If you're feeling a little hazy or scattered brained, then you might want to consider a new supplement that a San Francisco company claims can boost your brain power.
San Francisco tech worker Danny Hernandez starts his day with Nootroo.
"It gives me kind of the clarity of mind I need to make better decisions," Hernandez said.
Alex Nobosod uses a different pill from another San Francisco company called Nootrobox, which sponsors his online gaming team.
"If you think about vitamins that you should take normally for your body, for your overall body health, these are very similar. But they're targeted for brain functions," Nobosod said.
The supplements are among a growing wave of products loosely called Nootropics, based on the Greek word for mind. Formulas vary, but most list a mix of ingredients that some believe bolster brain power.
"How well you can focus, how well you can sustain attention, our working memory, and how you deal with stress. So Nootropics help enhance various aspects of that," Nootrobox founder and CEO Geoffrey Woo said.
The concept of brain or bio-hacking has accelerated into a tech movement in recent years with developers using everything from homemade headsets to bio-feedback devices to stimulate brain activity.
Nootro founder Eric Matzner said Nootropics sprung from the same type of experimentation.
"People who wanted enhancement started taking this into their own hands, and they discovered a wide, large deep body of information," Matzner said.
The result are pills and powders, increasingly popular with type-A achievers from Silicon Valley to Wall Street.
But how safe could they really be? Supplements like Nootropics don't go through a Federal Drug Administration approval process.
Dr. Hallam Gugelman is concerned any potential side effects from Nootropic products wouldn't be spotted until after the fact.
Manufacturers said they haven't had reports of serious side effects, and despite any concerns, the market is growing, driven in part by users who think they are seeing gains in their mental performance.
The supplements are often sold online, and with the supplement industry now estimated in the tens of billions of dollars, there should be plenty of brain power going into the development and marketing of Nootropics.
Regulators could still change the Nootropics landscape. The FDA ruled one popular ingredient can no longer be marketed as a dietary supplement.
The agency said they're aware of similar substances contained in some Nootropic products, but they have not issued a ruling on those yet.
Drug maker claims supplement can boost your brain power
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