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It’s a Thing: Vitamins are the New Coffee

What we're talking about in the office this week


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It seems every day I am hearing more and more about nootropics, or smart drugs, special drinks, dietary supplements, and you name it. I am especially attuned to all this as a full-time working mom of an infant, toddler, and tween. 

On my desk is a cup of black coffee, Dr. Brandt’s detoxifying antioxidant water booster, Organics by Red Bull, and daily supplements from a new local company.

Dr. Brandt, rest his soul, was an A-list dermatologist who gave up sugar years before it was cool and came out with interesting products like the water booster (1 dropper full is equivalent to 15 cups of green tea). You used to be able to only get his products at Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue, but today you can find them at Sephora. I put a dropper into my water when I want to perk up.

I’ve been reading a lot about nootropics and “smart drugs”—what the Silicon Valley-ites are using to “stay competitive.” Essentially, the pills are brain-building supplements that give you the tools to focus. Smart drugs seem to be the fashion now. Even as marijuana has become legal in California and there's a huge green rush, I am seeing more and more a swing toward vitamins and supplemental helpers.

I had reason to research this because I got the scoop—a local entrepreneur behind some very big brands is introducing a product that claims to help busy, working, sleep-deprived people feel rested and alert. A Stanford-educated doctor, recovering from a brain tumor, needed to rebuild his brain and created this formula for his own benefit. But now it’s in a pill form and available to the rest of us. There are supplements for sleep, focus, and overall daily performance. What I have come to refer to as the “focus pill” is my favorite. It has become a joke in the editorial department. I will say, “I’ll read your draft now—I just took a focus pill.” Or, “That story isn’t writing itself. Let me take a focus pill.” More on that company later…

On April 2, Red Bull will launch Organics by Red Bull. It’s available only in San Diego and one other tiny market in North Carolina. But here’s the thing—only the organic “Simply Cola” has caffeine (32 mg from organic coffee beans). The other flavors are Ginger Ale, Bitter Lemon, and Tonic Water. I’m sure some people will be glad for this new vegan, gluten-free, wheat-free, and dairy-free drink, but I was actually disappointed to hear they were wings-free. Red Bull is supposed to give me wings, as their tagline says. (When I was on deadline at one of my old jobs in New York, our editor in chief used to supply the staff with sugar-free Red Bull. I loved it because it didn’t make me jittery even if I’d already had coffee.)

I’m curious to hear what other products people are discovering, or what you think about the idea of Red Bull without wings. 

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