Our evidence-based analysis of Aniracetam features unique references to scientific papers and anecdotal reports.
What Is Aniracetam?
Aniracetam is a potent, fast-acting nootropic that may enhance cognition and improve mood.
Discovered in the 1970s by Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffman-LaRoche, aniracetam is available as a prescription drug in Europe but is unregulated in the US, Canada, and the UK.
Aniracetam is similar to piracetam, the first synthetic nootropic, and was initially developed as a more potent alternative.
Aniracetam is part of the racetam family of nootropics, a group of synthetic compounds similar in both chemical structure and mechanisms of action.
Like other racetams, aniracetam works primarily by modulating the production and release of neurotransmitters and other brain chemicals.
Benefits and Effects of Aniracetam
Though there have been relatively few human studies on aniracetam, it has been extensively researched for decades, and various animal studies appear to support its effectiveness as a nootropic.
Aniracetam has several documented benefits and effects.
Enhanced Memory and Learning Capacity
Aniracetam’s reputation as a memory enhancer is backed up by research that indicates that it can improve functional memory and even reverse memory impairment.
In a study involving healthy human subjects, aniracetam was found to improve various aspects of memory, including visual recognition, motor performance, and general intellectual functioning.
In animal studies, aniracetam was found to enhance memory by positively impacting the levels of acetylcholine, serotonin, glutamate, and dopamine in the brain.
A more recent study concluded that aniracetam did not improve healthy adult mice’s cognitive abilities, suggesting that aniracetam’s effects may be limited to those with cognitive impairment.
Increased Focus and Concentration
Many users consider aniracetam to be one of the best nootropics for improving focus and concentration.
Though no human studies have centered on this aspect of the compound, its well-documented effects on acetylcholine, dopamine, and other essential neurotransmitters strongly support this hypothesis.
Aniracetam also acts as an ampakine, stimulating the glutamate receptors involved in memory encoding and neuroplasticity.
One of aniracetam’s most notable characteristics is its potential as an anxiolytic (anxiety reducer).
Animal studies showed that aniracetam effectively reduced anxiety and increased social interaction in rats, possibly by a combination of dopaminergic and serotonergic actions.
There are no documented studies specifically focusing on aniracetam’s anxiolytic effect on humans. However, a clinical trial on its use as a treatment for dementia did indicate that subjects taking aniracetam experienced less anxiety.
Many users report decreased anxiety when taking aniracetam.
Aniracetam also proved to be an effective antidepressant in aged rats, significantly diminishing stress-induced immobility and brain dysfunction associated with aging.
Whether the antidepressant properties found in the animal study finding holds for humans has yet to been confirmed.
Aniracetam’s potential antidepressant properties may be due to increased dopaminergic transmission and acetylcholine receptor stimulation.
One of the few human studies on aniracetam suggests that it may be an effective treatment for individuals with dementia.
Dementia patients treated with aniracetam demonstrated significantly better cognitive performance, improved function, and enhanced mood and emotional stability.
How It Works
Aniracetam’s exact mechanisms of action are not entirely understood. However, decades of research indicate how it impacts mood and cognition by its actions within the brain and central nervous system.
Aniracetam is a fat-soluble compound that is metabolized in the liver and quickly absorbed and transported throughout the body. It is known to cross the blood-brain barrier very quickly, and users frequently report feeling its effects in as little as 30 minutes.
Aniracetam upregulates the production of several crucial neurotransmitters in the brain, all of which are associated with mood, memory, and cognition:
Acetylcholine – Aniracetam may improve general cognition by enhancing activity throughout the acetylcholine system, which plays a pivotal role in memory, attention span, learning speed, and other cognitive processes. Animal studies suggest that it works by binding to acetylcholine receptors, inhibiting receptor desensitization, and promoting the synaptic release of acetylcholine.
Dopamine and Serotonin – Aniracetam has been shown to increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, which is known to relieve depression, boost energy, and lessen anxiety. By binding to dopamine and serotonin receptors, aniracetam inhibits these important neurotransmitters’ breakdown and restores optimum levels of both, making it an effective mood enhancer and anxiolytic.
Glutamate Transmission – Aniracetam may be uniquely effective at improving memory and information storage because it enhances glutamate transmission. By binding to and stimulating the AMPA and kainate receptors, glutamate receptors strongly associated with information storage and the creation of new memories, aniracetam may improve neuroplasticity in general and long-term potentiation in particular.
While individual requirements vary, a daily dosage of 750–1500 mg is typically accepted as both safe and effective, though doses of up to 3000 mg daily have been documented as well-tolerated.
One human study involving individuals with senile cognitive disorders reported benefits over placebo at 1500 mg/day.
It is always recommended to start with the minimum effective dose and gradually increase as necessary.
Like most nootropics in the racetam family, the effects of aniracetam may diminish with excessive dosages.
Because of its relatively brief half-life of one to three hours, dosage may have to be repeated at intervals to maintain effects.
Like most racetams, aniracetam works well on its own or in combination with other nootropics. Here are some common aniracetam stacks to consider.
Aniracetam and Choline Stack
The addition of a supplemental choline source is usually recommended when taking racetams, such as aniracetam. Choline, an essential nutrient that we consume in our diet, is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, responsible for various brain functions such as memory.
Supplementing a high-quality, bioavailable supplemental choline source, such as alpha GPC or citicoline, may have nootropic effects of its own by ensuring the availability of the necessary building blocks for synthesizing acetylcholine.
This process is especially relevant when taking aniracetam since it works in part by stimulating the cholinergic system. Supplementing choline ensures that there is enough in your system to maximize aniracetam’s effects while mitigating the potential common side effects, such as headaches, that may result from insufficient acetylcholine.
1x–2x per day
- 750 mg Aniracetam
- 300 mg Alpha GPC
The PAO Stack
The PAO stack, an acronym for piracetam, aniracetam, and oxiracetam, is a classic stack that involves combining these three popular nootropics.
Stacking aniracetam with piracetam and oxiracetam strengthens the perceived effects of all the components in the stack and may extend the period in which the benefits are experienced. Including piracetam may also intensify aniracetam’s anti-depressive and anti-anxiety properties. As previously mentioned, it’s usually a good idea to include a choline source.
Before attempting a stack this complex, it is recommended that you have experience with the individual components before combining them. Only consider this stack once you are familiar with each of their respective effects and how you react to them.
Remember, when combining racetams, or nootropics in general, you should consume less than you’d usually dose if taken on their own because most nootropics have synergistic effects.
1x–2x per day
- 1,600 mg Piracetam
- 400 mg Aniracetam
- 400 mg Oxiracetam
- 300 mg Alpha GPC
Aniracetam and Mind Lab Pro Stack
An easy and effective stack is to combine aniracetam with a preformulated nootropic blend, such as Mind Lab Pro by Opti-Nutra which contains 11 all-natural research-backed ingredients. Mind Lab Pro can serve as an excellent foundation for your stack as it is designed to improve all aspects of memory, mental performance, mood and stress resistance, maintenance, and brain repair.
For a detailed overview of its ingredients and effects, refer to our Mind Lab Pro review.
1x–2x per day
- 750 mg Aniracetam
- 2 capsules Mind Lab Pro
When taken at recommended dosages, aniracetam produces very few documented side effects, and those that are reported are both minor and temporary.
The most frequently reported side effects of aniracetam are headaches and mild nausea, both of which can often be successfully addressed by adding a choline source.
High doses of aniracetam can result in a feeling of excessive nervousness, digestive discomfort, or both. If either of these effects occurs, the dosage should be reduced.
Some users report a loss of inhibition when taking aniracetam; while not necessarily an unwelcome side effect, a sudden feeling of loss of inhibition could be surprising and perhaps unsettling (especially in retrospect).
Each user should carefully monitor their response while taking aniracetam or any nootropic to ensure that the results are expected and wanted.
Where to Buy
Aniracetam can only be ordered from a select few online vendors. Only buy from trusted sources to ensure you are getting a pure product.
We recommend PureNootropics.net as they specialize in high-quality nootropics, and all their batches are tested for purity by 3rd party laboratories.
Aniracetam is a popular nootropic, and with good reason: its reputation as a multi-faceted cognitive enhancer that can improve memory and focus while reducing anxiety and lifting depression is backed up by decades of research.
It’s powerful and fast-acting, has a low incidence of side effects, and is moderately priced. It’s effective on its own (though additional choline is always recommended when taking any of the racetams), and many users report that it can add a new dimension to both mood and cognition when combined with other nootropics.
If you’re looking for a nootropic that may promote calmness while enhancing cognitive functions, aniracetam may be worth considering.
Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.
This page was last updated on July 16, 2021.