When you thought the popularity 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 brain enhancer pills has gotten off among a specific 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 can make their own nootropics with powders purchased online or even in supplement stores, or they could buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, designed to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have been in existence ever since the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–through which workaholic techies make an effort to optimize their own bodies and basic functions, including eating, for max 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 information on users’ drugs associated with preference.
To become clear, the FDA is not going to approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs are already approved as nutritional supplements. The author of your Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits he has been taking nootropics off and on to get a month, yet he isn’t totally sure they may be working. Nonetheless, even without being scientific proved, these drugs are becoming a cottage industry, which include nootropics-based startups for example truBrain, Nootrobrain, Nootro, and Nootrobox.
Nootrobox was started by Geoffrey Woo, a Stanford computer science graduate, and makes 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 located in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an protein 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 business is “selling ‘five figures’ amount of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers including top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
As the article quotes a number of individuals–coming from a financial analyst to your software engineer–who state they experienced success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long term effects remains thin. To believers, these drugs are nothing more than another one for any stimulant that is certainly already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”