Piracetam is a nootropic supplement that has the ability to enhance memory and has stood the test of time making it a popular choice for those that want to enhance their cognitive abilities. It is known to allow your creative and logical thoughts to run together into a stream of higher level thinking and can increase the amount of knowledge that your brain can retain for later access.
It was first invented by the Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, over 50 years ago, with the purpose of creating a supplement that could enhance memory and the ability to learn.
It is used medicinally in Europe, Russia, South America, and many other places to treat myoclonus; however, because of its nootropic effects, it is used off-label for many other applications. Some believe it can even be used to reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in the elderly. There is even evidence that it can prevent brain damage caused by excessive alcohol intake or hypoxia.
Chemically, it is known as 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide, a cyclic derivative of GABA.
Benefits and Effects
Piracetam is most known for its ability to enhance cognitive functions, even in healthy adults.
Piracetam’s effects are considered less strong compared to its more modern counterparts but still remains a very popular choice for a well-rounded nootropic supplement that has stood the test of time.
Medical studies have also shown piracetam to be beneficial in treating conditions that affect the brain such as alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, and children with dyslexia. Despite its clinical use, it is commonly used by healthy individuals that would like to expand their cognitive functions.
How it Works
Interestingly enough, piracetam doesn’t seem to show any effect on the GABAergic system even though it is a cyclic derivative of GABA. Piracetam’s mechanism of action is related to how it increases the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in memory function. It works to increase memory by making the transfer of acetylcholine more effective. It also affects NMDA glutamate receptors which also play a role in the memory formation and learning processes. Scientists believe piracetam works through these possible mechanisms in the brain:
- Compromised neuronal cells experience a loss of fluidity which prevents signaling molecules from crossing the lipid bilayer membrane of the corpus callosum, the part of the brain separating the left and the right hemispheres. It is believed piracetam can restore or even increase in the membrane fluidity of these neuronal cells, making neurotransmission a more effective process.
- Protein synthesis is an important part of memory-storage in the brain. Piracetam can possibly cause an increase in learning and memory when they are transported by various steroids in the brain. It was noted that when steroids in the brain were blocked, the effects of nootropics were blocked as well.
- Recruitment of AMPA receptors that are not normally part of synaptic transmissions, essentially making more receptors available, when would certainly cause an increase in learning.
- And of course, acetylcholine increases and increased transmission of this critical neurotransmitter which is one of the most important in memory storage and learning processes.
Based on scientific research, there have been studies that conclude that the optimal single dose size of piracetam for an increase in cognition for adults has been shown to be 4800 mg. The dose is often recommended to be taken two or three times a day, as needed.
Other studies used smaller dosages that also had measurable positive effects on cognition. For example, one study found improved cognition after 14 days of supplementing 1200 mg (split into three doses) per day.
Nootropics users self-report very broad dosage ranges, but we recommend starting low and building up slowly to see how your unique biology responds to piracetam.
Keep in mind that these recommended dosages are for when piracetam is taken on its own without being stacked with other nootropics.
You will likely notice positive effects the first time you take piracetam but it may take up to two weeks of daily supplementation for the full effects to be experienced. To speed up the process, some people claim that you can take an “attack dose” of double or triple the size of the regular dose for a few days before reducing intake to normal daily dosages as a means to create a buildup of piracetam in the body however there is limited evidence that this is effective.
Even though piracetam is considered to be one of the safest nootropics, it’s always wise to start with a smaller dose to ensure you react well to it.
Piracetam works best taken with a stack of supplements but can certainly be taken on its own.
Piracetam and Choline Stack
Choline supplementation is essential if you are going to take piracetam because of the way it affects acetylcholine in the brain. When supplementing piracetam, you are using more acetylcholine due to the increased communication between neurons in the left and right hemispheres of the brain and, without choline supplementation, it’s possible to reach depleted levels of acetylcholine in the brain, leading to a foggy feeling and headaches. Stacking piracetam with choline not only mitigates negative side effects but allows the piracetam to be even more effective than without it.
There are various choline sources but we recommend alpha GPC or citicoline. When using a high-quality choline source such as those, a good starting point is 1 part choline for 8 parts piracetam.
Piracetam and Aniracetam Stack
Piracetam is also commonly stacked with other racetams. When combined with another nootropics, the results are usually synergistic. Let’s use the popular choice of aniracetam for our example, which is often praised for its excellent effect on memory and mood.
The commonly recommended ratio is 4:1 of piracetam to aniracetam. Remember, when stacking, the potency of each individual nootropic increases, therefore it’s important to adjust dose sizes accordingly. Also, don’t forget your choline source.
Side effects from piracetam are considered very rare. The entire racetam family of nootropics has been shown to be extremely safe with low toxicity rates. The few reported adverse effects include headache, anxiety, and insomnia. Headache is the most widely reported side effect which can often be remedied by stacking with a choline supplement.
Piracetam has been observed in clinical studies including Alzheimer’s patients taking 8 grams per day without any reported side effects.
Where to Buy
Piracetam is not generally found in regular stores and instead must be purchased online from specialty vendors. We suggest that you buy piracetam from PeakNootropics.com as they are our recommended supplier for nootropics. All their nootropics are tested for purity by 3rd party laboratories so you can be confident that you are getting what you pay for.
Overall, piracetam is one of the most basic brain boosting nootropics out there. It has very noticeable effects on increasing memory and learning capabilities, and certainly has the potential to enhance cerebral performance.
If you are a student looking to get the edge on your academics, or merely someone who just wants to think smarter and faster in their day to day life, this is a great nootropic to start with to introduce you to the world of nootropics.
Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.