Tyler Johansen, the CEO of Brainiac Supplements, has said that nutrition is at the root of attention problems and that consuming a proper diet could help improve the mental health of students.
As part of efforts to improve students' health, Brainiac Supplements made Study Buddy, a nutrient-based study pill aimed at improving attention and concentration among college students.
Johansen said that Study Buddy is designed to improve memory and mental clarity among college-aged students. The ingredients of Study Buddy are B-vitamins, Cordyceps Sinesis and caffeine, according to Connor Ryan of USA Today Educate.
At the college level, Johansen had difficulties concentrating. He tried a variety of remedies and found that vitamins and nutritional supplements helped boost mental activity.
While working at an organic energy juice company during his senior year of college, Johansen was struck by a business idea: a product, in pill form, that would use natural ingredients to boost attention and concentration among college students. He graduated in 2007 and three years later, Study Buddy was born.
According to Johansen, Study Buddy is sold in roughly 400 Barnes and Noble college bookstores across the country and around 200 packets (two capsules that cost about $3.50) are sold in each store per month in California and Arizona, where the small company's base is located.
About 50 packets are sold in each Barnes and Noble store every month. In addition, Study Buddy is sold in hundreds of Circle K convenience stores.
Although Study Buddy is aimed at increasing attention and focus, Johansen is wary of comparing his product to a prescription medication like Adderall. He instead likens it to fish oil. "You should be eating a diet that provides most of these nutrients, but the fact of the matter is that most students and adults don't eat nearly as well as they should," he says. "This is just an easy way to make sure that your body and brain get the nutrients they need in the first place."
Dr. Eric Hollander, director of the Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said it is hard to compare the effectiveness of traditional medications and nutritional supplements because they are not reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"I do think that there is the potential for some natural supplements to have effects on attention and energy," he says. "There should be some basic testing of these products; there would be some real benefit in doing clinical trials to show they're effective."
According to Johansen, Study Buddy is not meant to serve as a replacement for medication.
"It is for health-conscious students who are just looking for a little boost in productivity, and some help to keep your mind sharp in a natural way," Johansen said.