Thesis is a wellness brand that sells personalized nootropics. The brand sells supplements with unique names like “Creativity” and “Motivation,” and claims that their individualized products are “based on your unique brain chemistry.”
But is there legitimate research backing personalized nootropics or is this just a marketing spin? Why does the brand ask for so much personal data? Are their supplements well-formulated? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Thesis?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we share our concerns about the marketing practices and health claims of Thesis.
We’ll also analyze the ingredients in one of their formulations based on medical research to give our take on whether or not it's likely to be effective. We’ll share real, unsponsored user reviews of Thesis nootropics including some from individuals with ADHD.
Is the “Personalized” Approach Fake?
The branding around Thesis is of “personalized nootropic formulas,” however this may be entirely untrue.
We submitted test answers into the health intake form of their site, along with a fake email, and after submitting all of this information we were brought to their “Starter Kit” landing page which is accessible at this link.
If you access the above link in a new window, the products suggested are the exact same, which suggests that Thesis is really collecting sensitive customer health data based on the guise of “personalized” supplements, while providing no additional value, which is a highly questionable marketing approach in our opinion.
The concept of “personalized nootropics” doesn’t even make sense, because the manufacturer would have to literally formulate and package them when a customer placed an order, unique to each customer’s order which is highly unlikely. It would make no business sense for a company to formulate millions of unique products and would be logistically impossible.
It appears that Thesis simply recommends some of their supplements to consumers based on their needs, which is not a “personalized nootropic formula,” it’s a personalized recommendation which literally any brand could offer.
This leads us to our second concern about this brand.
Rather than simply selling supplements, they require users to complete a questionnaire which asks a number of sensitive health questions.
As shown above, the brand requires users to answer questions about their gender identity and their alcoholic intake in their health quiz. What does this have anything to do with nootropics, and why would any user share this data with a random supplement startup?
We would recommend avoiding this brand based on these marketing and data collection practices alone, but in the next section we’ll analyze the formulation of one of their products.
Thesis’ “Motivation Formula” contains five active ingredients: l-phenylalanine, Dynamine, vitamin B12, forskolin and artichoke extract.
L-phenylalanine is an amino acid that Thesis describes as supporting mood, attention and motivation, however these claims are uncited and we can’t find any medical evidence supporting them.
Most of the clinical research we found on this ingredient involves obesity, with this clinical trial finding that l-phenylalanine may increase the sense of fullness and decrease calories consumed in overweight individuals, but only at a dose 20x that in Thesis’ supplement.
Dynamine is a trademarked form of methylliberine, which is a chemical compound that can be isolated from coffee beans and tea. Thesis claims that this compound “supports alertness” but this claim is uncited and we can’t find any medical evidence supporting it.
The manufacturer of this ingredient is a company called Compound Solutions, and the company even states on their website that this ingredient is “typically used in combination with caffeine and TeaCrine,” because all three of the clinical trials that the manufacturer cites on their website use Dynamine in combination with either caffeine or TeaCrine.
However, there is no caffeine or TeaCrine in Thesis Motivation.
Vitamin B12 is often included in nootropic formulations, but we’re unsure why. As we referenced in our review of another nootropic supplement called Noocube which also contains this ingredient, we can’t identify any medical evidence that vitamin B12 improves cognitive function in healthy adults without a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Forskolin was shown in an animal study to reduce memory loss, but the lowest dose used was equivalent to over 200% of the human-equivalent dose in Thesis. We can’t identify any clinical trials with human trial participants proving this compound to be an effective nootropic.
Artichoke extract is the final active ingredient, and Thesis claims that this ingredient “supports blood flow and promotes stress management.” These claims are uncited and we’re unclear on why this ingredient would be included in a nootropic formula, as even the stated health claims do not reference an explicit improvement in cognitive function.
Thesis fails to publish inactive ingredients for Motivation, which is an important consumer safety concern.
Overall we do not consider Thesis Motivation likely to be effective for improving cognitive function or productivity as we are unable to identify a single active ingredient that we would consider effective at the given dose, based on a review of clinical studies.
We do not recommend this supplement or brand, and consider this product to be one of the worst nootropic formulations that we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health. Most nootropic supplements we review at least contain one effectively-dosed active ingredient.
We Tried Thesis Ourselves
One of our product testers named Matt Donnelly tested Thesis. Here's his experience:
I spent the month trying out the starter pack, which included CLARITY, MOTIVATION, LOGIC, and MOTIVATION.
Of the four, the only one that seemed to have any positive effect was LOGIC. It's good for “Research projects” and “Complex problem-solving” according to the packaging.
I was hoping for good results because I had been sidetracked from creative projects. It seemed like this one may have contributed to more focus overall and focused attention.
On some days I got very tired a few hours after taking the capsules, and needed to lie down in the afternoon.
There are three or four pills in each packet. It seemed to me like a lot to consume on a daily basis, and the pills are large so they could be challenging to swallow.
Overall, I would rate Thesis 3/10 and I wouldn't purchase this product again.
Real, Unsponsored User Review of Thesis
A YouTube creator named “LUKAS YAN” reviewed Thesis nootropics and shared his thoughts on whether or not the supplements improved his physical and mental energy:
Will Thesis Nootropics Cause Side Effects?
Thesis Nootropics do not appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, so it’s impossible to say for certain whether or not they’re likely to cause side effects. However, we can make an educated guess based on their formulations.
Most of the active ingredients in Thesis supplements appear to be safe and well-studied. We don’t have access to the full set of the brand’s supplements because instead of transparently posting all product pages they rely on the “individualized” marketing.
Our concern in regard to side effects is that the brand fails to clearly publish inactive ingredient information, and some inactive ingredients can cause side effects.
We hope that in the future Thesis publishes inactive ingredients in the same section where active ingredients are published for each supplement they sell. This is important for consumer safety.
Our Clean Nootropic Picks
There are compounds which have been shown in medical studies to be effective for cognitive enhancement and memory support.
MCT oil is a food supplement derived from coconut oil that improved memory recall by 20% in adults in a 2022 meta-study.
Bulletproof MCT Oil is our top MCT oil pick, because its only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts and it has zero additives. It currently retails for under $16.
Ginkgo biloba extract is arguably the most well-studied nootropic supplement apart from caffeine.
A medical review published in the Psychopharmacology journal found that ginkgo biloba supplementation improved attention and cognitive performance in healthy, young adults.
Illuminate Labs Ginkgo Biloba Extract is our supplement which is third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy, and retails for only $15 at a subscription price.
Panax ginseng extract is another well-studied nootropic supplement. A 2013 clinical trial found that ginseng extract caused "overwhelmingly positive effects on neurocognitive function across different cognitive domains."
Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract is our supplement which is third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy, and retails for only $15 at a subscription price.
Is Thesis Effective for ADHD?
We don’t recommend using Thesis supplements to treat any specific health condition. There are several TikTok reviews from users with ADHD who tried Thesis supplements.
A TikTok user named “BrigidMarie TV” reviewed the brand here:
@brigid_marietv ADHD med challenge with thesis nootropics has ended. #nootropics #adhd #executivedysfuntion ♬ How`s Your Day - aAp Vision
A TikTok user named “BadKitty” had a less favorable review: