Core Zone: An Advanced Nootropic for the Creative Mind

Core Nutritionals was founded in 2005 by drug-free pro bodybuilder, Doug Miller, and his wife, drug-free pro figure competitor Stephanie Miller. After years of taking dietary supplements that didn’t live up to the Millers’ standards, Doug and Stephanie set out to create a brand they could be proud of. Core Nutritionals’ first product was a comprehensive meal replacement powder called Core MRP. It’s still one of their best sellers today.

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Core Nutritionals: no proprietary blends, fillers, or pixie dusting.

Core Nutritionals has built their reputation on developing supplements that use the highest quality ingredients at clinically-substantiated dosages with no fillers or proprietary blends. When Core first started, it was one of the first companies to use a fully transparent label—meaning every ingredient and dosage is listed on the label, so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

Furthermore, Core took things a step further and sought out Current Good Manufacturing Procedures (cGMP) certified contract manufacturers to create all of their supplements. This ensures that what’s on the label is actually in the product. You can tell that Core doesn’t take shortcuts. The fact that they’ve been around since 2005 and have become one of the most popular brands in the industry shows their commitment to quality. So what’s Core up to 15 years later?

This year has been a milestone year for Core since they decided to roll out a rebrand, several new products, reformulations of existing products, a completely new look, and plenty of new flavors. They also revamped their website to make it more user friendly. Needless to say, Core has been extremely busy in 2020, but they’re not slowing down anytime soon.

Get In The Zone With Core Nutritionals

A few months ago, on Ask the Boss podcast, Doug teased that Core was getting ready to release a nootropic that would increase productivity, focus, mental energy, and clarity. Whether you’re a gamer, graphic designer, student, or entrepreneur, Core Zone is here to help you take your creativity to the next level.

Core Zone

Meet Core Zone, an advanced and versatile nootropic.

Core Zone’s formula has finally been unveiled and it features ingredients at great dosages that PricePlow really enjoys, such as L-tyrosine, NeuroFactor, citicoline, mucuna pruriens, and bacopa monnieri. Since this is a nootropic and not a pre-workout supplement, Core decided to use a mild dose of caffeine at 150 milligrams, which is perfect for increasing mental energy and getting you dialed in, rather than making you feel stimmed out of your mind.

One of the more interesting ingredients in Core Zone that we don’t see very often in any supplement is pregnenolone, a neurosteroid. But it’s also included in Core Fury, their locked and loaded pre-workout.

Keep reading to see everything that Core Zone has to offer and sign up for Core Nutritionals news and deal alerts below to be the first to know when new products, flavors, and sales go live!

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Core Zone Ingredient Analysis

Every bottle of Core Zone comes with 20 servings and in some delicious-sounding flavors, including sour candy and “Arnold Palmer”. Anytime you need an extra boost in mental energy, Core Zone is an excellent supplement to have in your arsenal.

Although Core Zone can be used pre-workout, we suggest using Core Fury or Core Pump for maximal performance. Core Zone is intended to enhance your productivity throughout the day so you can get more stuff done, which, as a result, will leave you more time to do the things you enjoy, like hitting the gym.

Here’s what one serving (8g) of Core Zone delivers:

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine – 1g

    Core Zone isn’t a fat burner, so why are they kicking off Core Zone’s formula with 1 gram of acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR)>! You may not know that ALCAR is not only great for enhancing fat metabolism, but it also amplifies mental focus. It’s common to see ALCAR in energy drinks, fat burners, pre-workout, gaming supplements, and nootropics, due to its role in acetylcholine production.

    Core Zone Ingredients

    Core Zone has everything you need to get in the zone.

    Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that’s released from the nervous system to optimize communication with cells in the body. Acetylcholine is primarily located in neuromuscular gap junctions between the nervous system and skeletal muscle. So it’s heavily involved in carrying out muscular contractions. As you’ll see later on, ALCAR was included in Core Zone to work synergistically with citicoline to optimize acetylcholine production. The ALCAR provides an acetyl group while citicoline converts into choline.Together, they create acetylcholine.

    A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research found that ALCAR demonstrates antidepressant, neuroprotective, and neurotrophic properties.[1] In addition, other studies have reported that ALCAR can enhance learning capabilities and brain synaptic response, while reducing cognitive decline.[2,3]

  • L-Tyrosine – 1g

    L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that serves as a precursor to several neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine. Although L-tyrosine can be produced by the body, supplementing with an exogenous source can be extremely beneficial, especially in times of stress.

    Core Fury Pump

    The ultimate pre-workout stack.

    A study published in Military Medicine reported that decreased levels of catecholamine neurotransmitters, specifically norepinephrine, can lead to impaired cognitive and physical performance. This same study also revealed that when supplemental tyrosine is consumed prior to a stressful situation, it can increase catecholamine production and help boost cellular firing in the brain due.[4]

    Given these results, it’s no surprise that L-tyrosine is one of the primary ingredients in Core Zone and is often found in pre-workouts, since exercise places a major stress on the body and mind. It’s important to note that there’s two primary forms of supplemental tyrosine in the supplement industry: N-acetyl-L-tyrosine (NALT) and L-tyrosine. Despite NALT being more water soluble, we prefer L-tyrosine because it’s been shown to be more effective at increasing plasma tyrosine levels.[5]

  • Taurine – 1g

    Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid that takes on numerous roles within the body, especially in the nervous system.[6,7] Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the brain. It also can be found in muscle tissue, organs, and the retina.[7] Within the nervous system, taurine is involved in everything from development to cytoprotection.[7]

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    Stay anabolic with Core ABC.

    Insufficient levels of taurine have been linked to renal dysfunction, cardiomyopathy, developmental abnormalities, and damage to neurons.[7] Furthermore, taurine is essential for eye health via photoreceptor development. And if you’re going to use Core Zone for computer work or gaming, then you’ll definitely appreciate the addition of taurine in this formula.

    A study from Life Sciences showed that supplementing with taurine can enhance cognitive function through numerous mechanisms, such as restoring the function of taurine transporters and GABA (?-aminobutyric acid) receptors, reducing neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, activating physiological pathways, and stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis and synaptic function.[6] Other studies have shown that taurine is heavily involved in neurotransmission and that inadequate intake can negatively affect your memory and learning capabilities.[8]

  • Citicoline (Cytidine-5′-diphosphocholine) – 500mg

    Citicoline, also known as cytidine-5′-diphosphocholine, expresses potent nootropic and brain-health boosting properties since it supplies you with an essential nutrient —choline.

    As we mentioned in the ALCAR section, these two ingredients were added to Core

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    Recover, refuel, and rebuild with Core POST.

    Zone for the purpose of increasing acetylcholine production as efficiently as possible. Citicoline and ALCAR are a dynamic duo since ALCAR provides the acetyl group and citicoline provides a hefty dose of choline.

    There are various forms of supplemental choline on the market, however, in regards to getting dialed-in focus and maximal mental energy, citicoline is one of PricePlow’s top picks. Clinical trials have shown that citicoline, in particular, expresses the ability to boost attention, focus, and mental energy.[9,10] Since choline is classified as an essential nutrient and is involved in multiple physiological processes, we would recommend supplementing as necessary if your diet is lacking.[11]

    The majority of choline is found in animal-based products, such as egg yolks and seafood If you consume a plant-based diet, that puts you at much greater risk for developing a choline deficiency. Choline also plays an important role in metabolism, cell structure, and neurotransmitter synthesis.[11] Citicoline is a great addition to Core Zone and it’s an ingredient that you’re really going to feel working within minutes after ingestion.

  • Mucuna Pruriens Extract (seed) (50% L-dopa) – 500mg

    Mucuna pruriens, also known as velvet bean, is a plant that belongs to the Fabaceae family, which includes nearly 150 species of legumes.[12] Historically, mucuna pruriens was used as an Indian medicinal plant to treat a variety of medical ailments.[12] As you can see from the label, this specific mucuna pruriens extract is derived from the seed of the plant and standardized to contain 50% L-dopa, which is largely attributed to mucuna’s brain boosting properties.[12]

    Core Greens Stack

    Core Greens is one of the most comprehensive and tasty greens on the market.

    L-dopa is a non-protein amino acid that serves as a powerful precursor to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in motivation, reward, motor control, and other executive functions. As we mentioned earlier, tyrosine can lead to the production of dopamine, however, it must first be converted into L-dopa.[12]

    Thus, adding mucuna pruriens provides the body with a more direct route for dopamine production. Furthermore, L-dopa can easily cross the blood brain barrier and increase dopamine levels to restore neurotransmission, if the conversion of L-tyrosine to dopamine is inhibited.[12]

    A systematic review from the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that the L-dopa content in mucuna pruriens seeds express neuroprotective properties. It’s even been used to treat and/or reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.[12]

  • Bacopa Monnieri Extract (50% bacopasides) – 300mg

    Bacopa monnieri is an herb that was used in Ayurvedic medicine to increase learning capabilities and memory. Over the years, a lot of research has been conducted on bacopa’s potential as a memory aid, especially in older adults.[13]

    Core MRP Stack

    Never miss a meal with Core MRP.

    Bacopa’s memory-boosting properties are primarily attributed to its bioactive constituents, most notably, saponins (bacopasides, bacosides, and bacopa-saponins).[13] As you can see from the label, Core Zone uses a specific bacopa monnieri extract that’s standardized to contain at least 50% bacopasides.

    Preliminary studies have shown that bacopa increases memory through a variety of mechanisms, including cholinergic upregulation, ?-aminobutyric acid modulation, stimulation of protein synthesis in the brain, 5-HT inhibitor, alteration of stress hormones in the brain, and serving as an antioxidant.[13]

    In a randomized controlled trial, published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, researchers gave participants 300 milligrams of bacopa extract or a placebo for a total of 12 weeks. They found that the bacopa group showed significantly increased cognitive function on a variety of memory-recall assessments. The conclusion was that bacopa has the potential to be a safe and effective cognitive enhancer.[13]

  • Caffeine Anhydrous – 150mg

    It’s pretty rare to see a potent nootropic without the addition of caffeine! However, unlike pre-workouts, it’s more advantageous to have a low dose of caffeine, such as 150 to 200 milligrams, to boost cognitive function and productivity, opposed to the 300 milligrams or more that’s often needed to enhance physical performance. A systematic review from Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews found that low-to-moderate doses (40 to 300 milligrams) of caffeine improve cognitive function, whereas doses greater than 200 milligrams result in an ergogenic effect.[14]

    Core Iso ABCD

    Take your training to the next level with Core Iso and Core ABCD.

    Therefore, at 150 milligrams, Core Zone should give you a nice and steady rise in energy, mood, focus, and clarity. Going lower-stim also helps reduce the likelihood for negative side effects, such as jitters, anxiety, or the dreaded energy crash. Furthermore, Core decided to use caffeine anhydrous, a synthetic form of caffeine, since it’s extremely effective and fast-acting. Caffeine is one of the most widely used stimulants in the world, and for a good reason. It’s legal, safe, well-researched, and proven to be effective.[14,15]

    Caffeine primarily carries out its effects by inhibiting adenosine and phosphodiesterase. Adenosine is a nucleoside that causes a slow down in neural activity once it binds to its receptor. On the other hand, phosphodiesterase affects energy metabolism by breaking down a secondary messenger called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP).[15] By preventing these molecules from expressing their effects, caffeine can efficiently boost energy levels. That’s a recipe for next-level productivity.

  • NeuroFactor (Whole Coffee Fruit Extract) (Coffea Arabica) – 100mg

    The one and only trademarked ingredient in Core Zone is NeuroFactor, a whole-coffee fruit extract from FutureCeuticals. NeuroFactor significantly increases mental energy, focus, and overall cognition. So it’s mainly found in pre-workouts, energy drinks, and nootropics. However, there are several other ingredients that have a similar effect, so why add NeuroFactor into the mix?

    NeuroFactor Logo

    NeuroFactor is one of the newest brain-boosting nootropics on the market with some pretty intriguing research behind it.

    It turns out that NeuroFactor is capable of doing something that nearly no other dietary supplement can do:increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that’s highly concentrated in the brain![16] Not only is BDNF crucial for the development and growth of new neurons, it expresses anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and even immunomodulatory properties.[16,17]

    Furthermore, BDNF has been identified in virtually all areas of the brain. Therefore, it’s extremely important for overall brain health and function.[16,17] There’s also the presence of BDNF in the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and reproductive systems. Given this information, it’s no surprise that BDNF is also involved in other physiological processes, including energy balance.[16,17]

    A landmark study from the British Journal of Nutrition found that just 100 milligrams of whole -coffee fruit extract significantly increased blood levels of BDNF after just 60 minutes of administration.[15] As the label shows, you’re getting the clinically studied dose in just one serving of Core Zone! Higher levels of BDNF are associated with enhanced mood, memory, and learning capabilities.[16,17]

  • Huperzia Serrata Extract (leaf and stem) (1% Huperzine A) – 20mg

    Huperzia serrata extract, also known as toothed clubmoss, is a plant that’s been historically used in traditional Chinese medicine.[18]

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    A man on a mission, CEO of Core Nutritionals, Doug Miller.

    Today, it’s most commonly used in nootropics and pre-workouts to maximize mental focus and the mind-muscle-connection. Research has shown that huperzine A, the primary bioactive constituent of huperzia, is capable of inhibiting an enzyme (acetylcholinesterase) that leads to the breakdown of acetylcholine.[18]

    So not only are you getting an increase in acetylcholine synthesis from the combination of ALCAR and citicoline, huperzine A also reduces acetylcholine metabolism. This results in an even greater and longer-lasting increase in acetylcholine levels. It’s a triple threat for maximal brain-boosting power![18]

    If that’s not good enough, a study published by Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that huperzine A reduces the accumulation of iron in the brain and has potent neuroprotective effects that may help prevent the onset of some medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.[18]

  • Pregnenolone – 10mg

    One of the last major ingredients in Core Zone is pregnenolone and this is definitely something that we don’t see very often, especially in nootropics or pre-workouts. Pregnenolone is classified as a neurosteroid and it also serves as a precursor to other hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, cortisol, and progesterone.[19,20]

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    Maximize your performance with Core Intra.

    Pregnenolone is naturally produced by the body from cholesterol by a specific mitochondrial enzyme. Studies have shown that pregnenolone expresses strong anti-fatigue and anti-inflammatory properties, and also affects overall mood.[19,20]

    A study published in JBC reported that pregnenolone and it’s metabolic byproducts have the potential to increase cognitive function via improved learning and learning abilities, decreases symptoms of depression, and may protect against neuroinflammatory diseases.[19]

    Another study, published by Neuropsychopharmacology, found that when participants with bipolar depression were given pregnenolone, it was able to safely and effectively improve their depressive symptoms.[20]

    It looks like Core Nutritionals is on to something with this ingredient and it’s definitely one of the reasons why Core Zone stands out from the rest of the nootropics on the market. A better mood will no doubt make you more productive and energetic throughout the day.

  • Additional B-Vitamins

    Core Shred Stack

    Lose fat faster with Core Shred.

    The last thing we want to mention about Core Zone’s formula is that it includes the following B-vitamins to maximize energy metabolism and provide additional health benefits:

    • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – 1.2mg (100% DV)

    • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – 1.3mg (100% DV)

    • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – 16mg (100% DV)

    • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – 5mg (100% DV)

    • Vitamine B6 (Pyridoxine HCL) – 100mg (5882% DV)

    • Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) – 100mcg (4166% DV)

Core Zone Flavors

The first Core Zone flavors are sour candy and Arnold Palmer. We expect to see more flavors soon.

Here’s a list of all available Core Zone flavors:

    Adopt the “Crush-It” Mentality with Core Zone

    Since day-one, Core Nutritionals has been developing supplements to help you crush it. While the majority of supplement companies stop at the gym, Core wants you to crush it in all aspects of life, whether at work, school, home, or hitting the weights. Regardless of your goals or aspirations, Core has something that will help you take things to the next level.

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    Core Zone is an excellent supplement to help you adopt the crush-it mentality because your productivity, mental focus, motivation, and drive are going to be through the roof after just one serving. Core Zone can be used for work, studying, gaming, or a substitute for your morning cup of coffee. Although Core Zone is not intended to be a pre-workout, it can definitely help increase your mental focus and energy for a big training session.

    However, if you really want to see big performance gains, we suggest using Core Fury and/or Core Pump since they have ingredients specifically designed to boost muscular pumps, power, endurance, and strength. Core Zone is just one component of Core Nutritionals’ year-long rebrand, so be on the lookout for more supplements, products, and flavors coming very soon. As always, subscribe below for more Core Nutritionals deals, news, reviews, and interviews from PricePlow.

    Core Nutritionals Zone – Deals and Price Drop Alerts

    Get Price Alerts

    No spam, no scams.

    Disclosure: PricePlow relies on pricing from stores with which we have a business relationship. We work hard to keep pricing current, but you may find a better offer.

    Posts are sponsored in part by the retailers and/or brands listed on this page.

    About the Author: Mike Roberto

    Mike Roberto

    Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

    Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public.

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    10. Fioravanti M., Buckley AE. Sep. 2006. “Citicoline (Cognizin) in the treatment of cognitive impairment.” Clinical Interventions in Aging 1,3. 247–251.
    11. Zeisel, S., da Costa, KA. Nov. 2009. “Choline: An Essential Nutrient for Public Health.” Nutrition Reviews vol. 67,11. 615-23.
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    13. Calabrese, C. et al. July 2008. “Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine vol. 14,6. 707-13.
    14. McLellan, T. et al. Dec. 2016. “A Review of Caffeine’s Effects on Cognitive, Physical and Occupational Performance.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews vol. 71. 294-312.
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    16. Reyes-Izquierdo, T. et al. Aug. 2013. “Modulatory Effect of Coffee Fruit Extract on Plasma Levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Healthy Subjects.” British Journal of Nutrition vol.110,3. 420-5.
    17. Bathina, S., Das, N. Dec. 2015. “Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and its clinical implications.” Archives of Medical Science vol. 11,6. 1164-78.
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    19. Murugan, S. et al. Jan. 2019. “The Neurosteroid, Pregnenolone Promotes Degradation of Key Proteins in The Innate Immune Signalling to Suppress Inflammation.” JBC Papers in Press. 1-18.
    20. Brown, S. et al. July 2014. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Pregnenolone for Bipolar Depression.” Neuropsychopharmacology vol. 39,12. 2867-73.

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