Brain Supplements Review
You may have seen advertising both online and on television
for brain pills and supplements that are supposed to improve
your mental functioning in one way or another. I have mostly
stuck to cheaper nutritional supplements, but I have always been
curious. So I just did some quick online research on some of
the most popular (or most promoted) supplements for the brain.
I chose four to check out, and I ordered one of them to try
myself. This research is limited, to say the least. For example,
I went to forums where people reported their personal experiences,
and tried to find those who looked for some objective measure
of success. I ignored those who simply said things like "I
felt more mentally alert," without explaining further. Fortunately,
many users were more objective in their assessments.
For example, one user of Lucidal reported that after six weeks
he hadn't improved his scores on any of the mental agility tests
he did both before and after. Of course, most people don't bother
to get that scientific about there self-experimentation, but
many still report specific effects. One user found that Lucidal
kept him awake, for example, if he took it too close to bed time,
due to being "too mentally alert to sleep."
In any case, here is a summary of what others have found when
using the following four brain supplements...
Many who have tried this seemed to either get little or no
benefit or they report their improvements in vague terms. One
user did say that it has been helping him after a brain injury
that may have caused him to need extra nutrients.
That brings up an important point about many of these "brain
supplements." They may help simply because they provide
some vitamin, mineral or other nutrient that the user is deficient
in. In fact, many of these products are similar to multi-vitamin
pills, though hopefully with more of the specific elements that
are known to help brain function.
Lucidal is one of the more expensive of the "brain pills"
This is another popular brand supported by a large advertising
budget. One review site that claims to have had many "testers"
try the product said that it "does not have a noticeable
effect on short-term memory." This according to 90-day users
who did memory tests before and after. That's a shame for what
is advertised as "America's #1 Selling Memory Supplement."
Normally these kinds of "review sites" are questionable
as to their objectivity since many are just promoting products
for a commission. This one gains some credibility due to the
generally negative review, and the fact that I couldn't identify
and affiliate links for any of the products reviewed.
Unfortunately some users report upset stomachs and have to
quit taking the pills.
Focus Factor sometimes offers free trials, but you pay shipping
and sign up for an "auto-ship" program to get this.
I personally don't care for the trouble it usually is to cancel
these kinds of programs. I also don;t like the marketing technique
of saying "free" when there is a shipping charge that
isn't mentioned until after you give your name and email address.
This supplement is marketed by Vaxa Homeopathic Medicinals
to those with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Users comments
seem to indicate that the effect is mild. Some mention that coffee
is cheaper and more effective.
Although this formulation has many exotic plant substances,
it also has some of the known brain nutrients and mental ability
enhancers. However, like many of these products, it is doubtful
that with so many things packed into a few pills you can get
enough of any one of them to make much of a difference. This
product, for example, has over fifty ingredients.
If you get the recommended "Attend Strategy Pac"
(which includes two other brain supplements produced by Vaxa:
"Extress" and "Memorin+"), it will cost you
several dollars per day to use this.
Constant Focus seemed to have the most positive comments about
it. It has just seven ingredients: ginkgo biloba, vinpocetine
(biovinca), huperzia serrata (huperzine A), gotu kola, choline,
carnosic acid (rosemary leaf extract), phosphatidyl serine (LECI-PSR).
The limited number of ingredients and the three-capsule daily
regimen at least gives me hope that there can be enough of some
of these substances to actually have an effect.
I won't get into what each of these ingredients is supposed
to do for you. I have reported on some of them before. The general
claims for the product are improved attention, better absorption
of new information, more efficient work, and greater realization
of your mental potential. I will say that I seem to work better
(with more focus and clarity) when I take vinpocetine, which
is one of the ingredients.
As I was researching and writing this, I ordered a month supply
of Constant Focus, since it was the brain supplement that seems
to have the most positive user feedback. I will report on my
experiences in the newsletter, and I will update this page as
well. (See my review here: Constant
In general, I am skeptical of the claims made for most brain
supplements. I do suspect that they have some effects, but they
are prone to being over-hyped, and they are expensive. If a given
one works because of one or two ingredients, it would usually
be far cheaper to buy those substances on their own. If most
brainpower supplements work primarily for those who have nutritional
deficiencies (which could be a high percentage of the population),
it is certainly cheaper to take a good multi-vitamin and mineral
In any case, I do believe in self experimentation when it
is safe. I prefer it when it is also inexpensive, but I have
to try a few new things - including brain supplements - once
in a while. I'll let you know what my results are. As unscientific
as such anecdotal evidence is, it is often all we have until
the science catches up.
Update: You can read about the results of my self-experimentation
here: Brain Pills