NootroBrain Critical Review of Research

NootroBrain is said to be a “groundbreaking nootropic cognitive enhancer that delivers improved focus, productivity, speech & memory.” It’s website also states that it contains ingredients that have been “clinically tested and proven to show an increase in focus, memory, mood, and mental capabilities.” Who doesn’t want that! Theoretically, anything that could do this might help older folks with memory problems, people with ADHD, college students, etc. I was intrigued by the ingredients in NootroBrain -specially one ingredient I’d never heard of before – and that’s why I wanted to review it. As always, I’ll look at the research, with an emphasis on the studies that used humans. Let’s see what we can discover.

 

Who Makes NootroBrain?

According to the website, nootrobrain.com, the company is called” Nootrolabs.” The product website says that Nootrolabs was formed in 2010 by a group of researchers (their names were not given). But, when I went to the company website (NootroLabs.com), nothing was there except for a message that said the website was being created and would be up shortly.  I  discovered that both NootroLabs.com and the product website (NootroBrain.com) were each registered on March 2 2013.

Nootrobrain

Picture taken from NootroBrain.com

I then searched Google images for “Nootrolabs.” Since “labs” is in the name, I wanted to see if I could find an actual building that contained the name of the company, where laboratory research might occur.

I could not find any building that said “NootroLabs.”

I then goggled the phone number listed on NootroBrain.com – 800-308-4924. I discovered that this was the same contact number as is listed for another supplement, called Tinniticil, which is a product marketed to help ringing in the ears.

Interestingly, when I went to the Tinniticil website, I noticed it looked a LOT like the Nootrobrain website. Even the return address PO Box for Tinniticil said “Nootrolabs.” I take this to mean Tinniticil is another product of Nootrolabs.

I then called 800-308-4924 to ask about the company. I learned that this phone number goes to an outside ordering center located in Montgomery Alabama. The person I spoke to said that this was an “after hours” ordering center. I thought this was odd, since I called on a weekday at 2PM EST.

I called again the next day – at 1:45 PM and again at 2PM. Again, I was sent to the “after hours” call center.

I then called a week later, again, on a weekday, at 1:45PM. I again went to the after hours customer service center, although the person I spoke to this time gave me an address of a private residence in TN that appears to be someone’s house.

Other than being in Tennessee, I really can’t tell much about Nootrolabs. If anyone can provide additional information, please leave a comment and I will be glad to update this part of my review.

 

NootroBrain Research

I am not aware of any published, peer reviewed research on Nootrobrain itself. Searching the National Library of Medicine for the name of the product showed no studies. I also turned up nothing when I googled “NootroBrain Research.” Likewise, the product website shows no studies either. I found this odd considering that the company – Nootrolabs – is said to be created by a group of researchers, who the website says, worked for 2 years before Nootrobrain was created.

 

Let’s now look at the ingredients in NootroBrain and see what we can discover. According the label, a bottle contains 60 capsules. 1 capsule has the following ingredients:

 Ingredients% DV
Vitamin B6   1.3 mg65%
Proprietary Blend
Aniracetam     500 mgN/A
CDP-Choline   300 mgN/A
Bacopa Monnieri 100 mgN/A

% DV = percent daily value. N/A = no daily value established

The label says to take 1 capsule twice a day with meals (so a total of 2 capsules per day). Since there are 60 capsules in a bottle, each bottle should last 1 month.

Let’s look at each of these ingredients separately

Vitamin B6

Its scientific name is Pyridoxine. The product website says that we need vitamin B6 to make serotonin, a brain chemical that plays a role in many things, such as hunger and mood. It also says that we need vitamin B6 to make hemoglobin. Theoretically a lack of hemoglobin could lead to anemia and one of the main signs of this is feeling tired and this might hinder memory and focus. Additionally the website says that:

1. “Studies show that there is a link between low levels of vitamin B-6 and cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease. “

2.Research also shows that people perform better on memory tests when taking higher levels of vitamin B-6.”

Unfortunately, they don’t list what those studies are, which makes analyzing their evidence difficult. That said, I think the big thing to consider when it comes to vitamin B6 is are we actually deficient in it?

I don’t think so if we are talking about healthy people because B6 is found in many foods. That said, it’s possible that older adults, who don’t eat well, might be.

When I looked at the research on this vitamin as it pertained to memory issues, it appeared that studies used more B6 than is in Nootobrain, such as this study were 10 mg were used. Nootrobrain only has 1.3 mg of B6, which isn’t a lot. Even my bottle of Centrum Silver Chewables lists 7 mg of B6.

If NotoBrain really works, I don’t think vitamin B6 contributes anything significant to its effects in most people.

Aniracetam

This ingredient is pronounced “An-a-race-a-tam” and it’s a synthetic compound that according to its Wikipedia page is sold in Europe as a prescription drug. Aniracetam was created by Roche pharmaceuticals. It sometimes goes by another trade name “Draganon.”

But, if it’s a drug, I don’t understand how this stuff can be included in a dietary supplement. My only guess is that aniracetam may be found somewhere in nature. That’s the only way I can think of to get around the dietary supplement law in the US. But where in nature is it found? If anyone knows, leave a comment and let me know.

The product website says that this compound is a “cognitive enhancer.” While that’s a vague description, I take that to mean the stuff helps us think better and remember better. With that in mind, I searched the National Library of Medicine for these words:

  • Aniracetam memory
  • Aniracetam mood
  • Aniracetam ADHD
  • Aniracetam ADD
  • Aniracetam attention

Before we go any further, I just want to say that the research on aniracetam is extremely complicated. Also, most of the research I saw involved mice, rats, monkeys, pigeons and test tubes.

I’m only interested in the human studies because that’s most relevant for us. Here is what I found:

In 1984, a small study titled Effects of aniracetam, a nootropic drug, in senile dementia–a preliminary report, showed the effects of aniracetam on 4 people. People either received a placebo or 500 mg or 1000 mg of aniracetam. The results appeared to show that only the person who had mild dementia responded to aniracetam. They also noted that 500 mg worked better than 1000 mg. This study only had 4 people. That’s a problem because that’s not enough people to draw good conclusions from.

 

In a 1987 study titled Senile dementia of the Alzheimer type treated with aniracetam: a new nootropic agent, 44 people with Alzheimer’s disease were randomly given either 1 gram (1000 mg) of Aniracetam or a placebo for 3 months. While the researchers noted that people getting aniracetam appeared to score better on memory tests, they saw similar results in those getting the placebo. That is a big problem. There were no significant differences between the placebo and those getting aniracetam.

Researchers also noted that 4 of the people who received aniracetam showed signs of confusion while only 1 such case was observed in the placebo group. This hints that at higher doses, a worsening of some dementia symptoms might occur.

In 1990, a study was published titled The use of a scopolamine model to study the potential nootropic effects of aniracetam and piracetam in healthy volunteers. In this study, healthy people were purposely given a drug (scopolamine, used to treat motion sickness) to make them confused and have memory issues. They were then given 1500 mg of aniracetam. Researchers noted that aniracetam significantly improve the cognitive impairments caused by the drug. This study may or may not have had a placebo group. I can’t tell from the summary I saw. This might reduce the significance of the study.

 

A 1990 study titled The hyperventilation-induced ischaemia model in human neuropharmacology: neurophysiological and psychometric studies of aniracetam and 3-OH aniracetam where 1500 mg of aniracetam appeared to alter EEG changes and improve blood flow to the brain.

 

A 2008 study titled A randomized, controlled, double-blind trial of Huannao Yicong capsule in senile patients with mild cognitive impairment. This study compared the effects of Aniracetam to a Chinese medicine product called Huannao Yicong (which consists of several herbs). This study noted that the Chinese product was better than Aniracetam at helping older adults with mild forms of dementia.

 

A 2010 study titled Effect of modified huanglian wendan decoction in treating senile patients with mild cognitive impairment of turbid-phlegm blocking orifice syndrome. This study compared Aniracetam to a Chinese medicine called huanglian wendan decoction. While people getting both products appeared to show improvement, the Chinese medicine product was deemed superior to aniracetam.

 

A 2012 study titled Clinical efficacy of aniracetam, either as monotherapy or combined with cholinesterase inhibitors, in patients with cognitive impairment: a comparative open study. This study lasted 1 year and included 276 people with various forms of cognitive disorders. The researchers split the people up into the following groups:

  • aniracetam (58 people)
  • aniracetam + cholinesterase inhibitors (a drug used to treat senility) (68 people)
  • cholinesterase inhibitors alone (68 people)
  • placebo group /no treatment (75 people)

These researchers noted that after 6 months, those with mild dementia appeared to respond better to aniracetam than those getting the drug.

While this study is encouraging, it has a HUGE problem. Everybody in the study knew who was getting which treatment. The researchers knew and the participants also knew. As such, this is a terrible study in my opinion. If you knew which treatment you were getting, this might alter the results. This would have been a much better study if it was randomized and double blinded. Based on how this study was conducted, I have no faith in the results.

Looking at aniracetam research I could locate, a few things occurred to me:

 

     1.Even though aniracetam appears to have been around since the early 1980s, most of the research appears to still be confined to mice, rats and test tubes. What’s up with that?

     2. Many human studies are small and have problems with how they were conducted.

     3. If aniracetam works, it might work only for those with mild memory problems (as opposed to full blown Alzheimers).

 

CDP-Choline

CDP stands for Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine. Another name, that’s often used in research studies, is citicoline. Basically, this is a compound that helps us make phosphatidylcholine (phos-fa-tidal-kol-ene). This in turn helps us make acetylcholine. So, by supplying CDP choline, the idea is that this might supply the body with the building blocks it needs to help keep brain cells healthy and make an important brain chemical.

Trivia. Sometimes people take lechitin supplements. Phosphatidylcholine is one of the things that lechitin is made of. For more info, see this phosphatidylcholine article at Forbes.com.

I searched the National Library of Medicine for these words:

  • CDP-Choline memory
  • CDP-Choline Alzheimer’s
  • CDP-Choline ADD
  • CDP-Choline ADHD
  • Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine memory
  • Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine Alzheimer’s
  • Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine ADD
  • Cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine ADHD

I discovered that there are MANY studies of this compound and several of them have been conducted on humans. To avoid confusion, remember that many of the studies call CDP Choline by its other name ―Citicoline.” Here are just some of the studies I found:

 

Citicoline and Stroke Studies

In a 1988 study titled Treatment of acute cerebral infarction with a choline precursor in a multicenter double blind controlled study, 272 stroke patients were either given a placebo or 1000 mg of intravenous citicoline per day for 2 weeks. By the end of the study, 54% of people improved, compared to only 29% of people getting a placebo. This study may not be applicable to NootroBrain because the people had got injections of citicoline. Supplements may not have the same effect.

 

A study titled A randomized dose-response trial of citicoline in acute ischemic stroke patients. Citicoline Stroke Study Group. This study involved 259 people who had a stroke and were randomly given either a placebo or 3 different levels of citicoline orally (500 mg,1000 mg or 2000 mg) within 24 hours of having the stroke. Treatment continued for 6 weeks.

 

After 12 weeks, researchers noted that those getting either 500 mg or 2000 mg of citicoline showed significant improvements in their abilities do normal activities (in the study they call them ADLs or activities of daily living). Oddly, those getting 1000 mg showed no improvements. While no significant side effects were noted, researchers mentioned that those getting 2000 mg showed some dizziness and accidents. They concluded 500 mg was the optimal dose to be used.

 

In 1999, a study titled A randomized efficacy trial of citicoline in patients with acute ischemic stroke was published. Here, 394 people who had a stroke were ―within 12 hours of having the stroke ― randomly given either a placebo or 500 mg of citicolne per day for 6 weeks. Unfortunately, those getting citicolne did not improve any better than those getting the placebo.

 

In 2001 study titled A phase III randomized efficacy trial of 2000 mg citicoline in acute ischemic stroke patients. Here, people who had a stroke were randomly given either a placebo or 2000 mg of citicoline per day for 6 weeks. Those getting citicoline improved no better than people who got a placebo.

 

In a 2002 review of previous investigations titled, Oral citicoline in acute ischemic stroke: an individual patient data pooling analysis of clinical trials, researchers noted that “Treatment with oral citicoline within the first 24 hours after onset in patients with moderate to severe stroke increases the probability of complete recovery at 3 months.”

Those are impressive words although since this study did not actually test anything – they just looked at previous studies – I dont know how they can make this statement.

 

A 2013 study titled Long-term treatment with citicoline may improve poststroke vascular cognitive impairment. In this investigation, people, after getting a stroke, appeared to do better on memory tests after citicoline than those receiving more traditional treatments. In this study, both the people and the researchers knew who was getting which treatment. This is a problem with the study.

 

In this 2012 investigation titled Retrospective and observational study to assess the efficacy of citicoline in elderly patients suffering from stupor related to complex geriatric syndrome, it was mentioned that citicoline can improve mental performance in people with Alzheimer’s and dementia caused by decreased brain blood flow.

 

In this 2011 study titled Ceraxon (citicoline) in the treatment of the mild cognitive impairment syndrome, researchers noted that 2000 mg of citicoline, taken over the course of 3 months, improved the cognitive test scored in 20 people, compared to when the tests were taken at the start of the study. I could not tell from the summary if this study had a placebo group or not. This might be a problem with the study design.

The researchers also noted that citicoline would be good for “long-term preventive treatment” for those at high risk for Alzheimer’s. That’s a bold statement, but this study does not prove that citicoline “prevents” Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. As such, these words should be taken with a grain of salt until better studies can be done.

 

Citicoline And Memory Studies

A 1996 study titled Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging. This took part in 2 phases. It involved 96 people (between 50-85). Phase 1: for 3 months, people were randomly given either a placebo or 1000 mg citicoline. At the end of this part of the study, researchers noted that 1000 mg of citicoline only appeared to help those with poor memory.

Those people (with poor memory) were then enrolled in phase 2 of the study, where they all received either a placebo for 60 days or 2000 mg of citicoline for 60 days. In the end, 2000 mg of citicoline improved verbal memory more than the placebo.

 

In a 1997 study titled Citicoline improves memory performance in elderly subjects, 24 people with memory issues were enrolled in this 4 week study. People either received 500 or 1000 mg of citicoline per day or 300 mg citicoline combined with a heart disease drug called nimodipine. The results showed that citicoline improved people’s recalling words but not in recognizing objects.

 

In a 2004 review of previous citicoline research titled, Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP choline) for cognitive and behavioural disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly, the researchers noted that there was evidence that CDP choline helped memory. They found no evidence that it helped attention span.

 

Citicoline And Alzheimer’s

A 1999 study titled Double-blind placebo-controlled study with citicoline in APOE genotyped Alzheimer’s disease patients. Effects on cognitive performance, brain bioelectrical activity and cerebral perfusion. This study included 30 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. People were given 1000 mg of citicoline for 12 weeks. Two weeks after that, they were given a placebo for 12 weeks. Compared to the placebo, improvements were seen although they were not deemed “significant” from a statistics point of view.

Here is citicoline (CDP Choline) on Amazon for those who want to see what others are saying about it.

 

Bacopa Monnieri

Searching the National Library of Medicine, I found these relevant human studies:

An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. In this study, 31 kids with ADHD were given 225 mg of bacopa per day or a placebo for 6 months. Researchers noted that bacopa helped ADHD more than a placebo.

One problem with this study was that the kids and researchers all knew who was getting which treatment. This type of study design may result in errors in the results and is less reliable than a randomized, double blind placebo study.

 

In this 2014 review of previous studies titled Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract, the researchers, looking at 9 studies which included 518 people, concluded that while bacopa has potential to improve various aspects of thinking, it needs better and larger trials to draw more definitive conclusions.

I’ve reviewed this ingredient before. Bacopa is also an ingredient in :

See those reviews for additional information.

 

Ingredients With The Most Evidence

Based on the studies I could locate, I believe the following ingredients have the most evidence and likely are responsible for any effects seen from NootroBrain:

CDP Choline

Bacopa Monnieri

Of those, I believe CDP Choline has most of the evidence. I’ve linked to both ingredients on Amazon for those who want to compare prices and see what others are saying. That said, the research on CDP choline (and Bacopa) is not perfect. Several studies I saw had problems with how they were conducted, which makes it difficult to draw better conclusions.

Ingredients That Might Not Work

  • Vitamin B6
  • Aniracetam

I listed these two ingredients because:

     1. I don’t think most people are lacking in vitamin B6. And Nootrobrain doesn’t have much B6.

     2. I’m unimpressed with the human aniracetam studies I located.

 

How Much To Take?

The label of Nootrobrain says to take 2 capsules per day. I think, for some people, that might be too much to start with as it would lead to taking 1000 mg of aniracetam. While the research on this aniracetam is less than spectacular, some of the studies noted 1000 mg might cause confusion and dizziness in some people. How likely this is to occur, I don’t know. As a rule, I feel people should begin any new supplement by taking less than the label indicates, for at least a week, to better gauge if any side effects occur.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

When I checked the product website, 1 bottle of NootroBrain was costing $79. If people bought 2 bottles for $237, they would get a free bottle. If they bought 3 bottles for $395, they would get 2 bottles free. Personally, I think that’s a lot of money, especially when considering that the 2 ingredients with most of the research ―Bacopa and CDP-Choline ―cost a lot less.

Nootrobrain vs. Procera AVH

Procera AVH is memory supplement that you may have seen advertised on TV. It contains distinctly different ingredients than Nootrobrain.  Currently, there are no head-to-head comparison studies between NootroBrain and Procera AVH, so until that happens, I suggest you take that one is better than another with a grain of salt. The same is true for comparisons between Nootrobrain and Focus Factor (click to see my review on that product).

Remember, currently Nootrobrain appears to have  no published peer reviewed research, let alone, a comparison to another memory supplement. Procera AVH does have one study on it but in my opinion, it has some problems.

Here is my review of Procera AVH for those who want to know more about it.

 

How to Contact NootroBrain

On the contact page of Nootrobrain.com they list this number: 1-800-308-4924. They also list this email address as well: [email protected] I recommend calling them for faster help.

 

How To Return NooTroBrain

The product website says Nootrobrain comes with a 100% money back guarantee. This guarantee looks like it lasts for 6 months after buying the product. That’s actually a great guarantee! The website lists this return address:

Nootrolabs

Attn: Returns Department

PO Box 247

Eads, TN 38028

 

I recommend calling the customer service department at 800-308-4924 before attempting to return anything. The company may have some additional things to do when retuning products. For example, Some companies require people to obtain a Return Authorization Number (RMA Number) before sending products back. When in doubt, it’s always good to call and make sure.

 

Nootrobrain Side Effects

I am not aware of any significant side effects from the product at this time. Most of the studies of the ingredients I saw show no significant side effects either other than possibly confusion and dizziness. That said, here are a few theoretical items that I feel people should be aware of. This list is general and is not complete. When in doubt, ask your doctor and pharmacist for greater insights.

Nootrobrain may cause insomina if taken too close to bed time.

Women who are pregnant/breastfeeding should not take Nootrobrain.

People who take any medications for Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia should consult their doctor or pharmacist. Theoretically, Nootrobrain may interact with some of these types of medications.

People who take blood thinner drugs should ask their doctor or pharmacist first.

Stop all supplements at least 2 weeks before surgery. Some supplements may increase bleeding which is not good if you are having surgery.

People who take medications for ADD or ADHD should talk to their doctor or pharmacist. Theoretically the product may interact with ADD or ADHD medications.

Some ingredients in the supplement may decrease blood pressure. This may be an issue for those with blood pressure or kidney problems or heart disease. Whether Nootrobrain effects blood pressure, I don’t know.

People who have anxiety disorders or who are bipolar should talk to their doctor or pharmacist.

 

Does It Work?

Without research on Nootrobrain itself, I think the question is up in the air. That said, some of the ingredients in the product are interesting ―especially CDP choline and to a lesser degree, bacopa. The research on these ingredients, while encouraging, is far from a slam dunk, but I do wonder if some people might notice a benefit from them. If they work, I think the degree to which anyone notices benefits would be based on how severe the memory impairment is as well as maybe what medications people take.

I do feel those who take any medications should always talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before taking the product or its ingredients. Is  Nootrobrain better than the two ingredients I highlighted? Anything is possible, but again, until better studies are done, I don’t think anyone can know this for sure.

Here is CDP Choline and Bacopa on Amazon to see what others are saying.

What do you think?

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