NeuroQ is a supplement for improving cognitive function, belonging to a class of dietary supplements called nootropics. The brand’s website claims that the supplement can “improve memory,” “enhance mental clarity” and “increase brain speed.”
But does the supplement actually contain ingredients proven in medical studies to enhance cognitive function, or are these just marketing claims? Does it contain any harmful added ingredients? Has the brand funded any clinical trials proving the supplement is effective? And is NeuroQ likely to cause side effects?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review every ingredient in NeuroQ based on published medical studies, highlight some issues we have with the brand’s clinical trial, and share whether we believe consumers should be concerned about the risk of side effects from this supplement.
NeuroQ has six active ingredients: gotu kola extract, turmeric extract, ginkgo leaf extract, phosphatidylserine, NeuroFactor, and bee propolis.
Gotu kola extract is a popular supplement, but not one we consider effective for cognitive enhancement. A meta-study published in the Scientific Reports journal analyzed data from five clinical trials on this ingredient and cognition, and concluded the following: “there is not strong evidence to support the use of C. asiatica for cognitive function improvement in each cognitive domain.”
Turmeric extract is typically used for anti-inflammatory effects rather than cognition. A 2018 medical review found that this ingredient may be effective for preventing cognitive decline, but the doses used were all vastly higher than the dose in NeuroQ.
NeuroQ contains 250 milligrams (mg) of turmeric extract, while the lowest dose from any trial reviewed in the above-linked study was 400 mg of curcumin (which is the active chemical compound in turmeric), and all of the other doses were at or over 1,000 mg.
Ginkgo leaf extract is an effective and well-studied nootropic, but we recommend a dose of 240 mg as this dose was found in a clinical trial to provide significantly better effects during mental performance testing than the 120 mg dose in NeuroQ.
Phosphatidylserine is another effective nootropic that may be underdosed in this supplement. NeuroQ only contains 100 mg of phosphatidylserine, while medical research suggests that the therapeutic dosing range is between 300 mg and 800 mg per day, as we documented in our review of another nootropic supplement containing this ingredient called Cerebra.
NeuroFactor is a patented coffee fruit extract that is effectively dosed in NeuroQ. A clinical trial published in the Antioxidants journal found that coffee fruit extract at the exact same dose as in NeuroQ caused “measurable, acute physiological changes in brain connectivity” and significant improvements in cognition.
Bee propolis may be effective for improving memory and cognitive function, however we cannot identify any medical studies proving so at as low a dose as is in NeuroQ. Thus we will consider this ingredient likely ineffective.
Overall, we believe that NeuroQ may cause cognitive enhancement because it contains one nootropic ingredient that we consider effectively dosed, and several other nootropic ingredients that we consider underdosed but may have a synergistic effect. We do not recommend NeuroQ overall as we don’t believe it has a good value for its cost, and because we only consider one of its six active ingredients to be effectively dosed, but we don’t have issues with consumers using it.
One benefit of this supplement is that it contains no harmful or questionable filler ingredients like artificial dye or added sugar.
Does NeuroQ Cause Side Effects?
Since many nootropic supplements are stimulatory, consumers are often curious about whether NeuroQ is likely to cause side effects.
Based on the fact that its active ingredients are all well-studied and non-toxic, and that NeuroQ is free of questionable inactive ingredients, we do not believe it’s likely that consumers will experience side effects from this supplement.
This doesn’t mean that side effects are impossible; any individual consumer can react negatively to any supplement (or food). It just means that we cannot identify any ingredients in NeuroQ that we consider likely to cause side effects in the average consumer. It’s a relatively safe supplement in our opinion.
Questionable Clinical Research
NeuroQ’s website claims that the supplement is “clinically shown” to be nootropic and references a clinical study.
The study was conducted by a for-profit research firm called KGK Science Inc., and was funded by NeuroQ. The study does not appear to have been published in any peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals.
We recommend that consumers entirely disregard claims of clinical efficacy based on manufacturer-funded research that is not published in peer-reviewed journals. There is simply too much bias in the process for the results to have any value in our opinion. We have reviewed hundreds of supplements and consumer products, and not one single time have we noted a “clinical trial” funded by a brand that was not favorable to the brand.
Clinical research published in legitimate medical or scientific journals is the gold standard of product research, because there is less bias, and because there is a high bar for study methodology which is required. This is the type of research we cite on Illuminate Health when we review ingredient efficacy.
NeuroQ doesn’t even bother to link to the full study on their clinical study page, instead just highlighting positive results based on data consumers are unable to access.
Real NeuroQ Customer Reviews
NeuroQ is sold on Amazon, which is a more objective resource for customer reviews than a brand’s website in our opinion. The supplement has been reviewed over 800 times, and has an average review rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review published by a verified purchaser comes from a user named “Kristen McConnell” who claims the supplement helped with brain fog:
“After suffering with brain fog for a number of months, I feel as though the fog has lifted. I’m soooo thankful for this product, it’s a game changer!!!”
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named “Sea reader” who claims the product was ineffective:
“I was hoping this product would help brain function. I don't know which of the ingredients causes the irritability but that was a deal breaker for me. I've found regular coffee gives a better brain boost. Also, as an alternative, Piracetam works better.”
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 NeuroQ costs $59.95.