If you thought the trend 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 enhancer pills has gotten off among a certain 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 can make their particular nootropics with powders purchased online or perhaps in supplement stores, or they could buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, built to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have been in existence ever since the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–where workaholic techies attempt to optimize their own bodies and basic functions, like 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 numerous online forums offering recipes and knowledge on users’ drugs associated with preference.
To get clear, the FDA fails to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs have already been approved as dietary supplements. The writer from the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits they have been taking nootropics off and on to get a month, yet he isn’t totally sure they may be working. Nonetheless, even without having to be scientific proved, these drugs have grown to be a cottage industry, which include nootropics-based startups like 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 found in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an protein found in green leaf tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (in regards to the amount in the can of Diet Coke). According to Fusion, the corporation is “selling ‘five figures’ worth of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers which include top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
Whilst the article quotes numerous individuals–from a financial analyst to a software engineer–who claim to have gotten success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long term effects remains thin. To believers, these prescription medication is merely a replacement to get a stimulant which is already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what exactly it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”