Alex Whybrow tests one of the most expensive nootropics we’ve seen in this Qualia Mind review. Does the impact live up to the price tag? Find out below…
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Written By Alex Whybrow
Alex Whybrow is a long time fan and user of nootropic supplements. He writes for a number of wellness publications and has plenty of experience reviewing nutrition based products.
Alex uses nootropics in his daily routine as well as being a keen advocate for mindfulness and leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle to elicit physical and mental wellbeing benefits.
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Qualia Mind is a premium nootropic that is geared towards cognitive and executive function – getting more out of our day-to-day mental performance. It sounds good, doesn’t it?
Here at Peak Nootropics we want to test everything, though – we want to dive in and find out exactly what benefits you can expect when you give these supplements a go. So let’s get straight into my Qualia Mind review and find out how it performs.
TLDR: Qualia Mind Verdict
Qualia Mind is undoubtedly an effective nootropic. I felt a definite boost to my performance at work on a daily basis when I started taking this supplement and I was pleased with the results.
The ingredients are well researched, however there are few that they have included that may offer very little. The nootropics industry is incredibly competitive, so while Qualia Mind is a decent product, you may be able to find ones that give you an even bigger boost, such as Hunter Focus.
Brand Overview: Neurohacker Collective
Qualia Mind is made by a company called Neurohacker Collective. Founded in 2015, this company has the goal of creating industry leading products in the well-being sector, with science being at the heart of everything they do.
Their passion for nootropics has been there since those early days – the Qualia collection has steadily grown over the years to expand into different areas of performance.
As well as Qualia Mind, they also sell Qualia Night (to help with sleep), Qualia Skin, Qualia Vision, Qualia Life etc. Whatever area you would like to focus on, it seems that the people at Neurohacker want to provide you with a solution.
Their scientific approach is what appeals to me most. I find it reassuring to see the theory behind the various products, as some companies can be a bit cagy about their methods. Neurohacker have built up their solid reputation by being transparent, and that is a good starting point.
But it is just a start – what really matters is how good their products are – so let’s delve a bit further into that now and take a closer look at our featured product for this review – Qualia Mind.
More About Qualia Mind
Qualia Mind, as I mentioned at the top of this article, is all about getting more out of our brains, or “mental improvement” to quote the official Qualia Mind site.. But what does this mean in practical terms?
There are four main areas of cognitive function that Qualia Mind looks to improve – let’s look at all four individually:
Focus and Concentration: You know that feeling when you’re working and you just catch yourself staring blankly at your screen? Or when you are reading something and you realize that nothing is going in – you’re just looking at words? Well Qualia Mind hopes to end that.
Having increased focus and concentration can have a massive impact on your output.
Drive and Productivity: We all have good days and bad days. Some days, we feel like nothing can stop us – we get more done than we expect, we are full of enthusiasm and energy to tackle everything that is in front of us. The idea here is that Qualia Mind helps us have days like that every day.
Better Memory: Having an improved memory isn’t just useful for remembering facts and dates; it has a much bigger impact on our day-to-day work. Being able to recall facts and figures as we go can keep up the workflow and prevent time-consuming delays to look things up. It can also help us socially.
Mental Clarity: The combination of all of these gives us much better mental clarity – better focus, memory and drive means that we are working at full capacity. Unclouded thinking.
So, I guess the question is who wouldn’t want to experience all of these benefits?
Let’s now look at what ingredients the people behind Qualia Mind utilize to achieve this.
Qualia Mind Ingredient Profile
Before we get into a rundown of each ingredient that makes up Qualia Mind, we should probably address the fact that the dose size when taking Qualia Mind is pretty big – in fact it’s huge, bigger than any other nootropic that I have ever come across before.
They recommend that you take “up to 7 capsules”, which is a lot to take of anything, to be honest, especially on an empty stomach. The other knock-on effect of this is that Qualia Mind works out to be quite expensive compared to some of the competition.
Qualia Mind is vegan, Non GMO and gluten free. While there is caffeine in this version, there is a caffeine-free version if you would prefer.
The ingredient list is extensive, so let’s take a look at them all and the theory behind each one’s inclusion before I give you my experience of using it:
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 100 mg
L-ascorbic acid plays a significant part with regards to neuron development and myelin arrangement, which assists with shielding them from harm. One study demonstrated that people with more vitamin C in their body experienced improvements in focus, memory, decision-making, and attention.
We all know that vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to protect your body and brain by fighting free radicals. Vitamin C is an important ingredient for almost all supplements and is absolutely necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol) 25 mcg
Numerous receptors of vitamin D are present in your brain’s tissue, and it is thought vitamin D assists in the removal of amyloid plaques – precursors to Alzheimer’s disease. You can assist in the prevention of cognitive diseases by maintaining high levels of vitamin D.
Although this ingredient is more important for protecting your brain’s health over a long period of time than for your brain’s performance on a daily basis, maintaining high vitamin D levels will help to prevent brain deterioration and will naturally maintain your performance levels.
Niacin 50 mg
Niacin, also known as niacin-amide, has been shown to help shield brain cells to lessen the impact of stress and injury, both of which can lead to memory loss and even lead to dementia. Additionally, it assists with invigorating the creation of ‘state of mind’ supporting synapses like dopamine and serotonin. Niacin’s beneficial effects on cognitive function and brain health have been demonstrated by research.
Thiamine 50 mg
Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, plays a role in the metabolism of brain cells. In the event that you are low in thiamine, you might encounter ‘cerebrum haze’ and struggle with memory. Maintaining the required levels of vitamin B1 is critical for normal brain function.
Additionally, thiamine can support ATP, the chemical that gives your brain its energy. You’ll find that you think more quickly if you have more energy in your brain.
Vitamin B6 20 mg
Studies have proven vitamin B6 to be beneficial for mental function, brain development and mood. It can be found in foods like eggs, chicken, and cereal, but it is difficult to get the required amount from these foods alone. Maintaining adequate levels of B6 is essential because a deficiency can result in confusion, a lack of focus or even, in extreme cases, dementia.
Vitamin B12 1000 mcg
A deficiency in vitamin B12 can also affect how well your brain works, particularly memory. According to a Korean study of older people, there is a correlation between cognitive performance and B12 levels, so ensuring adequate intake is critical.
Pantothenic Acid 50 mg
Pantothenic Acid, also known as calcium pantothenate, is a form of vitamin B5 that is present in all the cells in the body. It’s essential in how your brain functions because it makes neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, which helps your nervous system and improves your memory.
Artichoke Leaf Extract (4% cynarin and related flavonoids) 500 mg
Renowned for its capacity to lower inflammation and to improve cognitive function, artichoke leaf extract has the potential to encourage the development and creations of brain neurons, which work towards improving your liver function as well as your ability to learn and your memory.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCI 500 mg
Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCl is a fatty acid metabolism component found in red meat that has a key role in how your brain functions. It aids acetylcholine production, just as vitamin B5 does. It has been shown in studies to improve your ability to learn and could even help to lessen the impact of dementia.
Bacopa monnieri Leaf Extract 300 mg
Bacopa monnieri, which has been utilized for hundreds of years in medicine all over the world, has been used to promote the creation of important brain chemicals that can help our ability to learn and remember things. It is also thought that it might have an effect on our ability to cope with anxiety and stress.
DL-Phenylalanine 300 mg
DL-Phenylalanine blocks the enzymes in your body that target your body’s natural painkillers, so it is mostly used for pain relief. Not only that, it’s also been suggested that it could improve cognitive function and memory.
Rhodiola rosea Root Extract (3% rosavins; 1% salidrosides) 300 mg
For centuries, people have relied on rhodiola rosea root extract to alleviate symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and depression. In a study, it was found to have multiple benefits to the general cognitive and mental functions of the subjects, namely: it improved their ability to cope with stress and fatigue, their concentration improved, they weren’t as tired and their mood improved. It also stimulates the nervous system.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine 250 mg
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, sometimes referred to simply as ‘NALT’, transforms into L-DOPA, generating dopamine, making it particularly helpful in stressful situations. This means that you can think with more clarity when you’re under a lot of pressure.
Uridine-5-Monophosphate heptahydrate disodium 250 mg
Uridine-5-Monophosphate (which we will refer to as UMP) is present in every living thing, including humans and bacteria. It’s another ingredient that supports the neurotransmitter production and increases dopamine release, both of which could accelerate brain function.
Taurine 200 mg
An amino acid, Taurine increases glycine and GABA to have a calming effect on your brain. It prevents brain deterioration and works all through your entire nervous system.
Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine (alpha GPC) 200 mg
Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine (let’s just call it Alpha GPC) is a cholinergic compound that boosts the acetylcholine levels in our brains, which works to prevent memory loss. Alpha GPC also helps to fight against brain degenerative diseases.
L-Theanine 200 mg
Staying with amino acids – this time L-Theanine. Similar to taurine, this one reduces anxiety and is especially helpful during stressful times.
Cognizin® 150 mg
This naturally occurring brain chemical has been shown in numerous studies to improve mental attention, energy, and focus. These claims are strengthened by the fact that it is prescribed to patients in Japan.
Organic Coffeeberry® (with 90 mg caffeine) Whole Coffee (Coffea arabica) Fruit Extract 129 mg
Coffeeberry contains a lot of antioxidants that offer your brain more protection from damage. Not only that, it can help to raise your brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels which improves how well your brain works. Additionally, it is thought to improve your general sense of well-being.
Theobromine 100 mg
Theobromine is the essential dynamic compound in chocolate, and it has been connected to verbal familiarity and memory. Theobromine is also thought to increase brain blood flow, which helps with your focus and concentration.
Phosphatidylserine (from sunflower lecithin) 100 mg
Phosphatidylserine, derived from sunflower lecithin, has been shown in a number of studies to improve mood, concentration, and memory (particularly short-term). It may aid in the prevention of some age related mental decline.
Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) Seed Extract 100 mg
Levodopa (L-Dopa), another amino acid involved in dopamine production, can be found in the extract of velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) seeds. Dopamine not only improves our mood, but it also aids in the transmission of nerve signals, allowing us to think with more clarity and speed.
DHA (as Docosahexaenoic Acid from Algae) 80 mg
DHA, which comes from algae and is known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is necessary for brain development in infants and young children. Not only that but it has been suggested that DHA is important for ensuring normal brain activity and function in adults. You should be able to learn more effectively if you raise your DHA level.
Celastrus paniculatus Seed Extract 60 mg
The extract of Celastrus paniculatus seeds has been shown to improve gut health, but on top of that, it could also help improve brain health by lowering lipid peroxidation levels.
Ginkgo biloba Leaf Extract (24% glycosides) 50 mg
Ginkgo biloba leaf extract has been used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. It may also improve memory and the ability of healthy adults to think quickly. With all of these factors, though, it’s generally considered to act as a way to prevent these various ailments, rather than promote any positive impact on your brain function.
Coleus forskohlii Root Extract (20% forskolin) 20 mg
Foroskolin from Coleus Forskohlii Root Extract can help your brain produce more cyclic adenosine monophosphate – a signal carrier in your brain. Producing more cyclic adenosine monophosphate will help you focus and increase the speed with which you think.
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone disodium 10 mg
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Disodium (PQQ) Studies have demonstrated that PQQ increases blood flow to your brain, especially to the cerebral cortex. This is key in helping your focus, memory, and attention span – three qualities which should get better with more blood flow into your brain.
Huperzia serrata Leaf Extract (7% Huperzine A) 5 mg
Huperzia serrata is thought to expand the development of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which assists with treating infections that can cause difficulties with our memory. Our brains may be healthier if we produce more acetylcholine.
As I’m sure you’ve already noted, there are a lot of ingredients on this list. In theory, this is a pretty potent nootropic because there is so much more crammed into it than in most other nootropics we look at, and the recommended doses are massive.
What’s Missing From Qualia Mind?
With such a huge list of ingredients, it’s difficult to find anything missing from Qualia Mind. What I will say, though, is that there are plenty of ingredients that have such a small dose that it’s difficult to know whether they will actually make much of a difference.
For example, there is just 50 mg of ginkgo biloba root extract in the recommended dose of seven capsules, which is a really small amount for such a large overall dose. With huperzia serrata, you are getting less than 1 mg per capsule, so you have to wonder whether it’s really going to be strong enough to have any impact on you at all – could they have streamlined their ingredients a little to ensure that you didn’t need to take such a large dose?
One ingredient that is included that may not suit everyone is caffeine. Many people don’t like, or can’t take, caffeine, so this will put them off. The good news is that there is a caffeine-free version of Qualia Mind that is also available.
My Experience With Qualia Mind
Before I started to take Qualia Mind, I have to say I was slightly apprehensive by the large dose size. Don’t get me wrong, I am used to taking supplements regularly – I am not a novice. But the thought of taking seven capsules as soon as I wake up in the morning, before eating, as advised, made me feel a little uneasy. It’s a lot, especially at that time of the day.
That was the main hurdle I had to overcome, and for the first few days, it was a bit of a chore. I would feel a bit nauseous after taking them, which to be honest put me off my breakfast a little. It would be around mid-morning before I started feeling ‘normal’ again, having taken plenty of water onboard.
And that was all I felt for those first few weeks. I didn’t notice any real benefit to taking Qualia Mind, but I will say that the feeling of nausea did wear off completely during that second week. I had gotten used to taking the high number of capsules, which was something.
The Impact of Qualia Mind
I would say it was getting on for a month before I started noticing some real benefits to taking Qualia Mind, which is a little longer than I have experienced with most other premium nootropics. To be honest, I was getting a little worried that this was a bit of a dud, but I was being a little hasty…
There is a reason why Neurohacker, the company behind Qualia Mind, offers a 100-day guarantee, which is longer than most other offers. They know it might take longer for everything to kick in and for you to feel the impact of the ingredients, so they give themselves a bit more time.
Of course, in 100 days you will have swallowed 700 capsules, so for that type of commitment, you would expect something to happen, but I certainly felt something after around 30 days.
It was quite subtle at first. I didn’t have a “Eureka” moment, I just suddenly started feeling a bit better about work. I was on top of things, which to be honest isn’t like me. I am normally only working at my best when I have a deadline right around the corner. That tends to be what motivates me to work hard, so when I don’t have a deadline, I don’t have the same level of focus.
That all started to change though. I was submitting work to my clients days before the deadlines, which meant I wasn’t rushing and I was spending longer double-checking and adding to my work. I was working quicker, and as a result, the quality of my work was improving.
I was then able to take on more work. I didn’t have to leave blank spaces in my calendar ‘just in case’ – I was freeing up plenty of time to take on more projects. So as a result, I was doing more work, of a better quality, and earning more money. That was a pretty big win for me.
There was a secondary impact as well – I was in a much better mood. Whether this was just because work was going so well, or whether it was directly related to some of the ingredients within Qualia Mind, I’m not certain, but I can certainly say that I was much more at peace with the world after I felt the other benefits.
I have to say that this is not unusual. I am a fan of nootropics because I have had positive experiences with them in the past. I know what you want me to tell you here, though: which one is the best? Which one had the biggest impact on my cognitive performance?
Unfortunately, that’s a difficult thing to measure. Life is full of uncontrollable variables, so it is impossible to conduct a fair test. My diet, family life, amount of exercise, the weather, my social life, how my sports team is doing, my general health – all of these things change from week to week and all will have an impact on my mood, focus, memory and general performance.
What I can tell you, though, is that I certainly felt a benefit to taking Qualia Mind, but it probably took longer for me to feel it than I have done with other nootropics. Perhaps this is because of the sheer amount of ingredients, all doing something slightly different to my body, that it takes a bit longer for it all to come together?
Qualia Mind Alternatives
So while my experience with Qualia Mind has undoubtedly been a positive one, you may want to consider some other nootropics if you are looking for a more immediate response. For example, I found Hunter Focus to be a fast and potent nootropic that had similar benefits to Qualia Mind, but a bit faster – and a little more competitively priced.
And if we talk about price for a moment, there is no getting away from the fact that Qualia Mind is just about the most expensive nootropic supplement out there – and for me, it didn’t quite justify it’s price tag.
That being said, I can’t really say much else against Qualia Mind. It worked for me – I certainly experienced a positive impact from taking it, and one that helped me professionally and in my family life.
Qualia Mind is a good nootropic supplement. I have to say that the overall impact was probably one of the strongest that I have ever experienced from a nootropic – I was thinking really clearly, and able to work much better than by base levels without any supplements.
For that reason alone, I think this is a nootropic that should be on your shortlist, if you are on the lookout for one to try.
The only thing that frustrated me a little, was how long it took for it all to kick in – and the initial cost I had to pay for it. While I have a lot of admiration for the company Neurohacker, I can’t help but wonder if they are overdoing the number of ingredients a little, and whether that contributes to the slower impact and higher price.
Also, the amount of capsules that you have to take will certainly put some people off – all I’ll say there is that you do get used to it pretty quickly if you stick with it.
If you are concerned about these factors, I would suggest trying Hunter Focus, but if none of that bothers you particularly, then Qualia Mind is well worth a go. It’s from a reputable company that you can trust, that prides itself on the amount of research it conducts. I’m confident that you’ll see an upturn in your cognitive performance with Qualia Mind.