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Joe Rogan’s ‘Brain-Boosting’ Supplement Faces Damning Lawsuit Over Its ‘Blatantly False’ Health Claims

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Joe Rogan said he helped his friend, Onnit founder Aubrey Marcus, develop the original Alpha Brain formula.

Popular podcaster and influencer Joe Rogan has been accused of profiting from brain health supplements that are based on “false” and “misleading” studies.

Rogan, who has 14.5 million subscribers to his podcast, helped develop a pill that supposedly “promotes focus” with pharmaceutical company Onnit in 2010.

But more than a decade later, the company is being sued by a New York customer who alleges that the $30 supplement, called Alpha Brain, is based on bogus science.

Alpha Brain is advertised as a nootropic, a class of supplements that claim to improve brain function. It is taken in capsule form and is recommended twice a day. Onnit claims to “support memory” and “promote concentration” to help you feel “in the zone.”

The company, founded by holistic health guru Aubrey Marcus, says its claims are backed by a study it funded in 2016, which found the supplement “significantly improved” performance on memory tests.

Joe Rogan said he helped his friend, Onnit founder Aubrey Marcus, develop the original Alpha Brain formula.

Alpha Brain is marketed as a supplement that

Alpha Brain is marketed as a supplement that “supports memory” and “promotes concentration” to give you the feeling of being “in the zone.”

However, the lawsuit, filed in New York state, alleges that the trial was “defective” and, in fact, the clinical study showed that Alpha Brain does not improve memory or concentration.

This misleading advertising means consumers could be owed millions in restitution, the lawsuit suggests.

It is unclear what will happen if the plaintiff, named Jean Paul Lotz, wins the lawsuit.

However, in previous settlements over these types of supplements, known as nootropics, companies have shelled out billions of dollars to customers who were “misled” by the company’s claims.

And scientists have questions about Alpha Brain and other similar supplements.

Dr. Victor Henderson, a professor of neurology specializing in brain aging at Stanford University, told DailyMail.com: ‘I think for this product and others like it, the evidence is not strong. So save your money. Do something more useful with it.

Despite skepticism, nootropic supplements are incredibly popular and Onnit is far from the only company to claim their products improve brain function.

Onnit, purchased by UK-based giant Unilever for between 250 and 400 million dollars in 2021, claims to have sold more than 3 million bottles, which, at $80 per bottle, would represent $240 million in sales.

The global brain health supplements market is estimated to reach $5.8 billion by 2023, with approximately 25 percent of Americans over 50 years old taking some type of pills.

Onnit sells a 90-pack of Alpha Brain for $79.95 (approximately $1.13 per pill) that would last 45 days. The lawsuit estimates this has helped Onnit generate approximately $100 million in revenue since 2021 — $18 million in New York alone.

Alpha Brain says it works by providing the body with more nutrients that it can use to produce neurotransmitters, the chemical signals that make the brain function.


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The pills contain an amino acid called L-theanine, which is found naturally in mushrooms. In the body, L-theanine can be converted into the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine, known as the pleasure hormone, plays a role in motivation, concentration, and mood control.

The theory is that eating more L-theanine will allow you to increase dopamine production.

The proper balance of dopamine in the brain is important for mood, learning, and productivity.

However, too much of this hormone has been linked to aggressive behavior and problems controlling impulses.

Other Onnit supplements include a vitamin D3 spray for bone health and heart function, a “mood” pill to promote daily mood and relaxation, and a supplement to support a healthy immune response.

As interesting as the scientific claims behind various nootropics are, none of these supplements have been shown to actually do what they say, said Dr. Barry Gordon, a cognitive neurologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. told WebMD.

Right now, most nootropic claims only work “theoretically,” Dr. Henderson told DailyMail.com.

He said: “I think a lot of people have tried it (studies) and the evidence behind a lot of them is not very good.”

Onnit is quick to point to its clinical trial as evidence that its supplement is not like others on the market. His trial proves that Alpha Brain is not “horse shit, snake oil or placebos,” Rogan said in a podcast clip he hosted. on Onnit YouTube.

And while Dr. Henderson noted that it’s great that Onnit funded those studies, the conclusions they draw from them aren’t as significant as the company makes them seem.

Almost all measures of cognitive improvement analyzed in the study showed no difference between people taking Alpha Brain and those not taking it, he explained.

And in the area of ​​memory where Alpha Brain seemed to improve cognitive function (verbal recall), Dr. Henderson said the difference between the groups was so small that it was probably simply due to chance.

Speaking on his podcast, Rogan shared that he helped Onnit founder Aubrey Marcus come up with the idea for Alpha Brain. His actual relationship with the company is unclear.

Speaking on his podcast, Rogan shared that he helped Onnit founder Aubrey Marcus come up with the idea for Alpha Brain. His actual relationship with the company is unclear.

“It could have been a chance finding, and there was not enough internal consistency in terms of other memory results to really trust that finding,” he said.

It’s not that the entire study was bad, but “it’s a misinterpretation of the results of a small clinical trial,” he added.

According to Henderson, it would be better to have a cup of coffee and consume caffeine to stimulate the brain, rather than taking what Mr. Rogan promotes.

It is unclear from public information what role Rogan has played in Alpha Brain. In some videos, he is credited as the founder of Onnit, in others as a collaborator in the creation of Alpha Brain, and in others as a partner in the company.

in a Questions and answers published by Onnit in 2014Marcus, a wellness guru and podcaster, said he consulted with Rogan in the early days before making Alpha Brain.

In an advertisement in Onnit YouTube Channel Posted in 2022 with a clip from Rogan’s podcast, Rogan said, “Aubrey and I started Onnit.”

In a separate video talking about Onnit’s marketing strategy, the former Marketing Director Mike Spadier He endorsed that Mr. Rogan “helped develop the original formula for Alpha Brain.”

Spadier also said that “early in their talks, Aubrey agreed to make Rogan a partner,” meaning he would make money if Onnit ever became popular enough to be bought by a larger company.

Which happened when Onnit was sold to Unilever in 2021.

Representatives for Onnit, Unilever and Joe Rogan did not respond to multiple requests for clarification from DailyMail.com.

As for the recent lawsuit, previous court cases against other companies that sell brain boosters have had to pay big in court for misleading claims.

Quincy Bioscience agreed to pay $36 million in claims and restitution for making “misleading memory claims” in its advertisements while marketing its nootropic, called Prevagen.

British consumer goods company Reckit Benckisser settled a lawsuit over its nootropic called Neruiva for $8 million in July 2021.

However, the New York court case against Onnit is not necessarily a success for lawyers.

A similar lawsuit was filed against Onnit in California in 2023 by a person who took Alpha Brain.

The anonymous Californian was seeking compensation because she felt that “false claims” made by the company misled her into purchasing the product.

The lawsuit claimed that the company “has illegally collected millions of dollars from unsuspecting consumers,” but was ultimately dismissed.

In the sixteen-page class action lawsuit filed in New York federal court on April 23, attorneys detailed that plaintiff Lotz lived in Manhattan and purchased Alpha Brain five times in 2021, spending around $400.

Lotz reportedly purchased the supplement because of its “misleading claims of improving memory, concentration, and mental processing speed.”

If he had known that the evidence was scarce, he would not have purchased the supplement, according to the lawsuit.

Lotz also intends to seek restitution for the supplements, as well as attorneys’ fees.

At this time, Lotz is the only person in the lawsuit, but attorneys write that anyone in New York state who purchased these products could be entitled to damages.

The prosecuting law firms also did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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