The public's fascination with nootropics has been growing for the last few years, to the point that these supplements are well on their way to becoming mainstream. A recent article written in the PLOS journal states that up to 11% of American students now use nootropics and they are even more popular in Ivy League institutions, with up to 20% of those students acknowledging use, according to the Science Academic Societies.
Nootropics promise to make us smarter and many have been around for a long time. One example is Piracetam, which has been around since the 1970s https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/786310 . They range from commonplace substances like caffeine to prescription medications like Provigil.
Nootropics throughout history
Humans have a long history of using chemicals to enhance our mental capabilities. These range from ancient Aztecs warriors who would chew coca leaves before battle to the use of coffee beans by ancient Ethiopians for increased endurance over long hunts.
3 reasons for the impending boom in nootropics
A big part of the buzz around so-called smart drugs comes from stories of tech millionaires using them to enhance productivity and from Hollywood movies like Limitless. In addition to the general buzz, there are a few specific reasons why nootropics are set to take the supplement manufacturing industry by storm:
1. They work
Many trending superfoods and sports nutrition supplements work perfectly; however, many others simply do not deliver the advertised benefits. Nootropics have the benefit of a long and proven track record. Many have had multiple studies conducted on them, or have been in use for decades without causing negative effects.
2. They have famous fans
Nootropics are big news in niche groups, but many people have never heard of them. That may change soon as Joe Rogan has started promoting them on his show. Joe Rogan is presently the closest thing to a podcasting superstar that we have. His podcast is called The Joe Rogan Experience and is consistently in the top 10 on the iTunes US Podcasts chart. Rogan is a fan of nootropics and has invited manufacturers on to his show to talk about their products. Also notable is the fact that venture capitalists like Andreessen Horowitz (an early Facebook and Twitter investor) are investing in nootropics startups.
3. They represent an excellent business opportunity
Movies like Limitless, along with the endorsement of major influencers, create interest in the marketplace. In addition to this, people naturally want to be smarter and to have a greater degree of focus. All of this creates the perfect environment for manufacturers to thrive and to put out products that work.
The nootropics industry is still new, but it has a bright future. Soon, we may be living in a world where nootropics are widely available and widely used. In this world, humans will be able to push their abilities and productivity far beyond their present limits.