Dr Oz: Do Smart Drugs Really Work? + What’s In Nootropics?

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Dr Oz: Cotton Candy Grapes

Dr Oz was twirling cotton candy and explained that there are actually grapes that taste like cotton candy. Sounds delicious right? He explained that there are two different kinds of green grapes: green seedless grapes and cotton candy grapes. Green seedless grapes have 13 grams of sugar and 58 calories while cotton candy grapes have 14 grams of sugar 50 calories, so not much of a difference.

He showed what the grapes look like, pointing out that they look pretty normal. Some audience members tried the and thought they tasted really good, saying it’s worth the extra gram of sugar. One even called it a “dessert” in her mouth. Dr Oz said if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, go ahead and go for it, it is fruit after all!

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Dr Oz: Smart Drugs

Dr Oz: Do Smart Drugs Really Work? + What's In Nootropics?

Dr Oz took a closer look at smart drugs, a.k.a. nootropics, to see if they’re really worth your money. (27762949@N00 / Flickr)

Dr Oz then discussed pills that can reportedly make you smarter, more motivated, and improve your memory. They’re called smart drugs or nootropics and they’re huge in the business world and on college campuses. Almost all the pills sold online have a money back guarantee, but can you really trust them? That’s why Dr Oz wanted to take a closer look.

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Dr Oz had an audience member put a puzzle together, explaining that the entire brain has to be used to do so. She then broke the puzzle apart, and Dr Oz called up two more women, showing that three people working together completed the puzzle much faster. Reportedly, that’s how smart drugs can work: as if you have extra brain power.

Dr Oz: What’s In Nootropics

Dr Oz was then joined by Dr Sanam Hafeez, who has been studying cognitive function for years. She said at first glance, the pills look like they work. She said research can be very tricky which is why it’s important to consider it correctly. As for what’s in the pills, they have L-theanine and caffeine. We already know that caffeine makes us more alert. Bacopa monnieri, according to research, boosts memory, but it actually decreases forgetfulness. Dr Sanam pointed out that there’s a big difference between the two. Creatine has been shown to increase some cognitive functioning, but the research is done more on the sleep deprived or the elderly.

Finally there’s ashwagandha, which Dr Sanam actually has some good research behind it. A study in 2012, with a large number of people, proved that it reduces your levels of stress and anxiety. The less stress you are, the more focused you are.

Dr Oz: Do Smart Drugs Really Work?

Dr Oz wanted to find out for himself if these smart drugs actually work, so he had Tia Brown take them for three weeks and then share her experience. Tia is a life coach so she’s all about improving herself. She ordered a top-selling smart drug online called Alpha Brain which costs $30 a bottle. The drugs arrived a week later but before she began taking them, she went to see Dr Sanam. Dr Sanam performed baseline cognitive tests to see how smart she was before beginning the pills. After all the tests, she popped her first pill.

Dr Oz: Putting Smart Drugs To The Test

Tia kept a video diary of her journey and after two weeks she said she felt like she was noticing a difference. But when she went back for the same tests, was there truly a difference? Tia joined Dr Oz on the show to reveal the results of her test. Dr Sanam first explained that her non-verbal skills were at 100 for her baseline, and after taking the pills, she scored a 104. Dr Sanam said 4 points is negligible.

Dr Sanam also tested Tia’s processing speed and her baseline functioning was 45 seconds. After taking the pills, she was actually at 70 seconds, which means she was significantly slower. Dr Sanam said she thought the pills were more like “coffee on caffeine.”

Dr Oz: Does Alpha Brain Really Work?

Dr Oz reached out to the makers of Alpha Brain, and Aubrey Marcus, founder and CEO of Onnit.com actually joined the show. Aubrey explained that they conducted two double-blind clinical trials on Alpha Brain where they put healthy adults through a bunch of tests just like the ones Tia was doing. What they found was that it improved verbal memory and some different processing speed tests and some things like executive function. He said if it doesn’t “fit with a person’s neurochemistry” they offer an easy money-back guarantee.

If you feel like you have a deficit, it’s possible that the pills could work for you, because a lot of times the pills are meant for low baseline people, and Tia’s baseline certainly wasn’t low. Dr Oz’s opinion was that if you take these when you don’t have a deficiency, “it’s sort-of like putting anti-aging cream on a baby’s chubby cheeks.”

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