Sometimes we come across companies that start from the get go doing thing right. Northbound Nutrition is on these companies. We previously discussed the brand’s clinically dosed pre workout, Pinnacle, which we’ve been test driving and absolutely loving (review to come soon)!
Today, we look at the Northbound’s cognition enhancing formula Blend™, which is just as well dosed the the brand’s stellar pre workout. It’s packed to the gills with all the well-known nootropics you’ve come to know and love, but here, you’ll find them ALL extremely well dosed.
We’ve been tinkering with this one, and when we’re looking for a smooth energy drink without any exotic stimulants (like DMHA or DMAA), Blend has been the go-to.
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As we saw with Pinnacle, Blend™ is a 100% transparently dosed formula that provides an effective balance of energy and mental stimulation. It makes an ideal productivity type supplement, or could easily double as a lower stim, focus-heavy pre workout or even a gaming supplement.
Neural Energy Blend
Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that amplifies the production of two crucial neurotransmitters in the body, noradrenaline and dopamine. These two neurotransmitters work together to improve cognition, focus, and overall mood.
Together, these two powerful neurotransmitters reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.[2,3] Not only does this help you feel less on edge during the day, but more importantly, helps you stay focused on more immediate / pressing tasks.
Organic Caffeine (215mg)
Perhaps the most widely used brain-boosting compound humans ingest every day is none other than the same thing reason they turn to their morning cup of coffee, good old caffeine. Commonly used for its energy enhancing abilities, caffeine also carries with it other great benefits such as increased alertness and focus, and even performance benefits such as greater endurance.[4,5]
Blend™ (215mg) packs a lot less caffeine than its pre workout counterpart Pinnacle (325mg). Don’t kid yourself though, this amount will still give you a great energy boost when you’re struggling to get motivated to do some work or knuckle down and study for that upcoming exam, but not so much that you need to go bench press 500lbs to burn it off.
Cognitive Boost Blend
Acetyl L-Carnitine (1g)
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is a more absorption-friendly form of the amino acid L-Carnitine than showcases the extremely rare ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. ALCAR can reduce mental fatigue, improve mood, and boost learning and cognition.[9,10]
It’s also worth mentioning that ALCAR possesses a certain amount of fat-burning benefits as well since it works synergistically with caffeine to increase “fatty acid dumping. Here, fatty acids are excreted by the body when its cells are engaged in fat burning.
This is the carnitine for focus
There are many choices for L-Carnitine consumption, from straight L-Carnitine to ALCAR (what we have here) to GPLC (nitric oxide booster) to LCLT (muscle recovery and androgen receptor support) to PLCAR.
They’re all beneficial in some aspect, especially for dieters who are vegetarian/vegan who may not get enough due to lack of meat.
But when it comes to focus and endurance, ALCAR is the choice.
AlphaSize® Alpha GPC (300mg)
Our next cognitive booster is the “king” of choline, Alpha GPC. We’ve dubbed it the “king” simply for the reason that it’s the most bioavailable form of choline for the body, which makes it incredibly effective as much smaller doses compared to other choline forms such as Choline Bitartrate.
Not only is choline great for heightening focus and mood, but also improving the “mind-muscle connection.” Why would we bring this up when discussing a brain-boosting product? Simple, this could easily double as a lower stim, more focus heavy pre workout option instead of Pinnacle.
A few other benefits worth noting are increased power output, endurance and post-workout Growth Hormone (GH) level![12,13,14] Additionally, one newer study found that Alpha GPC significantly improved strength gains when dosed at 600mg. We’re not getting that much here, but you can an idea for the kind of power this one simple ingredient packs.
Huperzine A (200mcg)
Our last primary cognition elevator is the choline-extender, Huperzine A. This ingredient indirectly increases acetylcholine levels in the body by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that degrade acetylcholine in the body. This is in contrast to say, Alpha GPC, which directly increases acetylcholine production in the body.
Using both, gives a “best of both worlds” approach by not only directly increasing production of this vital neurotransmitter, but also prolonging its life in the body. One last bit of info concerning Huperzine is that it’s neuroprotective, by defending the brain against the “neuron death molecule” glutamine, and “neurogenerative.”
Neural Endurance Blend
Typically used in pump pre workouts and hydration blends, Taurine also finds a place in nootropic-based products as well. The reason for this is that large reserves of this conditionally essential amino acid reside in the brain, along with the heart and skeletal muscle. Due to this, it’s really no surprise that taurine enhances mental focus.
We like this ingredient for a number of reasons, and having in the productivity supplement just gives one other reason to enjoy it.
SPECTRA™ Total ORAC Blend (100mg)
SPECTRA™ is a trademarked blend of powdered fruits, veggies, and other botanicals designed to enhance the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms and support body’s immune system. Stress, whether it be physical or mental, creates a cascade of free radicals that left unchecked can wreak oxidative stress hell on the body. Antioxidants counter this negative chain of events by stopping the proliferation of free radicals and thereby keeping oxidative stress (and inflammation) in check.
Northbound also added this blend to their Pinnacle pre workout, and it’s here as well.
Our last ingredient is one you’ll find in just about every type of dietary supplement on the market, the immensely popular BioPerine® black pepper extract. BioPerine® improves the absorption of the various ingredients by preventing certain enzymes in the body from degrading them, thereby prolonging the life of the ingredients we want to absorb for maximum efficacy.
As we saw with Pinnacle, Northbound Nutrition has stayed true to their word with No Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives; however, Blend™ is sweetened with the artificial sweetener sucralose. Everything else, though, is all-natural.
That being said, there is only one flavor currently available: Raspberry Lemonade.
We’ve been seeing more and more of this cognitive enhancing, brain boosting productivity supplements as of late. The problem is, like most pre workouts, they’re severely underdosed and primarily rely on an abundance of stimulants rather than efficacious doses of proven nootropics.
Blend™, on the other hand, hits all the right notes of what a true mental enhancer should be, a touch of stims, and a heavy hit of properly dosed nootropics. You’ll feel energized, but not too much, and zoned in so that nothing comes in the way of you finishing the tasks in front of you.
Any gamers out there who also want energy think it might work for that as well?? We’ll just have to find out…
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- Yeghiayan SK, et al; Tyrosine improves behavioral and neurochemical deficits caused by cold exposure . Physiol Behav. (2001)
- Deijen JB, Orlebeke JF; Effect of tyrosine on cognitive function and blood pressure under stress . Brain Res Bull. (1994)
- Dollins AB, et al; L-tyrosine ameliorates some effects of lower body negative pressure stress . Physiol Behav. (1995)
- Duncan MJ, Smith M, Cook K, James RS. The acute effect of a caffeine-containing energy drink on mood state, readiness to invest effort, and resistance exercise to failure. J strength Cond Res / Natl Strength Cond Assoc. 2012;26(10):2858-2865. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318241e124.
- Meeusen R, Roelands B, Spriet LL. Caffeine, exercise and the brain. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser. 2013;76:1-12. doi:10.1159/000350223.
- Vermeulen RC, Scholte HR; Exploratory open label, randomized study of acetyl- and propionylcarnitine in chronic fatigue syndrome . Psychosom Med. (2004)
- Parnetti L, et al; Pharmacokinetics of IV and oral acetyl-L-carnitine in a multiple dose regimen in patients with senile dementia of Alzheimer type . Eur J Clin Pharmacol. (1992)
- Soczynska JK, et al; Acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid: possible neurotherapeutic agents for mood disorders . Expert Opin Investig Drugs. (2008)
- Ando S, et al; Enhancement of learning capacity and cholinergic synaptic function by carnitine in aging rats . J Neurosci Res. (2001)
- Sano M, et al; Double-blind parallel design pilot study of acetyl levocarnitine in patients with Alzheimer’s disease . Arch Neurol. (1992)
- Sachan DS, Hongu N; Increases in VO2max and metabolic markers of fat oxidation by caffeine, carnitine, and choline supplementation in rats . J Nutr Biochem. (2000)
- Acute supplementation with alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine augments growth hormone response to, and peak force production during, resistance exercise.
- Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine administration increases the GH responses to GHRH of young and elderly subjects.
- Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine.
- 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
- Zhao, Q; Effects of huperzine A on acetylcholinesterase isoforms in vitro: comparison with tacrine, donepezil, rivastigmine and physostigmine.; State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; 2002
- Ved, H; Huperzine A, a potential therapeutic agent for dementia, reduces neuronal cell death caused by glutamate.; Division of Biochemistry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; 1997
- Ma, T; Huperzine A promotes hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo.; State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University; 2013
- Alford, C., H. Cox, and R. Wescott, The effects of red bull energy drink on human performance and mood. Amino Acids, 2001. 21(2)