Focus Factor is a widely available nootropic supplement with a "kitchen sink" strategy for boosting brain power. It's part supplement, part multivitamin, part herbal extract. While other nootropic supplements take a silicon-valley startup approach to producing and marketing their product, Focus Factor is, for better or worse, a dyed in the wool supplement company.
Listing all of the potentially active ingredients in Focus Factor would be a nightmare. Its supplement facts label covers nearly half the bottle; the creators of Focus Factor definitely took a shotgun-style approach to this formulation—throw everything in it and hope for the best.
On the vitamins and minerals front, Focus Factor's label looks very similar to an off-the-shelf multivitamin. It's got all the basics: All the "alphabet" vitamins (A, B complex, C, D, E), a lot of the essential minerals (zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum), and other trace ingredients.
However, most of these are provided in fairly modest amounts. Only 100 IU of vitamin D, for example, and only 5% of your recommended daily intake of calcium. And this is for one serving size—four tablets.
Focus Factor also includes a very complex proprietary blend with a similar-looking strategy: throw in everything and see what works. Their "synergistic and proprietary formulation" amounts to just under 700 mg per serving, and includes dozens of ingredients. This, by necessity, means that each of these ingredients is going to be present in very small amounts. Many other nootropics include over 700 mg of one of their active ingredients.
Because this formulation is proprietary, and because none of the ingredients have a regulated daily intake, Focus Factor is free to obscure exactly how much of each ingredient is included. What proportion of the 692 mg of the proprietary formulation is made up of vinpocetine, which might help improve reaction time and focus at a dosage of 40 mg (1)? Who knows! You've got no idea whether you're getting an effective dosage or not.
Nevertheless, the list of active ingredients reads like nootropic stew: just about everything you've heard of is in it. The typical amino acids like glutamine and pyroglutamic acid, a very small amount of DHA (an omega three fatty acid), vipocetine, huperzine A, and choline, are all present.
The marketing literature for Focus Factor claims that Focus Factor is a scientifically proven formulation that can improve focus and memory. They claim they have conducted a scientific research study that proves its efficacy, but it has not been published in any peer-reviewed scientific journals, nor are the details available on the company's website. Their proof, effectively, is "trust us, it works."
It is true that a number of the ingredients have been shown to have nootropic potential. Huperzine A, for example, seems to increase cognitive function and quality of life in patients with Alzheimer's disease (2), suggesting that it might be helpful for healthy people who are looking to improve their brain function as well. And Bacopa monnieri extract has shown evidence of being useful for improving memory and learning skills (3).
However, given how many active ingredients are included in the 700 mg proprietary formulation in Focus Factor, it's highly unlikely any of them are present in doses sufficient to achieve a nootropic effect. For example, a typical research dose of huperzine A is 400 mg per day, and a typical research dose of bacopen is 300 mg per day. These alone would account for more than the contents of Focus Factor's blend, and Focus Factor has over a dozen more ingredients in addition to account for.
This doesn't even account for possible anti-synergistic effects among ingredients. When you mix together so many vitamins, minerals, extracts, and supplements, there are bound to be interactions, and not all of them will be positive. Without scientific evidence supporting this particular formulation, you've got no idea what you're consuming, how much of it you're taking, and what possible interactions lie in store.
The same problem applies to side effects. With probably fifty different ingredients, who knows what possible side effects could occur? Given the lack of scientific study on this supplement, it's very tough to enumerate the side effects.
Users report online that they have experienced anxiety, headaches, and general malaise, but it's impossible to tell more about the side effects from just anecdotal evidence.
The Bottom Line
Focus Factor claims to do it all, and definitely tries—there are tons of ingredients, some of which do actually have nootropic effects. However, the end result is that there is way too much included and way too little actual scientific evidence for the ingredients in this supplement.
There is no information on the actual constituents of the "proprietary blend"—how much bacopen is in it? Is that amount high enough to get a sufficient dosage? In all likelihood, the answer is probably no, but worse, we can't even answer that question without the information we need from the company. Add in some shady marketing practices and consumer complains about not getting their "money back guarantee," and you've got a mess on your hands.
Unlike other nootropic supplements, which tout their USA-based manufacturing processes, certified good manufacturing processes, and purity-tested formulations, Focus Factor has no such certifications.
All in all, it's better to avoid Focus Factor. Take your hard-earned money elsewhere if you're looking for a nootropic supplement—this one's not likely to help you focus, improve your mood, boost your energy levels, or help your sleep quality.