Feel Free Review: Are $10 Kava Shots Worth It?

Feel Free Review: Are $10 Kava Shots Worth It?


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Feel Free is an herbal wellness tonic used to promote relaxation, cognition and productivity. It costs over $10 per bottle, and bottles are only 2 fluid ounces (oz), so this is certainly a premium product.

But does Feel Free contain research-backed ingredients for stress support and cognition? Are the doses appropriate? Are there any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Feel Free?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Feel Free Tonic based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not it's likely to be effective.

We'll feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand, discuss side effects, and share our concerns about kava.

Ingredient Analysis

Feel Free active ingredients

The active ingredients in Feel Free are shown above.

Kava was shown to be effective as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) compound in a 2018 meta-study. However, the effects were shown in the short-term and were not proven in the long-term.

Kola nut extract is used as a stimulant because it contains caffeine.

Caffeine is clinically shown to improve alertness and aid concentration. It's one of the most well-studied cognitive aids in the world.

Lion's mane is clinically shown to enhance cognitive function, as we discussed in our review of Auri Mushroom Gummies.

Rhodiola rosea extract was shown to improve memory in a meta-study published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology journal.

These active ingredients all have research backing to support Feel Free's claims, which leads us to believe that this supplement is likely to promote relaxation, cognition and productivity. However, we also have concerns about the safety of kava.

A medical review published in the Liver International journal includes the statement that "Kava hepatotoxicity is a well-defined herb-induced liver injury, caused by the use of commercial anxyolytic ethanolic and acetonic kava extracts."

Given that kava has the potential to cause liver injury, we recommend that consumers be extremely wary of dietary supplements containing kava that fail to publish the dose of kava.

In Feel Free Classic, the total dose of kavalactones (the primary chemical compound in kava) is published, but not the total dose of kava extract.

Kava is included in a proprietary (prop) blend in Feel Free, meaning the total dose of the ingredients, but not the individual dose, is published.

Feel Free also contains some inactive ingredients that we consider to be questionable from a health perspective:

Feel Free inactive ingredients

Cane sugar is included at a dose of 4 grams (g), and while this dose is relatively low in isolation, diets high in added sugar are clinically shown to promote obesity.

Many Americans already consume a high amount of sugar in their diet, so for those individuals it may be best to avoid supplements with added sugar.

Natural flavors is a broad categorization that can include compounds that are suboptimal for human health, as we documented in our U Relax reviews article on another commercial kava drink.

Overall, we consider Feel Free likely to be effective, but we don't currently recommend this drink due to the inclusion of kava and the two inactive ingredients highlighted above.

Real People Try Feel Free

A YouTube creator named "Kratom Kween" tried Feel Free in a video:

A YouTube creator named Avery Beason shares her experience trying Feel Free live on camera for the first time:

Will Feel Free Cause Side Effects?

Feel Free doesn't appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, which makes it challenging to say whether or not the supplement will cause side effects.

However, we can make an educated guess based on its ingredients.

Kava may cause liver damage depending on the dose, and the individual kava dose in Feel Free is not published. This concerns us in regard to the risk of side effects.

Caffeine can cause anxiety and jitters, as we discussed in our review of Myprotein Pre Workout, however the dose in Feel Free (100 milligrams) is equivalent to the amount in one standard cup of coffee.

We do not consider this caffeine dose likely to cause side effects in otherwise healthy adults.

Overall, we consider Feel Free unlikely to cause side effects in the average consumer, however we're concerned about a rare risk of severe side effects given the inclusion of kava.

There is no mention of side effects on the brand's FAQ page at the time of publishing this article.

Does Kava Aid Sleep and Anxiety?

Dr. Andrew Weil, who's a doctor and health influencer, was interviewed on the Tim Ferris show and discussed the research on kava:

Our Clean Mood Support Picks

There are nutrients that are clinically shown to help support relaxation.

Pique Japanese Sencha Green Tea is our top relaxation tea pick.

Green tea was shown in a 2017 clinical trial to significantly reduce stress levels, and has been used to promote mental and physical wellness for centuries.

Bulletproof Magnesium is our top magnesium supplement pick.

Magnesium is a mineral that 45% of Americans are deficient in according to a research review, and "existing evidence is suggestive of a beneficial effect of [magnesium] on subjective anxiety" according to a medical review published in the Nutrients journal.

Cornbread CBD Lotion is our top pick for a topical stress-reliever.

CBD is clinically shown to be absorbed through the skin, and was shown in a 2020 medical review to be a "promising" natural treatment for anxiety disorders.

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy.

Pros and Cons of Feel Free

Here are the pros and cons of Feel Free Tonic in our opinion:

Pros:

  • All four active ingredients have research backing
  • Should support cognition
  • Should support relaxation
  • Should support productivity
  • Packaged in glass

Cons:

  • Kava can cause liver injury at high doses
  • Kava dose in Feel Free is not published
  • Expensive
  • Contains added sugar
  • Contains natural flavors
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Feel Free Tonic is a unique product at a unique price point.

From an efficacy perspective, this formulation is impressive. It may have both nootropic (cognitive-enhancing) and relaxing effects, which is not common for a dietary supplement.

All four of the active ingredients in this tonic have significant research backing.

We have some concerns about kava as an active ingredient, given that a medical review cited in this article found that commercial kava extracts could cause liver injury.

The risk of liver injury seems unlikely in otherwise healthy adults, but given this risk, we urge Feel Free to publish the kava dose in their formulation. 

This one of the most expensive supplements we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health, costing over $10 per serving.

At the time of publishing this article, the brand's website appears to be the only official online retailer of Feel Free.