When you thought the popularity of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was limited to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, you better think again. An Adderall-esque drug class called best brain health has brought off among a particular Silicon Valley set, as outlined by this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity and focus but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users could make their own nootropics with powders purchased online or in supplement stores, or they can buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, created to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have been popular because the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–through which workaholic techies make an effort to optimize their health and basic functions, such as eating, for maximum productivity–has given these so-called brain enhancers a new life. As Fusion notes, “the nootropics community is surprisingly large and involved,” with a variety of online forums offering recipes and information on users’ drugs associated with preference.
To be clear, the FDA fails to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs happen to be approved as nutritional supplements. The writer of the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits he has been taking nootropics on / off for 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 includes nootropics-based startups such as truBrain, Nootrobrain, Nootro, and Nootrobox.
Nootrobox was started by Geoffrey Woo, a Stanford computer science graduate, and makes 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 certainly commonly found in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an amino acid seen in green tea leaf), and 50 mg of caffeine (in regards to the amount in a can of Diet Coke). Based on Fusion, the business is “selling ‘five figures’ amount of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers including top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
Whilst the article quotes a variety of individuals–from the financial analyst into a software engineer–who state they have gotten success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long-term effects continues to be thin. To believers, these drugs are simply another one for a stimulant that is already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what exactly it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”