In 2003, all energy drinks looked the same. But today it’s not as easy to categorize the variety of caffeinated beverages on the market. FOCUSAID is a great example of a caffeinated beverage that blurs the categories. LIFEAID Beverage Company insists FOCUSAID is not an energy drink. But it is a drink that offers both an energy boost and a mental boost from nootropic ingredients.
In this post, we’ll review the key ingredients in FOCUSAID, how those ingredients relate to brain health, and how FOCUSAID compares to the energy drink stereotype.
Science Behind FOCUSAID Nootropic Energy Drink Hybrid
Hi there, I research caffeine, energy drinks, and fatigue in the workplace.
I’ve been passionate about the science behind energy drinks since 2003. After getting my degrees in biochemistry and food science, I wrote a book all about energy drink ingredients and safety concerns.
As the GreenEyedGuide, my goal is to help people see caffeinated drinks the way I do, through my green eyes. With my books and my speaking gigs, I help people drink caffeine more strategically so they feel more alert with less caffeine.
Why Acetylcholine is So Important to Brain Health
First of all, we need to talk about acetylcholine. After that, it will be easier to see how FOCUSAID nootropic ingredients relate to acetylcholine and brain health.
Acetylcholine plays a role in several key aspects of brain function like memory, thinking, and learning [ref]. In fact, research shows low acetylcholine levels are linked to learning and memory impairments, dementia, and Alzheimer’s [ref]. As a result, scientists are trying to prove that taking supplements to boost acetylcholine levels improves your brain health long term.
In other words, low acetylcholine levels are bad. So we want ingredients which boost those levels. Remember this when we talk about FOCUSAID's nootropic ingredients
With that in mind, there are a handful of ingredients that are supposed to raise acetylcholine levels:
- CDP-choline (also sold as Cognizin citicoline)
Now that we know how important acetylcholine is to your brain, let’s look at the key ingredients in FOCUSAID and how they fit into this acetylcholine-boosting strategy for brain health.
FOCUSAID Nootropic Ingredients
Here are four things to note about this nootropic ingredient.
First of all, carnitine is a common energy drink ingredient. In the book, “Are You a Monster or a Rock Star: A Guide to Energy Drinks”, carnitine is compared to a doorman who helps visitors enter a fancy hotel. Only, in the body, the visitors are fatty acids which need to be broken down for energy. And this fancy hotel is the mitochondria – a “powerhouse” where key metabolic reactions take place.
Second of all, acetyl-L-carnitine is like L-carnitine with a fanny pack, this “acetyl” attachment. This acetyl group is a big deal because it becomes the “acetyl” in “acetylcholine” [ref]. In other words, the theory is more acetyl-L-carnitine leads to more acetylcholine in the brain. In particular, acetyl-L-carntine decreases the decline in brain function associated with Alzheimer’s by donating its acetyl fanny pack to make more acetylcholine [ref].
Third, it’s not clear how much acetyl-L-carnitine is in FOCUSAID but it’s probably less than 600 mg. In research studies on brain health, doses of acetyl-L-carnitine range from 600 mg to 2,000 mg (2 grams) per day.
Finally, we get acetyl-L-carnitine from food, too. Specifically, beef, pork, and fish are all good sources and have better absorption than acetyl-L-carnitine supplements [ref]. And this illustrates why FOCUSAID is meant to supplement, not to provide 100% of your brain health ingredients.
Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha-GPC)
Alpha-GPC is short for L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine. Just like acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha-GPC is one ingredient researchers think might slow the cognitive decline from dementia and Alzheimer’s by increasing those acetylcholine levels [ref].
Alpha-GPC is also occasionally seen in workout supplements because some believe it can enhance power output. Unfortunately, the research is severely lacking there.
Overall, alpha-GPC is a better supplement for brain health than for workouts. On one hand, it’s not clear if alpha-GPC supplements help younger people with normal cognitive function as much as older adults [ref]. On the other hand, it either helps or it does nothing – you can’t loose. Studies with alpha-GPC use doses of 1,200 mg (1.2 grams) with few (if any) side effects reported [ref]. There’s definitely not this much in FOCUSAID, but that’s okay because we’re not using FOCUSAID as a drug or medicine to prevent Alzheimer’s anyway.
Ginseng Root Extract
Since ginseng is a popular energy drink ingredient, we’ve talked about it many times here on the GreenEyedGuide blog. The good news is, ginseng is believed to help you stay calm and focused. The bad news is, research on ginseng and cognition isn’t as convincing in humans as it is for rats.
Most of the research has failed to find convincing evidence that ginseng improves cognition [ref]. However, there is this one clinical trial where 200-400 mg helped people do better on math tasks [ref].
Nonetheless, just because ginseng isn’t a sure-fire brain-boosting ingredient, it doesn’t mean it’s useless. In fact, ginseng is one of the energy-boosting ingredients recommended for those working the night shift.
Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract
According to Healthline,
“Several studies have found that Rhodiola rosea supplements can improve mood and decrease feelings of burnout in both anxious and highly stressed individuals [ref].“
And there’s some research, though limited, that suggests rhodiola balances testosterone to serotonin release ratios, which is a key physiological indicator of overtraining.
Gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA)
The last time I reviewed a drink with GABA, I wasn’t convinced it had any effect.
However, I missed one important detail!
GABA is “the brakes of the brain.” Its job is to reduce the activity of neurons in the brain. In other words, GABA is a natural stress reliever by quieting the signals between brain cells [ref]. GABA facilitates better sleep, less mental and physical stress, and reduced anxiety. And all those effects make it easier to focus.
Caffeine in FOCUSAID
FOCUSAID contains 100 mg caffeine per can. The caffeine comes from two natural sources:
- Green tea extract
- Yerba mate extract
As a reminder, healthy adults should not have more than 400 mg caffeine per day. Above this amount, side-effects and health issues outweigh the benefits of caffeine for the majority of the population [ref].
Here’s what the caffeine content of FOCUSAID Zero looks like compared to another nootropic-energy drink hybrid, to a stereotypical energy drink, and to a standard cup of coffee.
- FOCUSAID Zero – 100 mg
- Max Caffeine / Day – 400 mg
- Noo-Fuzion – 300 mg
- Red Bull (12 0z) – 110 mg
- Coffee (8 oz) – 100 mg
Final Thoughts about FOCUSAID's Nootropic Energy Drink Hybrid
LIFEAID states clearly, in multiple places, that FOCUSAID is NOT an energy drink. I couldn’t agree more. FOCUSAID is clearly one of those caffeinated beverages that breaks the energy drink stereotype. Aside from caffeine, B-vitamins, and ginseng, there aren’t any other traditional energy drink ingredients.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for an alternative to the stereotypical energy drink, FOCUSAID is a great healthy option. It has natural flavors, natural sweeteners, and caffeine from a natural source.
Furthermore, the 100 mg dose of caffeine is strong enough to help most people focus, but not so strong it leads to anxiety and jitters.
YOU SHOULD NOT THIS DRINK TO PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S. In fact, the FDA sent several companies warning letters for suggesting their nootropics could treat or prevent Alzheimer’s and other cognitive illness.
Instead, I encourage you to treat this drink like a multivitamin – get more choline from your diet and drink FOCUSAID as a bonus source, “just in case”.
Above all, even if the nootropic ingredients aren’t in large enough doses to give you brain health benefits, this drink is still nonetheless a healthy alternative to the energy drinks with high sugar and caffeine contents.