Alpha Brain vs Brain Stack

Alpha Brain vs Brain Stack

Which is better brain stack or alpha brain as far as nootropics go. The rage carries on. One side says alpha brain is better and the other side says brian stack is better. What is the purpose of each nootropic? Is one more popular than another? Is one more powerful than the other? Which is more cost effective than the other? Here is one person’s experience with alpha brain.

Testimony after using Alpha Brain

This individual took a second semester organic chemistry and supplemented his studying with dextroamphetamine and Alpha Brain at the undergraduate level. He finished number one in a class of 150. He gives his success to taking alpha brain and dextroamphetamine. The particular nootropic combination he took really enhanced his brain functions he claims. The dextroamphetamine (acts like a stimulant) allowed him to study for hours upon hours effectively. He studied for 12 hours straight in one session because of the dextroamphetamine and the alpha brain assisted him in retaining large amounts of information. It sounds like it worked as a memory enhancer for him.  

He claims that the alpha brain had a subtle effect on his brain. He took alpha brain twice a day but allowed himself time to cycle off as needed. He says the main active ingredient in alpha brain is Huperzine A which he has taken indiviually and it is much cheaper than alpha brain. He was not impressed with alpha brain as it may have allowed him to get a few questions right on an exam. He said a person would be better off making their own stack.

Alpha brain came out in 2010 and is the one of the most famous nootropics and it has grown in so in popularity over the last few years. In a review of alpha brain it was stated that it could be effective in enhancing cognitive functions. The only variable is that its effects range widely from individual to individual which makes sense because everyone is different. Three particular ingredients, vinpocetine, huperzia serrata, and alpha GPC are all synergistic for improving cholinergic functioning, but this is especially true in individuals who lack choline-rich diets (such as a diet low in eggs). These are three active ingredients in alpha brain.

Other factors about alpha brain are that some of its ingredients are not supplied in high enough dosage such as bacopa monnieri) yet others are at the recommended dosage according to scientific literature (such as L-theanine). The ingredients over time have changed but the side effects of alpha brain remain mild. (It sounds like alpha brain is an ineffective nootropic.) The side effects are non-existent most of the time but you need to remember it will be different from person to person.

Alpha Brain is one of the few nootropics that has had clinical studies. A 2015 study conducted by Boston University and published in the “Journal of Human Psychopharmacology  discovered significant findings concerning alpha brain:

  • 12% verbal recall improvement (compared to placebo)
  • 21% faster completion time (measured by executive function assessment compared to baseline)
  • As safe and tolerable as placebo

Finally, even though costs might be prohibitive if you purchase Alpha Brain, Onnit Labs helps save time by putting all the ingredients together for you. Apparently, alpha brain is very expensive. People in the nootropic community view the question “does x work?” a loaded question. In other words “does alpha brain work?” is a loaded question. Clinical trials conducted on alpha brain do answer generally whether it works or not. In the above results from the Boston University study it scored higher in a fw categories than placebo did. Alzheimer’s Association noted in subjects that took alpha brain had an increased alpha brainwave via EEG testing. This reflects higher state of relaxation and concentration.


Unhealthy Users

This is a no brainer but obviously alpha brain will work in people who have unhealthy lifestyles. For example, someone who has a diet comprised of fruit, large volumes of vegetables, healthy fats, and protein paired with adequate sleep and exercise have a lifestyle that is already healthy. This type of lifestyle might render some of the effects less intense or noticeable. Or there may no effects noticed at all.


Ingredients of Alpha Brain

Breakdown of the Ingredients


Vitamin B6

It is speculated that many American families are deficient in vitamin B6. In fact, 20 – 40% of the population is deficient in this essential nutrient, which is responsible for memory and concentration via a number of pathways in the body. Alpha brain contains 10 mg of vitamin b6 this would help anyone who is lacking in vitamin B6.



Alpha brain has been widely criticized for having lower than effective doses for certain nootropics. This may explain why is considered  by some to be a weak brain supplement. L-theanine isn’t one of those nootropics that is low in dose in alpha brain. There is 200mg present in the alpha brain supplement. This is considered to be a an effective dose by some scientific experts. The dosage of L-theanine can increased the levels of brain dopamine and serotonin. Some studies have concluded that from EEGs that adequate doses of L-theanine alone can improve alpha brain waves.


Cholinergic Function

Our ancestors used to eat the whole organs in the meat they ate. Today, many people don’t include the whole organs such as liver, kidney, and others. The meat organs provide high amounts of choline which is the dietary precursor for a brain chemical called acetylcholine. Today, many vegetarians and vegans are sorely deficient in choline as they consume no eggs or dairy products where it is found.

Acetylcholine (Acetyl and choline combined) is critical for memory formation. Alpha brain contains many ingredients that improve acetylcholine levels and function within the brain. Alpha GPC is one such ingredient, in alpha brain, that provides raw choline for the brain while huperzia serrata is a acetylcholinerase inhibitor, which prevents the brain neurotransmitter from being degraded. This has a substantial impact on memory formation and lucid dreams.

The Joe Rogan experience and other social media outlets say that alpha brain is effective for vivid, lucid dreaming. The possible nootropics in alpha brain that could cause this are huperzine and alpha GPC. Online research on the topic shows mixed degrees of success with some recounting “terrible nightmares”at the hands of Alpha Brain. These experiences are most likely rare and unique based on the individual. Rare or not these results could throw doubt on the power of alpha brain to produce vivid, lucid dreaming. Nightmares cannot be considered lucid but they are vivid in a harmful way.


Alpha Brain Hype       

Many ingredients in alpha brain are in adequate amounts to increase memory and concentration. Yet there are some ingredients in alpha brain that are either hype or questionable to their effectiveness. For example, Bacopa monnieri is one of the most effective Ayurvedic compounds and is still used in Indian villages with children to this day. This is one legitimate ingredient found in alpha brain. Evidence on bacopa monnieri abounds because there are so many people who take the drug and have done so for thousands of years. There is evidence that suggests that bacopa monnieri improves cognitive functions. But you have to get the correct dosage for it to enhance your brain functions. Alpha brain only has 100 mg of bacopa monnieri which is too little of a dose to have any significant effect on cognitive functions.    

Another ingredient AC-11 is a patented form of Cat’s claw (uncaria tomentosa), which is too under researched to make any cognitive claims besides antioxidant support similar to that of blueberries or dark chocolate.


List of Alpha Brain ingredients

List of Alpha Brain ingredients

  • Vitamin B6 (10 mg) – As a nutrient, there is no reason to consider it a threat to your health. So, it is claimed by some experts.
  • Alpha GPC (100 mg) – The FDA considers this “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS). Watch out for the “generally” regarded as safe.
  • Huperzia serrata (40 mg) – The extract (called Huperzine A) is included in twice as high as the recommended dosage. This assumes 1% huperzine A and if so, this might be the cause of the vivid dreams that haunt some people. This is a negative side effect.
  • Vinpocetine (5 mg) – vinpocetine is a relatively safe extract and this is half the recommended dosage. One of those ingredients that don’t come in adequate doses.
  • AC-11 (350 mg) – While this seems safe, the scientific literature is lacking (both in favor or against). Watch out for this ingredients too many unknowns about its functions.
  • Phosphatidylserine (50 mg) – This ingredient is well-researched and safe at a low dosage. Not much you need to be concerned over. This is a very low dose.
  • Bacopa monnieri (100 mg) – Safe nootropic with lots of research and thousands of years of Ayurvedic support. Solid historical evidence to support the validity of this ingredient.
  • Pterostilbene (750 mcg) – Relatively new compound with a higher than recommended dosage for most people. While there is little research, this is probably not threatening in any way. Little research this could be a concern.
  • L-tyrosine (300 mg) – This is a low dosage for a well-researched and safe nootropic compound. Is 300 mg really a low dosage?
  • L-theanine (200 mg) – Very safe and well researched. This is supposed to help cognitive functions.
  • Oat straw (100 mg) – Essentially, this is a filler for the product so there is nothing to worry about. Is oat straw a safe filler to consume?


Brain Stacks in Comparison

This user strongly suggests that you create your own brain stack to have wonderful effects on the mind. Brain stacks are designed for many reasons such as improving memory, concentration, or cognitive functions.  This particular user says that their chosen brain stack will help improve your mind in every function. This sounds like a “super” brain stack. Their quote “If you are a college student, businessperson, budding entrepreneur, or anyone that could benefit from improved memory, learning, focus, mood, and motivation, this nootropic stack will be perfect for you.”  The question needs to be asked What if brain stacks affect people differently? It doesn’t mean that because it has one effect on one person the next person will experience the same effect.

The information derived from this article is geared toward “intermediate” to “advanced” nootropic users. In other words if you fall into either one of these categories you know the ins and outs of creating your own brain stacks. What would be your ideal self? One who has high intelligence, mental clarity, a positive attitude, relentless motivation, smart social skills, and a healthy dose of confidence. The author of this article believes they have found the ‘perfect” brain stack combination. They claim they researched this brain stack for months. They also consider themselves to be an “expert” nootropic user.


Their stack is supposed to

Alpha Brain Hype

  • Enhance Your Ability to Learn
  • Deepen Concentration
  • Sharpen Focus
  • Improve Memory
  • Boost Creativity
  • Increase Social Fluidity
  • Supercharge Motivation
  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Provide a Sense of Well-Being


Ingredients of the brain stack 

  • 100 mg Caffeine
  • 200 mg L-Theanine
  • 300 mg NALT
  • 250 mg Alpha GPC
  • 500 mg Sulbutiamine (morning only)
  • 750 mg Aniracetam (morning only)
  • 20 mg Noopept (afternoon only)

Aniracetam and Noopept are the foundations of the brain stack. But when these two are combined with the other ingredients in the brain stack they all combine to the brain an enhanced experience by boosting their intelligence, memory, focus, social fluidity, mood, and motivation. It seems highly unlikely that this brain stack can increased intelligence artificially this seems a little far fetched. The brain stack is supposed to remove any inclination toward procrastination and will increase your natural drive to accomplish whatever you want to.


Breakdown of the Ingredients

Ingredients of Alpha Brain


Caffeine + L-Theanine for Relaxed Energy

It is hard to believe that caffeine can ever create a relaxed energy in the human body even if it is combined with L-theanine. It will increase all the effects of the other ingredients in the brain stack. Guaranteed relaxed energy will not be a result with caffeine used in the formula.


Sulbutiamine For Motivation And Feeling Good-

Sulbutiamine is supposed to make you feel fabulous. It is an effective agent in increasing your motivation. The inventor of this brain stack says it is one of the most motivating nootropics they have ever tried and it doesn’t leave you feeling nervous. Many people think  it affects dopamine levels, which would seem to make sense as its effects on motivation are similar to ADHD medicines. Tolerance to sulbutiamine can develop rather quickly, so it is recommended to take it on days where you need it most. In other words only take it when you really need it.


NALT for Focus Frenzy-NALT

Brain Stacks in Comparison(N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine) is a more bioavailable form of tyrosine this stack inventor says. The body uses to produce dopamine which is critical to the effectiveness of this brain stack. The goal is for it to help you achieve a focus similar to Adderall or other ADHD medicines but without the adverse effects of amphetamines. This is a great goal to shoot for. Combined with the other  brain stack components, especially the sulbutiamine, motivation, and focus are heightened. This seems to have been the experience of the inventor of this brain stack. The increase in dopamine will be used in many parts of your brain and increases all the effects of other stack ingredients. People on MAO inhibitors should not take N-acetyl-L-tyrosine.


Alpha GPC as a Stabilizer

Strikingly, alpha GPC is found in alpha brain. a choline compound, is a memory and cognitive enhancer on its own but most importantly it works well to enhance the brain-boosting factors of the other ingredients in this brain stack. The body converts alpha GPC into the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is involved in several brain functions. It plays a key role in memory formation.


Anxiety Reducer-Aniracetam

Aniracetam is a nootropic that is part of the racetam family. It is effective for learning and memory and it is a powerful anxiolytic, which means it has the potential to reduce anxiety in individuals, especially in social situations. This is according to the inventor of this brain stack. The user of this brain stack says they became a fluid speaker with no anxiety because of the aniracetam. It is also said to be a cognitive enhancer.


Noopept for Improved Memory

Noopept is also from the racetam family. It is supposed to be a super-memory enhancer nootropic. It will maximize this entire stack into a super brain stack. Again, this is according to the founder of this brain stack. It also helps to increased NGF levels in the brain. NGF is a protein that creates new neurons and these neurons are supposed to increased overall memory naturally if noopept is consumed for a long time.    


The Winning Conclusion

Testimony after using Alpha Brain

As promised we shared a comparison between alpha brain and a brain stack. The opinion is that a self-made brain stack would be more effective than alpha brain. Alpha brain is prefabricated and you cannot control the ingredients that go into it. So, you may not get the desired effects you want plus it is said alpha brain is an ineffective nootropic. On the other hand you can choose to make your own brain stack by putting whatever components you want in it. This way you control the combination of ingredients going into the brain stack. You choose the desired effects you want your brain stack to achieve.

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