Vitamins, drugs for cognitive enhancement unappealing to students

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Originally developed by two Harvard students, a newer vitamin created to help students mentally is starting to become more popular among the college students.

NeuroFuse is composed of 13 ingredients that claim to increase dopamine levels in the brain, and some of these vitamins claim to even help with memory retention. However, none of these claims have been scientifically proven by researchers. 

These vitamins were created and are being advertised specifically toward college students. 

The creators are saying NeuroFuse is supposed to help reduce stress, increase memory retention, concentration and focus. It is being described as an amphetamine-free form of Adderall by some health professionals. The prescription drug Adderall is used to treat many different strange disorders such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Even though NeuroFuse is being so closely compared to the Adderall, the vitamin is supposed to have no amphetamine related risks, but again it has not been scientifically proven. 

Valerie Haycock, senior criminal justice major from St. George, said she would never take the drugs or vitamins similar to NeuroFuse.

“I have no need to take the [vitamin],” Haycock said. “I have seen what kind of effects they can have and [the effects] are not good.”

Even with it being compared to the drug Adderall, NeuroFuse is not FDA approved. It is not required to be approved because it is classified as a dietary supplement. 

Carole Grady, dean of health sciences, said with any new/old dietary vitamin or supplement, everyone should proceed with the caution. 

“Uncertainty often exists with dietary supplement use safety including potential long-term effects,” Grady said. 

This drug has only been on the shelves since later 2013, so knowing what the longer term effects could be is totally unknown.

“It has not been scientifically studied for its therapeutic effect,” Grady said. “We don’t know if it really does what it claims to do: improve mental proficiency, cognition and memory.” 

According to FDA standards, a vitamin does not have to go through all the requirements that the prescription medicine would have to go through. That makes it easier to sell the vitamin, because there are no guidelines that are stopping anyone from making and selling the vitamin. 

“FDA approval of medication takes several years,” Grady said. “The medication is carefully tested on animals and humans before any approval for the use in the general population.”

Instead of using a dietary vitamin or supplement there are better and more effective ways to improve your health. Grady listed a few being exercise on a regular basis, eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding excessive amounts of caffeine and avoiding alcohol.

“[To] manage stress, in other words, be as healthy as you can possibly be,” Grady said.