Founded by Chris Thompson and formulated by Dr. Andrew Hill, truBrain offers “premium” drink and pill-based nootropics that are claimed to contain a blend of cognitive enhancers, nutrients, and modulators that can help you become more productive and efficient. According to Chris, his goal is for truBrain to give customers a competitive cognitive edge and to reduce over-reliance on caffeine and energy drinks.
How Does truBrain Claim to Work?
The field of nootropics, that is, substances claimed to help increase cognitive powers, is relatively new, although there are already a wide range of companies vying for your hard-earned money. And in order to help them achieve this goal, most are constantly trying to come up with ways to differentiate themselves from their competition.
Enter truBrain. Founded in 2012, truBrain’s nootropic drinks and pills are claimed to represent the “next evolution” of focus drinks and to be formulated specifically for optimizing productivity. truBrain’s “Think Drinks” and prepackaged pills are shipped to your door each month, and are claimed to be designed by top neuroscientists using premium, optimized ingredients for superior absorption and function.
What Ingredients Does truBrain Contain?
According to one of the promotional videos featured on the truBrain website, Dr. Hill claims that their nootropic’s ingredients specifically address deficits in brain function, provide better overall performance, and/or increase the brain’s activity and complexity, including improvements in alpha and beta power. More specifically, truBrain’s cognitive enhancers are claimed to help improve neurotransmission and neuroprotection, while its nutrients provide the essential building blocks for cellular function, and its modulators regulate and sustain the cognitive enhancers.
In order to accomplish this, truBrain’s nootropics contain the following:
Core ingredients (found in both drinks and pills):
- Magnesium – May help maintain proper levels of neuron stimulation.
- CDP Choline – Is claimed to help maximize the effects of lucetam.
- Piracetam – A derivative of gaba that may boost information processing, attention, learning, and memory.
- Tyrosine – May help improve alertness due to sleep deprivation.
- Oxiracetam – Contained only in the Turbo packets, this ingredient may boost analytical reasoning and overall cognitive function.
- Carnitine – Claimed to sustain energy at the cellular level.
- Theanine – May help increase alpha waves in the brain and create a calming effect.
- DHA – Includes high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, which play a role in reducing cell damage and rebuilding cell membranes.
Additional ingredients (drinks only):
- Pomegranate – May promote improved immune function and cardiovascular health.
- Stevia – A natural sweetener claimed to be 300 times sweeter than sugar without causing huge blood glucose spikes.
- Blue Agave – Adds sweetness with a low glycemic index.
- Cranberry – Contains high levels of antioxidants.
- Sugar Cane – Low-processed sugar for sweetness.
- Monk Fruit – Low calorie but high sweetness, can also act as a powerful antioxidant.
The truBrain website claims that their supplements are backed by “quantified results” to increase performance and productivity in the brain under stressful conditions, and to be better than coffee and energy drinks.
Each batch of truBrain is claimed to receive a Certificate of Analysis (COA) and to be independently tested by a certified analytical laboratory in the U.S. In fact, the company claims that truBrain is “safer than salt.”
How Should truBrain Be Taken?
truBrain supplements should be considered a daily regimen that should be taken twice per day, usually around breakfast and lunch, with food. There are no claimed side effects, other than potentially causing vivid dreams.
However, the company claims that it may take up to a week for you to feel any effects from truBrain, while others may feel them within 45 minutes of taking their first dose. In other words, everyone’s body will react differently to the supplement.
truBrain Pricing & Refund Policy
truBrain’s nootropic boxes are shipped on the 10th and 25th of each month, and are priced as follows (including free shipping):
- Think Drinks – Includes 20 Morning drinks with caffeine, 10 Afternoon drinks without caffeine, and 4 Turbo drinks for “extra strenuous days.” Morning and Afternoon drinks are tangy cranberry pomegranate flavored, and the Turbos are sweet strawberry banana flavored: $125 per month, per box of 34 drinks.
- The Original – Claimed to include all the ingredients found in their drinks, with the addition of algae-based DHA, but in pill packs: $125 for 44 packets (20 Morning, 20 Afternoon packets, and 4 Turbo) per month.
If you’d rather try truBrain prior to making a monthly commitment, you can choose a 15-day trial for $50, which includes 15 Think Drinks or 20 capsule packs. After the trial ends, you’ll be signed up for a monthly membership, and your credit card will be billed accordingly.
According to truBrain’s FAQ, your monthly membership will automatically renew until cancelled by you. If you paid in advance, you’ll also receive a pro-rated refund.
In order to cancel your membership or obtain a refund, you’ll need to contact customer service at 650-241-8372.
What Do Other Consumers Have to Say About truBrain?
Overall, it appears that truBrain’s supplements have a primarily positive online customer reputation, with some of the most common compliments referencing increased focus, the ability to maintain focus for longer periods of time, vivid dreams, improved sleep, and that it helps you wake up more quickly in the morning. On the other hand, some of the most common complaints referenced failure to experience benefits, mood swings (e.g. increased irritability, decreased motivation, etc.), and high price. We’ll talk more about this in a moment.
On top of this, it’s important to note that truBrain, Inc. based out of Santa Monica, CA holds a C rating with the BBB (as of 10/20/14), despite having only one closed complaint, which references difficulty getting in touch with customer service.
Can truBrain Nootropics Help You Become More Productive & Efficient?
Considering truBrain’s relatively high price, is it worth trying if you’re looking to improve your productivity? Perhaps, but consider the following:
The Efficacy of truBrain’s Ingredients
While it’s true that truBrain’s ingredients have a significant amount of research behind them, the supplement itself (as a formulation of these ingredients), does not.
However, despite the large amount of clinical research for these ingredients, a quick search on WebMD will reveal that for the most part, they lack sufficient evidence definitively showing them to reliably have a measurable impact on cognition in otherwise healthy brains. For more information about this, be sure to read through our article The Truth About Memory Supplements.
One last important note: Although there isn’t a label provided for either of their supplements on the truBrain website, we did find a user review for the pills, including a label, here.
Clinical Research for truBrain
According to the truBrain website, the company conducted a QEEG study that is claimed to have shown “increases in visualization, attention, focus, and calm.” However, the study sample only consisted of 7 individuals, which is extremely small.
In addition, the company appeared in a May 2014 Bloomberg article, which revolved around a study that tested truBrain on 25 financial traders in a high-stress environment, and compared brainwave activity with those generated when drinking plain coffee and energy drinks. However, according to the article, “Sang Lucci is still waiting for Hill and his colleagues to analyze the data they collected during the test.”
With this in mind, after interviewing Robert Graham, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital, he is quoted in the article stating, “Studies like the one with the traders are interesting, but it’s going to be a hard sell in terms of the medical world really embracing something like this without clinical trials,” and “While an EEG test can show changes to the brain, it doesn’t necessarily mean the mind is working better.”
truBrain’s High Prices
Last, but certainly not least, truBrain comes with a fairly high price, even in a nutritional supplements niche that is well-known for its high prices.
To put this in perspective, truBrain’s Think Drinks are priced at $3.76 each, which is roughly equivalent to a small coffee from your local shop. However, consider that this only includes about 20 days worth of drinks, which means you’d actually spend about 33% more (or about $41) for a full month’s supply. Considering the fact that the company claims truBrain supplements need to be taken daily, we’re a little surprised that their monthly packages only contain enough for 20 days.
On the other hand, truBrain’s pills are a little more reasonably priced at $2.84 per pack. But again, consider the fact that this only includes 20 days worth of pills.
Overall, it appears that truBrain has invested a lot of time and research in their products, and that they stand behind them. However, as we’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, the ingredients contained in nootropic supplements have, for the most part, not been conclusively shown to help improve cognition or mental performance. Whichever nootropic you decide to purchase though, be sure to discuss them in detail with your physician beforehand.
5 out 8 people found this review helpful
Best Nootropic Out There
I've been taking Nootropics for many years now to maintain my workaholic lifestyle. There's no question that these types of products help with focus and brain function, but it's difficult to find the right mix and dosages. TruBrain solved that for me. I get a monthly supply of a great stack and they also have it in tasty drinks now. It is on the expensive side of things, but honestly it's worth it for me.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend