Lumonol Nootropic: A Popular Memory Supplement But…

Lumonol

Lumonol is another popular nootropic supplement receiving a lot of press, but we have to weed through some underdosed ingredients to see if the four well-dosed ones are worth it.

Here at PricePlow, it’s our job to inform you of the best products and deals on the market, but it’s also our duty to alert you to products that are poorly formulated, even if they might begink heavily advertised across the various media outlets. That’s exactly why we’re here today.

In our ongoing nootropic research, there’s one product that keeps popping up over and over again in advertisements — Lumonol by Avanse Nutraceuticals.

So we decided to do some digging and see what this popular smart drug formula is all about. We’ll save the full analysis for below the break, but just know that this is yet another example of a nootropic formula that we can build stronger on our own using trusted off-the-shelf ingredients, but there are definitely a few benefits to this one (unlike Onnit’s Alpha Brain, which didn’t fare as well in our build-it-yourself test).

Long story short, this one’s probably going to work best for memory enhancement. You can see some prices on all Lumonol supplements below:

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Note: Most websites link directly to Lumonol, who offers a 20% commission to approved websites. We’re not currently affiliated with them, and sometimes the product cannot be found on Amazon or eBay. If it’s available, it will be shown as “Lumonol Nootropic” in the widget above.

Lumonol Ingredients

When it comes to stimulants and nootropics, proprietary blends just don’t sit well with us, especially when you can see ingredients that can’t possibly be dosed properly in a multi-ingredient capsule. However, the are four ingredients that are possibly well-dosed here, so it’s a mixed bag.

Note: Doses listed below are based on 1 serving (i.e. 2 capsules).

  • Focus Blend (515mg)

    • Phosphatidylserine

      Lumonol Ingredients

      Lumonol is a massive prop blend of nootropics – can you spot the four, maybe five ingredients that may not be underdosed?

      If we knew the dosage of this one, it could be the biggest saving grace of this supplement, but even at the minimum possible dosage, we’re off to a great start here.

      Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fat-soluble amino acid found in the brain which supports cognitive function. Clinical research has shown it can treat symptoms associated with depression and declining mental function.[1,2]

      Additional research indicates it exerts some anti-anxiety and stress-reducing properties, and may even lower cortisol levels when dosed high enough, which it’s not here.

      Thankfully, it’s first in the proprietary blend, and we’ve seen doses as small as 100mg do some great things, albeit when taken three times daily. Given that there’s at minimum 167.67mg of PS here, we’re happy to see it up front and if nothing else, this supplement shouldn’t completely fail you.

    • Acetyl L-Carnitine

      Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is an extremely bioavailable form of Carnitine that can cross the “Blood Brain Barrier.” For this reason, ALCAR isn’t only effective as a fat burning supplement (for those deficient in it, at least), it also exerts some nootropic benefits as well, including heightened focus and cognition (via increased acetylcholine production) and neuroprotection.[3,4]

      There’s a catch to that statement, though:

      Most research trials show 500mg-1500mg of ALCAR is needed to experience its brain boosting benefits. We’re not even getting enough to hit the lower end of the ALCAR dosing spectrum here… at most, we’d see 249.99mg here — which is very unlikely — and still isn’t much and also means we’d have to fairy dust the next ingredient in order to get that. So it’s probably far less, and not much to be felt.

    • L-Tyrosine

      L-Tyrosine

      The dose included of L-Tyrosine in Lumonol is essentially useless.

      L-Tyrosine is an amino acid used to synthesize L-Dopa, which is subsequently converted into dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Tyrosine improves mental clarity, focus, and overall mood.

      We’ve covered Tyrosine extensively in our mega-post L-Tyrosine vs. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine: A Tale of Two Tyrosines, so head that way if you want the full story!

      Just know that yet again, you’re not getting anywhere close to a legit dose to experience the effects of Tyrosine. You need at least 1g, and preferably 2g, to get any real benefit from it.

      Best case scenario is that you’d get 167.67mg here, if all three top ingredients are evenly dosed, and that’s not likely. You probably still wouldn’t feel this or the ALCAR if that were the case, so we can nearly discredit them when looking at this formula overall, and focus on the more appropriately-dosed ingredients, such as the next one:

    • Noopept (15mg)

      This is the lone ingredient dose that’s disclosed in Lumonol — 15mg Noopept.

      Noopept is an incredibly potent nootropic known to increase acetylcholine receptor function[5] and improve Long Term Potentiation (LTP), due to its ability to bind to NMDA glutamatergic receptors.[6]

      The dose is a little on the conservative side compared to more aggressive nootropic formulas, but given that Lumonol is being marketed towards normal consumers, that’s probably a good thing.

    Summing up the top prop blend: The PS and Noopept are the key players

    Overall, what we’re looking at in this prop blend is ~167mg phosphatidylserine and 15mg noopept, and kind of ignoring the unknown and underdosed quantities of ALCAR and L-Tyrosine above (although some is still better than none). That’s not a horrible thing, but does it justify the price? We’ll have to calculate and determine for ourselves.

  • Energy Blend (430mg)

    • Panax Ginseng

      Lumonol Life

      “Life without limits” – maybe, maybe not. We’re thinking this is definitely best for those who want memory support.

      Ginseng is a plant historically used in Ancient Chinese medicine to treat an assortment of illnesses, but it’s also found extensive use in modern times for its ability to lift mood, increase reaction time, and reduce fatigue.[7] The plant has also been shown to help reduce appetite and control blood sugar levels, which is beneficial when dieting.[8,9]

      Given that we can’t have hordenine too high (largest we see in mainstream supplements is ~50mg, but later in this article we throw a guess that we get 25mg in Lumonol), we’re pegging the dose of Panax Ginseng at around 380mg — which is actually quite a good dose!

      So just like Phosphatidylserine and Noopept, we can consider the panax ginseng as an effective part of Lumonol, and one of the main ingredients worth considering when buying or building our own on a budget.

      But what’s the standardization?

      The issue here is that on top of not knowing the dose, we don’t know if they are extracting for anything useful in the compound. It could be anywhere from cheap and useless to well-dosed and potent.

      Worse, because it’s a proprietary blend, Lumonol’s manufacturer (Avanse Nutraceuticals) could legally shift the doses around from batch to batch without having to modify the label. So if ginseng became really expensive next week for some uncontrollable reason, they might decide to use a bit less of it in the next batch – and your next bottle may feel way different.

      Further, they could decide they want more profits next week, and decide on a cheaper ginseng that has had less thorough testing and quality control on it.

      So that’s the good and the bad here. It could be good… but just as easily, things could turn bad too. This is why proprietary blends are awful when dealing with stuff meant for our brains!

    • Hordenine

      The good news is that Lumonol isn’t overmarking this too much for what you’re getting – we’ve seen far more ridiculous nootropic prices.

      Hordenine is a well-known beta-2 agonist that triggers lipolysis in the body.[10] As to its purpose in an “Energy Blend,” hordenine behaves as an MAO inhibitor and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) reuptake inhibitor.[11,12]

      Basically, hordenine prevents noradrenaline from being reabsorbed, increasing mental energy, focus, alertness, and attention. This is a fun ingredient, and so long as we’re getting enough, we are happy to see it here, even if there’s not much caffeine or other stimulants in this supplement (you can always add your own coffee or energy drink, after all).

    • Guarana

      Guarana is a plant loaded with caffeine often consumed by the people of Brazil. It’s also frequently hyped as a metabolism booster, which hasn’t been conclusively proven, save for a few rat studies showing moderate increases in metabolic rate.[13]

      As for caffeine contributions, guarana contains about 22% caffeine. However, 22% of an unknown amount of guarana means we have no clue how much caffeine is in this nootropic. We can pretty much discredit it here, it’s most likely just adding a smidge of caffeine, say 10mg at best?

  • Memory Blend (170mg)

    • Ginkgo Biloba

      Ginkgo Biloba

      Ginkgo Biloba may be one of the few decently dosed ingredients in Lumonol, but we have no way of knowing for sure because it’s a proprietary blend.

      One of the most heavily supplemented herbal ingredients in the world is Ginkgo Biloba. It’s traditionally used for improving memory and treating various blood disorders. Modern day science has validated these healing qualities[14], and also found it can improve cognitive function in young people.[15]

      Where ginkgo biloba really shines through is in the elderly, as it has been shown to provide some relief from Alzheimer’s in a couple of studies,[16,17] although is of course never guaranteed to help with any cognitive disorder or disease. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new supplement program, especially if on prescription medication!

      We have no clue the dose, but if we can get ginkgo biloba at around 120mg of quality extract in here, then it could be good enough for some cognitive enhancement. That’d make this the final well-dosed ingredient (the others are phosphatidylserine, panax ginseng, noopept, and maybe hordenine). We can practically ignore the rest of the formula.

      But what’s the standardization?!

      Above, we mention that it could be okay if the dose is right and if the extract is of quality. By that, we mean, what exactly are they pulling from the ginkgo biloba here? Is it just general raw powder, or are they standardizing the extract for a specific compound? Oftentimes, if a company’s not telling us the details, they may not be giving us the good stuff.

      So there are two levels of uncertainty here:

      1. We don’t know the dose, and it can change from batch to batch (legally) as the costs of materials change
      2. We don’t know the extract strength, and that can change from batch to batch (also legally) as the market changes

      As we’ve suggested, we’re going to be crunching some numbers to see if Lumonol is worth it or not, but the dose could be another good sign, although there’s still several negatives to having such a closed formula.

    • Alpha GPC

      Alpha GPC

      Did you know… LARGE doses of Alpha-GPC can increase strength! But that’s just an FYI – that’s not what we’re going for here. This is most likely included to avoid headaches that noopept may give.

      Alpha GPC is one of our favorite forms of choline for its high bioavailability and its potency when it comes to increase acetylcholine production for greater focus, but also greater strength gains too.[19,20]

      Just like with the ALCAR and L-Tyrosine, this dose is just window dressing here, and is unlikely to be “felt”. A dash of choline is always great to help with noopept and similar substances, so we’ll take it merely to avoid headaches.

      But realistically, you want around 300mg Alpha GPC to really fire up the engines, and that’s more than this entire “Memory Blend”.

      Still, because we have noopept in Lumonol, we’ll take even a small supporting dose of this just in case.

Dosing

According to the Lumonol website:

”Take capsules daily. Lumonol is best taken with a meal. The preferred routine is 1 capsule with breakfast, and 1 capsule with lunch. If you prefer, you may take both capsules with breakfast.

A little experimentation is recommended. Some people suffer afternoon fatigue and so the second capsule at lunch can help combat this. It is not advised that you take more than 4 capsules in any 24 hour period.”

Can we build this cheaper on our own?

Hammer Wrench

Can we build a more effective, and cheaper version of Lumonol on our own?

So how much would it cost to make our own “homemade Lumonol” with trusted off-the-shelf products?

Outside of noopept, we don’t know the exact doses of the ingredients here, but we can give some educated guesses. Given that several of the ingredients are underdosed, we’ll actually end up with a stronger product here – but can we make it happen for less than the retail price of $60?

That’s exactly what we did with Onnit’s Alpha Brain, where we were able to use off-the-shelf ingredients to make a product that was twice as strong for the same price!

So let’s see how much it’d cost to put together Lumonol using off-the-shelf ingredients!

At the time of writing, with you can get 60 capsules (30 servings) for $59.97 direct from Lumonol, and it’s about the same when using PricePlow (some are re-selling it on eBay and Amazon). So that’s our target to meet or beat.

Building our own Lumonol

Phosphatidylserine Benefits

PS does more than just enhance cognitive function. Here’s a simple chart showing that golfers hit balls better with PS.

In reconstructing our own version of Lumonol, we’ll have to do a bit of estimating as the company has opted to use a massive prop blend for their formula, something we’re never in favor of, especially with nootropics and stimulants.

There may be some error in our guesses, but it’s based off the doses commonly seen and used in formulas around the industry.

  • Focus Blend — 515mg needed:
    • Phosphatidylserine: estimated 200mg

      Amount to buy = 6g

    • Acetyl L-Carnitine: estimated 150mg

      Amount to buy = 4.5g

    • L-Tyrosine: estimated 150mg

      Amount to buy = 4.5g

    • Noopept: disclosed 15mg

      Amount to buy = 450mg

      The only ingredient we know is 15mg of Noopept, so that leaves us 500mg in the Focus Blend split across 3 ingredients. Phosphatidylserine is best dosed between 200 – 400mg / day for cognitive improvement, so we’ll start there. That leaves a sad 300mg for ALCAR and Tyrosine which we’ll split evenly between the two.

  • Energy Blend — 430mg needed
    • Panax Ginseng: estimated 400mg

      Amount to buy = 12g

    • Hordenine: estimated 15mg

      Amount to buy = 450mg

    • Guarana: estimated 15mg

      Amount to buy = 450mg

      Common doses to get the cognitive benefits of Ginseng are 400mg, so we can start with that amount, which leaves us with a safe 30mg for both Hordenine and Guarana, now each at 15mg.

  • Memory Blend (170mg)
    • Ginkgo Biloba: estimated 120mg

      Amount to buy = 3.6g

    • Alpha GPC: estimated 50mg

      Amount to buy: 1.5g

Lumonol Brain

Lumonol claims to enhance all aspects of brain function…based on the dosing, we’re a bit skeptical.

The amount to buy areas were calculated by multiplying the dose by 30, since there’s 30 servings per container. Now let’s find some off-the-shelf ingredients (all prices are as of August 4, 2017 using PricePlow):

  • Focus Blend:
    • Phosphatidylserine: Amount needed = 6g

      We can buy 60 100mg softgels of Natural Factors PS for $11.86.

    • ALCAR: Amount needed = 4.5g

      We can buy 60 500mg capsules of MRM Acetyl L-Carnitine for $6.64.

    • L-Tyrosine: Amount needed = 4.5g

      We can buy 60 500mg capsules of NOW L-Tyrosine for just $3.95.

    • Noopept: Amount needed = 3.375g

      We can buy 90 10mg capsules of LGI N-Pept10 for $16.14.

  • Energy Blend
  • Memory Blend
    • Gingko Biloba: Amount needed 3.6g

      You can buy 60 60mg Capsules of NOW Ginkgo Biloba for $4.27.

    • Alpha GPC: Amount needed = 6.75g

      You can buy 60 300mg capsules of NOW Alpha-GPC for $16.19.

Grand total = $81.16, while one bottle of Lumonol costs $69.99 according to our prices, so you’re spending more, BUT

  1. We’re getting full legit doses of ingredients
  2. We’re getting far more servings total

You’d literally have to spend 3-4x as much with Lumonol to compete with the package we put together above.

A more realistic version

NOW Ginkgo Biloba

A cheaper and more effective means to seeing what the power of Ginkgo Biloba is to just purchase it for yourself and run it solo and purchase Lumonol.

If you want to be honest, we can switch out their tiny Alpha GPC dose for a large choline bitartrate dose and save another $10 — it’s impossible to buy off-the-shelf Alpha GPC as underdosed as they’ve made it, so that’s killing our budget.

Even more honestly, the only four ingredients here that are reasonably dosed (potentially) in Lumonol are:

  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Panax Ginseng
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Noopept

If we were to only worry about those (plus some extra choline to support the noopept), then we’re looking at $11.86 + $16.14 + $6.64 + $4.27 = $38.91 — add in some cheap choline bitartrate for $5.00 and you’re looking at an easy, our bare-bones version of Lumonol for $45.00 but you’ll get a lot more servings to boot.

So the good news is that Lumonol isn’t overmarking this too much for what you’re getting – we’ve seen far more ridiculous nootropic prices. There’s a price to be paid for the convenience of getting four good ingredients in two pills and not dealing with a dozen supplement purchases. Also note that they’re offering 20% commissions to their affiliates who are promoting them all over the Internet — that’s a tad high but not absurd either.

Takeaway

Lumonol

We honestly came in thinking Lumonol would be worse than it is. We don’t like prop blends, but there are clearly benefits to this nootropic if you have the $60 to shell out.

Nootropics are a booming business right now, and much like the supplement industry, the amount of crap products on the market continues to escalate as the industries grow in popularity and profit.

Lumonol could be a beginner’s way of testing out a few new ingredients, namely Phosphatidylserine, Panax Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, and Noopept, but there is a slight bit of overpaying involved for that convenience.

At the end of the day, we couldn’t use off-the-shelf ingredients to make a duplicate Lumonol at the same price, but we could make a similar one cheaper or a stronger one for more money — and we’d know the extract strengths to boot! Lumonol’s a touch overpriced, but they aren’t completely price-gouging like we’ve seen with other nootropics.

Long story short – experts will probably continue to make their own, but we’d have no argument for everyone else interested in some convenient memory support to give this a shot if you have $60 in your budget.

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References

  1. Gindin J., et al.; The Geriatric Institute for Education and Research, Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot, Israel; “THE EFFECT OF PLANT PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE ON AGE-ASSOCIATED MEMORY IMPAIRMENT AND MOOD IN THE FUNCTIONING ELDERLY;” 1993
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18616866
  3. Ferreira GC, McKenna MC. L-Carnitine and Acetyl-L-carnitine Roles and Neuroprotection in Developing Brain. Neurochem Res. 2017;42(6):1661-1675. doi:10.1007/s11064-017-2288-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28508995
  4. Genazzani AD, Despini G, Czyzyk A, Podfigurna A, Simoncini T, Meczekalski B. Modulatory effects of l-carnitine plus l-acetyl-carnitine on neuroendocrine control of hypothalamic functions in functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA). Gynecol Endocrinol. June 2017:1-5. doi:10.1080/09513590.2017.1332587. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28573875
  5. Ostrovskaya et al. (2007). The nootropic and neuroprotective proline-containing dipeptide noopept restores spatial memory and increases immunoreactivity to amyloid in an Alzheimer’s disease model.Journal of psychopharmacology, 21(66): 611-619; Doi: 10.1177/0269881106071335; Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17092975
  6. Martinez, J., & Derrick, B. (1996). Long term Potentiation and Learning. Annual Review of Psychology, 47(1): 173-203. Retrieved from http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.47.1.173
  7. Reay JL, Scholey AB, Kennedy DO; Panax ginseng (G115) improves aspects of working memory performance and subjective ratings of calmness in healthy young adults . Hum Psychopharmacol. (2010)
  8. Attele AS, et al; Antidiabetic effects of Panax ginseng berry extract and the identification of an effective component . Diabetes. (2002)
  9. Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB; Single doses of Panax ginseng (G115) reduce blood glucose levels and improve cognitive performance during sustained mental activity . J Psychopharmacol. (2005)
  10. Frank M, et al; Hordenine: pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and behavioural effects in the horse; Equine Vet J. (1990)
  11. Barwell C.; School of Pharmacy; “Deamination of hordenine by monoamine oxidase and its action on vasa deferentia of the rat;” 1989
  12. Nedergaard O.; British Journal of Pharmacology; “Action of various sympathomimetic amines on the isolated stripped vas deferens of the guinea-pig;” November 1968
  13. Lima, WP, et. al; “Lipid metabolism in trained rats: effect of guarana (Paullinia cupana Mart.) supplementation”; Clinical Nutrition; December 2005; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16182414
  14. University of Maryland Medical Center; “Gingko Biloba;” Updated May 2013
  15. NYU Langone Medical Center; “Enhancing Memory and Mental Function;” Updated August 2013
  16. National Institutes of Health; “Gingko;” Updated August 2013
  17. Sierpina V., et al.; American Family Physician; “Gingko Biloba;” September 2003
  18. Itil TM., et al.; Psychopharmacology Bulletin; “The pharmacological effects of ginkgo biloba, a plant extract, on the brain of dementia patients in comparison with tacrine;” 1998
  19. Bellar D, LeBlanc NR, Campbell B; “The effect of 6 days of alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine on isometric strength”; J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015; 12(1):42; Retrieved from http://www.jissn.com/content/12/1/42
  20. Ziegenfuss T, Landis J, Hofheins J. Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2008;5(Suppl 1):P15. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-S1-P15.
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