In this comparison review, we pitch NooCube Vs Alpha Brain – two top tier nootropics, but with quite different ingredient lists. Which should you go for? This comprehensive review from nootropics expert James Dixon will give you all the information you need to make a decision…
Written by James Dixon
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Many of us look for cognitive enhancement to improve our mental abilities, performance, and productivity – in short, to help us deal with and thrive within the rigors of modern life. Nootropic supplements vow to deliver these benefits, but the market is flooded with different brands, formulae, and promises, making it difficult to choose the right product.
Luckily, though, there are some real gems out there. Alpha Brain and NooCube are two of them – both top-tier nootropics that crop up time and time again when we talk about the best smart supplements out there.
While both products have their benefits, Alpha Brain and NooCube differ in their approach, complexity, and transparency. So I wanted to take a look at them side by side, evaluating the pros and cons of each supplement to help you to make an informed choice – or, rather, the right choice for you.
Quick Verdict: NooCube Or Alpha Brain?
I prefer NooCube. With its transparent formula, supported by research and data, and excellent formulation, it’s always going to be hard to beat.
NooCube works along multiple pathways to enhance focus, attention span, memory, and eye-brain connection, and reduce stress. It provides noticeable benefits within an hour, improving cognition, recall, and energy levels without the jitters of caffeine.
Its comprehensive approach and positive user experiences make NooCube a genuinely brilliant option for those looking to enhance their cognitive performance.
What are Alpha Brain and NooCube?
NooCube, produced by Wolfson Brands, incorporates a blend of well-known nootropic, high-quality compounds to enhance cognitive function. It’s designed to improve memory, focus, multitasking abilities, energy, clarity, and communication.
With over thirty years of experience in performance supplementation, and with some of the best supplements on the market under their belt, Wolfson Brands are industry stalwarts who really know their business. They pride themselves on using the best-known nootropic ingredients in NooCube, which is evident, providing you with a supplement that is pretty much second to none.
On the other hand, Alpha Brain is produced by Onnit, a supplement company based in the United States. Although they may not have the same level of experience as Wolfson Brands, Onnit has been in the market for twelve years (which is a long time in this game), during which time they have gained recognition for producing top-quality supplements.
Alpha Brain, their flagship supplement, is endorsed by prominent athletes and celebrities such as Joe Rogan, who not only uses and promotes it but is also a key stakeholder in Onnit.
Alpha Brain is made entirely from natural ingredients, referred to as ‘earth grown’ by Onnit, but still manages to give you a potent cognitive kick. It aims to improve cognition, cognitive energy, memory, focus, drive, and learning skills.
While both NooCube and Alpha Brain are both excellent supplements, the key distinction lies in their specific ingredient compositions. Consumers should carefully consider the ingredients in each product to determine which suits their needs and preferences best.
As we will see below, NooCube’s formula relies on a blend of well-researched nootropic compounds that have been chosen for their cognitive-enhancing properties.
On the other hand, Alpha Brain’s formula consists of natural ingredients that are sourced from the earth, reflecting Onnit’s emphasis on providing a potent cognitive supplement using nature’s own resources.
Although Onnit may not have the extensive experience of Wolfson Brands, they have established themselves as a reputable company known for producing high-quality supplements. Alpha Brain’s endorsement by notable individuals, including Joe Rogan, adds to its appeal for some users (less so for me – Rogan has never really been known for his scientific rigour, has he?). But still, it’s a very good product.
The ingredients they have in common
NooCube and Alpha Brain share several ingredients in common in their formulae. These ingredients have been carefully selected for their cognitive-enhancing properties and their ability to support brain health, all with a lot to offer.
Alpha GPC (alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine)
Alpha GPC is a key ingredient found in both NooCube and Alpha Brain. It is a natural compound known for its ability to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in cognitive functions such as memory, learning, and attention, so boosting it brings some unsurprising yet very welcome benefits to your overall cognitive function.
Research on Alpha GPC has shown promising results. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, it was found that participants who took Alpha GPC experienced significant improvement in memory and cognitive function compared to those who received a placebo.
Another study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society demonstrated that Alpha GPC supplementation led to improvements in cognitive performance in elderly individuals.
Bacopa monnieri extract
Bacopa monnieri extract is also used to great effect in both NooCube and Alpha Brain. This is great – I always like to see it showing up in good nootropics.
Bacopa monnieri is a herb with a long history of use in traditional medicine for its cognitive benefits. It has been shown to improve memory, enhance focus, and reduce anxiety and stress.
Recent research on Bacopa monnieri extract has provided scientific justification for this use – robust evidence points to its ability to support its positive effects on cognition. For instance, a review published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine analysed the results of multiple studies and concluded that Bacopa monnieri extract can improve memory acquisition, retention, and consolidation.
Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Bacopa monnieri extract improved cognitive performance and reduced anxiety in healthy participants.
By incorporating Bacopa monnieri, both NooCube and Alpha Brain may help users enhance their memory, increase focus, and reduce mental fatigue.
Huperzine A is derived from the Chinese club moss plant and both NooCube and Alpha Brain use it once more to great effect. It is known for its ability to inhibit the action of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme responsible for breaking down acetylcholine in the brain.
By inhibiting this enzyme, Huperzine A increases acetylcholine levels, backing up the Alpha GPC’s good work and thus better enabling improved memory, learning, and overall cognitive function.
Recent research justifies Huperzine A’s use in a nootropic contect. In a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, it was found that Huperzine A supplementation significantly improved memory performance in adolescents.
Another study published in the Journal of Neural Transmission showed that Huperzine A improved memory and cognitive function in elderly participants suffering with cognitive impairments.
Huperzine A should work well in both supplements, aiming to optimize cognitive performance and support overall brain health.
Again, I always like to see L-theanine in a good nootropic. It’s an amino acid that is commonly found in green tea that is known for its relaxing and focus-enhancing properties. L-theanine promotes a state of relaxation without causing drowsiness, reduces anxiety, and improves focus and attention.
Modern research has shed light on L-theanine’s positive effects on cognition. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that L-theanine supplementation led to improvements in attention and reaction time, as well as a reduction in mental fatigue.
Another study published in the journal Psychopharmacology showed that L-theanine enhanced alpha brain wave activity, which is associated with a relaxed and focused mental state.
All told, the L-theanine in both supplements should help to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and improve focus. Both supplements will therefore offer users a balanced and calm energy boost, allowing them to stay focused and alert without experiencing the kinds jitters or crashes typically associated with stimulant use (caffeine, and so on).
Oat straw extract
Oat straw extract is taken from the oat plant’s green stems, and its inclusion in both NooCube and Alpha Brain is very welcome. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine for the cognitive benefits it offers – oat straw extract is believed to increase blood flow to the brain, providing nourishment and support to brain cells.
While modern research on oat straw extract is still limited, there is emerging evidence to support its cognitive-enhancing properties. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that oat straw extract improved cognitive performance and executive functioning in healthy individuals.
Another study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science observed improvements in cognitive performance, mood, and alertness in participants following oat straw supplementation.
We can see, then, that NooCube and Alpha Brain share several common ingredients that have been carefully selected for their cognitive-enhancing properties and their ability to support brain health, all with some form of scientific, clinical justification.
Their base DNA is pretty similar – Alpha GPC, Bacopa monnieri extract, Huperzine A, L-theanine, and oat straw extract combine in each, all bringing about positive effects on memory, focus, and overall cognitive function.
How the formulae differ
Though this basic DNA is very similar, there are some notable ways in which the two formulae diverge – each brings a few unique ingredients to the table, generally with good clinical data backing them up.
NooCube contains several ingredients that are not found in Alpha Brain. For example, you get a good dose of tyrosine, an amino acid that has been shown to improve cognitive function, enhance memory performance, and reduce stress.
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that tyrosine supplementation improved cognitive flexibility and working memory in healthy individuals.
Then there is theobromine, a molecule found in cocoa, which has cognitive-enhancing properties similar to caffeine but without the negative side effects. It promotes alertness, improves focus, and reduces mental fatigue.
A study published in the Journal of Food Science confirmed that theobromine has positive effects on cognitive performance and mood.
NooCube also makes good use of Cat’s Claw, another of my favourite nootropic ingredients. Cat’s Claw is a herb that has been traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (which, alone, is valuable to lasting brain health), though recent research suggests that Cat’s Claw may also have cognitive benefits.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that Cat’s Claw supplementation improved cognitive function and memory in elderly participants.
This antioxidant effect is backed up by alpha-lipoic acid, another antioxidant which has been shown to protect brain cells and enhance memory performance.
NooCube also includes a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support brain health, such as vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid, which are collectively important for mental clarity and cognitive function.
NooCube’s formula is meticulously crafted to enhance cognitive performance and promote overall brain health. It stands out from Alpha Brain in large part because of its use of specific ingredients like tyrosine, theobromine, and cat’s claw, all of which offer unique cognitive benefits that should contribute to improved mental acuity, focus, and overall brain health.
By targeting various aspects of cognitive performance, NooCube provides a comprehensive approach to enhancing brain function and promoting optimal cognitive performance.
Similarly, we get plenty of unique ingredients in Alpha Brain that are not found in NooCube.
L-tyrosine is another amino acid that has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce stress. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that l-tyrosine supplementation improved cognitive flexibility and working memory in military cadets during a demanding military combat training course.
AC-11 is a patented extract derived from the Cat’s Claw plant (so, not fully unique, but a different take on a classic that as far as I can tell you only get with Alpha Brain).
This unique botanical extract has shown scientific evidence of enhancing DNA repair, which can support both brain health and overall physical well-being. By promoting the repair of damaged DNA, AC-11 may help maintain the integrity and function of cells, resulting in improved cognitive performance and overall wellness.
There is growing evidence to support all of this. Studies have highlighted the positive effects of AC-11 on DNA repair. Although further research is necessary to fully comprehend its mechanisms of action and specific impact on brain health and physical health, the current evidence suggests that AC-11 has potential in maintaining cellular health and function.
As a result, the inclusion of AC-11 in Alpha Brain’s formula sets it apart and contributes to its potential cognitive benefits.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that has been shown to promote cognitive function, improve memory, and reduce mental decline. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found that Phosphatidylserine supplementation improved attention and memory performance in elderly individuals with cognitive impairments.
As a whole, Alpha Brain’s formula is designed to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and optimize cognitive performance. The inclusion of AC-11 and phosphatidylserine provide unique brain health benefits that are not found in NooCube – or anywhere else, as far as I can tell.
The side effects of each
NooCube and Alpha Brain are herbal supplements – this means that they are primarily made up of natural ingredients. As a result, there are minimal to no side effects associated with their use. You should be able to use either for a long time without suffering any adverse effects.
NooCube’s ingredients have been well-studied and are generally considered safe for consumption – the individual ingredients in NooCube have not been reported to cause any significant side effects.
However, it is worth noting that those with individual sensitivities or allergies to specific ingredients may run into some issues, so it is always important to read the label and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.
Alpha Brain should be OK… should be. We can’t know for sure, though, as Onnit commit one of the biggest no-no’s (at least as far as I’m concerned) that a supplement company can with it. They use proprietary blends, which is a pretty big concern.
While the ingredients in Alpha Brain have been studied individually and are generally considered safe, the exact amounts of each ingredient in the proprietary blend are unknown. This lack of transparency can make it difficult to judge the safety and effectiveness of the product. Given how many ingredients there are in the formula, and the total volume of each serving, it’s a pretty sure bet that many are in fact underdosed to the point of being a bit useless.
Do note that there have been few reported side effects with Alpha Brain. So it is probably safe. Probably. Effective… not so sure, not across the board. And the lack of transparency remains a valid concern – I rarely recommend a supplement that hides its formula behind a proprietary blend. On this alone, in theory, NooCube is safer. It is, at least, a fully known entity.
It’s important to remember that our bodies are all unique, though – as above, individual reactions may occur, and effects may therefore vary when taking any supplement.
If you have any specific concerns or pre-existing medical conditions, it is always a good idea to talk to you healthcare provider before starting any new dietary supplement. They can provide personalized advice and help determine if NooCube, Alpha Brain, or any other supplement is suitable for you based on your individual needs, circumstances, and history.
Pros and cons
- Highly usable, effective ingredients: NooCube contains a carefully selected blend of ingredients that have been studied for their cognitive-enhancing properties. The ingredients are known for their ability to improve memory, enhance focus, and support brain health.
- Data-led to a high degree: NooCube’s formula is backed by scientific research and data, ensuring that the ingredients it uses have been studied for their cognitive benefits.
- Clear labeling at by-and-large optimal doses: NooCube provides transparent labeling, clearly indicating the dosage of each ingredient. This allows you to know exactly what you are putting into your body and ensures that the ingredients are present in optimal doses for optimal efficacy.
- Safe: NooCube is composed of natural ingredients and has been reported to be safe for consumption. The ingredients are generally recognized as safe and have minimal associated side effects.
- Money-back guarantee: NooCube offers a money-back guarantee, providing customers with the confidence to try the product risk-free.
- A few of the ingredients could be better dosed: While NooCube contains a blend of effective ingredients, the dosage of some of these ingredients may not be optimal for maximum benefit. Adjusting the dosages of these ingredients could potentially enhance the supplement’s efficacy.
- The ingredients are high quality and often data-backed: Alpha Brain uses high-quality ingredients that have been studied for their cognitive benefits.
- Plenty of good user testimony: Many users have reported positive experiences with Alpha Brain, providing anecdotal evidence of its potential effectiveness.
- Intelligent blends: Alpha Brain uses clever blends that combine different ingredients to create synergistic effects. These blends are thoughtfully designed to target various cognitive functions.
- Proprietary blends: This is the big no-no. The proprietary blends used in Alpha Brain make it difficult to determine the exact amount of each ingredient included. This lack of transparency raises concerns about the safety, efficacy, and value for money of the product.
- Some of the ingredients are not backed by science: While many ingredients in Alpha Brain have scientific support, this is far from across the board. Some ingredients rest on pretty shaky data. This may raise doubts about the effectiveness of those specific ingredients.
If I had to choose between Alpha Brain and NooCube (which I do, of course – it’s my job to), I would go with NooCube every time. I do, in fact. It’s my nootropic of choice and I’ve generally got a couple of bottles in my supplement cupboard at any one time.
There are several reasons for going with NooCube over Alpha Brain, for sure.
Firstly, NooCube has a simpler formula with fewer ingredients compared to Alpha Brain. And in this case, simpler means better.
While Alpha Brain utilizes proprietary blends, making it difficult to determine the exact amounts of each ingredient, NooCube provides complete transparency by clearly labeling the dosages of all its ingredients. This transparency allows you to have a clear understanding of what you are putting into your body.
NooCube is a comprehensive nootropic supplement that works along multiple pathways in the body and brain. It targets various cognitive functions such as focus, attention span, memory, eye-brain connection, and stress reduction. Improved focus and attention span can enhance productivity and help individuals concentrate better on tasks.
Better memory and recall can assist in cutting through brain fog and improving cognitive performance.
NooCube’s focus on eye health is also notable, as it can counteract the damage caused by blue light emitted by electronic devices, leading to improved sleep quality and overall brain health. Furthermore, its ability to reduce stress and anxiety can have a significant positive impact on overall well-being and productivity.
On the other hand, while Alpha Brain has a decent reputation and includes some high-quality ingredients, I have legitimate concerns regarding the lack of scientific validation for certain added ingredients and the proprietary blends used.
The lack of information on the quantity of each ingredient raises doubts about the product’s safety, efficacy, and value for money. I cannot in good conscience recommend it. Not that it’s bad. It isn’t – it’s very good. I would have no problem recommending it if they dropped the proprietary blend nonsense. But until they do, don’t buy.
Especially when you have such a good choice in NooCube. It’s an industry leader and my nootropic of choice every time.