It’s easy to run a head-to-head comparison of good vs bad products but the same cannot be said for two near-perfect competitors. Qualia Focus by Neurohacker Collective and Alpha Brain by Onnit are two highly popular ready-made premium stacks.

Qualia Focus is designed to support focus & concentration, boost brain energy, and promote memory. Alpha Brain, on the other hand, boosts memory, enhances focus and generally optimizes the brain. As you can see, the two are meant for more or less the same roles.

In terms of branding, Qualia Focus seems designed for the geeks, entrepreneurs, and folks in well-paying but demanding jobs. On the contrary, Alpha Brain is more of a “sporty” kind of brand. It’s a perfect bet for folks who lead an active kind of lifestyle.

Comparing the Ingredients

The best way to understand the kind of value contained in a noot stack bottle is by taking a closer look at the ingredients used.

Qualia Focus contains 24 active ingredients while Alpha Brain is made up of 12. Qualia’s list of ingredients comprises Vitamins, patented ingredients as well as natural nootropic compounds. Alpha Brain only contains one vitamin (B6), just like Qualia Focus it contains a combination of patented ingredients and natural nootropics.

One clear difference as far as the two supplements’ facts are concerned is that Qualia Focus provides the amounts per serving for each one of its ingredients but Alpha Brain doesn’t. Instead, the Onnit made product is made up of proprietary blends namely:

  • Flow Blend – 650 mg
  • Focus Blend – 240 mg
  • Fuel Blend – 65 mg

So, it’s quite difficult to determine the exact quantities of ingredients found in Alpha Brain. But since the product is made by a reputable manufacturer, one can only hope that the right quantities of the ingredients have been used.

Key Ingredients Shared In Common

The two share 5 ingredients in common. This perhaps explains why their effects are almost similar.

L-Theanine

Obtained from the green leaf tea leaves, L-Theanine is a powerful nootropic in streamlining brain function. In particular, it streamlines your alpha and beta waves thereby improving your focus.

Besides that, L-Theanine boosts your GABA content. GABA is one of the brain chemicals commonly associated with calmness.

Another outstanding benefit of this particular ingredient is that it’s a stress reliever. In so doing, it also protects the brain cells against age-related complications.

Alpha GPC

This is a highly effective source of acetylcholine in the brain. In fact, it’s sometimes thought to be even more effective than choline supplements themselves. One unique attribute of Alpha GPC that makes it popular is that it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Its blood-brain barrier crossing abilities make it a fast acting brain booster. It particularly increases your quantities of dopamine which is a feel-good hormone commonly associated with improved productivity.

We approve of its inclusion into any brain building stack as it provides your neurons with the fuel they need to operate optimally.

It’s, however, worth noting that Alpha GPC is mainly obtained from soy. Therefore, if you’re allergic to soy you might want to avoid both Qualia Focus and Alpha Brain.

Bacopa Monnieri

You might have a powerful brain only for anxiety to clog it up. Fortunately, Bacopa Monnieri exists. It’s a natural extract that’s meant to reduce anxiety and in so doing boost all aspects of cognition.

In particular, this nootropic protects the brain by fighting oxidative stress. Besides that, it improves neuronal communication effectively improving alertness and reaction time.

In terms of long-term benefits, Bacopa is a sure bet when it comes to enhancing your brain’s ability to adapt to stress. It also helps prevent the accumulation of beta-amyloid in addition to enhancing blood flow in the brain.

Huperzine A

This is an extract obtained from the Chinese club moss. But unlike the original extract, both Alpha Brain and Qualia Focus contain highly purified forms of it.

The dietary supplement is popularly used in the management of Alzheimer’s disease along with boosting your learning abilities. Besides that, it boosts brain energy and enhances alertness.

It does so by improving the speed at which different neurons communicate particularly by warding off the effects of nerve gases. By and large, Hup-A is thought to have immense benefits in memory preservation and general prevention of muscular disorders.

Vitamin B6

Also known as Pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 is an important compound when it comes to the functioning of the nervous system. In fact, the vitamin is a coenzyme that’s involved in more than 100 reactions in the body.

In particular, it is involved in protein, lipids, and carbs metabolism. Besides that, it aids in the regulation of glutamate in the brain. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter which is potentially harmful to your brain cells.

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Key Differences in Ingredients

Much as the two share quite a lot in common, they also have significant differences. For instance, Qualia Focus contains Vitamins C, D3, and Niacin while Alpha Brain only contains Vitamin B6 as a vitamin. And that’s just but a tip of the iceberg.

Qualia Focus Contains Caffeine

Caffeine is a rather controversial nootropic. While it’s known for its fast effects, it’s also feared due to its addictiveness. So, if you’re looking to completely avoid caffeine, your best bet would be to avoid Qualia Focus and opt for Alpha Brain instead.

Alpha Brain Contains Less Potent L-Tyrosine

Alpha Brain contains L-Tyrosine while Qualia Focus comes with N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. L-Tyrosine is a free form amino acid which is less bioavailable and water-soluble than N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine. So, in terms of effectiveness, NALT takes the day.

Other Qualia Focus Ingredients Not Found In Alpha Brain

As mentioned earlier, Qualia Focus has 16 more ingredients than Alpha Brain. Apart from the ones already discussed above, the following are the remaining ones.

  • Artichoke Leaf Extract
  • DL-Phenylalanine
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • Uridine 5’ Monophosphate disodium
  • Taurine
  • Rhodiola Rosea Root
  • Benfotiamine
  • Mucuna Pruriens seed extracts
  • Theobromine
  • Celastrus paniculatus seed extract
  • Gingko Biloba
  • Coleus forskohlii root extract

Other Alpha Brain Ingredients Not Found In Qualia Focus

It might have fewer ingredients but it’s far from being an underdog. In fact, in addition to the ones already mentioned above, this product contains the following nutrients that aren’t available in Qualia Focus.

  • Oat Straw Extract
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Cat’s Claw Extract
  • L-Leucine
  • Vinpocetine
  • Pterostilbene

Comparing The Prices

According to the prices appearing on the manufacturers’ websites, 1 bottle of Qualia Focus goes for $69 while that of Alpha Brain goes for $80. The former contains 100 capsules equivalent to 20 servings while the later packs 90 capsules equivalent to 45 servings.

  • Qualia Focus price per serving: $3.45
  • Alpha Brain price per serving: $1.8

On the surface, Qualia Focus might seem like the cheaper one of the two until you consider the fact that you pay less for Alpha Brain per serving.

At the end of the day, it’s the serving the matters and not the number of capsules bought. That said, we’d like to note that the idea of taking 5 Qualia Focus pills per day seems like overkill to us. I mean, unless you really like swallowing pills, 5 pills are bound to intimidate you.

Comparing the Effects

Qualia Focus seems to be the most effective one of the two. It contains caffeine which is a fast-acting nootropic. And unless you have specific concerns about it, it’s generally safe if taken in small quantities.

The thing with Qualia Focus is that it jumpstarts you using caffeine and instead of leaving you to suffer a crash later picks you up with Alpha GPC and other energy boosting ingredients. That’s quite well thought out!

Alpha Brain is equally great only that it contains some non-nootropic ingredients on its list e.g. L-leucine, Cat’s Claw Extract, and Oat Straw Extract. We’re not exactly sure why they decided to use those instead of other well-placed noots like Rhodiola root, Mucuna pruriens, and Gingko Biloba.

They also chose to use proprietary blends for their formula. So, we cannot tell the exact quantities of the nutrients found per serving which again complicates the process of analyzing the product’s potency.

That said, Alpha Brain has received quite some positive reviews from its users. But in our view, its levels of effectiveness may vary drastically depending on your brain chemistry.

Which One Is Better & Why?

Although both stacks are quite well-made and packaged, it’s Qualia Focus that won our hearts for the following reasons.

  1. It contains more high potent ingredients than Alpha Brain
  2. The ingredient amounts per serving are clearly detailed out
  3. It’s backed by 100-day money back guarantee compared to Alpha Brain’s 90
  4. We like Neurohacker’s customer support team better
  5. Qualia Focus is the most effective one of the two

At the same time, we need to give some credit to Alpha Brain. It’s cheaper and quite nutritious. We also like how the product is packaged and the fact that the manufacturer has made it available in different flavors. It’s even available in liquid form.

So, if the idea of swallowing 5 capsules per day doesn’t sound like a good one to you, you might prefer settling for Alpha Brain over Qualia Focus.

Final Thoughts

Both natural nootropic stacks are worthy of praise. However, when it comes down to the fundamentals, Qualia Focus seems like the truer bad-boy of the two.

But don’t let this verdict fool you. Qualia Focus is only slightly better than Alpha Brain and that doesn’t mean that Alpha Brain is crappy. There are folks who swear by its effectiveness.

So, approach the two with an open mind. If you have a few more bucks to spare, Qualia Focus would be a much more solid bet in our view.


Verdict: Qualia Focus > Alpha Brain

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