Nootrobox Review: HVMN Nootropic Stack
If you think Nootrobox sounds a bit like a nutritional television channel, you’d be right and I thoroughly agree with you.
But in this case – and the reason I’m reviewing them – they are actually a brand of nootropic supplements. In fact they are a collection of four supplements that can be taken together as a nootropic stack or individually.
If you can get over this small misunderstanding then you might want to take a look at their products.
I’ve had a little look around on their website and done some more broad research so you can see for yourself in this honest Nootrobox review whether they could be products for you.
From a simple tagline – ‘supplements to support brain and body function’ to clear branding and no-nonsense product descriptions, Nootrobox product look like something you might consider spending money on if you are interested in exploring biohacking as a way of life.
Nootrobox sets out its stall as a set of four supplements – (known in the nootropics world as a ‘Full Stack’) named variously Sprint for ‘energy and focus’, Rise for ‘memory’, Kado your ‘daily omega3 healthkit’, Yawn, a ‘rejuvenating sleep aid’.
The blends have been specifically created for different functions, but the idea is that all taken together will enable you to live optimally in different areas such as cognitive functions, sleep and energy.
Background on HVMN
Way back in 2014 Geoffrey Woo and Michael Brandt, two businessmen with backgrounds in startups and tech, formed a partnership with a view to create market-leading biohacking products. Coming from silicone valley – where productivity is the mainstay of business – they wanted to jump aboard a newly-emerging bandwagon of cognitive enhancement supplements and started to formulate their own products.
They began seeking investors, even appearing on Shark Tank to ask the Sharks to back their product ‘Go Cubes’ a combination of coffee and green tea which is edible, rather than drinkable.
They saught a valuation of their product at $40 million (they asked for $2 million) but the Sharks weren’t taken with their silicone valley-type valuation and couldn’t grasp the idea of the product so the duo left empty handed.
Woo and Brandt who are now CEO and COO respectively of HVMN (pronounced ‘human’) – the makers of Nootrobox and Go Cubes – went elsewhere to locate backing and have made a success of their products in the nootropic market, gaining both financial backing and a loyal following of customers.
HVMN (pronounced ‘human’)
Other products alongside Nootrobox include MCT oil powder ($29.95), Keto collagen powder ($39.95), Ketone esters ($30 per bottle), GO Cubes ($39).
What Ingredients are inside Nootrobox?
As we might expect the main formula of these products is a combination of herbs and other ingredients that look to mimic the effects of prescription formulations which control alertness, focus and cognition.
The manufacturers have been clear to market their product as both rigorously researched and yet somehow more ‘natural’ than taking something that would be considered to be a ‘drug’.
With all nootropics the aim is to elicit the effect of being stimulated enough to focus but not ‘wired’, ‘jittery’ or anxious. Therefore there seems to be a clear effort to balance ingredients that have a stimulatory effect on the nervous system and also a calming, ‘anxiolytic’ effect.
So, what’s inside the Nootrobox formula?
Some of the old favourites are included, as well as a few ingredients I’ve not seen before:
- Nootrobox Sprint: Caffeine (200mg), L-Theanine (200mg), Ginseng (400mg)
- Nootrobox Rise: Bacopa Monnieri (300mg), Ashwagandha (250mg), CDP Choline (Citicoline), (250mg)
- Nootrobox Kado: Omega-3 (470mg DHA), (235mg EPA), Vitamin D3 (2000 IU), Vitamin K1 (500mcg) & K2 (100mcg), Astaxanthin (2mg)
- Nootrobox Yawn: Magnesium Glycinate (250mg), L-Glycine (500mg), L-Theanine (100mg), Melatonin (1mg)
Let’s take a closer look at these ingredients to see how effective these products could be.
Caffeine, L-Theanine and Ginseng are familiar stimulants, especially for those already taking nootropics. Taken together they could be seen to have a stimulatory (caffeine and ginseng) but also calming effect (L-Theanine is thought to be a key anxiolytic) as mentioned in my opener – a key combo in nootropics.
Supplemental doses of Ginseng are recommended as being effective at 200-400mg daily (source).
Bacopa and Ashwagandha are herbs used traditionally (especially in Ayurveda) for focus and improved cognitive ability. The research around them suggest that 300mg daily of bacopa (with a minimum of 55% bacosides) (source) and 300-500mg of Ashwagandha could be effective (source).
There is research underway into the use of Omega-3 in treating the symptoms of ADHD. (source).
It looks as though both DHA and EPA could have neuroprotective properties and are recommended at a dosage of 1g daily. They also aid the absorption of Vitamins D and K.
Melatonin supplementation is under constant scrutiny for the reasons that sleep, and its elusiveness for many (especially shift workers) is something which is thought to be very important to processes such as cognitive function, premature aging and even immunity.
Melatonin studies reveal that a dosage should be somewhere in the region of 0.5mg-3-5mg daily. There are studies underway to assess whether supplementing with melatonin could lead to a reduction in the body’s ability to produce the hormone by itself (source).
Are There Any side effects to Nootrobox?
As with all supplements you are reminded to read the label, check the ingredients and be aware of any existing conditions which may make you prone to side effects. For example shellfish or fish derivatives which may cause allergic response.
Does Nootrobox Actually Work?
Geoffrey Woo has described HVMN’s products as unlocking “next-level thinking” that will be key to humanity’s evolution.
Unfortunately for HVMN their own scientific study actually concluded that caffeine (in the form of coffee) worked better than their product.
Nootrobox Sprint was tested (in a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial) by researchers at Maastricht University against caffeine in an effort to prove whether it could help make people more effective. Unfortunately the researchers found that there was little, or no, effect in the studies involving Sprint. A product which is ‘designed to promote alertness’ seems to be unnecessary in a world where we already have coffee (not to mention a multitude of non-coffee caffeine products) and sadly for the manufacturers their own study proved that to be the case.
One of the reasons could of course be that the effectiveness of capsules is known to be low as there are so few ingredients and in such small amounts versus powders which can allow for a much larger dose.
All this being said and here is a big disclaimer from me: their ingredients listing DOES include an evidence level for every ingredient.
This is one of the few times I’ve seen this on a nootropic ingredients listing and I find it to be both honest and transparent (similar to one of their competitors, Mind Lab pro).
This does make them open to criticism (for example, is there even any point in including an ingredient such as 2mg Astaxanthin which only has an H2 grading – evidence of effects in animals?). As with everything, buyer beware, but this does mean that some evidence for the amounts included in the dosage has been sought and I think this is a bonus.
Nootrobox Customer Reviews
The reviews on the Nootrobox website are all glowing so I’ve looked elsewhere for some honest write-ups. On Amazon there are three reviews for the full stack:
Best nootropic stack I have taken5 stars
Will not buy again1 star
Highly recommend5 stars
How to Take Nootrobox
The recommended dosage, depending on the product, is either one or two capsules per day.
This is a little confusing and involves reading the dosage for each individual product, which has me thinking it’s sort of complicating matters having them all be separate products, and wondering how easy this is on the consumer considering the full stack involves taking 4 different products.
Any Money Back Guarantee?
Happily you can return unopened products for up to 60 days and get a full refund.
Where to Buy Nootrobox
What’s the Cost of Nootrobox?
Taking all Nootrobox supplement stack means that the cost is a little on the high side.
At $109 for a one-off order or $98.96 per month on their subscription deal of all four. Don’t forget you are effectively buying four separate supplements with this ‘stack’ and you would have to question whether or not there are products out there which include the potent ingredients you need but only involves taking one all-in-one product a day.
If you were to buy each product individually they sell for $24.95- $34.95 depending which you opt for. This is for 30 softgels or capsules (one month’s supply).
My Verdict: Nootrobox Nootropics
In the market of nootropics this particular range comes out on the expensive side and the ingredient profile is not, in comparison, that amazing. Considering you are taking a 4-supplement stack you could arguably get more (nutritionally) from one all-in-one product.
Sadly, having a study commissioned which questions the effectiveness of your product may be too damning for some, although it doesn’t seem to be harming the commitment of some of the more loyal customers. I applaud their honesty and transparency in trying to seek evidence for some of the claims, but sadly for me the findings are a little too disappointing and I’ll be looking for other products which contain a more potent dose of those ingredients I consider to be powerful and effective.
I’m not a huge fan of taking handfuls of supplements, be they capsules, tablets or different health drinks all at different times of the day. For my lifestyle it is definitely preferable to get my health- and brain-support all in one hit. This is possible with powder supplements like SuperGreen TONIK that contain good nootropic ingredients in the right amounts WITHOUT the handful of capsules!
Considering there are powders which do so much more than these products claim to, so, unfortunately, for me, Nootrobox doesn’t tick the box.