Alpha Brain vs Alpha Brain Black Label – Which Is A Better Nootropic?

Summary: Alpha Brain and Alpha Brain Black Label are nootropics from the same company, Onnit. Alpha Brain uses proprietary blends, leaving you with no information about the ingredient doses. On the other hand, Alpha Brain Black Label doesn’t use any proprietary blends, and has plenty of potent ingredients for proper brain function and health, but it’s not a perfect nootropic either. Some of the ingredients inside the formula are overdosed, making it unsafe long-term, especially if you’re sensitive. If we had to choose, we’d go for Alpha Brain Black Label, but considering the high price and overall value both products provide, we don’t think they deserve to be on our top nootropic list. There are far better products out there.

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Alpha Brain vs Alpha Brain Black Label – The Overview

Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain is a brain supplement by the company Onnit. The product comes in a capsule form, with 90 capsules per container, enough for 45 servings. Onnit says that these are the benefits you’ll get by taking Alpha Brain:

  • Memory improvement
  • Better mental focus and clarity
  • Cognition enhancement
  • Better mental speed
  • Faster reactions

So, how do these promises hold up? We’re about to see if all these claims are actually true and how the original Alpha Brain compares to its competitor; Black Label.

Alpha Brain Black Label

From the same company Onnit, there’s Alpha Brain Black Label, a nootropic with the upgraded ingredient formula from the previous version, which is the classic Alpha Brain.

Alpha Brain Black Label is marketed as a more effective, more promising, and faster-acting version than Alpha Brain. These are the claimed benefits you’re supposed to get from using the product:

  • Sharper mental focus
  • Improving productivity
  • Supports eye health
  • Better alertness

Is it actually better than the classic Alpha Brain? Can it do all the manufacturer claims? Let’s get into more details.

Alpha Brain vs Alpha Brain Black Label – The Ingredients

Alpha Brain’s Ingredient Formula

As seen from the label, Alpha Brain uses 3 different proprietary blends in its formula. These are the nutrients provided in a serving of 2 capsules:

  • Vitamin B6 – 10mg
  • Onnit Flow Blend – 650mg (consists of: L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine, Oat (straw) Extract, Phosphatidylserine)
  • Cat’s Claw (bark) Extract – 350mg
  • Onnit Focus Blend – 240mg (consists of: Bacopa Monnieri (100mg), Alpha GPC, Huperzine A (400mcg)
  • Onnit Fuel Blend – 60mg (consists of: Pterostilbene, L-Leucine)

A proprietary blend means that you can’t see the exact dosage of each particular ingredient in that blend. You can only see their combined dosage, which is a big red flag in a supplement. That is because you can’t be certain how effective and safe all these nutrients are going to be.

Some of the doses of the ingredients are provided, such as Cat’s Claw Extract – 350mg, Bacopa Monnieri – 100mg, and Huperzine A – 400mcg, but there is no information about the other ingredient’s dosages.

There are many effective ingredients inside proprietary blends. For example, L-Theanine is one of them, which can reduce stress, anxiety, and boost cognition, according to Examine.

Another potent ingredient for brain health is Phosphatidylserine. NCBI states that it can improve memory, make learning and solving problems much easier, and support locomotor functions.

So, are these ingredients promising for proper brain function and health? The answer is, yes. However, because they’re put in a proprietary blend with no exact dosages provided, Alpha Brain’s formula is a letdown. It might benefit you slightly, but not substantially.

Alpha Brain Black Label’s Ingredient Formula

At the first glance, we can see a big improvement in Alpha Brain Black Label’s ingredient formula from the original Alpha Brain. There are no proprietary blends inside, meaning that you can see all the exact ingredient doses.

Let’s break down the nutrients in the product’s formula to see what they can, and can’t do!

Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna Pruriens is known to boost testosterone levels in men. So, why is this ingredient in a brain supplement? Many studies suggest that boosting testosterone can improve mood, sleep quality, cognition, and reduce stress. That said, it’s a decent nutrient. However, the dosage is quite high, at 1000mg per serving.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane, a dietary mushroom, is one of the ingredients we always look for in a quality nootropic. The original Alpha Brain does not support long-term proper brain function, and Lion’s Mane is the ingredient that helps you with that.


Citicoline or CDP-choline is a potent ingredient that boosts acetylcholine levels. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that affects learning, speech, memory processing, and many more.


Phosphatidylserine is a building block of brain cells. As you age, Phosphatidylserine levels go down, leading to cognitive decline, slower reactions, and loss of memory. By taking phosphatidylserine, you could notice an improvement in memory, communication skills, and locomotor functions, studies suggest.


L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea. It can reduce anxiety and stress levels, and provides some of the caffeine benefits while eliminating the risk of side effects that can be experienced from caffeine consumption.

Caffeine Anhydrous

We all know it, especially coffee lovers. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can boost energy levels and motivation, and increase mental focus. The dosage is 25mg per serving, which is not much, therefore it won’t produce any substantial effects.

Marigold Extract

Marigold is a source of lutein, a pigment occurring in some foods such as eggs, spinach, and kale. Lutain’s most common benefits are reducing eye strain and supporting visual acuity. In other words, it promotes eye health. Why is this ingredient in Alpha Brain Black Label, that is a question for Onnit.

Toothed Clubmoss

Toothed Clubmoss, or Huperzia Serrata, helps support optimal acetylcholine levels in the brain. As previously stated in the Citicoline section, that brings the benefits of improving memory, learning, and focus. However, Alpha Brain Black Label uses 200mcg of Huperzia Serrata (Huperzine A), which is a huge dosage. To avoid any side effects, you should stop taking Alpha Brain Black Label every few weeks.

On the other hand, occasional usage will provide short-term improvement in cognitive functions.

That said, Alpha Brain Black Label uses many potent ingredients for brain health, most of them in optimal doses. Still, some of the ingredients are missing that would make the formula far better, and some that are inside are overdosed, making the risk of adverse reactions much higher.

Our Commentary on Alpha Brain vs Alpha Brain Black Label’s Ingredients

The winner of the two is definitely Alpha Brain Black Label, mainly because it doesn’t use any proprietary blends, while the original Alpha Brain does. We always recommend avoiding supplements that use a proprietary blend because you can’t be sure how effective and safe the ingredients inside are going to be.

Alpha Brain Black Label is a decent nootropic. But, due to a lack of some ingredients such as Rhodiola Rosea and Bacopa Monnieri, we don’t think this is the best formula you can find on the market.

Some of the nutrients inside are quite overdosed, and could potentially cause adverse reactions, especially in sensitive people if taken long-term. Because of that, neither Alpha Brain nor Alpha Brain Black Label can be recommended for consistent usage.

Alpha Brain vs Alpha Brain Black Label- Side Effects

As we previously mentioned, due to a proprietary blend, there is no information about some of the ingredient doses inside Alpha Brain, therefore you can’t be sure about their safety.

Alpha Brain Black Label has some overserved nutrients, not an ideal option for brain health long-term.

Cost & Where to Buy?

You can purchase the original Alpha Brain on the official website for $79.95 for 45 servings. It can be purchased from Amazon in Canada as well.

Alpha Brain Black Label is currently out of stock on the Onnit website and on Amazon. We weren’t able to find any retailers that are currently selling it.

Considering the value Alpha Brain provides, we think it’s way overpriced. There are far better nootropics out there that are less expensive than this one.


The winner here is Alpha Brain Black Label. It has no proprietary blends in its formula, while Alpha Brain has. Alpha Brain Black Label could benefit your brain health and function slightly. However, some of the ingredients inside are overdosed, raising the risk of side effects.

All in all, we think you can find a safer and more effective alternative than these two products.

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