Updated 8/25/23. Neuriva is a popular memory supplement you may have seen actresses and neuroscientists Mayim Bialik (from Jeopardy and The Big Bang Theory) as well as Alton Brown talking about in TV commercials. Neuriva is touted to “give your brain a helping hand” by improving focus, concentration, and clarity. While it is true that Neuriva contains a unique ingredient called coffee cherry, not seen in other brain formulas, the big question is, does Neuriva really work? Specifically, does it improve memory, especially in those with memory loss? Is it safe, and what are the side effects? Here's the evidence. You decide.
1 What Does Neuriva Do?
The supplement (pronounced Neur-VIA) is supposed to help with 5 areas of brain performance:
- Focus (ability to zoom in and filter out distractions)
- Learning (retaining new information)
- Accuracy (faster and more precise reactions)
- Concentration (ability to stick to a task longer)
- Memory (recall and record information better)
The FDA has not verified these benefits.
2 Neuriva Ingredients
This supplement is pretty straight forward and contains just 2 ingredients:
|Neuriva (1 capsule)
|Coffee Fruit Extract 100 mg
|PhosphatidylSerine 100 mg
Coffee fruit extract
The extract comes from Coffee arabica. As the name suggests, it comes from coffee. This is also called a coffee cherry and is the key unique ingredient in Neuriva. Coffee cherry refers to dried coffee beans. Dred coffee berries are called cherries. Another name for this is cascara.
Coffee cherry extract is a rich source of antioxidants like polyphenols and other phytonutrients which research suggests may help brain function and heart disease. Less than 1% of the coffee cherry is caffeine.
One investigation noted whole coffee fruit powder raised levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in healthy people who did not have dementia. The BDNF compound may improve brain functioning.
We make this stuff. It's found in cell membranes and is especially abundant in the brain. It helps brain cells communicate with each other. Some research suggests a link between low levels of phosphatidylserine and poor memory.
The supplement also contains these other ingredients:
- rice bran
- capsule (hypromellose, carrageenan, titanium dioxide, pectin)
- microcrystalline cellulose
- silicon dioxide
These ingredients have to do with the capsules and how the ingredients mix well together. They don't play any role in the benefits.
3 Neuriva Research
In one clinical trial, which the Rickett company-sponsored, 135 people in their early 50s who took Neuriva for 42 days reported that they felt their memory had improved, and they scored significantly better on some memory tests related to memory, focus and learning, and concentration compared to placebo takers. However, on other tests, those taking the placebo also scored significantly better as well. It is also noteworthy that Neuriva did not raise levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance that plays a role in memory and learning. That said, it was also reported that placebo takers had lower BDNF levels after the study. Whether this means Neuriva can maintain healthy BDNF levels requires more study.
Additional Points of Interest
- The people were not diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer or other forms of cognitive impairment.
- This study does not prove that Neuriva helps people with dementia.
- Understand that this study incorporated the original Neuriva formula.
- Some of the researchers worked for Reckitt, the maker of this supplement.
Coffee Cherry Research
Those taking either 100 mg or 200 mg of coffee cherry had better reaction times than people who took a placebo. Those taking coffee cherry started seeing improvements in just seven days.
Reaction time improvement
- 200 mg/day: about 37% improvement
- 100 % /day: about 35% improvement
So what does this mean?
Reaction time is an aspect of short-term memory. Better reaction times mean it takes less time to react to something. The faster you can react, the better. In theory, reacting faster might benefit:
- professional video gammers
- older adults at risk of falls
However, proof it helps these people is lacking.
Interestingly, reaction time isn't one of the things this supplement is touted to help.
Also, keep in mind this study did not prove coffee cherry reversed dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
Phosphatidylserine (sometimes called PS) is a component of cell membranes called a phospholipid. It helps our cell membranes stay intact. A decline in phosphatidylserine in the brain is associated with poorer memory. Some evidence suggests PS raises acetylcholine levels. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that brain cells use to communicate.
In one investigation, 15 older adults given 300 mg PS for 12 weeks showed memory improvements starting after six weeks of use. In a larger study, 424 older adults with mild to moderate memory problems were given 300 mg of PS or a placebo for 15 weeks. Those taking phosphatidylserine performed better on memory tests than the people taking a placebo.
On the flip side, one investigation found PS didn't work better than a placebo when 300 mg and 600 mg were given to 120 older adults.
Overall, the research appears to show PS helps some aspects of memory but may work best in those with mild or moderate impairment. Results will likely vary. Whether or not phosphatidylserine helps people with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia needs more study.
Sharp PS is the name of the form of phosphatidylserine Neuriva contains. Sharp PS is a trademarked name and refers to plant-sourced phosphatidylserine. The source may be either soy or sunflowers. This means it's vegan. In other kinds of supplements, sources of phosphatidylserine may be bovine (cow).
4 Which Ingredient Has More Proof?
Of the two ingredients in Neuriva, there is more memory-related research on phosphatidylserine. There is less research on coffee cherry. That doesnt mean they dont work better together. While both may act synergistically, it will take clinical studies to know for certain.
5 The Neuriva App
Neuriva Brain Gym is an app for both Apple and Android that contains various memory tests and games. There is both a free and paid version of the app. The paid version has more brain games and tests than the free version. Whether or not the Brain Gym app helps the supplement work better needs further study.
6 Does It Contain Added Sugars?
Yes. There are 3 grams of added sugars in both the Original and Plus versions of the supplement. If you are eating 2000 calories per day, this comes
to about 6% of the daily value for added sugars.
7 Who Makes Neuriva?
The company is Schiff Nutrition, which has been in operation since 1936. In 2012 Schiff Vitamins was acquired by the British company Reckitt Benckiser. The website is SchiffVitamins.com. Their address is 2002 S 5070 W Salt Lake City, UT 84104-4726. The Schiff company is also behind several other familiar supplement brands, including Airborne, MegaRed, and MoveFree.
To contact Schiff Vitamins call (888) 532-4574.
8 What About Neuriva Plus?
Here's how the original and Plus versions differ from each other:
|Coffee fruit 200 mg
|Coffee fruit 100 mg
|PhosphatidylSerine 100 mg
|PhosphatidylSerine 100 mg
|Vitamin B6 1.7 mg
|Folate 400 mcg
|Vitamin B12 2.4 mcg
As can be seen, the Plus version has double the amount of coffee fruit (200 mg). The Plus version also contains vitamins B6, B12, and folate. These vitamins have been shown to reduce homocysteine, a chemical linked to heart disease and dementia. Thus far, the Plus formula has not been clinically examined to determine if it works better than the original formula.
If you purchase Neuriva Gummies, they contain 15 g of sodium.
Can Vitamin B6 Reduce Anxiety?
9 Neuriva Price
The supplement can be purchased at local stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart, CVS, and others. Cost may vary depending on where you shop. Here are the prices listed on the Schiff Vitamins website:
- Original Formula: 32.99 (1 month supply). Yearly Cost: $395.88
- Neuriva Plus: $49.49 (1 month supply). Yearly Cost: $593.88
- Brain Performance De-Stress: $24.99 (1 month supply). Yearly Cost:$299.88
- Neuriva Brain + Energy Effervescent Tablets: $32.99 (1 month supply). Yearly Cost: $395.88
- Gummies $24.99 (1 month supply). Yearly Cost: $299.88
- Neuriva Brain Health De-Stress: $29.99 (1 month supply). Yearly Cost: $359.88
- Neuriva Ultra Capsules: $59.99 (1 month supply). Yearly Cost: $718.88
- Sleep Capsuels: $15.75. (1 month supply). Yearly Cost $ 189.00
- Relax and Sleep Capsules: $15.75 ( 1 month supply): Yearly Cost $189.00
These supplements may cost less on Amazon.
10 Does Neuriva Help Depression?
There's no evidence the supplement helps people suffering from depression. One study noted phosphatidylserine may help depression in older folks, but more research is needed to know for sure if it works.
11 Coffee Cherry vs. Tart Cherry
If you're wondering what's the difference between coffee cherry and tart cherry, know that both contain many antioxidant compounds. One difference is that tart cherry supplements are promoted to help muscle aches and improve sleep. Coffee cherry is touted to help focus, mental clarity, and memory.
Tart cherries contain the melatonin hormone, which helps with sleep. Coffee Cherries do not contain melatonin. There is no caffeine in tart cherries, but coffee cherry has a little bit (less than 1%).
12 Neuriva vs. Prevagen
Prevagen is a very popular memory supplement that contains a jellyfish protein. There are no studies that compare Prevagen and Neuriva to each other. To be fair, companies rarely invest the time and money to compare their supplements to the competition. To know more, see the deep dive review into how they compare to each other.
13 The Neuriva Lawsuit
Starting in 2020, several class-action lawsuits in New York, Florida, and California were filed against Reckitt Benckiser, the parent company of Schiff Vitamins, maker of Neuriva. Those bringing the lawsuits claim the company has no good evidence the supplement is “clinically proven” to help memory or brain performance.
14 Neuriva Side Effects
Here is a list of things to consider when using this supplement. This list is not complete:
- Start with less than recommended for the first week.
- Stop taking at least two weeks before surgery.
- If pregnant or nursing, ask your doctor.
- Ask your doctor first if you are taking any medications.
- Consider taking with food to reduce stomach upset.
- The supplement has not been proven to be effective for school-age students.
- Phosphatidylserine might interfere with medications that raise acetylcholine, serotonin, and dopamine levels.
15 Does Neuriva Work To Improve Memory?
As for the pros & cons, the ingredients seem logical for memory and focus supplements, although I'm not totally convinced and would like to see some better proof, especially in those who have dementia and Alzheimer's disease. On the plus side, if Neuriva is really going to work (improve your memory), you should see results within a month or so, according to the clinical study summarized above. There are about ten different kinds of this supplement. Thus far, the only version that has been clinically studied is the original formula.