BrainGains Nootropic Brain Fuel is the first supplement to be released from the new UK company, Brain Gains (hi guys welcome to the party).
It has been developed using a number of ingredients with the aim of boosting cognitive abilities, but also to provide you with physical energy through a number of vitamins.
Straight off the bat, it can be used for anybody seeking to control the energy content of their diet, or ‘cutting’ for one reason or another, as it does not contain any sugar (despite this it tastes amazing) and is calorie free. It is caffeine free as it is a stimulant free nootropic product, instead using a blend of 18 ingredients at generous doses.
Let’s examine the ingredients that they have included and discuss each one in its own merits. Before we continue though, it is important to highlight that despite having a large number of ingredients, each ingredients has been given a generous dose, and if you consume two scoops (which is fine to do) then you will be pushing the upper end of the recommended dose on a number of ingredients.
N-Acetyl L-Carnitine is naturally produced in the body although can also safely be ingested as a dietary supplement, with the primary role of transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria for breakdown. Long story short, this produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the chemical form of energy in the body. Unfortunately, little evidence for the cognitive boosting effects are available in healthy populations, however, a meta-analysis concluded that its use is beneficial for cognitive functions in centenarians (1).
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid, with evidence demonstrating it to be effective at improving performance when under cognitive stress, such as sleep deprivation (2), and does not impact sleep (3). L-tyrosine is safe to consume, although can increase the levels of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and dopamine within the brain, and subsequently may interfere with medications which act on these.
Taurine is commonly found in energy drinks (remember at school when every kid thought it came from Bull testicles? No? OK just my school then…) and is beneficial when we are feeling physically tired. Additionally, it has been shown to improve reaction times (4).
Lion’s Mane is becoming increasingly popular within the market for nootropics as it is particularly effective. It is a mushroom that grows in Asia, North America and Europe (so pretty varied). It possesses neurotrophic properties (key in the development of new neurons and their protection) (5). Also, in a number of rodent models, oral supplementation has been shown to improve working memory – but we have to be careful drawing conclusions from these models as cross-species comparisons are not possible.
Alpha-GPC is a natural source of choline and an important building block for
neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine. Alpha-GPC is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier which other choline-releasing molecules are unable to do. The result is improvements to memory and attention (6), although evidence is provided via rodent models, so again care must be taken with these findings.
Bacopa Monnieri comes from a plant grown in parts of Asia. 6 week supplementation shown to improve performance on a recall task, a specific element of working memory (7) . Meaning that regular supplementation may increase the amount of information both encoded and retrieved.
Phosphatidylserine (anybody else getting sick of these long and hard to pronounce words?!) can increase both your physical and mental energy. 15 week supplementation was shown to improve learning ability, short and long-term memory.
Ashwadangha has been shown to reduce cortisol (our stress hormone) which results in the knock on effect of reducing fatigue. KSM-66 is a superior form of ashwagandha as it holds low levels of withaferin A (a toxin).
Teacrine is an extract from tea (OK so that explains the name) and although it may not improve memory, it has been shown to improve subjective mood and energy (8). It is possible that this ingredient only improves subjective sensations and any cognitive boost will be as a result of this, but the placebo effect is a strong effect, and if you feel like you have more energy, it is intuitive that you will be able to work better and for longer.
Vitamin B3, B6, B2 and C
The formula contains a number of vitamins which are known to reduce fatigue in a number of ways. B vitamins improve mood, memory and general health as well as brain health. Supplementation of these vitamins has consistently been shown to reduce fatigue.
Potential Side Effects
It is not possible to develop a tolerance to any of the ingredients included in this product, which means that you will not have to increase the dose or experience withdrawal symptoms. It’s possible to experience stomach discomfort, but this can be avoided by being sensible and assessing your tolerance.
As outlined above it is also possible to interact with a number of medications, and so it may be necessary to contact your doctor before using this supplement.
I would also recommend avoiding consuming it too late in the day though as although it is stimulant free, a number of the ingredients reduce fatigue. When I first received the product I was that excited I had a scoop in the late afternoon and was awake for half of the night (well done Dominic). If you’re switching your brain on you’re not likely to sleep very well after are you…
Taste – 4/5
This has been one of my favourite tasting supplements for a while now. It’s very
sweet and the mango flavour actually does taste like mango. However, it doesn’t
receive a full 5/5 because it does have a bit of an artificial after taste and the mouth feel is similar to the feeling you experience following eating a banana – most likely because of the number of ingredients and generous doses.
Effectiveness – 5/5
Out of the nootropics that I have used this is my favourite one and the one that I
recommend to clients and friends. I have used it during two preps now and have
found that it is more than capable of clearing up the brain fog produced in the later stages of prep.
Doses – 4/5
There are a lot of ingredients in this product which would ordinarily be a red flag,
however, in this case they’ve provided generous doses. That being said, because of the large doses in a number of ingredients, 2 scoops may be a bit too strong for
some individuals and so I would recommend assessing tolerance before going for a big hit.
This product isn’t a little pot of powdered motivation, so don’t expect to use it and then suddenly jump up full of energy and ready to complete an entire assignment 6hours before the deadline. But, if you drink it as you begin your work in the morning within 20minutes it will begin to work, allowing you to keep working, undistracted for longer.
It makes the work that you’re doing both easier and more efficient.
Overall, this is a really good product, coming through in both effectiveness and taste.
It’s clear to see why it is our best seller at the moment, so pick it up while it’s in stock!
Lumberjack Educator - Dominic O'Connor