We’re always looking for the next scientific development in supplements. Whether it comes from a new entrant to the field like Feedamind or someone who’s been in the game for a while like Alpha Brain.
So when the new Alpha Brain Black Label came out, we were keen to get started on the research. We definitely had some questions–is it just hype and marketing? Is it worth the extra cost? And more to point, is it really an upgrade over an already proven product? Here’s what we found out.
Alpha Brain Black Label
Overall Rating: 4.0/5
Who is Alpha Brain?
Many of our readers already know of Alpha Brain, from established supplement maker Onnit. What started out as a Nootropic and wellness brand has become a movement of fitness trainers, workout enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to improve themselves. Their website offers Nootropics, Digestive Health, and kettlebells.
Alpha Brain Black Label is their newest addition, and it’s made for the elite performers. Even people already taking Alpha Brain can benefit from 1-3 day stretches of boosting with Black Label.
Benefits of the Black Label
What does Black Label do, and how does it do it.
I’ve mentioned the high doses of the ingredients in Black Label, but it bears repeating. They have a full 250 mg of Citicoline, the branded form of Choline that keeps your neurons firing on all cylinders. The Original formula had a fraction of that, and some competitors only have half that amount.
Many creative types and high performing professionals can attest to something called Creativity Crash. It happens when someone like an artist has been churning through a series on a given subject, and just hits a wall. The same happens with salespeople, traders, and athletes. In Alpha Brain Black Label, Onnit has included a whopping 1,000 mg of Velvet Bean, or Mucuna pruriens, which studies have shown can actually raise dopamine levels to stave off depressive states. Which keeps you driving and keeps you creating.
Many products that use language like “turbo” or “extra” are really just using inhumane levels of caffeine to simulate other benefits. For instance, the early 2000s were famous for “diet pills” that had so much caffeine they caused heart problems. Not the case in Alpha Brain Black Label. With only 25 mg of caffeine, less than a third what you get in coffee, you know that your drive and energy are coming from 100% Nootropic effect.
Ingredients and Evidence
Here’s the nitty gritty. The hard science behind some of Black Label’s claims, and some explanation for the huge doses.
Velvet Bean – 1,000 mg
We’ve already mentioned that Velvet Bean displays pro-dopamine responses in people’s brains, but the way it does it is as intriguing as the effect itself. It turns out that Mucuna pruriens may also help prevent degeneration of brain tissue as seen in some Parkinson's-like illnesses. These processes result in better cognition and resistance to neuron damage.
Lion’s Mane – 500 mg
It’s one thing to prevent damage, but what about actually increasing the growth rate of our neurons? That’s where Lion’s Mane steps in. A clinical trial concluded that use of this mushroom can induce our brains to grow a larger number and better differentiated neurons. That means not only better memory and cognition, but creativity, logic, and mood.
Cognizin® – 250 mg
A branded name for the powerful compound Citicoline (choline), this is the precursor compound to ATP, the trigger that makes every nerve cell and brain cell in our body kick into action. And there’s good science behind this hefty dose: recent scholarship indicates that 9 out of 10 people don’t get enough Choline, which perhaps explains why Nootropics are so sought after.
SerinAid® – 200 mg
This is another partnership with a branded name, this time for the fatty cell protector called Phosphatidylserine (PS). Classified as a phospholipid, anyone taking anatomy may recognize it as the compound that protects cells and provides the barrier by which they intercept nutrients. In cognition studies, Japanese researchers have noted that supplementation can improve both short and long term memory, and other scientists have noted its role in rapid-recall, language skills, and reasoning.
L-Theanine – 100 mg
Noted amino acid L-Theanine is a mainstay of the Nootropics field, some stunning results in a novel study make it a great addition for something like Black Label. This research showed that the lower people scored on cognitive tests the greater the L-Theanine benefit. In other words, when your normal Nootropic needs a day off so you can have an On Day, the huge Theanine dose in Black Label could do the trick.
Caffeine – 25 mg
Onnit’s Black Label doesn’t take shortcuts–no matter what the competitors do. That means that for their instant impact formula they only use enough caffeine to speed nutrients through the system as part of its vasodilation. But Onnit knows that too much caffeine leads to vasoconstriction in the brain. Put plainly, this is just enough caffeine to speed the good stuff to the brain, but not so much it chokes off the brain’s blood flow.
Toothed Clubmoss – 20 mg
Known in scientific circles as Huperzia serrata, the Toothed Clubmoss has been used for generations in herbal remedies for cognitive decline in the elderly. But what does modern science have to say? Largely that the traditional doctors had the right idea. Turns out that in doses only have of Black Label’s, Clubmoss can actually turn back the clock on cognitive decline, and could even lead to Alzheimer’s Disease treatments.
Who is Alpha Brain Black Label For?
I will always give my readers the level best advice I can. And for Black Label, I have to say, it’s not for everyone. If you’re new to Nootropics, or don’t know what effect you’re looking for out of new supplementation, then starting off with something like Feedamind is better recommended.
Alpha Brain Black Label is really for the top-end performers who, every once in a while, need to kick it into high gear for a day or three. Like when you need to close a specific sales deal, or you’re in the final run of a programming project, or you have a weekend gaming tournament. It’s for those of us already taking a Nootropic, but who sometimes need something extra.
Based on my research, and how Alpha Brain is packaging this product, I highly recommend Black Label for the intended audience. I’ve read some reviews of people new to Nootropics who aren’t seeing good effect. Those folks should probably start with a Bacopa Monnieri driven supplement, much like the Original Alpha Brain.
But for people looking for an extra edge a few times a month, Black Label is a sure-fire winner, and should be added to anyone’s regimen.
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