Neuro-Mania in the Beverage Aisle
Now, the magic of neuroscience is as close as a colorful bottle in your supermarket. I found a big display of neuro-drinks at my local supermarket and couldn’t resist grabbing a few. The nutritional drink lineup includes NeuroSun, NeuroSleep, NeuroSonic, NeuroSport, and others. There’s a neuro-drink for every application. Here’s the description of NeuroSonic:
NeuroSonic® is a delicious drink designed to increase high level mental functioning: better memory, alertness and concentration. NeuroSonic was formulated to help meet the demands of today’s high stress living, where it’s vital for the brain to function at top form. The unique combination of plant extracts, amino acids and unique dietary ingredients provide fuel for the brain to remain focused and alert over long periods of time. The ingredient Alpha GPC provides raw materials to the brain to help it function better, faster. Vitamins Inositol, B-6, B-12 and other B-vitamins help support the nervous system. Rounding out the formula is the ingredient resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, which protects the brain and may have anti-aging benefits. Together, these ingredients provide the foundation for enhanced brain function.
Ever the intrepid experimenter, I tried NeuroSleep before going to bed. As promised, I quickly fell asleep and slept well. Then again, I usually do fall asleep quickly and sleep well, so it’s hard to say the beverage was effective. At least it didn’t prevent sleep.
How about a nice NeuroGasm?
One variety I didn’t spot in my supermarket was the interesting-sounding NeuroGasm. The description of this drink’s effect is a bit vague, but I guess you have to read between the lines:
NeuroGasm® is a delicious, lightly carbonated drink formulated with ingredients to promote “playful” energy. So often our hectic lifestyles deprive us of the energy needed to engage in various activities. NeuroGasm provides ingredients at effective dosage levels supplying energy for all the playful activities you choose.
“Playful” indeed… Despite the references to “dosage” and other scientific-sounding terminology, the firm is quick to point out that the FDA hasn’t evaluated their claims, nor are the drinks meant to treat any disease. Of course not, they just make you more “playful.”
For a chuckle, check out the whole lineup at DrinkNeuro.com, and let Neuromarketing readers know if you’ve tried the stuff. I guess there’s nothing that can’t be improved with a dash of “neuro” magic, even sports drinks!
As a graduate student in neuroscience, I couldn’t resist buying some of these drinks either when I saw them in my supermarket. Sadly, it looks like they are mostly just gimmicks since all they do is provide some of the precursors to various neurotransmitters. Sure, they will provide you the raw material for your neurons to communicate, but if you didn’t have enough of these raw materials, you’d have much worse problems than wanting one of these drinks. They do provide electrolytes that are important for brain function, but also equally important for any other bodily function. Interesting marketing scheme, but a little misleading.
After my critical review of NeuroBliss
(http://neurocritic.blogspot.com/2011/07/neuro-bliss-and-neuro-codeine.html), I was rather pessimistic that NeuroSleep would do anything. Much to my surprise, I actually fell asleep earlier than usual. But unlike Roger, I have trouble sleeping. I’ll have to give it another try to see if it was just a one-off fluke.
Glad NeuroSleep (maybe) worked. Since just about all of the drinks address issues that are fairly subjective – energy, relaxation, arousal, etc. – one would expect a reasonably strong placebo effect among consumers who believe that this stuff probably works. The professional packaging, the moderately high price, and the neuro name and verbiage all suggest potency. Thanks for stopping by, TNC.