Student to sell ‘natural’ Adderall
A Penn student is CFO of the company that produces the supplement, which is 'safe [and] legal' alternative to drugs like Adderall
February 25, 2013, 11:14 pm·
Joshua Ng | DP
The idea came to him as he was lying on a beach in Hawaii, thinking about Bradley Cooper.
The summer before his freshman year at The College of New Jersey, sophomore Ryan Dolan watched the movie “Limitless” on his flight down to Hawaii for vacation, and was inspired to create a real-life version of the pill that grants Bradley Cooper’s character superhuman power and focus.
Dolan is the chief executive officer of Naderol, a company that produces an all-natural, focus-enhancing dietary supplement. Naderol is a 2.5-ounce, grape-flavored beverage that provides cognitive energy and memory enhancement, and according to Dolan, the name intends to evoke the image of a natural Adderall. The first shipment of products will be sent out this week.
“There are people who are looking for an edge but don’t want to do it illegally,” said Wharton sophomore Luke Roskowinski, who joined the company as chief financial officer in August 2012. He said that Naderol is a safe, legal alternative to abusing prescription drugs like Adderall, a trend that he has noticed on Penn’s campus and across the country.
A study published in the medical journal “Addiction” found that 6.9 percent of college students had ever used a prescription stimulant for non-medical purposes, and the rates of use within the past year were as high as 25 percent of the student body at some of the colleges studied.
Roskowinski said that Naderol is a response to such statistics. “There’s no need to abuse prescription drugs if you can achieve the same effect with something that’s not harmful to you and that’s not drug abuse,” he said.
Timothy West, a sophomore at Monmouth University and the company’s chief operating officer, said that Naderol provides cognitive rather than physical energy, improving memory and increasing synapse connections in the brain. Those effects can help students study productively without incurring any of the health or legal risks involved with taking prescription drugs, he said.
The effects of drinking a bottle of Naderol set in after about 15 minutes and typically last five to six hours, according to West.
Dolan said that when he has used Naderol when studying, “it’s a very calming rise in energy.”
Because Naderol is classified as a dietary supplement, it cannot be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Instead, the agency sets out a set out of guidelines of what can and can’t be put into a supplement. Dolan says they have met all of the necessary standards for FDA compliance.
Roskowinski said that natural ingredients are intended to stimulate major neurotransmitters — dopamine, acetylcholine and norepinephrine — in order to increase brain function, while simultaneously activating GABA, a neuroinhibitor that calms down brain function.
However, professor of neurology Anjan Chatterjee, who is not affiliated with the company, said that combining these two processes wouldn’t necessarily have the claimed effect of activating but not over-stimulating the brain. “It would be like saying you should give someone Adderall and give them Valium at the same time,” he said, because Adderall affects epinephrine levels and Valium works with GABA, two of the main targets of Naderol that Roskowinski cited.
Pete Maletto, CEO of PTM Food Consulting, is the formulator of Naderol’s “proprietary blend”, and he said that the combination of ingredients have no negative health implications. “No adverse effects have ever been reported to the FDA regarding any ingredients used in Naderol,” he said in an email.
But Chatterjee is wary of drawing this conclusion without clinical evidence. While the Naderol website does cite studies for the individual ingredients, he said it is unclear whether the dosage levels that were studied are the same as those that are used in Naderol.
This is not to say the product doesn’t work, but without specific data, Chatterjee said, “We just don’t know what the synergies are.”
Chatterjee also pointed out that just because the ingredients in Naderol are natural, they are not necessarily safe. “Using the term ‘natural’ has a certain marketing cache but scientifically it has absolutely no value,” he said.
One College sophomore, who wished to remain anonymous, said she has taken Adderall twice before to help with studying, but would be open to an alternative like Naderol. She said that Adderall helps her work quickly and productively, but if another product could achieve similar effects, “it’s definitely something I would be willing to try.”
For now, Naderol is sold online and through 110 campus representatives that sell the product to their peers on almost 70 campuses, according to Roskowinski.
Roskowinski said that Naderol is not intended to compete with or replace Adderall. Rather, the company wants to provide a safe, effective alternative because ultimately, he said, “We want to change the way students study.”