Alpha Brain Black Label
- Uses several potent, clinically proven nootropics
- Contains a healthy dose of citicoline
- Uses a broad range of nootropics with both short and long-term benefits
- Mucuna pruriens has no nootropic effects
- Lutein has no nootropic effects
- Caffeine dose too small to have significant effect
- Huperzine A must be cycled regularly to avoid side effects
- Regular cycling will reduce effects of other nootropics
Alpha Brain Black Label Review Summary
Alpha Brain Black Label is actually a huge improvement on the original Onnit Alpha Brain formulation. Not only does Alpha Brain Black Label not use any proprietary blends, it also contains no obvious filler ingredients, and the doses are pretty good too! Our main issue with this nootropic is the price. Each bottle of Alpha Brain Black Label costs $125. That is extremely expensive when compared to other nootropics that deliver the same benefits (some of which cost as little as $29.99 a bottle). Better value nootropics are out there, this stack is a bit of a rip-off.
Alpha Brain Black Label Review: What is Alpha Brain Black Label?
Alpha Brain Black Label is a brand new nootropic stack from Onnit, makes of the original, still extremely popular Alpha Brain.
Black Label is sold as a premium offering. It is described as a kind of advanvced version of the original Onnit Alpha Brain; stronger, faster-acting, and ultiately more effective. The Onnit website promises the following core benefits:
- Increased mental processing speeds
- Laser sharp focus
- Relaxed, calm alertness
- “Extreme productivity”
- Improved vision
These last couple of benefits are really interesting. You do not typically get a supplement which offers both enhanced cognition and better vision. Vision supplements and effective nootropics are often stacked together by gamers and traders, but rarely do they come in the same stack.
All of this is just promises made by Onnit. We need to find out how much of this is actually true!
Does Alpha Brain Black Label really work? Is it safe? Will Alpha Brain Black Label cause side effects? Is it better than original Alpha Brain? Is it the best nootropic for you? Read our full Alpha Brain Black Label review below and find out!
Alpha Brain Black Label Ingredients
What ingredients are in Alpha Brain Black Label?
This is always the most important question for a review to answer, as it is the ingredients which mean a nootropic either works or doesn’t work.
Here is the Alpha Brain Black Label ingredients list as it is shown on the bottle:
Here is a list of the ingredients in Alpha Brain Black Label along with doses:
- Mucuna pruriens – 1000mg
- Lion’s Mane – 500mg
- Citicoloine – 250mg
- Phosphatidylserine – 250mg
- L-Theanine – 100mg
- Caffeine anhydrous – 25mg
- Marigold Extract – 24mg
- Huperzine A – 200mcg
This definitely looks like a big improvement on the original Onnit Alpha Brain. Below is a breakdown of each ingredient in more detail; what it does, how it works, and what the scientific evidence says about the doses used in this nootropic. Please post any questions to the commnts section at the end. You can compare this to the Onnit Alpha Brain ingredients list.
Mucuna Pruriens – 1000mg
Mucuna pruriens is a strange ingredient for a nootropic like Alpha Brain Black Label. Typically you will see Mucuna pruriens used in men’s health supplements and testostrone boosters, not in nootropics. However, that doesn’t mean this is a poor Alpha Brain Black Label ingredient. There is much evidence to suggest that increasing testostrone levels – however slightly – leads to impoved cognitive function, mood, and sleep quality. Mucuna pruriens is also supposedly converted to L-DOPA, which is in turn converted to dopamine in the brain. However, Mucuna pruriens has never been proven to boost dopamine levels by a significant degree. In any case, 1000mg of mucuna pruriens in a nootropic stack is probably a bit much, and it is certainly a strange choice for a main ingredient!
Lion’s Mane – 500mg
Lion’s Mane is a fantastic natural nootropic and it is really good to see it listed on the Alpha Brain Black Label ingredients list. One of the big problems we raised in our Alpha Brain review is that it does not promote long-term brain development, which is exactly what Lion’s Mane Mushroom provides. Studies have shown that consuming Lion’s Mane Mushroom extracts leads to a huge increase in Nerve Growth Factor (NGF); a neurotrophic factor which governs the maintenance and growth of neurons. More NGF produced in the brain means more, better cared for neurons, which means better cognitive function.
The 500mg dose of Lion’s Mane Mushroom we get from Alpha Brain Black Label is exactly the dose found to be effective in clinical trials. This, along with Citicoline, is one of the main active ingredients in Alpha Brain Black Label. It is one of the best natural supplements for long-term learning and memory.
Citicoline – 250mg
Citicoline is one of the best natural nootropic supplements in existence. Citicoline is a cholinergic, which means it increases levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is the brain’s primary executive neurotransmitter; it is responsible for speech, muscle contraction, learning, information processing, and more. Studies show that Citicoline consumption greatly enhances several different measures of cognitive performance.
Whereas Alpha Brain Original uses Alpha-GPC as its main cholinergic – and its main active ingredient – Alpha Brain Black Label uses Citicoline as a primary ingredient. This is a major improvement on the old formula. A bigger improvement is the dosing of this ingredient – Alpha Brain Black Label delivers 250mg of Citicoline sodium, which is comfortably in the range of optimal Citicoline doses. The best nootropics tend to use ultrapure Cognizin Citicoline as their main cholinergic ingredient, but regular Citicoline is fine.
Phosphatidylserine – 250mg
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid and a vital component of your brain cell membranes. Because it is a building block of your brain cells, phosphatidylserine is found in large quantities in the brain. Sadly, your phosphatidylserine levels decline as you get older, which leads to a noticeable decline in memory function, reaction times, and general cognitive performance.
Supplementing with phosphatidylserine has been shown in clinical trials to improve several different aspects of mental performance, including concentration, memory and reaction times. There is some evidence that taking phosphatidylserine may also reduce anxiety and improve mood. The Alpha Brain Black Label ingredients list boasts 250mg of phosphatidylserine. Not only that, but Onnit have opted for SerinAid 50P Phosphatidylserine, which is highly bioavailable and very pure.
L-Theanine – 100mg
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in large amounts in tea, specifically black tea. Theanine is most often used in caffeine pills and other energy-boosting nootropic supplements. This is because one of theanine’s biggest beenfits is that it reduces the side effects of caffeine while amplifying and sharpening the beneficial effects of caffeine. But theanine has its own nootropic properties.
Clinical trials have shown that supplementing with theanine reduces anxiety, promotes aAlpha Brain waves and helps with entering the ‘flow state’ of intense focus and optimal mental performance. It isn’t surprising to see this on the Alpha Brain Black Label ingredients list since this supplement explicitly promises to help you enter a ‘flow state’.
Caffeine anhydrous – 25mg
Caffeine doesn’t require much explanation. Caffeine is, without question, one of the most powerful nootropic agents in existence. It quickly reduces fatigue, increases motivation, lifts your mood, and increases energy levels. Caffeine also enhances cognitive performance in a qualitative way; it makes you more focused and ‘locked in’ on a task.
The downside of caffeine is that it is extremely powerful and very prone to causing side effects. It is therefore actually a good thing that Alpha Brain Black Label doses this ingredient so low. You do not need much caffeine to feel significant benefits. Many people experience significant increases in energy and focus from just 50mg. The 25mg of ultra powerful caffeine anhydrous in Alpha Brain Black Label will subtly boost energy and focus without causing side effects.
Marigold Extract (Lutemax) – 24mg
Lutemax is a branded, standardized, highly-bioavailable marigold extract which delivers natural lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid; a pigment produced naturally by plants and algae. Lutein is found in very large quantities in a wide variety of common vegetables, including kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and eggs. People prize lutein – and lutein supplements – due to its ability to support vision and eye health. Lutein supplementation has been found to reduce some cases of macular degeneration, improve visual acuity, and help reduce eye strain.
Why this has been included in Alpha Brain Black Label is hard to say. Alpha Brain Black Label is a nootropic which promises to drastically enhance focus and learning; the website doesn’t say much about eye health!
Huperzine A – 200mcg
Huperzine serrata is a unique source of a compound called Huperzine A. This fast-acting and powerful nootropic sharpens focus, increases information processing speeds, and improves short-term working memory function. Huperzine A works by inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This is the most important neurotransmitter in the brain for carrying out executive cognitive functions, such as speech, reasoning, learning and muscle contraction.
Alpha Brain Black Label contains 200mcg of Huperzine A, which is a fairly large dose. You will need to take breaks from Alpha Brain Black Label every couple of weeks to avoid side effects. But when used occassionally, Alpha Brain Black Label’s Huperzine A will dramatically increase focus, concentration and mental processing.
Formula Review: Are the ingredients in Alpha Brain Black Label any good?
Overall, Alpha Brain Black Label looks like a powerful nootropic supplement which will genuinely enhance focus, mental clarity and memory function. In other words, this nootropic will really work for the vast majority of users – something we can’t say about most brain supplements!
The big benefit of Alpha Brain Black Label is that it delivers effective doses of clinically proven nootropics. Each serving gives us 250mg of Citicoline. This dose of Citicoline has been proven to significantly improve concentration, processing speeds, reaction times, and mental energy. Combined with Huperzine A, this will produce a rapid increase in focus and help you enter the ‘flow state’ promised by Onnit.
Alpha Brain Black Label also contributes to long-term brain health and performance. Each daily serving provides a healthy dose of both Phosphatidylserine and Lion’s Mane Mushroom. As explained in the Alpha Brain Black Label ingredients review, these natural substances promote neuron growth and maintenance, thereby boosting memory function and focus over the long-term.
To top it all off, we have a nice caffeine and theanine stack. Alpha Brain Black Label only uses a small amount of caffeine, but stacked with theanine this is a great move by Onnit. Users will get a subtle, sustained energy boost but without any side effects.
However, would we recommend Alpha Brain Black Label? Is it the best nootropic on sale right now?
No, Alpha Brain Black Label is not the best nootropic on sale right now. The formula has several issues which really put us off this brain supplement.
The use of Huperzine A makes Alpha Brain Black Label unsuitable for daily use. Using Alpha Brain Black Label every single day will inevitably cause side effects. But the other ingredients like Alpha Brain Black Label – phosphatidylserine, citicoline and lion’s mane – all work best when used consistently every day.
Then there’s the non-nootropic ingredients. Neither Lutein nor Mucuna Pruriens have any nootropic properties whatsoever. While they have their own benefits (supporting vision and increasing testosterone levels) they have no place in Alpha Brain Black Label, which promises nothing but enhanced mental performance.
We doubt any women would be pleased with having higher testosteorne levels because they were using a brain supplement!
So while Alpha Brain Black Label has some great ingredients, we think the formula is far from perfect. The need for constant cycling and the use of ingredients with no nootropic benefits really holds this stack back from being the best!
Alpha Brain Black Label Side Effects: Is it safe?
Is Alpha Brain Black Label safe?
On the whole, Alpha Brain Black Label looks safe for human use. All of the ingredients in this brain supplement have been tested in robust, independent clinical trials. All of them are suitable for human consumption, and none are thoguht to pose serious health risks. Furthermore, the ingedients used in this nootropic are also widely use in other brain supplements; they have been for many years.
Will it cause side effects?
Yes, Alpha Brain Black Label will cause side effects in a minority of users. These side effects will likely be mild for most users, and they should stop once you stop taking Alpha Brain Black Label. The most probably side effects from Alpha Brain Black Label are headaches, confusion, low mood, lethargy, loss of focus, muscle cramps, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. These adverse effects are all related to the use of Huperzine A alongside Citicoloine, which we think is excessive.
Is it safe to take Alpha Brain Black Label every day?
No it is not safe to take Alpha Brain Black Label every day. One of the main active ingredients in this nootropic is Huperzine A. This compound rapidly sharpens focus and processing speeds, but it causes side effects if used on a daily basis. This is because Huperzine A causes an excessive buildup of acetylcholine, which eventually ‘clogs up’ your neurons.
How much caffeine is in Alpha Brain Black Label?
There is not much caffeine in Alpha Brain Black Label. Each serving contains just 25mg. We also have 100mg of theanine per serving, which further reduces the side effects of caffeine. Few users will experience any side effects from this much caffeine. But it is still best to take Alpha Brain Black Label in the morning and not at night, like all nootropics.
Onnit Alpha Brain Black Label Review Conclusion: Does it really work?
Does Alpha Brain Black Label really work?
The answer is, to our surprise, yes! Alpha Brain Black Label no doubt really works. Users will experience signfiicant increases in focus, mental clarity, and learning capacity within a few hours of taking their first dose of Alpha Brain Black Label. Most people will experience a subtle increase in mental energy and a slight reduction in anxiety.
But we still would not recommend Alpha Brain Black Label to you, our readers. It is not the best nootropic on the market right now; it isn’t a bad brain supplement, but it is far from perfect.
The fact that you cannot take Alpha Brain Black Label every day is a big issue. The main active ingredients in this stack only really work when taken consistently on a daily basis. Taking phosphatidylserine or lion’s mane mushroom now and again is pretty much pointless. While it is a good thing that Alpha Brain Black Label isn’t stuffed full of caffeine, if you do want to use caffeine, we think 25mg is probably not enough for you.
The use of Mucuna pruriens is another big problem. This is a natural testosterone booster; women may want to think carefully before using this nootropic! Lutemax is great but many of you may not want to mess around with your vision either!
To sum up, we think Alpha Brain Black Label is definitely effective, but it is not the best option for people looking for sustained improvements in focus, memory, learning and reaction times.
It does nothing for long-term brain health (since it needs to be cycled), and there are serious side effect risks to consider. Better nootropics are available.
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.