CoreFocus Review: A Nootropic With Caffeine, L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine and L-Carnitine

By on March 8, 2015

If you’re interested in looking for investment opportunities right now, then I’d recommend considering an investment in the nootropics industry. It seems a whole bunch of companies are trying to get in on the nootropic stack market and new supplements are popping up all the time.

The way it works is simple. People on sites like LongeCity discuss the success they’ve had with various nootropic stacks then companies find these threads and package the individual ingredients into a single product. It’s actually a fairly good approach for the most part as it means that these supplements are verified by the community – perhaps it’s an approach the bodybuilding supplement industry could learn from?

Anyway, one such product is ‘CoreFocus’. I got sent a sample of this to test (because I’m cool) and I can’t find any other reviews for it on the web yet. So there’s a chance you’re looking at a Bioneer exclusive here people!

There is of course a downside to buying compound nootropics like this. It means that your ratios and ingredients are set in stone and you don’t get to mess around with them yourself. We all have different neurochemistry and the ingredients that work for some people are not the same as the ones that work for others necessarily.

If you buy a ready-made stack like this including caffeine, l-theanine, l-tyrosine etc., then you can’t for instance lower your intake of caffeine so that you can drink a nice coffee, or increase your ratio of theanine to caffeine because you’d like more of a calm focus.

But this is all getting a little complex anyway. After all, a lot of people don’t want a mental cupboard full of different supplements and ingredients or to have to try and calculate ratios and measure effects. Some people just want a quick boost and that’s why coffee is so loved the world over…

This is the kitchen cabinet of a madnman...

This is the kitchen cabinet of a mad man…

So does CoreFocus give you that? Is it a conveniently packaged way to increase focus and productivity? Or is it just a money grab?

CoreFocus Ingredients

The ingredients look like so:

Acetyl-L-Carnitine: 250mg
Caffeine: 100mg
L-Theanine: 100mg
L-Tyrosine: 90mg
Green Tea: 25mg
Niacin: 8mg
B12: 1mg

So what does all that mean? Basically the product can be summed up as ‘strong green tea combined with a pre-workout’.

Green tea is popular for provided a steady focus thanks to the naturally occurring combination of caffeine and l-theanine. These two supplements have long been celebrated for their synergistic effects – caffeine helping to wake you up (by clearing adenosine and increasing dopamine and norepinephrine) and l-theanine ‘taking the edge off’ and preventing jitters or anxiety. It’s said to create a calm focus and that it does. CoreFocus includes that combination plus a little more green tea for good measure.

Taken from the CoreFocus website

Taken from the CoreFocus website

Many biohackers will consider the caffeine/theanine combo to be pretty much the most reliable and straightforward way to boost focus. Usually though, they will recommend taking more theanine than caffeine. Often the ratio is anything between 3:2 to 4:1. CoreFocus gives you a 1:1 ratio which is a slightly odd choice but not a deal breaker (it could have something to do with the fact that theanine is more expensive). You can’t precisely control your levels in green tea either and some people do prefer having the same amount of caffeine or more if they want more alertness. I happen to fall into that latter camp. If nothing else, a 1:1 ratio is still going to cause fewer jitters than the 1:0 ratio that most people live on these days.

Then you have l-tyrosine which is a precursor to dopamine and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters called catecholamines). Thus it can help you to increase your focus and alertness in theory even more by letting the brain create more of these largely desirable neurotransmitters.

Taken from the CoreFocus website

Taken from the CoreFocus website

On top of that you also have L-carnitine which, like green tea, niacin (B3) and l-tyrosine, is commonly found in bodybuilding supplements. L-carnitine has an immediate effect on the mitochondria (the energy plants of the cells), helping them to burn glucose more efficiently and thus potentially improving energy levels and fat loss. These ingredients are all commonly found in fat burners too.

Taken from the CoreFocus website

Taken from the CoreFocus website

Conclusions and Musings

So really there’s nothing ground-breaking here: it’s a strong version of green tea + a preworkout. Which is a pretty good combination for most people who are just looking for a quick jolt in the morning, before work or even at the gym. It’s convenient to use and actually the price is very good.

What I like even more about this product is the price which seems pretty reasonable and the little pot that you can just slip in and out of your pocket. Dedicated biohackers are going to want to create their own stacks, but for the busy businessman or woman, entrepreneur or athlete I think it’s a slightly more sophisticated alternative to coffee and a pretty good one at that.

In terms of my personal experience? I was sent a pretty measly sample of 8 tabs (they’re a new company after all) but I had very productive days the days I tried them. For those who haven’t tried a similar stack before, the feeling was of a clean focus and energy and it was all-in-all pretty good. Don’t expect to feel like Eddy from Limitless – but that shouldn’t be your aim anyway. The only downside for me was the high amount of caffeine, seeing as I like a strong coffee in the morning and the combination resulted in me probably starting my day with about 400mg of caffeine in me. Oh dear.

I would like to point out at this juncture that I think that boosting catecholamines is actually the wrong approach to nootropics generally. I’ve said before in this post that I think focusing on energy for the brain is more important (hence why I like the inclusion of the L-carnitine) but I also think if you’re going to increase neurotransmitters you should increase all of them. I don’t think you should discriminate between neurotransmitters and there’s no such thing as a ‘bad one’. Cortisol has its benefits for instance – it protects against PTSD and it helps us wake up in the morning. The trick – I believe – is to give your brain the right raw materials and then to trust it to be able to use the right ones at the right times. It’s a pretty sophisticated piece of machinery and I don’t think we should second guess it…

But that said I’m a complete hypocrite because I rely on caffeine like 100% to do the amount of work I do. I know that many other people do the exact same thing too. And if you’re going to rely on coffee anyway, you might as well give a stack like this a go as slightly less jittery version of the same thing with some extra dopamine and mitochondrial performance thrown in for good measure. If you wanted to try some, you can get it from


About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.


  1. Steve H. says:

    I’m pretty daunted by the whole Nootropic business – I tried some tyrosine straight and found that it gave me a fairly decent buzz (not sure what its actually doing mind you) – could I take this instead of mixing my own (or are there any other products you recommend?) I just don’t want a cupboard full of this an that 😛

    • thebioneer says:

      To be honest I don’t recommend using stimulants (including caffeine) as nootropics overall. I think it’s better to play the ‘long game’ and look at optimizing nutrition and sleep for brain health and function. I’m a bit of a hypocrite in this regard atm. due to a severe love of coffee, but I’m looking at some alternatives which I’ll be posting about in the future 🙂 What is your ultimate objective with a nootropic stack?

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