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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Opinion

New pill promises better performance for students


Study Buddy is a vitamin supplement aimed at college students which claims to improve attention span. The concoction is a mix of B vitamins, caffeine and Cordyceps sinensis, which is a type of fungus.

It may sound like snake oil — that is, that it won’t deliver what it promises — but the science behind it has potential, even if the pill is not FDA-approved, which no dietary supplement is.

Eric Hollander, director of the Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said, “There should be some basic testing of these products; there would be some real benefit in doing clinical trials to show they’re effective.”

Hollander does concede, though, that dietary supplements affecting attention span and performance in school are a possibility.

Study Buddy’s creator, Tyler Johansen, cites epidemic-level nutrition problems among U.S. college students as a primary reason for poor scholastic abilities.

“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,” Johansen said. “This is just an easy way to make sure that your body and brain get the nutrients they need in the first place.”

The product is currently being sold in college bookstores and seeing some success as a product. If the problem is nutrition, though, shouldn’t the focus shift to addressing the problem at its roots? Rather than throwing yet another pill at yet another societal problem, nutritional education programs should become a higher priority.

This is particularly true at the formative college level. If universities are sanctioning this kind of quick fix by actively selling it to students, it sets a poor precedent for students to follow later in life. It’s vital that students understand a balanced diet, particularly for lowerclassmen who are out on their own for the first time.

There is certainly a place in daily life for supplements such as multivitamins, but they are not intended to fill a human’s basic nutritional needs. If a student is so malnourished that schoolwork is beginning to suffer, it’s become a severe problem. An illness that serious can’t be solved in the campus bookstore. It requires a lifestyle overhaul and perhaps even a nutritionist.

One gets the same quality out of their body as the things they put into it. It’s essential to be in tune with the body’s needs and address them correctly at the root.

Opinion columnist Katie Wian is an English junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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