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.
Nootropics are exploding in popularity these days with many Americans looking for a dietary supplement that can improve their cognitive function. One of these is Neuriva, a product that markets itself for “brain performance.”
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Neuriva Original, Neuriva Plus and Neuriva Gummies to give our take on whether these products are likely to benefit brain performance. We'll explain whether we believe Neuriva supplements are likely to cause side effects, and share a real user's review of the supplements.
Neuriva Original Review
Neuriva Original only has two active ingredients: coffee fruit extract and phosphatidylserine.
Coffee fruit extract is included at a dose of 100 milligrams (mg). Neuriva’s site claims that this ingredient is “clinically proven to increase levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)”.
One study comparing the effect of coffee products on BDNF found that coffee fruit concentrate increased BDNF, but coffee fruit concentrate is not the exact same thing as coffee fruit extract (though quite similar).
While BDNF is associated with neuroplasticity, it's a logical leap to say that increasing BDNF improves cognitive function across the board. However there is some convincing evidence that coffee fruit extract at the dosage in Neuriva may have cognitive benefit.
The above-linked clinical trial provided participants with the exact same dose of coffee fruit extract as exists in Neuriva Original. The participants then completed several mentally-challenging tasks. Their accuracy and reaction time were improved using coffee fruit extract but not using placebo.
The second active ingredient is phosphatidylserine at a dosage of 100 mg. This is a structural component of cell membranes that’s produced by the body, but can also be taken in supplemental form. A medical review of phosphatidylserine supplementation, published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, found that this compound improved memory at a 100 mg dose.
The inactive ingredient titanium dioxide is one we recommend avoiding. It's recently been banned in the European Union (E.U.), which has much stricter consumer protection laws than the U.S., for concerns over genotoxicity (the potential to damage DNA).
Overall we do consider this supplement likely to enhance brain performance, but we don't recommend it due to the inclusion of an additive ingredient. Both active ingredients appear effectively dosed, but we cannot recommend a supplement containing titanium dioxide.
Neuriva Plus Review
Neuriva Plus contains five active ingredients: vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, coffee fruit extract and phosphatidylserine.
Coffee fruit extract is included at double the dosage as in Neuriva Original, which may be more effective but we haven't seen any clinical evidence of such.
Phosphatidylserine is included at the same dosage as in Neuriva Original.
The only other active ingredients are three B-vitamins: vitamin B6, folate and vitamin B12.
While these vitamins are essential for proper brain function, we haven't come across any medical research suggesting that taking them is beneficial for individuals with normal levels of these vitamins. A medical review published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease analyzed the relationship between these exact three vitamins and cognitive function, and concluded that the vitamins "may not be modifiable risk factors for slowing cognitive decline."
Interestingly, Neuriva has changed the formulation of their Neuriva Plus product since we last reviewed it. Their previous formulation was superior in our opinion, because it contained l-theanine and French melon fruit concentrate; both ingredients with more research backing for brain performance than the B-vitamins they've been replaced with.
This supplement contains titanium dioxide, like Neuriva Original, which is an ingredient we recommend avoiding.
We do not recommend Neuriva Plus, and we consider it to be a worse formulation than Neuriva Original due to the added vitamins and increased cost.
We do believe Neuriva Plus is likely to improve brain performance, but we cannot identify any ingredients that we consider to provide additional benefit beyond those in Neuriva Original, so for consumers set on purchasing a Neuriva supplement we believe Neuriva Original is the better choice.
Neuriva Real User Review
One of the most popular Neuriva reviews is published by a YouTube channel called "Chrissy From Philly." The creator shares her experience using Neuriva and the review appears unsponsored:
Neuriva Gummies Review
Neuriva sells a Gummies product with the same two active ingredients as in Neuriva Original: coffee fruit extract and phosphatidylserine. Both ingredients are included at the same dose as in Neuriva Original, so we consider both likely effective for enhancing brain performance.
Neuriva Gummies have two forms of added sugar as inactive ingredients: corn syrup and sugar.
A Harvard medical review established that excess sugar has a negative impact on brain function, so we consider two forms of added sugar to be questionable ingredient inclusions for a brain performance supplement. Many Americans already consume excess sugar from diet, which is why we recommend avoiding all supplements containing added sugar.
Citric acid is another inactive ingredient in this formulation that we recommend avoiding. As we documented in our SkinnyFit reviews article, there is medical evidence that citric acid causes whole-body inflammatory reactions in a small subset of patients.
While we believe Neuriva Gummies are likely effective for enhancing brain performance due to the two active ingredients, we don't recommend the supplement overall due to three inactive ingredients we consider questionable.
For consumers set on purchasing a Neuriva product, we believe Neuriva Original is a better choice than Neuriva Gummies, because it only contains one inactive ingredient we consider questionable.
Neuriva Side Effects
Coffee fruit extract may be stimulatory for some people, but it's included at a relatively low dose in Neuriva so we don't expect it to cause much issue.
We don't believe there are any ingredients in any of the Neuriva products reviewed likely to cause significant side effects.
Phosphatidylserine may cause minor indigestion in some patients, but relative to other nootropic supplements we've reviewed we consider Neuriva to be a safe and relatively harmless option.
Neuriva Vs. Prevagen
Prevagen is another popular nootropic supplement, so consumers are often curious about which has a better formulation. We published a Prevagen reviews article, so we've analyzed every ingredient in both formulations.
While we don't recommend either supplement, we consider both Neuriva and Neuriva Plus to be better-formulated than Prevagen, because Neuriva supplements contain several nootropic ingredients that are effectively dosed, while we consider the clinical research backing for Prevagen to be less impressive.
Prevagen also engages in highly questionable business practices in our opinion, which we go into detail about in the linked article, and received an FDA warning letter for failing quality control in their manufacturing facility.
A class action lawsuit was initiated against Neuriva due to their claims that their products are "clinically proven" and "backed by science" when Neuriva had published no such proof.
As Bloomberg documented, a settlement of $8 million was approved by a Florida judge in 2021 in this case.
We consider this a red flag regarding the ethics of the company, and this lawsuit highlights why we recommend consumers disregard any claims that supplement companies make about clinical efficacy unless their specific formulation has been tested in a clinical trial published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Neuriva Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of Neuriva as a brand in our opinion:
- All formulations contain effective ingredients
- Cheaper than many nootropic supplements
- Mostly positive user reviews
- Unlikely to cause side effects
- All formulations contain questionable additives
- Settled in court over alleged false claims of clinical efficacy
Neuriva Customer Reviews
Neuriva Original has a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
The top positive review of Neuriva Original from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Peter T." who claims that the product improved memory:
"To my surprise this product actually works. Within about a week I noticed my memory getting better when it came to names and places."
The top negative review of Neuriva Original from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Teresa S." who claims that the product was causing side effects:
"I started having weird feelings in my jaw and sometimes bad headaches. I stopped taking these and both stopped. Ive taken these for a few months and did not notice much as far as a sharpness that i didnt already have without them. I dont think these are good for you. Anyway, i feel way better since ive stopped taking these. And they are too expensive."
Our Nootropic Supplement Picks
There are herbs which have been shown in medical studies to be effective for short-term cognitive enhancement and memory support.
Ginkgo biloba extract is arguably the most well-studied nootropic supplement apart from caffeine, and was shown in a clinical trial to enhance neurocognitive functions in older adults.
A medical review published in the Psychopharmacology journal found ginkgo biloba supplementation to also 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 to the secure product page on our website, where it 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 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 to the secure product page on our website, where it retails for only $15 at a subscription price.
MCT oil is a food supplement derived from coconut oil that was shown in a 2022 clinical trial to stabilize or improve cognitive function in 80% of Alzheimer's patients after nine months of continual use.
Bulletproof MCT Oil is our top MCT oil pick, because its only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts and it has zero additives.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof MCT Oil at this link to the product page on the official brand's website, where it currently retails for only $15.50.
Is Neuriva FDA approved?
Dietary supplements are regulated but not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so Neuriva is not FDA approved but neither are any of its competitors. Only pharmaceutical medications are approved by the FDA.
Is Neuriva as effective as Adderall?
Adderall is a prescription stimulant. We consider Adderall to be more likely to improve short-term brain performance than Neuriva given its considerable research backing. Adderall is an amphetamine with addictive potential, and may be a less safe option than Neuriva in our opinion.
Do you recommend Neuriva De Stress Capsules?
Neuriva seems to have branded their old Neuriva Plus formulation as "De Stress" capsules. We consider these to be overpriced, because the only effective anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) ingredient that we can identify in this Neuriva De Stress capsules is l-theanine at a dose of 200 mg.
Should you take Neuriva at bedtime?
We don't recommend taking Neuriva at bedtime, because some users have reported a stimulatory effect of the coffee fruit extract.
Taking Neuriva capsules with breakfast seems like a more logical choice, even though Neuriva's directions state that the product should be taken at bedtime. No explanation is given as to why they recommend this.