Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD
Gorilla Mind products are exploding on the supplement scene in 2021 with the increased popularity of Derek’s More Plates More Dates YouTube channel. His goal is to set an industry standard with “maxed out” formulations based on scientific research. As a supplement company with a similar science-backed approach, we wanted to assess some of the formulations of Gorilla Mind and provide an unbiased review based on published medical research.
In this article we’ll review Gorilla Mode, Gorilla Mind Smooth and some of their botanical products.
General Comments on Brand & Formulations
The supplement industry is full of companies making health claims with zero research backing them, so we appreciate that Gorilla Mind is setting out to do the exact opposite. Derek’s formulation breakdown of Gorilla Mode on YouTube is over one hour long, and goes into impressive detail about the component ingredients and the research behind them.
His analysis of other supplement formulations actually inspired some of the articles on our blog with a similar research-based analysis of popular supplement products, so we’re appreciative of the Gorilla Mind brand in that regard. More science is needed in the U.S. supplement industry.
Gorilla Mode Analysis
This is one of the most powerful pre-workouts we’ve ever come across, and we’re quite critical of many supplement companies due to their lackluster formulations. Nearly every active ingredient is effectively dosed, and the dosage is transparently published on the Supplement Facts label unlike a prop blend.
One ingredient however, kanna (S. tortuosum), is arguably overdosed (which isn’t something we’ve seen often). The key study on kanna as a nootropic used a 2:1 extract at 25 mg. Two scoops of Gorilla Mode would provide a user 500 mg of kanna.
There is not much safety or toxicity research on kanna at all, so we’re surprised that Gorilla Mode includes such a high dosage. Examine’s dosage section concludes “studies using kanna have used...doses of 8-25 mg prior to cognitive testing.”
Drugs.com’s review mentions that “Information regarding toxicity of S. tortuosum in humans is lacking.” and we conclude the same. We’ve searched for safety and toxicity studies suggesting a dosage of 500 mg is safe in humans to no avail.
A professor of neurology and biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Centre was quoted in an article stating that kanna was neurotoxic at doses above 100 mg, but didn’t cite his research.
We’re not arguing that kanna is necessarily harmful at the dose in Gorilla Mode; we just don’t recommend including ingredients at doses without a preponderance of safety and toxicology studies supporting their safety.
Another minor critique is that the inactive ingredients should be listed. Given that this is a flavored product, it almost certainly contains flavorings and/or sugar substitutes, and this should be disclosed for consumers who seek to avoid these ingredients for health reasons.
Gorilla Mind Smooth Analysis
Gorilla Mind’s nootropic formula called Gorilla Mind Smooth is arguably their second most popular product. Given that we also sell nootropic supplements (of a different variety: single-herb extracts), we’ve reviewed an enormous amount of scientific literature related to these compounds so we were eager to review this formulation.
Like Gorilla Mode, this formulation is definitely powerful. The dosages and standardization of both bacopa and ginkgo are right in line with medical reference ranges, and the formulation actually includes the exact same standardization ratios for ginkgo as our product: 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones.
This standardization mirrors the potency of the ginkgo pharmacon egb-761, which is what’s used in most of the clinical research on ginkgo and why we (and likely Gorilla Mind) wanted to include the same compounds.
The same dosage of kanna is included in this product as in Gorilla Mode, which again is somewhat concerning. There’s no need to re-state the concerns above, but we would be curious to hear from Derek why this dosage was selected.
It’s good to see the Other Ingredients listed on this product and to see no artificial colorings or sugar substitutes.
Gorilla Mind Botanicals Analysis
Gorilla Mind sells three botanical products: curcumin, citrus bergamot and astragalus.
The curcumin complex is (unsurprisingly) effectively dosed, with the amount per serving right in line with reference ranges on Examine (500 mg curcumin + 5 mg Bioperine). Bioperine is added to the formula to increase absorption.
Some studies have shown benefit with curcumin + bioperine doses up to 1500 mg/day, but it’s simple enough for consumers to increase their dosage safely with this product because there are no other active ingredients. Curcumin has a strong safety profile.
Citrus Bergamot Extract is the second botanical sold by Gorilla Mind, and their health claims of improved lipid metabolism appear to be backed up by research. This study on citrus bergamot extract at the exact same dosage as that in Gorilla Mind showed improved LDL-C and triglyceride levels in adults with high lipids relative to placebo.
A 2019 meta-study on the metabolic effects of citrus bergamot concluded that LDL-C and total cholesterol were consistently modulated positively by supplementation, while HDL-C and triglycerides were positively impacted in some cases but not all. Nearly every study reviewed in this paper used the same 500 mg dosage seen in Gorilla Mind Citrus Bergamot Extract.
The final botanical available for sale by Gorilla Mind is Astragalus Extract, which is generally taken for immune support. There’s not a ton of research on the immunity benefits of astragalus, but this incredibly thorough meta-study concludes favorably: The main function of [astragalus polysaccharides] is to promote repair and regulation of the immune system.” Most of the studies reviewed in that paper used higher doses than that in Gorilla Mind’s product, but they were animal studies.
There is promising research on the potential for astragalus supplementation to increase lifespan, but the research is early-stage, and like much anti-aging research, has only been definitively proven in animals. The proposed mechanism of action is astragalus’ upregulation of telomerase, which is an enzyme regulating telomere length. The length of telomeres is associated with lifespan in humans.
Astragalus has a fantastic safety profile. Doses as high as 60g daily have been taken with no ill effects.
Lack of Published Testing
Gorilla Mind doesn’t publish any test results of their products, either in-house or third-party, to confirm whether their products are accurately labeled and low in toxins.
Given how meticulous Derek seems from his formulation breakdowns, I’d assume they probably do conduct proper testing, but this information should be published on their site so consumers can verify it themselves. Transparency is severely lacking in the U.S. supplement industry, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Gorilla Mind publishing test results this year or next.
Gorilla Mind formulates potent and effective supplements, and is a league ahead of the average supplement company in regards to science-backed formulations.
Our main criticism is that there seems to only be a focus on performance by the brand, and potentially not enough of a focus on safety. We’d appreciate it if Gorilla Mind included safety/toxicology data in their formulation breakdowns, because this information is as important (if not more) than potency data.
Still, overall, this is definitely a competent brand and their formulations are superior than nearly every alternative in regards specifically to exercise performance.