Natrol’s Cognium Review – the Evidence Based Brain Supplement

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By Leslie Waterson

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated


In a 2018 study conducted by 69% of adults, 18 – 34 years old use dietary supplements. Seventy-seven percent of those 35 – 54 years old use supplements, and 78% of those 55 years and older use supplements. And, it seems, the more educated the individual, the more likely they are to use a supplement in this nearly $36 billion industry.

After general health and wellness, one of the primary reasons adults in the U.S. cite for supplementing is for healthy aging. And, one of the fastest growing segments in supplementation is nootropics for brain health and improved cognition and memory. 

In addition to products explicitly targeted to address age-related cognitive decline, there is a growing trend among healthy people to use nootropics. Their objective is to gain an advantage in the workplace, the classroom, and even for improved athletic performance. Cognium, by Natrol, is one such product. It is positioned specifically for healthy adults who are seeking to improve memory and recall. 

Natrol's Cognium

What is Cognium

To quote Natrol’s website, “Cognium is a breakthrough in brain health, powered by a unique ingredient backed by human clinical studies. The product promises statistically significant improvements in memory and recall in healthy adults, in as little as four weeks.” 

We tend to like products, supplements and nutritional products that feature a limited number of ingredients. We also appreciate products that are transparent as to what those ingredients are, shunning proprietary blends. Cognium gets good marks on both counts as it features one ingredient only, CERA-Q Powder, a Silk Protein Hydrolysate. Natrol tells us that this patented ingredient is the most studied ingredient for memory among leading brain health supplements. Natrol also gets high marks for not including any stimulants in their product.

Cognium’s Key Ingredient – CERA-Q Powder

CERA-Q is found in the threads of silkworm cocoons. A brain imaging study indicated that CERA-Q works by increasing blood flow and glucose uptake to the brain’s centers for learning and memory. It should be noted the clinical studies were based on 200 mg taken twice daily. Regular Cognimum is 100 mg, taken twice daily. Take one tablet in the morning and one tablet again in the evening. The more expensive Extra Strength Cognium features the full 200 mg dosage used in the clinical trial.

Further studies suggest that Cognium also acts as an antioxidant for the brain, shielding it from free radicals and oxidative stress. Oxidation and low-level chronic inflammation are two of the leading causes of aging and are precursors to numerous health issues, including cognitive decline.

Natrol's Cognium Ingredients

Cognium Dosages

To date, there are only two products in the Cognium line, Regular (100 mg), and Extra Strength (200 mg). Both products come in 60 count bottles, which equates to a one-month supply, based on two servings daily.

Benefits of Cognium

We like Cognium’s focus. Play on words intended! Natrol cites Cognium’s ability to improve memory and recall in healthy adults as their only benefits. Natrol makes no energy claims, and it doesn’t aid in weight loss. Laser-like focus.

  • Improved Memory
  • Improved Recall

Cognium recommends usage for as little as four weeks to feel the product’s effects. 

Does Cognium Actually Perform – the Claims versus the Reality

We tend to trust well-documented, scientific clinical studies, at the appropriate dosages. In scanning the web for testimonials, there are far more positive reviews than negative. In all candor, the negative, third-party blogs that we reviewed were lightly concealed advertorials filled with misinformation on so many counts. 

Should you try Cognium and you’re not completely satisfied with the product, Natrol offers a full money-back guarantee. Return within sixty-days of purchase. Note: you will need to follow the Natrol process, which includes filling out their form. The rigor of Natrol’s process was cited by more than one consumer as being cumbersome. 

Natrol's Cognium Claim

Potential Side Effects of Cognium

Natrol claims there are no side effects from using Cognium, and the internet mentions only a few potential issues such as nausea, thirst, upset stomach, and excitability.

The Competition – Other Popular Cognition and Nootropic Products

There are many competitive products in the cognition category, both supplements, and prescription drugs. For our purposes, we’ll restrict this analysis to supplements, and only those from an established company using certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) manufacturing facilities. 

Prevagen Supplement

Best Places to Buy Cognium

Natrol does not sell Cognium on its own website, preferring to support their online and brick and mortar retailers. The product may be purchased online at Amazon and other sites, and in-store or online at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Vitamin Shoppe, etc. With over thirty-five years in the business, Natrol has distribution of Cognium in virtually every Food, Drug, Mass Merchandiser, and Specialty outlet in the U.S. 

Competitive Pricing

If there is one area where Natrol might be dinged, it is not the product, but the wildly disparate pricing of the product at different online retailers. Due to what we assume is aggressive promotional practices, prices can vary such as Regular 60 count selling for $17.37 at one online retailer, $23.17 at Wal-Mart, and $24.99 at The Extra Strength is no better, selling for $31.26 at Wal-Mart and $45.99 at Walgreens. 

Obviously, the smart consumer will shop aggressively to ensure the best possible deal. 

In Summary

We like what we see about Cognium. Natrol has approached this product in this segment intelligently and professionally. We especially appreciate the single ingredient, the transparency, and the lack of a stimulant in their product. Your goal in using a nootropic is to improve clarity, focus, memory, and recall, not to be overstimulated. 

So, whether you’re looking for an edge in the boardroom or the classroom, on the court or on the course, we think this is a viable alternative.

Overall Rating:
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Leslie Waterson

Leslie has been passionately involved in the health and fitness industries for over a decade. She is constantly reviewing the latest scientific research and studies in order to take a research-backed approach to lifestyle optimization. Her main areas of interest include nutrition and supplementation. Leslie shares her findings on Fitness Clone to help other health enthusiasts choose the products and routines that will help them achieve their goals.

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