When you thought the craze of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was confined to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, think again. An Adderall-esque drug class called brain enhancers is taking off among a specific Silicon Valley set, as outlined by this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity while focusing but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users could make their very own nootropics with powders purchased online or in supplement stores, or they could buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, designed to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have been around since the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–in which workaholic techies try to optimize their bodies and basic functions, including eating, for optimum productivity–has given these so-called brain enhancers a whole new life. As Fusion notes, “the nootropics community is surprisingly large and involved,” with a variety of online forums offering recipes and knowledge on users’ drugs associated with preference.
Being clear, the FDA is not going to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs have already been approved as vitamin supplements. The author of the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits he has been taking nootropics off and on to get a month, yet he isn’t totally sure they can be working. Nonetheless, even without having to be scientific proved, these drugs are getting to be a cottage industry, including nootropics-based startups including truBrain, Nootrobrain, Nootro, and Nootrobox.
Nootrobox was started by Geoffrey Woo, a Stanford computer science graduate, and generates 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 found in green tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (in regards to the amount in a can of Diet Coke). Based on Fusion, the company is “selling ‘five figures’ worth of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers that include top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
Whilst the article quotes a variety of individuals–from your financial analyst to 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 prescription medication is nothing but another one for a stimulant that is already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”