Want better brain performance?
Maybe you've bought some nootropics from the internet once, such as aniracetam or piracetam, tried them for a while, got okay results, and then forgot about it...
(Nootropics are substances that improve brain performance and health)
Or perhaps you've tried Qualia Mind but thought the product was too expensive at $140 (without discounts).
I get that...
Fortunately, less expensive nootropics stacks have entered the market. These cheaper cognitive enhancing stacks still utilise powerful ingredients, but they're much more affordable - great if you're on a tight budget but still wanting to reap the benefits of a quality nootropic.
Mindlab Pro is one such nootropic stack. Mindlab Pro contains 11 different ingredients and may be the next big thing for brain performance. Learn more? Keep reading my Mindlab Pro review.
To adequately explore whether Mindlab Pro is a great supplement I've divided this blog post into several sections:
Each of these sections can be read on their own.
The times are very interesting...
A couple of years ago - 2012 to be exact - I stumbled upon websites that sold compounds called "nootropics".
Back then, you had to order single ingredients from websites that were very poorly designed and got white powders delivered to your doorstep...
Times have changed...
Today, nootropics are sold in beautiful packaging and different ingredients are combined in highly-effective stacks by scientists. No longer do you have to research the inner workings of "piracetam", "aniracetam", "huperzine-A", and other compounds and combine them yourself for the best results.
Instead, teams of scientists have combined these ingredients into a stack that works well for most people.
Mindlab Pro is one example of such a nootropic stack:
Of course, the development has both benefits and downsides.
Nowadays it's very easy to pick a bottle of capsules and get instant results. In fact, I precisely think that this greater accessibility is going to totally transform the markets around cognitive performance in the coming years.
In a decade, perhaps, such nootropic stacks are probably sold almost anywhere at a reasonable price - just like you can buy coffee at most street corners.
Why wouldn't these products be?
And believe me, no-one will reject a magic pill when it's handed to them...
With ready-made nootropic stacks of 10-30 ingredients hitting the market, most people don't know what ingredients have which specific function anymore. In fact, it's impossible to tell which ingredient has which effect on you due to the sheer number of ingredients as well as their interaction.
Is it really the B-vitamins or the mushrooms giving you the clear-headed energy-boost -- or boost?
Hard to tell without testing individual ingredients. So that's why I've dissected all of the 11 ingredients in Mindlab Pro in the next section. If you're not interested in the background science, however, and want to learn more about my personal experience with MindLad Pro, then click HERE to skip ahead.
In this section, I'll review all of the ingredients included in Mindlab Pro. That way you can understand what each ingredient is doing:
Citicoline is a premium version of a nutrient called "choline". The foods containing the highest amount of highly-absorbable choline are liver, eggs, and soy lecithin. Citicoline goes by different names, such as "CDP-choline" or "cytidine-5-di-phosphocholine".
Choline is a precursor for a brain signaling compound - or "neurotransmitter" - called "acetylcholine" (3; 4; 5). Acetylcholine is made up of both acetate and choline, and hence, it's easy to imagine how choline contributes to this neurotransmitter.
Put in plain English, you need choline for your nervous system to function optimally. The nootropic effect of citicoline is precisely that it optimizes the functioning of the acetylcholine system in your brain.
The naturally emerging question, of course, is what the function of acetylcholine is...
Well, while oversimplifying, I'll distinguish the functions of acetylcholine three-fold:
Keep in mind that study quality upon which these conclusions are based is low though -- more human research is needed to make these conclusions definitive.
So are there any specific effects known from citicoline usage? Sure. Let's look at a few different studies:
The bottom line?
Citicoline has a wide array of potential benefits that very much depend on circumstance, but overall, the compound may very well have benefits if researched in more detail in higher-quality human studies.
The dosage of citicoline seems good, although a slighly higher dosage may work better. Some studies use several grams of citicoline with good effects -- although you could also simply take double the dosage of Mindlab Pro to increase efficacy.
Phosphatidylserine is one of my favorite ingredients - and not really well known within the general health community or other niches such as the biohacking community.
Let's look at a few studies once again:
Keep in mind that my display of studies is in no way completely exhaustive - it only provides a preliminary overview of possible results that need to be tested in more high-quality human studies.
The 100-milligram dosage used in Mindlab Pro is low. Many studies use a 300 - 800-milligram dosage for optimal results.
If you've included ample amounts of animal proteins into your diet you're probably also already ingesting sufficient phosphatidylserine in your diet. 100 grams of red meat contains 100 milligrams of phosphatidylserine, for instance. Fatty fish contains levels of up to 400 milligrams per 100 grams of product, moreover.
Hence, I'd like to have seen higher phosphatidylserine dosages being used in Mindlab Pro - although the compound is more expensive.
I thus understand why the company producing Mindlab Pro would lower the amount of phosphatidylserine in this nootropic stack.
Another compound that has a very difficult name for most people - including myself!
The effects of Bacopa Monnieri?
Simple: the compound stimulates brain function while making you more relaxed at the same time. Let's dig deeper into the effects of Bacopa Monnieri:
Bacopa Monnieri almost certainly has beneficial effects in many areas of brain health and performance, such as anti-aging properties, improved memory, and lower stress and anxiety levels.
One downside is that many studies use dosages of 300 - 450 milligrams once again, making the dose you ingest with 2 capsules (150 mg) low in comparison. Hence, once again, I'd like to have seen a higher dose.
Lion's Mane - a legendary mushroom that has taken the spotlight in the natural health community in the last few years.
Let's go through the research:
Want a more clear-cut speculation of what this mushroom is potentially capable of? Check the video below:
Interesting to say the least!
Great that Lion's Mane was included in this stack - although more research is needed to understand how the compound works in healthy younger people - the main customer that's using Mindlab Pro right now.
You may have heard about "proanthocyanidins" (92). Proanthocyanidins are polyphenols found in plants such as cacao, different types of fruits such as apples, berries, and grapes, and tea, and beans.
Polyphenols, in turn, are plant compounds that temporarily stress the human body but subsequently allow organ function to become higher than baseline.
Proanthocyanidins also function as antioxidants, protecting your body against the damaging free radicals that are created as a byproduct of energy production and stress (93).
One main mechanism of action by which (maritime) pine bark extract is promising for improving cognitive performance is by boosting blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
Simply put, greater blood flow (to the brain) is very likely to translate into higher cognitive performance.
In one study, a proanthocyanidin extract led to less plaque buildup in blood vessels and healthier overall blood vessels (94). In an animal study, the antioxidants caused an improvement in blood flow (95).
Those are great benefits for making your brain work better - inhibited blood flow decreases your mental performance.
A review (that aggregates many previous studies) showed that pine bark extract does create increases in cognitive performance in many instances (96).
One mechanism by which blood flow increases is creating more "nitric oxide" in your blood vessels (97; 98; 99; 100). Nitric oxide helps your blood vessels expand - red light therapy, altering your breathing pattern, exercise, and sunlight exposure are other means to accomplish that goal.
Moving on to the next compound:
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, or "NALT" in short, is an "amino acid". Amino acids are building blocks of proteins and your body needs them in the right balance to survive.
If you eat protein, the amino acids making up that protein can then be used for various vital functions.
NALT has entered the spotlights in the last decade because of its potential to improve cognitive performance.
Remember those neurotransmitters I talked about before?
Well, those neurotransmitters don't emerge out of anywhere - your body actively needs to create them. What makes NALT interesting is that it supplies your body with the much-needed building blocks for the dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline neurotransmitters (101; 102; 103).
If you're relaxed and non-stressed, then it's far more likely that the NALT will help dopamine creation. Dopamine, in turn, helps your ability for abstract thinking, impulse control, creativity, and long-term planning.
All great benefits, right?
What's currently unclear is whether NALT does have significant benefits if you're already consuming lots of protein in your diet. A counterargument against that statement is that the compound is absorbed better than it's regular tyrosine counterpart.
For now, the inclusion of this ingredient is excellent. Dosage, as frequently, may have been a bit higher for better results.
Theanine - one of my favorite compounds.
Additionally, remember that Mindlab Pro has not included any caffeine into this nootropic stack. I praise Opti-Nutra - the company producing Mindlab Pro - for that choice because many people are already ingesting far too much caffeine. Not including caffeine leaves the choice up to you to add the compound...
That's right! Theanine makes your cup of coffee far less jittery, for instance, which is a huge benefit for many people.
Moving on to the next compound:
Including Rhodiola Rosea into Mindlab Pro is very much justified...
Yet another compound that has a wide array of benefits for overall cognitive performance and well-being. Let's take a look:
I'm a big fan of this compound because it promotes a relaxed focused that is very unlike the jittery feeling of drinking a couple of cups of coffee.
Once again, research quality for this compound is not the highest - as is the case with many natural compounds.
And yet, including Rhodiola is great. Many potential benefits of this compound have not been listed, such as improving immune system functioning and augmenting overall hormonal health (leading to a better sex life)
Only 50 milligrams of Rhodiola Rosea extract are used within a single dose.
As many studies use doses up to 400 milligrams per day so the 50 mg dosage is very low.
I would suggest a 100 or even 150-milligram dose for every 2 capsules (although, the number of capsules taken in might then need to increase as well). With a 150 mg regular dose, you'd still only taken in 300 mg when taking a double daily dose, or 450 mg when taking 3 times the regular dose (which is probably not recommended by any stretch of the imagination).
Moving on to three different vitamins, starting with vitamin B6:
Vitamin B6 - while not as "sexy" as many other compounds in this nootropic stack, influences your cognitive performance in several ways. Vitamin B6:
If you're eating reasonable levels of high-quality animal foods, vitamin B6 deficiency is also very unlikely. The reason is that while plants may contain sufficient levels of vitamin B6, converting that plant-version of B6 into a usable form takes more intermediary biochemical steps. There's thus more room for error while relying on the plant version of B6.
Nonetheless, it's unlikely if you're eating a reasonable quality diet that you're deficient in B6, so the reasons for including this ingredient are not immediately clear.
Depending on your age, this supplement contains 2-3 times the daily requirement of B6, so you'll almost certainly never be deficient when taking Mindlab Pro. Great dosage in this instance!
First observation: compared to the aforementioned vitamin B6, "folate" or vitamin B9 is dosed at just 25% of the daily requirement.
(You need 400 micrograms, on average, of vitamin B9 every day.)
The quality of the B-vitamins - including B9 - in Mindlab Pro seems very high - although the company does not list any studies on their website regarding the absorption of their Biogenesis™ products.
Vitamin B9 is necessary for proper function of your red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout the body), development of the nervous system, mood, keeping your energy levels high, and lowering homocysteine levels (which I talked about with vitamin B6 (147; 148; 149).
Hence, this vitamin is nothing special but if you're deficient your brain won't perform optimally...
Once again, another B-vitamin that's very closely related to cognitive performance:
Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods - which is the reason vegans need to inject B12 to stay alive or consume it through other means.
Having gastrointestinal issues, the use of prescription medicine and chronic stress are other reasons for B12 deficiency.
The bottom line? Once again a great choice that B12 is included - deficiencies do lower brain performance and there's almost no risk of overdosing this vitamin.
I really love the ingredient choices in Mindlab Pro. The only downside is that some of the most essential ingredients, such as Lion's Mane, phosphatidylserine, citicoline, and Rhodiola Rosea are not dosed as high as they should. Bacopa Monnieri is another example.
If you're taking the regular dose of Mindlab Pro, you're then not ending up with the dosage that has demonstrated benefits in many studies.
I've taken the Mindlab Pro supplement for over a month now, mostly during December 2019.
I must say that I'm a big (220-pound) guy so I've experimented with two different dosages as well as taking days off without any Mindlab Pro.
During days I used the nootropic stack, I've either taken 2 or 4 pills. Each container contains 60 capsules, so you'd get 30 days worth of supplements taking 2 pills and half of that taking 4.
The justification for taking a higher dose than recommended on the packaging is that I would need higher doses of substances to really get an effect.
Let's take a look below:
The first thing I notice on Mindlab Pro is a slightly to a significantly better mood.
I know from experimenting with several individual ingredients in the nootropic stack what might most likely be responsible for the mood-boosting effect.
First, I respond very, very well to Rhodiola Rosea. I've got kind of a type-A personality (and sometimes joke that I've got a type triple-A personality) so anything that reduces jitters and anxiety works very well for me.
Coffee and caffeine achieve the direct opposite of that result, moreover, and thus don't work that well with my personal physiology.
Secondly, compounds such as theanine and phosphatidylserine also lower stress while giving you a smooth and clean focus - further relaxing me and improving my mood.
The tyrosine and B-vitamins may also aid in boosting mood, but, due to my high-quality diet I'm not deficient in them and I don't think they contribute to the mood-boosting effect in my instance.
How significant is the mood boost?
Well, most people (including me) are a terrible judge of what's happening inside their bodies. A very recent study (2019) showed that 87% of participants couldn't tell whether they had been administered 5 mg per kilogram body weight of caffeine, for instance (157).
If you weigh 60 kilograms (132 pounds), that's 300 mg of caffeine, equalling 3 cups of coffee.
So, it's reasonable to expect that some of the results I was having were attributable to the placebo effect.
However, after my bottle of Mindlab Pro was finished and I didn't take the supplement on days I was doing grind work (such as writing), I did feel somewhat poorer in terms of mood.
Again, the ingredients included in Mindlab Pro work really well for my individual physiology - the same may not be true for you.
The stress-lowering effects of rhodiola, theanine, and phosphatidylserine (and perhaps the choline) really bring my bring into the zone.
For you, if you're not a type-A personality (and thus naturally "Zen"), then supplements like coffee and modafinil might work wonders.
I also know from previous experiments that the aforementioned ingredients help my overall cognitive performance.
Other ingredients such as maritime bark extract and lion's mane mushrooms I've not yet tested individually, so it's harder for me to comment on their performance-enhancing effects.
Of course, in the short-term, the blood flow increasing effects of the maritime bark extract and in the long-term, the nerve growth potential of Lion's Mane will almost certainly contribute to improving cognitive performance.
Does Mindlab Pro make me more productive?
I've not measured the outcome but the answer is almost certainly "yes". I'd say I accomplish about 10-25% more on a day if I take 4 capsules of Mindlab Pro.
And while a 10% or 25% increase in productivity sound nothing like a "Limitless pill" that allows you to get a week of productivity in 1 day (or 1 hour)...
No.. Mindlab Pro is nothing like that...
And yet, I'll make the case that this nootropic stack can be an absolute game-changer for your cognitive performance.
Let's start with a worst-case scenario and say you're earning $10 an hour, which is very close to the minimum wage in many countries.
Mindlab Pro costs anywhere between $2-4 per day.
If you are 10% more productive on an 8-hour working day, however, you'll earn an additional $8 (over the long run, assuming markets are efficient). At 25%, that's an additional $20 in your pocket right there.
And if you're earning an average of $30 an hour?
In that case, a 10% increase in productivity would net you $24 on an 8-hour working day, at the cost of $2-4 per day.
You cannot afford not taking nootropic stacks that improve your overall performance. In the future, everyone will be using such nootropic stack instead of chugging down 5 cups of coffee each day.
Once again, for me the effects of Mindlab Pro are pretty subtle and not "in your face" at all.
A compound like modafinil, for instance, is totally different in the sense that you'll almost certainly feel the effects 30-90 minutes after taking a standard dose. To many people - including me - that modafinil effect is really obvious - the jitters, anxiety, and tunnel vision focus are almost unmistakable.
Mindlab Pro works in the background, and yet, the effects are more obvious than some other products out there, such as Plato (review coming soon!).
I'd say the effect is comparable to drinking one or two cups of coffee in terms of how noticeable it is.
I rarely if ever experience any side-effects when taking nootropic stacks - including Mindlab Pro.
The only side-effect that is problematic comes from taking stimulants or substances that have many of the same properties of stimulants.
Examples are caffeine, adrafinil, and modafinil. For me, personally, these substances feel great because of their dopamine-boosting effects -- but all of these substances also inhibit my productivity.
How do I know?
On an average day, if I don't drink coffee and have slept very well, I can write anywhere between 2,500 and 3,500 words.
That number is a lot lower...
The upside is that Mindlab pro gives me most of the benefits of drinking coffee (enhanced mood) without any of the side-effects. I thus feel my dopamine (and serotonin in this case) levels increase while improving productivity at the same time.
The effects of Mindlab Pro might have become slightly less obvious after taking it for a while.
There's some precedent to accept that tolerance buildup based on the extant scientific literature. Adaptogens such as Rhodiola Rosea, for instance, work best when they're cycled and may lose potency if you use them every single day.
However, I did cycle Mindlab Pro during my testing period, frequently taking days off.
Other ingredients, moreover, such as lion's mane mushrooms should not be cycled but probably work best when taken continuously. The reason is that the nerve regeneration and creation of new brain cells is a continuous process instead of an intermittent one.
Overall, the tolerance buildup is not much of a problem because I can feel the effects pretty well after having cycled off for a few days.
The final moment:
Would I recommend this product?
Answer? Yes, I certainly do, if and only if you rely on higher-order brain performance on a daily basis.
It doesn't matter whether you are studying to be a nurse practitioner, are a business strategy consultant, or a professional chess player or gamer: in all those cases your brain function is of vital importance to your success.
Of course, I do recommend testing whether the product works well for you, and observing whether the benefits outweigh the downsides.
Many people spend $5 a day on Starbucks coffee alone to get their brains back online. So if options are now available that dramatically improve your performance without any of the side-effects of caffeine addiction, then the choice should be easy to make.
Testing different nootropics and supplements: a full-time job!
Of course, the first question that pops up in your mind is this: "how do the benefits of Mindlab Pro compare to competitors' products such as Qualia Mind or Qualia Focus"
That's a great question.
Let's find out:
After lots of testing, Neurohacker's Qualia Mind is still the undisputed king of nootropic stacks.
But of course, there's a huge price difference between Qualia Mind and Mindlab Pro, with Qualia Mind's basic price without discounts being $140, it's more than double that of Mindlab Pro at $65 a bottle (though you can save on Qualia by using discount code FERGUS or buying on subscription, but the price is still a lot higher than MindLab Pro. Also, you can get MindLabPro for under $50 a bottle if you purchase 4 at a time).
While many differences can be found between the two products, two main effects stand out to me personally:
Of course, both products are very hard to compare because they're not in the same price category.
I cannot compare both very well because I've not tested Qualia Focus yet (but be sure to subscribe to my email list, as a Qualia Focus review will be out soon).
Qualia Focus is slightly more expensive ($70) than Mindlab Pro ($65) - if no discounts are applied. Though after using discount FERGUS they come out to be the same price.
Looking soley at the ingredient list, however, I would slightly favor Qualia Focus over Mindlab Pro in most instances.
But Mindlab Pro does have two massive advantages over Focus in that:
I must admit one thing: I'm naturally somewhat biased towards nootropic ingredients that increase dopamine levels, simply because I feel great when having high-dopamine.
Excessively high dopamine, however, can also make you a bit otherworldly and absent-minded though.
Mindlab Pro which focuses more on lowering cortisol and adrenaline, and seems to be more serotonin and GABA dominant, has a more relaxing and smooth feeling than dopamine-dominant stacks such as both Qualia products.
I also still have to test Qualia Focus so I'll keep this a draw between the two products for now.
If you can't wait for the Focus update, then let me keep it simple for you:
Overall I thus think that Mindlab Pro is a very steady product that has great potential cognitive benefits. Let's consider a few questions that naturally arise whenever I talk about nootropics with (uninitiated) people:
(If you want to jump straight to the conclusion then just click HERE).
Believe it or not, most 90% of people you'll meet on the street don't even know what "nootropics" are. And you tell them, they'll probably think that you and I are using prescription drugs with massive long-term side effects.
I've therefore included a few FAQs about this product so that everyone may enjoy the benefits:
Yes, taking this supplement is very safe.
The only caveat?
If you're taking much higher dosages of Mindlab Pro, such as 6 or 8 capsules in one sitting, you may experience side-effects.
In such a case you're ingesting a very high dosage of "choline", for instance, which will have adverse health consequences.
You'll be ingesting 1,000 milligrams (1 gram) of citicoline in that instance, which is probably excessive.
Anything above 16 capsules I would consider very unsafe.
(Studies have investigated very high choline doses such as 2 grams per day, although such numbers are probably unreasonably high (15)
For that specific reason, I do recommend keeping the bottle of Mindlab Pro away from the reach of children.
Do stay close to the recommended dosages prescribed by the manufacturer as well...
I noticed results almost immediately and I think most people have the same experience.
Some online sources state that it takes a week to a month to notice results, but I consider that statement complete nonsense.
Just like it won't take a week to notice effects from drinking a cup of coffee, the same is true when you're taking ingredients such as Rhodiola Rosea or phosphatidylserine.
Hence, thinking that it would take a week or a month to get results from Mindlab Pro is ludicrous.
Caveat: some of the ingredients in Mindlab Pro such as Lion's Mane might need a lot longer to work their magic, specifically regarding the regeneration of nerve tissue and brain cells.
Overall, if you don't notice anything within a few weeks, and cannot measure any improvements in your cognitive performance, steer clear of this product - it's not for you.
Will the effect build up over time?
That assessment accords to the experience many different people have with their reviews, who have been taking this product for longer.
Perhaps in the future, I'll add a 6-month review with this product!
Yes, Mindlab Pro is 100% vegan - although some ingredients are included that are normally only found in animal foods, such as vitamin B12, These nutrients have been recreated in a way that's compatible with veganism.
The suggested dose is 2 capsules on an empty stomach. For me, a 4-capsule dose worked slightly better.
I don't think it's smart to exceed the 4 capsule dosage because you might ingest excessive amounts of choline in relation to other nutrients in the diet, for instance.
It seems that Mindlab Pro was reformulated in 2019.
Some older webpages still talk about ingredients that are no longer included today, such as Huperzine-A, Pterostilbene, and Vinpocetine.
I've not reviewed these ingredients as they're no longer included in the product. The B-vitamins are added in the new formulation, compared to older ones.
I'd loved to have tried the old version as well!
My final verdict?
Mindlab Pro is an excellent product that can fill the niche of $50-100 nootropic stacks that's currently underrepresented.
On the one hand, some people find the more expensive class of nootropic stacks such as Qualia Mind too expensive for everyday use. And on the other hand, many people are also averse in buying individual powders online themselves and making sure they get a nootropic effect.
Additionally, other stacks that only contain a few ingredients may not be as noticeable in their effects - for instance, if you buy Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea pills, you still end up with only 2 ingredients.
Hence, Mindlab Pro hits the golden mean in both number of ingredients and price point. Once again, an excellent product.
The nootropic stack revolution can finally begin. Hopefully, in 2030 a sachet of nootropics will replace Coca Cola soda in vending machines...
To purchase MindLab Pro or to learn more about the product, head to MindLabPro.com
This is a post by Bart Wolbers. Bart finished degrees in Physical Therapy (B), Philosophy (BA and MA), Philosophy of Science and Technology (MS - Cum Laude), and Clinical Health Science (MS), and is currently the chief science writer at Alexfergus.com.
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