Gorilla Mind products are exploding on the supplement scene with the increased popularity of the founder Derek’s "More Plates More Dates" YouTube channel. His stated goal is to set a supplement industry standard with “maxed out” formulations based on scientific research.
In this article we'll review the formulation of some of Gorilla Mind's most popular products based on published medical research to give our take on whether they're likely to be safe and effective.
In this article we’ll review Gorilla Mode, Gorilla Mind Smooth and some of the brand's botanical products.
General Comments on Brand & Formulations
The supplement industry is full of companies making health claims with little if any 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 good science and effective formulation research is needed in the U.S. supplement industry.
Gorilla Mode Review
Gorilla Mode is Gorilla Mind's pre-workout supplement, and it's one of the most potent pre-workouts we’ve ever analyzed. As readers can tell from our recent Goli ingredients review (of the popular ACV gummies brand), we tend to be quite critical of many supplement companies due to their lackluster formulations.
Nearly every active ingredient in Gorilla Mode is effectively dosed, and the dosage of each ingredient is transparently published on the Supplement Facts label, which is better for consumers than a proprietary blend where only the total dosage is listed (which is unfortunately common in the supplement industry).
L-citrulline is an effective ergogenic (workout-enhancing) ingredient, and is dosed at 9,000 milligrams (mg) per two scoops of Gorilla Mode. A medical review of this amino acid found that at doses above 3,000 mg it confers exercise strength and power performance improvements.
Creatine is one of the most well-studied pre-workout ingredients, and is effectively dosed in Gorilla Mode. A review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found the effective dose range of creatine to be 3-5 grams (g), and two scoops of Gorilla Mode provides 5 g.
The study authors found that creatine supplementation provides both performance benefits and musculoskeletal benefits (increased muscle-building), and that the supplement does not increase fat mass.
Caffeine is another effective ingredient in this formulation, and is proven to enhance both mental focus and physical performance during exercise. A 2006 meta-study of caffeine supplementation and exercise found that caffeine increases time-to-exhaustion during anaerobic exercise and decreases times to run set distances.
The linked study found the minimum effective dose of caffeine for exercise performance to be 250 mg, so the 350 mg dose in Gorilla Mode should be effective. We will note that some consumers, especially non-users of caffeine, will find this to be a high dose and it could cause side effects like anxiety or heart palpitations. Thus we would recommend speaking with a doctor first to get medical clearance, or testing at a lower dose. Caffeine is not safe for all consumers.
One ingredient however, kanna (Scelectium tortuosum), is arguably overdosed (which isn’t something we often come across in supplement reviews). A clinical trial on kanna used a 2:1 extract at a 25 mg dose. Two scoops of Gorilla Mode would provide 500 mg of kanna.
We haven't come across much safety or toxicity research on kanna, 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 of the compound mentions that “Information regarding toxicity of S. tortuosum in humans is lacking” and we would conclude the same.
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 suggesting 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 that dose.
Gorilla Mode contains the artificial sweetener sucralose, which has been found in a clinical trial to impair insulin function in healthy adults. The supplement also contains natural & artificial flavors which have no nutritive benefit and we recommend avoiding for health reasons.
While Gorilla Mode is likely to be effective for improving workout performance, we don't recommend it due to its high kanna dosage and its inclusion of several additive ingredients we consider unhealthy.
Gorilla Mind Smooth Review
Gorilla Mind’s nootropic formula called Gorilla Mind Smooth is arguably the brand's 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 potent. The dosages and standardization ratios of both bacopa monnieri and ginkgo biloba are right in line with medical reference ranges.
Gorilla Mind Smooth's standardization of ginkgo mirrors the standard of the ginkgo pharmacon egb-761, which is what’s used in most of the clinical research on ginkgo. It's a standard of 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones, commonly referred to as a "24/6" ginkgo.
A clinical trial using the exact same ginkgo dosage (180 mg) as exists in three capsules of Gorilla Mind Smooth found that the compound improved cognition and memory in healthy older adults.
A thorough medical review published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine analyzed data from six individual clinical trials on bacopa and cognition, and concluded that the botanical compound improved memory. The dosage range in the studies was 300-450 mg extract, and six capsules of Gorilla Mind Smooth provides 330 mg extract, so we'll conclude that this is an effective dose.
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.
We do believe this supplement is likely to be effective for improving cognition, but we cannot recommend it due to the high dose of kanna which we believe may present a safety concern.
This supplement contains no questionable additives like artificial sweetener or artificial flavor, so we consider it to be a healthier option than Gorilla Mode.
Gorilla Mind Turkesterone Review
Turkesterone is a plant steroid which is typically used to improve athletic performance and for potential anabolic benefit. Gorilla Mind’s supplement is derived from a plant called Ajuga turkestanica, and is standardized to 10% turkesterone. The dosage per serving is 500 mg, so this equates to a 50 mg turkesterone dose.
We cannot identify any medical research suggesting that turkesterone is effective at improving workout performance or provides any anabolic benefits (such as improved testosterone levels) in humans. Gorilla Mind does not link to any on their product page at the time of updating this article.
One recent clinical trial on mice found that Ajuga turkestanica had no impact on skeletal muscle mass.
More importantly, we cannot locate any medical studies proving the safety of this botanical compound on human subjects. We only recommend an herbal supplement if there is significant toxicology and safety data backing it, which doesn’t appear to be the case in this instance.
We do not recommend Gorilla Mind Turkesterone, and this is the worst-formulated of all Gorilla Mind supplements in our opinion.
Gorilla Mind Sigma Review
Gorilla Mind recently released a new supplement called “Sigma,” which the brand claims can improve testosterone (T) and free testosterone levels. As we discussed in our review of Full Send Supplements, we haven’t come across much convincing medical research on supplements for increasing testosterone, so it will be interesting to review this product.
Our first comment is that the majority of the ingredients in this formulation are vitamins or minerals, such as Vitamin D3, zinc and magnesium. While vitamin and mineral supplementation can normalize testosterone levels in patients with low levels of these nutrients, we haven’t come across any medical studies suggesting that vitamin and mineral supplementation is beneficial for testosterone status in patients with normal levels of said vitamins and minerals.
Further, it seems illogical and potentially unsafe to take random blends of vitamins and minerals from a dietary supplement without proof of deficiency. Some vitamins, such as Vitamin D3, are fat-soluble and can accumulate in tissue, which is why we recommend that patients only use vitamins and mineral supplements based on proven deficiency from lab testing, and with a doctor’s guidance.
One botanical ingredient in this formulation is fadogia arestris extract. While one clinical trial found that this herb increased sexual behavior in rats, we cannot find any evidence in the medical literature that this compound improves testosterone levels in humans. Nor does Gorilla Mind link to any. Thus we will consider this an ineffective ingredient.
Tongkat ali is another herb included in this formulation. One medical study using the exact same dosage as that in Gorilla Mind Sigma found that the plant increased testosterone levels in aging men, and improved erectile function.
Another clinical trial found that tongkat ali improved testosterone levels by an average of 37% in a stressed but otherwise healthy patient population. The dosage was again the exact same dosage as that in Gorilla Mind Sigma. The researchers concluded that this plant “appears to have significant potential for restoring hormone balance (cortisol/testosterone).”
We consider the final botanical ingredient in this formulation, ashwagandha extract, to also be an effective choice for a testosterone supplement. An extensive medical review published in the Advances in Nutrition journal analyzed data from four individual trials on ashwagandha supplementation, and in three of the four studies there was a statistically significant increase in testosterone levels.
The dosages in the four clinical trials on ashwagandha ranged from 225 mg to 400 mg, so the 300 mg dose in four capsules of Gorilla Mind Sigma appears to be right within the effective dosing range.
We will conclude that this supplement is likely to increase testosterone levels on average, given that it contains three botanical ingredients with significant research backing for improving T. From an efficacy perspective, this is arguably the most well-formulated T-boosting supplement we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health.
We would not recommend this supplement overall, because it contains a random blend of vitamins and minerals, and we only recommend vitamin and mineral supplementation based on documented deficiency. That being said, we do consider this one of the best supplements formulated by Gorilla Mind, and we do consider it safer than the supplements containing a high dose of kanna.
Gorilla Mind Botanicals Review
Gorilla Mind sells three single-ingredient botanical supplements at the time of updating this article: Curcumin, Citrus Bergamot and Astragalus.
The curcumin supplement is effectively dosed, with the amount per serving right in line with reference ranges on Examine (500 mg curcumin + 5 mg Bioperine). Curcumin is the active chemical compound in turmeric, and Bioperine is a black pepper extract which is added to the formula to increase absorption.
Some studies have shown anti-inflammatory and pain reduction effects with curcumin + Bioperine doses up to 1,500 mg/day, and 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. A consumer wanting to take a 1,500 mg daily dose of curcumin just needs to take three capsules daily instead of one.
Citrus Bergamot Extract is the second botanical supplement sold by Gorilla Mind, and the brand's health claims of improved cholesterol metabolism appear to be backed by research. This study on citrus bergamot extract at the exact same dosage as that in Gorilla Mind's citrus supplement documented improved low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and improved triglyceride levels in adults with high cholesterol. Both of these markers of cholesterol are thought to be associated with poor health outcomes, so the fact that citrus bergamot can reduce their levels in patients with high cholesterol is a promising sign.
A 2019 meta-study on the health effects of citrus bergamot found that the botanical compound reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol, while triglyceride levels decreased 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 supplement sold by Gorilla Mind is Astragalus Extract, which is generally taken for immune support. We haven't come across many research studies on astragalus for immunity, but this incredibly thorough meta-study concludes favorably: "The main function of [astragalus] is to promote repair and regulation of the immune system.” Most of the studies included in the linked research review used higher doses than that in Gorilla Mind’s product, but many 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 60 g daily have been taken with no ill effects.
Gorilla Mind Real User Review
One of the most popular reviews of a Gorilla Mind supplement is a review of Gorilla Mode, the brand’s pre-workout, published by a YouTube creator called “Garage Gym Homie.”
The review appears unsponsored, and the supplement user claims that the subjective energy benefits of Gorilla Mode were underwhelming:
Lack of Published Testing
Gorilla Mind doesn’t appear to publish any test results, either in-house or third-party, to confirm whether their supplements are accurately labeled, as potent as advertised and low in contaminants like lead and mercury.
Given how meticulous the founder seems from his formulation breakdowns, we'd assume the brand probably does conduct proper in-house testing, but we believe that this information should be published on product pages so consumers can verify for themselves. Transparency is severely lacking in the supplement industry, and we urge more supplement companies to publish testing of their products. It doesn't even cost much relative to manufacturing costs.