Our brain is quite a complex organ.
Every thought, emotion, action, decision, learning, and memory is thoroughly processed and executed by our brain and the associated neural connections.
Every single movement, even a single movement of our tiniest finger, is precisely calculated and thought off before the action takes place.
We, as humans, consider the brain as a powerful tool for our everyday tasks and thus, tend to look for ways that can further strengthen and improve the way our brain works.
Here is where nootropics enter the picture.
More appropriately known as smart drugs, Nootropics are natural and synthetic drugs used to facilitate our brains’ cognitive function, memory, and overall performance.
One such nootropic is Piracetam that is the topic of our discussion today!
Read till the end to figure out what Piracetam is and what if offers.
We will talk about everything ranging from its benefits, side effects, and dosages to the possible interactions it can have with other substances, along with some user experience as well.
What is Piracetam?
Piracetam is one of the oldest synthetic nootropic supplements and the first racetam family of nootropics. It was synthesized by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea more than 50 years ago and has since spurred the nootropic revolution.
Piracetam, also known under the name Nootropil and Geratam, is a cyclic derivative of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. It is a racetam, biochemically known as 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide (1).
Infact, Piracetam was the first nootropic drug to affect cognitive functioning in humans without causing any sedative effects.
It is mostly prescribed as a treatment option for myoclonus and cognitive enhancement.
As a nootropic compound, there are countless anecdotal reports and some human studies as well to suggest its efficacy, safety profile, and limitations.
How Does Piracetam Work?
Studies have found that Piracetam leads to changes in the levels of neurotransmitters (2), such as:
- Cholinergic system: influences acetylcholine
- Serotonergic system: influences serotonin
- Glutamatergic system: influences glutamate
- Noradrenergic system: influences norepinephrine
The most cardinal effect of this drug is believed to be on acetylcholine (ACh) and glutamate (neurotransmitters) that lead to improved progression in the cognitive function of our brain and provide protection against age-related cognitive decline.
As we age, the functionality of our cholinergic and glutamatergic systems declines. Decreased neurotransmitters in our body are seen to directly affect numerous cognitive disorders associated with aging.
Piracetam likely impacts these systems through its effects on membrane fluidity instead of being directed as an agonist or antagonist of receptors.
Through modifying this fluidity, the function and number of these receptors increases, allowing increased neurotransmitter action.
Studies have found that supplementation with this drug in rats or mice has increased NMDA receptor density (involved in glutamate function) in the forebrain, ACh utilization in the brain, and increased cholinergic receptors in the frontal cortex.
Neuroplasticity and Neuroprotective Effects
Clinical studies on animals concluded that this drug acts to protect neurons by boosting the integrity of cell membranes. This is thought to be one of the mechanisms through which Piracetam protects from drug overdose and chronic alcohol use.
Through these neuroprotective mechanisms, Piracetam decreases lipofuscin, an “age pigment” linked to cognitive decline with age and Alzheimer’s disease. Lipofuscin is seen as a consequence of damage to brain cells, known as neurons.
Animal studies have found that supplementing with this nootropic can improve neuroplasticity, which is critical for learning and memory abilities. Neuroplasticity is how the brain adapts and changes through reorganizing connections between neurons and synapses.
Cerebral Blood Flow
Scientific evidence even suggests a possible role of Piracetam in the increase of blood flow to the brain, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the brain (3). It also has been shown to increase communication between the two sides, or hemispheres, of the brain.
Benefits of Piracetam
Memory and Cognitive Enhancement
When it comes to research on humans, there are many demonstrating the benefits of Piracetam on memory and cognitive function of the elderly (4), particularly those with age-related cognitive decline and related disorders.
But does Piracetam offer anything for the young adults?
The support for this benefit comes largely through user experience rather than laboratory studies. However, one study conducted on healthy volunteers way back in 1976 found improved verbal learning after 14 days of supplementing with 400 mg/day of Piracetam split into three doses throughout the day.
No difference was found after seven days of supplementation, suggesting that users may not see any difference in cognition unless they take this drug continuously for longer periods.
Depression and Social Anxiety
With this era being more inclined towards societal pressure and competition, it often becomes difficult to have a straight mind. This all eventually leads to depression and chronic anxiety.
While reviewing user reports, you will find that some users claimed an improvement of depression symptoms and others stating that they felt a slight depression effect from taking the supplement.
One meta-analysis of racetam drugs published in 2010 found that Piracetam lowered humans’ depression and anxiety symptoms.
Anecdotal reports support the use of this nootropic for social anxiety. However, more severe anxiety and depression are likely to be better treated with nootropics that have more influence on these conditions.
Protection against Myoclonic seizures
Myoclonic seizures are characterized by abrupt and involuntary muscular spasms. Most people diagnosed with Myoclonic seizures experience difficulty in performing day-to-day activities like eating, drinking, driving, etc.
Perhaps many studies have found out that Piracetam may act as a potential treatment for myoclonic seizures. It is known to mitigate the symptoms as a result of myoclonic seizures (5).
One of the case studies of an aged woman showed that taking 3.2 grams of Piracetam regularly dramatically reduced the symptoms of Myoclonic seizures.
Autism is characterized as difficulty in communicating and limited social interaction with people around them, no matter how close the person is to them. As a nootropic, researchers have tried using Piracetam in the cause of autistic people (6).
In one study on autistic children, it was found that Piracetam added to Risperidone treatment led to greater improvements in behavior at ten weeks when compared to Risperidone plus placebo.
ADHD and ADD
ADD, and ADHD is some of the common disorders that can be found in children and might not be able to be diagnosed at early stages. Nevertheless, Piracetam is believed to relieve the severity of the ailment.
Anecdotal evidence supports this nootropic for boosting attention and focus, which may be especially true for those who have ADD or ADHD.
In one study on 80 children with ADHD, it was found that supplementation with 70 mg/kg daily Piracetam led to improvements in many symptoms, including continuous, divided, and selective attention, as well as behavior and motor coordination when compared to placebo.
May reduce Inflammation
Piracetam is known to naturally possess antioxidant properties. Because it shows antioxidant properties, it helps in neutralizing free radicals that can cause damage inside the body (7).
As Piracetam mainly affects brain health, studies have confirmed that it can enhance the activity of glutathione, a naturally occurring defense mechanism in the brain.
Thus, it can be said that the Piracetam-induced glutathione release helps in strengthening the immune response and combat any pathogens.
Piracetam can also be used in cases of schizophrenia as an additional additive to current treatment.
One study found that Schizophrenic patients who added 4.8 g/day of this nootropic to their existing antipsychotic medications found an improvement in global symptoms and a reduction of Tardive Dyskinesia, a condition caused by long-term use of psychiatric drugs that leads to involuntary movements.
Age-Related Cognitive Decline and Related Neurological Disorders
While some decline in memory and cognition is expected as we age, many people do, in fact, experience enough of a decline that it has severe impacts on the quality of their lives. Many of these patients will experience related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia (8).
It is thought that this decline in cognition and brain health is because of numerous changes, including alteration in neuronal membrane function and structure and disruption of properly functioning glutamatergic and cholinergic systems.
As Piracetam impacts all of these factors, it can be said that supplementation with this drug may help to slow age-related cognitive decline and possibly help to avoid or even slow the progression of these diseases.
Human studies have found improved memory in those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment when taking this drug.
Studies on alcoholism, stroke and coronary bypass surgery have found that Piracetam may help to protect the brain.
While injection with this drug before surgery can help protect the cognition of those undergoing coronary bypass surgery, similar benefits were not found in one study on open-heart surgery.
One examining the effects of treating stroke patients with this nootropic or placebo following stroke found that those who supplemented with Piracetam experienced greater improvements in verbal functions when compared to the placebo group.
In examining the effects of this nootropic on alcoholics, it was found that the alcoholic patients in the treatment group performed better in abstract reasoning, perceptual organization, and visual-motor control when compared to the placebo group (9).
Research suggests that long-term supplementation with this compound may help those who have dyslexia.
In one study, 225 children ages 7-12 were given 3.3 g/day Piracetam or placebo for 36 weeks. At the end of the treatment period, the children in the treatment group were found to have significantly improved reading speed and accuracy when compared to the placebo group.
Studies on elderly patients with vertigo have improved when supplementing with this drug.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 143 elderly participants, it was found that taking this drug at 2.4 g/day for eight weeks led to nine fewer attacks in the two weeks after treatment when compared to the two weeks before treatment. This benefit was not found in the placebo group. Overall measures of malaise and imbalance were also improved.
Is Piracetam Legal?
Piracetam is not illegal to buy in the United States and Canada, however, it isn’t approved by the FDA either. This means that it is not included in the category of dietary supplements.
You can buy Piracetam from any trusted local vendor and start your intake straight away!
In the UK, it is prescribed commonly for the treatment of Myoclonic seizures.
The ideal dosage can vary from person to person, and also from use to use.
Dosages tend to start at about 40 mg/kg body weight per day, up to 100 mg/kg. This comes out to be about 1,600 to 4,800 mg/day, generally split into two or three doses.
It is better to start low and then increase it whenever you feel in the zone as this will reduce the risk of any adverse effects.
Negative Side Effects of Piracetam
Piracetam is a very well-tolerated drug and thus does not pose any harmful side effects. Nonetheless, in a experience of 91 placebo-controlled, double-blind studies, combined with user experience, the most common side effects are:
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Weight gain
- Muscle spasms
- Lack of energy
- Brain fog
- Increased libido, or sex drive
It is worthy to note that anyone with kidney or renal conditions should be cautious while using Piracetam.
Additionally, little is known about how this nootropic could influence cancer. With a lack of studies examining long-term use, more research needs to be done to confirm whether or not this drug impacts cancer and whether promoting or fighting this illness.
Long-term efficacy and safety have been confirmed in human studies, thus, it can be said that piracetam is safe to use if taken in optimal dosage.
The risk of interactions with this nootropic is low because the liver is not metabolizing it. This makes the compound safe to take along with the majority of medications.
How to Use Piracetam?
This drug is water-soluble, so you do not need to take it with food to be absorbed. It is best taken orally, as either a powder or a pill.
Thus far, there hasn’t been any overdose reported with this supplement, and studies have found it to be quite non-toxic in humans. That does not mean that taking large quantities may not be dangerous when combined with other drugs.
Piracetam has also been given as an injection by doctors for conditions such as stroke.
How Long Does Piracetam Stay in Your System?
Following oral supplementation, plasma concentrations peak in roughly 30-90 minutes, although this can vary from person to person. If you take it with food, it will take longer to feel the effects of the drug contrary to its intake in a fasted state.
Some people will feel this drug working the same day that they take it, while many users report not feeling the benefits until days or weeks after beginning supplementation.
The half-life of this drug is about 5 hours in the blood and 8 hours in the brain. Most people will take it about every 8 hours as it will not stay in your system in high quantities past that point.
Before purchasing any product, especially a supplement, one often tends to look for customer experience before opting for the product. With customer experience, you get unbiased insight on the brand and the products they offer.
For Piracetam, let’s have a look at some of the user experiences and see if it’s the right fit for you.
One of the users said,
“Piracetam literally changed my life. I’ve been taking it for 4-5 months now but some people say after taking it for a while it stops working all of the sudden no matter how much they take.”
Another user gave a comprehensive experience, saying,
“Piracetam definitely works for me. It provides a real boost in focus, productivity, cognition, and work ethic. As a comparison, I believe the effects of 800 mg of Piracetam are comparable to 100mg of Modafinil. (They’re very, very different, of course. Modafinil is better for waking you up. Piracetam is better for increasing your work ethic and helping you think, read and write).”
u/ansi-l, one of the long term users of reddit said,
“Hey. I have been taking Piracetam for 5 years now. And during this time I learned a lot of interesting things. Hope this helps you.
Effects – Verbal fluency, mild hypomania, increased mood, motivation, energy, and improved long-term as well as short-term memory. I have been taking it for 5 years now and I can say with confidence that my life has changed completely. I am not at all like my former self. Feeling like you have become a different person.”
Based on all the anecdotal evidence, I would definitely vouch for Piracetam as it definitely offers something for everyone!
Nootropics work best when taken synergistically with other nootropics as the overall effects are more enhanced and dominant.
Let’s find out some of the most famous stacks of Piracetam and see what they offer together as a group.
Piracetam and L-Theanine
A combination of these two is helpful when it comes to improving memory, focus, and mood.
L-Theanine is an amino acid analogue of L-glutamate and L-glutamine, commonly known to impact GABA, dopamine, and serotonin, thus increasing mood and focus.
Stacking L-theanine with Piracetam means you will experience memory-boosting benefits of Piracetam, and you will find yourself calm, happy, and focused, with better memory.
Noopept and Piracetam
Noopept and Piracetam are two of the most popular nootropics for enhancing memory, cognition, and focus, and they stack very well together. Many of the benefits that you experience with Piracetam, you might experience with Noopept as well.
They target different pathways, with Noopept working through its stimulation of the AMPA receptor and Piracetam, mainly affecting the cholinergic system.
Because of these different pathways, you are likely to find even greater improvements in memory, learning, and concentration by taking them both than by taking one or the other.
Aniracetam and Piracetam
Stacking this nootropic with Aniracetam is a great option to amplify your memory benefits and add in different mood and creativity effects.
Aniracetam is an analogue 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.
Evidence suggests that this nootropic may also help in reducing attention problems and trigger an improved focus and concentration.
Piracetam and Choline
When it comes to stacking with any member of the racetam family, a good choline source is especially important to gain maximum nootropic-laden benefits.
Piracetam is found to cause a slight decrease in ACh because of its increased utilization; however, supplementing with choline can provide a source for more ACh synthesis. This can help mitigate the headache that some users report when taking this nootropic.
It is recommended to take a choline source that is highly bioavailable and able to cross over the blood-brain barrier.
Alcar and Piracetam
ALCAR (Acetyl L-Carnitine) and Piracetam work partly by modulating the cholinergic system. Stacked together, users have reported synergistic benefits for learning, memory, energy, focus, and cognitive health.
This is largely thanks to ALCAR supplying the acetate used in combination with choline to form the ACh. As Piracetam boosts ACh utilization in the brain, this increase in ACh synthesis can lead to synergistic cognitive effects.
Where to Buy
Piracetam can be found either in tablets or in bulk powder forms. It might not be easy to find it directly in your local drug stores or on Amazon. T
Thus, it is always the safest option to purchase it from vendors that provide third-party testing and quality products and a guarantee of no serious harm or side effects.
Below is the list of my personal-favourite vendors that I would personally recommend you to make a purchase from.
Piracetam by Nootropics Depot
Nootropics Depot is one of the leading brands for quality nootropics. The brand offers a multi-range of nootropics at your disposal, catering to different requirements.
Piracetam powder provided by Nootropics Depot ranges from 125g, 250g, or 1kg jars. Besides this, the product is well tested for quality and purity. The product, however, is not FDA approved.
Its free standard worldwide mail shipping on orders above $200 and same-day product dispatch show how important customer service is to them. They also offer an affordable price range from $24.99 to $99.99.
Read full Nootropics Depot Review
Piracetam by Pure Rawz
It’s quite a hassle to find just the perfect vendor for nootropics. The fear of purity and legality is always on a customer’s mind. However, with Pure Rawz, you have nothing to worry about.
Pure Rawz offers a 125 mg Piracetam powder with a complete guarantee of purity. With shipping orders free above $100 and a low price of just $18.48, Piracetam by Pure Rawz is a go-to vendor.
Piracetam by Pure Nootropics:
Although Pure nootropics do not particularly provide Piracetam as one of its nootropics, it does provide a stronger and new racetam nootropic to its customers, i.e., phenylpiracetam.
With the product being available both in capsule and powder form and at a cheap and affordable cost of $ 54.99, Pure nootropic surely knows how to gain its customer’s trust and satisfaction. Besides this, it also provides free domestic shipping over orders of $40.
Phenylpiracetam can be found in 100mg varieties at the vendor. Interestingly, the vendor has provided a certificate of analysis of their products right in their product description to provide authentication proof.
Piracetam vs Other Compounds
Noopept vs. Piracetam
These are two of the most commonly used nootropics on the market, and both offer noticeable improvements in learning, memory, and other cognitive functions.
While both nootropics provide similar benefits, they work in different ways. Noopept primarily works on the glutamate receptors, while Piracetam works largely through the cholinergic system. They both increase communication between the two hemispheres of the brain.
Users generally report that Noopept and Piracetam offer similar benefits, but benefits are considered much stronger when taking Noopept.
Aniracetam vs Piracetam
The biggest difference between these two racetams is that Aniracetam is fat-soluble and can more easily cross over the blood-brain barrier when compared to Piracetam. The benefits of these two nootropics are very similar.
However, the effects of Aniracetam tend to kick in faster and last longer.
Aniracetam also boasts stimulation and has a stronger benefit to those suffering from anxiety.
Piracetam vs Phenylpiracetam
Phenylpiracetam is one of the newest members of the racetam family and, as such, hasn’t been studied as much as Piracetam has. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the popularity from rising quickly, thanks to its stronger nootropic property.
It is known to be a very effective central nervous system stimulant, helping to improve both mental and physical energy and endurance.
While they benefit memory and cognition, Phenylpiracetam is much stronger and can be overstimulated for some.
Piracetam vs. Alpha Brain
Alpha Brain is a nootropic blend that contains numerous compounds, some at effective dosages and some too small to make much of an impact. It is one of the most well-known nootropic blends. Studies have found this nootropic to improve verbal recall and completion time and be safe compared to placebo.
One of the biggest differences between these two nootropics is their cost. Piracetam is one of the most affordable nootropics, while Alpha Brain is one of the most expensive options.
The benefit of Alpha Brain over Piracetam that many users believe is that it is made up of all-natural ingredients, compared to Piracetam, which is a synthetic drug. It is also formulated to be well-rounded to help avoid side effects and provide a good, simple nootropic option.
Pramiracetam vs Piracetam
Pramiracetam is one of the strongest members of the racetam family, while Piracetam is the weakest. If you are new to racetams, it is advisable to start with Piracetam and try stronger nootropics, such as Pramiracetam.
They are considered to have very similar effects; it is just the difference in their potency that users might notice.
Pramiracetam is both strong and a great standalone nootropic that offers good benefits, with users not feeling the need to add anything additional; on the contrary, customers stack other nootropics with Piracetam. Pramiracetam is fat-soluble and better crosses over the blood-brain barrier while exerting its effects more quickly.
What is a piracetam used for?
Piracetam is most commonly used for breath-holding attacks, seizure disorder (epilepsy), dizziness (vertigo), a learning disorder marked by difficulty reading (dyslexia), and a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia).
Does piracetam heal the brain?
In addition to improving memory and alertness, piracetam has also been shown to help heal damaged areas of the brain. For example, piracetam was able to reduce the accumulation of lipofuscin in rat brains.
Does piracetam increase serotonin?
Piracetam produced a dose-related effect on rat brain serotonin (5HT) and noradrenaline (NA), with the lower dose inducing a decrease in 5HT levels and an increase in NA concentrations.
What is the strongest Racetam?
Coluracetam is the Strongest Racetam as it increases choline levels through the HACU system that pumps the brain’s conversion of choline to acetylcholine.
Is piracetam natural?
No, it is a synthetic nootropic.
What is the source of Piracetam?
Piracetam is an organonitrogen as well as an organooxygen compound. It derives from an alpha-amino acid.