If you thought the trend of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was limited to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, think again. An Adderall-esque drug class called brain enhancer pill has taken off among a definite Silicon Valley set, in accordance with this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity and focus but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users can certainly make their particular nootropics with powders purchased online or maybe in supplement stores, or they may buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, made to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have been in existence considering that the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–by which workaholic techies attempt to optimize their bodies and basic functions, such as eating, for optimum 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 data on users’ drugs associated with preference.
Being clear, the FDA fails to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs have already been approved as health supplements. The writer in the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits they have been taking nootropics on and off for the month, yet he isn’t totally sure they can be working. Nonetheless, even without having to be scientific proved, these drugs have become a cottage industry, consisting of nootropics-based startups such as truBrain, Nootrobrain, Nootro, and Nootrobox.
Nootrobox was started by Geoffrey Woo, a Stanford computer science graduate, and produces 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 may be commonly seen in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an amino acid seen in green tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (concerning the amount inside a can of Diet Coke). In accordance with Fusion, the organization is “selling ‘five figures’ worth of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers that come with top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
As the article quotes several individuals–coming from a financial analyst to some software engineer–who claim to have gotten success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long term effects continues to be thin. To believers, these drugs are nothing more than a replacement for the stimulant which is already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”