If you’re well-versed with the world of synthetic nootropics, chances are you’ve heard of piracetam and aniracetam. Both are potent contenders of the racetam family, often vying for the top spot in terms of potency, efficacy, and long-term safety.
While both drugs promise improved cognitive function, enhanced learning and memory, and increased motivation, there are some differences in how they work in the brain.
So, to decide which nootropic may work for you best, here is a comprehensive, comparative review of the two compounds.
- What’s The Difference Between Piracetam and Aniracetam?
- Piracetam or Aniracetam: The Comparison
- Which Racetam Is Better To Choose?
What’s The Difference Between Piracetam and Aniracetam?
Both piracetam and aniracetam are a class of smart drugs posited to promote cognitive effects by boosting neurotransmission.
Comparing the two drugs reveals many similarities in their structure and differences in their working mechanisms to get the results they yield.
They also present the promising potential to treat age-related mental decline, but the evidence is inconclusive as yet.
Piracetam is the most well-studied and well-evaluated nootropic from the racetam family. It was the first-ever synthetic drug of its kind created as a mental enhancer more than 50 years ago.
Despite its age, piracetam remains one of the most popular and widely used nootropics around.
It has a proven track record of benefits based on scientific and anecdotal evidence and is commonly used for cognitive enhancement.
Piracetam is specifically known to promote memory formation and prevents memory loss, especially in the elderly and vulnerable populations (1).
This nootropic drug can enhance blood flow to the brain, amplifying its cognitive abilities and functions. By doing so, it boosts neurotransmitter production and function, which promotes synaptic plasticity.
People using piracetam have observed positive improvements in their focus, energy, and creativity levels.
Being one of the safest cognitive enhancers, piracetam has few reported side effects. In addition, it has a higher plasma bioavailability where almost all of the drug goes into the bloodstream unchanged.
Disadvantages of Piracetam
While piracetam use has a long list of health benefits, like any other drug, it can also present some issues like diarrhea, weight gain, and drowsiness.
But more severe concerns involve drug interactions with other medications, including blood thinners.
Aniracetam is considered a more efficient nootropic than piracetam. However, like piracetam, it also works as a powerful mental enhancer with mild stimulant properties that keep you alert and awake.
Aniracetam claims to increase concentration, focus, improve learning and memory. It may also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression while enhancing mood and motivation.
Alongside presenting cognitive benefits, the most significant positive to taking aniracetam seems to be its ability to ease feelings of stress and anxiety. This makes it an excellent candidate for mood enhancement and mood support.
These somewhat anxiolytic effects of the drug occur as aniracetam is involved in the modulation of dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. Considered happy hormones, these play a crucial role in mood and depression, among other things (2).
Dopamine is vital to the brain’s pleasure and reward system, while the neurotransmitter serotonin regulates mood, happiness, and anxiety, and low levels have been associated with depression.
Also, aniracetam benefits memory formation, is believed to enhance concentration, and may even be used to treat dementia in people with cognitive impairment.
Aniracetam is famous for its stimulatory impact as it enters the bloodstream quickly. Some research indicates that it may present better stimulant effects than caffeine.
Disadvantages of Aniracetam
Aniracetam may present some side effects related to digestive discomfort, anxiety, and irritability which is not too problematic.
However, the more significant concern is that this drug can interact with other medications, including anticoagulants, antihistamines, and anticonvulsants.
Additionally, because aniracetam is such a powerful nootropic with a potent effect, it may not be suitable for everyone, and its use is not recommended for the long term.
Piracetam or Aniracetam: The Comparison
Both racetams have a similar chemical structure in the comparison between piracetam vs aniracetam, yet they affect the body and mind differently.
Studies show piracetam to be safer and more effective than aniracetam to fight neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly and present distinct cognitive effects.
Both substances are not FDA-approved for the treatment of any disease or medical condition. Therefore, neither are these compounds available to be sold as a dietary supplement in the U.S.
However, piracetam has been used for a long time in different countries as either an OTC or prescription drug depending on the country’s regulations.
Both piracetam and aniracetam can cross the blood-brain barrier to present their effects.
Mechanisms of Action
Even though both are considered effective nootropics, the two drugs have a difference in their working mechanism in the brain.
As a nootropic, piracetam’s mechanism of action is linked to its ability to increase blood flow in the brain and enhance neurotransmission.
Many cognitive abilities like brain metabolism, learning, memory, and concentration are all dependent on cerebral circulation (3).
It also improves brain metabolism by allowing optimal uptake of oxygen and nutrients by the brain.
Piracetam also appears to assist acetylcholine receptors in working more effectively. It boosts acetylcholine production, leading to a noticeable difference in brainpower, including focus, learning, and memory.
But while piracetam improves cognition, the brain can also become depleted of choline during the process. As such, many users often take a choline supplement alongside piracetam to avoid depletion (4).
Another neurotransmitter involved in synaptic plasticity is glutamate. Piracetam shows to increase glutamate receptor sensitivity, which can help with improving memory and cognitive performance.
However, since it takes time for piracetam to get absorbed, its impact does not take effect immediately. Alternately, aniracetam is a quickly absorbed drug that reaches the brain faster.
Studies show that once in the brain, aniracetam modulates essential neurotransmitters, including glutamate and acetylcholine (5).
Research shows that it binds to glutamate receptors that enable it to improve learning and memory formation.
It also works on the part of neurons called AMPA receptors to release the neurotransmitter dopamine. By triggering stimulation of AMPA receptors, aniracetam has the effect of boosting cognition, reducing brain fog, and enhancing concentration and alertness.
Taking aniracetam may also increase cognitive abilities by improving the ACH system activities important for memory improvement, attention span, and other cognitive procedures.
In addition, aniracetam works to unblock serotonin receptors which help mitigate anxiety, boost mood and motivation, and alleviate depression.
This effect could be responsible for the combined benefits of improved motivation paired with the mental agility users experience after taking aniracetam.
In addition, users report that the stimulation experienced comes without the adverse effects of prescribed medication like Adderall or Ritalin.
While most nootropics are eligible to be sold as dietary supplements, neither of the two racetams are considered as such in the U.S.
Both aniracetam and piracetam can be purchased legally to use as cognitive enhancers, with piracetam being a safe and well-tolerated option for most people. Those new to racetam use will also find it to be the better option.
Aniracetam has more significant anti-anxiety effects that make it a popular option with people suffering from social anxiety.
In addition, it gives the right boost of mental energy and gentle stimulation to make it a preferred choice for people looking to improve their performance before a demanding schedule.
Studies show that piracetam has a long half-life but needs a higher dosage given its fewer stimulation effects. The recommended dose is from 800 mg to 1600 mg two or three times a day and is dependant on the individual’s size and tolerance.
One research study shows the standard piracetam drug administration for cognitive enhancement to be around 4800 mg per day split into three doses. Many users take piracetam before a mental exercise to improve cognitive function.
By comparison, aniracetam demands small doses administered frequently. Dosage can range from 100 mg to 1500 mg two or three times daily as it is absorbed and metabolized quickly by the body. Given its short but powerful effect, aniracetam can be consumed four times within 24 hours in small doses.
Whereas piracetam can last in the body for 6-8 hours, aniracetam has an average short half-life of only 1-2.5 hours. Studies show that aniracetam may be used at 1500 mg daily to treat dementia.
Many users who take piracetam or aniracetam usually take it alongside a dose of choline. Piracetam, when stacked with alpha GPC, pramiracetam, or huperzine A potentiates the synergistic effect of the stack.
Aniracetam works well when stacked with other synthetic nootropics or racetams such as noopept, phenylpiracetam, and oxiracetam.
Piracetam is a water-soluble supplement and should be taken on an empty stomach. On the other hand, aniracetam is a fat-soluble substance and should be taken with food.
Safety-wise, both nootropics are believed to be well-tolerated with fewer side effects. However, like other racetams, these two nootropics may also present some possible symptoms, though in most cases, these remain mild.
Piracetam has sometimes been associated with feelings of fatigue, nervousness, headache, drowsiness, and dizziness. Some people have also experienced diarrhea, weight gain, and some insomnia.
Aniracetam can present headaches, uneasiness, diarrhea, intense rashes, insomnia, vertigo, and anxiety.
Although there have been no reported incidences of overdose with these racetams, it is essential to always consult with your doctor before starting any supplementation.
Cost should perhaps not be the deciding factor when comparing the two nootropic drugs.
While piracetam is often cheaper than aniracetam, it is also less potent and requires much larger dosages. So when you consider this, the cost isn’t significantly different.
Piracetam and aniracetam supplements are both sold online at specialized nootropic stores.
Which Racetam Is Better To Choose?
In the debate over piracetam vs aniracetam, the main reason someone would choose piracetam over aniracetam is that they may be first-time nootropic users.
Aniracetam is more potent and presents longer-lasting results. Also, when comparing the effects of piracetam vs aniracetam, aniracetam provides notably greater anti-anxiety relief.
So anyone interested in resolving anxiety issues would probably find aniracetam to be the more suitable option.
Both compounds are considered as possible treatments for people with Alzheimer’s disease, brain trauma, dementia, and other mental disorders.
If it’s hard for you to decide between the two nootropics, then you could stack these drugs together to experience the synergistic combination and efficiency of both compounds.