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is a nootropic compound that has been used by millions of individuals around the world.
Piracetam reviews report a range of beneficial effects for this Racetam such as improving your ability to learn and remember, boosting focus and concentration, and improving your mood and motivation levels. It acts on the brain and nervous system to increase certain types of activity between neurons.
Researchers believe that it has a protective effect on brain cells and promotes neuronal communication. This part of the brain is also responsible for thoughts, actions, reasoning, perception, learning, and movement. These mechanisms of action are responsible for numerous reported positive effects, but what is the real story behind Piracetam?
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Piracetam Nootropic History
Piracetam (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine-acetamide) was the first compound developed in the racetam "family" of cognitive enhancing nootropics. It was created synthetically by Belgium lab UCB Pharma in 1964 as a means for improving corpus callosum communication. This section of the brain manages all communication between the two hemispheres of the brain.
The development of the drug required defining a whole new category of supplements - "nootropics." The UCB Pharma team invented this term, which literally translates to "bend the mind," specifically to describe the action of Piracetam.
It is chemically similar to the amino acid amino acid pyroglutamate, differing only by a single side chain.
Piracetam has been produced under many prescription names over the last 40 years, such as Cerebrospan, Encefalux, Nootron, Nootropil, Psycotron, and Stimucortex.
There is also a product called Fezam which contains Piracetam and cinnarizine and is marketed in Bulgaria and Russia.
Today, it is used for age-related cognitive decline and boosting cognitive function in healthy young minds.
While all of Piracetam's mechanisms of action are not yet known, it is thought to work in the following four main ways.
Specifically, Piracetam (Nootropil) has been shown in double-blind placebo controlled studies to improve the delivery and dispersal of oxygen molecules to cells in the brain. It is also observed to result in an increase in circulation (blood flow) to neural tissues.
This has a secondary neuroprotective effect for structures like neurons and synapses. Better circulation keeps tissues healthy and nourished, protecting against normal damage and decay due to aging. It also helps to eliminate waste materials from cells at a faster rate.
Research shows that it functions in part by improving the permeability of cell membranes (also known as membrane fluidity).
Cell membrane health further protects against hypoxia and may prevent or reduce the risk of brain conditions which result from lack of oxygen, including stroke.
The nootropic Piracetam also affects brain glucose levels by inhibiting its reuptake. This results in an increased metabolism of glucose which may result in increased mental energy and alertness.
It is also reported to have some effect upon calcium in the brain which may potentiate overall neurotransmission, without exhibiting stimulant effects on the Central Nervous System.
This nootropic is a cyclical derivative of GABA (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid). By removing a molecule from the chemical structure of GABA, a cyclical shape results retaining two nitrogen atoms with one amide that contains a side chain made of two carbon atoms and another nitrogen molecule.
Despite the fact that it is structurally similar to this neurotransmitter, it does not appear to activate or interact with GABA receptors.
Piracetam has been shown to increase cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) in the brain. Increase cAMP levels can improve the function of mitochondria, especially in aging brains.
According to a 1993 report in the journal Pharmacology, Nootropil increases the binding activity at L-glutamate and NMDA receptors. NMDA sites regulate memory and stimulate growth of neural connections.
This action could be a key factor in Piracetam's use for age-related cognitive decline.
As a clinical drug, Piracetam is used or has been studied for the following medical conditions:
Users report a range of cognitive, mood, social, and physical benefits with regular usage. The following are some of the key reasons that people take this nootropic drug.
Memory and Learning: Perhaps the most commonly reported benefit of this nootropic is an improvement in the areas of learning and memory. As early as 1976, articles in journals like Psychopharmacology began to report that daily doses of Piracetam above 1200 mg could cause noted improvements to working memory and brain function.
A 1991 study in the New Zealand journal Drugs Aging found that Piracetam facilities memory and new learning via callosal transmission. The same study also found that Piracetam improves cholinergic activity.
Acetylcholine & Concentration: Piracetam is able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with the Acetylcholine and Glutamate receptors. These neuroreceptors are involved in areas of the brain responsible for memory and cognition.
However, the specific effects may be different for each person. Some users report subtle increases in memory or thought processes while others begin remembering full dreams or even the smallest details of events.
Concentration and focus are also enhanced with Piracetam use due to the increased blood circulation within the brain. Users are also likely to notice an improved ability to think, pay attention, and manipulate data. You may find that normal tasks such as reading and writing are done with more mental fluidity.
Sensory Perception: Increased Acetylcholine activity due to Piracetam use is also linked to enhanced sensory perception. Many users report experiencing improvements in the ability to distinguish small details in sight, smell, and touch.
Users have also described an enhanced ability to recall previous visual, auditory and olfactory experiences and connect them to other memories. This is one of the things that a first time user of Piracetam may notice right away, with an increase in the vibrancy of colors being most reported by users.
Mood: Heightened motivation is another benefit connected to this nootropic. In many cases, individuals have reported an increase in their energy, both mental and physical. Several studies have also examined the effects of Piracetam on individuals diagnosed with depression, with a number of promising results reported.
Research indicates that cerebrovascular disease can cause depression symptoms, especially in old age. When administering Piracetam to elderly stroke patients, the improvements in brain circulation may also have the added effect of lessening depression and brightening mood.
Furthermore, there are a significant number of anecdotal reports online suggesting that Piracetam may lessen symptoms of general anxiety disorder, social anxiety and sleep disorders. There has been limited research into this area though and it is not clear what the mechanisms of action are.
Oxygenation: Oxygen utilization in the brain is increased following Piracetam administration. This has a number of practical applications like reducing fatigue and increasing attention span. It is also thought to prevent damage to the neurons due to cerebrovascular insufficiency.
Piracetam has noted benefits for issues relating to brain circulation. In addition to delivering oxygen and nutrient rich blood to neural tissue, Piracetam poses a significant anti-clotting effect.
In research this has been cited as a possible treatment for stroke victims, who experience significant cognitive impairment due to a lack of blood flow, often caused by a clot. Piracetam is sometimes administered as a prophylaxis directly after stroke, in order to prevent additional damage due to clotting.
Reading Disorders and Dyslexia: A paper published by European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry found that Piracetam had significant benefit for children with reading disorders.
In 7 double-blind studies of nearly 600 children diagnosed with dyslexia, the use of Piracetam improved both verbal reasoning and reading comprehension.
Piracetam and Old Age: Many of the most dramatic benefits of Piracetam can be found when used by people suffering from cognitive degeneration. In general use, it can improve memory, reasoning ability, and concentration. Short-term working memory and overall slowing of cognitive decline is widely reported by older patients.
Piracetam also ameliorated symptoms of Parkinson's disease and improved psychological and neurological symptoms of dementia in a double-blind trial.
In animal studies, Piracetam has been shown to reduce some of the nerve damage associated with chronic alcohol exposure.
Researchers know that long-term consumption of alcohol (ethanol) can result in impaired memory and fewer healthy neurons in the hippocampus of the brain.
This part of the brain plays an important role in the formation and retrieval of long-term memory.
Piracetam may prevent some of the neuron loss in this hippocampus that can occur in alcoholics.
In one research study, two groups of rats undergoing alcohol withdrawal following long-term use were given either Piracetam or a placebo. Researchers found that there were significantly more healthy hippocampal brain cells in the group given Piracetam compared to subjects given the placebo.
This study also showed that Piracetam can reduce lipofuscin deposits in the hippocampal neurons of rats exposed to chronic alcohol consumption. Lipofuscin is a lipid-containing residue or waste product that builds up in cells as we age.
Excess lipofuscin accumulation can lead to impaired cell function and may negatively affect cognitive abilities in elderly individuals.
The fact that Piracetam can reduce the build-up of this waste product in the hippocampus in alcohol-withdrawn animals suggests that it may have a protective effect against some forms of damage that contribute to premature aging.
However, more research is needed to validate these hypotheses and to determine whether Piracetam/Nootropil will have the same effect in humans as it does in rat studies.
Another study looking at alcohol-fed rats also showed that those given Piracetam had higher numbers of synapses between neurons than those given a placebo.
Nerve synapses are the connection points between neurons at which they are able to send and receiving chemical and electrical signals from other neurons. They consist of receptors as well as vesicles for releasing neurotransmitter chemicals.
The network of synapses between our neurons is constantly reorganizing itself to work more efficiently when exposed to new stimuli or when old information becomes less important to maintain.
When synaptic pathways are made stronger through a process called Long Term Potentiation (LTP), this is how new memories are stored. Piracetam may support this process and synaptic plasticity, which is a concept used to represent our ability to learn new things.
Piracetam is non-toxic to the body and does not exhibit serious side effects when used within the appropriate dosage range.
As it is water soluble, the body simply discards of any excess amounts by flushing it out through the urinary tract. This makes it difficult to overdose.
No cases of serious harmful effects have ever been reported due to an overdose of Piracetam. Even in cases of excessive dosing for healthy people (above 5 grams per day), toxic effects were still not exhibited, as reported in a 1999 report by the journal Pharmacopsychiatry.
It is reported to have a lower level of toxicity than table salt and caffeine as measured by the LD50 standard (lethal dose for 50% of the population).
According to user experiences, Piracetam is generally considered very well tolerated. There are few side effects reported, with less than 10 percent of users having any kind of negative reaction.
One of the more common side effects is a mild headache. Because Pircetam may increase Acetylcholine activity, it is possible that the body's supply may be depleted, which can cause headache. The most common way to remedy this is by taking a choline supplement which seems to prevent depletion of Acetylcholine levels in the brain.
Other short-term Piracetam side effects include anxiety, nervousness, feeling agitated, and drowsiness.
The following adverse reactions have been reported in research studies at a lower rate of requency:
Some long term studies have been performed on daily Piracetam use with positive results. In one 1993 study cited in Neurology journal, Alzheimer's patients were given 8 grams of Piracetam per day for an entire year. Improvements to memory and protection from further cognitive decline were noted.
Furthermore, no side effects or long term damage was found as a result of Piracetam use at this high dosage or for this extended period of time. Healthy people seeking cognitive enhancement generally take a far lower dose than this.
This nootropic agent should not be used by women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. There is no research available to determine whether it is safe or dangerous to an unborn fetus.
Its use is also contraindicated for women who are breastfeeding as it can be transmitted to the nursing baby through breast milk.
In some instances, Piracetam users may develop a tolerance whereby the compound seems to cease in causing beneficial effects. In other cases, new users may not experience any effects for the first two weeks of use. For certain individuals, it might require more time for the level of Piracetam to build up to an effective dose within your system.
You may want to consider taking an 'attack dose' of double or triple the normal administration levels for a day or two. If this does not work, allow yourself a few weeks to build up to effective levels before evaluating the effects.
There are a few notable negative drug interactions which warrant caution. These all primarily pertain to Piracetam's effects on cerebrovascular circulation. It is always better to err on the side of caution when combining supplements with prescription medications, and they should never be taken while intoxicated or under the influence of illicit narcotics.
Speak with your doctor or healthcare practicioner before taking Piracetam or any other nootropic supplement to make sure that there are no contraindications based on your medical history.
Alcohol - Piracetam can impair perception of intoxication, leading to over-drinking and potential alcohol poisoning. A large dose in conjunction with heavy drinking can impair motor function and present serious physical risks, and should be avoided. This smart drug has also been studied as a treatment for alcoholism withdrawal symptoms.
Amphetamines - Piracetam amplifies the effects of stimulating prescription drugs such as Adderall. This can result in irregular heart rate and high blood pressure, along with anxiety and inability to concentrate.
Blood thinners - Piracetam has an anti-clotting (anti-coagulant) effect which can be dangerous when combined with prescription blood thinner medication. This combination may lead to excessive bleeding or the exaggeration of wounds and tissue damage.
Otherwise, Piracetam is safe to combine with most nutrients, vitamins, and other nootropic cognitive enhancers. Some of the most popular Piracetam stacks are listed below.
Proper dosage is dependent on may different factors including age, weight, sex, and the reason for taking Piracetam. Speak with your doctor to determine the best dosage for your needs.
Piracetam has a large range of effective daily doses. A low baseline dose of 400 mg is the bottom of most suggested servings, while 800 mg is the median which many people take in a single sitting. This amount can be repeated three times a day with zero toxicity effects.
However, many people who have never taken nootropics before may need to increase the dosage initially to feel the full effects. This can be done in one of two ways:
1. Start with an "attack dose" also known as a "loading dose." This is a common practice with many supplements which involves starting with a double or triple dose for a short period of time, then returning to more moderate doses. This method is only to be attempted with water-soluble, easy to tolerate compounds. The total amount of attack doses must still fall within non-toxic, safe dosage recommendations.
2. The other method for starting to take this smart drug is to let the effects build up over a period of 3 weeks. Users can stick to lower doses of 1200 - 1600 mg per day, allowing enough time for effects to build.
What's the best dosage for optimum results? Many different studies have been conducted to determine the ideal Piracetam dosage. The general consensus is that, once tolerability has been established, higher doses work better for most people than lower doses.
According to user reviews, a dosage of 4 grams results in the most noticeable effects. The effects should be most prominent between 1 and 4 hours after administration, so plan your day accordingly (school, work, exercise routine, etc…).
Piracetam comes in both powder and pill form. Most people find the taste of raw Piracetam to be quite bitter when taken as a powder. This is remedied by adding the powder to a sweet juice like natural orange juice. It may be taken all at once, or divided into even administrations throughout the day.
Stacking is one way to amplify the individual effects of any nootropic. By combining complementary elements, the total effect may be greater than the individual benefits.
Due to its inherent low toxicity and lack of side effects, Piracetam can be easily added to many different nootropic stacks. Here are three popular stacks:
Piracetam and Choline - This is perhaps the most popular pairing involving Piracetam. Choline's involvement in memory, logical reasoning, and concentration functions are well-known.
This supplement is used in the brain to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), which plays a role in attentional control, memory formation and cognition.
It is thought that a normal dose of Piracetam uses up the brain's stores of choline, which is why it may be beneficial to combine it with a choline supplement.
Many users experience a headache when first using Racetam nootropic supplements. One theory is that these nootropics increase the synthesis and release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which may deplete choline stored in the neurons.
Combining the nootropic agent Piracetam with choline bitartrate or another choline source like Alpha GPC or Citicoline (CDP Choline) powder is anecdotally reported to reduce this side effect.
The recommended Piracetam Choline stack dosage ratio is 8 to 1. If using a typical dosage of 4.8 grams of Piracetam powder, that would equate to a dosage of 600mg choline bitartrate.
Some choline sources (like Alpha GPC) require lower dosages to be effective. This ratio will need to be adjusted depending on the form of this nootropic supplement you use.
Piracetam with other Racetams - Piracetam is often stacked with other Racetam nootropics, such as Aniracetam and/or Oxiracetam. These stacks are purported to improve memory and concentration.
Piracetam and Aniracetam are the two most commonly used nootropic supplements. In addition to modulating acetylcholine receptors, Aniracetam is also an AMPA receptor agonist, which makes it distinct from other Racetams.
AMPA receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate mediate exctiatory signals in the brain and play a role in synaptic plasticity and learning.
Using a Piracetam Aniracetam stack is surmised to enhance the positive effects of this nootropic on brain function and memory formation.
Piracetam with Caffeine and Choline - To boost mental clarity and acuity, the notable brain circulation benefits combine with the added energy from caffeine, while choline supports neuroplasticity.
There are a number of other nootropics that can be stacked together with this Racetam. Some examples include:
Most users report favorable reactions to Piracetam. It is widely considered to be a tolerable, easy to take nootropic with few downsides. While calculating the proper dosage can be a factor in achieving baseline effects, overdose effects are almost never reported. Here are the main themes from online user reviews of Piracetam:
Better Access to Stored Memories: Piracetam's most famous effects relate to memory. Users report being able to recall images, names, and experiences with fine minute detail. Many comment upon the sudden recall of long-lost childhood memories.
Eliminating Mental Fog: Piracetam is frequently used in an office or school-type setting among individuals who report experiencing brain fog. Mental lethargy is reduced, allowing for more productivity and better communication with others.
Vivid dreams: While it does not produce lucid dreaming states to the same degree as Huperzine A or Galantamine, taking dosages later in the day does appear to result in very crisp, detailed, life-like dreams for many users. One user compared Piracetam dreams to starring in a very exciting movie.
Tiredness: One negative response that users report is the tendency to feel very tired at the end of a dose's effective period. The onset of tired feelings can come on quickly. However, stacking Piracetam with Choline (see stack guide above), is noted to eliminate the tiredness altogether.
At this time in the United States, Piracetam is not considered a dietary supplement, but instead is labelled an Investigational New Drug (IND). The Food and Drug Administration has still not approved Piracetam as a drug for use in medical contexts. This is due to a lack of formal testing by the agency and not a lack of product safety.
In other countries, Piracetam has been approved for human use for many decades and is regularly prescribed by doctors. Piracetam is legal, and is not considered a controlled substance. Therefore, it is legal to buy, possess, and consume for human use.
This is a specific category governing many dietary and holistic health supplements which fall under the heading of alternative medicine. Piracetam can be legally bought online and shipped to U.S. addresses without problem.
The U.K. has a similar personal use policy in place for Piracetam. However, users require a prescription to purchase it within the country. It can be legally bought and used throughout Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Non-toxic, and safe for daily use, Piracetam makes an excellent basis for any nootropic stack program. It is considered the best nootropic for beginners to use. It has a history of tested and proven results for the improvement of memory and fighting cognitive decline. Through good circulation and stimulation of neural communication, it encourages healthy brain function well into old age.