Dave Asprey is turning his personal experience with “smart drugs", or what in its profile of the entrepreneur Inc.com describes as a broad term for supplements that claim to heighten cognition, into a new venture.
Asprey’s claim that he raised his own IQ by 20 points, lost weight and improved sleep habits by “hacking” his biology is the foundation of his Bulletproof Executive performance coaching company. He is now poised to serve you his butter-laced coffee at the first Bulletproof café.
This is no ordinary Starbucks clone; Asprey says the Bulletproof café is especially designed to get you in sync with your bio-rhythms while you sip. If you’re guessing this is getting launched in California (Los Angeles to be exact), you have pretty good marketing sensibilities.
Okay, the more cynical among us may be more inclined to drink a different kind of Kool-Aid, but is there anything to the idea that there might be a safe supplement that can make you more alert, even make you smarter?
Bio-Hacking Brain Booster or Just Brainless?
WebMd points out that while a number of “brain boosting” supplements are perfectly legal and safe to ingest, any scientific data to support their claims is, at best, tangential. Gizmodo debunks most of Asprey’s cognitive improvement assertions as at best possible, but not scientifically proven. As for the notion that a special blending of organic coffee beans with butter and other herbs makes for a “better” cup of coffee that improves your health, Gizmodo references another organic compound that is a byproduct of bull digestion.
A Body in Four Hours?
In his book Four Hour Body, Timothy Ferris claims that, among other things, the timed ingestion of common foodstuffs such as garlic, sugar cane and teas can reduce glucose levels and body fat. It stands to reason that a healthier body contains a more attentive brain, thus possibly making you smarter.
But as WebMD points out, Ferris is essentially advocating a low carb diet. Some of the bio-hacking notions, such as taking a cold shower to stimulate hormones that speed fat-loss, have some truth to them, but may be overstated. The Harvard Business Review notes that some of the suggestions may actually impair alertness rather than enhance it.
Related Article: 12 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs
Beer May Make You as Smart as Coffee
All of which is not to say that some vitamins and supplements might improve concentration. WebMd lists a number of these, ranging from such common substances as iron and ginseng and fish oil to even (here’s the really good news) beer! But in every case the best results are possible or inconclusive.
So, if it works for you, that’s good. If Bulletproof coffee makes you feel, well, bulletproof, by all means imbibe. There’s just as much evidence, however, that what your mother always told you will do just as good a job: get eight hours of sleep, exercise regularly and eat right.