HVMN (Nootrobox) Review: Do They Live Up To The Hype?
Back in 2016 I had the pleasure of reviewing GO Cubes®, the convenient and enhanced chewable version of coffee.
Since then, I’ve become quite a fan of the product – using it almost daily for keeping myself alert at the office!
The company offers a lineup of nootropic products and targets a goal of introducing them to everyone – not just us geeks.
I can also see many influences from the company’s homeland of Silicon Valley in their unique marketing and culture. But how well do they now implement their scheme?
Today let’s take a look at HVMN, their products, and some of their background as a company.
Nootrobox/HVMN was founded in 2014 by Stanford graduates Geoffrey Woo and Michael Brandt, the former being the current CEO of the company. At the time of formation, Woo was working as an entrepreneur at Foundation Capital while Brandt was working at Google.
Along with a few investment rounds, HVMN became established in the San Francisco Bay area and by 2016, they were sporting a full product lineup in their online store. Now, they are shipping out to the whole US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Ireland.
The HVMN team lineup can be found here, with many of its members having academic backgrounds in science and engineering.
Many nootropics companies out there cater to particular audiences – those who are often professional elites or students that would no doubt be pounding Adderall or Modafinil otherwise. And that’s fine by us!
But HVMN wants to take a slightly different approach in selling their products.
On their website, HVMN describes the human brain as if it’s an equation of sorts. That it can be “quantified, manipulated, and optimized” through the use of nootropics and other biohacking tools.
They also want to extend the potential benefits to all of society, not a select group of people. In essence, HVMN wants to find a way to sell nootropics even to ordinary people, which is a hugely ambitious goal.
For this to happen, you have to condense a lot of the context-heavy information used in choosing products, as well as develop a user-friendly platform to market yourself on.
So how is HVMN electing to do both of these things? Let’s check out the products they have to offer the world, and make sure their website is hip enough to sell on.
HVMN focuses exclusively on stacks, i.e. combinations of various compounds that are supposed to work synergistically for a particular purpose.
Instead of having customers take multiple separate pills, they combine them all into a convenient single package. While most of these stacks exist as pills, GO Cubes are a tasty exception..
The manufacturing process HVMN uses to make their products is also one of its selling points. They claim that in every pill, the amount of each ingredient is precise.
For instance, if a capsule is guaranteed to have exactly 50 milligrams of caffeine, customers can control their doses confidently. Powders are mixed thoroughly for capsules with a ball milling machine specifically for processing supplements.
Anyways, so what exactly are they selling as final products?
GO Cubes are perhaps what HVMN is best known for today, after running an Indiegogo campaign to raise development funds for these gumdrop-like pick me ups.
These cubes not only taste like coffee, but they are in fact concentrated coffee with other functional ingredients suspended in pectin. The caffeine and natural MAO inhibitors are expected as with any coffee, but you also get the theanine and energizing B-vitamins included!
This is a simple but effective combination. Theanine is an ideal additive to coffee, as it cuts down the anxiety from the caffeine and adds a sort of zenlike calmness. You can’t go wrong with these if you’re a coffee fan and want to add an extra functional twist.
See our full review of GO Cubes here!
RISE is what HVMN refers to as their “daily nootropic” pill, meaning that you should take it regularly to maximize its benefits.
With the shortest list of ingredients out of all of their products, RISE is also quite potent in terms of its effects.
The bacopa monnieri is primarily known for its beneficial effects on memory recall, while the alpha-GPC can help produce acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning.
The rhodiola rosea is a well known adaptogen, which they claim can aid in reducing fatigue and handling stress in general.
However, rhodiola is notorious for affecting people very differently from person to person. Some people actually report increased anxiety from the common herb, so your mileage may vary.
So from what it sounds like, RISE would be targeted for things like school exams, presentations, or being a witty conversationalist. The quick recall of words and data is a skill that can really be used all day long for many people.
KADO-3 is the most “supplement-like” stack of HVMN’s product lineup. You don’t see any ingredients that directly act as nootropic compounds, but they provide support for a healthy brain to use alongside their other products.
First of all, we see that the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are included. These substances are typically derived from fish oil and act as building blocks for the cells in our nervous systems.
KADO-3 uses a 2:1 ratio of DHA to EPA, the former being beneficial for memory and attention. EPA is also helpful, but more so for cardiovascular health.
Vitamin D is used in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, while vitamin K is claimed to have a neuroprotective effect along with being essential for blood clotting.
Now the inclusion of astaxanthin is interesting. When you see a bright pinkish-red color in many sea creatures (such as salmon), that coloring comes from astaxanthin, which also happens to be a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
These properties tend to be considered neuroprotective, so you can maintain the health of your neurons as they constantly work hard.
KADO-3 is a combination of many common supplements that support general health, but I would be hard-pressed to call it a nootropic.
SPRINT is meant to be a supplement that starts working very quickly, so a user can boost their productivity on demand. This is contrasted with RISE, which is meant to build in effects over time.
If you compare the ingredients list from SPRINT to the one for GO Cubes, you’ll notice a lot of similarities. You have your caffeine, theanine, and B vitamins, but you also have a few other familiar names in these pills.
Vinpocetine is a compound derived from the periwinkle plant, along with a number of other alkaloids. Its best-known mechanism of action is vasodilation, or increasing blood flow, in the brain. Nootropic effects have been known to include a boost in focus as well as improved memory function.
Finally, the L-Tyrosine in SPRINT acts as one of the first building blocks in a chain of events that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, which can provide a boost in motivation.
While SPRINT may not create a mood boost quite like GO cubes (due to coffee’s natural happy compounds), it’ll work in a very similar way but with the vinpocetine added in. It’s your call whether you want to take your nootropics in pill form or gummy form.
The last item in HVMN’s product lineup is YAWN, which aims to help you get to sleep faster and end up more well-rested in the morning. As with other HVMN products, YAWN comes i