Focus Factor Original is a nootropic supplement which claims to improve memory, concentration and focus. The company also claims that their product is clinically-proven to work.
In this article we’ll outline some of the issues with the study backing this product, and also analyze the ingredients in Focus Factor based on medical research to determine whether the product is likely to actually improve focus.
We chose to focus our review mostly on Focus Factor Original rather than their other products, because this is the product that the study was completed on, and this is their best-selling product.
Focus Factor’s “clinical trial”, which you can read here, was sponsored by the company that manufactures the supplement. This level of bias makes the results nearly worthless in our opinion.
When we reference clinical trials in our reviews, we’re linking out to published medical research from well-respected scientific journals. This type of research is unbiased and has to meet a scientific standard for publication.
Any company can pay researchers to run tests on their product and publish favorable results on their website, but this is not “clinical research” in any medically-accepted sense of the term.
The other issue with company-funded “studies” is that the company can run the tests as many times as they want, and only publish the results which are favorable. Just based on variance, the results will look favorable in some of the trials even if the product has no efficacy.
This is not the case with clinical trials published in scientific journals, where results are published regardless of whether the outcome is favorable or not. We credit Alpha Brain, another nootropic supplement (that we have no affiliation with), for actually publishing research on their product in a scientific journal even when one of the studies indicated their product was ineffective.
To illustrate this point with a hypothetical example, imagine a study where participants split into two groups to answer challenging math problems. One group eats an orange before the study begins, and another group doesn’t. If you run that trial a few times, the orange group will outperform the control group just based on statistical probability: it’s a 50% chance that the orange group performs better in each trial (slightly less that they perform better to a statistically significant degree but we won’t go there for the sake of simplicity).
This trial wouldn’t prove that eating an orange makes you better at math, it would prove that if you run a flawed study one or more times, and only publish the results you want to see, you can control the narrative in a deceptive way.
While the results of the “study” were (obviously) favorable to Focus Factor, we don’t accept the legitimacy of the study and we find it deceptive that the company refers to their biased in-house research as “clinically-proven”, when the results were never published in any scientific journal.
Ingredient Review - Vitamin and Mineral Blend
Focus Factor’s ingredient label is so long that we’ll split the analysis into two sections. Infact, the label is so long that we're only including half of it in the above image so it doesn't take up the whole screen.
The first section is a vitamin and mineral blend. We have no idea why Focus Factor includes a random blend of vitamins and minerals in a nootropic supplement.
We haven’t seen any medical research suggesting that multivitamins improve cognitive function, so we’ll assume this entire blend is ineffective and just included to make the Supplement Facts label look more impressive.
Medical research actually shows that multivitamin supplementation has no health benefits on average, so the inclusion of this blend makes no sense to us.
Focus Factor doesn’t publish any research or explanation of the seemingly random dosages of each vitamin or mineral on their site.
Ingredient Review - Proprietary Blend
Focus Factor Original contains a proprietary (prop) blend totalling 640 milligrams (mg), which is a low overall dose for a blend with so many ingredients.
This blend contains 16 ingredients, so the average ingredient dosage is only 40 mg.
To illustrate what a ridiculously low average dose this is, let’s select one of the ingredients used and compare its estimated dose to the dose used in medical research.
Bacopa monnieri extract is a successful nootropic ingredient, but only at doses far higher than what would be expected to be in Focus Factor.
A medical review of bacopa found that it improved cognition. This review assessed 8 individual studies on bacopa for cognition. The lowest dose in any of the studies was 250 mg/day.
Remember that the entire blend of Focus Factor, which contains 16 different ingredients, totals only 640 mg. So we find it very unlikely that bacopa in Focus Factor is adequately dosed, given that the average dosage of Focus Factor per ingredient is only 40 mg.
The above point also explains why we’re against manufacturers using prop blends, and why we find them unethical. Prop blends allow manufacturers to list the total dosage of a blend, rather than the dosage of each ingredient, which shields them from criticism because it prevents consumers (and researchers like us) from being able to definitively say that the product is ineffective.
Without knowing exactly how much of each ingredient is in the blend, we can only make estimates about the effectiveness of the product.
The very first ingredient in this prop blend is called DMAE, and the only medical study we could locate testing its effectiveness for cognitive enhancement found no benefit to memory or other cognitive functions. The study used a dose of 1,800 mg/day, which is around 3x higher dose than the entire prop blend in Focus Factor, and 45x higher dose than the average ingredient dose in Focus Factor.
So even when Focus Factor chooses an ineffective ingredient they can’t even get the dose right.
Overall we don’t see a need to evaluate every individual ingredient in this prop blend, as we find this company to be so obviously incompetent that it would be a waste of the reader’s time. If you’ve made it to this point, you can see why we recommend avoiding this product entirely.