Should you thought the craze of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was confined to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, reconsider that thought. An Adderall-esque drug class called brain enhancing vitamins has taken off among a specific Silicon Valley set, based on this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity while focusing but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users could make their own personal nootropics with powders purchased online or perhaps in supplement stores, or they may buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, created to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have existed because the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–where workaholic techies make an attempt to optimize their health and basic functions, for example eating, for optimum productivity–has given these so-called brain enhancers a brand new life. As Fusion notes, “the nootropics community is surprisingly large and involved,” with a variety of online forums offering recipes and data on users’ drugs associated with preference.
To be clear, the FDA does not approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs have already been approved as dietary supplements. The author of the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits they have been taking nootropics on and off to get a month, yet he isn’t totally sure they may be working. Nonetheless, even without being scientific proved, these drugs are becoming a cottage industry, which include nootropics-based startups like truBrain, Nootrobrain, Nootro, and Nootrobox.
Nootrobox was started by Geoffrey Woo, a Stanford computer science graduate, and creates a stack called RISE. For $29 (plus shipping) the purchaser gets 30 capsules, each containing 350 mg of bacopa monnieri powder (a medicinal herb that is commonly present in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an amino located in green leaf tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (concerning the amount inside a can of Diet Coke). Based on Fusion, the business is “selling ‘five figures’ amount of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers which include top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
Even though the article quotes several individuals–from the financial analyst into a software engineer–who claim to have experienced success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long term effects remains thin. To believers, these prescription medication is nothing but an alternative for any stimulant that may be already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”