thesis nootropic blends

Curious About Brain Optimization? Thesis Nootropics May Be Your In

Pills for creativity, energy, confidence, and more.

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Ever feel like you have the ability but not the willpower or inspiration to excel at your job? Or maybe you’re stuck in a creative rut and are struggling to get yourself out. Thesis, a nootropics company, wants you to stop being so hard on yourself.

Nootropics are the buzzy brain-boosting substances of the moment, and Thesis attempts to match people to different nootropic blends designed for certain needs—creativity, confidence, energy, clarity, logic, and so on. But can you really summon the powers of creativity on demand from a pill? Myself, and fellow Edge writer Rebekah Harding, tried Thesis for three months to find out. Here’s what you need to know. 

Why You Should Trust Us

Hone Health is a team of health-obsessed journalists, editors, fitness junkies, medical reviewers, and product testers. The two authors of this review, Rebekah Harding and Will Price, spent months taking Thesis’ nootropics blends and logging how we felt. We’ve reported on the ingredients Thesis incorporates in its nootropic blends extensively, such as ashwagandha, Alpha-GPC, Lion’s mane, and more.

For this review, we opted to review the product and service independently, as nootropics do not all affect people in the same way. Here’s what we found. 

What Is Thesis?

Thesis’s thesis (sorry, I had to) is that you are capable of more. But as co-founder and CEO Dan Freed says on the back of the box the pills come in, “…people thought I was lazy, stupid, or unmotivated. I knew there was more in me.” Freed and his brand propose that the solution to this conundrum many of us face may be nootropics, which are substances that aim to improve cognitive performance. 

New users are funneled through a quiz that determines the best nootropic blends for them—each named for the feeling they’re meant to evoke, e.g. confidence, clarity, creativity. Boxes come with four blends, each of which should last one week, with auto-renewing deliveries shipping at $79 a month. (Note: you can buy Thesis for just one month, but it will cost $119). 

You’re meant to take notes on how each blend makes you feel and, after you’ve completed your first box, adjust which blends you receive going forward.

What are nootropics?

Nootropics are medicinal substances (some pharmaceutical, some natural) that take aim at improving brain performance—memory, creativity, motivation, mood, as well as anxiety reduction and sleep improvement.

While many have heard of popular pharmaceutical nootropics like Modafinil, Adderall, and Ritalin, most over-the-counter nootropic supplements—like Thesis—are formulated largely with herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other natural compounds that are known to benefit the brain.

Thesis ingredients

Each Thesis blend contains different ingredients, many of which are supported by solid research. Here are a handful. 

Lion’s mane: Mushrooms that contain hericenones and erinacines, which can stimulate nerve growth and may offer potential cognitive benefits (1). In addition to thinking capacity, these mushrooms may lower the risk of age-related brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease (2).

Alpha-GPC: May increase your levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which facilitates memory and learning, and plays an important role in cognitive function (3). 

L-Theanine: An amino acid that can positively affect mood. Studies have found L-theanine may be a beneficial nootropic for mood and mental health. It may also help ease anxiety and stress levels (4).  

Ashwagandha: An ancient herb taken for thousands of years, ashwagandha is an adaptogen that has been found to reduce cortisol—stress—levels in humans, which can have a number of powerful knock-on effects on the brain (5). 

DHA (Omega-3): This omega-3 fatty acid plays a role in supporting cognitive function and promoting growth and maintenance of brain cells. Research suggests that DHA may improve memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance (6). 

Synapsa: This patented extract of Water Hyssop boasts nootropic benefits such as enhanced memory and cognitive function (7). Research shows that taking Synapsa regularly may improve your information processing speed, increase your attention span and enhance your memory (8).

Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo Biloba has antioxidant properties, which are associated with cerebral blood flow and neuroprotection (9). Studies suggest that this nootropic may boost memory, mental clarity, and overall cognitive function (10).

Theacrine: This natural plant compound acts as a mild stimulant, without the tolerance build-up and jitters associated with caffeine (11). Theacrine may boost energy, mental clarity, and focus.

Each box of Thesis comes with six packs, and each pack has four fairly large pills in it.

What’s Good About Thesis Nootropics?

Personalized recommendations

There are a lot of folks interested in nootropics. Google reports something like 100,000 monthly searches for the term each month. The issue many have is simple: nootropics aren’t easy. 

It’s not easy to know what companies are selling legitimate products and which are pushing low-grade stuff. It’s not easy to get a handle on what the many, many different nootropics are meant to do. Sometimes it’s not easy to know if the good week you just had was thanks to a nootropic you just took, or the absence of some stressor you forgot about. Then there’s dosage, doctors, and the way in which these substances play off each other to worry about. 

Getting your foot in the door with nootropics is a challenging task. Thesis’s approach is designed to simplify this, and it largely works.

The personalization is somewhat limited, in that the blends themselves cannot be changed, but the blends you receive can. Interested customers are prompted to complete a simple questionnaire that asks about physical traits as well as your goals in taking nootropics. You’re then given a “Starter Kit” that includes four different blends suited to what you’re after. 

High-quality ingredients

The more you delve into nootropics, the more you realize there are, broadly, two classes of company: the legit class and the not-so-legit class. Thesis, by our account, is the former. The company’s products are products in FDA-approved cGMP facilities, which ensures the manufacturing of the product is sound. More importantly, though, and this will sound humorous if you’ve never shopped for nootropics, Thesis actually tells you what’s in its blends. 

Thesis is not the only company selling nootropic blends as a shortcut for people not interested in doing months of research. There are a great many companies that don’t specify ingredients (“focus blend”) or, more commonly, aren’t clear on dosage of each individual nootropic.

Thesis’s nutrition label is crystal clear on what’s inside each serving of its nootropic blend.

Excellent customer service

When launching oneself into a health category one doesn’t know much about, having a friend can be helpful and reassuring. Thesis’s customer support service—available via email or phone—is the weird science friend you need. 

I pestered them numerous times and each issue was responded to and resolved within 24 hours every time. The first time I called. Is there a way to remove the caffeine from the blends (there’s 100mg, or a cup of coffee’s worth in each pack)? You can request non-caffeinated blends on your next order, but for the time being simply don’t take the white pill in the daily dose packet. My email questions were answered with similar speed as well. 

There’s also Thesis’s coaching feature, which is effectively customer service for questions about your specific blends, how the blends make you feel, and so on. When I called into it I mentioned that some of the blends made me slightly antsy, some made me feel great, and others seemed to have no effect at all. Not only is this common, it’s expected: these substances do not affect us all in the same way, so there is a necessary trial period to get through. 

Having a source of reassurance when trying something new to improve our health makes the process more comfortable. 

What’s Not Good About Thesis Nootropics?

Not for everybody

As previously mentioned, not all blends will work for you. Several reviews online suggest there are people for which none of them will work. My fellow reviewer and I each found one or two blends that worked especially well, some blends that didn’t seem to have any effect at all, and others that caused some minor anxiety. 

This is sort of the rub with nootropics. Different people will be hit different by different nootropics; and even then there is the matter of dosage and duration, as most research suggests there is bedding-in period associated with nootropic effectiveness (12).

So is this a con for Thesis or for nootropic supplementation more generally? It’s a little of both, but more so a hurdle with the wider world of nootropics.

If you’re already waist deep in nootropics as a hobby or interest area, you can likely build your own nootropic stacks for cheaper than what Thesis offers.

Not cheap

Thesis costs $79 a month, or $3.29 per serving, once you’ve set up your account for automatic renewal. This is, unsurprisingly, on the middle-higher end of the nootropic blend market. 

Budget brands like Focus Factor come in at less than a dollar per serving. Mind Lab Pro, a brand closer to Thesis’s efficacy and quality, goes for about $2.10 per serving. The popular NooCube blend is also about $2.15 per serving. 

It should be said that I’m obviously comparing apples to oranges here. Each of these blends are made of up different stuff. Each of these companies is selling to a different customer. It could be argued that Thesis’s hyper responsive customer service and task-focused personalization model makes the $79 a month bill a fair deal. That said, the price doesn’t pull you in quite like the promise the rest of the product provides. 

Detailed nootropic density figures for Thesis's "Logic" (left) and "Creativity" (right) blends.

What It’s Like to Take Thesis Nootropics

Tester #1 info: Female, 23 years old
Reason for taking: diagnosed ADHD, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, anxiety
Blends taken: Confidence, Motivation, Energy, Clarity

When I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2016, everything clicked. I’ve struggled with brain fog, task paralysis, and extreme difficulty concentrating for as long as I can remember. But all I have to show for my diagnosis is a raging caffeine addiction, two failed tries at taking prescription stimulant medication, and an ever-changing-never-working supplement stack.

As a neurodivergent person, the idea of nootropics—supplements that may improve cognitive performance—is intriguing to me. The idea of spending hours researching different blends and stand alone supplements, however, is not. That’s where Thesis comes in. 

To order your four-blend starter kit, Thesis kicks things off with a quick 25-question quiz. The questions were quick and multiple choice, and didn’t take more than a couple of minutes. (As a company that markets to ADHD-ers, I have to say they know their audience.) The quiz covers questions like how much sleep you clock in each night, your typical mood, and your procrastination habits—and a memory test at the end that I won’t spoil. At the end, you plug in an email and receive a customized recommendation based on your goals and struggles. 

I’m ultra-productive, but I have extreme anxiety and frequent brain fog depending on the state of my hormones. Thesis recommended four blends—Confidence, Motivation, Energy, and Clarity—to boost my mental health, promote relaxation, and fight off brain fog. 

I took each blend for six days each—as directed—with one day in between to reset.

Week one I opted for Confidence—a blend that includes saffron, ashwagandha, sage, and magnesium—which oddly produced the opposite of its intended effect. Two days in, I ditched the separate, white caffeine pill in the packet, but that only alleviated my anxiety slightly. Week two, I took Motivation—which contains artichoke extract, vitamin B12, methylliberine, and L-theanine. I enjoyed this blend the most, and felt like my mood and concentration got a decent boost. Weeks 3 and 4 I took Energy (mango leaf extract, theacrine, citicoline, and more) and Clarity (Lion’s Mane, L-theanine, and more) respectively. I noticed no changes these weeks.

Overall, I think Thesis is worth a shot for the nootropic-curious. Especially if you don’t have the time or patience to research these trendy supplements. However, I don’t think I’ll be stocking up on any of their blends any time soon.

Tester #2 info: Male, 30 years old
Reason for taking: brain fog, unfocused, spark creativity
Blends taken: Clarity, Logic, Creativity, Energy

I’ve not been evaluated for or diagnosed with any neurological or neurodevelopmental matters, but I have struggled to train my mind’s gaze on one thing for long periods of time for as long as I can remember. Call it brain fog or something else, it’s been a persistent issue of mine going back to my high school and college years, where I’d substitute just about any distraction available to me instead of something that would require real attention.

A Thesis ad on Instagram suggested this issue may not be my own failing (a source of great personal anxiety), but perhaps something that could be fixed with nootropics. I’m willing to believe most anything that suggests my failings are not my failings, so I ordered my personalized starter kit. 

My kit came with the Clarity, Logic, Creativity, and Energy blends. I quickly eliminated Clarity and Logic from the rotation, and both seemed to trigger a mix of uncomfortable headaches and anxiety (a quick browse of the internet suggests this isn’t an uncommon reaction to these specific blends). Energy, while effective, wasn’t the most useful to me, someone who doesn’t struggle as much with alertness. 

Creativity was different, though. During the second month of testing, once I’d taken Creativity for a few weeks straight (remember there is a bedding-in period!), things started to click. I started to feel the gears turning a bit more in brainstorm meetings at work, and I could think more deeply about how I could build a workout plan for a friend.

That’s how I would describe the feeling: a noticeable but slight improvement in my ability to untangle a problem of some kind. It wasn’t as though the shackles of my brand were removed and I launched a Fortune 500 company which, thankfully, Thesis does not suggest in any of its marketing materials. 

I’ve taken the Creativity tablets for a few months now and find them to be good value for the money, for me. For those curious about nootropics, I think of Thesis as the ideal first stop. Once you figure out what works for your brain and needs, you might seek out other solutions. 

The Bottom Line

Thesis nootropics are probably the best way to get into nootropics without having to do loads of research. The brand isn’t the cheapest out there, but the product is quality and the customer service is excellent. 

1. Lai, Puei-Lene et al (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/
2. Skubel Tomasz et al (2022). Therapeutic potential of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) in neurological and cognitive disorders – a review of the literature. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/363300485_Therapeutic_potential_of_Lion
3. Ham, Juhee et al (2018). Cholinergic modulation of the hippocampal region and memory function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5645066/
4. Williams, Jackson L. et al (2019). The Effects of Green Tea Amino Acid L-Theanine Consumption on the Ability to Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels: a Systematic Review. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31758301/
5. Lopresti, Adrian L. et al (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6750292/
6. Yurko-Mauro, Karin et al (2015). Docosahexaenoic Acid and Adult Memory: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4364972/
7. Downey, Luke A. et al (2012). An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of a special extract of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on sustained cognitive performance. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23281132/
8. Kumar, Navneet et al (2016). Efficacy of Standardized Extract of Bacopa monnieri (Bacognize®) on Cognitive Functions of Medical Students: A Six-Week, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5075615/
9. Mashayekhu, Ameneh et al (2012). Effects of Ginkgo biloba on cerebral blood flow assessed by quantitative MR perfusion imaging: a pilot study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163160/
10. Ge, Wei et al (2021). Ginkgo biloba extract improves cognitive function and increases neurogenesis by reducing Aβ pathology in 5×FAD mice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8014356/
11. Bello, Marissa L. et al (2019). The effects of TeaCrine® and caffeine on endurance and cognitive performance during a simulated match in high-level soccer players. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-019-0287-6
12. Malik, Matej et al (2022). Nootropics as Cognitive Enhancers: Types, Dosage and Side Effects of Smart Drugs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9415189/

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