Below we take an in-depth look into Qualia, to see whether this huge product, jam-packed with over 40 useful ingredients, is as useful as it appears.
Qualia is a nootropic supplement that appears to be aimed at the executive and entrepreneurial class. It is seemingly presented as an expensive “luxury” nootropic, packed with more than 40 effective ingredients and put forward by a well-connected team informed by an advisory board of scientists, entrepreneurs, and other successful people. The product has the distinction of coming in the form of two separate bottles (“Step One” and “Step Two”), with one designed to be consumed after the other in the morning.
This product has been designed by Neurohacker Collective, a new American company that only sells Qualia. Neurohacker Collective is certainly an unusual company that is willing to use novel approaches. So far, the company has raised money through crowd-sourcing, employs the expertise of a self-proclaimed “evolutionary philosopher”, and attracts buzz through new outlets like the Huffington Post. Encouragingly, the company also appears to have a commitment to measuring ingredient quantities faithfully, and offers an extraordinarily impressive 100-day money back guarantee.
Given the high number of ingredients in Qualia, the potential for side effects is significant. We haven’t the space to write about them all here, but please check out our Side Effects tab for an exhaustive list!
In short, the most common reported side effects from taking Qualia appear to be an upset stomach and headaches. The product appears to interact negatively with alcohol, as well as cause onsets of nervousness or irritability. Worryingly, some people actually report that far from curing brain fog, Qualia sometimes makes the problem worse.
A month’s supply of Qualia costs $150 on the Neurohacker Collective website and on Amazon. Customers signing up to auto-ship programs can pay just $129 a month.
Qualia is a very, very expensive product, but is probably priced fairly given what it is. As many commentators have pointed out, customers looking for a source of more than 40 ingredients would surely pay more if buying them individually. Many former customers post very long and joyful reviews to Amazon, describing myriad benefits from such a potent mix. The excellent (if under-advertised) money back guarantee can also protect unsatisfied customers, and it even allows customers to avoid posting back their unused product.
The real question is whether buying so many ingredients to take at once is sensible. Our brains seem to accept this at first glance – surely if I take more than 40 effective ingredients instead of 4-5, then my dosage will be 20x more powerful?
Unfortunately, customer reviews are very, very mixed, with many former customers on Reddit describing Qualia as an expensive waste of money. Some customers even complain that Qualia made their brain fog worse, with others mentioning jitters and nervousness. There’s evidence that Qualia interacts negatively with alcohol, and in general it seems that all these ingredients compete with one another to cause side effects, and reduce their individual advantages.
Nootropics fans would likely be better served by finding individual ingredients that work for them, and focusing on them in particular rather than trying to take every useful ingredient in one gulp. Plus $130-150 per month just seems far too much for a product with such a mixed track record.
We would not recommend Qualia to our readers.
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Find out why people are choosing OmniMind to achieve advanced brain performance, and why it's our editor's top pick.
Read the Nootropic Watchdog OmniMind review here.
Qualia is a nootropic product that contains more than 40 individual products. It actually comes in the form of two separate products that are designed to be purchased together (“Step One” and “Step Two”), with both being consumed daily. Qualia represents one of the more expensive nootropic supplements we have seen on the market, with the justification supposedly being that Qualia is far more comprehensive and well-designed than most other options.
This intriguing product is produced and manufactured by Neurohacker Collective, an American company that launched their flagship product in 2016. Neurohacker Collective are an unusual group with a stunningly professional and slick approach to advertising and networking. The company enjoys the support of several Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, scientists and trendy bloggers, and once took the novel step of crowdfunding their company and products on WeFunder (a move which seems to have brought them a lot of success). Their founders are self-described on their WeFunder page as a “serial entrepreneur”, an “activist”, and an “evolutionary philosopher” respectively, which we hope makes them especially qualified to design nootropics. The company can be contacted here.
The directions for use are as follows:
Take three (3) Step One capsules first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Wait at least 20 minutes, then take six (6) Step Two capsules with food. Step Two must be taken with food to avoid stomach sensitivity.
Qualia’s effects are dose-dependent, varying with body weight, general sensitivity and desired level of effect. If you are sensitive to supplements, particularly stimulants, it’s a good idea to start with a small dose and work your way up to your desired level of effect. It’s generally recommended to keep a ratio of 2 capsules of Step Two for each capsule of Step One. (i.e. 1 capsule of Step One with 2 capsule of Step Two, 2 capsules of Step One with 4 capsules of Step Two, 3 capsules of Step One with 6 capsules of Step Two) Explore this as well to find what’s right with you. Some people prefer a smaller dose of Step Two.
Qualia is designed to be taken 5 days on and 2 days off each week. This maximizes the benefits while preventing desensitization. It does not matter if the 2 “off-cycle” days are consecutive or apart, so long as they happen each week.
For best results:
Sleep cycles may go through an adjustment process the first few days on the product. This is normal. If sleep issues linger, take Qualia earlier in the day, lower the dosage, or discontinue use.
Qualia is a complex nootropic with dozens of ingredients, but its intended effects are roughly the same as with most nootropic products. The product claims “to enhance focus, energy, mood, and creativity, while supporting long term brain health”. On the official website, Neurohacker Collective describe (at length) many qualities of successful brains that customers should presume to enjoy after taking Qualia. These include expect an evolution in critical/intelligent thinking, more epiphanies, more vivid dreams, a calmer approach to problems, and new perspectives that reduce procrastination and “internal drama”.
Estimating the effectiveness of this product is pretty tough, as it represents a highly complex mixture of useful and not-so-useful ingredients. We would imagine that this product contains enough effective brain boosters that it should in theory work well to boost focus and mental energy, and the use of mucuna pruriens should give a healthy boost to mood.
It’s worth mentioning that many former customers complain of this product being entirely ineffective, or even a cause of unhelpful brain fog; it’s possible that this mix is only effective in certain cases.
The ingredients included in Qualia are listed below, with the ingredients for Step One listed first and the ingredients for Step Two listed second. The ingredient quantities are correct for 3 capsules of Step One and 6 capsules of Step Two.
Step One Ingredients
Step Two Ingredients
Qualia contains dozens of ingredients, and therefore has a significant chance of causing side effects. It’s simply due to volume; there’s just so much here at play, that the chances of customers having an adverse reaction to at least one ingredient in the mix seems quite high.
In some people, artichoke can cause some side effects such as intestinal gas and allergic reactions. People at the greatest risk of allergic reactions are those who are allergic to plants such as marigolds, daisies, and other similar herbs. Gynostemma extract is considered to be generally safe, but may sometimes cause nausea and more frequent bowel movements.
Vinpocetine can cause some side effects including stomach pain, nausea, sleep disturbances, headache, dizziness, nervousness, and flushing of the face. A-GPC can cause side effects in some people including heartburn, headache, insomnia, dizziness, skin rash, and confusion. Lithium can lead to weight gain and toxic poisoning at high doses.
Studies have shown that Bacopa leaf causes upset stomachs in participants much more than placebos. This has led to the manufacturer’s recommendation that Qualia Step Two be taken with a meal, rather than on an empty stomach, as this will minimize the chances of getting an upset stomach. It may also may cause nausea, cramping, bloating, and diarrhoea.
Theanine causes a state of relaxation without drowsiness, and may help to counteract some of the potential side effects of caffeine, such as jitteriness. Consumers should still ensure that they do not take this supplement or any other source of caffeine within 5 hours of bedtime, as caffeine can interfere with sleep cycles.
Huperzine A can cause some side effects such as nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, sweating, blurred vision, slurred speech, restlessness, loss of appetite, contraction and twitching of muscle fibres, cramping, increased saliva and urine, inability to control urination, high blood pressure, and slowed heart rate.
Although Tyrosine is tolerated generally in very high doses, it can cause some side effects including nausea, headache, fatigue, heartburn, and joint pain.
Noopept is still incredibly under-researched, and this may be why there are so few reported side effects at this point in time. These include headaches, increased irritability, and brain fog. High doses appear to cause a heightened awareness of sound, light, and smells, which some people may find unnerving.
Side effects of Phosphatidylserine can include insomnia and stomach upset, particularly at doses over 300 mg. It can be made from either plant or animal sources, and so may not be suitable for vegetarians.
The large quantities of vitamins used in this product could cause issues. Vitamin B5 seems to be safe for some people, but taking larger amounts increases the chance of having side effects such as diarrhoea. High doses of vitamin B6 supplements can cause nerve damage if taken long term, skin rashes, sensitivity to sunlight, and nausea. Most people do not commonly experience side effects with vitamin D, unless too much is taken. Some side effects of taking too much vitamin D include weakness, fatigue, sleepiness, headache, loss of appetite, dry mouth, metallic taste, nausea, vomiting, and others. Niacin can cause flushing, upset stomach, and diarrhoea, although all of these side effects tend to fade over time.
Citocoline may occasionally cause insomnia, diarrhoea, low/high blood pressure, blurred vison, chest pains, headaches, and more. Piperine can increase the absorption of caffeine and other stimulants, increasing their effectiveness, but also making side effects more likely. Piperine can also affect the absorption of other medications, increasing the chances of accidental overdose.
This product contains ingredients that should not be taken by people on MAO inhibitors, SSRIs, or any other psychiatric medicines. It should not be taken by people with psychiatric or neurologic disorders, high blood pressure, heart conditions, endocrine disorders, cancer, or people on immunosuppressive therapy. It should not be taken by pregnant or nursing mothers, or children under 18. It should not be taken within a 24 hour time period from alcohol or recreational drugs. If any undesired side effects are noticed, discontinue product immediately, and seek proper medical attention if needed.
Although many customer reviews on Amazon are pretty excitable when it comes it Qualia, we found a much more negative reception on discussion groups on Reddit. Former customers either seem to find the powerful boost they’ve been looking for, or report a complete lack of beneficial effects.
Love, love, love this product! It delivers everything it promises. I am not disappointed.
I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit. I also really like what I’ve seen and read from the founder.
I think it’s impressive.
Not for everyone. Gave me headaches and upset stomach. Sorry 🙁
I have been taking it for three weeks as described. Week 1: hyper and sweating – Of course I WAS caffiene-free before Week 2 hyperness died down and some cognitive improvement but killed my creativity Week 3 cognitive improvement reduced but at least my creativity was back but now back on caffinated coffee Week 4: Nothing So there is some improvement but with the trade off of not being able to drink socially I am not sure it is worth it. OH speaking of not drinking, I DID drink for a couple of days and got really depressed, something that I never really experienced. So that made me cautious. Really cautious.
I took a full month’s supply with no noticeable effect.
Although they don’t advertise it too well, Neurohacker Collective offer a very fair money back guarantee. Customers can call to arrange a refund on any purchase for any reason, as long as the call is made within 100 days. Customers are not even expected to send back their unused supply of Qualia, making this a very impressive and secure money back guarantee indeed!
Qualia is only available to buy on the official Neurohacker website and on Amazon. A month’s supply of Step One and Step Two from both outlets costs a hefty $150 (plus 50 cents in shipping). Customers buying from the official website can sign up for an auto-shop program that costs less per month ($129). It seems that subscriptions can be cancelled at any time with little fuss.