Have you ever sat and wondered whether or not there’s a supplement that helps improve mental ability? It sounds far-fetched and unrealistic, but wouldn’t life be easier if we had the ability to boost our cognitive function whenever we needed it?
It’s a concept that’s been around for thousands of years, but only recently has it gained mainstream popularity as a supplement. The rise of nootropics in the supplement community is equivalent to the rise of CBD in the medical community.
With all the companies jumping aboard the nootropic train, one brand — Formula Focus — claims to have the ‘world’s best selling nootropic.’ In this review, we’re going to examine this product top to bottom in order to determine its true value on the nootropic market.
So, let’s get started with this Formula Focus review!
What Is Formula Focus?
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Formula Focus isn’t new to the supplement community. Although they’ve been around for about five years now, it’s one of those supplements that’s difficult to find information on.
In addition to that, it’s a supplement commonly confused with another supplement — which is called Focus Formula. To avoid any confusion, Formula Focus (which we’re talking about) and Focus Formula are completely different supplements.
Formula Focus markets itself as a nootropic supplement, which means it enhances cognitive function, activity, and health. It contains eight ingredients, but before we get into those, we need to understand a little background behind what nootropics are, what makes a good nootropic, and what Formula Focus claims to do.
How Do Nootropics Work?
Like we mentioned above, nootropics are a line of supplements aimed at enhancing your cognitive abilities. In other words, it makes your brain work more efficiently and effectively, allowing you to perform at your best throughout the day.
More specifically, nootropics target five main areas of cognitive function — memory, mood, energy, health, and focus. Some nootropics target one specific area, while others target a multitude or all areas. In Formula Focus’ case, they target all areas.
Let’s take a brief look at how nootropics enhance these five areas:
- Memory – the main neurotransmitter in the brain connected to memory and recall is acetylcholine, which can be produced when choline is added to our diet
- Mood – the main neurotransmitters in the brain that influence mood are dopamine and serotonin, which help us feel more at peace with ourselves
- Energy – by increasing ATP production, the brain gets the energy it needs to perform at its best. Some nootropic ingredients promote a more soothing energy boost than caffeine
- Focus – the neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline (also called epinephrine and norepinephrine) help stimulate the fight or flight response, which increases focus
- Health – reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, as well as improving blood flow, helps your brain function properly at all time and helps reduce cognitive decline
What Should You Look For In A Nootropic?
Since nootropics are still rather new to the Western world, there’s still a lot to learn about these wonderful supplements. In addition to that, more ingredients are being added to the nootropic list every year as we learn more about how the brain works and what it needs to function properly.
With that being said, it’s pretty easy to spot a ‘sketchy’ nootropic supplement from a quality one. The first thing you’ll want to consider is the ingredients used since that will tell you how effective the supplement is.
Certain ingredients have scientific evidence supporting them, while others do not. Of course, you’ll want to stick to the supplements backed by science. It’s not that the other ones won’t work; you just don’t want to take the risk.
Some of the other things you’ll want to look for in a nootropic are that it’s safe to use daily, it’s easy to use, and it meets your budget. Try avoiding nootropics that require you to cycle on and off, as well as ingredients that are overpriced or impractical — like having to take 5 capsules per serving.
At the end of the day, you want a nootropic supplement that not only walks the walk, but talks the talk.
What Claims Are Made About Formula Focus?
Speaking of ‘walking the walk,’ let’s take a brief look at the claims made by Formula Focus. I think it’s extremely important to take the claims into consideration since that’s essentially what they’re valuing their product at on a seller’s level.
When you visit their official website, which is one of the only ways you’ll come across this supplement, you won’t be given much information. With that being said, you won’t be given a lot of claims, either.
In fact, one of the only claims they do make is that Formula Focus is the best-selling nootropic on the market today. To be honest, I’m not sure how accurate that is because there are a lot of popular nootropics that are killing it today.
Some of the other claims made are that the ingredients are backed by science and proven to enhance focus and brain cognition. It claims to provide an energy boost without a crash, jitters, sugar, aspartame, or artificial ingredients.
The final claim they make is that their supplement is manufactured by one of the largest natural supplement manufacturers in the United States, helping them maintain FDA and GMP regulations.
Formula Focus Ingredients
Now that we’ve taken a good background look at this nootropic supplement, let’s roll our sleeves up and see what’s inside. Although you won’t easily find specifics about Formula Focus on their website, they do provide us with the ingredients when you look inside their FAQ.
Here’s a look at the ingredients and dosages:
- Vinpocetine – 2mg
- Bacopa Monnieri – 100mg
- St. John’s Wort – 250mg
- Phosphatidylserine – 125mg
- Ginkgo Biloba – 50mg
- Glutamine – 150mg
- Acetyl L-Carnitine – 50mg
- DMAE Bitartrate – 50mg
I know many of you are probably wondering what those ingredients are and how they’re supposed to help our brains perform better. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered below!
Benefits: increase blood flow to the brain, improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s, could help you burn fat (research is lacking in all of these areas)
Source: a compound (synthetic alkaloid) derived from the Periwinkle plant, we don’t fully absorb it, but what we do absorb enters the blood quickly and has the ability to enter the brain
Recommended Dosage: less than 60mg per day
Side Effects: indigestion, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, facial flushing, insomnia, headache, drowsiness, and dry mouth when taken in high doses
Benefits: contains antioxidants, reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, improves memory and spatial learning, reduces ADHD symptoms, prevents stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure levels
Source: an ancient herb that was heavily used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, also goes by the names water hyssop, brahmi, and the herb of grace, known to grow in wet climates
Recommended Dosage: 300-450mg per day
Side Effects: nausea, upset stomach, cramps, and vomiting when taken in high doses
St. John’s Wort
Benefits: can help improve depression symptoms and reduce stress or anxiety, can help treat wounds, bruises, or burns,
Source: an herbal supplement also known as Hypericum perforatum, looks like a shrub with yellow flowers, largely made popular in Greece
Recommended Dosage: 300-1,200mg per day
Side Effects: can have a negative effect on enzymes that break down medications and clear ingested chemicals from the body when taken in high doses
Benefits: helps cells produce energy, improves cell-signaling, works alongside neurotransmitters in the brain, protects the brain from damage, promotes nerve cell renewal and brain maintenance
Source: a vitamin-like chemical that is produced naturally in the body, it’s found in high concentrations in the brain, though some animal foods contain small amounts
Recommended Dosage: 150-300mg per day
Side Effects: insomnia and upset stomach in high doses
Benefits: contains powerful antioxidants, reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, improves blood circulation, increases mental performance, improves memory, and reduces stress or anxiety
Source: also known as the maidenhair tree, this ancient herb dates back over 270 million years and is the only existent species in its family
Recommended Dosage: 120-240mg per day
Side Effects: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, headaches, diarrhea, and rashes when taken in high doses
Benefits: helps the body produce glutathione (antioxidant), reduces oxidative stress and inflammation, metabolizes glucose, transports nitrogen, improves protein synthesis and muscle growth, and regulates acid-base balance in the body
Source: known as a conditionally-essential amino acid, the most abundant amino acid in the body, acts as a precursor to both GABA and glutamate, can be found in protein-rich foods and vegetables
Recommended Dosage: 2,000-5,000mg per day
Side Effects: nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, swelling, muscle pain, headache, joint pain, dizziness, raches, and dry skin when taken in high doses
Benefits: helps the body produce energy at the cellular level by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, reduces blood pressure and inflammation, can help with weight loss, transports fatty acids into the mitochondria
Source: the body naturally produces this nutrient from lysine and methionine (amino acids), can be found in most meats
Recommended Dosage: 100-2,000mg per day
Side Effects: diarrhea, vomiting, upset stomach, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, headaches, and nausea when taken in high doses
Benefits: improves the production of acetylcholine in the brain, enhances memory and recall, regulates sleep patterns, pain response, and muscle contractions, reduces hyperactivity in the brain
Source: found naturally in the body and commonly goes by the name Deanol, also found in fatty fish
Recommended Dosage: 100-200mg per day
Side Effects: increased blood pressure, stomach upset, headaches, muscle tension, drowsiness, confusion, and irritability in high doses
Formula Focus Dosages, Packaging, & Pricing
Formula Focus comes in a rather simple bottle design. It comes in a blackish-gray bottle with a silver top. The label is white with lettering that matches the color of the bottle. On the front, you see FOCUS in large words and the words’ Nutrition for your brain’ written in cursive on the bottom.
Without purchasing the product, you don’t get a clear look at the amount of pills in each bottle or how many capsules you need to take per serving. The website does, however, state that each bottle will last you one month.
For a one-month supply, you’re looking at $67.95. You can save an incredible amount of money by purchasing a larger supply. A three-month supply only costs $119.95, and a five-month supply only costs $149.95.
I would like to note that most supplements give a discount when you purchase more, but it’s generally not this big of a discount. That could be because they’re generous, but it could also be because they’re hiding something.
Formula Focus Pros vs. Cons
We’ve discussed just about everything there is to know about Formula Focus and what all the hype’s about, but I can understand if you’re still unsure whether or not this supplement can be trusted.
Since there are a good amount of positives and negatives with this supplement, we’re going to list out the various pros and cons to help make your decision easier. Then we’ll go into a deeper analysis of the product before wrapping things up.
- Targets all five areas of cognitive function — memory, health, energy, mood, and focus
- Less expensive the more you buy
- Bacopa Monnieri and Ginkgo Biloba are two of the most prominent nootropics known today
- ALCAR improves energy without the use of caffeine
- DMAE is known to improve memory
- Glutamine is good for digestion and reduces oxidative stress
- Phosphatidylserine helps protect the brain
- Purchasing one bottle at a time is expensive
- Not very transparent or informative about their product
- Don’t know how many capsules per serving
- Almost force you to purchase their product without knowing much about it
- Vinpocetine is legal in the US, but banned in certain countries including Canada and Australia
- Could use more Bacopa Monnieri
- St. John’s Wort isn’t recommended by a lot of professionals
- More research is needed for DMAE
Claims vs. Reality
Earlier in this review, we took a look at the various claims made by Formula Focus. They kept things simple by marketing it as a cognitive booster, which it is, but they did make the bold claim of it being the best-selling nootropic to hit the market.
While we can’t fact-check them on that, I would find it hard to believe if they were the best-selling one and think it’s more of a marketing trick to hook customers.
The good news is there are some really good ingredients in this. Bacopa Monnieri, Ginkgo Biloba, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Glutamine, and Phosphatidylserine help give your brain an overall boost. The only thing I would say with these ingredients is that the dosages could be a little higher for some of them.
I need more research before growing confident in DMAE and am not sold on St. John’s Wort or Vinpocetine. I think these three ingredients could’ve been swapped out for something else, and that would’ve made this supplement so much better.
Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, and L-Theanine are some that come to mind, but there are plenty of other ingredients that would work better than DMAE, Vinpocetine, and St. John’s Wort.
Formula Focus Alternatives
When shopping for the perfect supplement for you or a loved one, it’s essential you keep your options open as there are a wide range of different supplements to choose from. Even when you narrow your search down to nootropic supplements, you’ll still be left with plenty of quality options.
Formula Focus isn’t necessarily a bad nootropic supplement, but they’re not as transparent as other brands, and it might leave you feeling more comfortable going with a different brand. If this sounds like you, we’ve listed some of the most prominent nootropic supplements for your consideration.
Performance Lab Mind
One of our personal favorite nootropic supplements, Performance Lab Mind, is as simple as it is effective. If you were unhappy with the amount of ingredients in Formula Focus, this one only contains half of that amount.
The four ingredients included in this formula are Citicoline, Phosphatidylserine, L-Tyrosine, and Maritime Pine Bark Extract. It’ll improve all five areas, just like Formula Focus, but will do so much more effectively.
Each bottle of Performance Lab Mind will cost you $49, but you receive a free bottle with a three-month purchase ($150 for four months) — which is similar to Formula Focus.
Mind Lab Pro
Where Performance Lab Mind had fewer ingredients than Formula Focus, Mind Lab Pro has more ingredients — 11 to be exact. In terms of nootropic ingredients, Mind Lab Pro utilizes a majority of the best ones available.
This formula includes 250mg of Citicoline, 150mg of Bacopa Monnieri, 500mg of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, 100mg of Phosphatidylserine, 175 mg of L-Tyrosine, 100mg of L-Theanine, 50mg of Rhodiola Rosea, and 75mg of Maritime Pine Bark Extract. There will also be Vitamins B12, B6, and B9.
Mind Lab Pro is a little more expensive than Performance Lab Mind, coming in at $65 per bottle. Still, you receive a free bottle with the purchase of a three-month supply — $200 for four months. Since it’s a higher-quality formula than both Formula Focus and Performance Lab Mind, it’s well worth the extra investment.
The two nootropic supplements listed above are excellent all-around cognitive enhancers, and while HVMN Nootrobox offers that as well, they do so in a unique way. Instead of offering each benefit in one capsule, they split them up into four different capsules — Rise, Yawn, Kado, and Sprint.
Rise, which features Bacopa Monnieri, Ashwagandha, and Citicoline, is designed to improve memory and recall. Sprint, which features Caffeine, L-Theanine, and Panax Ginseng, improves focus and energy.
Kado, which features Vitamins D3 and K, Omegas, and Astaxanthin, improves brain health. Yawn, which features L-Theanine, L-Glycine, Melatonin, and Magnesium Glycinate, improves your sleep patterns.
You can purchase each of these supplements individually for just over $30 each, but they also offer them in a ‘nootrobox’ for $110 — where you receive a bottle of each.
Final Verdict: Formula Focus
There are some good things about Formula Focus, and they definitely utilize some highly-effective ingredients. Unfortunately, there are three ingredients I’m not entirely sold on, and that’s going to make a major difference when compared to some of the other major players on the market.
I’m also a little weary about their marketing strategy. They don’t tell you much up-front and make it difficult just to find the ingredient list. They definitely give you reason to be suspicious, despite their ingredients not being banned or illegal in the United States.
With the success Performance Lab Mind, Mind Lab Pro, and HVMN Nootroox have had in the nootropic community, you’re better off trying one of those before jumping the boat to something less-reliable like Formula Focus.