Should you thought the trend of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was restricted to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, reconsider. An Adderall-esque drug class called best brain memory pills has brought off among a certain Silicon Valley set, as outlined by this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity and concentration but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users will make their own personal nootropics with powders purchased online or even in supplement stores, or they could buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, created to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have been popular considering that the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–through which workaholic techies attempt to optimize their own bodies and basic functions, like eating, for optimum productivity–has given these so-called brain enhancers a fresh life. As Fusion notes, “the nootropics community is surprisingly large and involved,” with a number of online forums offering recipes and data on users’ drugs of choice.
To get clear, the FDA is not going to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs have already been approved as dietary supplements. The writer of your 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 are becoming a cottage industry, which includes nootropics-based startups including 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 may be commonly present in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an amino acid found in green tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (in regards to the amount in the can of Diet Coke). As outlined by Fusion, the company is “selling ‘five figures’ worth of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers which include top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
Whilst the article quotes a number of individuals–from the financial analyst to some software engineer–who claim to experienced success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long-term effects continues to be thin. To believers, these drugs are merely a substitute to get a 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.”