Isobel Davies tests this popular mood enhancing supplement in our Genius Joy review. Find out whether it hit the spot or whether you should look for a better alternative…
Written by Isobel Davies
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Genius Joy is a product brought to us by The Genius Brand, a company that focuses on a range of supplements that range from nootropics to weight loss. They are a fairly well known company that have grown fast and although a relative newcomer to the supplement market, they have fast established a solid reputation.
Today we are taking an in-depth look at one of their mood boosters, Genius Joy. It falls under their nootropics range but it isn’t an out and out cognitive booster – rather, it focuses more on improving mood, reducing anxiety and promoting a sense of calm.
Let’s take a thorough look at it in our Genius Joy review.
Genius Joy – An Introduction
Although falling under The Genius Brand’s nootropic section (of which they have no less than 11 different supplements) it is actually more of a serotonin mood booster. In other words, it’s supposed to help increase serotonin production in the body which in turn will improve nerve cell transmission in the brain which can help improve mood and relieve anxiety.
It has an all natural ingredient profile that is vegetarian (although not vegan) friendly. It does have some excellent ingredients which we will discuss shortly although some are found across many of their supplements and so if you wanted to enjoy other cognitive benefits such as an increase in focus, memory or concentration then you’d likely have to double or triple up on Genius’ other nootropic supplements.
For the purposes of this Genius Joy review, we tested the product for 4 weeks. We started off on the recommended dose of 2 capsules per day and then upped this to 4 capsules per day as per the instructions.
As Genius Joy (and most nootropics) have an acute effect we were expecting to see and feel the impact of the supplement fairly quickly. In this review, we will discuss the impact of Genius Joy, discuss the ingredient profile and also give you our assessment as to the efficacy in terms of relieving anxiety and improving mood.
Genius Joy Quick Verdict
Genius Joy had a moderate impact on our tester but this was found to wear off by mid-afternoon – even when taking 4 capsules.
Our preferred nootropic of choice is NooCube. This will have the mood enhancing effect of Genius Joy along with a more complete and all-round nootropic effect.
Genius Joy Ingredients
All the ingredients are individually accounted for except for four proprietary blends. This is something that we always hate to see as you can never be 100% sure of the quantities of ingredients within each proprietary blend. That being said, Genius Joy does at least give the percentages of each ingredient within each proprietary blend.
You get 6 B vitamins that include B1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 12 as well as vitamin D. You then get L Theanine, Red Panax Ginseng and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. To finish you get the four blends which include NeuroFactor, HTPurity 5-HTP, Adomix (a form of SAMe) and Rhodiola5Plus.
We won’t cover everything individually but let’s look at what these ingredients should give you in terms of a serotonin boost.
Getting your daily recommended dose of B vitamins is important, but not all of them play a central role when it comes to brain health. The ones of real importance here are B1, B6 and B12 which help to keep the nervous system in check.
Vitamin D is also a good addition to this mix of vitamins as it is classed as neuro-protective and it is now thought that it has a variety of benefits that contribute to overall neuro-functioning.
The doses of each vitamin are adequately supplied when taking 4 capsules per day and you wouldn’t need any additional B or D vitamin supplements on top of Genius Joy.
S-Adenosy-L-methionine (SAMe) Tosylate Disulfate – Adomix
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a substance that occurs naturally within the body. Its main function is to keep hormones in check and to look after cell membranes. In supplement form it is widely available in the US but it’s worth noting that in some European countries it is offered on prescription.
It is used primarily to treat osteoarthritis, liver disease and depression.
For the purposes of using it as a mood enhancer it is its use in the treatment of depression that we are most interested. Although there are some studies that support SAMe’s use as a mood enhancer (and too for the treatment of depression) these studies are fairly limited, with far from optimal testing conditions and they were only conducted on a very small sample size.
So long as you aren’t taking any existing anti-depressants then SAMe (in this case Adomix) is going to be safe to consume, but the verdict on its efficacy is still up for debate.
Each 4 capsule serving gives you 100mg of NeuroFactor, which is essentially coffee fruit extract. It is a popular ingredient that is now found in a range of nootropics thanks to it being rich in polyphenols. It is thought that polyphenols increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which in turn helps to promote neuron growth and protection.
NueroFactor is thought to have a positive influence on mood and memory and so we think this is a very solid inclusion in Genius Joy’s mix.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) comes from L-tryptophan and is harnessed from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia and it increases the production of serotonin in the brain. This means it is often used to treat disorders that increased serotonin levels are thought to alleviate – these include depression and anxiety.
Though there is less evidence to support the use of 5-HTP to reduce levels of anxiety specifically, there is a growing bank of evidence to support its use to combat depression.
An additional concern when it comes to ingesting 5-HTP is that it is unlikely to be absorbed in to the body before being broken down and essentially destroyed in the stomach. It is likely that some will become absorbed but not in any way high enough a dosage to make any significant impact.
When we consider the likely poor absorption rate and the lack of evidence to support its inclusion to tackle anxiety then it doesn’t look like the most potent of ingredients.
Rhodiola 5 Plus (Rhodiola Rosea)
Here we have an excellent ingredient. Many nootropics include Rhodiola Rosea thanks to its naturally soothing qualities and it is well known as an ingredient that has significant anti-anxiety benefits. It is an adaptogen and we see it here in good quantity – with a 300mg dose being more than sufficient to combat stress.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is available as a supplement in its own right and here we get a healthy dose of 350mg which is the same as what you might expect in a standalone supplement. So at first glance it looks incredibly well dosed.
It has a wide range of purported benefits that range from increased focus and memory, to an increased energy and motivation. These are not really direct benefits that we’d look for in a mood boosting nootropic supplement, but it’s handy to have them included all the same.
However, there are some potential cross-over benefits.
If we look at the Tyrosine part of the ingredient for example, this has the effect of increasing dopamine levels. For people who are stressed then an increase in dopamine production can lead to an increase in motivation – as the brain will produce more dopamine in response to stressful stimuli.
This won’t necessarily lead to a greater feeling of calm, but it will help people who lead stressful lives to adapt to those situations with more gusto.
Depending on how you interpret this, might impact whether or not you think this is a good or bad inclusion. We think it’s good so long as the other ingredients play their part to alleviate the feelings of anxiety.
L-Theanine & Red Panax Ginseng
The amino acid L-Theanine is another ingredient that we see in many nootropics. It is derived from green or black tea and is also found in some mushrooms. It has antioxidant properties and is thought to have a calming effect on those who take it.
L-Theanine has been pretty widely studied and most support its use for relieving anxiety. Here, we see it in good supply with 100mg per serving. This could be a little higher for our liking but when combined with the other ingredients it’s a good enough dose.
Red Panax Ginseng is a herbal ingredient that has been used for thousands of years as a mood enhancer and natural energy booster. Here we see it in powder form from the root and we have 250mg of it which is plenty.
Using Genius Joy
I used Genius Joy for 1 month. As someone who leads a pretty stressful life, having to meet tight deadlines, balancing family life with professional life and still trying to have a social life – the day-to-day can be tough.
It’s fair to say I do suffer with anxiety and anything that can help reduce my stress levels is welcomed. So I was more than happy to try Genius Joy – in fact, I volunteered!
My anxiety is not clinically diagnosed and I don’t suffer from depression. But I definitely feel the weight of pressure on me daily and I do get anxious. So I was keen to see what impact (if any) Genius Joy would have on my state of mind.
It’s important to note that I have used a number of nootropics in the past although I don’t tend to use them consistently week in and week out – I like to have a break from them when I feel I don’t need them.
It had been at least 2 months since I’d taken any form of nootropic or mood enhancing supplement prior to testing Genius Joy and I had been feeling the pressure. So I figured I was in a good place to anecdotally measure the impact of taking Genius Joy.
The Impact Of Using Genius Joy For 1 Month
The ingredients contained within Genius Joy should have a fairly acute effect. In other words, you should start to notice the impact of using the supplement within a few days.
Like most nootropics, there is some element of a compound effect to be expected over a period of time, but when you stop taking them you will see the benefits quickly dissipate.
The trouble with anxiety and achieving a sense of calm is that it isn’t something that you can just switch on and off. Unlike seeking an energy boost, where you can almost tangibly feel a sudden impact, anxiety is far less easy to identify.
The other problem is that with consciously trying to assess the impact of Genius Joy, I felt that the process of the review was looming over me and making me feel somewhat uptight. Regardless of this, I went about the review and pressed forward with taking my daily dose of 2 capsules.
I followed the 2 capsule dose for the first 4 days and to be honest I felt pretty much the same as I already did. I purposely tried not to change other influencing factors, so I didn’t suddenly start practicing mindfulness or meditation and I kept my sleep and nutrition patterns the same.
On day 5 I upped the dose to the recommended 4 capsules and again there was little noticeable difference in how I felt. I still found that I was getting worked up over little things and I woke a couple of times in the night and struggled to get back to sleep with thoughts whizzing through my mind.
Day 6 and 7 though was where I noticed a difference. Now, these were weekend days (and I don’t work at the weekend) but something felt different around an hour after taking the 4 capsules on day 6.
I felt lighter.
I mean that metaphorically of course. Things just felt a little better.
Now, I’m fully aware that I’m using pretty fluffy language. But fluffy would describe the feeling quite well. I felt a bit happier. Less prone to snapping at the kids, feeling more in the moment and actually wanting to fully engage in the here and now rather than burying my head in to my smartphone or a laptop.
Day 7 felt the same.
Week 2 to week 3 was pretty similar. I wouldn’t say the difference was profound, but it was noticeable. I did notice that on work days I would still be more stressed than on non-work days but I guess that’s inevitable.
I also noticed that as the day wore on, the effects of Genius Joy would wear off. I was taking it first thing in the morning and taking the capsules all in one go as instructed.
For the final week I decided to try and spread the capsules throughout the day. So I took two in the morning with breakfast and then two just after lunch. I think this was a mistake as I didn’t get the same impact as when taking all 4 in the morning.
If I were to go through the Genius Joy review process again I’d likely start the same way as I did this time but then stick to taking 4 capsules with breakfast. I’d also consider focusing on non-supplement activities to relieve stress such as meditation and yoga – as I know these work well for me when I put them in my daily routine.
If deciding to continue using it personally then I’d probably look to stack it with a second Genius Joy product such as their Sleep Aid supplement for a more well rounded experience.
Genius Joy Side Effects
I personally did not experience any negative side effects from using Genius Joy and as soon as I stopped taking it I felt things went back to how they were prior to taking it – so the chances of long term side effects are likely minimal.
However, as with any supplement you do need to take care when taking it and remain vigilant for any side effects.
All the ingredients in Genius Joy are natural, but natural ingredients can react differently for different people so don’t just assume it is 100% safe to take. This is particularly true of the S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) ingredient found in Genius Joy.
SAMe is designed to balance hormones and affects the release of dopamine and serotonin in the body. This alone can potentially lead to having the opposite effects that are intended through Genius Joy. Although the chances of this are slim, it is still important to know.
Other possible side effects can include stomach cramps, mood swings, lethargy, headaches and skin complaints.
Genius Joy without a doubt had an impact on my mood. A positive one. But is that enough to make it a worthwhile mood enhancing supplement?
I’m not convinced.
The ingredients on the whole are good for mood enhancement. But there isn’t enough in there to suggest it is a complete nootropic. For me, I felt lacking in energy and motivation during the mid-afternoon and my focus and concentration levels were not as enhanced as when using other nootropics such as NooCube and Alpha Brain.
I did feel that my mood was enhanced and my anxiety levels were lowered for around 6 hours after taking 4 capsules, but then in the late afternoon I felt I needed more. This led me to a feeling of anxiety in and of itself.
Then there’s the question of cost. At the time of writing this review, Genius Joy costs around $60 for a 25 serving bottle. The 25 serving portion doesn’t make sense as the most common subscription is every 4 weeks (28 days) which would leave you short by 3 days.
You would also need to stack this supplement with another of the Genius Brand supplements for a full nootropic experience. This starts to get costly very quickly.
Let’s compare it for a second to my favorite nootropic of choice – NooCube. At the time of writing they have a three month bundle for just $120 which saves you a third off the cost of Genius Joy – and it is for a full 3 months! It’s also got the most complete and all-round natural ingredient profile of all those we have tested here at SOMA.
If you are dead set with going with The Genius Brand and want to try Genius Joy then I’d say go right ahead. It will help. But if you are willing to give another nootropic a try, then I’d have to recommend our no.1 choice which remains as NooCube.
This article was written by: Isobel Davies – SOMA Mental Health & Wellness Editor
Isobel has been an advocate for mental health and mental wellness for the best part of a decade. She uses nootropics (on and off) to support her cognitive functioning and combines this with yoga and meditation to bring a state of calmness to her life.
Away from work, she is a keen pianist and home baker. She has a young family that she adores.
Genius Joy Alternative Choice
Although Genius Joy is a well thought our product with some positive mood impact in our testing, we found it to be limited and feel there are better options available.
Our preferred nootropic of choice is NooCube. This will have the mood enhancing effect of Genius Joy along with a more complete and all-round nootropic effect.