Summary: Alpha BRAIN Instant Review
There is Alpha BRAIN and there is Alpha BRAIN Instant, and off the bat I’d like to say: Alpha BRAIN Instant is better. It’s a no-brainer, really: Alpha BRAIN Instant not only has more nootropic power but is cheaper than the standard version of this supplement. Plus, Alpha BRAIN Instant actually tastes pretty damn good, too, making this an all-around more enjoyable supplement; even if the Alpha BRAIN (proprietary, yuck!) formula, in both capsules and powder, isn’t exactly the best nootropic supplement that money can buy. Alpha BRAIN is a popular subject on reddit (/r/Nootropic) for its brand familiarity, with a mix of both very positive and very disappointed reviews. All the same, this is a decent stim-free nootropic stack for boosting some cognitive clarity and focus while also adding a few brain-nourishing nutrients to your daily supplement regimen.
About Alpha BRAIN Instant
- Onnit has been on it for awhile now, and they seem to be even more on it with Alpha BRAIN Instant, a rehash of their first nootropic stack: Alpha BRAIN.
- The first obvious difference between Alpha BRAIN & Alpha BRAIN Instant: The former is contained in capsules, the latter in powder drink packets.
- For both Alpha BRAIN products, the formula is essentially the same, with exception to a few fairly significant changes that Alpha BRAIN Instant makes.
Alpha BRAIN Instant Ingredients
|Amount Per Serving
|Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine HCl)
|10 mg (500% DV)
|Onnit® Flow Blend: L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Oat (straw) Extract, Phosphatidylserine
|Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) (bark) Extract
|Onnit® Focus Blend: L-Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine [Standardized to 50% GPC], Bacopa monnieri (aerial parts) Extract, Toothed Clubmoss (Huperzia serrata) (aerial parts) Extract [Standardized to 1% Huperzine A, 200 mcg]
|Onnit® Fuel Blend: L-Leucine, BioPerine® Black Pepper (fruit) Extract, Pterostilbene
Serving Size: 1 Packet (3.7 g)
Servings Per Container: 30
Other Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Stevia (leaf) Extract, Fructooligosaccharides, Silicon Dioxide, Citric Acid, Acacia Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Silica
Directions: Adults, as a dietary supplement, take one packet mixed with 8 ounces of cold water, preferably with a light meal. Do not take more than one packet in any 24-hour period.
Like an echo, Alpha BRAIN Instant is a nearly exact imitation of its predecessor, Alpha BRAIN, albeit with a little distortion. Let’s see if Instant’s distortion improves or worsens the original Alpha BRAIN formula by deep-diving into the powder’s ingredient profile:
Alpha BRAIN Instant Review: Ingredients
Vitamin B6 – Of the B vitamins, B6 has the most nootropic potential for its benefits on neurotransmitter status & cerebral circulation. More on Vitamin B6.
Cat’s Claw Extract – Not a true cognitive enhancing nootropic, but a quality extract of Cat’s Claw herb, a potent source of neuroprotective antioxidants. Potentially a great natural ingredient for long-term brain health protection.
Onnit Flow Blend, 1.15g
L-Tyrosine – Feeling stressed? Get some TYROSINE. One of the best nootropics for maintaining focus & mood through otherwise stressful conditions, such as sleep deprivation and/or exercise. The exercise angle here seems particularly geared towards Onnit’s target demographic of Joe Rogan listeners. I’m happy to see Tyrosine, which requires a sizable dosage to work, at the top of this 1,150mg proprietary blend. More on L-Tyrosine.
L-Theanine – Nootropic nerds are all about L-Theanine for its unique advantage on boosting alpha brain waves, the brain state associated with creativity & “wakeful relaxation.” This is a great natural nootropic to pair with caffeine, as it limits the jittery harshness of stimulants while sustaining (in fact, boosting) their focus sharpening benefits. More on L-Theanine.
Oatstraw Extract – Oatstraw is also commonly associated with alpha brain waves, however not to the degree that L-Theanine is. More than anything Oatstraw seems to enhance circulation, giving it relevance to both nootropics & physical performance enhancer supplements. More on Oat Straw.
Phosphatidylserine – I’m always down for some PS, given its well-demonstrated support on brain cell membranes & neuron communication. It’s such a reliable nootropic that I almost think it weird when nootropic stacks don’t carry this compound. More on Phosphatidylserine.
Related: Mind Lab Pro vs. Alpha BRAIN
Onnit Focus Blend, 225mg
Alpha-GPC – While I prefer the Citicoline route to choline, Alpha-GPC actually supplies a higher concentration of choline, the precursor to neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which has been associated with memory, learning, and high-order cognitive functions. More on Choline Sources.
Bacopa monnieri Extract – This Ayurveda adaptogen has various nootropic purposes, making it one of the more popular substances of discussion on reddit boards. Its most-recognized nootropic benefits include: Less stress and enhanced memory & learning. More on Bacopa.
Huperzia serrata Extract – In tiny doses Huperzine-A can have significant effect on neurotransmitter status & cognition. Huperzine-A’s inhibition of acetylcholinesterase complements the ACh-promoters (Alpha-GPC, Bacopa) in Alpha BRAIN Instant very well. More on Huperzine A.
Onnit Fuel Blend, 65mg
L-Leucine – Not sure what this is doing here. L-Leucine is commonly found in protein & post-workout supplements for its role in protein synthesis, but there’s no evidence of it supporting cognition. This blend’s 65mg overall dosage doesn’t look too good for this ingredient’s efficacy.
BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract – Onnit smartly adds this black pepper extract to their Alpha BRAIN Instant formulation, not previously found in the regular Alpha BRAIN supplement. In small doses BioPerine can significantly enhance nutrient absorption, increasing the overall bioavailability of this formula.
Pterostilbene – Resveratrol gets all of the attention for blueberry’s natural antioxidant benefits, but this resveratrol analogue is actually 4x more potent than regular resveratrol. Too bad you’re likely only getting a small impotent sprinkle of pterostilbene here. More on Pterostilbene.
Alpha BRAIN Instant Review: Formula Analysis
Alpha BRAIN Instant is essentially Alpha BRAIN, the same almost exact formula, with exception to 3 key differences that just might make all the difference:
- More Flow – Alpha BRAIN Instant’s Flow blend is dosed as 1,150 mg, nearly double that of the original formula’s 650 mg dosed Flow blend.
- Different Form – Alpha BRAIN comes in capsules. Alpha BRAIN Instant comes in powder mix packets, designed to mix with water for instant effect.
- BioPerine – Alpha BRAIN really doesn’t have an excuse for not providing black pepper extract (you only need like 5 mg of the stuff). Fortunately, Onnit includes it in the Instant formulation.
For all intents & purposes, Alpha BRAIN Instant is the same formula as its predecessor, delivering all of the same benefits: Enhanced focus, creativity, & relaxation; Reduced stress & fog. Plus, it’s non-caffeinated. Which makes me wonder how this stuff might taste when mixed with coffee? Probably really horribly awful, but the L-Theanine + Caffeine combo might be worth it.
Or you can just drink it on the side of your coffee, I suppose.
I’m not much of a fan of the original Alpha BRAIN formula. The negative customer reviews calling it ineffectual and overpriced (it is pretty pricey) are fairly on point with Alpha BRAIN. However, the changes made by the Alpha BRAIN Instant formulation has, well, improved the formula in the right direction.
Really, I’m iffy on Onnit altogether. This is a supplement brand that has gained popularity not for delivering supplements that work but for the celebrity power behind the brand. Yes, the Alpha BRAIN formula has been subjected to clinical studies, but even those studies are suspect as many other nootropic fans have noted on /r/Nootropics.
All-in-all, the benefits of Alpha BRAIN Instant are subtle. I imagine that, similar to Nootrobox (which had to rebrand when it was discovered that their formula’s weaker than coffee), Alpha BRAIN and Alpha BRAIN Instant don’t even compare to an average cup of coffee when it comes to cognition enhancement. Rather they supply healthy ingredients for the brain that might improve cognitive longevity, which is, really, more important than cognitive enhancement… but why not deliver both longevity and enhancement?
It doesn’t have to be a compromise.
Related: Best Nootropics for Anxiety
- Alpha BRAIN Instant makes significant improvements upon their original formula, nearly doubling the dose of its leading blend & adding BioPerine.
- Onnit crafts clean supplements, and Alpha BRAIN Instant is no exception, even going the non-caffeinated route, which is rare these days.
- The drink powder mixes are convenient & fun (not the most important factors in a nootropic review, I know), plus they’re pretty damn tastay.
- I wasn’t too big on the proprietary blends in the original formula. I don’t like them in this one none too much neither!
- The quality of certain ingredients can be improved–e.g. Pyridoxine HCl to P-5-P, soy-derived PS to sunflower-derived PS.
- Switching to powder form was smart, yet it introduced a number of junk additives, such as maltodextrin, flavors, etc.
- $59.95 for 30 packets, a 30-day supply
- $2.00 per serving
Who Takes Alpha BRAIN Instant?
Joe Rogen & Co. The sportsy cool-guy MMA dood is essentially the face of Onnit products and seems to be the target audience of Alpha BRAIN: Athletic men & women who like to maintain a mental edge. I view Alpha BRAIN & Alpha BRAIN Instant as let’s chill out & get to work supplements, so if that sounds good to you, then maybe you’ll be the one taking this stack.
Where to Buy Alpha BRAIN Instant
Conclusion: Does Alpha BRAIN Instant Work?
Alpha BRAIN is aight.
Alpha BRAIN Instant is even more aight.
Alpha BRAIN & Alpha BRAIN Instant kind of work–only in subtle ways that are more in support of clearer minds than massively enhanced cognition. If you’re already taking heavier, more powerful cognitive enhancers (e.g., adrafinil), Alpha BRAIN Instant may help take off the “edge” of those stimulants. Alpha BRAIN Instant’s L-Theanine + L-Tyrosine are great for polishing off the jittery edge of stimulants, while the remaining ingredients focus on long-term brain health & memory.
Frankly, I’ve found more value in supplementing standalone L-theanine and L-tyrosine than what I’ve found in taking Alpha BRAIN Instant. All the same, Alpha BRAIN Instant isn’t the worst nootropic supplement that money can buy, and it’s certainly better than the original formulation. Just don’t expect any drastically noticeable boosts in your cognition instantaneously — despite the promise held in the “Instant” on this product’s title.
|Brain Health Benefits