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.
Gorilla Mind products are exploding on the supplement scene with the increased popularity of the founder Derek’s "More Plates More Dates" YouTube channel. Many of his YouTube reviews extensively break down supplement formulations, so consumers often expect Gorilla Mind supplements to be potent and effectively-dosed.
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, as well as share real user reviews of the supplements.
We’ll review Gorilla Mode (the pre-workout), Gorilla Mind Smooth (the nootropic), Gorilla Mind Turkesterone , Gorilla Mind Sigma (the testosterone-booster) and some of the brand's botanical products.
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.
We consider nearly every active ingredient in Gorilla Mode to be effectively dosed.
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 noted 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. It may be beneficial to speak with a doctor prior to using this high of a dose of caffeine.
We consider one ingredient, kanna (Scelectium tortuosum), to be overdosed (which isn’t something we often come across in Illuminate Health reviews).
We cannot identify any safety or toxicity data proving kanna to be safe at a 500 mg dose. 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."
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, but we do recommend avoiding this ingredient at such a high dose until more safety and toxicity data emerges.
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 which we recommend avoiding for health reasons.
While we consider Gorilla Mode 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.
A YouTube creator called “Garage Gym Homie" published a review of Gorilla Mode that appears unsponsored, and the he claims that the subjective energy benefits of Gorilla Mode were underwhelming:
Gorilla Mind Smooth Review
Gorilla Mind sells a nootropic supplement called Gorilla Mind Smooth.
Like Gorilla Mode, this formulation is potent. The dosages and standardization ratios of both bacopa monnieri and ginkgo biloba are right in line with medical reference ranges.
A clinical trial using the exact same ginkgo dosage (180 mg) and standardization ratio as exists in one serving of Gorilla Mind Smooth found that ginkgo biloba 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, and six capsules of Gorilla Mind Smooth provides 330 mg of bacopa, so we consider this ingredient effectively dosed.
The same dosage of kanna is included in this product as in Gorilla Mode, so we cannot recommend this supplement overall.
This supplement contains no questionable inactive ingredients.
We do believe that Gorilla Mode is likely to be effective for improving cognition and memory, but we cannot recommend it due to the high dose of kanna which we believe may present a safety concern.
A YouTube creator called "SirVitalious" published a review of Gorilla Mind Smooth at the 3 month mark that appears unsponsored:
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 such research 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, so we cannot recommend this supplement.
We do not recommend Gorilla Mind Turkesterone, and consider it to be the worst-formulated Gorilla Mind supplement.
A YouTube creator called "Chase Dela Cruz" published an extensive review of Gorilla Mind Turkesterone after one month of use, and the video appears unsponsored:
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.
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.
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, which illustrates why we consider taking added vitamins and minerals without a documented deficiency to be illogical.
A 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. 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 the exact same as that used 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 within the effective dosing range.
We consider this supplement likely to improve testosterone levels, given that it contains three botanical ingredients with significant research backing for improving T. This is the only dietary supplement we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health that we consider likely effective for increasing T levels.
We would not recommend this supplement overall, because it contains added vitamins and minerals.
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 that curcumin + Bioperine doses up to 1,500 mg/day have anti-inflammatory and pain reduction effects. Curcumin has a strong safety profile.
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.
A 2019 meta-study on the health effects of citrus bergamot found that it 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.
We consider all three Gorilla Mind botanical supplements to be effectively dosed, and all three are free of questionable additive ingredients.
Our Recommended Nootropic Supplements
There are herbal supplements which are proven in medical literature to be effective for cognitive enhancement and memory function.
Ginkgo biloba extract is arguably the most well-studied nootropic supplement apart from caffeine. It’s derived from the leaves of a tree native to China, and has been proven to improve memory, cognition and focus in hundreds of published medical research studies.
Ginkgo biloba has not only been shown effective in older adults (the population that most nootropic studies are conducted on), but also in young, healthy adults which is impressive. A medical review published in the Psychopharmacology journal found ginkgo biloba supplementation to improve attention and cognitive performance in healthy, young adults.
Illuminate Labs manufactures a ginkgo biloba extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Ginkgo Biloba Extract at this link.
Panax ginseng extract is another well-studied nootropic supplement. A 2013 clinical trial found that ginseng extract supplementation improved memory and short-term cognitive function.
Illuminate Labs manufactures a panax ginseng extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 8% ginsenosides) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link.
Both Illuminate Labs nootropic supplements referenced in this section cost only $15 on a subscription basis, while Gorilla Mind Smooth costs $39.99.