A lot of more recent nootropics do not have substantial research into the health benefits. However, the effects of piracetam are well-studied.
Piracetam is a synthetic substance used by people around the world for various purposes. For example, many users claim it could be good for preventing the cognitive decline associated with getting older.
But are these results based upon the exact mechanism of action?
- What is Piracetam?
- How Does Piracetam Work In The Brain?
- What Are The Benefits of Piracetam?
- How To Take Piracetam
- What Are The Side Effects of Piracetam?
What is Piracetam?
Piracetam, or 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine-acetamide, was synthesized in 1964 to become the first compound of the racetam class of nootropics and drugs.
Piracetam is a cyclic derivative of the neurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). It was developed to be a drug to calm the central nervous system, but the researchers and chemists found it does not influence GABA receptors. However, they found that it boosted cognition in healthy individuals.
Piracetam is sold as a prescription drug throughout Europe under the brand names Nootropil and Lucetam. It is also a prescription drug in other parts of the world.
In the United States, it is sold as an OTC dietary supplement and research compound because it lacks FDA approval.
It is most commonly used as a prescription or OTC supplement to improve cognitive function, seizure disorder (epilepsy), dizziness (vertigo), and learning disabilities.
Dozens of other racetams have been synthesized since the initial creation of piracetam, all of which have a pyrrolidone nucleus.
How Does Piracetam Work In The Brain?
Piracetam does several different things in the brain. The primary mechanisms are caused by the modulation of AMPA and NMDA receptors, which are associated with learning and memory.
Low levels at NMDA receptors as associated with cognitive decline and the reduction of neuroplasticity.
In addition, piracetam can increase cerebral blood flow, an essential function for good brain health and cognition. Another effect is related to the flow of acetylcholine (ACh) as well as the improvement of sensitivity and density of ACh receptors.
Acetylcholine levels are essential for the functioning of the nervous system. The influence on ACh is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. In addition, acetylcholine is crucial for overall brain function.
Users will typically find that it can take around 2 weeks for the beneficial effects to appear. However, some people feel moderate stimulation from an acute dose that results in increased focus and productivity. In addition, a choline supplement will increase the effects of piracetam.
What Are The Benefits of Piracetam?
Piracetam offers a wide range of benefits related to brain function and cognitive function. First, let’s look at some of the most common uses of the original racetam, piracetam.
Boosts Brain Function
Piracetam is used for brain power and the improvement of related neurological functions. Animal studies show that piracetam can help to improve memory recall and learning.
In addition, it may help with information processing and allow us to transmit informational signals across neurons easily (1). These benefits are the greatest when choline intake is increased along with the nootropic stack.
The research is not exactly detailed on the results, but people who take piracetam often unlock memories they thought were lost forever. This could be great for students or anyone else who needs to recall a lot of information regularly.
In addition, it could also help with attention span and concentration because of the impact on blood flow in the brain. In addition, these effects might help with emotional management and wellness. These benefits potentially combine to provide a sense of focus and motivation that could improve the work’s quantity and quality.
The impact on memory and cognition could be significant, and one study found that piracetam helped with task completion (2).
This could result from decreased stress, brain fog, mental fatigue, and the other benefits to cognitive function.
Slows Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Cognitive decline is a natural part of aging, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and watch your brain power decrease without taking action. Piracetam may help to slow the cognitive decline by improving mitochondrial function and offering nootropic effects.
Human trials show that piracetam doses taken regularly for weeks can improve cognition in those who had age-related cognitive impairment (3). Older people often lose their ability to adequately and effectively process information or to remember things as quickly.
Piracetam may help reduce these negative aspects of getting older and shaving several years off your cognitive age. In otherwise healthy adults, research shows that piracetam may improve the impact of memory loss.
While the conclusions of these studies are dependent on several factors and are only examined in older adults with some cognitive impairment, scientists are interested in these promising features for the prevention or treatment of mental deterioration.
Helps With Learning Difficulties and Dyslexia
Some individuals have difficulty learning and processing information because of learning disorders, like dyslexia. This can make development and challenging to achieve.
Human studies have found that piracetam may reduce the impact of learning disorders on otherwise healthy participants. In fact, in some countries, piracetam as a nootropic is available for use only as a prescription drug.
One trial study found that piracetam improved verbal learning significantly in both dyslexic volunteers and individuals who did not suffer from a learning disability.
Other trials and human studies have found similar results, including better scores on reading tests (4).
Some research concludes that piracetam can improve reaction times and symbol recognition for those who suffer from learning disorders like dyslexia.
Dyslexia negatively affects the language processing components of the brain, and piracetam appears to help children in reading speed and comprehension compared to the placebo in multiple studies (5).
A review of studies shows that this effect on language functions and learning problems could be substantial. With more research, scientists want to see a similar benefit for people who do not suffer from learning disabilities or disorders.
Protects Against Myoclonic Seizures
Myoclonic seizures occur when muscle spasms are triggered involuntarily and happen when a person is awake and alert. There is evidence suggesting that piracetam may help reduce symptoms after and during a myoclonic seizure.
Research studies on people who suffer from myoclonus epilepsy found that daily doses of piracetam improved symptoms significantly. These findings show that piracetam may help people with these types of seizures better function in society and at work (6).
However, it is important to note that many of these studies combined piracetam with common antiepileptic drugs and anticonvulsants.
Other studies show that this effect of piracetam may be beneficial for treating myoclonic seizures. In addition, research shows that piracetam may help with central nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and tardive dyskinesia (7).
Animal studies show that piracetam can help improve symptoms associated with these types of CNS disorders, including impaired motor functioning and the ability to walk with ease. However, there are not any peer-reviewed, published human trials yet.
Reduces Dementia and Alzheimer’s Symptoms
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect memory, communication ability and cause difficulties in performing everyday tasks.
There is evidence for using piracetam treatment as a potential option for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, especially when combined with more traditional drugs for cognitive impairment.
Some studies show piracetam can protect the body and mind from the crippling impact these diseases can cause. In addition, it may slow the progression of these types of conditions (8).
Some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may be treatable using piracetam as well. Since piracetam can be good for mental performance and focus, it may help people suffering from dementia by allowing them to function better than they would without the drug.
Piracetam may also help with reaction speed and even with memory that often deteriorates rapidly with the diagnoses of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, there is yet to be a long-term study on these benefits, but the initial studies show a lot of promise.
Supports Pain Relief Related to Inflammation
Inflammation can cause pain and contribute to various health problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.
Research suggests that piracetam has antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation (9). In addition, it may help to enhance your brain’s natural responses and defenses.
Piracetam may help suppress the production of cytokines, reducing the immune response and lowering the amount of inflammation in the body. This could impact both swelling and pain, making it a nootropic that benefits the body and the mind.
In addition, there is reason to believe that piracetam could reduce inflammation and swelling by simultaneously improving blood circulation.
These uses of piracetam are gaining interest in the science community, and many people choose piracetam over other nootropics or add it to other supplements because of these actions.
Stroke and Cerebrovascular Recovery
An analysis of research shows that piracetam could help people recover after a stroke diagnosis or support recovery after a cerebrovascular event. This is because piracetam influences blood flow and may help prevent blood clotting (10).
Piracetam also impacts cell membrane fluidity and may help cells retain their structure in stroke patients.
Thus, not only does piracetam influence blood flow, but it may also help to improve cognitive function in patients with cerebrovascular disorders by influencing cell membranes.
While many of these reports on these types of benefits are inconclusive, many experts want to continue to look into these purposes of piracetam.
There is evidence to suggest that these types of studies could find that supplements containing piracetam or other nootropics have more uses than many people initially thought.
For example, piracetam products could also offer potential as a treatment for patients suffering from alcoholism and drug or alcohol withdrawal (11).
However, many of these brain improvements have only been examined in animals, and further research is necessary to come to a logical conclusion about this potential use.
How To Take Piracetam
Depending on the sources for the dietary supplement, piracetam is sold as a powder form or as capsules. While the efficacy is similar for all piracetam compounds, the onset may depend on the product’s type and quality.
Regardless of the source, a piracetam dietary supplement should only be taken by mouth. However, experts also provide the recommendation to take it with food as well.
It can also help to increase the mechanisms by adjusting your dose or choline uptake. Many people also combined their piracetam with other nootropics or health supplements that align with their treatment and brain health goals.
Some use piracetam and other racetams as enhancers to boost the efficacy or support a specific health diagnosis. Let’s understand how piracetam compares to other racetams:
While piracetam can boost performance, the dose will depend greatly on personal experience. Most neurohackers recommend you start with a lower dose of around 800 mg. The standard dosages are anywhere from 800 mg to 2,400 mg, taken two to three times per day.
While it can take up to two weeks to fully boost performance, you can also take an attack dose to achieve higher potential with your first experience. An attack dose is usually somewhere between 2,400 mg and 3,000 mg.
Typically, doses will take 1 to 2 hours to take effect fully, but food with a piracetam dose can increase this onset to around 3 hours.
What Is The Half-life?
The piracetam half-life is 5 to 6 hours, but the effects are usually noticeable for 3 to 4 hours.
What Are The Side Effects of Piracetam?
While piracetam products are considered low risk, it is still good to know about potential side effects for safety reasons. The severity of the side effects is usually dependent upon the strength of the nootropics and the dose.
If you take any drugs or medications, it is also best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional or your doctor before use.
Several side effects could present themselves after use, and the most common are diarrhea, weight gain, drowsiness, insomnia, nervousness, depression, and hyperactivity. If the side effects are severe, it is best to stop use for safety until you speak to a doctor.
Piracetam is one of the most used nootropics and is famous for how it impacts brain health. While it may not be the most potent nootropic on the market, it is trusted and considered safe at regular doses.
Piracetam can help you significantly improve cognitive function, memory, and learning. It is a superb choice for adding to a nootropic stack because it can boost the effects of other supplements, smart drugs, and products.
- Can you take piracetam every day?
It is considered safe to take piracetam every day, but it may help with tolerance level to take regular breaks.
- Is piracetam legal?
Piracetam is legal and uncontrolled in the United States despite having no FDA approval. It is available by prescription only in many other countries.
- Does piracetam increase dopamine?
At least one study shows that piracetam influences dopamine, but it is unknown if this action is responsible for some effects.
- Is piracetam good for anxiety?
An analysis of one study shows that piracetam could help reduce anxiety levels, which may be a component of its performance-enhancing qualities.