When you thought the popularity 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 pill has gotten off among a certain Silicon Valley set, in accordance with this Fusion article.
Programmers claim nootropics can increase productivity while focusing but aren’t as intense as prescription psychostimulants. Users can certainly make their own personal nootropics with powders purchased online or even in supplement stores, or they are able to buy “stacks,” or pre-made doses, built to produce specific effects.
Nootropics have existed because the 1970s, but apparently the Silicon Valley “biohacking” movement–where workaholic techies attempt to optimize their own bodies and basic functions, like eating, for max 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 knowledge on users’ drugs of choice.
To be clear, the FDA does not approve most nootropics as brain enhancers, though many compounds within these drugs are already approved as vitamin supplements. The writer of the Fusion piece, Kevin Roose, admits they have been taking nootropics on and off for a month, yet he isn’t totally sure they are working. Nonetheless, even without getting 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 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 which is commonly found in South Asia), 100 mg of L-theanine (an amino acid found in green tea), and 50 mg of caffeine (regarding the amount inside a can of Diet Coke). In accordance with Fusion, the corporation is “selling ‘five figures’ worth of cognitive supplements 75dexjpky to customers that come with top Silicon Valley executives and Hollywood moguls.”
Whilst the article quotes several individuals–from the financial analyst to a software engineer–who state they have experienced success using nootropics, the scientific research on its long-term effects continues to be thin. To believers, these drugs are nothing but another one for any stimulant that may be already in widespread use: caffeine. But Silicon Valley being what exactly it is, even something as mundane as caffeine is ripe for “disruption.”