When you thought the trend of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was limited to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, reconsider that thought. An Adderall-esque drug class called best brain memory pills has brought off among a definite Silicon Valley set, according to this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity while focusing but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users can make their own nootropics with powders purchased online or maybe in supplement stores, or they may buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, designed to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have existed considering that the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–where workaholic techies attempt to optimize their bodies and basic functions, like 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 several online forums offering recipes and data on users’ drugs of preference.
To become clear, the FDA is not going to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs have been approved as nutritional supplements. The writer of the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits they have been taking nootropics off and on for any month, yet he isn’t totally sure they are working. Nonetheless, even without being scientific proved, these drugs have become a cottage industry, consisting of nootropics-based startups like 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 commonly seen in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an protein located in green leaf tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (about the amount within a can of Diet Coke). Based on Fusion, the company is “selling ‘five figures’ amount of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers including top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
Whilst the article quotes several individuals–from your financial analyst to some software engineer–who state they have experienced success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long-term effects remains to be thin. To believers, these prescription medication is nothing but a replacement for the 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.”