Alpha Brain Review: Does Onnit’s Most Popular Nootropic Stack Live Up To It’s Hype?

Written By

Alpha Brain is a very famous nootropic supplement that was originally created in 2011 by Onnit CEO Aubrey Marcus, but only recently began to get popular once Joe Rogan and other started promoting it. After being featured in the news recently, more people have begun to talk about it and wonder if it is right for them. Read our review below to get the truth before you spend your money.

Our Rating: 

Clinically proven ingredients

One of the most popular nootropics

Mixed reviews, some users complain of terrible side effects

Expensive for low number of servings

This herbal remedy is used to help improve concentration as well as memory and can be used by anyone who wants to improve his or her memory, cognitive functions, and concentration.

It is perfect for both professionals and students who are under pressure to get work done on a timeframe and find that they need a little extra help to ensure that they concentrate and stick with the task at hand.

This supplement is considered by many to be a great way to get started with using nootropic supplements to help boost their memory because of the mix of ingredients and the fact that multiple studies have proven that it actually works.

Unlike other supplements where there is a lot of hype but no scientific proof to back up claims made by the manufacturer, Alpha Brain has been around long enough to have studies completed on it, making the claims by the manufacturer and its fans even more valid.

About the Company and Team

Onnit Labs, located in the US, is the producer of Alpha Brain as well as several other products. They believe that the nootropics are great for users who want to become smarter and to improve their overall cognitive function. They wanted to create a product that only contained nootropic ingredients and that would be backed by medical professionals.

CEO of Onnit Aubrey Marcus

Onnit CEO, Aubrey Marcus

The CEO of Onnit, Aubrey Marcus, has a degree from the University of Richmond in philosophy and classical civilization but ran a successful marketing company after graduation.

Finally in 2010, he formed Onnit and released Alpha Brain a year later. With partner Joe Rogan, Marcus has worked hard to turn Onnit into a company that provides not just nootropic supplements but also personal care products and fitness supplements.

The company believes in supporting the whole person and the health of the whole body and mind and encourages their employees to take chances and try new things.

How Does it Work?

While there are many studies that proclaim the success and usefulness of Alpha Brain, it’s important to remember that every person is different and what works for one person may not work for another.

People who are not very healthy in what they eat and how they exercise will see a marked improvement and experience more of a cognitive advantage over those who already have a healthy lifestyle.

That being said, Alpha Brain works by improving the brain’s cognitive function in two different ways.

First it gives the body raw choline, which is often found in organ meats. While it was common for a long time for humans to eat these foods, a natural decline in consumption can be directly related to issues with cognition, memory, and focus.

The second way that it works is by inhibiting acetylocholinerase, which is an enzyme in the brain. People who are deficient in choline are going to find that they experience more of an effect with Alpha Brain than those who eat a balanced diet and actually include organ meats on a regular basis.


One of the positive things about Alpha Brain is that they are completely transparent not only about what is included in the supplement but how much is in each dose. The ingredients are:

Pterostilbene (750 mg)

Found naturally in almonds, grape vines and leaves, and blueberries, pterostilbene helps to boost mental functions.

Two studies by experts in both Japan and the US show that users will enjoy improve mental function as well as less cellular inflammation and stress.

A supplement label showing the ingredients in Alpha Brain

Case Western Reserve University and the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Japan have both published their findings, one in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Cat's Claw (bark) Extract AC-11 (350 mg):

Also known as cat’s claw, AC-11 is packed full of antioxidants that help the body to repair itself after stress. It also allows users to enjoy better cognitive performance and better brain health. Penn State Hershey Medical Center has been studying the effects of cat’s claw on inflammation.

L-Tyrosine (300 mg):

This is included because it helps people with cognitive processes by reducing fatigue and stress and making focusing much easier. Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan has studied the effects of L-tyrosine on Parkinson’s disease.

L-Theanine (200 mg):

An amino acid, L-theanine allows users to feel alert while still relaxed so there is no additional stress. Nobre, Rao, and Owen studied the effects of L-theanine on mental alertness and attention and published their results in a study.

Alpha GPC (100 mg):

This essential amino acid helps to improve concentration, memory, and focus. It makes it much easier for the cells in the brain to communicate with each other. A 2003 study published in Clinical Therapeutics showed a vast improvement in Alzheimer’s patients.

Bacopa Monnieri (100 mg):

This is commonly used for cognitive enhancement as well as longevity. Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan supports the use of bacupa monnieri in enhancing learning and mental function, especially in regards to Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related mental decline.

Oat Straw (100 mg):

Oat straw is generally accepted as helping patients improve their focus and concentration by improving blood flow to the brain. In 2011, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed proof of this.

Phosphatidylserine (50 mg):

Papers published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition show that this soybean-derived ingredient help to improve memory and brain function of those who take it.

Huperzia Serrata (40 mg):

Derived from a Chinese herb, UC San Diego School of Medicine has been studying the effectiveness of huperzia serrata on improving the cognitive function of patients with Alzheimer’s and has seen benefits.

Vitamin B6 (10 mg):

When people are deficient in vitamin B6, they will suffer cognitive problems and decline. Northern Ireland researchers performed a study that proved that taking vitamin B6 allows users to avoid and reverse some mental decline.

Vinpocetine (5 mg):

This is a synthetic derivative of an extract from periwinkle. A 2014 study published in the Annals of Medical & Health Sciences Research shows that taking vinpocetine allowed participants to improve their concentration and memory.

Main Benefits

1. Long and Short Term Memory Improvements

Users will enjoy improved memory and the ability to access memories that are both short- and long-term, giving them confidence and allowing them to work hard and to hold their own in conversations with other people.

2. Easier Time Learning New Information

Additionally, users find that they have a much easier time learning, making Alpha Brain a great supplement to take prior to going to class or studying for a big exam or presentation. Alpha Brain allows users to better reason and to be able to make connections between bits of information a lot more easily.

3. Vivid Dreams

Finally, many users report that if they take Alpha Brain before bed, they have very vivid dreams. For people who are looking to experience vivid dreams and then to be able to remember them in the morning, this alone is reason enough to take the supplement, especially close to bed.

Side Effects

It’s important to be careful any time that you are going to take something that will alter the brain or change the chemistry of it so it’s normal to expect some side effects with Alpha Brain. While the FDA reports that Alpha Brain uses safe ingredients, overdosing on this supplement could have unfortunate effects, especially if you are unsure of how your body will react to each of the individual ingredients.

Because Alpha Brain affects the levels of acetylcholine in the brain, it’s important to note that if you already have an overabundance of acetylcholine, then you will experience adverse reactions. An excess of this neurotransmitter can cause a person to experience headaches and even pressure around the jaw. Knowing this, if you have these side effects, you will likely want to discontinue use.

One other side effect that is only reported among users who take Alpha Brain towards the evening to affect their dreams is that they sometimes have dreams that are too vivid to be enjoyable. This can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep or to feel rested the next day.

Customer Complaints

No Effects - Some of the most common customer complaints center around users taking the supplement and not feeling any different or noticing a difference in their cognition.

Low Doses of Ingredients - While the users argue that this means that there is not enough of each ingredient in the supplement to make a difference, the company argues that this means that the person taking Alpha Brain was already so healthy that it was difficult for the supplement to work or make a difference.

Too Expensive For Amount - Other users complain about the cost compared to what kind of improvement in their mental clarity and focus that they achieve. They say that Onnit prices their products too high for such a small boost in brain power. These users usually admit that they did notice a difference in their cognitive ability but that it was small when compared to the cost that they had to pay.

Reviews: What Customers Say About it

There are a number of positive reviews online for Alpha Brain where the users extol the benefits of taking this supplement.

User “choppa9” said that while they were very skeptical to take Alpha Brain, after using it for a few months, they have noticed that their “50+ year old memory has actually improved.” They also state that they see a major difference in their though processing and how sharp they are during the day, especially when they get a great night’s sleep in conjunction with the supplement.

“Cshadd21” states that while Alpha Brain is not a super drug that will instantly improve your GPA, it is great to help you focus and remember what you are studying. They say that it has helped them make clear decisions and to “crack down when I wanna do something.”

User “eternalsunscorp” swears by Alpha Brain and recommends it to anyone who has to think a lot during the day. They note that when taking it regularly, they have found that they have more energy for thinking. They note that “thinking becomes cleaner, more productive.”

“Taofit” admits that the product is a bit pricey but goes on to say that using it every day is the best way to make sure that it builds up in your system and allows you to reap all of the benefits from the ingredients. They say that “it takes time for it to actually work and build up in your system” so not to expect a sudden increase in mental cognition but that you will notice improvements over time.

Money-Back Guarantee

Full-size Alpha Brain products can be returned for a money-back guarantee but only if they were purchased through the company. They will not accept any returns from outside locations and the return fee is paid by the customer, not the company.

Before sending back the product for a refund, it’s important to contact customer service to talk to a representative. The guarantee is only allowed within 90 days of the purchase. Entry-size supplements do not have to be returned for money back but this is minus the shipping and any discounts.

Final Conclusion

One of the best things about Alpha Brain is that Onnit is so transparent about the ingredients and how much to expect in each capsule that you take. This makes it easy to make sure that you aren’t going to be taking too much of any one ingredient.

With a 2015 study showing that it actually benefits users who take Alpha Brain in helping with learning and memory as well as their money-back guarantee, there is no reason not to try Alpha Brain for yourself.

Where to Buy

It’s best to buy directly from Onnit on their website so you can take advantage of their money-back guarantee if the product doesn’t work for you. A 90-count bottle costs $67.96, which makes each capsule just $0.75 and each dose of two capsules $1.50. Choosing to buy a 30-count bottle lowers the overall price to $29.71 but makes each capsule $0.99 and each dose $1.98.

Finally, buying two 30-count bottles costs $50.90 and makes each capsule $0.85 and each dost $1.69. There is a subscribe-and-save option that will save you 15% off of the total cost for your shipment and will send it to you automatically every two weeks, one month, six weeks, two months, or three months.

About Nicole Gleichman

Nicole Gleichmann is an avid self-improvement enthusiast who loves to help her readers become the best versions of themselves. For the past five years, she's dedicated her life as a wellness writer and nutrition coach to learning everything there is to know about human potential. In her free time, she spends her days traversing the mountains, playing with her dogs, and traveling the world in search of new perspectives. Nicole's journey towards discovering the body's potential started with her undergraduate degree in Organismal Biology. Since that time, she's worked with fitness experts, naturopathic doctors, and other health and wellness professionals, learning all she can along the way. Nicole's experience is in an Organismal Biology degree, 5 years in health and wellness writing and research, and 3 years as a nutrition coach.