Focus Factor Review: Brain Food or Waste of Money?

Focus Factor Review: Brain Food or Waste of Money?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to nootropics.

Focus Factor is a nootropic (cognitive enhancing) supplement that's used to boost memory and focus. The brand describes their supplement as "Clinically Tested," and "Nutrition for the Brain."

But is Focus Factor actually shown to work in clinical studies? Does the supplement contain research-backed ingredients for supporting optimal cognition? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how did Focus Factor stack up to other popular nootropics in an independent research study?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Focus Factor and Focus Factor Kids based on clinical studies, to give our take on whether or not the supplements are likely to be effective.

We'll share our concerns about the brand's clinical study, discuss side effects, feature unsponsored customer reviews and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Focus Factor for the best price.

We'll also cite an independent research study that tested the nootropic effects of various popular nootropic supplements, and how Focus Factor performed against its competition.

Focus Factor Original Ingredient Analysis

Focus Factor Original contains 18 vitamins and minerals, shown below:

Focus Factor Original vitamin and mineral ingredients

Multivitamins may improve cognitive function in older adults. An extensive medical review published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease analyzed data from 10 clinical trials on multivitamin supplementation.

The researchers found that multivitamin use improved free recall memory but not delayed recall memory.

Free recall refers to an immediate response to memorization. If trial participants are instructed to memorize a list of items, and then recall them, that would test free recall. Delayed recall refers to retrieval of past information. If trial participants are asked to recall what they ate for breakfast for the past week, that would test delayed recall. 

We recommend that consumers of multivitamin supplements get their blood vitamin levels regularly tested to avoid overdose.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported in early 2022 that a supplement company had to recall several of their products because the vitamin additives were causing toxicity in some consumers.

The remaining active ingredients in Focus Factor Original are included in a proprietary (prop) blend, shown below:

Focus Factor Original prop blend ingredients list

This blend has a total dose of 640 milligrams (mg), and contains 16 ingredients, so the average ingredient dose is only 40 mg.

To illustrate what a low average ingredient dose this is, we will select one of the ingredients used and compare its estimated dose to the dose used in relevant medical studies.

Bacopa monnieri extract is an effective nootropic ingredient, but we can't locate a medical study proving it to be effective at a dose as low as 40 mg.

meta-study on this plant extract reported that it improved overall cognition and speed of attention. However, most of the studies used a dose of 300 mg/day, which is nearly 10x the average ingredient dose in Focus Factor.

Tyrosine is clinically shown to support short-term cognitive enhancement, but the only medical review we could find proving so analyzed studies with a minimum daily dose of 1,600 mg, or 40x the average ingredient dose in Focus Factor's blend, as we documented in our review of another nootropic supplement using this ingredient called Noobru.

Overall, we consider Focus Factor Original somewhat likely to be effective as a nootropic aid, but we have our doubts about the doses used for some of the ingredients in the prop blend.

The good news about this supplement is the inactive ingredients should be safe and non-toxic.

Questionable Clinical Research

Focus Factor claims that the Focus Factor Original supplement is "clinically tested," and while that's technically true, we are not particularly convinced by the research.

Focus Factor’s clinical trial can be accessed at this link. It's published on a PDF document hosted on the brand's website, and doesn't appear to be published in any peer-reviewed medical journals.

We recommend that consumers disregard all claims of efficacy based on company-funded trials that are not published in peer-reviewed journals.

The potential for bias is too high for the results to have any value in our opinion.

We've reviewed nearly 1,000 consumer products at the time of updating this article, and we have only come across one single company-funded clinical trial (Alpha Brain) that showed negative results.

An independent clinical trial published in the Scientific Reports journal compared the effectiveness of popular nootropic supplements on reducing levels of plaques in the brain associated with memory loss.

Focus Factor finished 13th out of 20 supplements in reducing levels of one of the plaques, and 10th out of 13 in reducing the second plaque.

Focus Factor Original did show some reduction of both of the plaques (and some supplements caused zero reduction), but the efficacy was far lower than the top-performing nootropic supplements in the trial.

Does Focus Factor Cause Side Effects?

The clinical trial on Focus Factor reported on side effects.

Overall, fewer participants taking Focus Factor reported side effects than those taking placebo pills, which suggests that Focus Factor Original is unlikely to cause side effects.

The only side effect reported more in the Focus Factor group was headache, with 6.7% more participants taking Focus Factor reporting this effect.

The FAQs page on Focus Factor's website does not currently mention any side effects.

L-glutamine can cause liver damage when taken at high doses, as documented in a 2020 case report. This furthers our position that it's unacceptable for this ingredient to be included in a prop blend where the individual ingredient dose isn't listed.

Overall, we do not consider Focus Factor Original likely to cause side effects in otherwise healthy adults, but we have our concerns about the glutamine dosage.

Focus Factor Kids Review

Focus Factor Kids ingredients

Focus Factor sells a nootropic supplement for children called Focus Factor Kids. Its ingredients are shown above.

We find this to be a highly questionable marketing strategy. We haven't come across any medical evidence that children require, or benefit from, nootropics, and we would strongly recommend that parents speak with their pediatrician before giving this supplement to a child.

Phosphatidylcholine is clinically shown to have a nootropic and "antidementia" effect, but we haven't come across any clinical evidence that it's safe or effective in children, nor does the brand currently cite any on their product page.

Bilberry is a fruit included at the incredibly low dose of 3.5 mg, and it may be more beneficial for kids to just eat whole fruits as we discussed in our Hiya Vitamins reviews article on another children's supplement line.

Fructose and sucrose are used as sweeteners, and a 2018 medical review found that fructose consumption can negatively impact brain development. 

Overall, we find this to be an unimpressive formulation, and we haven't come across any clinical evidence that this formulation will benefit children specifically.

Real Customers Review Focus Factor

Amazon is a better resource for unbiased customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

Focus Factor Original has been reviewed over 3,500 times on Amazon, and currently has an average review rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "RS" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating, and claims it enhanced cognition:

"After working from home for 2 years with a robot like job, i finally changed back to a high paced job and needed something to boost my focus. This stuff actually works- I notice a difference in clarity- remembering tasks, phone numbers, and small specific details."

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Clare" who gives the product a 1/5 star rating, and claims it had no effect:

"I was taking Ginkgo Biloba for years and everything was fine but then I saw the reviews for Focus Factor and thought that it would help me even more. After 4 weeks on it, I was mess. I'm a cashier and even though the register TELLS me the change, I kept getting it wrong. I was constantly screwing up things I NEVER screwed up before."

Focus Factor currently has an average review rating of 1.17 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, but it's a small sample size.

Focus Factor currently has an average review rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google.

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.

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.

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

Where to Buy Focus Factor for the Best Price

Focus Factor supplements are sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a one-time purchase at the time of updating this article:

Focus Factor Original

Target: $19.99 (plus shipping, link)

Brand website: $14.99 (plus $6.95 shipping, link)

Amazon: $19.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Focus Factor Kids

Brand website: $19.99 (plus $6.95 shipping, link)

Swanson: $14.99 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $14.99 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)

Focus Factor supplements are currently 9-44% cheaper on Amazon than the brand's website when factoring in shipping fees.

Pros and Cons of Focus Factor

Here are the pros and cons of Focus Factor in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Clinically shown to work
  • A third-party clinical trial found it to disaggregate brain plaque
  • Focus Factor Original contains some research-backed ingredients
  • Focus Factor Original has safe and non-toxic inactive ingredients
  • Affordable
  • Mostly positive Amazon reviews

Cons:

  • One product is marketed to children which is ethically questionable
  • Focus Factor Kids contains added, refined sugar
  • Brand website charges for shipping
  • Found to be worse-than-average at disaggregating brain plaque in the independent clinical trial compared to other nootropics
  • Brand website charges for shipping
  • Uses prop blends
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Focus Factor Original has been shown to be somewhat effective in a brand-funded clinical trial and in an independent clinical trial.

Its inactive ingredients should be safe and non-toxic.

For consumers planning to purchase from this brand, Focus Factor Original is the product we recommend.

We have concerns about both the ethics and the formulation of Focus Factor Kids, as we haven't come across any convincing clinical evidence that children benefit from nootropic supplementation. Their brains are still developing.

We do not consider Focus Factor Original likely to cause side effects in otherwise healthy adults, although it contains an ingredient shown to cause liver damage at high doses.

For consumers intending to purchase a Focus Factor supplement, Amazon currently has the best prices.