Piracetam Nootropic Benefits, Uses and Safety Guidelines (Review)

Piracetam

• Supports Memory & Learning Capacity
• Boosts Focus & Attention
• Promotes Age Related Neuro Protection

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Piracetam (tradename Nootropil) belongs to the family of Racetams and was the first cognitive enhancing supplement ever synthesized over five decades ago and is still considered to be one the most popular choices among Nootropic users.

Type: Racetam Nootropic
Used For: Learning, Memory Enhancement, Focus, Mood, ADHD, Brain Health, Cognitive Impairment, Stroke, Age-Related Memory Loss
Half-Life: 4hrs-5hrs
Typical Dosage: 1,600 mg – 4,800 mg per day
Some Possible Drug Interactions: Thyroid Extract T-3 and T-4, Blood Thinners, Alcohol, Amphetamines  
Supplement Interactions: No Known Interactions

What is Piracetam?


Piracetam is the first Nootropic ever synthesized and one of the most well researched and popularly used cognitive enhancers to date. This compound was first developed by UCB Pharma, a Belgium company in the 1960’s as a synthetic cyclic derivative of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) with the original purpose to induce a calming effect during motion sickness.

When further research determined Piracetam did not directly affect GABA receptors, it was discovered that this compound enhanced cognition, while potentiating the protection of the overall health of the brain and was then sold in Europe under the brand name Nootropil. In North America, it is considered a highly popular cognitive enhancer or “smart drug” that is used off-label to enhance mental functioning.

Piracetam Nootropic Review & UsesPiracetam is the founding father of the Racetam class of Nootropics which also includes Aniracetam, Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, Phenylpiracetam, Coluracetam, and others that have a 2-pyrrolidone nucleus made up of oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen but have different properties, unique effects, and potency.

Racetams are thought to work by modulating important neurotransmitters such as Acetylcholine and Glutamate which are involved in several vital cognitive processes and are known to enhance memory, learning capacity, focus, energy, mood as well as offer a positive, overall boost to the basic components of brain health.

Piracetam is chemically known as 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide (Piracetam, Nootropil, Lucetam, Breinox). It is observed by researchers to improve the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and thought to increase cholinergic activity that may account for its effects on cognition and memory.

In Europe, Russia, South America and other countries, it is used in the treatment of several medical conditions but due to its long list of proven benefits from both anecdotal evidence and clinical trials suggesting its positive effects on memory, concentration, psychomotor speed and its consideration as one of the safest Nootropics on the market, this compound is very popularly used off-label as a cognitive enhancer. There is even some evidence suggesting it may prevent damage to the brain caused by excessive alcohol consumption and hypoxia.

Piracetam is sold in many countries as a pharmaceutical and over the counter drug, however, in the US, it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat or prevent any conditions.

In the US, Piracetam does not require a prescription and is legal to buy and possess in quantities considered for personal use but it does not qualify as a dietary supplement so it is prohibited to market Piracetam as one due to the laws.

This article will examine the benefits and uses associated with Piracetam, the effects of this compound, potential side effects and dosage guidelines.

Piracetam Benefits and Effects


Piracetam has been around for decades with more than 40 years of research on its effects to draw from. As the oldest Nootropic, it has a broad list of noted benefits on cognitive performance.

Commonly referred to as a smart drug, it is considered a non-toxic agent with countless positive user reviews suggesting its ability to enhance memory, focus, creative thinking, verbal learning and fluency. It has even been reported by some users to improve mood and physical energy, which may lead to boosting motivation and encouraging productivity.

It has been reported to be used by students as an effective tool for long periods of studying, by older individuals to help keep their mind sharp and by many people who want a cognitive edge at work.

Although the exact mechanisms of action of Piracetam are not documented, it is largely believed that an increase in cerebral blood flow in the brain and the action on several important neurotransmitters may be responsible for many of its powerful Nootropic effects.

Boosts Cerebral Circulation


Research has shown that Piracetam increases neuronal membrane permeability which controls the movement of substances in and out of the cells. This makes it easier for nutrients to penetrate the cells and waste to be expelled.

Since this compound is believed to increase blood flow and circulation to certain areas of the brain which carries nutrient enriched blood and glucose, (the brains main energy source) your cells can receive more components needed for proper cellular metabolism.

This may result in generating greater energy output and allowing brain cells to utilize these nutrients more effectively, which may contribute to both brain health and brain power.

In addition, this effect boosts cell maintenance functions by expelling waste products (toxins and lipofuscin) that builds up as we age. This may positively lead to slowing down the aging process of your brain and encouraging better signaling communication between the brain cells.

This mechanism of action may play a huge role in improving many cognitive factors such as the ability to focusverbal fluencyawarenessmental processing, attention span and memory recall in both healthy young adults and older individuals.

Furthermore, this may also explain why this compound is suggested to improve brain longevity. One of it’s most noted benefits is for older individuals who suffer from age-related cognitive decline where the use of Piracetam is suggested to improve reasoning abilities, attention span, memory and focus.

Increases Acetylcholine Activity


Piracetam is thought to interact with Acetylcholine (ACh) receptors in the brain, potentiating better flow and increasing the effect of this important neurotransmitter.

Acetylcholine is a neurochemical that sends signals across the synapses to communicate with other neurons. It is highly involved in learning capacity, memory, concentration, attention and many other cognitive functions.

In addition, Piracetam may facilitate the production of Acetylcholine by boosting choline receptor density in the frontal cortex. This is the area of the brain involved in working memory, decision making, language and judgement.

Choline is a precursor to Acetylcholine but while increasing the level of ACh can boost cognitive function, it may also deplete choline stores in the brain. For this reason, it is often recommended to stack Piracetam with a choline source.

Finally, increasing Acetylcholine activity has been linked to enhanced sensory perception. Many users report this effect as colors being more vibrant and an enhanced ability to connect previous auditory and visual experiences from memory.

Modulates Glutamate Receptors


Piracetam is believed to modulate (modify) AMPA receptors for Glutamate in the brain. This is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter thought to be involved in 90% of all synaptic connections and especially important in synaptic plasticity or the adjustment for the interconnection of pathways that are thought to be the foundation of learning and memory.

By increasing the sensitivity of these receptors, this compound may help positively enhance memory and mental performance such as learning abilities, alertness and attention.

Piracetam

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• Boosts Focus & Attention
• Promotes Age Related Neuro Protection

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Piracetam Uses For Cognitive Deficits


Piracetam seems to improve many cognitive functions in healthy individuals, however, it is also used in many countries around the world in the treatment of several cognitive impairments (deficits).

Studied medical uses and clinical uses of Piracetam may include;

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Senile Dementia
  • Cortical Myoclonus
  • Cognitive Disorders
  • Memory Dysfunctions
  • Brain Injury
  • Stroke
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
  • Alcoholism

Piracetam is not an approved drug in the USA by the FDA to treat or prevent any conditions and the exact mechanisms of action of this drug are not documented.

However, it is thought that Piracetam may have neuroprotective properties due to its purported actions on increasing neuronal membrane fluidity, oxygenation and blood flow to the brain. Additionally, this drug may possibly interact with important neurotransmitter receptor sites which may be responsible for potentially improving several cognitive functions.

It is always recommended to speak with your doctor or health care professional first before taking Nootropic agents or supplements to ensure they do not interact with medications you are currently taking, for proper recommendations based on your current health and medical status and for the dosages that are right for you.

Alcoholism


Piracetam has been observed in animal studies to help protect the brain against neuronal damage and decline followed by excessive alcohol consumption. Continued alcohol consumption has been linked to increasing neuronal loss in the hippocampus which can affect memory.

In addition, excessive alcohol consumption has shown to increase lipofuscin deposits (waste material) in the hippocampus of the brain, the area of the brain associated with regulating emotions, spatial navigation and especially long-term memory and may accelerate age-related cognitive decline.

Cognitive Decline


Piracetam has shown in studies to be effective in fighting against cognitive decline. This may be notably true for older individuals and people suffering from signs of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The research investigating the use of this potential nutraceutical in treatment is very promising.

Alzheimer’s patients have commonly shown to have low levels of Acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain. This is a neurotransmitter that is involved in forming and retrieving memories, reasoning and learning.

This compound is thought to raise the activity of the cholinergic system and it has been a consideration that this Nootropic compound may help  improve memory function and prevent further cognitive decline that results from this disease.

In addition, one of the noted mechanisms of action of Piracetam is in increasing blood flow to the brain which promotes increased cell membrane fluidity.

This leads to nutrients and glucose entering the cells more efficiently and expelling cellular waste build-up which may help in the restoration of cells. In research trials, cellular waste build-up has been especially pronounced in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s which may lead to inhibiting further decline of cognitive functions.

Oxygenation & Strokes


Strokes are thought to be caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain. Piracetam has been noted to be used as a neuroprotective agent to reduce the risk of strokes and as a medical agent for post-stroke damage.

This Nootropic has noted benefits relating to increasing blood flow and circulation within the brain. The delivery of oxygen and nutrient enriched blood to neural tissues is thought to be increased and may have an additional anti-clotting effect.

Research suggests that Piracetam may be a potential treatment for cognitive impairment and to further prevent additional damage due to clotting in stroke victims.

“Attack dosing” or a loading dose of this smart drug, which is two to three times the regular dose for the first few days than returning to regular doses has been suggested by many people. However, there is limited evidence that this practice is effective and starting at the lower range is recommended.

There are a few notable adverse drug interactions with Piracetam. The effects of alcohol can be dulled when taken in combination with this Nootropic which can lead to over-drinking or alcohol poisoning and this practice should be avoided.

In addition, the combination of Piracetam and prescriptive blood-thinner medications may lead to causing too much bleeding due to the possible anti-clotting effect of this compound.

Finally, combining this Nootropic and amphetamines like Adderall is not recommended. Piracetam may increase the stimulating effects of these drugs which can lead to high blood pressure, increased heart rate and severe anxiety.



Piracetam Stacks


Piracetam is used on its own or can be stacked (taken in combination) with many other Nootropic supplements noted by many user reports to enhance the effects.

There are a wide variety of compounds available, which has led many people to try different combinations in order to facilitate improvements, amplify or to add additional effects each one may offer. This is referred to as “stacking”.

When stacking Nootropics, supplements or herbs it is recommended to stay at the lower end of the dosage to allow your body to adjust. It is also best when first trying a Nootropic, to not stack it until you have observed its effects and side effects.

In the case of Piracetam or any of the Racetam Nootropics, there may be one exception. If you would like to try Piracetam, it is highly suggested to combine it with a high-quality source of Choline such as Alpha GPC or Citicoline.

Piracetam is thought to increase Acetylcholine activity which uses choline to produce it. If this nutrients supply is low, it can potentially cause headaches or brain fog, which are the most common side effects of using Racetams on their own.

Other stacks have been suggested by many Nootropic users. Stacking Piracetam with Aniracetam and a choline supplement has been noted to have synergistic effects, enhancing memory, creativity and mood.

Aniracetam is another member of the Racetam family of Nootropics that is known for mood-boosting and anxiolytic (reducing anxiety) effects.

If you are looking to possibly greatly enhance focus and productivity at specific times, you may have excellent results stacking this Nootropic with Noopept. This combination may encourage greater overall mental performance. With a slight difference in their mechanism of action, this combination may positively boost other cognitive functions.

Is Piracetam Safe To Use?


Piracetam is regarded as an extremely safe and non-toxic Nootropic compound with limited reported side effects when taken within the appropriate dosage range. The majority of user reviews do not report any side effects with the use of this compound.

However, there are still possible side effects that may occur. Mild side effects associated with Piracetam include nervousness, headaches, and insomnia. These may occur in people who are sensitive to this compound, using Piracetam at higher than suggested doses or stacking it with other supplements.

If you experience any adverse side effects, try lowering the dose, using it on an On/Off cycle for a while at a lower dose or speaking with your doctor for further options.

The most common reported side effect are headaches, which is believed to be due to insufficient availability of Acetylcholine in the brain. Choline is a precursor for Acetylcholine and this may be easily remedied by stacking it with a choline supplement such as Alpha GPC, Citicoline or Centrophenoxine which is supported in several research studies.

It has been observed in clinical studies, including in patients with Alzheimer’s taking up to 8 grams per day, there were no reported side effects.

Do not take Piracetam if you are pregnant, nursing or planning a pregnancy. There is no research on the safety of this Nootropic on unborn fetuses and this compound may be contraindicated with breast milk.

Piracetam Dosage


Scientific research suggests that the optimal dose of Piracetam, taking on its own for cognitive effects in adults is 4,800 mg daily as needed. This is recommended to be divided up into two to three 1,600 mg administrations throughout the day.

Piracetam is a water-soluble Nootropic with a very broad range of typically reported user dosages. For some people, lower doses of 1,200 mg per day in total has been reported to be sufficient. Experimenting may be the best course of action to find what may work best for you but it is always recommended to start at the lower end first to see how you respond to this Nootropic due to our individual and unique biology.

For some, the positive effects of Piracetam may be noticed when taking the first dose and for others, it may take up to two weeks of daily use to experience the full effects.

“Attack dosing” or a loading dose of this smart drug, which is two to three times the regular dose for the first few days then returning to regular doses has been suggested by many people. However, there is limited evidence that this practice is effective and starting at the lower range is recommended.

There are a few notable adverse drug interactions with Piracetam. The effects of alcohol can be dulled when taken in combination with this Nootropic which can lead to over-drinking or alcohol poisoning and this practice should be avoided.

In addition, the combination of Piracetam and prescriptive blood-thinner medications may lead to causing too much bleeding due to the possible anti-clotting effect of this compound.

Finally, combining this Nootropic and amphetamines like Adderall is not recommended. Piracetam may increase the stimulating effects of these drugs which can lead to high blood pressure, increased heart rate and severe anxiety.

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