If you have ever tried using nootropics or at least searched for it on google, I am sure the word “racetam” must have come up a couple of times.
Racetam is a class of drugs that involves the same functional group called the “pyrrolidone” nucleus. Nootropic cum drugs that fall in the category of Racetam are Piracetam, Aniracetam, Phenylpiracetam, Coluracetam, etc.
While we have covered a lot of racetam nootropics, we haven’t talked about Coluracetam yet, and yes that’s the topic of our today’s article.
Coluracetam is proposed to enhance cognition via upregulation of choline.
Don’t worry because we are going to dig deeper into this nootropic and I will make sure that your reading will help make a decision whether to use this nootropic or not.
What is Coluracetam?
Coluracetam is a member of the racetam family of nootropics (1). Also known as MKC-231 and BCI-540, this compound was first studied back in the 1990s as a potential therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite being a racetam drug, there are evident structural differences between Coluracetam and other racetam nootropics except that the pyrrolidone nucleus lies at the center.
In 2010, it was researched as a potential treatment for those suffering from depression and anxiety by BrainCells Inc. The promise of this compound was such that California awarded BrainCells Inc a Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Program Grant.
Despite promising results, this research was never published and BrainCells Inc. went out of business in 2014. This was the last company to study Coluracetam.
How Does it Work?
As a member of the racetam family, MKC-231 works by affecting the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain.
If you have taken a racetam nootropic before, you are likely to be well-versed with the numerous roles played by ACh. For those that aren’t so familiar, ACh is involved in memory formation, logical thinking, focus, and numerous other cognitive functions.
High-affinity choline uptake (HACU) is known to be the rate-limiting step of ACh synthesis. Therefore, Coluracetam exerts many of its benefits through increasing HACU and thus improving cholinergic hypofunction. This boost in choline uptake facilitates the synthesis and release of ACh in the central nervous system. These effects were seen in both in vivo studies on rats and in vitro studies (2,3).
One study dove deeper to discover how exactly this drug was increasing HACU. What they found was that Coluracetam increases the numbers of cloned high-affinity choline transporters at the synaptic membrane (3).
This drug may even provide benefits lasting longer than the period of time during which you take the drug owing to its effects on the choline transporter regulation system (4).
In a human study on depression that was never published, it was discovered that Coluracetam helps with neurogenesis, helping new neurons to differentiate and survive (5).
Another study on mice found that Coluracetam decreases glutamate toxicity. This may protect the NMDA receptors, which are critical for controlling memory and synaptic plasticity (6).
Because the primary effect of Coluracetam is on acetylcholine levels, one can easily predict that it may improve memory, learning, and enhance cognition. But let’s have a closer look at what this nootropic really offers!
Memory and Learning
Numerous animal studies conducted over the last two decades have found evidence to support the use of Coluracetam for improving memory and learning.
The first of these studies was published in 1994 and found that MKC-231 ameliorated deficits in working memory and reversed hippocampal ACh depletion in mice treated with AF64A, a model commonly used in the 1990s to mimic the progressive degeneration of cholinergic neurotransmission found in Alzheimer’s patients. (7,8)
Following this study, many other animal models of ACh depletion found similar promising results.
In a series of three experiments on rats also treated with AF64A, it was found that treatment with MKC-231 increased high-affinity choline uptake (HACU) and ACh synthesis and the subsequent release into the hippocampus (2,3). These results were found in both in vitro and in vivo studies.
Improvement in cognition was excitingly found even after the drug had fully left the brain.
As still no human studies have been conducted, it is largely anecdotal evidence that we will look at later in the article to find out whether coluracetam really improves memory or not.
Depression and Anxiety
In the only human study yet carried out, it was found that Coluracetam may help patients who suffer from both depression and anxiety (5).
In a Phase IIa clinical trial that was never published, 101 patients with both major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety took part in a six-week, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study to determine if BCI-540 helped to relieve their symptoms.
It was found that treatment with this compound resulted in a significant improvement for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). These benefits occurred without impacting serotonin levels unlike the most common type of antidepressants available on the market today, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Another study found a positive effect of this nootropic on anxiety. Rats were treated with either BCI-540 or the classical anxiolytic (anxiety fighting drug) diazepam and then subjected to tests to measure their anxiety response. The rats treated with BCI-540 improved by 20%, compared to only 12% by those treated with the classic anxiety medication (9).
In one animal study on Schizophrenia, it was found that Coluracetam may help to reverse the damage to ChAT that is characteristic of this disease (10).
ChAT is an enzyme critical to the production of ACh. If this same benefit is found in humans, Coluracetam may hold promise as a therapeutic drug for Schizophrenia.
Patents for this drug claim that it promotes neurogenesis or the growth of new nerve cells. It is not yet fully understood how it does so, however it may be related to the boost of ACh in the hippocampus. (11)
Because it promotes neurogenesis, it can be hypothesized that Coluracetam can have long-term effects on cognition as well as improved focus and concentration.
May Help Vision
While there have yet to be any studies on this topic, many users report improved eyesight and more vivid colors when using this nootropic.
One possible explanation could be the boost in neurogenesis. If this is the case, it may be able to help those who are currently suffering from macular degeneration, which can lead to diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. This is highly speculative at this point.
Is Coluracetam Legal?
The lack of human-based studies pretty much implies that FDA hasn’t approved the use of Coluracetam for any medicinal purposes.
Perhaps you can buy Coluracetam in the USA from any vendors without any legal issues. However, in countries like Canada and UK, it is illegal to buy this nootropic without any approval.
Dosage and Half-Life
The unavailability of human-based studies means that there are no general guidelines available as to what should be the dose of Coluracetam. Most users suggest that anywhere between 5mg to 30mg works well for them.
You can split the dose into two throughout your day.
Nonetheless, I would suggest that you may start from a low dose and then climb your way up to mitigate the risk of experiencing any adverse effects.
Avoid overdosing at all costs because users have reported side effects when using a higher dose.
This supplement has a half-life of about three hours.
Dietary Sources of Choline
In order to reduce the risk of side effects, be sure that you are taking in plenty of choline. You can do this either by eating foods rich in choline or by taking choline supplements. Some of the best sources of choline in food include:
- Brussel sprouts
As for choline supplementation, a good source is a CDP-Choline supplement.
How To Take Coluracetam?
Coluracetam is normally sold as a powder that can be either taken orally or sublingually, however, you will also find liquid suspensions intended for sublingual use.
Sublingual application of this compound is common in order to avoid a breakdown during digestion. If you do choose to take it this way, allow to keep it under the tongue before swallowing to increase the amount that is absorbed.
Also, Coluracetam is a fat-soluble compound. In order to absorb it well, you should take it with food that contains fat, such as nuts.
Possible Side Effects
As there has only been one short-term human study conducted on this nootropic, we cannot definitively say what side effects are possible. That said, from the studies conducted on animals as well as the one human study, Coluracetam appears to be well tolerated.
As so little research has been conducted, one of the best ways to deduce the possible side effects is to comb through user reports. Those who have taken this nootropic have experienced depression, mental fatigue, suicidal thoughts, nausea, and a feeling of sleepiness.
Because the research into Coluracetam is still in its infancy, delving into user experience can be helpful to see what you may experience or expect.
“For anyone who is looking to try something new, I definitely recommend experimenting with coluracetam, as it has given me some of my most interesting experiences with cognitive enhancement.”
Another Reddit user said,
“I can agree with you, to me coluracetam is the best racetam. As someone who was already generally always happy, coluracetam has managed to increase my mood chronically, even more.”
One of the Reddit users left a comment,
“I’ve noticed in my experience coluracetam gives me a ‘mood-stabilizing’ effect is best I can describe, along with some mild ‘initiative boost’.”
“Definitely my favorite nootropic of them all, (racetams + non-racetams alike), most nootropics in my experience just barely feel like more than a placebo, I know they aren’t pure placebos but they’re often weak to the point you second guess yourself. This is not the case with coluracetam, you will certainly feel this! Enjoy! :).”
One of the users also said,
“Coluracetam clouds my brain very strongly at 10-15 mg, to the point where I feel impaired. No other nootropic does this to me.”
It seems like there are more positive experiences of people with Coluracetam than the negative ones.
As it boosts choline uptake, it is best to stack it with a quality source of choline, such as CDP Choline or Alpha GPC.
Coluracetam and Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC is a highly bioavailable source of choline for the brain compared to Phosphatidylcholine. It can be used in the synthesis of ACh, and thus has nootropic benefits of its own. Research suggests that it helps those suffering from age-related cognitive decline.
For overall memory, learning, and protection against age-related cognitive decline, Alpha GPC stacked with Coluracetam can offer yo synergistic benefits.
Where to Buy?
As there is no major evidence available from human-based studies, not much of sellers will offer you this nootropic but I have possibly tried to find out the 2 best vendors offering Coluracetam so you can make your purchase completely hassle-free!
In order to ensure that you’re obtaining the highest quality supplement, it is best to purchase this through reputable online vendors, such as Pure Nootropics and Nootropics Depot.
Coluracetam by Pure Nootropics
Pure Nootropics offer Coluracetam capsules at a price of $24.99.
The bottle contains 60 vegetarian capsules constituting 20mg, thus one bottle can last for around 2 months.
Pure Nootropics provide a certificate of analysis as well, therefore establishing the credibility and originality of the product.
With multiple payment options, such as Bitcoin, Visa card, and Mastercard, I think Pure Nootropics seem to be a feasible option to make your purchase.
Coluracetam by Nootropics Depot
Nootropics Depot offers Coluracetam capsules at a price of $19.99. Each serving constitutes 20mg which is enough for a day.
The two versions available at Nootropics depot are either 30ct or 90ct. Depending on how long you are planning to take citicoline, you can buy either the 30 servings bottle or the 90 one!
Not only this, but Nootropics Depot also offers the powder form of the supplement. Coluracetam powder is also available in multiple forms, including 0.5 gram, 1 gram, or 5 grams. Note that the price range of citicoline powder is $13.99 to $68.99.
With same-day shipping and free shipping on orders above $200, Nootropic depot becomes one of the top choices to make your purchase from.
Also, the customer experience of the product, as well as the brand, speak volumes of what Nootropic Depot offers.
Visit the store and add Coluracetam into the bucket immediately and see the change yourself!
Coluracetam vs Other Compounds
Coluracetam vs Aniracetam
Aniracetam is yet another member of the racetam class of nootropics and is both a stimulant and cognitive enhancer.
Aniracetam is an analog of Piracetam and is known to be more potent than the latter. As a strong nootropic, it is known to enhance brain functioning including memory, cognition, and learning.
Like Coluracetam, research suggests that Aniracetam may also be helpful in managing anxiety, depression, and age-related cognitive decline.
Perhaps approved in Europe, this drug is potentially considered therapeutic but more research is definitely required.
Coluracetam vs Oxiracetam
Oxiracetam is also a racetam nootropic and lies in the list of 1st three racetam class of nootropics ever developed.
Animal-based models suggest that Oxiracetam upregulates the release of excitatory neurotransmitters and is more potent in enhancing cognition, memory, and learning.
There is also some evidence suggesting the potential therapeutic role of oxiracetam in treating cerebrovascular disorders, thus making it a prospective nootropic cum medicinal drug.
Coluracetam vs Pramiracetam
Just like Coluracetam, Pramiracetam also works by increasing the HACU pathway, thus upregulating the synthesis of Acetylcholine.
Evidence suggests that pramiracetam has strong effects on memory, learning, focus, and concentration abilities. Some users even report an increase in overall confidence levels post-supplementation.
Perhaps one can say that Pramiracetam is the strongest nootropic for memory enhancement.
Is Coluracetam Legit?
Users report Coluracetam to be an effective nootropic with few side effects. However, what backs me off from this compound is the lack of any substantial scientific evidence.
No matter how promising the results have been based on anecdotal evidence, lack of medical research should be the top options to consider!
If you were to take my opinion, there are better nootropics available in the market that can serve as an alternative for Coluracetam.
FAQs about coluracetam
Which racetam works best?
Most students have reported that Nefiracetam is the most effective racetam for studying with a calm focus. Users have experienced more motivation, have a better attention span, and less mental fatigue and apathy.
Is Coluracetam water soluble?
No, it is not.
What is Coluracetam used for?
Coluracetam enhances high-affinity choline uptake (HACU), which is the rate-limiting step of acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis. Studies have shown coluracetam to improve learning impairment on a single oral dose given to rats which have been exposed to cholinergic neurotoxins.
What are the interactions of Coluracetam?
It may counteract the effects of anticholinergic drugs.