Qualia Mind Review

With more than two dozen ingredients, can this scientist-produced nootropic provide the brain boost you need?

by
Last updated: Jan 29th, 2023
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In this Review

Our Findings
How we evaluated Qualia Mind
Why you should trust us
What is Qualia Mind?
How does Qualia Mind work?
Vitamins
Choline-related ingredients
Coffee and cocoa
Other major ingredients
Is Qualia Mind safe?
A study on Qualia Mind
Who should avoid Qualia Mind?
Pricing, shipping, and returns
Alternatives to Qualia Mind
FAQ about Qualia Mind
References
Qualia Mind reviews

Feeling slow, sluggish, or just not as sharp as you used to be is a more common problem than most want to admit. Luckily, there are ways that you can get around brain fog, fatigue, and difficulties paying attention. One method that seems more like science fiction than reality is a nootropic supplement, or “smart drug.” Qualia Mind is a nootropic supplement with lots of promise and some big-name supporters, designed to improve every aspect of your short- and long-term cognitive performance. We looked into Qualia Mind to determine whether or not its long ingredient list might help in your efforts to think faster, recall better, and reduce brain fog.

Our Findings

Editor's Rating3.00

Qualia Mind is upfront about its long ingredient list, but only half of its ingredients have reliable clinical research backing up their presence and dose. It’s commonplace for ingredients to be underdosed in nootropics, yet Qualia Mind uses its longer list without any indication that more ingredients doing the same things actually helps your brain more than other nootropics. The company offers steep savings for first-timers, and there are several safety measures put into place to ensure you’re getting exactly what’s on the bottle, but it’s ultimately one of the most expensive nootropics on the market. Ultimately, Qualia Mind is not a convenient or efficient nootropic option.

Pros

  • Transparent formulations — you’ll know exactly what you’re taking from the outset

  • Contains several well-regarded nootropic ingredients

  • Steep discount on your first subscription delivery

  • Tightly regulated testing measures

  • Vegan, non-GMO formula uncommon in nootropics

  • Responsive to customer feedback with quick replies

  • 100-day money-back guarantee

  • Get 50% off your first order when you sign up for texts

Cons

  • Expensive, even for a nootropic

  • Self-run scientific study found few benefits over a placebo

  • Several ingredients have no clinical backing

  • Most ingredients are underdosed compared to successful studies

  • Requires seven capsules a day for a full dose

  • Long ingredient list means more opportunities for side effects

GREAT PICKS FROM QUALIA MIND

How we evaluated Qualia Mind

We use four central criteria to judge the overall value of nootropic supplements and help you understand their subtle differences: their cost, how safe they are to use, how convenient it is to take them, and, most importantly, how effective they are. Typically, we consider safety to be more important than the cost of nootropics, as your brain is one of your most important organs, and nootropics’ safety profiles can vary dramatically. And their effectiveness is essential: it doesn’t matter how low-priced or convenient they are if they don’t work.

Qualia Mind tries hard to be your best option but ultimately doesn’t live up to its full potential as a nootropic. It has a long list of 27 ingredients, and this nootropic laundry list comes at a high price: even with extreme cost-cutting measures for first-time purchases, Qualia Mind is one of the most expensive nootropic supplements at $39 for your first bottle of 22 servings and $139/bottle after that. And because there are so many ingredients in the formula, you’ll need to take seven capsules per serving, which is inconvenient. About half of these ingredients aren’t available in clinically relevant doses, which is to be expected — underdosing according to single-ingredient studies is the biggest flaw in the nootropic industry — but Qualia Mind contains several ingredients with zero research backing up their use for your brain health, and a self-funded study didn’t reveal significant results over a placebo. That said, Qualia Mind’s parent company is responsive to feedback and has shifted its formula over time to align with new research and customer reviews.

Effectiveness

Rating: 6/10

Qualia Mind tries to do everything and compromises its efficacy while doing so. This is common for generalized nootropics, which are typically less effective than those with a single purpose; long ingredient lists aiming to cater to every possible need are less effective in the long run. Among Qualia Mind’s 27 ingredients, only 14 have a reasonable amount of scientific data backing up their use in the formula at the included dose. (Three of these are caffeine-related.)

The properly dosed ingredients have long research histories suggesting several cognitive improvements, but if you take a multivitamin and drink coffee or green tea, the only new benefits you’d find are within Bacopa monnieri leaf extract, Rhodiola rosea root extract, and huperzine A. We expect a lot more than 10% of the ingredients to add benefits for most users. Neurohacker did adjust its formula in 2018, removing a few less-than-effective (or safe) ingredients and running a lengthy re-dosing investigation, but Qualia Mind still stumbles.

Nootropics are almost always underdosed if you look at ingredients lists entry by entry — Mind Lab Pro, for example, only has effective levels in three of 11 ingredients, and Focus Factor offers little more than a multivitamin — but most manufacturers will contend it’s because the ingredients work together more effectively than on their own.

If we can’t determine efficacy based on an ingredient list, the next step is to look at scientific studies of the product itself. About half of our favorite nootropics have run self-funded studies investigating their effectiveness, and Qualia Mind is no exception. The study was rigorously performed and found that Qualia Mind improved every measure they tested:

  • Executive functioning
  • Attention and focus
  • Inspiration
  • Perceived stress
  • Workplace engagement
  • Mindfulness

So did a placebo. Qualia Mind improved four of these scores (executive function, attention and focus, inspiration, and mindfulness) above the placebo, but it wasn’t a big enough jump to be considered significant. More research is necessary, considering the study only ran for five days (compared to several weeks that competitors Mind Lab Pro, Focus Factor, and Alpha BRAIN used), but Qualia Mind performed worse using similar techniques.

Cost

Rating: 6/10

Qualia Mind has some of the steepest savings we’ve ever seen, but steep savings have to come from somewhere. If you want to order the nootropic once without starting a subscription, you’ll pay $139. Considering each bottle only contains 22 days’ worth of capsules (which the company claims is a 28-day supply), you’ll be paying more than $6 a day for this nootropic.

Even if you aren’t sure if it’ll work for you, we seriously recommend starting a subscription: you’ll get $100 knocked off the purchase price for your first subscription delivery (meaning you’ll only pay $39). That’s a 70% first-time discount, with 15% off regular subscription orders after. Considering it’s incredibly easy to cancel your subscription after your first order arrives if you don’t like it (or realize you can’t afford the $119/month of later orders), there’s very little risk to trying that first delivery. Neurohacker has also brought this price down in the last year, as the last time we reviewed them, Qualia Mind cost $69 ($30 more) for that first subscription delivery. These savings bring its price much more in line with the competition. You’ll always have to pay for shipping, which costs an extra $7.98 for standard delivery (or $12.98 if you want it faster), bringing your range of payments to $46.98-$146.98.

Here’s a quick cost comparison between Qualia Mind and other top nootropics:

Compare their starting offer to the savings you could get from other nootropic companies:

Neurohacker offers a 100-day money-back guarantee, so if you don’t like or don’t feel the effects of Qualia Mind, you can return your bottle for a full refund. But ultimately, even with this one-time savings option, Qualia Mind is still one of the most expensive nootropic supplements out there.

Safety

8.5/10

Since nootropics are still relatively new to the market, and general nootropics like Qualia Mind tend to involve a lot of somewhat experimental ingredients, there are plenty of opportunities for problems to pop up. Luckily, Neurohacker is very upfront about what you can expect out of Qualia Mind.

Unlike other nootropics, Qualia Mind doesn’t use any proprietary blends. This makes it easy to verify what you’re taking. (The more expensive the nootropic, the more likely you are to get a fully elaborated ingredient list.) Qualia Mind errs on the side of too little of each ingredient, which makes its formula safer but also makes it more difficult for us to predict its effectiveness. The ingredients likely to be less effective aren’t harmful, but act more like filler. You’ll need to cycle Qualia Mind — meaning it isn’t safe to take every day for a long period of time because of its well-dosed acetylcholine-related ingredients — but the company is upfront about this requirement. Previous iterations of Qualia Mind have had more problematic ingredients that have been removed as more research has revealed its concerns.

Qualia Mind is tested for purity, heavy metals, and microbial contamination during production and then tested again once it’s finished. This testing is done in-house rather than by an independent third party, which is less than ideal (many other high-quality nootropics use third-party tests to ensure there’s no bias in their reporting). However, Neurohacker receives certificates of analysis from the original manufacturer for each ingredient in Qualia Mind and then tests every 100th bottle to verify that the certificate of analysis is correct. While we’d love to see them implement third-party testing, the company is making a sincere effort to ensure a high-quality end result.

Convenience

Rating: 5/10

Nootropics aren’t convenient supplements, often requiring you to take a handful of pills a day. Qualia Mind isn’t very convenient even for a nootropic: there are seven moderately-sized capsules in every serving, and taking three or four mouthfuls of pills to get the full effect of the nootropic is a pain. Qualia Mind also recommends that you cycle their nootropic, taking it for five days and skipping it for two days every week to ensure you don’t end up reliant on it for basic functioning. This is a great safety measure but but becomes more complicated when you’re trying to remember if you’re at day four or day five in your weekly cycle, or if you have a particularly long work week and need a boost to get through it and your weekend.

There are technically no directions about taking Qualia Mind with or without food or needing to take it at a specific time of day. Neurohacker, Qualia Mind’s manufacturer, states that you can take it while fasting, but given our broad experience with caffeinated nootropics, we suggest you start by taking it first thing in the morning with food until you know how you respond. Nootropics can be intense, and taking them on an empty stomach amplifies those effects. Otherwise, we suggest skipping coffee in the morning to avoid any feelings of overcaffeination — or the resulting crash — mid-workday.

Why you should trust us

As nootropics have emerged as a new key player in the supplement landscape, we’ve invested serious time to determine which are worth yours. We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and testing various nootropics, including individual ingredients, combinations like Qualia Mind, and combinations that serve specific purposes. Our broader experience testing nootropics — some very similar to Qualia Mind, others quite different — provides extra context to our knowledge and recommendations in this review. Throughout our time investigating nootropics, we’ve read close to one thousand clinical studies examining the safety and efficacy of various nootropic ingredients. For this article alone, we read over 150 separate research studies.

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles. Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. We’ll keep an eye on Qualia Mind and update this page as information changes.

What is Qualia Mind?

Qualia Mind is a nootropic supplement designed by the supplement brand Neurohacker. It’s the cornerstone of Neurohacker’s catalog and the product that got them off the ground; many of their other supplements are based on Qualia Mind’s success.

While nootropics as a term also applies to prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, as well as other cognition-altering substances, the supplement industry has largely co-opted the term to refer to the class of supplements designed to improve your brain functioning and cognitive health. In this article, we’ll limit our discussion strictly to nootropic supplements you can get over the counter.

This isn’t the first iteration of Qualia Mind. Originally released in 2016 as a two-step formula, Neurohacker revised their product into what we now know as Qualia Mind in 2018 based on reviews and customer feedback. In this process of making Qualia safer and more effective, the company collaborated with numerous experts in complexity science (an interdisciplinary approach to complex systems), with specialties ranging from biochemistry to engineering. This revision included a lower price (taking it from $145 to $139), fewer capsules per serving, and changes to the ingredient list, as the previous formula included a few less-than-stellar nootropic ingredients:

DHEA

DHEA — short for dehydroepiandrosterone — is a hormone and precursor to the primary sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. It’s produced by the adrenal glands, and since DHEA levels decline with age, some think that taking a DHEA supplement to keep your levels high could reduce the negative effects that come with aging.¹ However, there’s little research that supports this theory right now. Supplementing a synthetic version of this hormone can lead to high cholesterol and testosterone levels.

Noopept

This nootropic ingredient is similar to piracetam, the first nootropic drug developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Noopept, however, was developed in 1996, and we still don’t know much about what it can do. Most studies on piracetam took place from the late 1990s through the mid-2010s, and researchers are still mixed on its safety but generally agree that piracetam doesn’t do much for our brains. Most notably, though, piracetam still hasn’t been approved by the FDA, meaning it can’t legally be used in any supplements, along with any analogs like Noopept.² However, it is used in some European countries as a neuroprotective medication.

Centrophenoxine

Another early nootropic, centrophenoxine works with DMAE to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. It’s sold in Japan, China, and parts of Europe as a prescription medication to treat things like alcoholism and dementia, but evidence of its efficacy is conflicting. The FDA hasn’t approved centrophenoxine’s use in supplements, and a 2022 study found that less than 15% of nootropics supplements that claim to use centrophenoxine actually include as much as they say.³

Neurohacker’s revision of original Qualia into Qualia Mind removed these ingredients, turning the formula into what we know today.

Luckily for us, Neurohacker is extremely transparent about how it came up with Qualia Mind, what goes into it, and why it was made. According to their website, Neurohacker considered the following processes while designing Qualia Mind:

Memory

Short-term memory (memory span, word and number recall), long-term memory (consolidation), and speed of memory recall or recovery.

Focus

Duration of attention, degree and intensity of concentration, and task-switching ability.

Fluid intelligence

Reasoning (inductive, deductive, and abstract), problem-solving, analysis, synthesis, and pattern recognition.

Thinking effectiveness

Arithmetic capability, critical thinking, and creative thinking.

Emotional states

Emotional resilience, motivation, drive, inspiration, and empathy.

Neurochemistry

Choline and dopamine signaling.

Neural structure and function

Neurogenesis, neuroprotection, neuroplasticity, cell membrane integrity, and cerebral blood flow.

Systems support

Resilience and adaptation, cell energy and metabolism, and antioxidant defenses.

Qualia Mind, as we know it, is the result of their efforts. In this review, we’ll analyze whether Neurohacker successfully created the most effective, safe nootropic supplement possible.

How does Qualia Mind work?

Qualia Mind contains 27 major ingredients, including vitamins, herbs, and true-to-form nootropic compounds. According to Neurohacker, these ingredients were included to support cell health and communication, improve neurotransmitter signaling, and enhance stress resilience. Essentially, it’s designed to make your brain do its job more efficiently. It also has five “other” ingredients, which are binders and anti-clumping agents designed to keep your capsules fresh:

  • Hypromellose
  • Organic rice concentrate
  • Organic rice extract blend
  • Silicon dioxide
  • Calcium carbonate

This nootropic is more transparent about its formula than others. Only some nootropic manufacturers are willing to share their full ingredient list or dosage instead of hiding behind proprietary blends (which group ingredients under a shared dose). Even fewer have thought through the problem of the blood-brain barrier, ensuring that everything you take gets where it needs to go.⁴

Neurohacker explains exactly how different products’ formulas are calculated on a webpage titled Dosing Principles. It breaks down what goes into determining the “right” dose (or the closest thing to it) based on scientific research, ingredient combinations, and what sort of a response the company wants the average Qualia Mind user to experience. Specifically, it considers:

  • Any dose-dependencies and effectiveness thresholds
  • How responses change as dose increases
  • What happens when ingredients are combined
  • How responses change over a longer period of time
  • How your circadian rhythm affects your response
  • If there are any minor stressors induced by too high of a dose (called the hormetic response, like getting a sunburn from being in the sun for too long)

The webpage references seven studies for Qualia Mind ingredients:

  • Caffeine
  • L-theanine
  • A combination of caffeine and l-theanine
  • Cognizin-brand citicoline
  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Bacopa monnieri

While we’re glad to see evidence that Neurohacker has done its research and is willing to share it with the public, this is only evidence that about 20% of the formula may work. In the next few sections, we’ll break down all of Qualia Mind’s ingredients (not just the top 20%) by type to investigate whether or not it’s as good as Neurohacker claims.

Vitamins

Qualia Mind uses several vitamins in its formula, including some of the biggest B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin D3. All of these vitamins are essential for our well-being, and Qualia Mind provides more than the daily recommended value for each (though vitamin D is on the lower side, especially for those who have diagnosed deficiencies). There aren’t many direct links between these vitamins and cognitive capabilities in the general population, but deficiencies in any B vitamin, C, or D can lead to fatigue, brain fog, and depression. Supporting your diet with these vitamins can minimize some of the reasons you’d turn to a nootropic in the first place.

Let’s take a closer look at what scientists have to say about these ingredients.

B vitamins

There’s been some flux over the years in what’s considered a B vitamin, but no matter what you include, the group of vitamins affects your cellular metabolism, nerve function, and red blood cell creation. Here’s what we know about the B vitamins found in Qualia Mind:

Vitamin B1 (50mg)

Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is an antioxidant that helps create enzymes responsible for the breakdown of energy from other nutrients. It’s relatively rare to have a thiamine deficiency unless you struggle with alcoholism, eat a mostly white rice-based diet, or can’t absorb nutrients well due to an eating disorder or conditions like Crohn’s disease. Because vitamin B1 deficiencies are linked to dementia-like Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in those with an alcohol use disorder, some researchers wonder if there’s a relationship between memory function and vitamin B1.⁵ At this time, the relationship is unclear at best.

Vitamin B3 (50mg)

Niacin (vitamin B3) is a precursor for NAD and NAD+, two compounds that some researchers think may hold the key to longevity. Studies show that NAD+ improves your cellular performance and waste removal,⁶ leading to better mitochondrial efficiency that recent research implies might stave off cognitive decline.⁷ However, taking more vitamin B3 than you need won’t continue increasing your NAD(+) levels, as it’s a water-soluble vitamin that gets flushed out in excess. Very few people are niacin deficient.

Vitamin B5 (50mg)

Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, plays a big role in the production of myelin (the fatty shield coating every axon in your body) by producing its precursor, acetyl-CoA.⁸ The myelin sheath helps impulses travel quickly down a neuron; multiple sclerosis (MS) occurs when your myelin sheath is degraded, and a link between vitamin B and MS is rapidly growing.⁹ Vitamin B5 deficiencies may be implicated in neurodegeneration from not having enough acetyl-CoA, but deficiencies are rare.¹⁰ Through its creation of acetyl-CoA, vitamin B5 is also important for the creation of acetylcholine, a critical neurotransmitter we’ll get into later. There’s still a lot to research when it comes to pantothenic acid’s role in the brain, as most studies have been released in the last ten years or so.

Vitamin B6 (20mg)

Researchers think this vitamin (also known as pyridoxine) and vitamin B12 break down homocysteine, an amino acid that can damage your arterial lining in excess, leading to things like dementia and strokes. People with schizophrenia also tend to have very low vitamin B6 levels, and deficiencies have been linked to cognitive impairment,¹¹ seizures,¹² migraine,¹³ anxiety,¹⁴ and depression¹⁵ (particularly in women taking oral contraceptives).¹⁶ However, research looking at how B6 actually impacts our cognition is contradictory: some studies (and meta-analyses) find it does nothing.¹⁷

Vitamin B12 (1,000mcg)

Of all the B vitamins, you’re most likely to experience a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause fatigue, weakness, numbness, poor balance, memory trouble, and anemia. Like vitamin B5, it also helps the body build myelin, synthesize DNA, break down fatty acids, and clear out inflammatory homocysteine.¹⁸ The role of vitamin B12 in cognition has been studied since the early 2000s, but reviews generally show that vitamin B12 only has a small effect on cognition in elderly or cognitively impaired groups,¹⁹ and none in healthy participants.²⁰

These doses are all significantly higher than the USDA recommends. (The vitamin B12 dose, for example, is more than 666 times your recommended daily intake.) However, B vitamins are all water-soluble, meaning that your body can expel anything it doesn’t use in your urine. Here’s a quick chart breaking down how much you should be getting every day and how much Qualia Mind offers:

Between these unclear relationships and the water solubility of vitamin B, if you already take a multivitamin or eat a well-balanced diet, it’s unlikely that the addition of vitamin B in Qualia Mind will improve your cognitive function.

Vitamin C: 100mg

The vitamin associated with citrus fruits and your immune system (healing and repairing wounds and preventing infections) has a burgeoning relationship with your mood and cognition. Those with vitamin C deficiencies are more likely to experience depression and its associated cognitive impairments.²¹ However, these results were only found in people who had scurvy. If you don’t have bleeding gums or rashes that last for longer than three months, it’s hard to say if you’ll see improvements in your memory, attention, or learning abilities by taking more vitamin C.

The USDA recommends that adult women get 75mg of vitamin C daily, and adult men get 90mg. Most adults in the U.S. get enough vitamin C through their diet, so while the 100mg in Qualia Mind is more than you need for daily function, medical experts have determined you can take up to 2,000mg daily safely.

Vitamin D3: 1,000IU

Humans primarily absorb vitamin D directly through sunlight. You may not get enough vitamin D in the winter — or if you work indoors, don’t often leave the house, have darker skin, or are obese — leaving you feeling tired, moody, and achy. Considering about 42% of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, adding vitamin D to your diet may improve your mood and energy levels.²² And while low vitamin D levels are associated with a higher frequency of dementia, adding vitamin D doesn’t seem to make a difference in cognitive decline or dementia in general.²³

Most adults need 15mcg or 600IU of vitamin D, though adults above age 70 need slightly more (20mcg or 800IU). 1,000IU is a reasonable dose of vitamin D3 for a vast majority of people.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone disodium (PQQ): 10mg

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) isn’t technically a vitamin, but there’s been debate in the scientific community going back to 2003 as to whether or not it should be reclassified as one.²⁴ This antioxidant is also a catalyst similar to NAD+, made by bacteria, and naturally found in a variety of sources, such as kiwi fruit and soil. It’s most similar to vitamin K; like the vitamin, humans don’t naturally make any PQQ except for in breast milk.

We don’t know much about what PQQ does for your cognition, but a few scattered studies suggest it could improve AMPK signaling, which is important for your overall energy and some aspects of aging.²⁵ One study states it can improve self-reported stress, sleep, and anger,²⁶ while another found memory improvements in the elderly.²⁷ However, these studies are few and far between and require significantly more investigation before we can make a definitive statement.

Most of these studies give participants about 20mg of PQQ, which is twice as much as Qualia Mind offers.

Choline-related ingredients

Choline is the precursor to an underdog neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. While you might not be as familiar with it as you are with serotonin, dopamine, or adrenaline, it’s incredibly important for our everyday function. Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter in our central and peripheral nervous systems, responsible for everything from muscle movement to learning and memory.²⁸ It’s also the easiest neurotransmitter to manipulate through chemical and botanical ingredients, though it comes with some downsides: because it’s used in so many bodily processes, it’s easy to accidentally disrupt homeostasis, which can lead to choline buildup and toxicity. Many pesticides, for example, block the body’s ability to stop producing acetylcholine in the same way that huperzine A does.

While choline-related supplement ingredients can be a little precarious safety-wise when used recklessly, they’re still an excellent way of modulating your brain and improving your learning and memory capabilities. Many — but not all — of the choline-related ingredients in Qualia Mind have solid research backing up their use, especially Bacopa monnieri extract and citicoline. Huperzine A, while effective, has the potential for danger, and alpha-GPC, velvet bean seed extract, and Celastrus paniculatus seed extract don’t have enough consistent findings to rally behind yet.

Let’s take a closer look at these ingredients.

Bacopa monnieri leaf extract (300mg)

Bacopa monnieri is a plant that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. As far as botanical nootropic ingredients go, it’s one of the best-studied (though there’s still a long way to go before researchers can be confident about its effects). Bacopa extract seems to improve attention and decrease reaction time, according to a meta-analysis of six high-quality studies.²⁹ Only about half of studies find it improves memory recall, but its benefits for your attention span are still impressive.³⁰

Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) seed extract (100mg)

Mostly studied in relation to Parkinson’s disease, Mucuna pruriens naturally contains L-dopa, also known as levodopa. Levodopa is a direct precursor for dopamine, which controls your reward system and movement, among other things. Mucuna pruriens is being studied as an alternative treatment for Parkinson’s disease when synthetic levodopa is poorly tolerated, though studies find it can give patients intolerable stomach problems.³¹

In 2022, a few groups of researchers began investigating if Mucuna pruriens also has neuroprotective properties, as it activates less acetylcholinesterase (and, therefore, less potential for negative side effects) than synthetic levodopa and could be a better alternative for several cognitive medications.³² One study suggests that it might be able to support patients who’ve had strokes or who have ALS or Alzheimer’s disease, but that research is still nascent.³³ For now, though, there’s not enough evidence to suggest it could help if you don’t have a neurodegenerative disease.

Alpha-GPC (200mg)

Alpha-glycerophosphocholine, also known as alpha-GPC, is a kind of choline that’s commonly used in nootropics because it’s thought to cross the blood-brain barrier more than other forms of choline. However, there’s very little research that supports its use as a cognitive enhancer.

One of the only human studies found no significant difference between alpha-GPC, caffeine, and placebo on participants’ mood and cognitive performance.³⁴ Its best effects appear in mouse studies where alpha-GPC slows the rate of age-related memory decline by amplifying genes that help neurons strengthen their signals, but this is yet to be replicated in humans.³⁵ Most studies use 300mg or more of alpha-GPC, however, which is more than Qualia Mind offers.

Cognizin brand citicoline (150mg)

Citicoline is a component of two major compounds important for brain health: phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine. Citicoline is more common than alpha-GPC in non-nootropic supplements, though it’s not rare in nootropics. There’s more solid research backing citicoline than other synthetic choline compounds; most studies into citicoline have found that it reliably improves memory (primarily episodic memory) without any notable side effects.³⁶ There’s a lot of potential for citicoline to improve memory in people with dementia or who have had a stroke, though more research is still needed.³⁷

Celastrus paniculatus seed extract (60mg)

Qualia Mind advertises Celastrus paniculatus seed extract as their crown jewel. Sometimes known as the intellect tree or “the elixir of life,” it is a rare ingredient in nootropics with a lot of hype. It supposedly has a huge range of pharmacological activities, from wound healing to mood regulation.³⁸ In some ways, it seems too good to be true. We don’t know if it is or not yet, as there’s relatively little research on its effects.

Like L-tyrosine, Celastrus paniculatus has been shown to improve cognitive function (including anxious behaviors) in chronically stressed rats.³⁹ It also seems to improve memory consolidation in rats.⁴⁰ However, Celastrus paniculatus’s effects are dose-dependent, and most study doses range anywhere from 200mg/kg to 1,500mg/kg, so Qualia Mind’s 60mg daily dose may not be enough to experience these benefits.

Choline is an essential nutrient, so the USDA requires supplement manufacturers to label how much choline is in every serving. According to Qualia Mind’s supplement facts label, there are 110mg of choline in every serving, explicitly from alpha-GPC and citicoline. That’s 20% of your required daily intake, which is nothing to sneeze at, but one large egg contains between 140mg and 160mg of choline.⁴¹ When it comes to choline intake, you won’t get much more out of Qualia Mind than a healthy meal.

Huperzine A

There’s one other ingredient in Qualia Mind that affects acetylcholine: huperzine A. Huperzia serrata, or Chinese club moss, produces one of the most potent compounds in Qualia Mind’s formula. Discovered in the 1980s, huperzine A limits the amount of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, meaning that you’ll get more acetylcholine in your brain for longer. It’s potent, and the general consensus among researchers is that it’s fairly safe when used correctly. Increased acetylcholine levels have a direct effect on your learning and memory, and studies consistently show that huperzine A has both antiepileptic and neuroprotective effects on top of that.⁴² It’s also being studied as a potential Alzheimer’s medication.⁴³

However, because nootropic supplements don’t have the same dosage consistency, clinical trials, or oversight as prescription medications, they have a higher potential to be dangerous with ingredients like huperzine A. Having too much acetylcholine accumulate (called cholinergic toxicity) can cause a plethora of unpleasant symptoms, including:⁴⁴

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death

This extract contains 1% huperzine A, for a total of 0.05mg (50mcg) in every dose. This is significantly less than competitors that also use huperzine A, such as Onnit’s Alpha BRAIN, which contains 400mcg per serving. There are no recommended doses for huperzine A, but most studies use anywhere from 50mcg to 200mcg daily for Alzheimer’s patients. Qualia Mind sticks to the safe end of this dose range while still conforming with clinical recommendations, balancing your safety and its effectiveness well.

Coffee and cocoa

Qualia Mind contains three ingredients you might also find in a cafe mocha without the sugar: theobromine, caffeine, and whole coffee bean extract. These three ingredients are alkaloids (have a basic pH), and while we know caffeine is a potent nootropic, theobromine and coffee extract can play a role in your neurology too.

One of the biggest neurological properties these ingredients impact is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a molecule that helps our brains change as we learn or heal from damage (called neuroplasticity).⁴⁵ It also impacts our memory: not having enough BDNF is implicated in memory loss from both dementia⁴⁶ and depression, though most of this research is still very new and yet to be repeated.⁴⁷

Ultimately, Qualia Mind’s use of caffeine and whole coffee fruit extract are well-dosed and might help you hold your attention for longer and protect your neurons against dementia and degenerative diseases, as well as increase how much BDNF you have circulating. Still, it may not have quite enough theobromine for you to see satisfying effects.

Theobromine: 100mg

Theobromine, one of the most prominent compounds in cocoa, shares a chemical class with caffeine. Since they’re relatively similar substances, scientists have started investigating if theobromine has the same nootropic effects as caffeine. One study from 2019 suggests that theobromine works more slowly and provides less of an intense reaction than caffeine, but it might have neuroprotective effects by reducing the amount of beta-amyloid peptides (which scientists think trigger Alzheimer’s disease).⁴⁸

Some studies have suggested that it can calm you down and improve your mood, but other studies repeatedly show that isn’t the case, especially if theobromine and caffeine are consumed together. However, we do know that it helps to regulate calcium, phosphodiesterase, neurotransmitters, and neurotrophins,⁴⁹ and there’s some burgeoning evidence that it could improve your sensorimotor learning and control, too.⁵⁰ On average, between 500mg and 1,000mg seems to work the best for people in studies with the fewest amounts of side effects. The 100mg of theobromine here (roughly equivalent to one serving of chocolate) may not help much, but it won’t hurt you, either.

Organic Coffeeberry® whole coffee fruit extract: 129mg

Whole coffee fruit extract has been shown since the mid-2010s to stimulate your brain to create more BDNF, when a British study found that whole coffee fruit concentrate powder increased BDNF concentrations by 143% (compared to caffeine, which increased it by 31%).⁵¹ Likewise, a 2022 letter to the editor expanding on a study published in the journal’s previous issue cites several different studies while explaining that whole coffee fruit extract has reliably increased BDNF in 100mg doses.⁵² Some recent studies have also found that whole coffee fruit extract improved reaction time and attention spans in cognitively impaired elderly patients while also increasing GABA and BDNF levels.⁵³ It typically works within 60 minutes of ingestion.⁵⁴ It seems reasonable to us that this 129mg dose could safely improve your memory.

Caffeine from coffee fruit extract: 90mg

Medical experts have known for a long time that caffeine affects cognition: think of how awake, aware, and ready to go you feel after your first (or second) cup of coffee in the morning. By stimulating your brain and preventing adenosine buildup, it can provide some alertness, but you may find it causes more anxiety and jitteriness if you aren’t a regular caffeine user.⁵⁵ Even compared to prescription stimulants, caffeine repeatedly appears in studies to improve your attention span.⁵⁶

A 2022 review found that 95% of studies agreed that caffeine had at least some neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease in animals, meaning there are likely benefits for people, too.⁵⁷ Caffeine from coffee is one of the most effective ways to get the benefits of caffeine (alongside green tea),⁵⁸ improving overall cognitive function into old age.⁵⁹ Studies repeatedly show that low to moderate doses — between 100mg and 400mg daily — work best. Considering 90mg of caffeine is roughly what you’d get from one cup of coffee, it’s close enough to what studies recommend that we still feel confident saying this would probably make a difference.

Other major ingredients

Almost half of Qualia Mind’s ingredients are herbs, amino acids, and lipids, which may not be as familiar as caffeine or vitamins. It’s easy to take a company’s word at face value for unfamiliar ingredients, especially those without a lot of research that unpacks their use and value. Some are wholly experimental, and others are undergoing preclinical trials for treating things like mild Alzheimer’s disease. Qualia Mind uses Rhodiola rosea extract and Ginkgo biloba extract, both of which are extremely common and well-studied nootropic ingredients that seem to have notable benefits, as well as bioaccessible forms of tyrosine and theanine and two great lipids for your health at large, but a majority of these ingredients appear to have little-to-no benefits based in research.

Qualia Mind’s least-recognizable ingredient is likely uridine-5’-monophosphate (UMP). UMP is a compound found in all living organisms that get converted into nucleotides for DNA and RNA; UMP specifically is most commonly found in the brain. Some scientists think that it can help the brain make more synapses, dendritic spines, and other important cell structures for communication between neurons.⁶⁰ Research suggests that it also plays a vital role in cellular energy and metabolism.⁶¹

There are very few studies on UMP’s use to improve cognitive health, let alone adding UMP as a supplement. Most of these studies were conducted on rats and gerbils between the mid-1970s and early 2000s, but the fact that it might help neuronal growth is likely why it’s included in Qualia Mind.⁶² However, there are almost no studies giving UMP to humans at this time; one recent case study gave UMP to two young siblings with a neurodegenerative disease with remarkable success, but they were given 130mg/kg daily.⁶³ That’s equivalent to about 10g daily for a 150lb adult. Of course, not everyone needs a prescription-strength dose for neurodegenerative disease, but Qualia Mind contains only 160mg of UMP, so it’s unclear whether or not this will support your brain.

The herbs and botanical ingredients you can find in Qualia Mind are some of the more contentious components. Let’s take a deeper look at all four.

Rhodiola rosea root extract: 300mg

The northern European herb Rhodiola rosea has been used for centuries to combat anxiety, depression, and fatigue. It’s surprisingly effective, and even with some less-than-stellar studies, researchers are overwhelmingly in favor of Rhodiola rosea’s ability to improve learning and memory. A meta-analysis of 36 studies on rodents confirms its ability to improve learning and memory, though it did only analyze animal studies.⁶⁴ It also has calming, anti-stress, and energizing effects,⁶⁵ and works with L-tyrosine to improve your focus under intense stress.⁶⁶ 300mg is well within the range of doses found useful in clinical studies, too.

Artichoke stem and leaf extract, 4% flavonoids: 500mg

Mostly known for its ability to support healthy cholesterol levels, artichoke extract contains useful antioxidants and flavonoids.⁶⁷ There are a lot of antioxidant-rich compounds — many of which are more potent than artichokes — and there aren’t any studies that suggest artichoke extract has any brain benefits. Only one study from 2022 exists on artichoke extract’s potential to reduce the biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease, so while there is some very tentative evidence it could support your cognition, it’s insufficient for our purposes.⁶⁸

Coleus forskohlii root extract, 20% forskolin: 20mg

This plant is related to mint and has been for everything from testosterone boosting and weight loss to anti-aging and eye health. However, even with this broad net, no clinical studies have ever shown that Coleus forskohlii root extract has any cognitive benefits.

Ginkgo biloba leaf extract, 24% glycosides: 50mg

Ginkgo biloba leaf extract has a lot of promise as a potential botanical interception for aging-based cognitive impairment. There have been dozens of studies investigating Ginkgo biloba extract as a potential treatment for mild Alzheimer’s disease with some promise.⁶⁹ While the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is unsure about its potential, several European and Asian countries have started testing Ginkgo biloba for clinical use.⁷⁰ Most studies find success with an average of 250mg, however, so Qualia Mind may not have enough to make a difference.

Amino acids

Amino acids aren’t just useful for athletes. They’re an important feature of our diets, as they give us the building blocks for every protein needed for full-body functioning.

Qualia Mind includes five different amino acids. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT): 250mg

NALT is one of the more common modified amino acids you’ll find in a nootropic. The tyrosine at its core is a precursor for dopamine and norepinephrine, so having more tyrosine means your brain has more raw material to make the important neurotransmitters, meaning it likely has a tangible impact on your stress response, cognition, and mood. Studies have shown that taking a tyrosine supplement before a stressful or cognitively demanding situation (such as taking a test) can improve your cognitive flexibility⁷¹ and short-term memory, as dopamine and norepinephrine are drained quickly in high-pressure situations.⁷² However, most studies use 7g-10g of NALT for improved cognition, so 250mg is likely a negligible dose.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCl (ALC): 500mg

ALC is a naturally-occurring form of carnitine, an amino acid that assists in brain, liver, and kidney functioning. Carnitine is mostly found in red meat and is thought to primarily improve cellular energy metabolism in the brain. It also appears to have some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and a few studies have found it can improve recovery outcomes after a stroke.⁷³

There’s also a lot of buzz about its potential as an alternative antidepressant,⁷⁴ as ALC levels are often low in clinically depressed patients.⁷⁵ While a 2003 meta-analysis stated that there wasn’t enough evidence ALC directly improves our brain functions, an updated 2020 analysis found otherwise, though the exact mechanism is still unclear.⁷⁶ Most studies with positive results use several grams of ALC daily, though, so 500mg may not be enough to make a clear difference.

Taurine: 200mg

Taurine is a sulfuric amino acid regularly found in meat, fish, and eggs. It’s also extremely common in energy drinks, but taurine has a depressant effect on our nervous system, calming and quieting overactive neurons. While taurine deficiencies often point to cognitive dysfunction, there isn’t clear evidence that supplementing it improves cognition beyond your normal capabilities.⁷⁷ One study found that taurine improved reaction time but slowed working memory on its own, but when combined with caffeine, like in an energy drink, it negated some of the effects of caffeine withdrawal.⁷⁸ That study used 2g of taurine, however, which is ten times more than Qualia Mind offers. As of yet, there’s not a lot of evidence that suggests 200mg of taurine will make a difference in your brain health.

L-Theanine: 200mg

Theanine is the relaxing compound in green tea leaves, long hailed for its ability to reduce stress and mitigate the jittery effects of caffeine.⁷⁹ Some studies have also found links between L-theanine and improved sleep quality, which only helps our long-term cognitive function.⁸⁰ A dose between 200mg and 400mg is generally recommended for anxiety reduction, a good sign for the Qualia Mind formula.

DL-Phenylalanine: 300mg

This is a synthetic version of a common amino acid found in most dairy products, eggs, nuts, and brewer’s yeast. There are a lot of claims that it can improve depression symptoms and moderate chronic pain, but there are surprisingly few studies backing up those assertions. One review from 2020 suggests that phenylalanine could help people with depression, but it cites a study from 1977 that hasn’t been followed up with any significance.⁸¹ The body makes tyrosine from phenylalanine, but 300mg of DL-phenylalanine won’t make much tyrosine, and Qualia Mind already contains 250mg of NALT. Ultimately, there’s not a lot of evidence backing up DL-phenylalanine as a useful ingredient here.

Lipids

Fats are important for your brain’s proper functioning. After all, the human brain is about 60% fat, thanks to myelin sheaths. The myelin sheath coats the axons of every nerve cell, protecting it from harm and allowing action potentials to move quickly and efficiently. Several neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), occur when your myelin sheaths break down.

There are two major lipids in Qualia Mind: phosphatidylserine and DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid.

Phosphatidylserine: 100mg

Phosphatidylserine is a type of phospholipid that's mostly found in the brain, protecting neurons at the base of the myelin sheath. Phosphatidylserine is largely safe and surprisingly common in nootropics, as myelin is crucial for every neuron’s ability to fire, meaning it impacts everything from your ability to blink to structural support for nerve cells.⁸²

There’s some speculation that age-related cognitive decline may be sped up by myelin disintegration, and a few studies show that taking phosphatidylserine can slow age-related cognitive decline.⁸³ 100mg is a very standard dose to start with, but clinical trials eventually ramp most participants to 200mg-400mg daily.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): 80mg

DHA is one of the two most prominent omega-3 fatty acids. This healthy fat — which is primarily found in fish but is algae-based in Qualia Mind — plays a big role in several major bodily functions, including heart health and neonatal development.⁸⁴ Alongside uridine and choline, DHA helps your brain build new structures for pristine neuronal communication.⁸⁵ You should consume about 500mg of both major omega-3s (DHA and EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid) daily, so 80mg is better than nothing but won’t cover all of your dietary needs.

Is Qualia Mind safe?

Qualia Mind uses a few robust safety measures and is generally safe for most healthy adults. It doesn’t use proprietary blends, which would obscure individual ingredient doses to either keep competitors from copying their formula or, more insidiously, to make it seem like more beneficial ingredients are at play than there actually are. Qualia Mind’s openness to direct transparency on this front is laudable.

Neurohacker tests Qualia Mind very often and regularly releases their results, which we appreciate. This dedication to testing shows a commitment to customer safety that not every supplement company is willing to step up and do. Specifically, there are tests for:

  • Purity (how close the product is to labeled descriptions)
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbial contamination

This testing is performed in-house rather than by an independent third party, which is less than ideal because it introduces the possibility of bias. Many other nootropic companies use third-party testing to verify their own results. However, Neurohacker does receive certificates of analysis from the sources of each ingredient, which walks through pre-production safety. The company also tests every 100th bottle to verify its own testing measures, so while Neurohacker doesn’t bring in a neutral third party, their repeated testing fills essentially the same niche. Either way, you’re likely to have a safe product on your hands.

Safe use

You’re more likely to run into a lack of effect rather than excess side effects because half of Qualia Mind’s ingredients are underdosed or don’t have any clinical backing. Thanks to their hefty ingredient lists, generalized nootropics like Qualia Mind are more likely to induce side effects as ingredients interact with each other in complex ways researchers haven’t studied yet. You may experience headaches or stomach upset while starting Qualia Mind; this should go away as your body adjusts to the experience, but if it doesn’t, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.

Neurohacker recommends cycling Qualia Mind — using it for five days and then taking a break for two days — to allow your brain time to rest and regroup from the bombardment of caffeine, adaptogens, and other ingredients upon which it could become dependent. Taking weekends off from this supplement ensures that you won’t have to regularly up your dose, saving you money and preventing any possible side effects that could come from taking more.

More importantly, cycling prevents the excess buildup of acetylcholine from huperzine A. Having too much acetylcholine can be very dangerous and can, in extreme cases, lead to respiratory depression, comas, and death. (It’s unlikely you’d get there with the small amount of huperzine A in Qualia Mind, but it is still possible, especially if you don’t follow their directions.)

A study on Qualia Mind

Neurohacker Collective performed a robust study on Qualia Mind to see whether or not its formula can bring you the results you’d hope to see.⁸⁶ Though the study isn’t published, it was set up to adequately test Qualia Mind on several key features. The webpage is missing a few key elements important to knowing how the study worked, including when it was performed and how long participants took Qualia Mind. However, we found out that it took place in mid-2020, and participants took Qualia Mind for only five days.

This study looked at how 46 adults reacted to Qualia Mind using several measures:

  • Executive function, using the Adult Executive Functioning Inventory (ADEXI)
  • Attention and focus, using the Attention Control Scale (ATTC)
  • Inspiration, using the Inspiration Scale (IS)
  • Perceived stress, using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)
  • Work engagement, using the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-3)
  • Mindfulness, using the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)

Participants were also given a diary, where they were instructed to track subjective measures:

  • Sleep quality
  • Immune health (on a scale of 1-10)
  • Productivity (rated based on how satisfied they were with their ability to perform daily tasks)
  • Mood
  • Usability of Qualia Mind
  • Adherence
  • Side effects

Though participants took Qualia Mind for several weeks according to packaged instructions (five days on, two days off), it isn’t clear how long they took Qualia Mind. Some participants took a placebo, while others took Qualia Mind.

After the study was completed, researchers compared participants’ final scores to their first scores, and then compared those who took Qualia Mind to those who took a placebo. Everyone had higher scores in every area, which is encouraging; it suggests that Qualia Mind might actually improve your cognition. The key, however, is within the placebo group. All of their scores improved just as much. Participants who took Qualia Mind scored slightly higher in features that are less subjective — executive function, attention and focus, inspiration, and mindfulness — but the differences weren’t big enough to be statistically significant.

Qualia Mind isn’t the only nootropic that’s been put through small, self-funded studies like this: Onnit’s Alpha BRAIN,⁸⁷ Mind Lab Pro,⁸⁸ and Focus Factor have all been tested too.⁸⁹ Alpha BRAIN’s tests were published in a scientific journal after finding a significant increase in verbal recall and executive functioning, and Mind Lab Pro and Focus Factor found improvements in attention, focus, and recall abilities over both baseline and placebo groups. However, all three of these studies looked at the influence of the respective nootropic over several weeks. It can take up to three months for a nootropic to give you the full effects, so while it does show some improvement, it’s difficult to predict whether or not Qualia Mind will have any true positive effects on your cognition based on this study.

Who should avoid Qualia Mind?

Neurohacker provides a surprisingly thorough list of conditions and medications that don’t mix well with Qualia Mind. This list, hidden as a disclaimer underneath the ingredients list on the Qualia Mind webpage, includes people with:

  • Psychiatric and neurological disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart conditions
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or low testosterone)
  • Cancer
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Immunosuppressive therapy
  • Pregnant people
  • Nursing parents
  • Children under 18

Children under 18, people who are pregnant or lactating, and those on psychiatric or neurological medications (such as MAO inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and SSRIs) should stay away from Qualia Mind.

Like with all other supplements, you should always consult your primary care provider before starting to ensure it’s safe for you to take Qualia Mind. This list is not exhaustive, and because supplements aren’t regulated like medications, there is inherently more risk to trying them.

Alcohol in large quantities can also have a stronger negative impact on your cognition than normal when paired with Qualia Mind, but it is okay to have in small quantities (like one glass of red wine with dinner).

You also shouldn’t take Qualia Mind too late in the day due to its caffeine content. (Neurohacker definitively states that it shouldn’t be taken within 12 hours of your bedtime.) If you know you’re sensitive to caffeine, we recommend taking it with breakfast or in the morning with a snack to soften the caffeine’s impact on your digestive system.

Pricing, shipping, and returns

Harnessing the full power of your brain isn’t cheap. Without any discounts, bonuses, or promotions, one bottle of Qualia Mind costs $139. This provides a 22-dose supply of capsules (what Neurohacker calls 28 days’ worth) or 154 total capsules.

Neurohacker offers a subscription program for all of its Qualia products, including Qualia Mind. By starting a monthly subscription, you can get automatic refills of your nootropic for a whopping $100 off your first month ($39) and then $119/month after, for a total savings of $20/month (15%). This is a near-unprecedented amount of savings in the supplement world, let alone nootropic supplements. However, these savings are offset by its high standard cost and low serving count.

Unlike a few other nootropics, ordering Qualia Mind through Neurohacker means you can only order one or two bottles of Qualia Mind at a time, nor can you change the size of the bottle. This isn’t particularly uncommon for nootropics, but many authorized third-party retailers sell different-sized bottles of Qualia Mind (including 105 capsule — or 15-day — supplies).

You can pay for your order with any major credit card from a U.S.-based bank, AmazonPay, or PayPal.

Returns

At first glance, Neurohacker’s refund policy is exceptionally generous. No matter why you want a refund — unexpected side effects, discovering a new allergy, or just not feeling it — there is a 100-day full money-back guarantee. You won’t need to return your bottle, let alone worry about whether you’ve opened it. Instead, just reach out to Qualia Mind’s customer support team via phone or email, and you’ll automatically get a full refund. Among our top nootropic picks, this is the best refund policy, alongside Alpha BRAIN’s 90-day guarantee, making Qualia Mind an easy place to start if you want to try a nootropic but are worried about not liking it.

However, this refund policy only extends to one item (either one-time or the most recent delivery from a subscription), and can only be used once per item per household. If you and your partner both order Qualia Mind, try it, and don’t like it, only one of you will be eligible for a refund.

Qualia Rewards

In January 2022, Neurohacker launched its first-ever rewards program. You can earn one point for every $4 you spend on a Qualia product directly from Neurohacker’s website (up to $500). If you spend more than $500 in a single sitting, that quantity jumps to one point for every $2 spent. These points are based on what you spend, not the original purchase price, so you’ll earn fewer points for a discounted purchase.

Points are “active” and redeemable one week after you’ve purchased your product (whether or not it’s arrived yet) and can be redeemed for $1 per 10 points. Compared to other supplement retailers, this is a bit of an extreme curve: to save $10, you’ll need to spend $400. Likewise, you’ll need to use at least 200 points (a $20 value) if you’re applying it to a subscription.

If you get a refund for a product you earned points on, the points will be automatically deducted from your account; this can cause your points to go into the negatives, from which any points earned will work to bring that balance back to zero. We found this a little off-putting, as it’s not a common strategy — points are more like gifts. That said, it’s free to sign up for a Neurohacker account and start earning Qualia Rewards points.

Shipping

Neurohacker offers two different shipping speeds:

  • Standard ($7.98) – 3-5 business days
  • Priority ($12.98) – 2-3 business days

Once you’ve placed your order with Qualia Mind, their fulfillment center processes your transaction and ships your package in 24-48 hours. You’ll get an email notifying you that your package is on the way with a tracking number once it ships.

Currently, Qualia Mind ships directly to a restricted list of English-speaking countries. These include:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

International shipping comes at a flat rate of $12.98 per order and takes an average of 15 to 22 days to arrive. If you live outside of these countries but want to try Qualia Mind, some of their third-party sellers offer expanded international shipping.

No matter where you live, there are multiple places to get Qualia Mind aside from Neurohacker’s website. Supposedly, this includes:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Natural Partners/Fullscript
  • Pure Formulas
  • Pharmaca
  • Lucky Vitamin
  • Eco Chic
  • eVitamins
  • Next Health
  • Eve
  • Brookside Holistic Solutions
  • Emerson Ecologics
  • Down to Earth
  • Health Naturally

However, you should note that not every partner offers this formulation of Qualia Mind. Fullscript, for example, only lists something called “Qualia Mind Essentials,” which comes in two sizes: 25 capsules (for $19) or 75 capsules (for $52.99). It has a much shorter ingredient list than standard Qualia Mind, and a quick comparison with the Neurohacker website reveals that this product isn’t made or sold anymore. We checked, and the following partners sell the most up-to-date formulations of Qualia Mind online:

  • Amazon
  • Pharmaca (smaller bottle only)
  • Walmart (who also sell several older versions and are regularly out of stock)
  • Pure Formulas (smaller bottles only, regularly out of stock)
  • Lucky Vitamins (smaller bottle only)
  • eVitamins
  • Emerson Ecologics (smaller bottle only)

Most of these retailers only sell a smaller size (105 capsules or 15 days’ worth) at a slightly lower price (between $95 and $110 on average). While it looks like a better deal upfront, you save more money opting for a subscription program through Neurohacker, even after the initial deal. The cost per dose from these third parties ranges between $6.34 and $7.34, while the cost per dose with a subscription is $5.41. Even if you just order a one-off bottle and pay the full $139, you’ll still pay at least two cents less ($6.32) per serving.

We strongly recommend purchasing through Neurohacker’s website to save money and take advantage of their subscription deals and return policy.

Alternatives to Qualia Mind

There are a lot of nootropics out there that all claim to improve your brain health and mental strength. However, with such disparate ingredients (and at different prices, with different dosage strategies, and with different safety measures), it’s just not possible for them all to work the same. Throw in the multitude of reasons you may be struggling with diminishing cognitive function, and finding the right nootropic supplement for you becomes an extremely complicated task.

If you’re interested in Qualia Mind but aren’t quite sure if it’ll be the right fit, or if you’ve tried Qualia Mind before and know it’s not, it’s worth exploring your other options. We compare many nootropics in more detail in our guide to the best nootropics, but we’ll make some general comparisons below.

Generalized formulas

Qualia Mind isn’t the end-all-be-all of generalized nootropics. Mind Lab Pro is another reasonable generalized nootropic with only 11 ingredients. There was a double-blind, placebo-controlled research study using Mind Lab Pro that investigated whether or not it actually worked, with significant findings. Regular use over three months increased participants' performance in tasks related to:

  • Simple and choice reaction time
  • Memory (immediate and direct recall)
  • Anticipation
  • Information processing abilities, particularly in people over the age of 30

While the study is unpublished (and therefore not peer-reviewed), it still provides some of the best clinical results of any nootropic. These results are all significantly better than the findings of Qualia Mind’s study, though Qualia Mind looked at a much shorter window of time than Mind Lab Pro, so it’s hard to directly compare them.

Mind Lab Pro is significantly cheaper than Qualia Mind at $69/month, though that still isn’t inexpensive. 75% of the ingredients in Mind Lab Pro are also underdosed according to successful clinical studies, but all 11 have moderate-to-strong support through studies. It also doesn’t have the same rigorous safety standards as Qualia Mind. So while their research study is exceptional, it’s only the first step. Qualia Mind is still a better option if you want to try some of their unique ingredients or need a flexible return policy.

If cost is an issue, another generalized nootropic that might work for you is Focus Factor Original. Focus Factor makes several dozen different products, but their hallmark nootropic is still their best (alongside their Brain & Vision formula, which is excellent for those with desk jobs or whose screen time rivals their sleep time). You’ll compromise some efficacy — Focus Factor mostly capitalizes on their large-dose vitamins and minerals, so if you’re already taking a multivitamin, you won’t see as much of an effect — but one 15-serving bottle only costs $15 (or less if you join their subscription service). Even without their proprietary blend of nootropic ingredients, Focus Factor Original is a better deal than most quality multivitamins, so it’s an excellent option if you have a tight budget.

Focused formulas

Focused nootropics — which might try to minimize cognitive decline in an aging population or help you bring calmness and clarity to your day, for example — have shorter ingredient lists and are less likely to improve your whole cognitive process. That said, you’re more likely to see the desired effects it claims.

Thesis is a high-quality focused nootropic that regularly tops our lists. This company exclusively produces nootropic supplements in six different formulas:

  • Creativity
  • Confidence
  • Clarity
  • Energy
  • Logic
  • Motivation

Each formula contains between six and eight ingredients, including caffeine (which can be removed upon request — a unique perk), that were picked because of their well-studied links to improved cognition. Like Qualia Mind, Thesis recommends taking time off their nootropics to ensure you don’t become dependent or build too much tolerance; neither are suitable for daily use. However, Thesis lets you try up to four different formulas in their initial starter kit, allowing you to tinker and discover what works best for you. If you know that you don’t need an all-over boost or are intimidated by Qualia Mind’s long ingredient list, Thesis may be a better option. And while it isn’t cheap — one month with their subscription program costs $79, or $119 monthly without — it’s less expensive than Qualia Mind.

You may find that Qualia Mind is better for you if you’re just starting out and don’t know what you need, if you know you need support in more than one aspect of your cognition, or if you haven’t had success with other nootropics and want to try something with unique ingredients.

FAQ about Qualia Mind

References

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[2]Cohen, P. A., Zakharevich, I., & Gerona, R. (2020). Presence of piracetam in cognitive enhancement dietary supplements. JAMA Internal Medicine, 180(3), 458-459. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6902196/

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