“A thousand smiles in every cup”
Are you happy?
It’s a straightforward question.
But are you as happy as you could be? If not, it could be as close as your next cup of coffee.
Elevate Smart Coffee, which also goes by Happy Coffee, is the brainchild of Elevacity whose mission it is to elevate your health and happiness through patented and powerful nutritional products.
Their supplement and functional beverages seem too good to be true. Can happiness really be as close as your next cup of coffee or hot chocolate? I’m intrigued so I figured a smart coffee review was in order.
Who or what is Elevacity?
Elevacity is an online company that was created with a focus on elevating people’s lives through their products.
According to its website, the Elevacity Brand is composed of core products in the nutritional beverage category, as well as, supplements and unique skincare.
Their products fall under the category of nootropics; drugs and/or supplements that are purported to enhance cognition, improve mood, and have a positive impact on mental skills.
Elevacity’s nootropic products are considered dietary supplements and not drugs.
Each product has reportedly been “carefully” developed with a simple objective in mind: elevating happiness & well-being for its customers.
As they ask on their website:
“Are you ready to be happier?” Start with your next cup of coffee and be ready for a thousand smiles in your cup
But can happiness really be as simple as a blend of caffeine and other mood-supporting nutrients and ingredients?
What makes me happy ?
But first, what is happiness?
Ask different people and you’ll get answers that probably speak more to the things or experiences that lead to a handful of happy-like, and positive feelings and emotions such as:
To understand happiness; its causes and effects, researchers have had to define it.
Most use “subjective well-being” interchangeably with happiness and they measure it qualitatively asking people to report how satisfied they feel with their lives and how much positive and negative emotions they’re experiencing.
This, of course, cannot be measured quantitatively; there’s no way to measure happiness as feelings are subjective.
But happiness is more than just the feeling of elation, its the experience of joy, contentment, and/or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is worthwhile, meaningful and good.
Its the intersection of your neurochemistry and the events that you experience in the world outside of your mind.
Of course, as with all emotions, happiness falls within the realm of the mind and consciousness which, in turn, is the result of optimal brain cell (neuron) structure, function and activity including your brain’s ability to use and produce energy, and neurotransmitter production and function.
Anything that supports brain structure and function, including neurotransmitter metabolism, will have an impact on your emotions, including happiness.
How does Elevacity increase happiness?
Elevacity’s products are based on known neurochemistry and how that affects mood. Certain neurotransmitters, hormones, and chemicals produced by your body influence how you feel.
Some of the more common ones that most have heard about include:
- Norepinephrine (noradrenaline)
Elevacity’s products are said to influence the production and function of these neurochemicals, which, in turn, impact your sense of well-being.
There are two main products that they promote to increase happiness:
- Functional beverages
- Elevate Smart Coffee
- Nutritional supplement
By combining your beverage of choice, either a cocoa beverage or smart coffee, plus their dietary supplement, Elevacity promises to give you a boost of more than just caffeine. They offer a D.O.S.E. of happiness with “thousands of smiles in your coffee cup”.
What is D.O.S.E.?
D.O.S.E. stands for:
Dopamine: a neurotransmitter and is responsible for many functions, including memory, sleep, mood, attention, energy, pleasurable reward, behaviour, and cognition.
Oxytocin: a special chemical in your body that helps create the feeling of falling in love.
Serotonin: a neurotransmitter made from the essential amino acid tryptophan that sends signals between your nerve cells.
Endorphins: are known as the body’s “natural opioids” that can make a person feel happy and relaxed.
The D.O.S.E. combination is a simple equation: Choclevate OR Elevate + XanthoMax = DOSE, a.k.a. elevated happiness.
What’s in Elevate coffee?
This is an ‘enhanced’ coffee that can be added to existing coffee (must be freeze-dried to dissolve easily), or it can be added to any other drink or used with hot or cold water.
It has coffee, chicory root fiber, natural flavours, L-phenylalanine (amino acid), green tea leaf extract, Bacopa monnieri extract, organic rice concentrate, Griffonia simplicifolia extract, caffeine, bitter orange extract, alpha-glycerol-phosphoryl choline, cocoa extract.
Elevate’s happy coffee contains several psychoactive ingredients which have shown to influence mood by impacting neurotransmitters function and neurotransmitter levels including:
- Phenylalanine: is an amino acid that is converted by your body into tyrosine and then further to dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline (1)
- Griffonia simplicifolia: is a source of 5-HTP in which your body converts to serotonin (2, 3).
- Bacopa monnieri: is a staple plant in traditional Ayurvedic medicine (4).
- Caffeine: there are several sources of caffeine including coffee, green tea, added caffeine, and cocoa extract.
- Bitter orange: a stimulant similar to ephedra/ephedrine (5).
The degree to which Elevate Coffee can impact mood as advertised cannot be answered because the amount of ingredients per servings is not listed, and the amount matters. More on this below.
It’s important to note that the ingredients in Elevate coffee have been shown to have an effect on mood and well-being.
Phenylalanine/tyrosine can increase dopamine levels to some degree. For example, a review of 15 clinical trials found tyrosine dosing helped to boost mental function (6). It showed the best benefit in people who were multitasking, dealing with distractions (7, 8, 9), sleep-deprived (10, 11), engaged in harsh training or cold weather (12, 13, 14).
Likewise, Griffonia simplicifolia is a source of 5-HTP which can increase serotonin production (15, 16), Bacopa monnieri improves mental well-being (17, 18), and caffeine has mood raising effect by increasing dopamine, and noradrenaline/norepinephrine (19, 20).
What’s in Cholevate?
This can also be mixed into almost anything; by itself or added to your existing hot chocolate or into hot or cold water. It can also be added as a boost to iced tea, or protein shake as recommended on Elevacity’s website.
It has essentially the same ingredients as the coffee except for the coffee of course. Specifically, it has cocoa, coconut oil, salt, guar gum, L-phenylalanine (amino acid), green tea leaf extract, Bacopa monnieri extract, natural flavour, stevia leaf extract, organic rice concentrate, Griffonia simplicifolia extract, bitter orange extract, alpha-glycerol-phosphoryl choline, cocoa extract.
And like the coffee, the Cholevate has the same ingredients that have been studied for their impact on mood and also like the coffee, the exact amounts are unknown. This makes it impossible to be confident about this product’s effectiveness given that specific amounts/doses of the active ingredients are needed to claim any benefit.
What is XanthoMax?
This one appears at first to be more straight forward. Each capsule contains
- Caffeine: 30 mg
- 3,3-di-indoylmethane: 100 mg
- Curcuma long rhizome: 75 mg (non standardized)
- Hops strobiles 4:1: 250 mg (equivalent to 1000 mg dried herb)
There’s 30 mg of caffeine per capsule and the recommendation is not to take more than three capsules per day for a maximum of 90 mg of caffeine.
Considering this supplement is meant to be taken with Elevate Coffee or Cholevate, both of which contain caffeine and other stimulants, this helps to ensure people stay at or around the recommended maximum intake of 400 mg of caffeine per day. It will also help to limit any potential additive stimulatory effect of the other ingredients.
3,3-di-indoylmethane is a new one for me. It’s a compound that’s formed in your body from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc. It appears to have some anti-cancer properties but its role in this supplement is elusive.
The problem with the curcuma long rhizome, another word for turmeric, is that it contains relatively small amounts of the spice. Studies that have looked at turmeric and mood, such as depression, used much higher amounts such as 500-1000 mg per day (21, 22, 23).
Also, because the product is not standardized to include a specific amount of the desired curcuminoids, the active phytonutrient found in turmeric, it’s impossible to be confident about XanthoMax’s effectiveness.
Hops strobile is one type of hops. Whether or not all hops have the same effect on metrics of mood and well-being isn’t know. There is evidence that hops, at 400 mg of herb per day, can modestly help with anxiety, stress and self-reported depression. (24).
Hops have been used and researched for their sedating properties which is why they’ve been promoted as a sleep aid at doses of 1500 – 2000 mg. They might be included in this supplement, to pair with the beverages as a way to quell anxiety via mild sedation (25, 26, 27).
How do I use Elevacity products?
According to their website, the following directions are recommended:
The D.O.S.E. Duo: For best results, take 1 capsule of XanthoMax with your Elevate Smart Coffee or Choclevate. In order to get the maximum benefit and happiness, always take XanthoMax with your functional beverage.
- XanthoMax*: Take 1 capsule daily with the Elevate Smart Coffee. In order to get the maximum benefit and happiness, always take XanthoMax with your functional beverage. Do not exceed 3 XanthoMax capsules per day. Store in a cool, dry place.
- Elevate Smart Coffee: Add to your existing coffee, mixed into any drink, or used with hot or cold water. Mix 1 serving in 4-8 ounces of beverage. Stir well and enjoy!
- Choclevate: This “Functional Beverage” can be mixed in almost anything; by itself or added to your existing hot chocolate.
Mix 1 serving (scoop or stick) in 4-8oz of hot or cold water, stir well and enjoy. You may also use Choclevate as a boost by adding 1 serving to your favourite hot chocolate, iced tea, or protein shake.
Does D.O.S.E. work?
A happy coffee review begs the question: Does it work?
Elevacity rightfully states that feelings of well-being, including happiness, are influenced by various neurotransmitters, chemicals, and hormones.
They claim that their products are backed by science but I couldn’t find any peer-reviewed studies that tested their actual products on metrics of happiness, contentment, and joy.
It’s one thing to study a compound for its effects on an outcome, e.g. testing to see whether or not taking the amino acid tyrosine leads to an improvement in mental energy and alertness.
In such a study, a specific dose would be tested against a placebo (“sugar pill”) to see if there’s a benefit. Studies have shown that supplemental tyrosine can increase brain levels of dopamine at a specific dose.
BUT, and it’s a big BUT, that doesn’t mean that you can add a whiff of tyrosine to a product and then turn around and make the same claim about that ingredient.
It would be like testing 650 mg of aspirin (ASA) for pain relief and then only putting 80 mg in a product and saying that the product has ingredients shown to reduce pain – not quite.
And this is what we see with Elevate products.
They make a huge leap implying that their Smart Coffee and Choclevate have the exact formulation needed to positively impact the key neurochemicals dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.
But where’s the proof?
They also list a variety of ingredients such as phenylalanine, Bacopa monnieri extract, and Griffonia simplicifolia, to name a few, that have been shown to affect mood, focus, energy, etc but again, at very specific doses which unless matched at amounts used in studies, is pretty much wishful thinking.
Therein lies the challenge. The amounts of the nootropics listed in their functional beverages are suspect at best because they’re simply not listed. Even if they argued that amounts in their coffee and cocoa products are proprietary, a study (or more ideally) of their specific products would be needed.
How much does a daily D.O.S.E. cost?
Each product is a hefty $62.50 USD for a one month’s supply. If you plan to do a serving of the Smart Coffee or the Cholevate and Xanthomax per day, it will run you $125 USD per month. Exchange rates change daily but that’s about $81 and $163 CAD for those of us north of the border.
Hey, it’s not for me to tell you how to spend your hard-earned money. For myself, I have no problem paying for something that’s high quality and that works but without reliable evidence that these products can, or will deliver as promised, it would be a hard pass.
Elevacity is on a mission to elevate our health and happiness through patented and powerful nutritional products.
They have three products to do just that according to their website: Elevate Smart Coffee, Choclevate and XanthoMax, three nootropics that fall into the supplement category.
The claim is that the Elevacity products have been designed to address several important hormones, neurotransmitters and chemicals linked to happiness including dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, a.k.a. as D.O.S.E.
Research supports the ingredients’ impact on mood but only in amounts that are simply not found in these products. And like anything, medication or nutritional supplements, dose matters.
Unless and until there are peer-reviewed, published studies that support a positive impact on mood (happiness) by these products using their recommended doses, their claims are wishful thinking at best. I for one am open and hoping to be corrected on this point as I’m a huge believer in well-formulated and tested neutraceuticals.
However, at $125 USD per month for a product that is more fluff than substance, I’ll pass at this time.