuries and boosting brain function in Alzheimer’s disease patients [5,6].

Phosphatidylserine has been shown to positively impact memory in older adults and benefit by counteracting age-related cognitive loss by supporting memory formation, focus, and problem-solving [9].

The list of shared ingredients ends here.

Alpha Brain emphasizes Cat’s Claw as an individual ingredient rather than a blend component. The time-honored herb is used for cognitive performance and is often used in nootropics.

The other two substances in Alpha Brain worth mentioning are Alpha GPC and Pterostilbene. Alpha GPC may increase cognitive performance and maybe outperform coffee in some tasks. [7]

Pterostilbene is believed to counteract age-related cognitive decline [8].

Focus Factor contains a few speculative ingredients such as Bilberry Fruit extract, Grape Skin and Grape Seed Extract, Huperzine A, and a few others, all in equally minuscule doses.

Stimulant vs. Non-Stimulant

Alpha Brain vs Focus Factor Ingredients

Alpha Brain and Focus Factor do not contain nervous system stimulants such as caffeine. Stimulants act as quick brain and energy boosters with a fast effect that wears off in a few hours. None of the two products will provide such effects.  

Alpha Brain has another version called Black Label, which contains caffeine and a few more components, but I consider it a separate product, and this review only looks at the ordinary caffeine-free version.

Short vs. Long-Term Effects

Nootropics require time and accumulation to work fully. They are designed to be taken daily year-round, with the optimal effects deployed after 3 months, after which they are maintained.

You can get noticeable short-term effects only from stimulant nootropics containing caffeine, which is not the case with Alpha Bran (excluding the Black Label version) and Focus Factor. Still, if a nootropic is good, you can usually notice some benefits after a month of use.

The respective studies on Alpha Brain and Focus Factor were conducted after 6 weeks of intake, meaning the companies expect noticeable results within this period. My experience with the two supplements does not match this expectation, but it’s worth noting how the trials were conducted. 

Clinical Research

The two companies producing Alpha Brain and Focus Factor were among the first and still select few to conduct double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on the complete formulations.

While both show impressive results, they suffer from the same fatal flaw—they were paid for by the manufacturers, which presents a big conflict of interest.

Alpha Brain was the first nootropic company to publish peer-reviewed studies on their product. After 6 weeks, it was discovered that taking Alpha Brain significantly enhanced delayed verbal recall and executive functioning compared to a placebo group [10].

An experimental group taking Focus Factor and a placebo control group were also put to the test after 6 weeks of administration. The experimental group taking Focus Factor showed massive verbal learning and short-term memory improvements.

However, as I said earlier, the study was conducted by the parent company and was never subject to peer review.

Side Effects

The ingredients list may not be fully transparent on either product, but their user reviews are, and you can view a ton of reviews both on the companies’ websites and on Amazon, where the supplements are also available.

Only a small number of people complain of side effects such as headaches and nausea. The two products have many overlapping ingredients, so the potential for adverse effects is similar. However, Alpha Brain has larger doses of each, with higher chances for positive and negative effects alike.

My experience with the two supplements has been without any problems or inconveniences.  

User Reviews

Alpha Brain is very popular. The official product website has almost 7000 reviews with an average rating of 3.5/5 stars. Many people did not feel the effects, and their experiences were identical to mine, but a 3.5 rating indicates most people are satisfied.

Things on Amazon have a similar rating of 4/5, but there are about 40,000 reviews, demonstrating that the vast majority of customers are satisfied with their purchases.

The situation with Focus Factor is similar, which is even more surprising, given the underwhelming formulation and little chance of noticeable effects.

But I can’t argue with thousands of people who are happy with the product, regardless of whether they actually benefited or if it is simply a placebo.


Product1 Bottle / Regular1 / Regular1 Sub / Extra Strength
Alpha Brain$34.95 / 15 servings ($2.33/serving)$79.95 / 45 servings ($1.78/serving)$67.96 / 45 servings ($1.44/serving w/ subscription)
Focus Factor$29.99 / 37.5 servings ($0.80/serving)$54.75 / 70 servings ($0.78/serving)$77.88 / 107.5 servings ($0.72/serving)

My Experience With Alpha Brain And Focus Factor

Focus Factor vs Alpha Brain Benefits

Both products underperformed in my 30-day tests. Although I predicted as much given the low doses, so I should say they performed according to expectations.

Neither had any noticeable effects on me in one month of administration. Alpha Brain is much better dosed, and perhaps if I take it longer, it may provide some cognitive benefits since the ingredients are well picked, and I have had great results from other products with similar component lists.

I believe Focus Factor is too underdosed to work even with prolonged use.

Should You Choose Alpha Brain Or Focus Factor?

I love experimenting with supplements, and nootropics scratch my itch for self-improvement. Unfortunately, neither Alpha Brain nor Focus Factor satisfied me, and it’s hard to recommend either one.

Still, if the choice is only between the two, Alpha Brain is much better. The main proven nootropic agents in the two formulations are essentially the same, but Alpha Brain, as underdosed as it is, has much higher quantities of each, which makes it the better choice.


Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain

A nootropic supplement backed by prominent podcasters and clinical research for boosting brain function.


Second Best Option

Focus Factor

Focus Factor

An underdosed nootropic supplement that likely won’t give you brain-boosting benefits.



  1. Hidese, S., Ogawa, S., Ota, M., Ishida, I., Yasukawa, Z., Ozeki, M., & Kunugi, H. (2019). Effects of L-theanine administration on stress-related symptoms and cognitive functions in healthy adults: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrients, 11(10), 2362.
  2. Williams, J. L., Everett, J. M., D’Cunha, N. M., Sergi, D., Georgousopoulou, E. N., Keegan, R. J., … & Naumovski, N. (2020). The effects of green tea amino acid L-theanine consumption on the ability to manage stress and anxiety levels: A systematic review. Plant foods for human nutrition, 75, 12-23.
  3. Steenbergen, L., Sellaro, R., Hommel, B., & Colzato, L. S. (2015). Tyrosine promotes cognitive flexibility: evidence from proactive vs. reactive control during task switching performance. Neuropsychologia, 69, 50-55.
  4. Morgan, A., & Stevens, J. (2010). Does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons? Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 16(7), 753-759.
  5. Li, J., Wu, H. M., Zhou, R. L., Liu, G. J., & Dong, B. R. (2008). Huperzine A for Alzheimer’s disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).
  6. Mei, Z., Zheng, P., Tan, X., Wang, Y., & Situ, B. (2017). Huperzine A alleviates neuroinflammation, oxidative stress and improves cognitive function after repetitive traumatic brain injury. Metabolic Brain Disease, 32, 1861-1869.
  7. Parker, A. G., Byars, A., Purpura, M., & Jäger, R. (2015). The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(sup1), P41.
  8. Bhaskar Jyoti Dutta, Pratik Shankar Rakshe, Niyogita Maurya, Shivani Chib, Sanjiv Singh, Unlocking the therapeutic potential of natural stilbene: Exploring pterostilbene as a powerful ally against aging and cognitive decline, Ageing Research Reviews, Volume 92, 2023,
  9. Singh, H. K., & Dhawan, B. N. (1997). NEUROPSYCHOPHARMACOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF THE AYURVEDIC NOOTROPlC BACOPA MONNlERA LINN.(BRAHMI). Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 29(5), 359-365.
  10. Solomon, T. M., Leech, J., deBros, G. B., Murphy, C. A., Budson, A. E., Vassey, E. A., & Solomon, P. R. (2016). A randomized, double?blind, placebo controlled, parallel group, efficacy study of alpha BRAIN® administered orally. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 31(2), 135-143.

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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.