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Limitless evidenceless trend: The growth of nootropic supplements

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The all-too-under­stand­able urge to buy a bet­ter brain (Vox):

… unfor­tu­nate­ly, Bradley Coop­er is part­ly to blame for the boom of the edi­ble brain-improve­ment indus­try.

In 2011, he starred in Lim­it­less, a movie about a man who takes a spe­cial pill and becomes smarter and more capa­ble than any­one else on Earth. I’m jok­ing about the cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance of this movie, but I’m also not. It was a wild card and an unex­pect­ed hit, and it main­streamed an idea that had already been tak­ing hold among Sil­i­con Val­ley bio­hack­ers and human opti­miza­tion zealots. (TechCrunch called the pre­scrip­tion-only nar­colep­sy med­ica­tion Modafinil “the entrepreneur’s drug of choice” in 2008) …

The brain sup­ple­ments indus­try is still expand­ing. A recent report by Grand View Research esti­mat­ed it could reach $10.7 bil­lion annu­al­ly by 2025, grow­ing steadi­ly at about 8 per­cent per year. “Grow­ing health con­cerns over depres­sion, anx­i­ety, anti-aging, and sleep recov­ery issues” will con­tribute to the con­tin­ued rise, the report states. Over a quar­ter of this busi­ness is expect­ed to come specif­i­cal­ly from “mem­o­ry enhanc­ing” prod­ucts.

This year, nootrop­ics have gone thor­ough­ly main­stream by inter­sect­ing with oth­er pow­er­ful con­sumer trends. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop recent­ly launched an anti “brain fog” sup­ple­ment called Nerd Alert (it’s just caf­feine and the same L‑theanine you’d get from a cup of tea), at a price point of $1 per chew­able. Lux­u­ry well­ness and beau­ty brand The Nue Co. intro­duced its lat­est sup­ple­ment Nootro-Focus in April, which you can buy on Net-a-Porter. New York City’s newest ultra-hip acupunc­ture start­up WTHN is sell­ing a nootrop­ic. There are, seri­ous­ly, nootrop­ics mixed with CBD.”

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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