Piracetam – Benefits, How it works, Side effects, Dosage

Piracetam, also known as nootropil and Lucetam is a bitter, water-soluble nootropic drug of the racetam class. Other well-known racetams include Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and Pramiracetam.

Overview
Also Known AsNootropil, Nootropyl Breinox, Dinagen, Lucetam, Oikamid
Type
Main benefits
  • Enhances memory[1]
  • Improves neural plasticity thereby enhancing learning ability[2]
  • Increases communication between the left and right brain[3]
  • Improves mental energy levels[4]
  • Increases blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain[5]
  • Enhances verbal fluency[6]
  • Possesses neuroprotective properties[2][7]
  • Partially reverses the effects of aging on the brain[8]
Synergistic with
Typical dose4800 mg
Half-life4-5 hours
Main mechanism of actionModulates glutamate and acetylcholine
Where to BuyNootropics Depot

Benefits

Piracetam’s effects vary from person to person, however, it generally increases memory capacity and improves learning ability. Reported anecdotal benefits of this drug include:

  • Enhanced vision
  • Enhanced mental endurance
  • Enhanced musical perception
  • Enhanced train of thought
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Reduced depression
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Reduced brain fog
  • Improved ADHD symptoms

Piracetam also seems to have anti-aging effect on the brain by reducing the levels of lipofuscin found in the brain. The buildup of lipofuscin is a common symptom of aging and alcoholism.
It possesses antithrombotic properties by inhibiting platelet aggregation and enhancing blood-cell deformability. It is therefore an effective antithrombotic agent and can be used for long-term treatment of deep-vein thrombosis.

Side effects

Piracetam is not intended for everyone, in fact, bipolar patients should stay clear of this drug as it may induce a potentially dangerous condition called mania. There have been at least 2 reported cases of Piracetam-induced mania on the Internet. This drug can also have side effects in healthy individuals, some of which include:

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog

All of the above mentioned side effects, except for insomnia and mania, can be easily remedied by increasing choline intake. The best way to do this is via supplementation of an acetylcholine precursor, such as choline bitartrate or a more high quality Alpha-GPC. While Alpha-GPC has a higher bioavailability than choline bitartrate, the difference between the two is subjective.

How it works

The racetam family of drugs are not well understood, however, Piracetam, along with other nootropic drugs in the racetam family, modulate the neurotransmitters glutamate and acetylcholine which are implicated in learning and memory. Piracetam is also a positive allosteric modulator of the AMPA receptor. In other words, Piracetam increases the activity of the AMPA receptor, which could increase synaptic plasticity and can therefore enhance memory and learning processes.

Piracetam improves the function of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, through the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor. Because of this, Piracetam may deplete acetylcholine levels in the brain which could induce some of the side effects mentioned above. However, many take Piracetam without choline and do not experience side effects, in fact unnecessary choline supplementation may result in depression.

This drug also works by improving blood flow to the brain and by enhancing cross-hemispheric communication.

Dosage and how to take Piracetam

While there is no standard dosage for Piracetam, many find 1600 mg taken 3x daily to work for them. However, some may require a higher dosage, some a lower dosage. Some even find a micro dose, or a dosage lower than 100 mg, to work better than a higher dose. It generally takes more than 2 weeks for its effects to appear and this is consistent with the studies done on humans.

Because it is water-soluble, you do not have to take it with food. If you are taking powdered Piracetam then I recommend using orange juice to mask the taste as raw Piracetam is quite bitter. If you are taking capped Piracetam then you can just simply take it with water.

It is recommended you start off by taking Piracetam alone with no choline source. If you experience headache or brain fog then you can start taking a choline source. There are many choline supplements on the market. Some of them include:

  • Choline Bitartrate
  • Choline Citrate
  • Lecithin
  • CDP-Choline (or Citicoline)
  • Alpha-GPC

CDP-Choline actually has some benefits of its own, including increasing focus, attention as well as energy. These effects are mediated by the increase of dopamine receptor density as well as acetylcholine receptor density in the brain.

Depression

There are many anecdotes on the Internet regarding Piracetam’s effect on depression with some experiencing positive effects while others negative effects. However, the number of Piracetam users that experience a worsening of depression is greater than that of those who experience a reduction in depression. Often times this worsening is not attributed to a choline deficiency and in some cases choline supplementation may further worsen the depressive symptoms. It appears Piracetam may worsen depression in some individuals regardless of choline supplementation.

Pharmacokinetics

This drug is not metabolized by the liver and passes through the body unchanged. In theory, one could recycle Piracetam from their urine, however, this is difficult to accomplish practically and is not recommended.

  • Bioavailability: ~100%
  • Half-Life: 4 to 5 hours
  • Metabolism: None
  • Excretion: Urinary

Where to buy Piracetam

You can buy Piracetam from a variety of different stores online. You can buy bulk Piracetam powder, or capped Piracetam. Piracetam powder is always cheaper than its capped alternative.

Visit the Where to Buy Nootropics page to locate an online nootropic vendor that stocks Piracetam.

References

  1. SJ, Dimond, and Brouwers EM. “Increase in the Power of Human Memory in Normal Man through the Use of Drugs.” Psychopharmacology (Berl) (1976): n. pag. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/826948>.
  2. B, Winblad. “Piracetam: A Review of Pharmacological Properties and Clinical Uses.” CNS Drug Reviews (2005): n. pag. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16007238>.
  3. O, Buresová, and Bures J. “Piracetam-induced Facilitation of Interhemispheric Transfer of Visual Information in Rats.” Psychopharmacologia (1976): n. pag. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1257371>.
  4. M, Grau, Montero JL, and Balasch J. “Effect of Piracetam on Electrocorticogram and Local Cerebral Glucose Utilization in the Rat.” General Pharmacology (1987): n. pag. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3569848>.
  5. Jordaan, B., DW Oliver, IC Dormehl, and N. Hugo. “Cerebral Blood Flow Effects of Piracetam, Pentifylline, and Nicotinic Acid in the Baboon Model Compared with the Known Effect of
    Acetazolamide.” Arzneimittelforschung (1996): n. pag. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8876930>.
  6. Chase, Christopher H., R. Larry Schmitt, Guy Russell, and Paula Tallal. “A New Chemotherapeutic Investigation: Piracetam Effects on Dyslexia.” ANNALS OF DYSLEXIA 34.1 (1984): 29-48. SpringerLink. Web. <http://www.springerlink.com/content/q4333w228h008293/>.
  7. Xerri, C., Y. Zennou-Azougui, and JO Coq. “Neuroprotective Effects on Somatotopic Maps Resulting from Piracetam Treatment and Environmental Enrichment after Focal Cortical Injury.” ILAR Journal 44.2 (2003): 24-110. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12652006>.
  8. Stoll, L., T. Schubert, and W.E. Müller. “Age-related Deficits of Central Muscarinic Cholinergic Receptor Function in the Mouse: Partial Restoration by Chronic Piracetam Treatment.” Neurobiology of Aging 13.1 (1992): 39-44. ScienceDirect. Web. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/019745809290006J>.
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