Nootropics are exploding in popularity these days with many Americans looking for a dietary supplement that can improve their cognitive function. There are many clinically-proven nootropic compounds, and consequently there are many unique formulations of nootropic supplements on the market. One of these is Neuriva, a product that markets itself for “brain performance.”
In this article we’ll examine the formulations of Neuriva Original, Neuriva Plus and Neuriva gummies, and assess whether the compounds, dosage and inactive ingredients suggest that this product will lead to improved cognitive function based on a thorough review of medical literature, or whether we believe them to be a waste of money.
Neuriva Original Review
Neuriva Original only has two active ingredients, so a consumer should reasonably expect both to be fairly dosed, especially given the price. This product, which is in capsule form, costs $32.99 at the time of writing for only a 30-count bottle. That’s over $1 per pill, so a consumer purchasing this should expect a relatively strong dosage.
The first active ingredient listed on the Supplement Facts label is coffee fruit extract at a dose of 100 milligrams (mg). Neuriva’s site claims that this ingredient is “clinically proven to increase levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)”.
One study comparing the effect of coffee products on BDNF found that coffee fruit concentrate increased BDNF, but coffee fruit concentrate is not the exact same thing as coffee fruit extract (though quite similar).
While BDNF is associated with neuroplasticity, it's a logical leap to say that increasing BDNF improves cognitive function across the board. However there is some convincing evidence that coffee fruit extract at the dosage in Neuriva may have cognitive benefit.
The above-linked study provided participants with the exact same dose of coffee fruit extract as exists in Neuriva Original. The participants then completed several mentally-challenging tasks. Their accuracy and reaction time were improved using coffee fruit extract but not using placebo.
Phosphatidylserine is the only other active ingredient in Neuriva Original, and this compound has more medical backing for nootropic effect than coffee fruit extract. The only issue is that the amount in Neuriva appears significantly underdosed.
300 mg seems to be the effective dose for cognitive benefit based on published research, while there is only 100 mg of phosphatidylserine in Neuriva.
We haven’t come across one single study proving nootropic benefit of phosphatidylserine at 100 mg daily, and Neuriva doesn’t publish any on their site so we will consider this an ineffective dose.
The inactive ingredient titanium dioxide is one we recommend avoiding. It's recently been banned in the European Union (E.U.), which has much stricter consumer protection laws than the U.S., for concerns over genotoxicity.
Overall we don't recommend this product. It has two effective compounds for nootropic enhancement, but only one appears effectively dosed.
Neuriva Plus Review
Neuriva Plus contains coffee fruit extract at double the dosage as Original, which may be more effective but we haven't seen any clinical evidence of such.
It contains phosphatidylserine at the same dosage as in Original.
The only other active ingredients are three B-vitamins: Vitamin B6, folate and Vitamin B12.
While these vitamins are essential for proper brain function, we haven't come across any medical research suggesting that supplementing them enhances brain function. One medical review published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease analyzed the relationship between these exact three vitamins and cognitive function, and concluded that the vitamins "may not be modifiable risk factors for slowing cognitive decline."
This suggests that they're not effective supplementally to enhance cognitive function.
Our general premise is that there's zero benefit to taking random blends of vitamins and minerals without a documented deficiency. If you are deficient in Vitamin B12, then taking supplemental B12 will almost certainly improve your physical and mental state.
But it's illogical to take vitamins and minerals without any proof of deficiency. Taking them if you already have healthy levels of the vitamins isn't likely to provide any benefit.
Interestingly, Neuriva has changed the formulation of their Neuriva Plus product since we last reviewed it. Their previous formulation was superior in our opinion, and contained l-theanine and French Melon Fruit Concentrate; both ingredients with more research backing for supplemental nootropic function than the B-vitamins they've been replaced with, in our opinion.
Neuriva Gummies Review
Thus far we have analyzed the formulation of the capsule versions of Neuriva, but they also sell a gummies product with the same two active ingredients: coffee fruit extract and phosphatidylserine.
Neuriva gummies have the first two inactive ingredients listed as corn syrup and sugar.
It’s well established that excess sugar and corn syrup consumption is harmful to brain function. Supplement companies often get around this by stating that the sugars in their products if taken alone wouldn’t meet the harm threshold, but we find it to be a disingenuous point.
The American diet is already high in sugar, and selling a product with added sugars that makes health claims of brain health support is dishonest in our opinion.
There is no beneficial amount of added sugar or corn syrup. There is no amount that improves brain function. And while 3 grams of added sugar isn’t the end of the world, spending money on an expensive brain health supplement that contains ingredients harmful to brain health in excess seems pointless.
We find the Neuriva Gummies formulation to be inferior from a health perspective to Neuriva capsules, and would not recommend it.
It's a whole foods supplement with a tri-blend of nootropic mushrooms: Lion's Mane, Reishi and Chaga.
Lion's Mane is proven in medical research to "significantly improve" cognitive function in those with mild cognitive impairment.
Reishi is proven to fix memory deficits in animal models.
Chaga may protect against Alzheimer's disease based on medical research, and may improve memory and cognition as well.
What we like about the Mind over Matter blend is that the formulation is clean. No questionable additive ingredients, just three bioactive mushrooms and coconut cream. It can be added into tea, coffee or any other liquid.
A class action lawsuit was initiated against Neuriva due to their claims that their products are "clinically proven" and "backed by science" when Neuriva had published no such proof.
As Bloomberg documented, a settlement of $8 million was approved by a Florida judge in 2021 in this case.
This is a huge red flag about the ethics of the company, and we recommend that consumers avoid all companies that have been successfully sued for false claims about their products. It signals that the brand values profits over ethics.
Neuriva Vs. Prevagen
Prevagen is another popular nootropic supplement, so consumers are often curious about which has a better formulation. We published a Prevagen reviews article, so we've analyzed every ingredient in both formulations.
While we don't recommend either supplement, we find all Neuriva products to be better-formulated than Prevagen, because Neuriva supplements contain several effective ingredients that are accurately dosed, while the active ingredient in Prevagen isn't proven to work in medical studies.
Prevagen also engages in deceptive business practices in our opinion, which we go into detail about in the linked article, and received an FDA Warning letter for failing quality control in their manufacturing facility.
Neuriva Side Effects
Coffee fruit extract may be stimulatory for some people, but it's used in a relatively low dose in Neuriva so we don't expect it to cause much issue.
We don't believe there are any ingredients in any of the Neuriva products reviewed likely to cause any significant side effects.
Phosphatidylserine may cause minor indigestion in some patients, but relative to other nootropic supplements we've reviewed we see Neuriva as unlikely to cause side effects.
Neuriva Pros and Cons
Here are some quick takeaways from our Neuriva review.
- Two active ingredients have some research backing
- Cheaper than many nootropic supplements
- Unimpressive overall formulations
- Had to settle in court for unscientific claims
- No public team
Neuriva has good reviews on Amazon, but if you use the tool FakeSpot which has a proprietary algorithm to detect fake reviews, the adjusted rating drops considerably.
FakeSpot gives Neuriva a review grade of F, and states that 60% of its reviews are unreliable. This suggests that Neuriva may have paid for reviews on Amazon.
The most popular negative review of Neuriva Plus on Amazon is from a reviewer named Ryan Delgado who states that the product gave him uncomfortable side effects:
"This product put me in a stressful psychedelic state during the night. I could feel it physically and mentally. It woke me up in a pool of sweat due to its intensity and then continued throughout the night after going back to sleep."
Lack of Testing
Neuriva publishes zero test results (third-party or otherwise) proving their supplements are accurately labeled and low in contaminants. Given the issues in the U.S. supplement industry, failing to provide potential consumers with this critical information isn’t a good sign.
Any supplement brand that cares about the safety of their consumers should be publishing independent test results of their products, proving their label accuracy and purity.
Is Neuriva as effective as Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant. It will be significantly stronger and significantly more effective for enhancing cognitive function than Neuriva on average, because it's proven to do so in medical studies. We don't recommend Adderall due to the long-term health questions.
Do you recommend Neuriva De Stress Capsules?
Neuriva seems to have branded their old Plus formulation as "De Stress" capsules. We find these to be wildly overpriced, because the only effective ingredient for stress in this product is l-theanine at a dose of 200 mg.
You can purchase l-theanine capsules alone for a fraction of the price, and that's what we would recommend.
Should you take Neuriva at bedtime?
We don't recommend taking Neuriva at bedtime, because some users have reported a stimulatory effect of the coffee fruit extract.
Taking Neuriva capsules with breakfast seems like a more logical choice, even though Neuriva's directions state that the product should be taken at bedtime. No explanation is given as to why they recommend this.
Is Neuriva FDA approved?
No dietary supplements are approved by the FDA, so Neuriva is not FDA approved but neither are any of its competitors. Only pharmaceutical medications are approved by the FDA.