I fell for the hype about a supplement called Alpha Brain. The ad said, “Over 1 Million Bottles Sold: Designed to reduce brain fog and boost focus, Alpha Brain has been a market leader in nootropics space since 2011.”
It was highly recommended by several celebrities, including Dave Asprey and Joe Rogan. (I knew Joe Rogan was famous, but still not sure why.) I read some of the glowing reviews for Alpha Brain on Amazon, checked out the ingredients, and ordered a bottle.
The dose was two pills, but I spaced them out as a precaution and took them with food. I got very sick, very quickly, after taking the second pill. At first I thought I had been poisoned, but I hadn’t changed anything else. I called my husband to help me get to the bedroom. I crawled to the bathroom once, but other than that, I was flat on my back all night with nausea, shaking, dizziness, and severe stomach pain. Just turning my head while lying down made me feel like I was going to throw up. I was only slightly better the next morning.
Once I was upright again and pretty sure I was actually going to live, I went back to the website to see if I had missed any red flags; yep, I should have read the negative reviews first. Perhaps the more recent ones were an attempt to distract the potential buyer from seeing the earlier ones and dilute their effect on the over-all rating.
I don’t know which of the ingredients could have such a devastating effect, but I think it might be the vitamin B 6, which is potentially toxic at the wrong dose. The website gives only the standard boilerplate guidance meant to protect the company from liability, i.e., “check with your health professional before starting any supplement, etc.,” which is why I feel I need to share what I experienced using this product.
Read the Negative Reviews First!
There are thousands of reviews on the Amazon Page for Alpha Brain, including some from people who thought it worked and some who thought it did nothing. The excerpts below are from 1 star reviews; the ones I wish I had read before I tried it. There are many more.
Looking for a near death experience?
“…Needless to say, I deserve an award for surviving these capsules of evil. Though writing this is likely to send me into a dark, PTSD-induced coma, I will share regardless, with the hopes that it prevents one of you eager consumers from going through with a purchase.…I actually thought I was dying and asked my husband to come home so that I wouldn’t be alone when it happened. He found me lying on the bathroom floor in a position I’m fairly sure I fainted into. I almost muttered for him to call an ambulance but frankly, didn’t have the energy to even do that. I dealt with all of this for about six hours when the nausea finally subdued long enough that I could eat a few crackers and drink some water. Any attempt at eating or drinking prior had resulted in my body immediately rejecting it right back up…Its been 11 hours since I took the capsules and I still feel like a trash can….If you like living dangerously and decide to try this product out, do so strategically. By that, I mean make sure you have a will in place and have prepared goodbye letters for your loved ones…” Erin Peck (2,447 people voted this comment as the most helpful.)
MY GOD STAY AWAY FROM THIS
“I’m a 44 year old male in very good health. I decided to try this after hearing so much about it. I took one pill and quickly felt strange and after 3 hours of feeling off, distracted, “in the clouds” i began to feel nauseated and than the sweats arrived. I have never posted a review before but I’m now vomiting and this is the only thing I took today. I’m begging anyone that reads this review to save themselves the misery of the sickness this caused me. I feel like a lawsuit should be filed i’m that sick feeling…” Michael Smith
Caused eye twitch and vomiting after taking
“All the hype and I finally bought it. Tried it and I had a bad reaction. I had uncontrollable twitching in my left eye about 30 minutes after taking dose. It lasted about 3 hours. Then horrible stomach pain to the point I vomited. I took it on a full stomach and still had this reaction. Horrible. Horrible product. Damn you joe Rogan for convincing me to buy this. I still love you but this product is not for me….” Hott sauce pepper
Alpha VOMIT! Please stay awayyyyy!
“Ok this is by far the worst product I have ever taken! I’m usually not too sensitive to products but what the heck kind of witchcraft of a product this! I took it the first day, two hours later I got hit with a bad headache and nausea. On the third hour the fountain of vomit poured out of my mouth! I didn’t think it had anything to do with the pill so I blamed it on maybe something I ate. I took a hot shower and felt like I was gonna be alright….The following morning I woke up and felt great. I decided to take another shot at the pill with my breakfast. Two hours later, the headache and nausea started kicking in again only this time it was a lot worse!!! I was throwing up for 3 straight hours to the point where nothing but bile was coming out! It got so bad I was close to calling an ambulance. My heart was beating irregularly and I honestly thought I was going to die….For the love of GOD I wish I took the negative reviews more seriously before taking this product and honestly after this experience, I’m a little paranoid to try anything else! I pray that myself and the people who had a similar experience dodged this bullet safely!!!!…” Mooshie
Use this Product at your own risk!
“…I never experienced anything like this. In my opinion it’s a dangerous product and depending on your biological make up, it may kill you! This product should not be on the market. You should only try this product if you want to feel like you’re literally dying. I hate to write a bad review. Honestly, this is my first and I am writing because it’s absolutely necessary. What it did to me, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. No one should have experience this kind of sickness. There’s no warning sign on the label or anything. You ingest it with the thinking that this product will do something good for you. But it’s extremely the opposite. I have no idea what lingering damage this supplement may have caused me. My advise, don’t do it! Please stay away, it’s not worth it. But if you’re some kind of a daredevil, proceed with extreme caution. Sending prayers to all those who take this product. Be safe and well! This product is honestly not safe….” Sahar A.
Not Sure how drowsiness and vomiting is supposed to help with memory and focus
“I took 1 pill the first day and felt drowsy, but I didn’t get sick. The second day I took the recommended 2 pills, felt drowsy again, and a few hours after taking the pill I was vomiting. Definitely didn’t help me focus. I really don’t recommend anyone take these. Looking at the reviews, this seems to be very common. Not sure how these pills are still on the market….” Criss
See more reviews here: Amazon.com : alpha brain
Alpha Brain promised “Vivid Dreams,” and I did have a really cool dream during the short time I actually slept during that long, long miserable night:
Dean and I were back in Morgantown, WV, trying to find the home of Joe Moss, who was my first art teacher when I went to the University there. We found him comfortably retired and living in a lovely house overlooking green hills on the outskirts of town. He remembered me and invited us in. Even though I was aware that I was asleep and dreaming, I still knew that I was very sick and in pain. I kept saying that I needed to go back to the car because I was too sick to stand up. As I started to leave, Dean stopped me and said, “But if you can wait just 20 minutes more, Dr. Moss will give you a certificate in Pogology.”
I asked, “What is Pogology?”
He said, “It is the collection and study of Pogo books.”
I said, “No, I need to go home; besides, we already have one Pogologist in the family; we don’t need another one.”*
*My husband has all the collections of Pogo comic strips, up to the one above which was pre-ordered for him for Father’s day, but is not due out until October 18, 2022.
I spent most of my life making art and thought I was doing something important. Perhaps this dream was a message from my unconscious mind weighing in on the current state of art in the modern world?
I am not affiliated with any company and do not receive a commission on product sales.
(c) 2022, Judy Barnes Baker
As per Andrew Saul of vitamin C and niacin fame, you can take 2,000-3,000 mg/day of niacinamide. You can also take folate or folic acid (B9), eat rosemary and sage on foods, gingko biloba, saffron and/or in capsules.
Truth59, so you think it is not the vitamin B6 that made me so sick? Perhaps it depends on whether you are deficient or over-loaded already? I have been very careful about my vitamin B intake because I have the MTHFR gene mutation. I never take more than 10 mgs of B6 in a supplement per day and even then, not every day.
I have two copies of the MTHFR gene and do need B vitamins but have never had such a reaction.
Maybe this type of a reaction should be reported, not sure who to, but I certainly appreciate that you took the time to warn others.
I don’t think my reaction was due to MTHFR, which is really just about B12 and Folate; I’ve been getting B12 injections and taking it under-the-tongue along with folinic acid, so I’m good on those. But B6 is one that can have side effects (it is known to cause vivid dreams, so there is that).
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for the warning!
Pass it on, please!
When shopping anywhere online, ALWAYS READ THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS FIRST. People are actually paid to file fake glowing reviews on various things–this is why I always head straight to what I call “the truth.” Amazon is the worst of the lot for fake glowing reviews, but all online vendors use them to generate clicks (as well as stars) for recommendations, which generates ad revenue. A telltale sign is when a lot of these reviews show up at or around the same day, or just a short time after the product has been released (when not enough time has been allowed for mailing and using the actual product).
People are NOT paid to write bad reviews, so why would they lie? The old adage that you don’t hear about something until it becomes a problem–TAKE THIS TO HEART! Whether or not the purchaser is a verified customer, it doesn’t necessarily mean they actually bought the product (it may have been a freebie–think about all those influencers and blog “giveaways”), or they were paid by the company to buy the product, but never used it (just threw it away, or gave it away). This is PR and an advertising cost that’s tax-deductible to businesses. “Verified purchase” only means it passed through some retailer’s hands–either in a reimbursed purchase, or simply a computer code that tells the system it’s “verified.”
Also, watch the stock market (follow the money): is this company on Wall St.? How’s it doing lately? The worse it performs on Wall St., the lousier the product and/or service (to cut costs and please investors–a vicious cycle). Lately, WallyWorld (Walmart) is on a downhill skid, and I’ve noticed deteriorating online service from them–I’ve been receiving items that were from a Sam’s Club returns warehouse (heavily dented, as if kicked across the warehouse, or driven over with a forklift), am still awaiting a refund on a shipment that never arrived, was Fed Ex’d a broken jar of instant tea
(decaf unsweetened wasn’t available locally, and there was no packing in the box other than the jar wrapped in a shopping bag), and more and more of their products are coming up with more negative reviews than positive ones. Everything seemed okay until two Fed rate hikes ago.
Has Amazon been in the news lately (other than labor issues)? Has ANY COMPANY THAT SELLS STUFF ONLINE been in the news as much as Walmart lately?
If, after all this, there are no red flags, then go ahead and dip a toe in. There just might not be alligators lurking under the surface after all.
Yes, I know that is true, Wenchypoo. Such a shame that people would do such a thing.