- Contains some good nootropics proven by hard science
- Dosages are very good in most important areas
- Absurd formula with too many ingredients
- Many ingredients do nothing for memory, focus or learning
- Some ingredients totally unproven
- Price tag is HUGELY inflated
- Huperzine A means Qualia Mind must be cycled
Qualia Mind Review Summary
Qualia Mind is one of the most comprehensive nootropics on the market, but that is also its major drawback. Neurohacker Collective have simply tried to do too much with this nootropic stack, and in doing so, they haven’t done any one thing perfectly. There’s also so much going on here that side effects are likely – combining 350mg of potent cholinergics with Huperzine A is inevitably going to cause headaches and confusion in most users after a day or two. We recommend using a more targetted, focused brain supplement tailored to your needs.
Qualia Mind Review: Has Neurohacker Collective made the best nootropic?
Qualia Mind is one of the most popular nootropics on sale today. Made by Neurohacker Collective, Qualia Mind claims to be an all-in-one, comprehensive nootropic stack capable of enhancing every aspect of cognitive function.
According to Neurohacker Collective, Qualia Mind has the following benefits:
- Sharper focus
- Enhanced learning
- Faster information processing
- Better brain health
- Improved memory retention and recall
- Reduced anxiety
Clearly, Qualia Mind is meant to be a complete nootropic. All of the positive Qualia Mind reviews on the Neurohacker Collective website talk about total cognitive enhancement.
But does Qualia Mind really work?
In our detailed Qualia Mind review below, we take a closer look at the ingredients, side effects, benefits, and value for money of this best-selling nootropic stack.
Qualia Mind Ingredients
What is in Qualia Mind?
Any Qualia Mind review needs to focus on the ingredients in Qualia Mind, as these are what really determine what a nootropic does and how it works.
Here is the Qualia Mind ingredients list:
Here is the Qualia Mind ingredients list with dosages in case the above image isn’t clear:
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCL – 500mg
- Artichoke leaf extract – 500mg
- Bacopa monnieri extract – 300mg
- Rhodiola rosea extract – 300mg
- DL-Phenylalanine – 300mg
- Uridine-5-Monophosphate heptahydrate disodium – 250mg
- N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine – 250mg
- Taurine – 200mg
- L-Theanine – 200mg
- Alpha-GPC – 200mg
- Citicoline – 150mg
- Coffeeberry WCFE – 129mg
- Mucuna pruriens – 100mg
- Phosphatidylserine – 100mg
- Theobromine – 100mg
- DHA – 80mg
- Celastrus paniculatus seed extract – 60mg
- Ginkgo biloba leaf extract – 50mg
- Coleus forskohlii root extract – 20mg
- PQQ – 10mg
- Huperzina serrata leaf extract (1% Huperzine A) – 5mg
Below is an overview of what each Qualia Mind ingredient does, or doesn’t do, to improve learning, memory, focus and brain health. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section at the end.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, more commonly referred to as ALCAR, is a very common supplement. It is typically consumed by athletes looking to increase energy levels, as ALCAR is known to enhance the activity of your cell mitochondria (the “engines” of your cells). ALCAR is increasingly used in nootropics like Qualia Mind as it is said to support mental energy in exactly the same way as it supports physical energy.
However, the effect is quite small; taking ALCAR is not going to give you the same kind of mental energy boost you experience from caffeine. This is especially true with the 500mg dose we get from Qualia Mind.
Artichoke Leaf Extract
Artichoke leaf extract has been used in brain supplements for a very long time, although recently it has fallen out of favour among the best nootropics on the market.
According to Neurohacker Collective, Artichoke extract is used in Qualia Mind because of its cynarin content. Cynarin has been found to have nootropic effects, specifically on memory formation and recall. However, the reason artichoke extract is used much less often in nootropics today is that this cynarin has never been conclusively shown to improve memory and function more than placebo!
Bacopa monnieri extract
Bacopa monnieri extract is used in just about every daily nootropic stack on the market. There’s good reason for this; Bacopa monnieri is unquestionably one of the most thoroughly proven, effective, and targeted natural nootropics in existence. Dozens of clinical trials have shown that long-term Bacopa monnieri supplementation improves memory function across all measures, with effects being most pronounced in older people with mild cognitive impairment.
The problem with the Bacopa monnieri in Qualia Mind is that it is whole leaf extract. We are not told how much of the active ingredients we get per serving. It could just be green leaf powder for all we know!
Rhodiola rosea Extract
Rhodiola rosea is one of the most effective natural anxiolytics in the world. Consuming Rhodiola rosea has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in several good clinical trials. Importantly, Rhodiola rosea appears to be particularly effective for reducing performance anxiety and improving cognitive performance in times of peak stress.
The 300mg of Rhodiola rosea we get from Qualia Mind is a large dose. Studies saw significant reductions in stress and anxiety from just 150mg of Rhodiola rosea, or half of what we get in Qualia Mind.
According to Neurohacker Collective, DL-Phenylaslanine “enhances mood and can aid in cognitive performance”. We have no idea how Neurohacker Collective can make this claim so confidently about this Qualia Mind ingredient. Phenylalanine is an extremely common amino acid. It is found in many foods, and it is present in relatively large quantities in the human body. While some people have claimed that phenylalanine might have an effect on depression and cognitive function, there is currently no evidence to support these claims.
Even if phenylalanine was an effective nootropic, there’s hardly any in Qualia Mind. A pork chop contains about 2000mg of this ingredient, whereas Qualia Mind gives us just 300mg.
Uridine is a very interesting nootropic. According to Neurohacker Collective, uridine “plays a key role in many different neuroregulatory processes”. This is another example of the makers of Qualia Mind seemingly not understanding how their product works! Uridine is actually used in nootropics because it is a key component of RNA. Uridine therefore supports proper brain cell formation and growth. Some studies have also found that Uridine promotes the release of dopamine, which in turn increase motivation, mood, and overall cognitive performance.
Tyrosine is easily the best nootropic supplement to take for increasing motivation, drive, and cognitive performance under pressure. Tyrosine is a basic building block of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for motivating behaviour; it keeps you focused and driven to complete tasks, and supports cognition more generally.
Studies have shown that Tyrosine supplementation improves cognitive performance in people deprived of sleep, placed in distracting environments, and so on. This makes it the ideal nootropic for students, freelancers, traders, entrepreneurs, etc.
Taurine is an amino acid commonly used as a sports supplement due to its ability to keep blood pressure low and support cardiovascular function. While Neurohacker Collective, and a lot of people on Reddit, claim that taurine has nootropic benefits. However, there is no good evidence that taurine actually improves cognitive function. This is another unproven, likely ineffective Qualia Mind ingredient.
L-Theanine is a fantastic nootropic ingredient, and it is great to see that Qualia Mind contains a good 200mg dose. Theanine is an amino acid found in large amounts in black tea. It has one unique and highly beneficial quality: it heightens the effects of caffeine while minimizing its side effects. Consuming theanine and caffeine together at a 2:1 ratio is optimal for enhancing focus and mental energy without risking the side effects of caffeine.
Alpha-GPC is a potent cholinergic. It raises choline availability in the brain, which in turn allows the brain to make more acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the brain’s primary executive neurotransmitter; it is responsible for memory formation, information processing, muscle contraction, verbal fluency, and more. More acetylcholine means more raw brain power.
The 200mg of Alpha-GPC we get in Qualia Mind is a sub-optimal dose; studies typically see the greatest benefits from doses of 300mg and up!
Citicoline is possibly the single best nootropic substance you can buy today. Like Alpha-GPC, Citicoline is a cholinergic. This means it increases choline availability in the brain, which leads to increases in important brain compounds such as acetylcholine and phosphatidylcholine (a structural component of brain cell membranes). Studies show that Citicoline improves cognitive function across a number of measures, including focus, verbal acuity, memory function, information processing speeds, reaction times, and more. Citicoline also appears to be effective in supporting recover from traumatic brain injury.
Organic Coffeeberry Whole Coffee Fruit Extract
Whole coffee fruit extract is all the rage right now. There are a number of brain supplements on the market today claiming that whole coffee fruit extract – in its various forms – is a potent cognitive enhancer due to its supposed ability to increase a compound called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF controls the growth of neurons, so more BDNF means greater neuron density, and thus more brainpower.
The problem is that no independent studies have ever shown that whole coffee fruit extracts of the sort you get in Qualia Mind actually does increase BDNF. This ingredient may well be more gimmick than hard science!
There’s no mention of BDNF on the Neurohacker Collective website. This is yet another ingredient where they don’t even know how it is supposed to work!
Velvet Bean Seed Extract
There are no nootropic benefits associated with velvet bean seed extract. None whatsoever. There is no good reason for the Qualia Mind ingredients list to contain Velvet Bean Seed Extract, other than to make it look a little more exotic and unusual. The Mucuna pruriens extracted from Velvet Bean Seed is thought to support good hormonal balance, but again, evidence is limited, and this has nothing to do with brain function.
Phosphatidylserine is a superb nootropic. Dozens of clinical trials attest to the memory and focus enhancing properties of phosphatidylserine. When used daily for prolonged periods, phosphatidylserine supplements can significantly improve memory function and potentially even mitigate cognitive decline as we get older. Qualia Mind contains 100mg of phosphatidylserine, which is a solid dose known to have positive effects on focus, learning, and memory.
Theobromine is a methylxanthine related to caffeine. Extracted from cocoa plants, theobromine is part of the reason why chocolate can keep you awake at night (the main reason being the caffeine content). Like caffeine, theobromine is a stimulant; it heightens alertness, increases focus, and promotes mental energy.
However, theobromine is much, much weaker than caffeine. Given that caffeine is so well understood and so effective as a nootropic, why not just use caffeine instead of theobromine? The 100mg of theobromine you get from Qualia Mind is not going to make a big difference to your focus, learning or mental stamina. All it might do is disrupt your sleep or negatively interact with caffeine.
DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid, is an omega 3 fatty acid. It is found in large quantities in algae and in the fish that consume algae, and in much smaller amounts in other foods. DHA is one of the most important compounds for proper brain development. This fatty acid makes up the vast majority of your brain’s grey matter. Despite its importance for cognitive function, few people consume any DHA on a regular basis at all. Supplementing DHA has been shown to be associated with improved cognitive performance over the long term.
However, Qualia Mind contains just 80mg of DHA. This is a completely pointless dose of DHA. The best omega 3 supplements contain around 300mg of DHA per serving. An 80mg dose is practically pointless.
Celastrus paniculatus Seed Extract
Celastrus paniculatus is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, in which it is used as a general cure all, treating everything from gut health and psoriasis to memory impairment. While this plant enjoys popularity among “traditional medicine” practitioners, it is not used by any serious nootropic manufacturers for one simple reason: it has absolutely ZERO scientific proof backing it up. It is a shame to see it in Qualia Mind.
Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract
Unlike so many Qualia Mind ingredients, Ginkgo biloba is a proven, safe, effective nootropic. Studies show that Ginkgo biloba quickly increases cerebral blood flow. It does this by two separate mechanisms. The first is by increasing blood viscosity, making it runnier and easier to flow. The second is by triggering vasodilation (when blood vessels expand to allow more blood to flow).
More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrient delivery to brain cells, which means enhanced cognitive function. Unfortunately, once again Qualia Mind short changes us. We get just 50mg per serving, when the minimum active dose is 75mg.
Coleus forskohlii Root Extract
Again the Neurohacker Collective website makes broad statements about a Qualia Mind ingredient without backing them up. We’re told that Coleus forskohlii extract (Forskolin) has broad nootropic effects, enhancing learning, memory and focus. However, there is very little evidence to support these claims. No independent studies have ever shown that consuming Forskolin improves any measure of cognitive performance.
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ)
Pyrroloquinoline quinone, also called methoxatin, is an antioxidant and redox factor. It is a vitamin-like substance increasingly being used in dietary supplements, although like B12 PQQ is naturally occurring in soil, some fruits and vegetables, and breast milk. Supplementing with PQQ has been found to be effective for improving energy levels, although the effects are subtle and only occur after long-term supplementation (like with all B vitamins).
Huperzia serrata Leaf Extract
Huperzia serrata is the unique source of a compound called Huperzine A, which has some very interesting nootropic properties. Consuming Huperzine A inhibits an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter. By inhibiting the enzyme, Huperzine A effectively causes a build-up of acetylcholine in the brain, improving cognitive performance broadly.
However, there is a big problem with Qualia Mind using Huperzine A as an ingredient. A build-up of acetylcholine is good in the short-term, but over the long-term it causes problems when acetylcholine starts “clogging up” your neurons! So, Huperzine A needs to be cycled. As such, Qualia Mind cannot be taken daily long-term.
Qualia Mind Formula Analysis: Is this a good nootropic?
Unfortunately, Qualia Mind doesn’t look too good as a nootropic, especially when compared to the best brain supplements on sale right now. The Qualia Mind formula is full of problems which make it totally unsuitable as a long-term, daily brain supplement.
The main issue with Qualia Mind is the fact that it is stuffed full of useless ingredients that lack any kind of scientific proof. For example, Celastrus paniculatus has never been found to have significant effects on cognitive function in a clinical study. Nor has ALCAR, Mucuna pruriens, or Phenylalanine. These looks like clear filler ingredients when you examine the available evidence.
Another issue is the use of Huperzine A. As explained in the Qualia Mind ingredients section, Huperzine A cannot be taken for long periods of time.
Using Huperzine A daily causes a steady build-up of acetylcholine, which eventually starts to cause problems if it becomes excessive. So, you need to take prolonged breaks from Huperzine A. This means stopping taking Qualia Mind for several weeks at a time, reducing the benefits you get from other Qualia Mind ingredients.
Overall, Qualia Mind is far from the amazing nootropic it makes itself out to be. It is not ideal for long-term, daily use, and it is extraordinarily expensive for what you get. Other nootropic stacks offer far better value for money, far fewer filler ingredients, and better long-term results.
Qualia Mind vs Alpha Brain
Qualia Mind and Alpha Brain are two very different nootropics. As brain supplements go, these two have completely different formulas, and they are clearly designed to do different things. But both Qualia Mind and Alpha Brain are sold as daily, all-in-one nootropics. Both Qualia Mind and Alpha Brain claim to enhance every aspect of cognitive performance and to support brain health.
So which is better?
Despite having a bloated formula full of dud ingredients, Qualia Mind clearly represents better value for money than Alpha Brain, and it will undoubtedly deliver better results. The reason for this is that the Qualia Mind formula contains far more proven, powerful nootropics than Alpha Brain, and the doses in Qualia Mind are far more generous. The Alpha Brain formula is mostly untested herbal extracts that do nothing, and the doses of the effective nootropics in Alpha Brain are very low.
Qualia Mind vs Mind Lab Pro
Which is the better nootropic, Qualia Mind or Mind Lab Pro? The answer to this question is easy: Mind Lab Pro is a far better nootropic than Qualia Mind. Not only does Mind Lab Pro offer higher-quality ingredients overall than Qualia Mind, but Mind Lab Pro doesn’t contain any filler ingredients, while Qualia Mind is jam-packed with fillers!
Mind Lab Pro is also much more effective than Qualia Mind as a daily nootropic stack. Qualia Mind contains Huperzine A, which means it needs to be cycled regularly. Taking breaks from nootropics like Bacopa monnieri is not optimal, as it diminishes long-term benefits. Mind Lab Pro, by contrast, is specifically designed for long-term daily use.
Qualia Mind FAQs
Does Qualia Mind work immediately?
According to some user reviews, you can feel Qualia Mind kick in about 20 minutes after you take it. This seems likely given that some of Qualia Mind’s ingredients do work immediately.
Can I take Qualia Mind every day?
According to Neurohacker Collective, Qualia Mind is designed to be taken on a 5 days on, 2 days off schedule. It is not supposed to be taken every day for more than 5 days. This is due to the Huperzine A content of Qualia Mind.
Can you take Qualia Mind at night?
No, you should not take Qualia Mind at night, or at least not within 3 hours of you going to bed. Some of the ingredients in Qualia Mind can disrupt sleep, so make sure you take Qualia Mind several hours before sleep; ideally, take it first thing in the morning.
Qualia Mind Reviews: Do people like this nootropic?
So what are people saying about Qualia Mind?
It’s always worth looking at reviews of a nootropic before deciding to buy it. Here is a selection of Qualia Mind reviews taken from different places online:
It is important to remember while reading these Qualia Mind reviews that we have no way of knowing whether these reviews are impartial, honest, or even remotely true!
Qualia Mind Side Effects: Is it safe?
Is Qualia Mind safe to use?
On the whole, Qualia Mind does not look like a dangerous nootropic supplement. Like most brain supplements on sale today, Qualia Mind is composed of natural ingredients: herbal extracts, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and so on.
As such, Qualia Mind is likely much safer than synthetic nootropics like Noopept or Modafinil.
However, just because a nootropic is natural does not mean it is 100% safe. There are several ingredients in Qualia Mind are known to cause side effects. The main concern is, of course, the Huperzine A.
When taken daily for prolonged periods, Huperzine A causes an excessive accumulation of acetylcholine in the brain. This essentially clogs up your neurons! The side effects of long-term Huperzine A use include:
- Loss of focus
- Muscle cramps
- Poor hand-eye coordination
It is imperative that you take prolonged breaks from Huperzine A use to avoid these side effects becoming severe.
You should also keep in mind that Qualia Mind contains several ingredients that have not been proven to work in clinical trials. These ingredients have not been properly studied for use as supplements, which means we don’t know what their side effect risks are like.
Qualia Mind Review Conclusion: Does it really work?
Does Qualia Mind really work?
Qualia Mind may actually work for increasing focus and memory in the short term, but it will not work long-term.
Qualia Mind contains ingredients which need to be cycled, so you cannot take it daily. This means Qualia Mind will not work as well as other nootropics which are designed to be used for prolonged periods. It also means many of the long-term focused ingredients in Qualia Mind – the likes of phosphatidylserine and Bacopa monnieri – will not have meaningful effects.
We strongly advise you read our entire Qualia Mind review before paying such a huge amount of money for what is, unfortunately, an over-priced and poorly put together nootropic.
If you’re serious about enhancing your cognitive function, you will always get best results when using a comprehensive, daily nootropic stack designed for long-term use. That’s why we recommend Mind Lab Pro.
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.