“Inteligen” is a relatively new addition to the “brain boosting” class of dietary supplements. It is also termed as a nootropic product by many reviewers, though the term nootropic is rarely used in the product’s description, one that claims to use only natural ingredients for a formula destined to stimulate brain activity in order to achieve better cognitive results.
There is much hype around brain boosters or nootropics, with the jury still being out on their effectiveness. Nevertheless, many of the substances these supplements contain have produced results in laboratory conditions. To add to the controversy, the public image of nootropics continues to be tarnished by dubious commercial practices – like incomplete product descriptions, fake reviews, the obscure status of many manufacturers or outright manipulation – and “Inteligen” is no stranger to these practices, unfortunately.
For customers to make informed decisions before purchasing, comprehensive reviews of these supplements are essential. This article aims to be just that, through a thorough presentation and discussion of the manufacturer’s claims, an analysis of the product’s ingredients and their merits towards a better functioning of the brain, and by exploring the arguments made in the existing body of reviews.
What is Inteligen and How Does It Work? Manufacturer’s Claims
Researching this supplement is no easy task, with problems arising around every other corner. For example, there is no official website for it, and there is no company that purports to manufacture it. The only information that comes close to being labeled “official” is present on separate web pages of third-party vendors, that also sell other supplements that are not even remotely related to Inteligen. Nevertheless, these pages have the design and the wealth of information presented in the same tone as any other manufacturer’s website would. Although this aspect does not bode well for the integrity of the supplement, let us move to its actual description, taken from the website where the customer can order only Inteligen.
The first interesting feature in Inteligen’s pitch is that it explicitly targets healthy adults, a path not many supplements’ descriptions take. Right from the beginning, the marketers make bold assertions about the product – aside from the often encountered all natural ingredients which work towards improving memory and focus, this supplement also guarantees superior productivity and a heightening of one’s intelligence. The formula is gluten-, caffeine-, and GMO-free.
These claims are elaborated upon starting from the truism that the brain requires large amounts of energy in order to function properly. The ingredients in Inteligen, mainly amino acids and vitamin B6, work toward regulating the levels of acetylcholine (a key neurotransmitter). Proper levels of this chemical are a prerequisite of optimum brain function. The recipe is supposedly clinically proved, with references to four studies being made at the bottom of the web page
Four fundamental components – Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Ginkgo Biloba, Vinpocetine, and Bacopa Monnieri – work in concert to improve both short-term and long-term memory, to increase focus abilities (especially on a single task), and to give the user a general feeling of alertness and sharpness. After this brief characterization of ingredients comes the testimonials composed of short and vague statements.
Truly fascinating information can be found in the footer area of the page.
The “contact us” section has a form for contacting the company, yet no name, address or other contact information is present. The “shipping” section mentions that the supplement is shipped through USPS Priority Air Mail and contains the probably meaningless “30-day Money Back Guarantee” and the “100% Customer Satisfaction”.
Besides the usual disclaimer stating that the product has not been certified by the FDA, that one should consult a doctor before taking any kind of dietary supplementation, and that women who are pregnant or nursing should steer clear of it, another, lower key pitch is made in the “about” section. It seems that menopausal women could be the true beneficiaries of Inteligen, as it curbs their mood swings relieves them of fatigue, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness, contributing to a marked increase in their sexual satisfaction. And from an aesthetic point of view, this supplement also does wonders for an appearance by providing women with firmer skin and a more youthful look in general. It even reduces cholesterol levels and detoxifies the blood.
In the eyes of many a reviewer, these benefits are at least on the same level as the ones pertaining to brain function improvement, so one can only speculate on why are they relegated to this lowly position in the “about” section. Are menopausal women not a legitimate target group? Are the manufacturers and marketers of Inteligen prudish?
A related website builds on the information presented above, especially regarding the actual action of Inteligen. By using the metaphor of “brain workout”, we learn that this particular recipe of nutrients, vitamin B6, and amino acids not only facilitates keeping optimum levels of acetylcholine, it also enhances the sturdiness of brain cells through the multiplication of electrical impulses and, thus contributing further to a better communication between neural tissues.
The same source also firmly places Inteligen in the category of nootropic supplements, going as far as describing it as the pinnacle of what more than 100 years of research into nootropic substances has to offer. At least in the class of dietary supplements.
Ingredients of Inteligen and Their Functions
As we have already seen, there are numerous warning signs concerning this supplement, at least from the official presentation. In the same trend, one has to search far and wide in order to get the complete list of ingredients.We have found it, in a third-party review that is very critical of Inteligen. Judging by the timing of the reviews, this particular review seems to have been written before the initial website promoting the supplement went down. Furthermore, the list of secondary ingredients seems to have been strategically placed in the “terms and conditions” section. Nevertheless, we will take the beaten path and analyze the four main components (found on the official website and in most other reviews) first, and only then delve a little deeper in the ingredients of lesser importance. After all, the chief claims are based on the actions of these four key elements.
BACOPA MONNIERI, or brahmi, is a plant native to the north of India and has a long history of use and special place in traditional Indian medicine. It has been used since ancient times for conditions such as hoarseness, back pains, and joint pain. In relation to a point made earlier, bacopa monnieri is said to improve sexual appetite in both men and women. Modern medicine has discovered that bacopa also has effects in reducing anxiety and improving memory, and has been used in mental disorders like Alzheimer’s, ADHD, and epilepsy. WebMd rates it as possibly effective in improving memory, yet there is no definitive evidence. The problem with the plant and its extracts is that it is contraindicated for individuals suffering from a diverse range of illnesses, and frequently causes digestive disruptions even for healthy adults. The typical dose for those looking for memory improvements is 300 mg per day for no more than 12 weeks. According to supplementhq.com, bacopa monnieri is one of the most often used ingredients in nootropic supplements. It seems that it improves memory through accelerating the growth of nerve endings, a process which, in turn, leads to a better neural communication.
VINPOCETINE is the second of four key ingredients in Inteligen and contradicts the assertion of “100 percent natural ingredients”. According to WebMd, vinpocetine is a synthetic substance that, granted, resembles a compound found in the plant Vinca minor, however, requires sophisticated laboratory work. The cited source also states that adequate studies to determine vinpocetine’s safety status are yet to be undertaken, despite many claims from supplement manufacturers to the contrary. The main application of vinpocetine is in cases of ischemic stroke as it is believed to increase the supply of blood to the brain. Secondary uses are for the relief of menopausal symptoms and chronic fatigue syndrome. Most studies involving vinpocetine and mental benefits were done before 1990, a period when the criteria for diagnosing and treating mental disorders were very different from today. The substance can cause mild side effects (particularly digestive ones), however, recorded cases featured a dosage of less than 30 mg per day. The fact that nobody knows the exact quantities of the substances that make up Inteligen makes further elaboration on this issue meaningless.
GINKGO BILOBA is well known for its effects in dealing with prolonged exposure to stress and fatigue in general. That being said, there are some allegations that some supplements may contain impure extracts of the plant, which are potentially harmful. Where the plant is concerned, its seeds are dangerous for human health, with recorded cases of death occurring after ingesting no more than a few seeds. Ginkgo biloba extract has not been given the safety clearance by the FDA, so it is better to consult a doctor before using supplements containing it, and it definitely should not be consumed for more than three months. Ginkgo biloba extract seems to help patients suffering from mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, though its effectiveness in improving the memory function of healthy people is not a scientifically acknowledged fact. Side effects are usually limited to mild nausea and headaches, however, serious problems such as irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness or breathing problems are not unheard of.
ACETYL-L-CARNITINE is a variant of the carnitine class of amino acids, which have a significant role in metabolizing fat. It is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys, and it is also available in the synthetic form found in a host of dietary supplements. Carnitine is useful in a variety of conditions, as an optimal assimilation of fat is crucial, such as diabetes, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, nerve problems and male infertility. There are a few serious possible side effects, however, in cases of artificial carnitine supplementation – nausea, vomiting, even higher blood pressure than initially, higher triglycerides in diabetics, sleep disruptions and even psychotic episodes in patients with bipolar disorder. Therefore, it is critical to consult a doctor with knowledge of your medical history when considering taking supplements containing carnitine. Important natural sources of carnitine are milk, chicken, beef, and other animal-derived foods.
This more detailed look at the principal ingredients in Inteligen shows that things are not quite so straightforward and rosy as the official pitch makes them appear. Let us then consider the secondary ingredients:
- Flaxseed – is usually consumed in the form of cooking oil or as an integral part of margarine. Being a great source of alpha-linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat, it reduces inflammation and helps prevent cancer and high blood pressure. Other proven effects include lowering cholesterol and reducing the acuteness of symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Oat Bran – has a variety of uses, especially in the coating of tablets. Oat bran is rich in dietary fiber is a great source of essential fatty acids, with all the benefits one may garner from these.
- Extract of Papaya Leaves – papaya leaves contain two important substances, papain and carpain, which are known to have diuretic and sedative effects. They are also adept at neutralizing the effects certain parasites of the digestive tract have. However, we are talking about minimal benefits.
- Black Walnut Hull – there are high levels of tannins in the black walnut, and it has been applied to wounds in order to reduce pain and hasten their healing since ancient times. Gargles using black walnut helps with parasitic worm infections.
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus – the most common probiotic strain, it can have a wide range of positive effects on digestion (but not limited to it), however, it is highly unlikely that Inteligen incorporates a large enough quantity of lactobacillus in order for it to be effective.
- Apple Pectin – pectin is a complex carbohydrate, which is extracted in its medicinal form from the walls of the cells of certain fruit or vegetables (especially apple, apricot and orange). It is frequently used in many dietary supplements due to benefits in regulating blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. Pectin also has detoxifying effects for the colon.
These secondary ingredients seem to make Inteligen a nootropic supplement with probiotic and protective undertones. Nevertheless, the facts that the actual composition with the actual quantities that make up one pill of this supplement are nowhere to be found means that we can analyze and overanalyze the ingredients because this aspect will still be a major warning sign.
Existing Body of Reviews and Our Verdict
By this point in the narrative, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Inteligen’s existing reviews are mostly scathing or indifferent at best. Dietary supplements are starting to become big business and their consumption more widespread and, as is the case with every product intended for the masses, imposters usually get spotted early on.
Respected supplement review website highya does not waste any time in their review to call the marketers of Inteligen on their less than detailed presentation. The absence of a manufacturing company and that of a complete list of ingredients are the first blemishes on the product. The second one also means that the central claim made by the supplement’s promoters – that it brings levels of acetylcholine to an optimal level – is not backed up by anything. Actually, there are hundreds of substances that can impact the levels of acetylcholine, both in a positive and a negative manner, which means the claims surrounding Inteligen are becoming thinner and thinner. To add insult to injury, this particular review delved into the four cited studies that are supposed to confirm the assertions in favor of the supplement. There is no surprise there – none of the studies were performed on humans, two studies were undertaken in parts of the world that are less than trustworthy and one study involved novel applications of piracetam and levetiracetam, synthetic substances that have prominent nootropic effects, yet they are not included in Inteligen’s formula. Highya.com concludes that there are too many avoidances of the truth besides the repeated half-truths to recommend this product.
The review at supplementpolice is much less extensive and contains no information from other sources. In fact, it is a fragmented reshuffle of the information we have presented in the first section of this article. There is no surprise that the conclusion is in the same vein as that in the official presentation. We suspect that the reason is more lack of effort than lack of a desire, to be honest.
A recent review from snopes is the most scathing one yet, with actual red flags present alongside the body of the review. It decries the vagueness of the information regarding the manufacturers of the supplement, in addition to pointing out that the ingredients used are in no way 100 percent natural.
Other reviews are along the same lines – either repeating the official information in about the same tone of unbridled optimism or caustic criticism anchored in the many official avoidances and contradictions.
One thing is certain – the competition among nootropic supplements is a harsh one. Yet that is no reason to engage in the practices the marketers of “Inteligen” are guilty of. The absence of such crucial information as the name and contact information of the manufacturer, making bold assertions about the effects of the product with only a slim scientific basis, and the seemingly chaotic scattering of information across sections of the presentation web page raises red flags in the minds of even the most trustful reviewer. Harsh competition does not justify these dubious practices.