truBrain has already claimed its spot as Best 5’s #2-ranked Nootropic Supplement of 2016. Meanwhile, Alpha BRAIN sits just outside our Best 5, but still gets an honorable mention.
Both these nootropic stacks are good. But what happens when they throw down… which one is better? Let’s get to the action…
Tale of the Tape
|Original and Caffeine Free Formulas||B-6 (Pyridoxine HCL)||10 mg|
|Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid)||300 mg||Onnit® Flow Blend||650 mg|
|Active Nootropics (patent pending)||L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Oatstraw Extract (Avena sativa), Phosphatidylserine|
|Oxiracetam||800 mg||AC-11® (Uncaria tomesntosa Extract)
|Acetyl-L-Carnitine||500 mg||Onnit® Focus Blend||240 mg|
|N-Acetyl Tyrosine||350 mg||Alpha-GPC, Bacopa manniera Extract, Huperzia serrata Extract|
|CDP – Choline Citicoline||250 mg||Onnit® Fuel Blend||65 mg|
|Magnesium (as magnesium glycinate)||200 mg||L-Leucine, Vinpocetine, Pterostilbene|
|Caffeine (original only)||80 mg|
|Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid)||468 mg|
|Active Nootropics (patent pending)|
|N-Acetyl Tyrosine||350 mg|
|Magnesium (as magnesium glycinate)||200 mg|
Round 1: Formulas
These two formulas take different strategies in boosting brainpower.
Alpha Brain touts its formula as “Earth Grown Nutrients,” and seems to focus on herbal nootropics. But truBrain has a more synthetic feel; in fact it doesn’t have any herbs at all.
truBrain’s formula leads with our #1-ranked nootropic, Citicoline. truBrain’s formula then ups the intrigue with Oxiracetam: A racetam-class nootropic with some pretty good evidence for boosting concentration & attention.
Both truBrain formulas are highly stimulating, with the caffeine & racetams and all, so it’s good they include L-Theanine to take the edge off.
Whereas truBrain is a stimulating/energizing nootropic, Alpha BRAIN targets neurotransmitters & brain waves. It uses some highly effective nootropics to get there, including Bacopa Monnieri, Phosphatidylserine, L-Theanine & Vinpocetine. Hey, that’s 4 of our Best 5!
Although truBrain does a good job offsetting the effects of caffeine by subbing in L-Theanine, Alpha Brain does it better. They forgo caffeine entirely; their L-Theanine dose gives a chilled-out, jitter-free mental alertness.
We also give Alpha Brain props for the apparent strategy behind their 3 blends for “Flow, focus & fuel.”
One possible drawback is, Alpha BRAIN puts a ton of focus behind their baby, AC-11®. This patented form of cat’s claw herb sounds great; but the jury is still out about whether it does what it claims.
In terms of ingredient choices and formula design truBrain and Alpha BRAIN, are really close… but one seems to have a slightly better stacking strategy:
Round 1… truBrain Wins.
Round 2: Dosages
Alpha BRAIN is semi-transparent in that it shows dosages of its prop blends, but does not reveal dosages of the individual nutrients within those blends. Based on what they do share, it seems to have some decent dosages and some subpar dosages.
350 mg for their brain baby AC-11® might be OK and unlock benefits…but we don’t know if there’s anything to unlock. The science behind AC-11® is lacking so whether it works at any dosage is under investigation.
Their Flow Blend looks alright but the Focus Blend looks rough. We know Hup-A can work at small dosages but Bacopa definitely needs more to give benefits.
Once again, truBrain does it better with their dosages… and they prove it by sharing the dose of every dang ingredient in the formula.
They double the L-Theanine to nerf the effects of caffeine. And Oxiracetam, the star of both formulas, sits comfortably at 800 mg. Matched with 500 mg from Uridine and we’ve got some strength behind their brain claims. The 250 mg Citicoline dose pushes truBrain over the top; a good pop of our favorite nootropic.
In the end, it’s almost automatic: truBrain shows all dosages for each ingredient… and both the ingredient choices and dosages look damn effective. Meanwhile Alpha BRAIN hides behind their prop blends.
Round 2… truBrain Wins
Round 3: Ingredient Quality
Right away truBrain has the advantage: Citicoline, especially the premium Cognizin brand used by truBrain, will always trump Alpha BRAIN’s Alpha-GPC for benefits.
And truBrain’s N-Acetyl Tyrosine breaks down slower than the L-Tyrosine Alpha BRAIN uses, delivering superior brain-booster benefits. Advantage, truBrain!
Alpha BRAIN’s Vitamin B-6 is also a lower quality form (B6 as P-5-P is better), and their herbs look to be generic-quality. In fact, with the exception of the AC-11, there are no standardized botanicals in Alpha BRAIN. Weak!
truBrain has no botanicals to standardize, so it gets a free pass. But where possible — with its Cognizin® Citicoline and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, in particular — truBrain opts for higher-quality ingredient forms that deliver better brain-boosting benefits. Alpha BRAIN does not.
Round 3… truBrain Wins.
Round 4: Price
|30 Drinks (30-day supply)||$65.00||1 Bottle (15-day supply)||$34.95|
|Per bottle||$2.16||Per capsule||$1.17|
|Per serving||$2.16||Per serving||$2.34|
Round 4… truBrain Wins.
Round 5: JUDGEMENT
We gotta say, though truBrain is a stronger warrior, Alpha BRAIN doesn’t go down without a fight.
Alpha BRAIN is hugely popular for “Flow State” marketing appeal and celebrity-driven status. It also has a set of strong nootropic ingredient choices, a few of which complement each other nicely.
The biggest advantage & differentiator? If it works (and that remains a big if), AC-11® can only be found in one brain supplement: Alpha BRAIN.
It’s too bad Alpha BRAIN hides their dosages and uses plain, non-standardized herbs. Upgrading these areas would’ve given them a powerful edge. But they decided to put 90% of their focus behind the unproven AC-11. It’s got promise, but too much theory for our liking.
Like a flashy, overconfident fighter with great potential who hasn’t trained properly for a fight, Alpha BRAIN isn’t quite ready to step in the ring with truBrain.
truBrain has superior stacking strategy that really picks Alpha BRAIN apart. With its racetams, Citicoline, N- Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, and L-Theanine, truBrain’s stack packs a harder evidence-backed punch than Alpha BRAIN’s theoretical blend can.
Not to mention truBrain’s dosages look good, and are not hidden behind any BS proprietary blends. truBrain tastes good too, and has that cool “Think Drink” angle that’s sexier than taking a plain capsule.
This fight was closer than it looked, but the judges’ decision is clear: