In today’s overcrowded supplement market, it can be hard to figure out which suppliers are legitimate. Onnit Supplements sets itself apart–this company focuses on what they call “total human optimization,” and they offer more than just supplements. Onnit sells unique training implements, offer protein powders and other nutritional products, and even operates a gym in Austin, Texas. It’s an interesting company for sure, but is Onnit Supplements all it claims to be? Let’s find out.
Who is Onnit?
Onnit Supplements was founded by multisport athlete Aubrey Marcus in 2011. Onnit started with a single supplement–Alpha BRAIN–and grew from there. In the company’s mission statement, they say they’re committed to bettering mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Their supplement lineup seems to reflect it, too–they offer supplements for brain health, mood, and gut health, along with the performance-based supplements you’d usually expect. Their products are all backed by research, and they also have a link on their site to clinical trials done with their formulas.
Even a quick scan through their site indicates that this company is committed to its mission–Onnit devotees near Austin can visit their gym, grab a healthy lunch or snack at the Onnit Cafe, or take a class at one of their Black Swan Yoga locations. And no matter where you live, you can follow founder and CEO Aubrey Marcus’s podcast. In this review, we’ll primarily focus on Onnit’s supplement lineup, but we’ll talk a little about their training products and Marcus’s podcast, too. But first, here are some of the pros and cons of the company:
Pros + Cons of Onnit
This company has a following of pro athletes and celebrities who believe its products are effective
All products are third-party tested for quality
Onnit supplies site visitors with information on the clinical trials behind its supplements
The founder and team do seem committed to wellness
Many supplements use proprietary blends, so buyers can’t see exactly how much of each ingredient they’re getting
Many supplements are fairly expensive
Top Onnit Supplements
Onnit has quite an extensive lineup of supplements. For the sake of space and time, we’ll go over some of their top sellers:
As the flagship supplement of Onnit, Alpha BRAIN still enjoys significant popularity. Part of this is due to Joe Rogan’s notable endorsement. However, as a lifestyle brand, Onnit works extensively with celebrities and influencers–for the average consumer, it’s still important to actually investigate the ingredients.
A quick look at the ingredient label of Alpha BRAIN shows that it primarily relies on vitamin B6 and a handful of amino acids. On the front of the bottle, Bacopa monnieri and Huperzine-A get a special mention. Bacopa monnieri has been shown to improve memory and cognition, but the standard dose is 300 mg–a serving of Alpha BRAIN only has 100 mg. Huperzine-A seems to be included in an effective dose, and it’s been shown to promote acetylcholine, which is also known as the “learning neurotransmitter.”
Most ingredients are backed by clinical research
Having multiple ingredients in one supplement is easier than buying each one separately
This supplement has been endorsed by prominent people
Many ingredients are part of proprietary blends, so you can’t tell exactly how much is included
Alpha BRAIN is very expensive considering its ingredients
When you think of a nootropic supplement for mood, you might imagine something designed to energize you and elevate your mood. New MOOD is meant as a relaxing supplement or a stress management tool. Onnit claims that the ingredients 5-HTP and L-tryptophan work to synthesize serotonin. However, most existing research doesn’t support this claim, and some has even found that 5-HTP shouldn’t be used by people with existing depression.
The other ingredients include magnesium, valerian root, and lemon balm, which can help you feel relaxed and sleep well. These ingredients are mainstays in relaxation supplements, and most are supported by research. Of course, if you’re already tired or fatigued during the day, this might be a supplement that you should only take at night.
Some ingredients (like valerian) have been shown to promote relaxation and refreshing sleep
Using a combination of ingredients means this supplement may work for more people
Most research contradicts the claim that 5-HTP works to synthesize serotonin
While other ingredients are effective, you can find them cheaply elsewhere
If you’re the type of person who wishes they could buy every supplement a given company offers, Total Human might be a product for you. Onnit markets it as “better than a multivitamin,” and it’s essentially a collection of some of their top-selling supplements. You can choose day packs (supplements designed to power you through the day), night packs (supplements to support restful sleep), or both.
The day pack includes most of their top sellers:
Shroom TECH Sport
Total Human B Complex
The night pack includes top seller New MOOD along with some lesser-known supplements:
There’s also a selection of supplements that comes with both packs:
Shroom TECH Immune
Spirulina and Chlorella
Onnit says that buying this way saves you 40% over buying supplements individually. And while it may well be better than a multivitamin, it’s still pretty expensive.
Offers an easy way to take many different supplements
Offers significant cost savings over buying individually
As mentioned above, some Onnit supplements are of dubious quality
Many people visit supplement sites with the intention of buying a supplement that helps with workout performance, and Shroom TECH Sport is intended to do just that. This formula was also tested on regular gym-goers and was found to improve their performance in ways that were statistically significant. This was a small study, but it’s an important point in the supplement’s favor.
The ingredients in Shroom TECH Sport are largely herbs from traditional medicine. Cordyceps sinensis (the mushroom that inspired the “shroom” in the name) is a major ingredient, but there’s almost no research that supports Onnit’s claim that it supports endurance. Other ingredients include the adaptogen Ashwagandha, concentrated green tea extract, rhodiola, and vitamin B-12.
Research on this specific formula is promising
This formula combines several popular workout supplements
Aside from the cited study of the exact formula, little to no research substantiates Onnit’s claims
As with most Onnit supplements, this one is also fairly costly
Like Shroom TECH Sport, this pre-workout formula, called Total Strength + Performance, has been tested in a double-blind trial against a placebo. It showed significant performance improvements in major lifts over four weeks.
When it comes to ingredients, though, this formula is somewhat unremarkable. It contains high levels of B-vitamins, and it also contains a 4.5g blend of BCAAs and beta-alanine. However, because the blend is proprietary, you can’t know if the BCAA ratios are optimal, and you don’t know how much of each ingredient you get.
One of the ingredients highlighted by Onnit is longjack, an herb that is commonly found in testosterone boosters. There’s a small amount of research suggesting that it may improve power output, but otherwise, there’s almost no research to support its efficacy.
Contains an array of ingredients that do support energy (especially B vitamins)
Comes in a few different flavors
Also includes BCAAs, which some people buy as a separate supplements
Key ingredients like BCAAs and beta-alanine are part of proprietary blends, so you can’t tell how much you’re getting
Somewhat recently, MCT oil became one of the newest buzz-generating supplements. MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides,” and they are fatty acids that are metabolized relatively quickly. MCT oil may increase energy and boost basal metabolic rate.
There’s some research supporting its ability to boost metabolic rate and encourage the body to burn fat, although its effects are not dramatic.
Quality oil is sourced entirely from coconuts
May be a good way to consume enough healthy fats when dieting
Has some impact on energy levels and fat burning
Onnit seems to overstate the benefits of MCT oil a bit
Gut health is something that’s connected to brain health and general well-being. Sometimes, in order to feel great and perform optimally, your gut needs a little help. Total Gut Health inlcudes several ingredients to help balance gut flora:
Prebiotics–These ingredients help support the growth of helpful gut microorganisms.
Aubrey Marcus started Onnit, and the company has since grown exponentially. As a lifelong athlete, he began developing supplements to help others achieve wellness. Marcus is especially well-known for his podcast. While you might expect this podcast to be sport-focused, many episodes involve philosophical conversations with prominent figures. True to the goals of the company, this is a podcast that seeks to help people develop in mind, body, and spirit.
Joe Rogan and Onnit
A lot of people think of Joe Rogan when they think of Onnit. The two first met when Marcus was marketing Fleshlights, and they struck up a deal–Fleshlight sponsored Rogan’s podcast, and Rogan advertised the product on his podcast. Marcus and Rogan became close friends based on common interests, and they worked together to build Onnit. Rogan is still a business partner at Onnit, and he recommends many of their products on his podcast and social media.
For those who want some additional guidance when it comes to reaching goals, Onnit Academy offers workouts, motivational interviews, and healthy recipes. It’s set up similarly to Bodybuilding.com–you can choose workouts based on your training goals and even buy supplements and other related products. Onnit Academy also offers certifications in fitness education, many of which focus on Onnit’s unique training implements.
For those who want to follow Onnit’s unique training guides for functional strength, it’s possible to buy kettlebells from the company. You can purchase inclusive sets, and you can also find entertaining kettlebells shaped like chimps or Star Wars characters. When buying, you can also purchase starter guides and digital training sessions.
Onnit is an interesting lifestyle brand, and strategic marketing has made it a well-known enterprise. Despite this, many of its products are underwhelming. Many contain ingredients that are supported by little or no research, and their effective ingredients are often included in proprietary blends. Still, there’s a chance one of their products may work for you.
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