CILTEP (NeuroFuel) Review: How Does It Stack Up?
Ciltep is a family of preformulated nootropic stacks for everything from memory and focus enhancement to mood stabilization.
Natural Stacks, the makers of Ciltep, promise “increased motivation, improved concentration, mood, and enhanced ability to study.”
Ciltep is actually one of the first commercially available nootropic stacks on the market, debuting in 2012.
It has many fans worldwide, including some of the most popular members of the “neurohacker” community, like Tim Ferris and Dave Asprey.
But is it still the right choice in today’s more sophisticated nootropics scene? Let’s find out.
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CILTEP is also available on Amazon, but we often discourage readers from purchasing nootropics from Amazon due to the high chances of buying counterfeit products.
Read more about Amazon’s supplement problems here.
CILTEP’s family of products includes several high-potency nootropics designed for different aspects of cognitive enhancement.
For the sake of simplicity, this review is mostly about Cilitep’s flagship product, “Neurofuel.”
Neurofuel is CILTEP’s original nootropic product, designed for enhanced focus, deep concentration, and improved memory.
This formulation includes:
- Artichoke Extract 900 mg.
- Forskolin 20 mg.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine 750 mg.
- L-Phenylalanine 500 mg.
- Vitamin B6 5 mg.
Dopamine Brain Food
The Dopamine Brain Food formula is for anyone looking to boost mental drive, focus and attention, mental clarity, and reduced brain fog.
This particular stack is designed to support the body’s natural production of dopamine.
- L-Tyrosine 650mg
- Trimethylglycine 600mg
- L-Phenylalanine 500mg
- Vitamin C 500mg
- Vitamin B6 (as P5P) 5mg
- Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin)
CILTEP has other products that boost crucial neural pathways like:
They also brain-friendly nutrients like curcumin, krill oil, vitamin D, pre/probiotics, and creatine.
CILTEP Quality Assurance
Over the years, Ciltep has positioned itself as one of the most trustworthy nootropic companies.
They go above and beyond to inform their customers of ingredient sourcing and quality assurance.
Every product on its website includes a full list of ingredient sources and third-party testing analyses.
It’s hard to find this kind of transparency with most supplement manufacturers, let alone nootropic companies.
The combination of trusted ingredients and 3rd party proof that what you’re buying actually works is a testament to the quality that Ciltep promises with all of its products.
This is important, especially when taking a preformulated stack since there are multiple ingredients, and even just one bad part can spoil the entire product.
Ciltep is designed to induce long-term potentiation (LTP) in the brain. LTP is the process of encoding new memories in your synapses. This is crucial for overall mental functioning.
Its primary mechanism of action seems to involve the neurotransmitter cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). cAMP is involved in many biological processes, including LTP.1PubChem. Cyclic AMP
, Pubchem. 2020
Ciltep can raise levels of cAMP by inhibiting an enzyme called PDE4. PDE4 is responsible for breaking down cAMP, so by decreasing PDE4, Ciltep indirectly increases cAMP. Artichoke extract seems to be primarily responsible for this action.
The compound forskolin also seems to be able to increase cAMP levels in the brain directly.
This nootropic stack also includes Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), a compound that may be able to fight stress and fatigue.
The L-phenylalanine may support the dopamine system, although the evidence on this is very mixed.
Ciltep rounds out this mix with vitamin B6, a crucial mineral cofactor in many metabolic and mental processes. Supplementing with more B vitamins is rarely a bad idea.
How To Take Ciltep And When To Take Ciltep
The makers of Ciltep recommend that you take 1-3 pills in the morning, ideally on an empty stomach. Many people report good results in taking their daily dose with coffee or tea for an added kick.
It may take a few days or weeks of supplementing to experience the benefits of this product fully. However, some users report feeling at least some positive effects immediately.
It’s generally a good idea to cycle a nootropic like Ciltep. Most people who take this nootropic stack long term adopt a 5-days-on-2-days-off or every-other-day schedule. Cycling prevents your brain from building tolerance and gives your system a chance to rest.
Is Ciltep Safe?
There are currently no published trials on the safety of Ciltep. However, there are no reported cases of any life-threatening or dangerous reactions to this nootropic.
The individual components are mostly natural and relatively benign. The most common complaint from users is occasional nausea.
That said, anyone under the age of 18 should not take CILTEP. The effects of nootropic substances on developing brains are mostly unknown, so it is better to play it safe.
Ciltep For ADHD
Ciltep may be useful for people with ADHD. There are no clinical trials for Ciltep as a stack, but some of the ingredients do have some research to treat ADHD.
Forskolin’s effect on cAMP may improve symptoms of this disorder according to one preliminary study.2Susan L Andersen. Changes in the second messenger cyclic AMP during development may underlie motoric symptoms in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
, Behav Brain Res
ALCAR may also help treat inattentive-type ADHD, but does not seem to be particularly useful for most people suffering from this condition.3L Eugene Arnold, et al. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a multi-site, placebo-controlled pilot trial
, J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol
Vitamin B6 deficiency is also associated with ADHD symptoms.4M Mousain-Bosc, M Roche, A Polge, D Pradal-Prat, J Rapin, J P Bali
. Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders
, Magnes Res
There are many anecdotal reviews online that say this nootropic stack helped them with their attention problems. There are also some saying that it did NOT help, and potentially made it worse. So, as with any nootropic supplement, your mileage may vary.
Ciltep For Depression
Ciltep is primarily marketed as a nootropic for focus, energy, and attention. However, some users do report better moods while taking it.
Supplementing with ALCAR, a primary ingredient in CILTEP can improve depressive symptoms by raising norepinephrine and serotonin levels.
There is also one preliminary trial indicating that it can significantly decrease signs of depression in human patients versus placebo, although more research needs to be done to confirm these findings.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22549035 5Veronese N, et al. Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplementation and the Treatment of Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Psychosom Med. 2018
There is a small trial that indicates forskolin may improve depressive symptoms in depressed and schizophrenic patients. However, this study was small and involved IV infusions of forskolin, so it’s hard to tell how this effect might translate into a product like CILTEP.6Y Bersudsky, et al. A preliminary study of possible psychoactive effects of intravenous forskolin in depressed and schizophrenic patients. Short communication
, J Neural Transm (Vienna)
There is also evidence that B6 deficiency can also cause depressive symptoms. So, if you aren’t getting enough of this vitamin in your diet, the B6 in CILTEP may be useful for raising your mood.7Anne-Mette Hvas, Svend Juul, Per Bech, Ebba Nexø
. Vitamin B6 level is associated with symptoms of depression
, Psychother Psychosom
. Nov-Dec 2004
Overall, this stack seems to work well for some people’s moods, but there are probably better nootropics out there if you are looking for relief from depression.
Ciltep For Anxiety
The only component of CILTEP with clinically proven benefits for anxiety is ALCAR, which has lowered rats’ anxiety.8Joseph Levine, et al. Effect of intraperitoneal acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) on anxiety-like behaviours in rats
, Int J Neuropsychopharmacol
There are some reports of CILTEP decreasing anxiety from users, but occasional reports of it increase anxiety in some people. Again, your mileage may vary, and if you are looking specifically for anxiety relief, there are probably better products out there, in our opinion.
Ciltep For Quick Thinking And Brain Fog
This is a category where CILTEP seems to shine consistently. Many users report increased clarity and mental sharpness while taking this nootropic stack.
While there are no clinical trials we can point to, there’s no shortage of glowing reviews claiming it can improve overall focus and cognition.
Poker player Martin Jacobson credits CILTEP for helping him win the 2014 World Series Of Poker Winner. (Keep in mind Natural Stacks, the maker of CILTEP, did sponsor Jacobson so that you can take his endorsement with a grain of salt).
The forskolin/artichoke extract combo in this stack does seem to be responsible for this effect. These two components can increase cAMP levels in the brain, improving cognition and triggering a downstream effect of raising dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels.9Luis E F Almeida, Peter D Murray, H Ronald Zielke, Clinton D Roby, Tami J Kingsbury, Bruce K Krueger. Autocrine activation of neuronal NMDA receptors by aspartate mediates dopamine- and cAMP-induced CREB-dependent gene transcription
, J Neurosci
This could have an overall positive effect on cognition, cutting through brain fog and increasing mental sharpness.
The addition of ALCAR in this nootropic stack can add to this effect. According to animal studies, this ingredient can alter energy metabolism in the brain and further boost serotonin and noradrenaline.10Olav B Smeland, Tore W Meisingset, Karin Borges, Ursula Sonnewald. Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice
, Neurochem Int
Ciltep For Increased Motivation
Many users report increased motivation from CILTEP.
However, some people claim it can give them a “washed out” feeling, especially the day after taking it. Tim Ferris claims that although CILTEP is effective, he feels the need to sleep longer.
The Benefits Of Increasing cAMP
CILTEP primarily works by increasing cAMP levels in the brain. There are many potential benefits to doing this.
cAMP is responsible for neuroplasticity and encoding new memories. So higher cAMP levels could improve memory encoding and recall.11Jörg-Peter Ewert. cAMP and Memory
, Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions. 2013
It also seems that cAMP may indirectly raise levels of catecholamines (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine), which can have a periphery effect on mood, motivation, and focus.12Olav B Smeland, Tore W Meisingset, Karin Borges, Ursula Sonnewald
. Chronic acetyl-L-carnitine alters brain energy metabolism and increases noradrenaline and serotonin content in healthy mice
, Neurochem Int
Raising cAMP can have anti-aging and brain health benefits, possibly increasing longevity.13Zhuoran Wang, et al. Cyclic AMP Mimics the Anti-ageing Effects of Calorie Restriction by Up-Regulating Sirtuin
, Sci Rep. 2015
There are also metabolic and weight-loss benefits associated with increasing cAMP.14Jay H Chung. Metabolic benefits of inhibiting cAMP-PDEs with resveratrol
, JAdipocyte . 2012
CILTEP could have positive physical effects as well as mental ones. Theoretically, forskolin’s action on cAMP could alter metabolism in a beneficial way for people looking to lose weight. It has recently gained traction in the media as a fat-burning supplement.
So does that mean CILTEP could be a diet aid? Well, this is still not settled science. While there is one rat study showing that forskolin can prevent obesity, the few human trials on the subject do not show apparent weight-loss effects.
However, there is evidence that forskolin may encourage beneficial changes in body composition and muscle mass and increase serum testosterone in men.15S Doseyici, I Mehmetoglu, A Toker, F H Yerlikaya, E Erbay. The effects of forskolin and rolipram on cAMP, cGMP, and free fatty acid levels in diet-induced obesity
, Biotech Histochem
. 2014 16Shonteh Henderson, et al. Effects of Coleus Forskohlii Supplementation on Body Composition and Hematological Profiles in Mildly Overweight Women
, J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2005 17Michael P Godard, et al. Body Composition and Hormonal Adaptations Associated with Forskolin Consumption in Overweight and Obese Men
, Obes Res
So, while the jury is still out, it appears that this nootropic may have at least some effect on metabolism and physical health.
CILTEP is appropriate for vegan, vegetarian, and keto diets.
Ciltep and Caffeine
Most users agree that CILTEP works well combined with caffeine. CILTEP and caffeine seem to positively potentiate each other, leading to more energy, motivation, and focus.
This is especially the case with “smart coffee,” which has additional brain-boosting nootropic ingredients.
If you are going to try CILTEP, we highly recommend this combo.
Reviews From The Internet
“In terms of bang for the buck…it’s hard to say that there’s anything out there that I’ve tried that can rival it.”
“I’ve tried it. I really really wanted it to work but didn’t notice anything. I blinded myself against a placebo and guessed wrong with like 60% certainty. I still have a good deal of it so I’ll probably try again in the future but it was a disappointment.”
“Working in an investment risk management role, I wanted a nootropic to help keep me on top of my game. Of the ones I’ve tried, Ciltep is by far the best and is now an integral part of my morning routine. I take three pills with a cup of green tea every weekday morning. My job requires me to make critical decisions in a matter of seconds, and there’s a noticeable difference in my job performance on days where I’ve taken Ciltep versus days I haven’t. Ciltep gives me a heightened sense of alertness without making me jittery like other nootropics. I find that I’m able to think far more clearly (especially early in the morning where I’d normally be a little foggy) and am a better problem-solver and decision-maker because of it.”
“I have a caffeine sensitivity right now, so I don’t couple it with any caffeine (as recommended, not required). The effects are still great though – until about 5 or 6 hours in, then there’s a terrible 1-hour crash, after which point it takes the rest of the day for my brain to get back to normal operating levels. Yuck.”
Users should take 1-3 pills per day, in the morning on an empty stomach.
The most common side effects that people seem to complain about are nausea and headache. However, most people do not see any real negative reactions from this nootropic stack.
About the author:
Erik Levi is a co-founder of HolisticNootropics.com and a certified holistic nutritional therapy practitioner.
As an NTP Erik takes a nutrition first approach to health. He has worked with many different people to help them use nutrition to optimize their quality of life.
Erik believes that mental health is a physiological process and cognitive enhancement is not something that can be achieved by just taking some pills with good Amazon reviews.
Instead, true cognitive enhancement comes with the right balance of nutrients, movement, and gratitude. Erik continues to stay up to date with the most current nootropic and holistic health research and promises to deliver the best solutions possible.
You can check out his personal health blog/podcast/YouTube Channel all under the name Holistic A-Hole.