In the event you thought the buzz of downing “cognitive enhancing” drugs was confined to college kids popping Adderall before their biochemistry final, reconsider. An Adderall-esque drug class called best brain memory pills has taken off among a definite Silicon Valley set, based on 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 can buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, created 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 attempt to optimize their health and basic functions, like eating, for maximum productivity–has given these so-called brain enhancers a new life. As Fusion notes, “the nootropics community is surprisingly large and involved,” with several online forums offering recipes and information on users’ drugs of preference.
To become 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 author of your Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits they have been taking nootropics off and on to get a month, yet he isn’t totally sure these are working. Nonetheless, even without being scientific proved, these drugs are getting to be a cottage industry, including 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 is certainly commonly seen in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an amino seen in green tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (about the amount within a can of Diet Coke). According to Fusion, the company is “selling ‘five figures’ worth of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers which include top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
While 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 drugs are merely another one for a stimulant which is already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”