A combination of nootropic ingredients (CAF+) is not better than caffeine in improving cognitive functions

Stephanie Caldenhove*, Anke Sambeth, S. Sharma, Woo G., A. Blokland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Many nootropic compounds claim to have positive effects on cognitive performance. In this study, we tested the effects of the nootropic compound CAF+ on cognitive functioning. CAF+ contains a combination of ingredients that has separately shown to boost cognitive performance, including caffeine, l-theanine, vinpocetine, l-tyrosine, and vitamin B6/B12. We examined whether CAF+ would improve cognitive functions in healthy young participants, and whether it would be more effective than caffeine. We used a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled three-way cross-over design to examine the performance of 21 healthy young participants on a test battery aimed to measure memory performance, attention, and sensorimotor speed. Our main outcome measure was participant’s performance on the Verbal Learning Test (VLT). Subjective alertness, heart rate, and blood pressure were also monitored. Participants were tested at 30 and 90 min after treatment. We found that after 90 min, the delayed recall performance on the VLT after caffeine was better than after CAF+ treatment. Further, caffeine, but not CAF+, improved the performance in a working memory task. In a complex choice reaction task caffeine improved the speed of responding. Subjective alertness was increased as a result of CAF+ at 30 min after administration. Only caffeine increased diastolic blood pressure. We conclude that in healthy young students, caffeine improves memory performance and sensorimotor speed, whereas CAF+ does not affect the cognitive performance at the dose tested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
JournalJournal of Cognitive Enhancement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2017


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