Have you ever woken up in the morning with a mind that struggled to stay on task? It didn’t matter what you were doing; it would always end with you either daydreaming, nodding off, or finding something to distract yourself with.
We’ve all had those days, and anyone who denies it is simply lying. Some people will say they woke up on the wrong side of the bed; others will have a legitimate excuse for their lack of concentration. Either way, the solution will always be found in the brain.
This is where nootropics can play an enormous role in your life. Nootropics are a unique line of ingredients designed to optimize and enhance cognitive function. They help the brain in a variety of ways, including memory, mood, brain health, mental energy, and focus.
When shopping for a nootropic stack that can enhance focus, it’s important to know what you’re looking at and how they work. Whether you’ve already begun searching or are getting ready to, there’s a good chance you’ll run into Qualia Focus — a nootropic created by Neurohacker Collective.
Don’t worry; we’ll break down everything you need to know about this product before making a purchase in this review of Qualia Focus!
What Is Qualia Focus?
Neurohacker Collective has made a name for itself in the nootropic industry. While they boast a robust stack of powerful ingredients, they’ve also received a healthy dose of criticism for their highly-expensive line of supplements.
The good news here is that Qualia Focus is their attempt at creating a cheaper alternative to their “high-end” products with less capsules per serving. The bad news is, well, it’s still super expensive and still requires five capsules per serving.
With that being said, it doesn’t mean Qualia Focus won’t work. In fact, there’s a very good chance this works for anyone with the amount of ingredients involved. It contains 24 ingredients that are all designed to enhance focus and concentration so you can rock through your to-do list with ease.
We’ll go through each ingredient one-by-one further into this review, but we also want to make sure you understand the role the brain plays in concentration and how nootropic ingredients assist that process.
Let’s find out!
How Do Nootropics Improve Focus?
Your brain is a spectacular masterpiece with capabilities far beyond anyone’s belief. They are constantly working to keep your body functioning, so it’s understandable why they would need a break every now and then.
As much as we try to plan these mental breaks around our schedule, it doesn’t always work out as planned. Maybe you got to bed late, didn’t get enough sleep, got too much sleep, or simply haven’t given your body a chance to sit down throughout the day.
When this happens, it throws off the chemical balances in the brain, and this is where the loss of focus is experienced. Believe it or not, there are more than 50 neurotransmitters in the brain that contribute to cognitive function. Still, only 4 of them will have a major effect on focus — norepinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine, and glutamine.
- Acetylcholine – known as the “chief neurotransmitter” because it’s the most abundant one in the brain. It moderates attentional focus, filtering, and visual attentional focus.
- Glutamine – brains utilize glutamine when faced with a tough task, but supplements can help replenish glutamine levels so the brain can perform when needed most.
- Dopamine – many of you have heard of this neurotransmitter because it plays a role in mood management and pleasure, but it can also help you zone in on the task at hand.
- Norepinephrine – when your brain runs low on norepinephrine, it becomes extremely easy to lose focus and mental flexibility. Taking supplements helps keep those levels up.
When searching for a supplement that will give you the focus and concentration needed on a daily basis, you’ll want to find one that targets these four neurotransmitters. Keep in mind, there are plenty of nootropic ingredients that won’t contribute to focus, so always do your research.
What’s The Difference Between Qualia Mind And Qualia Focus?
One of the questions we often see regarding Qualia Focus is how it differs from Qualia Mind, another supplement formulated by Neurohacker Collective. Many will confuse the two, and others will believe they’re the same thing, but we’ll straighten that out right now.
The two main differences between the two are price and purpose. Qualia Mind is an all-around nootropic that will target memory, focus, energy, health, and mood. It also costs an insane amount of money at $139 per bottle with much higher dosages.
On the other hand, Qualia Focus is strictly targeting, you guessed it, focus and concentration. It’ll feature a lot of the same ingredients as Qualia Mind, but will cost half as much. There are also a few ingredients not found in Qualia Mind that you’ll find in Qualia Focus.
When Should You Take Qualia Focus?
Qualia Focus is designed for daily use in the morning, but some people like to save it for that special occasion. It contains ingredients that will contribute to both short-term and long-term brain function. It should be noted that consumers should cycle through the product — for example, 5 days on and 2 days off every week.
We’ve seen this supplement utilized in a variety of ways, including:
- Getting ready for a big test or exam week for school
- Preparing yourself for the presentation at work
- Listening to a long speech or lecture
- Avoiding that everyday brain fog and mental fatigue
When you start a task that’s going to require a large amount of concentration and mental energy, Qualia Focus can help give you a sense of preparedness and equip you with the skills needed to get through the day.
Are Any Claims Or Guarantees Made About Qualia Focus?
Due to the high-quality ingredients found in Qualia Focus, they do make quite a few claims and guarantees about the product. As we go through the ingredients, you’ll notice that a lot of these claims are supported by the ingredients.
Unfortunately, just like Qualia Mind, this supplement a few seemingly unnecessary herbs and extracts.
Here’s a full list of the claims and guarantees Neurohacker Collective has made regarding Qualia Focus:
- Enhance focus and concentration
- Promote a stronger memory
- Boost mental energy and prevent mental fatigue
- Optimize long-term brain health
- Aids the development of neurons and synapses
- Promotes neuroplasticity and neurogenesis
- Assist’s the body with metabolism
- Improve cerebral blood flow
Of course, the main benefit you’ll get from Qualia Focus is the concentration. Everything else will be a byproduct of the ingredients working double-time.
Qualia Focus Ingredients
Speaking of ingredients, you’re probably interested in seeing what’s included in one serving of Qualia Focus. Bear with us because there are 24 of them, but we’ll give you a brief overview of each one and why they were used in this supplement.
Keep in mind the goal here is to find a quality, scientific-backed ingredients that have a known effect on focus and concentration. It’s very common to see supplement companies try to get too fancy with their formulas. What ends up happening is you create a useless and underperforming formula that won’t retain many customers.
Let’s see what Qualia Focus has in it!
You’ll find a wide variety of vitamins in Qualia Focus, as will most nootropic supplements. We’ll go through each vitamin below to give you a better idea of why they’re being used in this nootropic.
- Vitamin C – widely used to improve the immune system, Vitamin C also helps convert dopamine into serotonin, enhances blood vessel integrity, and aids the production of collagen.
- Vitamin D3 – the most prominent source of Vitamin D is the sun. It plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis and growth, neuron protection, reducing inflammation, and can be found in the hippocampus.
- Thiamine – you may know this as Vitamin B1. It plays a role in brain cell metabolism, increasing your brain’s energy supply, and synthesizing neurotransmitters.
- Niacin – you may know this as Vitamin B3. It helps two coenzymes — NAD and NADP — provide cellular energy, but also improves cell signaling and DNA repair.
- Pyridoxine – you may know this as Vitamin B6. It’ll help your brain by improving neuron transmission, reduce cognitive decline, and enhance neurotransmitter synthesis.
- Cobalamin – you may know this as Vitamin B12. It’s one of the most popular B-Vitamins because it plays a role in red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. Outside of that, it can help prevent cognitive decline and improve serotonin synthesis.
- Pantothenic Acid – you may know this as Vitamin B5. It’ll give you that natural boost of energy you get from most B-Vitamins, but also helps synthesize acetylcholine in the brain.
That’s all for the vitamins. They use rather high doses of each one, which can become a problem if you’re already consuming enough through your diet.
The rest of the ingredients will be nootropics, plants, herbs, and extracts. It’s important to note that there won’t be any minerals involved, which most nootropics utilize.
Artichoke Leaf Extract – 300mg
There are some studies suggesting Artichoke Leaf Extract to improve cell-signaling, help produce synapses, and improve learning ability.
The bad news is more studies are needed before we can say this in confidence — not to mention the studies also requiring Forskolin to produce these effects. The good news is Qualia Focus utilizes both Artichoke Leaf Extract and Forskolin.
If the benefits of these two ingredients are real, then it’s a good addition here. If not, then it’s just smoke in the air and not worth your time or money.
Recommended Dosage: 300-600mg daily
Bacopa Monnieri – 300mg
Hands down one of the most popular nootropic ingredients found in the world today, Bacopa Monnieri dates back centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. This plant likes to grow in wet, damp, and mushy areas around Africa and Asia. It is now making its way to the United States and can be found in some parts of California, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Hawai’i, and more.
It’s best known for its memory-boosting abilities by increasing the dendritic length and neural branching in the brain. Like most plants used in Ayurvedic medicine, it also provides a healthy amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Recommended Dosage: 300mg daily
Alpha-GPC – 300mg
You’ll find Alpha-GPC in a variety of supplements, but it will sometimes be referred to as Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine. It’s produced from soy or sunflower lecithin and can be found naturally in the body.
As the longer name suggests, Alpha-GPC helps supply the brain with choline. This is an essential nutrient for the brain that will increase memory, mental energy, and even protect the brain.
Since Alpha-GPC is 40% choline by weight, it’s known as the best source of choline in supplements. There are other sources — like Citicoline — that might not have as much choline, but provide extra benefits.
Recommended Dosage: 400-1,200mg daily
DL-Phenylalanine – 300mg
Phenylalanine isn’t going to be featured in many nootropics. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve seen this ingredient in a nootropic outside of Neurohacker Collective.
It’s an essential amino acid that assists the body in protein breakdown. There are some studies suggesting it as a treatment for depression, pain, and skin health, but nothing related to focus or mental energy.
Not only that, but Qualia Focus utilizes both d-phenylalanine and l-phenylalanine. While the l-form has been the center of these studies, the d-form hasn’t.
Recommended Dosage: 100-200mg daily
Acetyl-L-Carnitine – 250mg
Commonly referred to as ALCAR, Acetyl-L-Carnitine is just one of three forms of Carnitine found in supplements. It can also be found as L-Carnitine and Propionyl-L-Carnitine.
The good news is ALCAR will be the best source of the three. The bad news is there are limited studies proving any cognitive benefit. With that being said, it will help the body burn fatty acids and use them as energy.
You’ll most likely find this ingredient in pre-workouts and energy stacks. I’m not too sure I would use it in a nootropic because there are better sources of energy out there — like TeaCrine.
Recommended Dosage: 600-1,500mg daily
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – 250mg
This ingredient might sound similar to the previous, but this one will feature a different amino acid and comes with heavy cognitive benefits.
Tyrosine plays a major role in memory, creativity, and executive function skills. In the brain, it helps produce several neurotransmitters to make this happen — dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Some studies suggest it to work well with stimulants.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is known as the most bioavailable form of Tyrosine.
Recommended Dosage: 350-500mg daily
Uridine – 200mg
Uridine is an excellent choice in a nootropic supplement, but there are easier and cheaper ways to get it in your stack. Before we get to that, let’s first see what it does.
In addition to enhancing memory and learning, Uridine also plays a major role in the synthesis of acetylcholine and dopamine, production of RNA, and neural density. It will often be found stacked alongside a choline source — like Alpha-GPC.
With that being said, there’s one choline source in particular that actually provides the body with Uridine — Citicoline. This allows you to bypass needing both Alpha-GPC and Uridine. A high dosage of Citicoline would be a much better decision here.
Recommended Dosage: 75-100mg daily
Taurine – 200mg
Taurine will often get a bad rep for its connection to various energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull. While it is found in those drinks, it’s not nearly as harmful as some people lead on.
In fact, taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids found in the brain, spinal cord, and eyes. It helps give your cells an energy boost, relieve anxiety, improve the sleep cycle, synthesize GABA, and provide antioxidants.
I like this ingredient here. The benefits with sleep, energy, and anxiety will have an indirect, yet positive effect on focus and concentration.
Recommended Dosage: 500-2,000mg daily
L-Theanine – 200mg
L-Theanine is another amino acid that will have positive effects on brain function. Found in green tea, it helps relieve anxiety, stress, and promote a relaxing environment.
You’ll likely see L-Theanine combined with a stimulant. Various studies prove it to reduce the side effects of most stimulants — jitters, crash, etc. It’s even been proven to cross the blood-brain barrier, reduce blood pressure, improve memory, learning, creativity, and protect the brain from over-stimulating.
My general rule of thumb is: Where there’s a stimulant, there should be L-Theanine.
Recommended Dosage: 200-400mg daily
Rhodiola Rosea – 150mg
We spoke earlier about Bacopa Monnieri being one of the most popular nootropic ingredients available today. Well, you can throw Rhodiola Rosea into that mix as well. It’s been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and can be found throughout Asia and Europe.
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body handle daily stressors. Much like L-Theanine, it will help relieve anxiety, stress, reduce blood pressure, and help you stay relaxed. Like Bacopa Monnieri, it will contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are over 140 ingredients found in the plant, but only two of them will be of any importance to the brain — salidroside and rosavin.
Recommended Dosage: 400-600mg daily
Organic Coffeeberry – 129mg
Where you’ll generally see straight caffeine used in a supplement, Qualia Focus goes a step further and uses Organic Coffeeberry Whole Coffee Fruit Extract. Coffeeberries, often called coffee cherries, grow on a small plant and deliver that ingredient we all love and enjoy — caffeine.
In addition to that, you’ll also receive a powerful dose of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties due to the polyphenols. Also, expect it to protect brain cells, maintain cholesterol, and regulate blood sugar.
My only issue with the 129mg of Coffeeberry extract used is that it contains 90mg of caffeine. This is an extremely high dose (about the equivalent of a cup of coffee) considering how much caffeine we already consume daily.
We should never exceed 400mg in a day. If you have a 12 oz. cup of coffee, a bottle of Coke, a Monster, and a glass of tea, you’ll already be around 300mg on the day. With most people’s diets today, that’s a tame day.
Recommended Dosage: Never more than 400mg of caffeine daily
Velvet Bean Seed Extract – 100mg
This is an interesting ingredient that’s starting to gain some attention in the supplement community. It is believed to help boost the production of L-DOPA, which eventually converts to dopamine. For this reason, many believe it to help regulate mood.
Unfortunately, there’s a lack of research and testing being done on the cognitive benefits of Velvet Bean Seed Extract, and that won’t do much for the consumer’s confidence — anyone’s confidence, really.
There are better ways of getting dopamine and serotonin in your system, so I’m not sure why you would turn to something unproven.
Recommended Dosage: n/a
Theobromine – 100mg
Going back to what was said about Organic Coffeeberry, Theobromine is going to be one of those better sources of energy. Structurally similar to caffeine, Theobromine helps provide the body with a boost of energy, happier well-being, stronger teeth, a cognitive boost, and a healthy heart.
It won’t provide as much of a boost as caffeine, but that may be a good thing for most people. In fact, you’ll find Theobromine in most chocolate and some coffee beans, guarana berries, and tea leaves.
Recommended Dosage: 100-300mg daily
Celastrus Paniculatus Seed Extract – 60mg
Another mainstay of Ayurvedic medicine, this tree will generally be found in India and is known to contain a high amount of antioxidants. It’s further believed to reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, making it more available in the brain.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough research being done on this ingredient, and more trials would have to arise before we can utilize it in confidence. For now, however, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in it — especially since it’s been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine.
As more supplements use it, I’m sure we will see more studies take place.
Recommended Dosage: n/a
Ginkgo Biloba – 50mg
Speaking of Ayurvedic medicine, Ginkgo Biloba can be thrown into the same category as Bacopa Monnieri and Rhodiola Rosea. It has become famous in nootropic supplements, but its legacy goes far beyond that. It’s believed that the Ginkgo tree has been around for over 270 million years — earning itself the name “the living fossil.”
Ginkgo Biloba has long been known to prevent cognitive decline, regulate neurotransmitters, improve cerebral circulation, and enhance blood flow overall. It’s going to be difficult to find a nootropic stack that doesn’t take advantage of this ingredient.
Recommended Dosage: 50-150mg daily
Coleus Forskohlii Root Extract – 20mg
Coleus Forskohlii is another ingredient often used in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s a tropical plant that has become widely popular for its active ingredient — Forskolin. We mentioned this ingredient earlier with Artichoke Leaf Extract.
The problem, which we explained above, was there weren’t enough human studies being performed to prove these two ingredients helpful to cognitive function. The few studies that have been run were only effective when both were used.
If all is good, then they will improve learning and cell-signaling. Unfortunately, that’s a big if right now.
Recommended Dosage: 100mg daily
Huperzine-A – 5mg
Huperzine-A is going to be a catch-22 in most supplements. It’s a powerful ingredient that helps reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, provides the body with glutamate, enhances mitochondrial function, and provides antioxidants.
At the same time, it can be very dangerous if not taken with care. It’s not an ingredient you should be taking daily. Instead, you should cycle every other day or 5 days on/2 days off. With such a small dose, you should be fine with Qualia Focus — but it’s always important to keep this in mind.
Recommended Dosage: No more than 50mg daily
Qualia Focus Dosage, Packaging, And Pricing
If you’re familiar with Qualia Mind, then you’ll be able to spot Qualia Focus out of the crowd. They feature similar packaging, with the only difference being the colors. Where Qualia Mind has a black bottle and silver lid, Qualia Focus is equipped with a silver bottle and black lid.
The logo on the front hints at the supplement being some sort of brain-enhancer, but you’ll also see the word “Focus” as well. Outside of that, all you’ll see is an ingredient label, dosages, and directions.
Each bottle contains 100 capsules. This might seem like a lot, but each serving is five capsules. That means one bottle will last you just under a month. Comparing that to the price, which is $69 per bottle, you’ll see how this supplement can be too expensive for some.
We will note that you can save some money by subscribing to a monthly shipment. Your first bottle will receive 50% off, as well as $10 off every bottle after that. Like most Neurohacker Collective supplements, they do offer a money-back guarantee.
You can get the best price by signing up for the “subscribe and save” deal and applying the coupon code FITNESSCLONE at checkout. This brings the price of your first bottle down to $29.32, which is a pretty solid deal. While the subscribe and save plan will renew, you can cancel at any time if you don’t like the product.
Pros vs. Cons
We’ve gone over pretty much everything there is to know about Qualia Focus, but we completely understand if you’re still on the fence about purchasing it or not. That’s a lot of information to take in, and it can get confusing very quickly.
To help you make a better consumer decision when shopping for a nootropic supplement designed to increase focus, we’ve put together an accurate Pros-Cons list for your review. Qualia Focus comes with an even-balanced list for both, so make sure you take each benefit and pitfall into consideration.
Here’s what we like — and don’t like — about Qualia Focus!
- Contains plenty of ingredients that contribute to heightened focus and concentration
- Will also bring various other benefits to the brain like sharper memory and better mood, but won’t be as potent as Qualia Mind
- No real concern with side effects, unless abused
- One of the most popular nootropic brands on the market (you’ve probably seen commercials)
- 100% Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free
- Solid combination of Vitamins, including B-complex vitamins
- Less expensive than Qualia Mind due to the smaller dosages
- Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea, and Ginkgo Biloba are a powerful trio
- Tyrosine, Theanine, and Taurine are three powerful amino acids
- Theobromine can be a solid source of energy
- Due to the Huperzine-A, you should cycle through the supplement (5 days on, 2 days off)
- Contains 90mg of caffeine, which is nearly 25% of the daily recommended amount
- Still expensive, despite being their cheaper formula
- Many of the ingredients are low-dosed
- Hope you’re ready to consume five capsules every serving!
- Cheaper alternatives exist, and some of them are more effective than Qualia Focus
Claims vs. Reality
When looking at nootropics, you’ll come across three major groups of supplements — the ones that are proven, the ones that are terrible, and the ones that fall somewhere in-between.
With Qualia Focus, I wouldn’t call it a terrible supplement because there are some out there that are far, far, far worse. At the same time, Qualia Focus does come with various flaws and contains a variety of unproven ingredients.
Personally, I would throw this supplement in the “somewhere in-between” category. It will definitely increase focus and concentration, while also providing other minor benefits to the brain. The good news is that’s what Qualia Focus is designed to do.
Unfortunately, there are several ingredients that simply don’t need to be in this supplement. When you see that there are a total of 24 ingredients included, you can only imagine how much cheaper this product would be without those unnecessary ingredients.
Qualia Focus Alternatives
On the other hand, we have several alternative options we think you’d enjoy more than Qualia Focus. In fact, your wallet will likely be the one that benefits the most.
The truth is there are plenty of nootropics available on the market today, and we’ll continue to see more released each year. Some will fail, some will find success, and others will reset the industry and set a new standard for nootropic brands.
We’ve come across three major players in the nootropic world that easily beat Qualia Focus in both performance and price — Performance Lab Mind, Mind Lab Pro, and HVMN Rise (in no particular order).
Performance Lab Mind
Performance Lab Mind is a four-ingredient nootropic stack that will target brain energy, focus, health, memory, mental speed, and motivation. It’s one of our favorite nootropics because it utilizes scientific-backed ingredients that are proven to bring cognitive benefits.
The four ingredients are Citicoline, Phosphatidylserine, Maritime Pine Bark Extract, and L-Tyrosine. The capsules used are also prebiotic-infused, which helps with digestion and metabolism.
Each bottle contains a 30-day supply, and you won’t have to cycle through it. It’ll cost $49 per bottle, which is less expensive than Qualia Focus, but you also have the opportunity to receive a free bottle with the purchase of three.
HVMN Rise & Sprint
Another nootropic brand that says goodbye to all those useless ingredients, HVMN provides four different supplements designed to improve cognitive function — Rise, Yawn, Sprint, and Kado.
With Rise, you receive just three amazing ingredients designed to boost your memory, focus, concentration, mood management, and long-term brain health. It contains 300mg of Bacopa Monnieri, 250mg of Ashwagandha, and 250mg of Citicoline. In the nootropic world, these are three of the most popular and effective ingredients.
Each bottle contains 60 capsules with each serving totaling two capsules. For a one month’s supply of HVMN Rise, it’ll only cost $35 and can be further stacked with any of their other products.
With Sprint, you receive the following three ingredients: Caffeine, L-Theanine, and Ginseng. It’s intended to increase energy and focus. The Caffeine-Theanine combination will help alleviate the jitters and crash often experienced with caffeine. Ginseng will help reaction time, tranquility, and reduce the impact of fatigue.
Sprint will cost you just $25 per bottle, giving you a full month’s supply. If you wanted to combine the two together, it would cost $60 per month — still cheaper than Qualia Focus.
Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is easily my favorite nootropic available today. It features a more robust formula than the other two we’ve discussed, but still contains only half the ingredients as Qualia Focus.
You’ll get the Citicoline, Phosphatidylserine, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, and Bacopa Monnieri that have made many nootropics famous — but that’s not all! You’ll also get Vitamins B6, B9, B12, L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, L-Tyrosine, and Maritime Pine Bark Extract — all of which have proven benefits.
Believe it or not, Lab Mind Pro still comes in cheaper than Qualia Focus. It’ll cost $65 per bottle (one-month supply), but you can receive a free bottle by purchasing three. While this is still expensive, you can rest easy knowing that this supplement (unlike Qualia Focus) is well worth it.
Final Verdict For Qualia Focus
There’s a lot to like about Qualia Focus, but there’s also a lot to dismiss. This is one of those supplements that likely won’t harm you, and there’s a good chance you see some cognitive boost from it. At the same time, that doesn’t mean it’s worth the $69 per bottle.
I’m not saying the “unnecessary” ingredients found in Qualia Focus won’t work, but many of them have not been studied enough.
With that being said, I wouldn’t completely dismiss this product. As the past has shown us many times before, you never know when new studies arise, and you never know what they might find.
Nootropics work differently for everyone. Our brains respond differently to different ingredients. If you want to give Qualia Focus a try, start with the introductory deal to get your first bottle for under 15% off (use the code FITNESSCLONE at checkout). With 15% off, Qualia Focus is at a reasonable price to pay for a nootropic supplement, and this will give you an opportunity to test the product and see how it performs for you. If it works well, you may decide that it is worth $59/bottle (with a subscription). If it doesn’t work for you, you can check out some of our other nootropic reviews to see if you can find another product you like.