Cerebra is a dietary supplement manufactured by a company called Boston Brain Science. The product claims to support memory, and improve focus and clarity.
In this article we’ll review every ingredient in Cerebra based on medical research to provide our determination on whether the supplement is likely to be effective for enhancing brain function. We'll give our take on whether Cerebra is likely to cause side effects, and share real user reviews of the brand.
Cerebra contains three active ingredients: citicoline, bacopa monnieri extract and SerinAid.
Citicoline is the first active ingredient, and is included at a dose of 500 milligrams (mg). This is a naturally-occurring compound in human cells, and is thought to potentially aid brain function when taken as a supplement because it can increase dopamine receptor density. An animal study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology documented this effect.
One clinical trial found that citicoline improved memory in healthy elderly patients, but the dosages used were 1,000 mg and 2,000 mg per day, or 200% to 400% of the amount in Cerebra.
A more recent clinical trial found that citicoline at the dosage in Cerebra was effective for improving memory in elderly adults with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI).
Another medical study with healthy adults as trial participants found that citicoline improved a specific type of memory called free recall, which refers to the ability to remember previously-learned information in any order.
We will consider this to be a likely effective ingredient for enhancing memory.
The second ingredient in this supplement is Bacopa monnieri extract at a dosage of 300 mg. This is a well-studied nootropic compound used in other popular memory products such as Prevagen.
300 mg appears to be an effective dose based on medical research. The linked study found that bacopa extract improved memory in a healthy, young population after only 6 weeks of treatment at a 300 mg dose. There are other studies showing a similar effect.
We consider this to be an effectively dosed nootropic ingredient.
The final active ingredient in Cerebra is a patented compound called "SerinAid" that provides 100 mg of phosphatidylserine. This is an effective ingredient for brain health but may be underdosed.
An extremely extensive medical review of phosphatidylserine for brain health analyzed 127 individual medical studies on the topic, and concluded that the compound “supports cognitive functions” and “reverses biochemical alterations and structural deterioration in nerve cells,” but the effective dose range was listed as 300 mg to 800 mg per day, or 300% to 800% of the dose in Cerebra.
We cannot locate a clinical trial suggesting that 100 mg of phosphatidylserine is effective for improving any parameter of brain function in healthy adults, so we'll consider this a likely ineffective ingredient.
Cerebra is free of any harmful or toxic additive ingredients.
Overall we consider Cerebra to be likely to improve memory and support cognitive clarity, because two of the three active ingredients appear effectively dosed, and the other ingredient appears underdosed but is still an effective nootropic ingredient.
This is one of the better nootropic supplements we've reviewed on Illuminate Health.
Does Cerebra Cause Side Effects?
We do not consider Cerebra likely to cause side effects based on its formulation. Citicoline is a safe and non-toxic compound produced endogenously (by the body itself), and has been studied in human trials at doses much higher than that in Cerebra and has been found safe.
Bacopa monnieri extract is one of the most well-studied herbal supplements and has a favorable safety profile. A dose equivalent to 180,000 mg was found to cause no adverse effects in an animal study published in a well-respected scientific journal.
The safety of phosphatidylserine has been proven in human trials at doses up to 300 mg per day, which is 3x higher than the dose in Cerebra.
Cerebra Real User Reviews
The manufacturer of Cerebra, Boston Brain Science, has been reviewed 61 times on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, and has an impressive 4.18 out of 5 star rating.
Customers like "Neal Stewart" claim that the brand is responsive and helpful:
"I am most impressed with the personal service I just received by actually speaking with a Cerebra employee by the name of [redacted]. She was warm, personal and knowledgeable about the Cerebra product. I look forward to results that I will get from taking your supplement."
The majority of health companies that we've reviewed on Illuminate Health have a customer review rating under 2 on the BBB site, since many consumers go to that site to complain about a product or service, so we consider this a good sign about the legitimacy of the brand and product.
Boston Brain Science also responds to consumer complaints on the site, which is another good sign in our opinion about the brand's diligence and trustworthiness.
Our Recommended Nootropic Supplements
There are herbal supplements which are proven in medical literature to be effective for cognitive enhancement and memory function.
Ginkgo biloba extract is arguably the most well-studied nootropic supplement apart from caffeine. It’s derived from the leaves of a tree native to China, and has been proven to improve memory, cognition and focus in hundreds of published medical research studies.
Ginkgo biloba has not only been shown effective in older adults (the population that most nootropic studies are conducted on), but also in young, healthy adults which is impressive. A medical review published in the Psychopharmacology journal found ginkgo biloba supplementation to improve attention and cognitive performance in healthy, young adults.
Illuminate Labs manufactures a ginkgo biloba extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Ginkgo Biloba Extract at this link.
Panax ginseng extract is another well-studied nootropic supplement. A 2013 clinical trial found that ginseng extract supplementation improved memory and short-term cognitive function.
Illuminate Labs manufactures a panax ginseng extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 8% ginsenosides) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link.
Both Illuminate Labs nootropic supplements referenced in this section cost only $15 on a subscription basis, while an order of one bottle of Cerebra costs $49.95.