OptiMind is a nootropic cognitive enhancer purported to grant users a whole array of amazing health benefits. The proprietary blend of compounds and vitamins is there for all to see on their website, but with the exception of caffeine and perhaps taurine, how many of those ingredients do you really know? Do they actually work?
OptiMind mixes 12 ingredients: GABA, Phosphatidylserine, Vitamin D-3, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Caffeine, Huperzine A, Tyrosine, Taurine, Vitamin B-12, Sulbutiamine, Vinpocetine and Bacopa Monnieri. Supposedly, this combination is supposed to increase your energy and alertness, boost neurotransmitter function, heighten “neuronal function,” and put you in a good mood to boot.
My immediate reaction upon seeing this was, “Oh. The caffeine is doing all of the heavy lifting.” Can you blame this response? OptiMind points to plenty of testimonials and has a guarantee, but don’t display any data on their site. They have FDA approval, but supplements such as this are listed as food, not medicine, and the FDA urges caution against using such blends.
This isn’t to say that the ingredients themselves have no merit. In fact, there are studies on several of the compounds within OptiMind. How they are blended and if they have any synergistic effect, though, is not something that has been proven through research and careful study.
Taurine, for instance, is an essential amino acid that is plentiful in the brain, heart, and kidneys, regulating health in these areas. It’s a neurotransmitter, and some evidence suggests that supplementing it may improve cardiovascular health and central nervous system functions.
Caffeine is well known and provides a significant short-term boost of energy.
Tyrosine, meanwhile, might have some function in boosting mental awareness and overall well-being.
GABA is another neurotransmitter that helps to curb over-excitement and counteract anxiety.
Phosphatidylserine improves dopamine synthesis and promotes enhanced learning and memory.
Vinpocetine is an herbal supplement said to have antioxidant properties. It might also increase blood flow (and subsequently oxygen) to the brain, boosting efficiency.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is though to remove “heavy metals” from the body, nullifying cognitive decline.
Huperzine is another herbal that increases acetylcholine activity. It theoretically improves memory retention and cognitive functions.
Bacopa Monnieri is an Ayurveda herb that is said to reduce stress by improving neurotransmitter function.
Sulbutiamine is a mood enhancer derived from Vitamin B-1. The other Vitamins, D-3 and B-12, are ones for which people commonly have a slight deficiency. Bringing levels back to normal is thought to improve overall mood, increase metabolism, and fight fatigue.
The thing is, there is no way to be sure how much of each ingredient is contained within OptiMind (with the exception of caffeine and the Vitamins), and which, if any, are providing the beneficial effects that users report. Still, the anecdotes are there about how OptiMind has improved the lives of many.
OptiMind has no alternate names.
I’ll admit, I went in skeptical. My expectation was to enjoy a brief caffeine/taurine energy rush, akin to coffee or an energy drink, that would burn out quickly and leave me in a slight crash state. The experience did not go exactly as I had anticipated. I took two capsules in the morning, as directed, then started feeling the effects within a half hour.
At first, it was an energy boost. I felt a lot of pep but was still capable of focus. Even mundane tasks weren’t dragging down my mood. I got through a lot of busy work and even managed a vigorous workout. Again, though, nothing that couldn’t have been achieved with a strong pot of coffee.
In the late afternoon, I could feel the effects starting to wear down, but it wasn’t the crash-and-burn of coming down off of coffee, just the crash with no burn. I wasn’t up for more work but was ready to take a break.
I tried it again the next day with similar results. Instead of just relying on one dose to get through the day, however, I took another dose before the expected late afternoon come down, and got a pretty consistent level of pep throughout the rest of the day.
My sleep wasn’t disturbed by the supplement, but I have to stress that it didn’t feel much different from drinking coffee or tea. If there are heightened cognitive boosts to be gained from OptiMind, I certainly didn’t feel them. As a simple energy booster, though, it was adequate.
Scouring the ‘net, there are some mixed feelings about OptiMind, but most agree that the energy boost is potent enough. If you check user review sites like Amazon, you’ll see only a slim margin between 5-star and 1-star reviews, with the average sitting at three stars at the time of writing.
The biggest gripe is that for some, the combination of ingredients simply didn’t affect them. With any nootropic, this is a definite possibility. For those that did feel something with OptiMind, however, the response was a positive one.
If you’re interested, the take over on Reddit is decidedly negative.
OptiMind is for complete cognitive optimization, to that end, it’s supposed to:
Increase Your Energy Levels
The caffeine, in particular, is there to make you feel like a supercharged battery. After taking OptiMind, it takes about a half hour for the energetic feeling to kick in, in my experience. The heightened levels with OptiMind are noticeable, but not uncontrollable like they would be with caffeine from a drink. This is to help keep you on task while you’re working and to prevent an “overload” that leaves you jittery and unable to accomplish anything. It worked for me, but I couldn’t find any evidence or controlled studies showing to what degree OptiMind is effective.
Support An Enhanced Mood
Ingredients like Taurine, Tyrosine, and Sulbutiamine are there to help you feel better. There is some evidence showing that on their own, these compounds do have an effect on mood. There is also evidence showing that, while they do have an effect on cognitive decline and can affect stress levels, supplementing these compounds from exogenous sources is not proven to make you feel better. Read this article from Simon Young, particularly this choice quote:
“What has been shown is that L-tyrosine prevents some of the cognitive decline in response to physical stressors, an effect of interest to almost no one outside the military. The use of L-tyrosine cannot be recommended for patients.”
In other words, the positive effects of these compounds only manifest in specific scenarios, and supplementing may or may not work the way you expect.
Allow You To Focus Better
The other ingredients in OptiMind are supposed to boost neurotransmitter availability, efficiency, and increase blood flow to the brain. All told, this combination is supposed to allow you to focus when you are working, improve your memory, and, in general, make you sharper mentally.
I didn’t feel any such effects when taking OptiMind, and the evidence supporting this benefit is largely anecdotal. This isn’t to say it’s impossible, mind you. Studies on tyrosine do show that it can help counteract the brain fog that occurs in stressful scenarios, but those results haven’t been replicated in a study outside of a very particular set of criteria.
This is pretty straightforward. Take an OptiMind capsule, and the body absorbs the ingredients and sets them off on their specific tasks, supposedly. The effects begin in about a half hour and can last for a better part of a day.
Usually, two capsules are all you’ll need for a full day of nootropic optimization. According to optimization, the combination, or stack, of these different compounds results in a synergistic effect that increases the potency beyond the potential of any one of the supplements on their own. That could be true, but the jury is still out.
As previously mentioned, the ingredients in OptiMind have been studied individually. Some, like caffeine and taurine, have a clear effect on energy levels and stress. Others, like Tyrosine, have some proven effects in certain situations, and the benefits may translate to supplementation. Others still require more research to support their claims, but the makers of OptiMind (and many users) still swear by them.
It’s important to note that even though these compounds are linked to levels of neurotransmitters and hormones in the body, simply increasing the levels of these things does not guarantee a certain outcome, as the body is sometimes more complex than “add an ingredient, achieve a result.”
OptiMind comes in capsules with a proprietary blend of ingredients. They have disclosed that they contain 150mg of caffeine, along with 500mcg of B-12 and 385IU of Vitamin D. They levels of other ingredients in OptiMind are unknown. Directions for OptiMind give very clear dosage instructions:
“For elevated focus and energy, start with 1-2 capsules in the morning. do not exceed 5 capsules per 24-hour period.”
You can take just a morning dose, or try a morning/afternoon dose to see what works best for you. You don’t need to take the supplement with food.
OptiMind doesn’t list all side effects and insists that the “all natural” ingredients are safe. There could, however, be contraindications between OptiMind and other medications, so check the ingredients against whatever you’re taking regularly to ensure that you don’t run into any problems. Ideally, you’ll consult with your doctor to make sure everything is on the up and up.
Furthermore, there are some reported side effects that come from users. These include insomnia, restlessness, overstimulation, caffeine sensitivity, and several others.
On its own, OptiMind is already a stack of some pretty potent ingredients. If you feel like you need to maximize your benefits, though, you could try adding:
OptiMind & Phenibut
Phenibut is an herbal supplement that is said to relieve tension, reduce anxiety, and lower stress. When taken with OptiMind, users report that the “edge” is taken off, providing an even rounder level of heightened energy, all while maintaining a high degree of focus. You should start with two capsules of OptiMind plus a low (250mg) dose of Phenibut to see how it affects you.
OptiMind & Noopept
You can combine Noopept with almost any other nootropic to elevate the effects even more, and this is no exception. The feeling with Noopept and OptiMind is supposed to be a greater degree of energy with improved cognitive abilities as well. Try two capsules of OptiMind and a 10mg dose of Noopept to see if it works.
OptiMind & Krill Oil
If you’re thinking long-term benefits, combining with krill oil might be what you need for an advanced brain boost. Try two OptiMind capsules along with 500mg of Krill Oil regularly to reap the benefits.
There are a few good alternatives to OptiMind, depending on what you want. Be sure to check out:
Modafinil is a prescription medication that induces wakefulness and provides an extremely heightened degree of focus. Unlike OptiMind, there is serious study that has gone into Modafinil and its derivatives, showing that it can counteract feelings of fatigue and cause you to experience a kind of “tunnel focus” that lets you zero in on one task at a time and complete it with unwavering productivity.
If you want cognitive enhancement, there has also been a lot of buzz around Noopept. It’s very potent, much more so than similar compounds like Piracetam, and doesn’t have to be stacked to experience the benefits. It boosts alertness and energy levels but doesn’t induce the level of extreme concentration that Modafinil does. The research is slim on this one, but there are plenty of users who say it does wonders.
Coffee Or Tea
If you just want an old-school energy boost, nothing is as tried and true as a cup of coffee or tea. You won’t have to spend as much on a fancy combination of ingredients, and you know exactly what you’re getting into right off the bat. Best of all, it tastes way better than a bland pill or capsule.
OptiMind certainly could be onto something with their proprietary blend, but there isn’t any solid proof backing up their claims. At the very least, the energy boost with OptiMind is noticeable, even if all the cognitive enhancement stuff might be bunk.
What’s more, the ingredients on their own might actually cost less than buying the formula from OptiMind, so you can even try that route if you want to fine-tune your brain.