His Magical Elixir

New York Magazine—August 18, 2008

Dr. Alex Hughes thinks he can make you smarter, thinner, and less hungover by injecting water with ingredients he found in the hospital. But his company, Function Drinks, first has to fight for shelf space amid all the other health drinks promising miracle cures.

Alex Hughes, M.D., is a fellow at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. He is also an entrepreneur. Hughes is co-founder and president of Function Drinks, a newcomer to the health drinks market.

Function is aimed at the same crowd of seemingly health-conscious people who spend on such brands as Propel, VitaminWater and Sobe Life Water. Hughes is striving to make Function different, though, with his M.D. and science behind the brand.

Hughes studied scientific papers online while on call at the UCLA hospital where he completed his residency and came up with specific ingredients for each of the drinks that Function would eventually market: Urban Detox (a remedy for hangovers), Light Weight (calibrated for weight loss), Brainiac (claims to boost memory and promote mental acuity), Shock Sports (works to eases sore muscles), Night Life (claims to promote sexual health), Alternative Energy (calibrated to help provide elevation of mood and energy), Vacation (works toward improving mood and reducing stress), and House Call (boosts immune system and fights colds).

Now Hughes, having moved to New York for his HSS fellowship, must face a daunting task: marketing his line of health drinks at a more skeptical New York City crowd. About 4,000 New York stores now carry the drinks.

Read the full story here or in the August 18 issue of New York Magazine.

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