Onnit Alpha Brain is a nootropic dietary supplement that competes with Thrivous Clarity. Nootropics support brain function and enhance mental performance – improve memory, cognition, and focus. This is a review of how the Alpha Brain and Clarity products compare, based on third-party assessments of nootropic ingredient evidence and effect. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice. Please consult a physician before and during use of these and other nootropics.
Of course you'd expect us, at Thrivous, to think our product is better. But I think you'll agree with us after looking at this comparison. Here's an outline:
- Ingredient List – List all ingredients and dosages in each product.
- Ingredient Evidence – Score each ingredient based on its level of scientific evidence, and score each product based on the average of its ingredient evidence scores.
- Ingredient Effect – Score each ingredient based on its magnitude of nootropic effect weighted by its ingredient evidence score, and score each product based on the average of its ingredient effect scores.
- Formula Effect – Score each ingredient based on its dosage weighted by its ingredient effect score, and score each product based on the sum of its dosage scores.
- Product Value – Calculate the relative value of each product by dividing its formula effect score by its price.
The end result of the comparison is two scores – one score for each product. Together, the scores show the relative nootropic effect you may reasonably expect per dollar spent. And you'll see that Thrivous is clearly the better value.
Here are the ingredients in Thrivous Clarity and Onnit Alpha Brain:
|Clarity (30 days for $30)||Alpha Brain (30 days for $59.42)|
|This information is updated from Thrivous and Onnit websites on 22 February 2017.|
|ac-11 Cat's Claw (bark) Extract||350 mg|
|Bacopa Monnieri extract (25% bacoside)||600 mg|
|Onnit Flow Blend (L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Oat (straw) Extract, Phosphatidylserine)||650 mg|
|Onnit Focus Blend (L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC), Bacopa monnieri (aerial parts) Extract, Huperzia serrata (aerial parts) Extract)||240 mg|
|Onnit Fuel Blend (L-Leucine, Vinpocetine, Pterostilbene)||65 mg|
|Rhodiola Rosea extract (2% salidroside)||300 mg|
|Vitamin B Complex||51 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCI)||10 mg|
|Zinc (from Zinc Sulfate)||11 mg|
Let’s look at the level of scientific evidence for nootropic effects from ingredients in these products. Some ingredients may have multiple nootropic effects. In those cases, we'll take into consideration only the effect with the strongest supporting evidence.
To score the ingredients, we’ll use evidence ratings from Examine.com, an independent and unbiased encyclopedia on supplementation and nutrition that is not affiliated in any way with any supplement company. In cases when Examine.com does not provide an evidence rating, I'll flag the ingredient and estimate the rating.
In the table below, for each ingredient, the “evidence” column indicates the level of evidence on a scale of 0 to 4 for the nootropic effect with the strongest supporting evidence. For example, Bacopa is rated 3 because multiple peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies support its effect on memory.
|This information is updated from Examine.com, Thrivous, and Onnit websites on 22 February 2017. *My estimate of the rating for Huperzine corresponds to the Examine.com rating for ingredients with a single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies. **My estimates of the ratings for Oat and Vitamin B Complex correspond to the Examine.com rating for ingredients with multiple peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.|
|Vitamin B Complex**||3||X|
Clarity Ingredient Evidence: 3.3
Alpha Brain Ingredient Evidence: 2.0
In this comparison of ingredient evidence, Clarity beats Alpha Brain by a wide margin. The product ingredient evidence scores are averages of individual ingredient evidence scores. They reflect the Examine.com evidence scale of 0 to 4, where 0 is practically no evidence, and 4 is strong evidence.
Clarity includes only ingredients that provide nootropic effects according to multiple peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Don't just take my word for it! Please look at the studies yourself, and ask your physician to look at them with you.
Alpha Brain includes several ingredients for which there is relatively little research. While it's important to consult a physician before and during use of any supplement, I recommend additional caution when using under-studied ingredients.
Now, let’s look at the magnitude of nootropic effect from ingredients in these products. Some ingredients may have multiple nootropic effects. In those cases, as above, we'll take into consideration only the effect with the strongest supporting evidence.
To score the effects, we’ll use effect ratings from Examine.com. In cases when Examine.com does not provide an effect rating, I'll flag the ingredient and estimate the rating.
In the table below, for each ingredient, the “effect” column indicates the magnitude of nootropic effect on a scale of 0 to 3 for the effect with the strongest supporting evidence. For example, Bacopa is rated 2 because it may provide a notable increase to memory.
|This information is updated from Examine.com, Thrivous, and Onnit websites on 22 February 2017. *My estimates of the ratings for Huperzine, Oat, and Vitamin B Complex correspond to the Examine.com rating for ingredients with subtle effect.|
|Vitamin B Complex*||1||X|
Clarity Ingredient Effect: 1.4
Alpha Brain Ingredient Effect: 0.6
In this comparison of ingredient effect, Clarity beats Alpha Brain. The product ingredient effect scores are averages of individual ingredient effect scores, weighted by individual ingredient evidence scores (from the “Ingredient Evidence” section above). They reflect the Examine.com effect scale of 0 to 3, where 0 is practically no effect beyond placebo, and 3 is strong effect.
Clarity includes ingredients that may provide notable improvement to focus, memory, and mood. Multiple peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies support these effects.
Alpha Brain includes ingredients that may provide notable improvement to memory and relaxation. It also contains ingredients that may provide less dependable improvements to focus and mood. Judging from the individual ingredient effect scores, the most reliable nootropic ingredients in Alpha Brain are probably Bacopa and Theanine.
Alpha Brain contains Huperzine, which may not be appropriate for daily supplementation without cycling. Huperzine may have a half-life of greater than 24 hours. So it may accumulate to excess in your body if you do not take regular breaks from supplementation.
Next, let’s look at the effective dosages of ingredients in the formulas for these products. To measure them, we’ll compare each ingredient dosage against a recommended dosage. And we'll approximate the recommended dosage from the middle of the recommended range of dosage per serving for nootropic effect from Examine.com, taking into account both concentration and amount. In cases when Examine.com does not provide a recommended dosage, I'll flag the ingredient and estimate the recommended dosage.
Keep in mind that this is a simplified comparison, which does not account for factors like possible benefits from more servings per day, complementary interactions between ingredients, nonlinear relations between dose and effect within recommended ranges, and of course under-studied ingredients.
In the table below, for each ingredient, the "dosage" column indicates the recommended dosage. And the product columns indicate the percentage (capped at 100%) of the recommended dosage provided by their respective formulas.
|This information is updated from Examine.com, Thrivous, and Onnit websites on 22 February 2017. *My estimate of the dosage for Oat is based on the low end of effective acute dosages from two studies on humans. **My estimate of the dosage for Vitamin B Complex is double the summed RDIs for B Vitamins.|
|Alpha-GPC||800 mg||22% (175 mg) ?|
|Bacopa||300 mg (55% bacoside)||91%||22% (65 mg) ?|
|Huperzine||125 mcg||100% (125 mcg) ?|
|Oat*||800 mg||28% (220 mg) ?|
|Phosphatidylserine||150 mg||27% (40 mg) ?|
|Rhodiola||450 mg (1% salidroside)||100%|
|Theanine||150 mg||27% (40 mg) ?|
|Tyrosine||1250 mg||28% (350 mg) ?|
|Vinpocetine||37.5 mg||100% (37.5 mg) ?|
|Vitamin B Complex**||51 mg||100%|
Clarity Formula Effect: 5.6
Alpha Brain Formula Effect: 2.6
In this comparison of formula effect, Clarity beats Alpha Brain by a wide margin. The product formula effect scores are sums of individual ingredient effect scores (from the “Ingredient Evidence” section above), weighted by individual ingredient evidence scores (from the “Ingredient Effect” section above) and product ingredient dosages.
Clarity has an open formula that clearly indicates ingredient concentrations and amounts. Together they show that Clarity provides approximately full dosages of Bacopa, Rhodiola, Vitamin B Complex, and Zinc.
Alpha Brain has a proprietary formula that hides ingredient concentrations and amounts. However, based on the amounts indicated for its blends, and assumptions of otherwise standard concentrations and proportional formulation, we can make some reasonable guesses. Alpha Brain may provide approximately full dosages of Huperzine and Vinpocetine, and approximately quarter dosages of its remaining effective nootropic ingredients.
Finally, let’s look at the value of these products. One bottle of Clarity (30-day supply) sells for $30 ($40 without a subscription). And two bottles of Alpha Brain (30-day supply) sell for $59.42 ($69.90 without a subscription). These prices are updated from Thrivous and Onnit websites on 22 February 2017.
Clarity Value: 187
Alpha Brain Value: 43
Thrivous Clarity is more than 4 times more valuable than Onnit Alpha Brain, judging from the combined metrics of this comparison. The product value scores are product formula effect scores (from the “Formula Effect” section above) divided by product prices and multiplied by 1000 (just to make them easier to read). Basically, they show the relative nootropic effect you may reasonably expect per dollar spent on these products.
As mentioned at the beginning of this product comparison, you'd be right to expect that we at Thrivous like our own product better. And now that you've reviewed this information, I suspect you agree with us. If you’re currently using Onnit Alpha Brain, please talk to your physician about all the good reasons to switch to Thrivous Clarity.
By the way, if you happen to prefer placebo pricing, we can make a special arrangement to sell Clarity to you for $59.42. ;) Otherwise, get Clarity now for an effective price of $30.