Mind Lab Pro Review: 2 Major Red Flags (and Surprising Science)

Generally speaking, nootropic stacks formulated by “experts” do not inspire enthusiasm from me. The combination of marketing hype, excessive costs, and other problems within the nootropics industry makes any new nootropic stack a “hard sell”.

Most of our custom blend nootropic reviews on things like Alpha Brain, Qualia, OptiMind, or Nootrobox have been critical in some way because there are always flaws in custom blends. After all, it is a blend of nootropics created by a business with a profit motive.

The Mind Lab Pro product by Opti-Nutra is a combination of a well-marketed and produced with some good ingredients.

According to our scientific breakdown in this Mind Lab Pro review, the ingredients are in sufficient doses and of sufficient quality to provide a positive cognitive effect without a significant risk of side effects.

Unlike dozens of nootropic blends, Mind Lab Pro has a number of positive things going for it, but there are also some red flags to be careful of. In the following sections you will learn just how compatible this nootropic might be for your specific needs.

Why is Mind Lab Pro So Popular?

Some of the most successful nootropic blends are so popular because of factors that have nothing to do with the quality of the product.

For Alpha Brain the product had the backing of Joe Rogan. For OptiMind the product has somewhat shady auto-rebill practices (you get a free trial then are automatically charged afterwards). For Qualia, the Neurohacker Collective has a great marketing team and solid group of founders.

What makes Mind Lab Pro so popular?

There are a few reasons Mind Lab Pro has become a darling within the nootropic industry. For one, they are certainly exceptional with their marketing and have business savvy. Mind Lab Pro advertisements generally follow me (and other nootropic users) around across social media.

The Mind Lab Pro team is definitely NOT the impressive part of the company. Nowhere on their website are the founders (or any member of the team) clearly identified. In fact, besides this seemingly scripted 4 minute video clip from Dr. Ramon Valazquez, PhD, there is little evidence of a team ever existing.

The real reason Mind Lab Pro is so popular is their high affiliate commission.

In the interest of transparency, here is some math that makes it clearer for you. If a customer decides to buy Mind Lab Pro, it will cost a minimum of $75 (including shipping) for a 1 month supply.

In order to entice websites and organizations like Nootropedia (which receives 120,000 unique viewers per month) to promote Mind Lab Pro for sale, the company offers $XX of that $75 that you pay.

This is called an affiliate program and Mind Lab Pro is so generous with how much they share, many of the top websites are choosing to promote this product over the others. Of course, the company makes less money than if they did not provide that high of a commission, but they get more customers, they get more repeat customers (very profitable) and that’s how we all benefit.

The question is whether or not consumers benefit from Mind Lab Pro or if it is just a product backed exclusively by this marketing method.

Luckily, as the next sections will identify, the scientific basis for Mind Lab Pro is quite good even if it is a bit expensive.

As other reviews on Nootropedia have shown, affiliate marketing does not alter the way we approach reviewing the nootropic stack. It’s reviewed based on merit and we value education of our readers more than the short-term profits that accompany affiliate marketing.

In the interest of transparency, it’s useful to discuss why Mind Lab Pro has grown to such a popular level. There are probably many reasons, but the major reason is the generous affiliate program.

The Mind Lab Pro product costs $65 and for every person who buys a product through Nootropedia, we make $XX. That’s 3 times more than Alpha Brain, and even more than XYZ.

As our other reviews have shown, this does not alter the way we approach reviewing nootropics. Each product is reviewed on merit and (as this transparency suggests) we value education for our readers more than short-term profits.

Mind Lab Pro Ingredients

According to the Mind Lab Pro website, there are a total of 11 ingredients used in their stack. They are as follows:

  • 250 mg Citicoline (Cognizin)
  • 175 mg N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
  • 100 mg L-Theanine (Suntheanine)
  • 100 mg Phosphatidylserine (Sharp PS Green)
  • 150 mg Bacopa Monnieri (45% bacosides)
  • 75 mg Maritime Pine Bark Extract
  • 500 mg Lion’s mane mushroom
  • 50 mg Rhodiola rosea (3% rosavins & 1% salidroside)
  • 2.5 mg Vitamin B6
  • 100 mcg Vitamin B9
  • 7.5 mcg Vitamin B12

There are a few things that jump out right away when the ingredients are provided. The first is that Mind Lab Pro is valuing transparency by providing not only the ingredients that are in the product, but also the specific doses.

In addition, there are few stimulants (depending on how you classify them) within this nootropic stack. Unlike most products that have a high quantity of caffeine or other similar stimulatory compounds, Mind Lab Pro does not go that route to make users experience a “feeling” from the stack (which is often indicative of lazy formulating).

Here is a breakdown of the 11 ingredients:

Citicoline (Cognizin)

Citicoline is one of the top two forms of choline for the brain (the other being alpha GPC). Using citicoline and specifically Cognizin brand means Mind Lab Pro is seeking the highest quality. According to some studies, citicoline can improve working memory and executive function [1] in addition to being neuroprotective (for elderly and young adults) [2].

The formulators could have added a slightly higher dosage, but in combination with other ingredients 250 mg is still effective.

N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine

A key neurotransmitter for concentration and feelings of happiness is dopamine. One of the best ways of increasing dopamine in the brain is through an amino acid called tyrosine and specifically an aceylated version called N-acetyl-L-Tyrosine (or NALT). Although the NALT technically improves concentration through the dopaminergic system, most evidence is focused on cognitive preservation.

One study found NALT helped protect memory against stress [3]. Another showed NALT could increase mood in military personnel who were exposed to stressors like cold and altitude [4]. Again, the 175 mg could be higher, but with so many ingredients a lower dose is probably better.

L-Theanine (Suntheanine)

For improving relaxation and creativity, there are few more well-studied nootropics than L-theanine. A study in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that L-theanine could increase alpha brain waves measured by EEG machines. The participants only used 50 mg of L-theanine and found substantial increases in these brain waves, which are associated with flow states and creativity [5].

Suntheanine is nice, but probably not too much better than a normal product. It simply shows their dedication to quality (and they can charge more as a result).

Phosphatidylserine (Sharp PS Green)

As far as safe nootropics go, phosphatidylserine is one of the best. Often regarded as one of the best general cognitive enhancers, there is evidence that children struggling with ADHD can use the compound specifically to treat their symptoms [6]. For other people, PS is useful for preserving neurological connections.

In one Japanese study of elderly individuals, using PS for 6 months could prevent cognitive decline and early signs of dementia [7]. A 3 week protocol helped Alzheimer’s patients reduce their symptoms as well [8].

Bacopa Monnieri (45% bacosides)

Arguably the most famous (and well-studied) Ayurvedic herb is bacopa monnieri. This plant has been used for thousands of years in India and continues to be useful for people today. Bacopa monnieri is, according to an interview with Dr. Con Stough, one of the best nootropics one can use.

(skip to 07:31 or so to hear about Bacopa)

Numerous studies show bacopa can reduce anxiety and depression [9], improve memory formation and especially decline [10], and aids in general mental performance. This is the key ingredient that makes Alpha Brain so effective in clinical trials and probably has a similar effect for Mind Lab Pro.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract is relatively rare in the nootropic world despite having a lot of compelling science to back it up. This feature makes pine bark (also known as pycnogenol) a bit of a dark horse nootropic. One study in the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences from 2015 found that healthy adults ages 35 – 55 could enhance markers of memory, focus, and decision making while using pine bark extract [11]. Another study showed using pine bark extract could reduce the “rate of failure” by 4.46% in multiple tests [12].

Lion’s mane mushroom

Medicinal mushrooms are becoming popular lately and lion’s mane mushroom leads the way. This is one of the rare mushrooms that has evidence of contributing directly to neurogenesis [13]. One study found 50 – 80 year olds could improve cognitive abilities generally using lion’s mane for 16 weeks [14]. There is also evidence of lion’s mane improving nerve-growth factor (NGF) [15].

Mind Lab Pro

Rhodiola rosea (3% rosavins & 1% salidroside)

Rhodiola is a powerful nootropic used to combat stress and preserve mental function. There is lots of evidence suggesting rhodiola is effective for these purposes, but I’m a little concerned with the dosage in Mind Lab Pro. It does not seem like 50 mg will do the trick, but if there is one nootropic where a lower dose might be helpful than a higher dose, it is rhodiola. Why?

Rhodiola supplements operate on a bell curve where lower doses can actually stimulate our brain differently than higher doses (and often more effectively).

Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12

For obvious reasons, B vitamins are crucial for our general and cognitive health. I’ll leave out the science, but suffice it to say that having added B vitamins is beneficial without providing too high a risk of side effects.

Does Mind Lab Pro Work?

It’s common for a new nootropics user to cut straight to the chase: does Mind Lab Pro work?

Once you spend long enough in the nootropics world, it becomes apparent that this is a more nuanced question than one might expect. Everyone is different, our brain chemistry is different, and whether something is “working” is hard to tell when it comes to cognitive performance.

Some people wrongly believe that a nootropic is “working” when they feel sensations or stimulation. Caffeine might get you focused on a specific task, but that doesn’t mean it is working to improve your cognitive performance or markers of memory, cognition, creativity, etc.

In short, Mind Lab Pro has a series of ingredients that are scientifically proven and in doses that will (probably) be effective for most people. Yes, Mind Lab Pro works.

Of course there are a few caveats. Firstly, many people might take Mind Lab Pro and feel few (if any) effects. There is no ingredient that can be easily considered stimulatory so much of what is “working” with Mind Lab Pro is beneath the surface. It is aiding in cognitive functions that are barely noticeable in our day to day lives.

Mind Lab Pro Reddit Case Studies

Even though Mind Lab Pro should theoretically “work”, that does not mean that everyone believes it is true. To get case study evidence, it is nice to look for Mind Lab Pro Reddit experiences. Here is a quote:

“…But what Mind lab pro does to your brains seems like a permanent effect. I took it for a month and noticed nothing in the first week. The second week came with a mild state of awareness and presence. The third week came with a calm focus, though extreme cynicism, maybe due to the fact that I was able to understand thing differently. To answer your question, after 3 weeks of no mind lab pro, my brain works the same as on it, I was able to keep my mild enhanced cognitive performance, thought I lost 60% of the focus and ability to concentrate. I’m still 120%+ of what I was before taking them, so I do consider them as a permanent effect. Since Mind Lab Pro has no active stimulants, I’m 100%+ sure there is no physical or psychical addiction… Anyway as a neutral nootropic and as a mild improvement, I do recommend Mind Lab Pro” [15]

Mind Lab Pro Forum Reviews

There are even plenty of results that come up on discussion boards and forums. A particular favorite among nootropic enthusiasts and biohackers is called Longecity where one user provided this Mind Lab Pro review:

It did nothing for my sleep deprivation. The next day I did two in the morning, two in the afternoon and had a barely productive day; like before I took a break in the mid-afternoon and proceeded to have a very mediocre meditation session, my attention was nuerotic as opposed to focused. My brain training session was similarly mediocre. While I’ve had an overall good experience on Mind Lab Pro for me it’s not a reliable cognitive enhancer and it wouldn’t be my go-to smart drug for a demanding project or day. These kinds of stacks I need to do 4-6 capsules a day to satisfy my stimulatory setpoint, so that’s at least 2 bottles a month…” [16]

Mind Lab Pro Side Effects: What’s the Consensus?

For most nootropic compounds with stimulants, the side effects relate to anxiety or other quirks that may come up from activating the central nervous system. The Mind Lab Pro side effects are usually less present. Some people experience side effects of Mind Lab Pro that include gastrointestinal distress from consuming 11 ingredients in a pre-made stack.

Generally Mind Lab Pro suffers from a lack of effects rather than overly powerful side effects. It’s probably a safer bet, but one for potential buyers to note.

Finally, if you plan to buy Mind Lab Pro, just know that it’s worthwhile to stop taking the supplement if you experience any side effects. Unfortunately because it has 11 ingredients, it is impossible to determine which specific compound is the culprit.

Mind Lab Pro vs Alpha Brain

Arguably the first mainstream nootropic on the market was Alpha Brain and it is still one of the more popular products. How does a matchup between Mind Lab Pro vs Alpha Brain look?

Cost wise, Alpha Brain is more affordable. At $80 for 90 capsules, Alpha Brain costs around $1.78 per day. At $75 for 1 month supply, Mind Lab Pro costs about $2.50 per day.

The ingredients in Mind Lab Pro are on par with Alpha Brain though there aren’t any fillers. Both Alpha Brain and Mind Lab Pro are generally effective because of their bacopa monnieri content, which is well-studied, well-dosed in the products, and generally provides the most consistent results.

Mind Lab Pro vs Qualia

Comparing Mind Lab Pro vs Qualia is a little more challenging than a direct comparison. Whereas Mind Lab Pro has 11 relatively solid ingredients and costs $2.50 per day, Qualia has 42 ingredients and costs $6.77 per day.

The problem is the huge disparity in the number of ingredients and the team involved. Neurohacker Collective has a large scientific team and lots of self-reported studies (internally) that make Mind Lab Pro vs Qualia almost impossible to contemplate.

Mind Lab Pro vs Modafinil

Anyone who is searching for a modafinil alternative is going to be sorely mistaken. Mind Lab Pro is predominantly a way to improve cognitive performance using well-studied ingredients that do not have a serious risk of side effects.

Taking Mind Lab Pro is not going to fundamentally alter the work you’re doing or provide a Limitless pill like some people are searching for. Do not expect to take Mind Lab Pro and get any of the same effects as modafinil. It’s simply not a comparison.

All Things Considered: Mind Lab Pro Review

For someone who is new to the world of nootropics and smart drugs, Mind Lab Pro is a relatively good place to start. While it is expensive and the popularity comes from good affiliate marketing business strategy, the ingredients and product are well-formulated and filled with high quality ingredients that can have a significant impact on cognitive performance especially over the long term.

If you are planning to outsource taking the responsibility to tweak and find specific nootropics that work for you, Mind Lab Pro is a decent choice and you can pick it up here.

References (Click to Expand)
  1. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25681529
  2. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0010586/
  3. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8029265
  4. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2736402
  5. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
  6. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23495677
  7. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21103034
  8. //www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/107142
  9. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18611150
  10. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20703343
  11. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26635191
  12. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22108481
  13. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844328
  14. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18758067
  15. //www.reddit.com/r/StackAdvice/comments/6a8rdq/question_regarding_mind_lab_pro_and_nootropic_use/
  16. //www.longecity.org/forum/topic/85880-mind-lab-pro-biohacker-review-good-for-verbal-intelligence-but/

Author

Mansal Denton is the founder of Nootropedia on a quest to inform users on effectively utilizing nootropics and smart drugs. His work has been featured in Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, and Vice.