Last Updated: October 09, 2020
Editor's Choice

Avanse "LumUltra"

TCE Overall Rating 98.7%

What happens when you take the most potent (legal) memory enhancer – Noopept – and add in a couple of 'clean' stimulants such as Guarana for powerful motivation and mental drive, and a handful of neuro-protectants, and focus boosting plant extracts? The answer is LumUltra - a Noopept based 'super pill' promising to help you develop a smarter, calmer, more focused mind after just 30 days use. But does it work?... Well your emails and reviews seemed to agree with our judging panel who were quick to fall in love with this new 'daily essential'.

Happy, Calm, Focused HCF

Last Updated: October 14, 2020

Happy, Calm, Focused HCF
Official Site: www.happycalmfocused.com

Background Check

If a brain supplement were to ever win an award for the vaguest name, it would probably be HCF. HCF, as written so many times on their website, stands for Happy, Calm, and Focused… which coincidentally, is what HCF is supposed to do for you.

HCF looks very different from many of the other brain supplements we’ve reviewed on this site. It isn’t trying to look “cool” at all, but is rather more reserved, and tries to preserve a more “for the family” look, that is akin to most pharmaceutical products you see in the drug store. If you were to put it in a medicine cabinet, it wouldn’t stand out at all – and perhaps, that’s the type of market they were going for. Of course, not everyone would like other people knowing that they’re using brain supplements, so this kind of branding would appeal to that sort of person.

Going online, this sort of design language can also be easily seen. All the images are mixed between the old and the young, and often including both in the same picture. The website itself contains tons of information on the product, from information about the product, to research, and even a video explaining everything you need to know about HCF.

If you want to read more regarding the ingredients in HCF, you’ll also be glad to see that there’s a few pages dedicated to just the individual ingredients, with in-depth descriptions, tons of sources, and even a supplement facts label.

The website is also quite tame in the marketing language that they use, and any claims they make aren’t too outrageous either.

“U Starving Your Brain? HCF Happy, Calm & Focused is one of the most exciting discoveries in brain supplementation in decades! HCF is fueled by F&Q amino-acids and neuro-nutrients to support the increase of key “feel good” neurotransmitter levels responsible for helping you feel happy, calm and focused every single day!”

Formula Highlights

Supplement Facts:
Vitamin A 1000UI
Vitamin E 1.5UI
Vitamin B1 3mg
Vitamin B2 3mg
Vitamin B3 6mg
Vitamin B6 3mg
Folic Acid 150mcg
Vitamin B12 150mcg
Biotin 150mcg
Vitamin B5 3mg
Calcium 30mg
Iron 3mg
Magnesium 30mg
Zinc 6mg
Chromium 225mcg
HCF Proprietary Amino Acids 1,350mg
Amino-Acid F (DL-Phenylalanine), Amino-Acid Q (L-Glutamine)

Taking a quick look at HCF’s formula, you’ll notice that a lot of the ingredients they use are just multivitamins and nutrients, and not actually nootropic ingredients. For nootropics, they only have 2: Phenylalanine and L-Glutamine, both included in hefty amounts.

It makes you question whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth with this supplement. Nevertheless, the ingredients mentioned should make you happy, calm, and focused – if that’s really what you’re looking for.

The decision to do this, while marketing HCF as a brain supplement, makes the whole thing seem a little fishy. While we are sure that it does work, it seems a little ridiculous to pay top dollar for what is basically a multivitamin with a couple of nootropic ingredients. You can probably just get a Centrum and a couple of supplements from Powder City and get the same effects for cheaper.

Key Ingredients:

DL-Phenylalanine: As a building block of protein, phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is critical for the central nervous system’s optimal functioning. It primarily functions as a mood enhancer, relieving anxiety and stress, while warding off depression and other diseases associated with a malfunctioning nervous system. It also aids in the production of neurotransmitters like epinephrine and dopamine, producing an increase in focus, concentration, and even motivation. In some studies, the supplementation of Phenylalanine has led to improved memory, enhanced overall alertness, and even an expanded learning capacity.

L-Glutamine: Perhaps the most versatile nutritional supplement today, L-Glutamine is a natural compound that primarily aids in cognition. L-Glutamine boosts the immune system, while increasing energy levels, making it a valuable supplement for athletes and those that need an extra boost of energy on long days. Glutamine also helps in the production of the neurotransmitters Glutamate and GABA, both of which play a key role in memory, reasoning skills, creativity, and even reaction times and problem solving ability.

Overall, the science behind DL-Phenylalanine and L-Glutamine is pretty solid, but we believe that having just two nootropic ingredients in a supplement means that it isn’t in any way well-rounded in its effects or hard to recreate. With most of the ingredients being just multivitamins, it wouldn’t be that difficult to just use powders and a general multivitamin to reproduce these effects.

Rating: 17/20

Effects and Benefits

We gave HCF a little go for thirty days, and we have to say that it was a little underwhelming – at least in the beginning. Diving into the tests, we hardly felt any differences up until around the second week!
When HCF finally kicked in, however, we felt a noticeable increase in mood and focus. HCF kept us energized for a very long time, which allowed us to get a lot of work done in little time. The effects for focus probably weren’t as strong as some other brain supplements we’ve tried, but nevertheless, HCF kept us in really good moods!

While taking HCF, we were able to really feel relaxed and at ease when doing work, despite the looming deadlines that we had to get through and the endlessly surmounting work. HCF not only kept anxiety levels low, but was great in that it helped us manage stress fairly well. It wasn’t so much that it was only easier to get focused at something, but we actually felt good doing something productive! On top of that, we also felt substantially more positive about everything that we were doing.

In terms of memory, HCF also proved to be a good contender as around the third week, we could really notice that we were remembering more and more random things that we’ve learnt throughout the day. It’s the kind of stuff that you don’t even think too much about… Things like random facts and trivia, articles we’ve read on the internet (up to actual direct quotes), and even just the odd name of someone you’ve just met. All of these hinted that we were able to remember more things … even if the information was just bite-sized.

Overall, we rather enjoyed our experience with HCF. While the effects to focus and memory were good, it felt like it could have been a lot better. Nevertheless, the positive effects to mood were really good and we enjoyed every minute on HCF.

Rating: 18/20

Potential Side Effects

We didn’t really notice any adverse side effects from HCF, and perhaps this was also due to the fact that we felt so good on it. We might have been less observant to side effects just because we were in such great moods. However, in a few instances, one or two of us suffered from some slight headaches. Also, on some days where we seemed to be extra productive, we felt a little lethargic towards the end of the day. While that wasn’t so much of a bad thing, this meant that some days, we weren’t able to get anything else done once we got home.

We aren’t too surprised though, especially seeing that HCF is mostly a multivitamin. However, please try to keep yourself well hydrated when using HCF, as some nootropics can act as diuretics, dehydrating the body.

Rating: 18/20

Pricing Options

A bottle of HCF goes for $59.95 on their official website, containing 90 capsules. With the serving size of 3 capsules a day, the bottle should last a whole month’s supply. There are also a number of different pricing plans offered through the website starting from the one month’s supply all the way to a year’s worth of supply. There is also a subscription model available, however, we don’t advise this until you have tested HCF yourself.

If you’re one of those kind of people, they also offer gift cards for sale that you can send to your family members.

Overall, HCF is priced quite averagely. It isn’t too expensive, but we believe that for the price, you could definitely get something else that is just a little better-rounded in its effects.

Rating: 15/20

Online Reviews

HCF’s reviews online were rather mixed. A lot of them were positive, but equally, there were also some negative reviews. There are a lot available on Amazon, but just make sure that the ones you’re looking at are actually legit. Beware of overly positive reviews.

User Review by Richard C. on Amazon.com

I ordered HCF about 6 months ago because at 50 years old I was feeling like life was through. I couldn’t understand how people my age and older were still so active. When I turned 45 the change was almost instant. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I HAD NO INTEREST IN DOING ANYTHING. Something had to give. I tried vitamins and all the various fads that promised to end fatigue and give me boundless energy but all for not.

I have a few health issues that I have been dealing with which have required that I take a few medications every morning and every night for the last 22 years. These medications all had numerous side affects that I just dealt with. The changes that occurred in me at 45 though brought about a complete overhaul of my medications that of course led to a whole new batch of side affects that I figured I was stuck with as well.

As a contractor I need to be able to think on my feet, deal with emergencies, schedule sub-contractors, and communicate with home owners,interior decorators and building officials. I also have to do this on more than one job at a time. I had been able to have twelve homes under construction at one time. Scheduling and overseeing concrete on one or two a roof install on that one, drywall on a couple of others…

Before I started using HCF I could maybe handle one small remodel at a time. I gave up fishing, guitar playing,reading…. I just didn’t have the brain power to handle anything. I have only been taking it for a short time and I feel everything going back to a normal feeling.. I HAVE A FIRE IN ME AGAIN. I look forward to getting out of bed and facing my day. Multi tasking is coming back ! My wife started noticing the difference before I did. I’m so glad that HCF is not like drinking a bunch of coffee or energy drink. It has changed my life 24 hours a day! I work better, I sleep better, and I even relax better. – A new HCF peep!

User Review by Jeff Manley on Amazon.com

I have ADHD, depression and anxiety. I’ve been taking HCF, three pills a day, for almost a month, and it does absolutely nothing, aside from making me feel like a downed a Red Bull. Then again, I don’t really respond to ADHD/depression/anxiety medications and they don’t really do anything either. So if you don’t have treatment-resistant whatever, it might do some good. But for me, zip.

Rating: 17/20

RECAP:

Positives

  • Great as a stress reliever and mood enhancer
  • Contains some high-quality ingredients
  • Slight improvements to focus and memory
  • Little to no side effects

Negatives

  • Formula mostly consists of multivitamins
  • Only two nootropic ingredients
  • Could be cheaper a lot cheaper to just use a multivitamin and a few powders
  • Not as well rounded as most true nootropics
  • Can leave you exhausted by the evening

Our Verdict

What surprised us the most was the fact that HCF was still able to perform so well despite the fact that it had only two nootropic ingredients. While the formula is mostly just multivitamins, HCF still produces some minor effects to focus and memory, but the highlight here is HCF’s effects to mood.

As far as the benefits to mood go, HCF might just be one of our favorites. It was a great experience to not only be able to do work efficiently, but to also want to do so, and actually feel good doing it. HCF is really able to cut through all the stresses of everyday life and keep you feeling great. On top of that, side effects were more or less nonexistent… aside from a few instances of headache, but even that was very rare.

For the price, HCF comes at around average, but we think that you could probably cut that price by half by just mixing your own powders and supplementing with a Centrum Silver. After all, it’s not that difficult to reproduce this formula when it’s 90% multivitamin. If you’re willing to pay $60 (which isn’t a bad price at all), we suggest you look to other better-rounded options that not only improves mood.

HCF is great as a mood enhancer, but those seriously looking for the best all-around brain supplement will need to keep looking.

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The Best Brain Supplements of 2020: Your Complete, Personalized Guide

In such a busy, harried world, people look for all the help they can get.

They’ve got problems remembering things, concentrating in school or focusing on a big work project, or being in the best energy and mood level for family and their personal goals.

Nootropics - also known as “smart pills” and brain enhancement supplements - are designed to help address these cognitive issues and improve memory and learning, focus and concentration, problem solving, and overall energy and vibrancy. These supplements are a potential fit for students (usually college students), professionals and business executives, and the elderly who want to enhance their brain power and performance.

Check the Best Smart Pills of 2020

The question, though, is…

Do you know the best brain-enhancing supplement for you?

Our product reviews will answer exactly this. By presenting accurate, up-to-date product information, conducting weeks-long product trial, and raising the alarm on fillers and low-quality ingredients, we’re about to guide you in your decision-making.

We take a long, hard look at the manufacturer, where they manufacture the pill, the website, pricing, customer testimonials, and different authoritative websites that point to how safe and effective a smart pill is.

At the end of it all, we present our Top 5 rated smart pills for your easy reference.

How Do Nootropics Work?

Known by many different names, nootropics act as brain enhancement aids and brain boosters that don’t leave your cognitive wellness to fate.

There are two kinds of nootropics: (1) pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers made up of chemicals believed to have a clear effect on the brain and nervous system, and (2) natural cognitive enhancers, which are mostly herbal or nutrient-based in their composition. Our reviews focus on the second group, which don’t require a prescription, not considered drugs, and thus are allowed to be sold the counter and online via vitamin retail shops like Amazon.

Are natural nootropics actually the savior they’re painted to be?

These plant-based extracts promise improved mental functioning, no less. Their surging popularity, particularly in recent years, can be attributed to their high overall safety value and few and minor side effects compared with their pharmaceutical counterparts.

If you’ve heard of the term “nootropic stack,” it means different herbal or nutrient-based nootropics “stacked” together to achieve your own cognitive targets.

Types of Natural Nootropics

  1. Neurotransmitter enhancers - These increase the activity of brain chemicals responsible for mental sharpness. Examples are dopamine, acetylcholine, and other neurotransmitters.
  2. Vasodilators - Boost blood flow to the brain via widening the blood vessels.
  3. Antioxidants - Preserve and protect brain cells from the damage caused by free radicals roaming in the body

A high-quality nootropic can change your brain wellness and make you limitless in many different ways. These include enhanced memory, increased attention to detail, outrageously good focus, increased alertness, better mental and visual acuity, improved learning and thinking, managed stress, better mood and energy, and a generally renewed sense of life and brain performance.

This is why this product review guide will help you in so many ways to know a nootropic inside and out. From the ABCs of the product formula to the overall verdict, you will have an informed choice of what to choose for your next nootropic bottle or product.

What Should You Look For In A Top-Rated Nootropic?

  1. Offers essential vitamins and nutrients - Your brain gobbles up an unbelievable amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and nutrients for it to properly function for life’s everyday demands. The nootropic you deserve provides these crucial components and more. Ginkgo biloba, Bacopa monnieri, Panax ginseng, and more - the list is endless, but only a few good ones deserve your attention. Click here for the top-rated ingredient list for a smart pill.

  2. Backed by clinical data and experts - The best nootropics have a solid scientific basis through independent, third-party research data on their effectiveness and benefits.

    There’s no reason for a credible health care expert not to endorse a well-created supplement for brain enhancement.

  3. Superior manufacturing standards - It’s not just about the ingredients, but also creating the product with the highest standards of production. The best supplements are manufactured in the United States, in a laboratory registered by the FDA. The manufacturer should be GMP certified as well!

  4. Independent reviews (Not just Amazon!) - Reviews can be bought and unverified, so keep an eye out for them. Our reviews, for instance, maintain their independence through a circle of product testers that really get to the bottom of things and assess individual product performance and quality.

What Should You Avoid In A Brain Enhancement Supplement?

  1. Improper dosage - Incorrect levels of each active ingredient - yikes! This leads you to believe that you’re getting optimum value and not the cheaper, over-hyped product that it actually is.

  2. Insufficient return policy and fraud - Reputablecompanies offer 100% money-back guarantee since they are confident enough that their product works. Read the fine print and don’t just trust what you see on the surface.

  3. “Free trial” offers - Does it seem too good to be true? Then it probably is. If you have to enter your credit card details to get to try a product for a month for free, then it’s not free.

Let’s combine your due diligence in research and our honest, in-your-face product reviews that won’t leave you guessing and wanting more information.

The Best Smart Pills On The Market In 2020

We have dutifully compiled the top 5 brain enhancement supplements based on our independent review, product trial, and well-vetted product information. Here’s what we’ve come up with to help you make a smart decision on smart pills today.


Our Winning 5 Brain Boosting Supplements for 2020

#1 LumUltra

LumUltra
Overall Success
Supplemental Facts
Formula & Ingredients
Effects & Benefits
Side Effects Free
Value for Money
Online Reviews
Price per serving
$1.97
Money back Guarantee
60 days
Price
$47.97
A+Overall Grade

Pros

  • Incredible results from a potent, fast-acting formula
  • Effects are very well-rounded: improvements to memory, focus, mood, energy
  • Formula is a fantastic combination of potent Noopept and many other natural nootropics
  • Information online is very detailed and simple to understand, love their design and content
  • Premium ingredients at a great price (daily cost is cheaper than a cup of coffee!), we suspect this won’t last long, they might be trying to reach a certain market share then raise their price.
  • 90-day return policy!

Cons

  • They communicate everything via ticketing for quality assurance reason, so if you don’t know how to place order online, then you are out of luck
  • Might want to supplement with a multivitamin (only contains B12)

Why It’s TCE-Approved:

Avanse Nutraceuticals’ LumUltra (New and Improved) blows all our editors away with an innovatively new formula utilizing the potent Noopept, in combination with select key natural nootropics. Hands down, LumUltra is the best cognitive enhancer we’ve ever reviewed, and will probably top our list for a very long time.

#2 Brain Pill

Brain Pill
Overall Success
Supplemental Facts
Formula & Ingredients
Effects & Benefits
Side Effects Free
Value for Money
Online Reviews
Price per serving
$2.66
Money back Guarantee
67 Days
Price
$76.99
AOverall Grade

Pros

  • Good market presence, or product recall
  • Availability of scientific studies delving on ingredient and product levels
  • Proprietary ingredients for uniquely positioned benefits
  • Discounts and savings for bulk orders

Cons

  • Relative shortage of customer testimonials
  • Lacking imagery around supplement facts and product labeling

Why It’s TCE-Approved:

We are impressed by the speed and precision at which BrainPill responds to brain enhancement needs – and without unwanted effects that could turn off first-time users. The benefits are sustained and evident from the first dose, and this doesn't happen every time with nootropic products.

#3 Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain
Overall Success
Supplemental Facts
Formula & Ingredients
Effects & Benefits
Side Effects Free
Value for Money
Online Reviews
Price per serving
$1.98
Money back Guarantee
30 days
Price
$59.41
A-Overall Grade

Pros

  • Good for focus
  • Great customer service team
  • Could be great as a workout supplement

Cons

  • Effects are a bit limited
  • New formula might actually be less potent due to new focus on fitness and health

#4 Prevagen

Prevagen
Overall Success
Supplemental Facts
Formula & Ingredients
Effects & Benefits
Side Effects Free
Value for Money
Online Reviews
Price per serving
$2.00
Money back Guarantee
30 days
Price
$59.95
B+Overall Grade

Pros

  • Unique formula and ingredient “Apoaequorin”
  • Website is rich in information and resources for further reading
  • Clear video on website that explains Prevagen in simplistic way

Cons

  • Little to no effects on focus and mood
  • Poor value at $59.95 (better nootropics available at that price)
  • Studies on Apoaequorin are still quite limited today.

#5 Neuriva

Neuriva
Overall Success
Supplemental Facts
Formula & Ingredients
Effects & Benefits
Side Effects Free
Value for Money
Online Reviews
Price per serving
$2.27
Money back Guarantee
Price
$32.99
BOverall Grade

Pros

  • Low to no side effect potential
  • Offers targeted benefits for five areas of brain function
  • GMO and caffeine free
  • Vegan-friendly supplement

Cons

  • Contains only two major ingredients, which are relatively standard in nootropics
  • Lack of ample clinical research presented
  • Soy lecithin content is a potential allergen

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2690227/
  2. https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/cognitive-enhancers-what-they-are-how-they-work-and-what-is-in-the-pipeline/11117394.article?firstPass=false
  3. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/mind/articles/2018-09-27/what-are-nootropics
  4. https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/peak-nootropics-llc-aka-advanced-nootropics-565256-02052020
  5. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/fortifying-your-memory-with-supplements
  6. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/natural-brain-boosters
  7. https://www.managedhealthcareconnect.com/article/role-nutrition-prevention-cognitive-decline
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3311304/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3423755/
  10. http://theconversation.com/the-economics-of-the-money-back-guarantee-80876
  11. https://ispe.org/initiatives/regulatory-resources/gmp
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545206/
  13. https://www.npr.org/2018/07/30/629800775/some-amazon-reviews-are-too-good-to-be-believed-theyre-paid-for
  14. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/auto-renewals-endless-charges-complaints-1282.php
  15. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/caffeine-side-effects
  16. https://reviewmeta.com/blog/amazon-flooded-with-millions-of-fake-reviews-in-2019/

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