What is Piracetam?
This cognitive-enhancing nootropic supplement, targets the brain and nervous system, increasing certain types of activity between the neurons. Millions across the world use this racetam for its ability to enhance learning and memory as well as one’s mood and drive thus allowing for better focus and concentration.
Furthermore, research has revealed that it also protects and increases the overall performance of the cerebral cortex, promoting an improvement in communication. This section of the brain is associated with several vital functions of the body such as thought, perception, learning, memory and movement.
However, before embarking on a supplementation program with Piracetam, it can be helpful to understand the origins of this supplement, how it actually works, its benefits along with its side effects, etc.
Piracetam was created in 1964 with the intention of it optimizing the cognitive function. The compound was created by Dr. and is team of scientists, at the Belgian pharmaceutical lab UCB, as the first synthesized nootropic within the racetams group. The term ‘nootropics’, meaning “bend the mind”, was actually invented alongside Piracetam, in order to define this entirely new category of cognitive enhancing supplements.
Piracetam, which has the chemical name 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide, has been distributed under a range of prescription names, such as Cerebrospan, Encefalux, Nootropil, Nootron Psycotron, and Stimucortex, since 1964.
Today, the supplement is renowned worldwide as a ‘smart drug’ for its protective and boosting effect on cognitive function, with its users ranging from students to stroke victims.
How it works
Many scientifically proven theories as to how Piracetam improves brain power have been presented, suggesting that the compound may have several mechanisms of action.
However, it is believed to work, primarily, by increasing permeability in cell membranes. This allows for oxygen molecules to be diffused across brain cells more efficiently as well as an increase in circulation to nerve tissues. Better circulation helps counter against the damaging effects of aging as it speeds up the intake of nutrients into the cell and the excretion of waste products from the cell.
Piracetam / Nootropil has also been shown to increase cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) in the brain, which in turn increases the functioning of mitochondria. Mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cell, provide cells with the energy needed to carry out their tasks.
Nootropics work to enhance cognition by optimizing key neurotransmitters and causing the processes by which neurons communicate to be more efficient. Piracetam has been shown to specifically target Acetylcholine and Glutamate in the brains of Piracetam users. Both are chemical neurotransmitters that pass on signals from one neuron to another. Piracetam modulates receptor sites to be more sensitive to Acetylcholine and Glutamate allowing for faster transmission. Piracetam binds to the Acetylcholine receptor sites and increases the rate of transfer by which Acetylcholine (and the signal it carries) is received in the synaptic receptors of the next neuron.
Moreover, Piracetam seems to have an effect on the brains calcium levels which may optimize overall neurotransmission.
Despite being initially formed using Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA), Piracetam does not show any interaction or activity with GABA receptors.
Benefits & Uses of Piracetam
Learning and Memory
An improvement in learning and memory is the most noted benefit of Piracetam. Piracetam optimizes activity in the corpus callosum, which is a structure responsible for the communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. According to a 1991 report in the journal Drugs Aging, the compound encourages the memory and learning process via calossal transmission.
The study further established that there was an improvement in cholinergic activity. The cholinergic system has been under much research lately for its association with aging and neuronal degradation - both of which can result in Alzheimer’s disease. This disease causes loss of short term memory and thus new learning. Therefore an increase in cholinergic activity will help counter memory loss.
Piracetam modifies acetylcholine and glutamate neuroreceptors, which are linked to regions of the brain responsible for memory and cognition. Acetylcholine plays important roles in learning, memory and concentration, while Glutamate determines synaptic plasticity, which assists with memory storage. This explains why the supplement is commonly used in office or school-type settings. Mental tiredness in students and workers is reduced, allowing for more productivity and better communication with others.
Additionally, Piracetam users have reported that they experienced increased concentration and attention span, following the intake of the supplement. Many of them found that doing common tasks such as writing, reading and engaging in conversations become more fluid. This effect is due to the improved cell permeability allowing for more efficient oxygen uptake and blood circulation as the brain becomes more alert when the supply of these essential elements is increased.
However, the effect of Piracetam / UCB Nootropil on concentration may vary - with some users experiencing subtle changes in their memory and others being able to recall the minor details of an event. Some users also report that taking dosages later in the day appeared to produce very clear, detailed, life-like dreams that same night.
Piracetam use is also associated with enhanced sensory perception which is due to the increased acetylcholine activity. Though, the effect may vary depending on the individual.
Many users have described advancement in their ability to make out minor details in smell, taste, and touch, whereas others may notice progress in their sight and hearing. In addition, some users claim to have a heightened ability to recall auditory, olfactory and visual experiences from the past which they are then able to connect to other memories.
Improved motivation levels are another benefit associated with Piracetam - with many individuals affirming higher levels of physical and mental energy. Numerous studies have indicated that this supplement can also help reduce cases of depression.
Numerous studies have indicated that cerebrovascular disease can lead to depression symptoms, particulary in older people. Cerebrovascular disease refers to a group of conditions that limit the circulation of blood to the brain. A common symptom of depression is a feeling of fatigue and lethargy. Piracetam has been proven to increase brain circulation and metabolism and so will lessen the symptom of tiredness in a depressed person and ease the depression in a person with cerebrovascular disease.
In addition, a significant amount of subjective online reports claim that Piracetam has lessened symptoms of anxiety disorders and sleep disorders. Nonetheless, it remains unclear what the mechanisms of action are, due to limited research being done into this area.
The brains oxygen consumption has been shown to increase subsequent to Piracetam intake, resulting in several benefits for conditions linked to blood circulation. For instance, higher energy levels, mental alertness, and the protection of neurons against the damaging effects of cerebrovascular disease.
In addition, cell membrane health further protects against hypoxia, by which a region in the body is deprived of oxygen. Hypoxia can lead to brain conditions including stroke.
Reading Disorders and Dyslexia
European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry journal published a paper claiming that Piracetam has a significant development in those with reading disorders, especially children. Its use showed an improvement in both their reading comprehension and verbal reasoning.
Piracetam and cognitive degeneration
People suffering from cognitive decline are said to experience some of the most remarkable benefits when using Piracetam.
In general use, Nootropil has positive effects on memory, learning, reasoning ability and concentration. As a result, Short-term working memory and slowing down of natural cognitive deterioration, is common in older patients.
In a double-blind trial, Piracetam was reported to have made the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease more bearable and lessened psychological and neurological symptoms of dementia. Dementia which is a severe decline in cognitive function resulting in poor memory and social ability is mainly caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s affects short term memory and thus new learning. However, some long term studies that have been carried out on daily Piracetam use in Alzheimer’s patients, have shown positive results. For example, a 1993 study in Neurology journal saw progress in the memory and defense of further cognitive decline, in Alzheimer’s patients who were administered 8 grams of Piracetam every day for a whole year. Moreover, no side effects or long term impairment was found following the trial. On the other hand, healthy people also seeking the cognitive enhancing effects of Piracetam, should take a lower dosage than this.
Piracetam Side Effects
User reviews have shown a general consensus that the supplement is very well tolerated, with very few side effects being reported and with less than 10 percent of users having any kind of negative reaction. However effects can vary depending on the individual.
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 / Nootropil with Choline (see potential stacks below), is noted to eliminate the tiredness altogether.
One of the more common side effects is a mild headache which can be tamed with use of a choline supplement which seems to maintain acetylcholine levels in the brain.
Other short-term side effects reported include light anxiety, nervousness, feeling agitated, and drowsiness.
It is imperative that one first consult a doctor before using any supplement, as there may be issues based on one’s medical history.
Furthermore, one should always warrant caution when using supplements in conjunction with prescription medications, and should avoid consuming alcohol or being under the influence of illegal narcotics when medicating.
Alcohol – Because of Piracetam’s ability to enhance sensory perception, a user’s ability to perceive their level of intoxication may be weakened, leading to possible alcohol poisoning. Whereas a large dose combined with excessive alcohol consumption can impair overall motor function and cause severe physical risks.
Amphetamines – Amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control. The effects of Amphetamine drugs such as Adderall are stimulated by Piracetam. This can cause irregular heart rate, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia.
Blood thinners – Piracetam has an anti-clotting effect that can be hazardous when paired with the effects of pharmaceutical blood thinning agents. This mixture may cause extreme bleeding or the derailing of the healing process in wounds and tissue damage.
Despite being unable to interact positively with the above mentioned drugs, Piracetam is safe to use with most other nutrients, vitamins and other nootropic supplements.
Owing to its naturally low toxicity and lack of side effects, Piracetam can be be combined with many different nootropic stacks providing a wider range of mental benefits and optimizations.
Piracetam with Choline
Choline is one of the most popular brain supplements. This is due to it being an important nutrient in the body but unfortunately one that most people do not get a sufficient amount of on a regular basis.
Choline is important with relation to our memory, logical reasoning, and concentration function because it stimulates production of acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine assists with the synaptic plasticity, memory and mental clarity. Higher acetylcholine levels, can achieve greater neural activity, along with speeding up the transmission of signals in the cerebrum.
Piracetam with other Racetams
Piracetam benefits are said to last longer throughout the day but their effect is not as strong as other racetams. Piracetam is thought to mix very well with Aniracetam and/or Oxiracetam. Oxiracetam is particularly good at improving memory and rational thinking ability while Aniracetam is a renowned mood enhancer.
Piracetam with Vinpocetine, Caffeine and Choline
A boost in mental clarity and acuity is achieved, when the brain circulation effects of Piracetam and Vinpocetine are combined. The addition of caffeine provides energy while choline supports neuroplasticity, which allows for neurons to make new connections and the brain to adapt to new situations. The stacking of these three compounds helps the brain achieve order.
Within a broad range of standard doses, Piracetam is shown to be non-toxic to the body. Overdosing of the compound is not a major risk as it is a water soluble molecule and so any excess of it in the body will be flushed out through the urinary tract.
According to a 1999 report by the journal Pharmacopsychiatry, even in cases of excessive dosing by healthy people (above 5 grams per day), toxic effects were still not exhibited. It has also been reported to have a lower level of toxicity than tablet salt and caffeine as measured by the LD50 standard (lethal dose for 50% of the population).
In some instances, Piracetam users may seem to develop a tolerance whereby the supplements beneficial effects are no longer apparent, whereas others may not experience any effect for, roughly, the first two weeks of use. Some individuals may need more time for the level of Piracetam to build up to an effective dose within their system. In these cases, it is recommended that an ‘attack dose’ of double or triple the normal administration levels for a short period of time, be considered. Otherwise, one should allow a few more weeks to build up to effective levels before assessing the effects.
For those individuals who have never taken the supplement, an increase in the dosage should be considered, in order to fully feel the effects in the beginning. The taking of an ‘attack dose’ is a regular practice among many first time users and involves starting with a double or triple dose for a day or two, then continuing with more moderate doses. This method should only be attempted with water-soluble, easily digestible compounds, such as Piracetam. It is crucial that non-toxic, safe dosage guidelines are considered before taking an attack dose.
Another way to start taking Piracetam is to allow the effects to develop over a period of 3 weeks. A lower dosage of 1200 – 1600 mg per day can be taken, allowing enough time for tolerance and effects to build.
What is the best dosage for optimum results?
Piracetam has a large range of effective doses. A dose of 400 mg is the baseline 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 without any risk of toxicity effects.
Several different studies have been carried out to discover the ideal dosage for optimum results. All tend to agree that, once the body is able to tolerate Piracetam, higher doses will be more effective for the majority of people than a lower dose.
Otherwise, reviews suggest that Piracetam users generally see the most obvious effects with a dosage of 4g. Effects are most prominent between 1 and 4 hours after administration.
Piracetam can be administered in either pill or powder form, although most people prefer the pill. The powder is said to have a bitter taste that some recommend can be sweetened if mixed with a natural sweet juice. Administrations of the supplement can be divided evenly throughout the day or be taken in one go.
Is Piracetam Legal?
Piracetam is non-toxic and inexpensive compound, making it an excellent basis for any nootropic supplement program. It is considered the best nootropic for beginners to use as it has been proven to promote healthy brain function well into old age through its optimizing effect on brain circulation and stimulation of neural communication. As a result, Piracetam has been approved for human use for many decades and is regularly prescribed by doctors.
Buy Nootropil online
Piracetam is seen as a legal and not a controlled substance in many countries making it legal to purchase, possess and consume for personal human use. It can be legally bought and used throughout Canada, Europe, Asia and South America.
On the other hand, the United Kingdom requires Piracetam users to have a medical prescription. In the United States, citizens are only allowed to buy the supplement online and have it legally shipped to U.S addresses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is yet to endorse Piracetam as a supplement or a drug for use in medical contexts. This is due however to a lack of official testing by the agency and not an unsafe product.