Healthcast: Nootropics


They’re being called nootropics. So called smart drugs that offer a short cut to sharpen your focus and your thinking. it’s an online sensation hitting the 30 billion dollar dietary supplement industry.

Geoff Woo, the CEO of Nootrobox/HVMN says he’s sure he can make us smarter and quicker on our feet. His answer, nootropics. Also known as, “smart drugs.” Woo’s company and other competitors want us to think about supplements in a drastically new light.

Woo said “typical vitamins focus on micro nutrients, so these things are deficiencies in a person’s normal diet. What we look at our company is looking at things that can enhance human performance.”

Since he’s been taking his smart pills, Coleman Maher says his wrestling workouts are easier.

“It’s a really, really tough grind and it’s hard to stay focused or motivated sometimes. So, having an energy boost is very valuable” Maher shared.

But beyond an energy boost, could these super supplements also boost our brain power? Piracetam is one smart drug gaining popularity. It’s sold as a prescription in Europe, but over the counter here, Vinh Ngo, MD from Smart Medicine SF says, “that one has a lot of research behind it. I think there’s a potentially huge audience for nootropics. Anyone can benefit for having improved cognition.”

Since supplements escape regulation by the FDA, doctors remind us to be cautious.

“I’ve tried to kind of clear up a lot of questions people have, make it safe for them to use.” Dr. Ngo said.

Woo said “There’s definitely things that are riskier than others.”

So what should we be asking before giving them a try?

“Just get some sound advice from a medical professional and do your homework.” Dr. Ngo told us.

While nootropics is not considered a field of medicine just yet, it has gained a huge following within Silicon Valley. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, and venture capitalist, marc Andreessen both are said to have invested in them. Some doctor’s point out that there can be a risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and Dr. Ngo makes all of his patients sign waivers for certain nootropics programs.

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