Optimind is a very poor nootropic in our opinion. Proprietary blends should always be avoided; they’re pretty much always just ripping you off. But the Optimind prop bend has some serious issues – a potentially massive dose of caffeine, obvious filler ingredients, and more. We advise you to stay away from this stack.
Optimind Review: Is this classic nootropic still good?
Optimind was one of the first nootropic supplements to really become popular with the wider public. Before products like Optimind came along, ‘nootropics’ meant synthetic brain drugs, research chemicals, and home-made concoctions. Obviously the story today is quite different; it’s thanks to products like Optimind that brain supplements have such a wide acceptance now.
Amazingly, this classic nootropic is still popular – it gets a lot of monthly searches and plenty of people still seem to be using it. Let’s try to find out why!
According to the official website, Optimind improves cognitive function by:
- Heightening focus
- Increasing energy levels
- Enhancing memory retention
Optimind claims to do the standard three things that all nootropics claimed to do back in the day. That’s not a bad thing; if a nootropic can boost energy, increase focus, and improve memory function, then it’s a good supplement.
So can Optimind really do all of these things? Is it safe to use? Is Optimind worth the money? Are there better options on the market right now? Check out our full Optimind review below and find out!
Here is the Optimind ingredients list as it looks on the bottle:
Here is a list of the ingredients in Optimind in case the label image above isn’t clear:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Bacopa monnieri
- Huperzine A
We’ll now go through the main ingredients in Optimind and explain what they can do – or can’t do – to help with your mental functioning.
This is our most highly rated memory enhancer. An adaptogen and staple of Ayurverdic medicine, Bacopa monnieri has long been thought of as an all-purpose healer. It isn’t. But modern science has found that it does have one definite property: supplementing with Bacopa monnieri leads to a significant improvement in memory function over time. Studies have shown that 12 weeks of Bacopa monnieri consumption improves scores in a host of different memory tests. It is a slow-burner, but a superb nootropic.
A common amino acid with no known nootropic properties. Taurine is often consumed to aid with sports performance. It is thought to promote healthy blood flow, support muscle formation, and to protect cardiovascular health. However, it doesn’t have any noticeable effects on performance, mental or physical. It is typically consumed in large doses – upwards of 500mg per serving. Low doses do very little.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid found in very high concentrations in the human brain. It is a principle structural component of brain cell membranes. It is also a cell signaller – when brain cells reach the end of their life cycle, phosphatidylserine acts as a signal to immune cells to come and kill it. It is therefore absolutely vital for proper brain function. Phospholipid levels decline over time, sp supplementation is important for optimizing brain function as we age.
GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in humans (in all mammals in fact). People assume that consuming GABA will mean greater GABA receptor activity, which would produce relaxation, reduced anxiety, and greater confidence. But GABA is not readily absorbed from the gut. It doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier very well, if at all. We think GABA supplementation is therefore completely pointless.
Caffeine is probably the one nootropic substance that doesn’t require much of an explanation. It produces very rapid increases in energy levels, focus, motivation, and reduces the perception of fatigue. These benefits must be balanced against caffeine’s serious side effect profile (which we’ll come to later).
L-Tyrosine promotes normal cognitive performance in people subjected to intense mental, physical or environmental stress. Clinical trials looking at Tyrosine have found that it works very well in people who are sleep deprived, subjected to loud noise, exposed to extreme cold, or who are trying to multi-task. It reduces feelings of stress and anxiety which cloud thinking and judgement. This makes Tyrosine the perfect anxiolytic for athletes and students.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
ALA is a naturally-occurring compound in the human body. We consume it from food, and we are capable of producing it ourselves. It is predominantly used for its antioxidant properties. It is an antioxidant, but not a particularly powerful one. It is certainly not as effective as the antioxidants used in the leading nootropics today. Large doses are needed; ~300mg.
Vinpocetine increases cerebral circulation, reduces inflammation, and protects brain cells from oxidative damage. It is a true all-round nootropic. Vinpocetine used to be a staple brain supplement ingredient. Lately, manufacturers have dropped it in favour of more powerful antioxidants, and Ginkgo biloba has become to blood flow-enhancer of choice. Vinpocetine is still a great nootropic though!
Huperzine A causes a steady build-up of acetylcholine in the brain by inhibiting the enzyme which usually breaks the neurotransmitter down. The end result is more brain power in general – sharper focus, increased attention span, faster processing speeds, quicker reactions; everything! You need to cycle it on and off to avoid side effects as acetylcholine levels can quickly become too high.
Sulbutiamine is a synthetic form of thiamine, or Vitamin B1 to most of you. B1 has a lot of roles in the human body, like all vitamins. But it does not really have a meaningful impact on cognition; it is not related to any key, executive mental functions. It will support good energy metabolism and overall health, but it is not a nootropic. We don’t know why you would bother adding it to a premium brain supplement.
Our take on the Optimind formula
It doesn’t matter how good some of the ingredients are in theory. We have no idea how any of the ingredients in Optimind are dosed. We therefore have no idea how much of an impact they might have on cognitive performance.
A nootropic is only useful if there is enough of it. All of the (potentially) effective ingredients in Optimind have minimum effective doses. For Bacopa monnieri, it’s 150-300mg depending on the extract. For Tyrosine, it’s about 150mg. We don’t know if we’re getting the doses we need.
This is a major red flag for us.
There is no legitimate reason for a manufacturer to use a proprietary blend. The top-selling nootropics all show their formulas on the bottles in full – doses and all. They all make money and nobody steals their formula. Yet Optimind doesn’t do the same.
We think they’re keeping the doses hidden so you don’t see how they’re stuffing the formula with cheap, ineffective ingredients.
It’s highly likely that a large chunk of the Optimind formula is ALA – it could be 90% ALA for all we know.
After all, it’s cheap, safe, and readily available. It doesn’t have any real nootropic properties, so why else would it be here?
The same could be said about Taurine. The Optimind formula could easily be 50% Taurine and 49% ALA, with a few milligrams of the other ingredients thrown in to make the label look better.
Moral of the story – stay away from proprietary blends.
Even if you’re not being ripped off, there’s no need to take the risk. If a manufacturer is too scared to reveal their formula, that’s their problem. Lots of others are willing to do so!
Side Effects: Is Optimind safe? Are there long-term risks?
We have serious safety concerns here. In our opinion, Optimind is not a safe nootropic for anybody to take.
The proprietary blend means that we cannot properly judge the safety risks. This is a major issue; when we’re evaluating side effect risks, we like to deal with known quantities.
The fact that Optimind contains caffeine makes this problem much more serious.
Optimind’s total blend size is 1.288g, or 1288mg.
That means there could be anywhere up to 1287mg of caffeine in each serving of Optimind (with the other milligram shared between the rest of the ingredients).
That would be a practically lethal dose of caffeine, never mind side effects!
We think it’s unlikely that Optimind have dosed caffeine that high. But how high have they dosed it? 200mg? 300mg? 600mg?!
The point is, we don’t know. The fact that Optimind would expect us to take an unknown quantity of caffeine is ridiculous. They can ask us to trust them all they want, but we would never risk serious side effects (or worse) on the word of a supplement manufacturer.
In Conclusion – Is Optimind still a good nootropic?
Is Optimind really one of the best brain supplements in the world?
No. It never was!
In our opinion, Optimind was only ever popular because it was one of the first brain supplements to target a wider audience. Optimind certainly didn’t get its popularity based on merit!
The formula is terrible. Proprietary blends should be avoided in all circumstances, regardless of what the actual formula contains. But you should steer particularly clear of nootropics which contain an unknown – potentially enormous – amount of caffeine.
Asking us to take risks like that is completely unreasonable.
Optimind’s problems don’t stop with the serious safety concerns, however.
The formula contains some obvious filler ingredients. We believe that Taurine and ALA probably make up the vast majority of the 1.288g serving size. Why else would you use these ingredients and then hide your doses behind a proprietary blend?
If you want real results, use a modern nootropic stack with a transparent formula and effective ingredients. Optimind is a relic of the past. The sooner it stops being sold the better!
Brian Johnson is a former academic researcher, psychologist, and tireless proponent of bio-hacking. Brian has dedicated all of his time since leaving academia and private practice to promoting the benefits to be obtained from the application of biotechnology and bio-hacking supplements. He has years of experience with nootropics, as well as prebiotics, probiotics, and other natural nutritional supplements. He has published scholarly research on natural nootropics; you can find his papers on his Google Scholar page.