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Focus Factor Review
Focus Factor is a dietary supplement marketed to improve brain function including memory and mental focus. It contains a long list of natural ingredients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs and related supplement. Can Focus Factor really make you smarter or is it just another overpriced multivitamin supplement as its critics claim? Read on to find out for yourself.
Focus Factor is a brain health supplement manufactured by Factor Nutrition Labs. It is available in two different formulations: one for adults and the other for children.
Focus Factor contains a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, herbs and omega-3 fatty acids. It is formulated to support mental focus, concentration and memory.
There are 40 active ingredients in Focus Factor with about half of them being vitamins and minerals.
The inactive ingredients include dicalcium phosphate, microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, stearic acid, silica, magnesium stearate and pharmaceutical glaze. Focus Factor does not contain preservatives, fillers, sweeteners, artificial colorings, caffeine, milk, egg or gluten.
The recommended dose of Focus Factor is 4 tablets per day and taken with food. A maximal dose of 8 tablets per day is allowed.
The vitamins included in Focus Factor are present to support and help maintain the proper functioning of the body.
These vitamins are essential for a long list of physiological processes and biochemical reactions in the body; they serve as cofactors for enzymes and as carriers for electron transport between different processes involved in human metabolism and growth.
The forms of vitamin A included in Focus Factor are beta carotene and a mix of the other carotenoids.
Although vitamin A is mostly known to improve vision, it also has other health benefits including antioxidant property and improving cellular health. Such health effects can support the brain in such ways as to enhance learning and boost memory.
Vitamin C is an even more powerful antioxidant than vitamin A. By combating oxidative stress, vitamin C can protect brain cells from harmful free radicals.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant present in this dietary supplementation.
The antioxidant property of vitamin D involves increasing the levels of glutathione in the brain. This compound protects brain cells. Vitamin D is also required for the syntheses of brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
In addition, vitamin D also blocks the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter important for enhancing mental focus and improving memory.
The B vitamins are likewise important for supporting different processes in the body. They are involved in cellular metabolism, DNA repair, metabolism and the production of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in the brain.
The most important B vitamins for brain health is vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid.
Just like the vitamins, the minerals included in Focus Factor play supportive roles. Still, some of them can contribute directly to brain health.
Iron, for example, protects the blood-brain barrier and prevents the passage of heavy metals into the brain. When heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead cross into the brain, they can damage the sheaths of nerves and also brain cells.
However, iron reduces the absorption and transportation of these harmful metals.
Zinc is also an essential mineral for brain health. It has been shown to increase information processing and the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Zinc also increases the amount of melatonin released from the pineal gland, and melatonin improves the quality of sleep and so cognitive function.
Iodine is one of the important trace elements in the human body. It is mostly required for the syntheses of thyroid hormones and to prevent hypothyroidism. These thyroid hormones are important to growth.
The syntheses of the thyroid hormones also depends on selenium. However, selenium is also an important antioxidant in the body. Selenium is not only an antioxidant but it can also improve the antioxidant property of vitamin E.
Selenium enzymes in the brain can help reduce stress and also prevent mercury from harming the brain.
The role of potassium in Focus Factor is to improve brain functioning. Specifically, it is important for the ion pumps that control signaling between the neurons of the brain. Calcium is also important for brain functioning because of its effect on signaling and neurotransmitter release.
Magnesium is essential to a number of biochemical processes in the brain. Low brain magnesium levels can cause depression. Therefore, magnesium can improve the levels of serotonin in the brain.
Manganese is involved in different families of antioxidant enzymes in humans. Copper is also needed for electron and oxygen transportation in the body. Like manganese, it is required for the production and activity of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase.
Bacopin® is a proprietary blend of the active ingredients of Bacopa Monnieri leaf extract. It is also known as Brahmi in India and it is an important herb in Ayurveda medicine.
Bacopa contains a number of important phytochemicals such as alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, stigmasterol, beta sitosterol and bacopasaponins.
The bacopasaponins, however, are the most important. One of them is known as bacoside A and it has antioxidant properties as well as the ability to improve the activities of antioxidant enzymes.
Preliminary studies have established that bacopa can improve memory and cognitive function. This is most likely due to the antioxidant protection it provides for brain cells.
Bilberry fruit extract also contains antioxidants such as anthocyanins. Focus Factor contains the standardized extract (25% anthocyanosides) of the plant. The antioxidants in bilberry fruit can provide similar benefits as the other antioxidants mentioned above.
Other herbal extracts with antioxidant property in Focus Factor are grape skin extract and Activin™ (grape seed extract).
The antioxidants in these grape extracts include anthocyanins and resveratrol.
Grape skin and grape seed extracts have been shown to reverse the signs of aging and also to improve brain functions enough to advance resveratrol into the final stages of clinical trials as an Alzheimer drug candidate.
Vinpocetine is semisynthetic derivative of vincamine, the major phytochemical in periwinkle plant extract.
Vinpocetine increase blood flow to the brain and also protects brain cells and nerve fibers. Therefore, it is commonly sold to improve concentration, mental focus and cognition.
In addition, the anti-inflammatory effects of vinpocetine is also believed to be beneficial in protecting the brain against neurodegeneration.
Huperzine A is derived from the whole plant extract of Huperzia serrata. Its major medicinal effect is as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This means that it blocks enzymes that break down acetylcholine.
Given the central role of acetylcholine in the brain, huperzine A can improve memory and cognition. It is also has a neuroprotective effect and is currently being tried in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The other ingredients in Focus Factor are just as important. They include amino acids, fatty acids and choline derivatives.
Diemethylaminoethanol or DMAE (available as the bitartrate salt) is one of the choline and acetylcholine precursors in Focus Factor.
Its main role is to increase the acetylcholine concentration in the brain. DMAE can easily cross the blood-brain barrier unlike choline. In the brain, it is turned to choline and then to acetylcholine.
Focus Factor also includes choline (as choline bitartrate), and it has the same role as DMAE.
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid made from serine, an amino acid, and omega-3 fatty acids. Just like the omega-3 fatty acid, phosphatidylserine is an important brain food.
It increases the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and acetylcholine; it boosts the uptake and use of glucose in brain cells; and improves communication between brain cells. Overall, phosphatidylserine improves mood, mental capacity, focus and cognition.
Docosahexaenoic acid is one of the omega-3 fatty acids and the most important one for brain health. It is supplied in Focus Factor as a concentrate (15% DHA from fish body oil).
DHA promotes neurogenesis. This means that it increases the production of new brain cells. Therefore, it protects the brain against neurodegeneration as well as reversing the damage done by heavy metals and harmful free radicals.
L-glutamine is a non-essential amino acid but the most abundant free-form amino acid in the blood. Like most amino acids, it is directly involved in protein synthesis and it is also a source of energy for cells.
N-acetyltyrosine is a salt of the amino acid, tyrosine. Besides serving as one of the building blocks of proteins, tyrosine is abundantly found in proteins used in signaling between cells.
Yet another amino acid in Focus Factor is L-pyroglutamic acid. It is an uncommon amino acid and it is believed to improve memory.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA is an amino acid too but it is more popularly known as a neurotransmitter. It is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.
However, it serves a more important purpose besides simply inhibiting excitatory impulses in the brain. GABA is involved in brain development. Specifically, it is needed for the production, spread and differentiation of nerves and also the formation of synapses between nerves.
Inositol is a carbohydrate and the body uses it to make structural lipids such as phosphatidylinositiol. Different studies have established that inositol has a positive effect on the brain, and it can be used to treat psychiatric conditions.
Focus Factor is really a blend of vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts. All of these are natural extract with proven or claimed potencies for improving memory and mental capacity.
However, Focus Factor has not been subjected to any clinical trial or even an independent investigation. Therefore, there is no way to confirm the manufacturer’s claim except to turn to the testimonies of past users. And those does not show a universal acclaim for the efficacy of Focus Factor.
In truth, Focus Factor is only a little bit more healthful that the regular multivitamin preparations sold in the market.
None of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbal extracts in it can provide a dramatic increase in mental capacity and even if the formulation of all of this does provide such benefits, it can only come from prolonged supplementation.
Most of the active ingredients of Focus Factor are available to most users in their diets.
As a dietary supplement, Focus Formula does not really have a star ingredient that has been clinically proven to boost cognition. The closest ingredients to this ideal are vinpocetin, huperzine A and DHA but even these are mostly useful for the elderly, to slow down neurodegeneration and only effective after long-term therapy.
For the average user, it is unlikely that Focus Factor will produce a significant boost in mental abilities.
There are other dietary supplements on the market that are reported to perform better than Focus Factor. Some experts would even argue that no dietary supplement can make you smarter on its own and, in a way, that is true.
In conclusion, Focus Factor is an excellent dietary supplement for improving general health but it is not as effective for making you smarter. Because it contains natural products, it is free from most side effects. The most common side effect reported is mild gastric upset at high doses of the supplement.
Therefore, Focus Factor may not be as effective as its manufacturer claims but it is relatively safe.
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