Should you thought the popularity of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was restricted to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, think again. An Adderall-esque drug class called best brain memory pills has taken off among a certain Silicon Valley set, in accordance with this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity and concentrate but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users will make their own nootropics with powders purchased online or in supplement stores, or they may buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, created to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have been around since the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–in which workaholic techies make an effort to optimize their own bodies and basic functions, including eating, for maximum productivity–has given these so-called brain enhancers a whole new life. As Fusion notes, “the nootropics community is surprisingly large and involved,” with several online forums offering recipes and data on users’ drugs associated with preference.
To get clear, the FDA is not going to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs have been approved as dietary supplements. The author of the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits he has been taking nootropics on and off for a 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 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 certainly commonly found in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an protein present in green tea leaf), and 50 mg of caffeine (in regards to the amount inside a can of Diet Coke). As outlined by Fusion, the business is “selling ‘five figures’ amount of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers which include top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
As the article quotes numerous individuals–from your financial analyst to some 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 merely another one for the 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.”