Focus Factor is a brain health supplement. Its tagline is “Nutrition for the Brain.” The patented formula uses a combination of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), DHA (a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid), vitamins and plant extracts to improve memory, concentration and focus in healthy adults.
NutraIngredients-USA says that many supplement companies don’t back up their claims with research. In contrast, Focus Factor has evidence from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to support its effectiveness.
The supplement also contains no artificial colors, sweeteners, preservatives or fillers. That leaves you with a potent formula that provides great value for your money.
About Focus Factor
Focus Factor was originally manufactured by Factor Nutrition Labs LLC, a company that makes and sells health and wellness products through retail, wholesale and direct-to-consumer channels. The organization, which is based in Portland, Maine, was founded in 2008.
It appears as though a company called Vital Basics formulated the product first, though. It’s unclear whether Vital Basics is the same as Factor Nutrition Labs. A legal case was brought against Vital Basics for falsely advertising that the supplement could improve memory, focus and concentration. It seems as though the company conducted its own testing after that so that it could continue to make those claims.
Factor Nutrition Labs doesn’t have its own website, but it has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. In 2015, Synergy CHC Corp purchased Factor Nutrition Labs. Synergy CHC Corp owns a portfolio of brands in the health and beauty industry, including Flat Tummy Detox Tea, Per-Fekt beauty products and Neuragen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. According to its website, Synergy CHC aims to take hold of products that are already doing well and accelerating their growth.
The label on Focus Factor says that the supplement is clinically shown to improve memory, concentration and focus. After the product was already on the market, Focus Nutrition Labs conducted a clinical study that required participants to take the original Focus Factor product as directed for six weeks.
Researchers found that participants experienced a 44-percent improvement in memory recall during that time frame. The study concluded by stating, “The improvement in memory seen in this study for individuals who received Focus Factor is comparable to a decrease of 20 years in cognitive aging.”
According to Emory University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, memories of past events tend to remain stable as people age. However, people tend to have trouble remembering new memories as they get older. This involves word retrieval and cognitive processing speed. People’s ability to pay attention while multitasking also diminishes as they age.
Although experts used to believe that brain cells cannot be repaired as they die off, they now know that some interventions can slow down cognitive decline and sharpen your mind. Some strategies include reducing stress, maintaining good health and staying mentally stimulated. Some supplements have been shown to improve mental function.
List Of Focus Factor Ingredients
What is in Focus Factor? Focus Factor makes a number of products, including the original, extra-strength, brain and vision and children’s formula.
The proprietary brain-boosting formula includes the following:
- Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE bitartrate)
- L-pyroglutamic acid
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Choline bitartrate
- N-acetyl tyrosine
- Bilberry fruit extract
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid
- Grape skin extract
- Activin (grape seed extract)
- Trace-Lyte electrolyte concentrate
- Huperzine A
The other vitamins and minerals found in this supplement include:
- Vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, B12
- Pantothenic acid
Focus Factor doesn’t contain caffeine, which many other supplements for attention do have. Therefore, it shouldn’t give you the jittery side effects that stimulants can produce. On the downside, you might not get a rush of energy that you need to stay awake to study with this product. The B vitamins in the product may help you feel energetic, but it’s a more subtle effect than that of a stimulant.
DMAE, also known as Deanol, is an amino acid that activates certain neurotransmitters in the brain. It stimulates the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that improves communication within your nervous system. WebMD says that Deanol is potentially effective for enhancing exercise performance.
However, research has found that it’s likely ineffective for Alzheimer’s disease. One study involved giving 242 participants a placebo or oral DMAE extract for 24 weeks. At the end of the time period, there was no significant difference between the two groups.
Older studies have looked at DMAE’s ability to mitigate symptoms of ADHD. Livestrong says that although some data showed that DMAE improved symptoms better than a placebo, the studies are old. No recent trials show that the compound is beneficial for ADHD.
There is not much evidence to support the use of DMAE for enhancing memory. However, some of the other ingredients in the product have been shown to improve mental function.
Other Communication-Enhancing Ingredients
Focus Formula contains other ingredients that enhance communication within your brain. Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance that envelops brain cells and helps them carry messages to one another. Many studies have found this compound effective for boosting brain power, improving short-term memory, enhancing your mood, improving concentration and treating symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The evidence for these benefits is limited, though.
L-glutamine is an amino acid that supports the formation of certain neurotransmitters. Some data suggests that taking it can stimulate brain activity.
B Vitamins And Choline
Many researchers have found that B vitamin deficiencies are common in older adults and may be partially responsible for age-induced cognitive decline. Folate, which is vitamin B9, has been found to enhance IQ and memory.
Inositol is a compound in the B vitamin family. It has been used to help with communication within the nervous system as well as psychological disorders. It has shown some promise for remedying memory loss, and Mental Health America says that it can combat fatigue.
Choline is a derivative of an amino acid. It’s often grouped with B vitamins, but it is not technically a vitamin. Some animal studies have linked supplementation of choline bitartrate to enhanced learning and memory. Through human studies, researchers have discovered that choline can improve verbal and visual recall in people with cognitive dysfunction. If you’re healthy and don’t have issues with cognitive decline, you might not notice a difference when you use this supplement.
Huperzine A is a man-made supplement that is derived from the Chinese club moss plant. According to WebMD, it is used to treat memory impairment related to normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been used to treat cognitive dysfunction related to major depressive disorder.
Some researchers have found that taking it preventatively can stave off symptoms of dementia. Others have identified huperzine A’s ability to reduce brain swelling and oxidative stress in relation to traumatic brain injury.
DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is found in eggs and fatty fish, has long been recognized for its health benefits. It is recommended that pregnant women supplement their diet with DHA to support the healthy brain development of their infants. DHA is also necessary for maintaining normal brain function in adults.
An abundance of DHA is associated with improvements in learning ability, while deficiencies are linked with learning deficits. Age-related cognitive decline has been connected to low DHA levels.
Does Focus Factor Really Help You Think And Process Information Better?
You might be wondering, “Does Focus Factor work?” Many of the ingredients seem to have been selected because they have been associated with improvements in memory as well as their neuroprotective characteristics. However, most studies that look into these ingredients are conducted on people with brain damage or cognitive degeneration. There are few studies that show that these ingredients are effective for healthy people.
The one study that Factor Nutrition Labs references in its claims that the formula is clinically proven was not conducted by a third party. Therefore, there may be some bias toward the outcome. Still, the data from the study did indicate that the supplement may be beneficial and deliver results.
You can get many of the vitamins and minerals that Focus Factor contains through a well-rounded, healthy diet. For example, fish contains the omega-3s that are good for your brain. Legumes, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, meats and whole grains are high in B vitamins.
If you already eat a wide variety of plant and animal products, you might be getting the nutrients that you need to feed your brain. Focus Factor may be better suited for people who don’t get adequate nutrition from the foods that they eat.
Experts say that when it comes to resolving symptoms of ADHD, many “natural” formulas don’t have enough data backing their usefulness. Combination products are usually made up of small doses of a variety of substances that may or may not be effective for focus and concentration.
One of the problems with Focus Factor is that you don’t know how much of the ingredients that make up the proprietary formula you’re getting. Still, as we’ll discuss in the next section, it seems like a fairly safe supplement to try.
Possible Side Effects: Is Focus Factor Safe?
Focus Factor is essentially a daily vitamin with the proprietary formula added to it. Most experts say that there are few to no major side effects associated with the main ingredient, DMAE. However, WebMD claims that when you take it by mouth, the following Focus Factor side effects are possible:
- Vivid dreams
- Involuntary facial movements
DMAE may also make depression and schizophrenia worse.
The fact that this company makes a version of the product available for children gives us some confidence that this is a safe pill to take to enhance memory and cognition. Focus Factor for Kids does have some different ingredients than the product that is designed for adults.
All of the Focus Factor formulas are free of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors as well as gluten and dairy. This makes it ideal for people with dietary restrictions or digestive sensitivities.
The recommended focus factor dosage is four pills a day or up to eight depending on your body type and response to the supplement.
Customer Complaints About Focus Factor
This product has been around for years, and some people swear by it, while others have experienced issues with the supplement as well as the company’s shipping and payment options. A few people comment on the high price for a supplement that they view as essentially a multivitamin.
It appears that the exact ingredients included in Focus Factor may have changed over the years. Therefore, it’s difficult to tell whether older complaints are referring to the exact product that’s available today.
A 2015 complaint on the Consumer Affairs website said that the pills caused memory loss and headaches for one user:
A 2018 Amazon reviewer says that the product is expensive and didn’t deliver results:
Some customers, like this commenter at Diets in Review, don’t like the fishy smell of this product. It probably has a similar odor as other omega-3 pills with DHA:
Another person who commented on the same website said that the product exacerbated symptoms of gout. However, people with a history of gout should be careful when they supplement with vitamin B12, according to Natural Medicine Journal.
Focus Factor Reviews: What Do Customers Say About It?
There are just as many, if not more, positive Focus Factor reviews than negative ones.
One Reddit user recommended experimenting with the way that you take the pill: “I went into the supplement with skepticism and had surprising results, especially compared to most people’s experiences which were like your own. Try it with caffeine and see what happens. Try it with or without food.”
Some people are used to the stimulants that other brain-enhancing products contain. Because this one doesn’t have caffeine or other ingredients that directly boost energy, you might feel like the effects are more subtle if you’ve taken different products in the past.
An Amazon customer said, “It takes about 4-5 days but this really helps with focus and concentration. No side effects.”
When you’re taking a supplement that improves your overall health, you might not notice a marked difference in your brain fog. This is especially true if you don’t have healthy lifestyle habits in other areas. Enhancing your health with a multivitamin can take time.
Another reviewer on Amazon said, “I [have] seen a huge difference in my energy level and focus from the first day that I took them. Would definitely recommend.”
A reviewer on the Focus Factor website said, “I like it, I see positive changes in my child, it goes better in school.”
Comparisons To Other Products
Focus Factor vs. Adderall
Does Focus Factor work like Adderall? Comparing Focus Factor and Adderall is like trying to find similarities between a pineapple and an apple. Some people put them in a similar category because they’re both pills that are supposed to boost cognitive function.
However, Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It’s a prescription psychostimulant. It increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in your central nervous system, speeding up brain activity.
If you don’t have ADHD, taking Adderall can give you a surge of energy, make you feel extremely talkative and keep you awake. The drug might not help with focus and concentration if you don’t actually need it. If you do have ADHD, Adderall may help you feel clearheaded, organized and focused.
You could try Focus Factor for ADHD, but because the supplement is more like a multivitamin, anyone can take it. It may help with overall mental clarity over time, and it is associated with fewer side effects than Adderall. Long-term Adderall usage may produce significant side effects, including sleep disruption, headaches, agitation, constipation and mood changes. Long-term use of Focus Factor should make you feel better, not worse.
Most people can feel the effects of Adderall shortly after taking the pills. Focus Factor is more subtle. It enhances your wellness instead of delivering a specific high.
Prevagen vs. Focus Factor
Prevagen is another memory supplement that is available without a prescription. The main active ingredient in Prevagen is apoaequorin, a protein that’s derived from a bioluminescent jellyfish. WebMD explains that Prevagen works by helping to regulate calcium in the brain.
The makers of Prevagen also claim that the supplement is clinically proven to help with minor memory problems that come about with aging. Several studies have been conducted on the product, including three studies that show that the supplement is safe.
Because both Focus Factor and Prevagen are supposed to be safe, it might be hard to decide which one can help you. Prevagen seems to be designed to combat cognitive dysfunction that’s specifically associated with aging. Even if you’re not elderly, it might stave off the cognitive effects of the normal aging process. Focus Factor is a more well-rounded vitamin supplement that can boost your overall health, including that of your brain cells.
Does Focus Factor Have a Money Back Guarantee?
The Focus Factor Amazon sales page claims that the product has a 60-day money-back guarantee. However, the Terms and Conditions on the Focus Factor website say that:
“To the extent permitted at law we offer no refunds unless a Product is faulty. If you receive a faulty Product you must advise us via email within 7 days of receiving the product and return the Product in its original packaging to us before we can provide a refund. We do not offer refunds if a Product is lost once it has been dispatched from our warehouse.”
It also explains that the company won’t accept faulty products or returns from purchases made outside of the Focus Factor website. Therefore, we wouldn’t bank on the fact that we would get our money back if we’re not satisfied with the product.
If you have never taken a supplement that’s designed to enhance your memory and improve your brain power, it probably wouldn’t hurt to start with Focus Factor. This is especially true if you don’t already take a multivitamin or omega-3 products.
On the other hand, if you’ve experimented with smart pills in the past or are looking for something to help with ADHD symptoms, this might not be strong enough. People who take multivitamins might want to be careful when adding Focus Factor pills to the mix. Even though they’re “natural,” certain vitamins can cause toxicity when they’re taken in high doses.
Where To Buy Focus Factor
You can buy Focus Factor at a number of places online, including FocusFactor.com, Amazon and Evitamins. According to the manufacturer’s website, it’s also available at the following retail stores:
- Sam’s Club
- Kinney Drugs
- The Vitamin Shoppe
- Giant Eagle