Our resident writer, PT and nootropic expert James Dixon examines a controversial supplement in this Neuriva review. Find out which side of the fence we sit on with this supplement below…
Written by James Dixon – fact checked by Jason M & the editorial team
James Dixon is one of the key players in the SOMA Analytics’ team. He is a personal trainer and is educated to Masters level in Philosophy. He is a published author and is a keen advocate of high quality nootropic supplements.
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Nootropics, or ‘smart drugs’, are burgeoning. They promise to enable better focus and concentration, more energy, enhanced creativity and lateral thinking, less anxiety, more optimism, and improved long-term brain health.
This may sound too good to be true. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. As with any corner of the supplements market, there are pretenders and there are magnificent real McCoy’s. Some of the nootropic supplements you will find will do everything they promise. Often, the results will be quite drastic.
Sometimes, however, you will come across a real dud. Under-dosed, under researched, full of useless ingredients, or barely full of any ingredients at all… they are an expensive waste of time.
It can be hard to know the difference between the two without buying and trying them. And if you get a dud, that’s a lot of money down the drain as your trial and error swings heavily towards the error.
Today I want to look at Neuriva, a nootropic with no small amount of controversy surrounding it. Some people absolutely love it. There is no shortage of positive consumer reviews. Others are less sure, for reasons that I’ll get into below.
Is it a dud or is it the real thing? Let’s find out in this full Neuriva review…
Neuriva – Quick Verdict
Neuriva has only two active ingredients, and both will do little to improve your cognitive performance. Our testing yielded no discernable impact and as such we have to recommend another top rated nootropic – Mind Vitality Focus.
Mind Vitality is the current supplement of choice for our many of the SOMA team members who take it on a daily basis.
A Little About Neuriva
Neuriva is a form of nootropic supplement – a ‘smart drug’ or brain supplement – made by Schiff Vitamins. It is Schiff’s first offering in the nootropic game.
Schiff Vitamins are a relatively popular brand who make a broad variety of different supplements. However, whilst they are popular, they aren’t always too well-rated by the scientific community. They are accused in some circles for putting out good-looking products that nevertheless fall a little short and make claims that are hard to back up with proper data.
This is kind of where we find Neuriva. It is pretty decent looking. It should give you some benefits. But it’s a little under-dosed and exists on kind of shaky ground with the claims the company make.
This isn’t to dismiss it out of hand – far from it. It is an incredibly versatile product. You can buy it in gummy form, as capsules, or even as drink shots. This makes it perfect for anybody on the go – you really can take it as you want, any time that best suits you for a bit of a pick me up.
Schiff Vitamin’s claims are a little tricky. They promote Neuriva as a nootropic supplement.
As such, they claim it can boost cognitive performance and health… well, OK, but they stretch credulity a little bit.
In fact, Schiff Vitamins have had three class action lawsuits filed against them for Neuriva. These lawsuits seek to challenge their claim over Neuriva’s efficacy. It is also quite easy to find plenty of literature online referring to Neuriva’s lack of any kind of potency or usability, and its general overpriced nature and poor quality.
I want to bring this up early as you should know what we’re dealing with, here. However, this is all the kind of preconception I like to do away with when looking at products. It needs to be about the product itself – its ingredients, its dosing, its price and availability, and so on – rather than any drama surrounding it.
After all, our world isn’t short of bad press, and it can attach itself to well-meaning, good-quality products from time to time.
Therefore, I’ll try to be objective about it. I want to dig into its ingredients to check whether or not they stack up as a worthy contender in the nootropics market.
With this in mind, let’s look into the benefits that Neuriva promises, and whether or not it can deliver on them.
Benefits of Neuriva
Neuriva does deliver some benefits. Depending on the issues you’re facing and the reasons and symptoms underlying your need for a nootropic, these benefits could be really quite profound. It relies on coffee cherry and plant-sourced PS phosphatidylserine, which have both been shown to improve energy levels, clear brain fog, and in general simply tighten up cognitive performance.
With this in mind, Neuriva does have the right to stake a claim in the nootropic sphere. It should improve your focus, concentration, memory, and learning skills. In addition, the B vitamins included may aid overall cognitive function.
Neurofactor, the fruit extract that forms Neuriva’s bedrock, pulling together the coffee cherry and plant-sourced PS phosphatidylserine, has been clinically tested for efficacy. The results, whilst self-reported by Schiff Vitamins, are promising. It may help by boosting BDNF, a vital neuroprotein key to healthy cognitive function – it supports brain cell interconnection.
Everything is usable for everyone, too, which is always very nice to see. The whole formula is GMO-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian. It is also decaffeinated, which is rare for a nootropic. This is a plus and a minus. I wouldn’t use it personally as I typically respond to caffeine really well. However, plenty of people don’t. This would be perfect for them.
Schiff Vitamins also offer a decent brain-boosting app – the Neuriva Brain Gym. This should give you a good workout for your brain, as the name suggests. This alone will boost your cognitive skills and help to protect longer term brain health.
This all seems good.
There are two criteria by which most people measure supplements for efficacy and quality. There are two things a supplement needs to do to prove its chops. Firstly, it needs to have good-quality clinical evidence attached to it, underpinning its value. Secondly, the ingredients included should have clinical data proving their ability to do what they are meant to do – in this case, improve cognitive performance and overall brain health.
There is a severe lack of clinical data surrounding Neuriva. There is a lot of self-reporting by Schiff Vitamins, but that’s kind of where it stops. Neuriva has no published, independent studies attached to it. The one study they do cite suggests that it might improve alertness, but this was an animal study, not a clinical one conducted on humans. And this has nothing to do with memory or cognitive function.
Take products like Mind Vitality, NooCube or MindLab Pro, three of the most highly rated nootropics (and my favorites by quite a long way). They use a wealth of clinical data for each and every ingredient included in their formulae. Everything is backed by good-quality science and data.
And, talking of all their ingredients, Neuriva also falls fairly short here, too. Whereas you can expect seven to twelve active ingredients in the better nootropics (as NooCube and Mindlab Pro each give you) and even more in Mind Vitality – Neuriva gives you just two.
This sort of makes my next job easier, if quite unsatisfying.
As a full breakdown, Neuriva’s formula contains the following: a vitamin complex, comprised of 1.7 mg of vitamin B6, as pyridoxine hydrochloride, 680 mcg of folate, and 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12; Coffea arabica, or coffee fruit extract, at 200 mg; hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, pectin, titanium dioxide, and carrageenan, combined as a 100 mg phosphatidylserine capsule; and rice bran, microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide, and magnesium stearate.
This may seem like a lot. However, only two of these – coffee fruit extract and phosphatidylserine – are active ingredients. The rest is fluff and filler.
Coffee fruit extract is an intelligent inclusion, to be fair. As is phosphatidylserine.
We all know what coffee does for us. A strong cup can wake us up for the day and keep us going, alert and energized, long after we might otherwise have had to have thrown in the towel. It’s good stuff when used responsibly. However, this is from the bean, which is far from all that the humble coffee plant can give us.
The coffee plant also gives us its fruit, called the coffee cherry, which is what Neuriva uses. This coffee cherry is pretty miraculous. It naturally delivers a great number of antioxidants, flavonoids, and other compounds that should boost your overall health and may improve brain power and health.
Had Schiff Vitamins used the coffee cherry properly, they might be onto a winner. Predictably, though, they did not. They only used the skin and rind, which undermines its efficacy. They also claim to use whole coffee fruit concentrate powder, which is simply not true.
There is also a lack of scientific data proving coffee fruit extract’s worth. In fact, there is only a single clinical study showing that it can do what Schiff Vitamins claim – boosting BDNF levels, which is kind of the central premise to their product.
Then there is the phosphatidylserine, potentially another good ingredient to see in any nootropic list.
Phosphatidylserine exists in all of your body’s tissues as a phospholipid. It is particularly important and prevalent in brain cells. As a result, it can improve brain function, especially in older adults. There is data to support its use in treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, though this data is based on a very small sample size.
However, data on its use in younger and healthy populations is sparse. We cannot say for certain that it works. I like to see phosphatidylserine as an add-on with potential benefits. It shouldn’t really be used as a key player.
Then there are the B vitamins. These are a good inclusion. However, they are so ubiquitous that I’m not going to claim they represent a cornerstone of Neuriva’s formula. Any decent multivitamin will do as good a job as Neuriva here for a fifth of the price or less.
Everything else is just filler, literally. It is there only to make the capsules and give the product the bulk and shape it needs. So we get two main ingredients, each of which sits on shaky scientific ground. There is simply no way that this will let Neuriva compete in the same marketplace as the likes of MindLab Pro and NooCube.
How to Use & Take Neuriva
Neuriva does at least have the benefit of being an incredibly easy supplement to take. Schiff Vitamins recommend that you take one capsule daily. Most nootropics’ acute benefits will kick in quite quickly, so I always suggest you go with them an hour or so before you start work or study for the best results.
However, given how spurious the acute benefits connected with Neuriva are, it probably doesn’t matter too much when you take it.
In fact, Schiff Vitamins claim that you should take Neuriva at bedtime. This in itself is pretty revealing to me. Most nootropics have an acute reaction. They improve focus, cognition, and energy levels in the moment. Thus, they should be taken as and when you want the effects. In suggesting you take it before bed, Schiff Vitamins are tacitly admitting to Neuriva’s lack of discernable effects.
Neuriva also comes with very few side effects, which is a very good thing in theory. The main downside here is that you only get two active ingredients, each of which is actually dosed incredibly frugally. You don’t really get enough of anything to elicit any serious effects, positive or negative.
You should be able to take it long term without suffering any side effects.
However, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or medical provider before beginning any new course of supplements, or before altering your diet in any meaningful way. Their input will be beneficial, especially if you suffer from any pre-existing medical concerns, or if you are on any medication.
Cherry extract can sometimes cause insomnia or nausea. However, as above, you don’t get much total cherry extract, and it isn’t a complete extract, so you probably have little to worry about here.
I tried Neuriva for a couple of weeks. It didn’t do anything to me. To be fair, I felt no worse off, which is of course always the fear when starting a new supplement. I didn’t experience any side effects.
I just didn’t really experience anything.
I’m used to NooCube. I sometimes take MindLab Pro. As above, I would always recommend either. I personally get better results from NooCube, but they are both excellent. On either, I can safely expect a bit more energy throughout the day, a clearer head, and more focus. These are the acute benefits anybody and everybody should look for in a good nootropic.
I can’t speak for the longer term health benefits of either. I have only been on nootropics for a couple of years and am in my early thirties, so it’s not like Alzheimer’s or dementia are a real fear for me just yet. However, the clinical data is reassuring here – I can be relatively confident that I face a diminished risk from either because of the supplements I take.
This is how nootropic use should look. It should not look anything like what you get with a course of Neuriva.
Which is nothing.
Pros and Cons
- Surprisingly, Neuriva does actually have a good number of positive customer reviews
- Schiff Vitamins are a very well esteemed brand
- There are few, if any, side effects associated with Neuriva use
- The two active ingredients show promise
- There is a lack of clinical data backing up anything that Schiff Vitamins claim for Neuriva
- Neither ingredient is proven
- They are dishonest about the coffee cherry extract – it isn’t a whole source
- There are only two active ingredients
- Schiff Vitamins are facing several lawsuits due to this sub-par product
- It’s expensive for what it is – you would be better off with a simple vitamin B complex for a fraction of the price
What are the side effects of Neuriva?
Some of the ingredients contained within Neuriva’s formula have been associated with mild side effects. These include nausea, sleepiness and fatigue, and sleep issues. However, they are so lightly dosed in Neuriva that these side effects are unlikely to affect most people. In fact, you can likely assume that you will feel no effects at all when taking Neuriva.
What time of day is best to take Neuriva?
Schiff Vitamins claim that you should take Neuriva at bedtime. This is different to most nootropics, whose use should be early in the day or immediately before you need improved focus and cognition. However, Neuriva is very different to most good quality nootropics like NooCube and MindLab Pro, in that it doesn’t really do anything to improve your brain’s function or health.
What is the main ingredient in Neuriva?
There are only two active ingredients in Neuriva. These are coffee cherry extract and phosphatidylserine. Both are dosed too lightly to be of much benefit, if any. In addition, Schiff Vitamins claims that they use a whole coffee cherry extract. This is inaccurate and they know it. They don’t use a whole source. They only use the skin and rind.
Is Neuriva vegan?
Yes, Neuriva is plant-based and so is suitable for vegetarians and vegans
How do nootropics affect the brain?
Nootropics in general include a mixture of ingredients known to boost cognitive function and brain health. Some of these ingredients support development and protect from harm and degeneration. Some give extra energy and focus, for instance through caffeine or guarana use. Others improve blood flow and nutrient uptake in the brain. There are plenty of mechanisms by which cognitive health and function can be improved.
Neuriva most likely supports none of them.
Do nootropics help anxiety?
Many nootropics function by helping to protect your brain against the signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety. They are generally a very good idea for anybody struggling with anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder.
Neuriva has only two active ingredients, and both will do little to improve your cognitive performance. Our testing yielded no discernable impact and as such we have to recommend our preferred top rated nootropic – NooCube.
Mind Vitality is the supplement of choice for our founder and writer Jason who takes it on a daily basis.
You can probably tell what I’m going to say here. Neuriva is a waste of money. It’s not dangerous – far from it – so I’m not too worried about people buying into and taking it. You’ll be fine if you do. If you’re tempted by it, go ahead and get some. Give it a go and see if it works for you. I see no particular reason that it would, but it has enough positive user reviews that I may well be wrong.
There is no harm in trying, other than pretty fleeting opportunity and financial costs.
I have tried to be objective. I think I have managed. You don’t need to look at the lawsuits or any of the bad press surrounding Neuriva to see its flaws. You don’t even really need to worry about the lack of clinical data surrounding it. All it takes is a cursory glance at the ingredients list.
It is sparse, with only two active ingredients. The best thing about it – the vitamin B complex – can be got elsewhere for a lot less money. The two ingredients it does give you are under-dosed, so will likely do nothing for you.
I would always invite people to try out NooCube or Mind Vitality. If you’re looking to try a decent nootropic, this is where the smart money is. They will serve you far, far better than anything else on the market, especially Neuriva.
This article was written by: James Dixon – SOMA Analytics PT, Nutritionalist & Published Author
James Dixon is one of the key players in the SOMA Analytics’ team. He is a personal trainer and is educated to Masters level. He is a published author and is a keen advocate of high quality nootropic supplements. James enjoys helping others to reach their peak both physically and mentally and believes that expressing his knowledge through his writing is an effective way to positively impact the wellbeing of others on a larger scale.