Launched in 2000 and acquired by Synergy Strips Corp in early 2015, Focus Factor is one of the top-selling nootropic formulas–thanks to highly aggressive radio and TV advertising campaigns, free trials, and shelf space in massive retailers like Wal-Mart, Costco and Walgreens. The patented Focus Factor formula, which is like a multivitamin with added nootropics, is claimed to:
- Nourish the brain with critical nutrients that can replace a multivitamin, including 11 ingredients supplied at 100%+ daily value (DV).
- Boost memory, focus and concentration in just weeks, a claim allegedly backed by clinical research.
- Help you feel sharper, for an “extra edge” in mental performance across academic, professional and recreational activities.
Focus Factor supplies 40 different ingredients.
If we explain each one, this review will be ten pages long. Click here to see the full Focus Factor supplement facts. We are instead analyzing just the Focus Factor nootropic proprietary blend:
Focus Factor Supplement Facts
|Ingredients in “Synergistic Proprietary Formulation”||692 mg|
|Dimethylaminoethanol (as DMAE bitartrate), L-glutamine, Bacopin® (bacopa monnieri extract; leaf) L-pyroglutamic acid, phosphatidylserine, docosahexaenoic acid concentrate (15% dha from fish body oil), choline (as choline bitartre), inositol, N-acetyltyrosine, bilberry fruit standardized extract (25% anthocyanosides), gamma-aminobutyric acid, grape skin extract and Activin™(grape seed extract), vinpocetine, Trace-Lyte™ electrolyte concentrate, huperzine a (extract of huperzia serrata; whole plant), boron (as boron citrate) and vanadium (as vanadyl sulfate).|
Focus Factor is the Worst Nootropic Formula in the World.
There. We had to get that off our chest. So why is it so bad? Let’s break down the formula.
The Focus Factor concept of a multivitamin+nootropics is pretty cool… but it would require a super-sophisticated formula in order to work. Focus Factor is not that…not by a longshot.
The most glaring Focus Factor problem? Dosage.
When you look at the “Synergistic and proprietary formulation” that drives Focus Factor’s nootropic activity, you see 18 nutrients in 692 mg. If dosage were divided equally, that would mean a little over 38 mg per compound… which is roughly nothing.
Of course, it’s a proprietary blend, so dosages are not equally divided. If anything, most of the ingredients are less than 38 mg! Even those with more are still probably dosed way too low to deliver any nootropic benefits.
Let’s look at their DHA as a low-dose example.
First off, DHA is not a nootropic. It does help brain health, but Focus Factor kills that chance with a ridiculously small dosage. Their label says:
“Docosahexaenoic acid concentrate (15% DHA from fish (anchovy, sardine and salmon) body oil)”
Sounds impressive, right? Well, it’s not. What Focus Factor is REALLY giving you is cheap fish oil concentrate with 15% active DHA. Let’s be generous and guess that Focus Factor gives you 100 mg of total fish oil. That means you’d get only 15 mg of active DHA, which is very low. How low?
Research has suggested that 180 mg DHA might help with age-related brain health. That means in our hypothetical example, Focus Factor is giving you less than 1/10th of the DHA you need to support your brain. Weak!
Are any nootropics dosed high enough?
Huperzine-A and Vinpocetine are both excellent nootropics that are effective in tiny dosages, so they might actually work in Focus Factor’s formula.
As for the rest, we are doubtful. But let’s take a look at the first 3 ingredients listed, which have the highest dosages of the blend. They are:
- DMAE: An organic amino acid used to make the brain chemical acetylcholine, DMAE is believed to support relaxation, bright mood and sharp thinking. You need at least 100 mg to get brain benefits. Maybe Focus Factor gets there.
- L-Glutamine: It’s not a nootropic. So the second highest dose ingredient in their blend does NOTHING for mental performance. What a waste.
- Bacopin® Bacopa extract: It supplies 20% active bacosides, a low standardization, but still better than “plain” bacopa. Bacopa is great, it’s our #3-ranked nootropic. But we don’t know dosage. The best nootropics supply up to 45% bacosides, double the strength of what we see in Focus Factor. (and they show their dosages, too).
Other Focus Factor Ingredients
Focus Factor supplies some other good ingredients: Phosphatidylserine (a Best5 Nootropic), choline, N-Acetyltyrosine, and grapeseed extract all help the brain… as long as their dosages are high enough. In this formula, they’re just not… negating all their potential brain benefits.
Focus Factor’s “multivitamin” does hit 100%+ DV in 11 essential vitamins and minerals… which makes us even more suspicious that they are shorting consumers on the brain-boosting nootropics they thought they were getting.
Focus Factor’s label looks impressive. But to cram 40 ingredients into a tablet, they must water down their dosages to ineffective levels… making this formula useless for mental performance.
Focus Factor Benefits
Focus Factor claims cognitive benefits related to memory, focus, attention span, and concentration. It’s possible that a few of their 40 ingredients hit dosage to bring some of these cognitive benefits… but the formula flaws are so deep that we just don’t trust Focus Factor to deliver any benefit whatsoever.
Who Takes Focus Factor?
Focus Factor is advertised as “America’s #1 Brain Supplement”… their aggressive marketing does not discriminate; they sell to anybody who is willing to buy it. A certain P.T. Barnum quote springs to mind…
Any Side Effects?
Over 1.3 MILLION people have tried Focus Factor since 2000. If there were any serious side effects with the formula, there would be thousands upon thousands of complaints online. There are not, so we figure Focus Factor is safe and well-tolerated. One minor concern is that many online reviews seem to mention headaches as a side effect, but not enough to make it a trend.
Focus Factor Advantages
- Some quality ingredients. Bafflingly, Focus Factor uses some premium ingredients: Natural vitamin E, B6 as P-5-P, and a bunch of branded ingredients including Ferronyl™ Iron, TRAACS® Copper, Bacopin® Bacopa, Activin™ grape seed, and Trace-Lyte™ electrolytes. It just doesn’t make sense… why use premium ingredients when the dosages are too low to make a difference anyway?
- A “clinical study.” Focus Factor claims to have conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the formula that showed a 44% improvement in verbal learning & short-term memory. Sounds great, but they don’t show the study anywhere… and we have a hard time believing it.
- No crazy claims. Focus Factor keeps their brain health claims conservative, which is good for credibility… but there’s a reason for that below.
Focus Factor Drawbacks
- The Worst Nootropic Formula Ever. It’s just not made to work. Too many ingredients trying to do too many things in too-small dosages.
- Controversy. Over the years, Focus Factor has gotten in trouble with the FDA and FTC for deceptive marketing & false advertising. They were even fined $1 million by the FTC for making illegal health claims.
- Autoship scams and unauthorized charges. Consumer Affairs has a LOT of complaints about people signing up for free Focus Factor trials, cancelling, and then continuing to have money charged to their credit cards or taken from their bank accounts… without authorization.
Final Word on Focus Factor
We don’t believe Focus Factor works. It tries to be a multivitamin and a nootropic formula, and fails at both. There’s an outside chance it supplies enough Huperzine-A and Vinpocetine, but any benefits are offset by negatives: Sloppy and senseless formula design, history of illegal claims and million-dollar fines, and a reputation damaged by unethical practices. There is no good reason to take Focus Factor. Franky, we think the big-box retailers who sell this garbage to their customers should be ashamed of themselves.