Mind Lab Pro is a brain-boosting nutritional supplement made by Opti-Nutra Ltd., a company based in the United Kingdom. It takes a careful, scientific, and methodical approach to selecting and blending its nootropic constituents.
The ingredients in Mind Lab Pro were clearly selected after a lot of time spent researching the nootropic potential of various supplements, synthetic compounds, and herbal extracts.
The groundwork of the formula is laid by vitamin B6 and B12, basic ingredients that you'd expect to see in many different nootropic supplements. Mind Lab Pro contains 125% of your recommended daily intake of both B6 and B12.
On top of this, the nootropic "stack" in Mind Lab Pro includes several compounds found in its competitors, as well as a few unique ones. Bacopa and vinpocetine, two mainstays of current nootropic formulations, are included, as are the twin amino acids tyrosine (provided in its more soluble form N-acetyl-L-tyrosine) and theanine; both of these are major bioactive compounds. Theanine binds to neurotransmitter receptors, and tyrosine is a direct building block for many neurotransmitters and hormones.
Phosphatidylserine, an obscure-sounding ingredient that's used to create cell membranes, is included as well, perhaps because it's been connected to lessening the cognitive decline associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
Citicoline, a choline precursor, is also present, in the commercial preparation Cognizin (also found in SmartX and a few other competitors). Citicoline is suspected to increase your memory—more on this in a bit.
As for the unique components, Mind Lab Pro contains lion's mane mushroom, Rhodiola rosea, and pterostilbene, three herbal extracts not found in many other nootropics. Are there benefits to any of these?
The potential benefits of vitamins B6 and B12 are well known. Some research suggests they can lower your levels of a compound called homocysteine, which has been connected with cognitive decline in older people (1). The evidence is not conclusive, though, and for now, it appears that B vitamins, if anything, have a preventative effect, not a direct nootropic one.
Likewise, bacopa and vinpocetine are well-characterized memory boosters. A 2001 study published in Psychopharmacology found that a 300 mg bacopa supplement improved visual processing, learning rate, and memory consolidation when compared to a placebo (2).
Vinpocetine is also linked with better memory capabilities: in a 1994 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, twelve female volunteers were treated with a vinpocetine supplement, then tested on their cognitive performance. The researchers found that, at a 40 mg dosage, the women had superior performance on memory testing, but not reaction time or other components of the cognitive battery (3).
Unfortunately, in both of these cases, the actual dosage of these nootropic compounds in Mind Lab Pro is substantially less than the effective dose in these studies. The bacopa study used 300 mg, while Mind Lab Pro only contains half that; the vinpocetine study used 40 mg, while Mind Lab Pro only has 6 mg. This doesn't rule out the benefits, but it does suggest they'll be less potent.
A similar issue occurs with citicoline (Cognizin). While scientific research has identified citicoline as a potential way to reduce age-related declines in cognitive functioning (especially with verbal learning), the doses used in scientific studies are about twice what's included in Mind Lab Pro (4).
As for the amino acid tyrosine, its main benefit appears to be in high-stress situations. Studies in military recruits find that it improves cognitive performance and decreases blood pressure when taken before a stressful training exercise. One study found a decrease in blood pressure in a high-noise environment after taking a tyrosine supplement (5), and another found that tyrosine increases your resistance to the impairing effects of fatigue and stress (6).
Theanine, for its part, appears to function mostly as a neuroprotective agent unless it's combined with caffeine (7). There are plenty of studies connecting it with a decreased rate of cognitive decline in people with neurodegenerative diseases, but little evidence of a direct nootropic effect on its own.
Performance under stress might also be helped by the citicoline. A 2000 study in Phytomedicine found that this plant extract improved cognitive function in physicians working an overnight shift—this is good news if you like all-night study sessions (8).
The other two unique ingredients in Mind Lab Pro, lion's mane mushroom and pterostilbene, don't appear to have direct nootropic effects, but rather assist in regrowing damaged tissue in the central nervous system and protecting against age-related cognitive decline (9, 10)
As for side effects, Mind Lab Pro seems fairly safe. Although there have been no direct trials of the supplement itself, most of its ingredients have been tested in various studies and no side effects have been uncovered. Citicoline, for example, has been used in clinical trials in amounts up to 2000 mg without any increase in adverse effects (11), and lion's mane mushroom is actually edible. Still, many ingredients have not been studied in detail, so while the concern is small, keep an eye out for adverse effects if you try this supplement.
The Bottom Line
Mind Lab Pro is one of the most robust, well put together nootropic supplements on the market. Each of its ingredients has at least some scientific evidence supporting its use as a nootropic agent, and the manufacturer is totally up front with exactly how much of each ingredient is in the supplement. If designer nootropic formulations are of interest to you, this product should be at or near the top of your list.