ABC Nightline ran a segment on what they refer to as “smart pills”, or “bioengineered supplements”, that claim to boost brain power and sharpen focus. Nootropics are relied on by many in the tech industry and business world to improve productivity that comes with an optimized brain function. The concept was popularized by the movie, “Limitless”, where Bradley Cooper’s character went from 0 to 100 (cognitive-wise, that is) using a smart pill.
The video features an interview with Geoffrey Woo, co-founder of Nootrobox, a startup company helping to rebrand “smart drugs” in the multi-billion dollar supplement industry. Nootrobox’s business is booming, and is catching the attention and backing of top Silicon Valley titans.
Nootropic stacks are mixes of individual components that can include anything, from caffeine to L-theanine to herbal supplements. Nootrobox makes 4 different kinds of stack:
1 – SPRINT – components are selected for their immediate cognitive effects, specifically for their effects on alertness, focus, memory, and reaction time. Ingredients include Caffeine, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, Vinpocetine, Vit. B-6, Vit. B-12
2 – RISE – components are selected for their general-purpose nootropic benefits, specifically for their effects on working memory capacity and anti-fatigue. Ingredients include Bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola rosea, a-GPC.
3 – KADO-3 – a supercharged krill and fish oil stack designed for daily protection of the brain and body. Features an ultra high 2:1 ratio of DHA to EPA which is optimal for cognitive benefits and overall health. Ingredients include Omega 3 Fatty Acids (DHA and EPA), Vit. K, Vit. D3, Astaxanthin oil.
4 – YAWN – components are selected specifically to help you go to sleep faster, sink into a deep sleep more reliably, and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Ingredients include Glycine, Magnesium Glycinate, L-theanine, Melatonin.
Nootropics are categorized as dietary supplements, not drugs, and do not require FDA approval. The ingredients used in Nootrobox are FDA GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe). Geoffrey maintains that the combinations of components that make up their stacks are evaluated for safety and contraindications by the in-house scientific team.
Some medical doctors are still skeptical of the nootropics, pointing out the lack of controlled trials, rigorous scientific research and lack of studies on the effects of combining the different nootropics together.