What is Piracetam?
Piracetam (also known as Nootropil) is a nootropic that enhances memory and brain function. It's been around for a surprisingly long period, thus becoming a “classic” amongst the rest on the list. It allows creative and logical thoughts to run together into a stream of higher-level reasoning. It is the father of all nootropics and often the first choice for individuals looking to improve cognitive abilities.
“Synthetic molecule designed to enhance brain function. Piracetam is the basic ‘racetam' molecule of a family of related compounds” Examine
Furthermore, it increases the amount of knowledge the brain can process, as well as preserve, for future reference. Piracetam is an invention by Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea dating over 50 years ago, to create a supplement to enhance memory and learning capacity.
It is in medical use in Europe, Russia, and South America, amongst other countries, as a treatment for a type of muscle spasm called molycous. However, due to its nootropic effects, it became one of the most prominent cognitive enhancers.
Confined studies show that Piracetam reverses the effects of Alzheimer’s disease as well as dementia in elderly individuals. There is also sufficient evidence proposing that it prevents brain damage caused by excessive alcohol intake.
“Piracetam is a medication in the racetams group, with chemical name 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide. It is approved in the United Kingdom but is not approved in the United States. In the UK, piracetam is prescribed mainly for myoclonus, but is used off-label for other conditions.” Wikipedia
Benefits and Effects
What Are Piracetam Benefits?
- Improves Memory
- Enhances Cognitive Function
- Neuroprotective and Prevents Neurodegeneration
- Increases Self-Awareness and Promotes Clarity of Thought
- Reduces Anxiety, Stress, and Eases Depression
- Improves Verbal Learning and Fluency in Dyslexics
- Helps with Schizophrenia
Piracetam is popular first and foremost because of its positive, profound impact on improving memory.
In a meta-analysis of 19 different double-blind studies, Piracetam shows an exceptional improvement relating to memory.
However, it is important noting that memory improvement effects build up gradually. The studies show minor improvement after a 7-day administration and a significant increase after a 14-day administration.
Enhances Cognitive Function
There is a healthy amount of studies administering the effects of piracetam on cognition enhancement.
Piracetam improves cognitive performance especially in individuals with neurodegenerative conditions.
While most studies are governing elderly individuals with chronic disease, there is nevertheless sufficient evidence proving it to be beneficial for healthy, young adults.
Neuroprotective and Prevents Neurodegeneration
Piracetam supports neuroprotection as well as encouraging healthy brain growth and protects as well as prevents it from neurodegeneration related to aging.
In this particular area, it serves greater as a preventative rather than a treatment.
Increases Self-Awareness and Promotes Clarity of Thought
There is evidence indicating that piracetam improves sensory perception by increasing acetylcholine activity in the hippocampus.
In this particular example, it suggests an increase in self-awareness, zen-like state as well as an increased feeling of overall well-being.
Many report colors are appearing brighter and more vivid. Furthermore, many report a heightened sense of perception and a higher level of vibration, along with a feeling of connectedness to nature and other beings. 
Reduces Anxiety, Stress, and Eases Depression
In a study by the Department of Pharmacology in India examining the antianxiety effects of Piracetam taken orally over the period of 7 and 14 days, it confirms that; although a single dose does not seem to induce immediate anxiolytic effect, a delayed anti anxiety impact was rather apparent.
It is especially evident in individuals with anxiety due to alcohol withdrawal. Anecdotal reports imply piracetam is a useful tool for managing stress and anxiety levels, and to a certain extent, easing depression symptoms.
However, clinical research is limited relating to depression. Therefore, piracetam should not be a source to rely on should you be clinically diagnosed with depression.
Use with caution.
Improves Verbal Learning and Fluency in Dyslexics
Over a 21 day study, piracetam shows an increase in verbal learning by 8.6% compared to placebo in healthy volunteering individuals.
In patients with dyslexia, however, verbal learning shows a significant 15% increase. Piracetam, therefore, proves to be beneficial to individuals with dyslexia.
Helps with Schizophrenia
Piracetam shows to reduce symptoms of uncontrolled movement in individuals with schizophrenia.
Mechanism of Action
How Does Piracetam Work?
Interestingly, piracetam doesn’t seem to show any effect on the GABAergic system even though it is a cyclic derivative of GABA.
Piracetam' mechanism of action relates to how it increases the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory function. It works to improve 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.
Piracetam can restore or even increase the membrane fluidity of these neuronal cells, making neurotransmission a more effective and effortless process.
“Overall, Piracetam increases glucose and oxygen consumption in brains which precedes cognitive improvement (as these benefits are global (not favoring certain brain regions) and more significant in cognitively impaired persons, both of which are in accordance with interventions in humans).
The exact mechanisms underlying the enhancement of glucose and oxygen consumption are currently not established.
Piracetam shows affinity for two subsets of AMPA (glutamate) receptors, Glu2 and Glu3, and may attenuate the rate of action potentials.
It does not appear to directly act upon the other two glutamate receptors (Kainate and NMDA) although the ability of piracetam to possibly increase receptors in general in aged mice may influence these two receptor classes.” – Examine
Protein synthesis is an essential part of memory-storage in the brain.
Piracetam can cause an increase in learning and memory when various steroids transport them in the brain. When steroids in the brain are blocked, the effects of nootropics are blocked as well.
Recruitment of AMPA receptors that are generally not part of synaptic transmissions, essentially making more receptors available, when would undoubtedly cause an increase in learning.
Moreover, of course, acetylcholine increases and increased transmission of this critical neurotransmitter which is one of the most important in memory storage and learning processes.
How to Take Piracetam?
Typically, the Piracetam dosage for adults is between between 1,200 to 4,800 mg per day.
The most effective and agreed upon Piracetam dose is 1,600 mg. It can be taken once per day, or up to three times per day, totaling a maximum of 4,800 mg per day.
If new to Piracetam and taking it for the first time, start with 1,600 mg and wait and observe your reaction to it.
Few hours later, you can choose whether you want to take another dose, or if one is enough for your needs.
What Are Piracetam Side Effects?
Piracetam is considered very safe and side effects rarely occur. 
Headaches are often reported. It is due to lowered acetylcholine levels in the brain due to racetams utilizing them.
Therefore, it is very important to pair racetams with a choline source like Citicoline or Alpha-GPC, especially if you notice a headache after supplementing with Piracetam, or if you do so on regular basis.
A user on reddit shared his following piracetam experience which helped him getting off hard drugs:
So a bit of background. I have ADHD and aspergers and piracetam has been a godsend. Honestly i've never felt better. When I was diagnosed with ADHD and aspergers my life basically turned crappy and I started experimenting with drugs to “alleviate” my conditions.
I've lost friends, lied, cheated and made a fool of myself. Now with piracetam i'ts another story. I always had a fascination with psychotropic substances, and went and abused ritalin for a long while. This lead me to have even worse depression and anxiety.
With piracetam thought, it made me stable and understand that my drug abuse was not amusing, specially for those around me.
Now I focus on what is important and I don't care to get high, drunk or abuse anything. I've started dedicating more time to my hobbies and passions.
I've also noted i'm more honest and don't feel the need to judge others to make me feel better or have to justify myself. I take it when I need and take breaks. Also noted less apathy and dissociative/ antisocial behaviour.
I was actually nice to my neighbours for once(Bc honestly i've been an asshole my whole life) Even so I'm still waiting to see if this change is permanent(I hope it is) If you have ADHD or some ASD I recommend this! But… Research your stuff and stay responsible. Meds are not the solution, they're only one of many tools in your arsenal to improve yourself.
Exercise, healthy diet are essential to getting better as well. ]Sorry if I seem overly exited, I just wanted to share my story to a community that showed me that I don't have to take possibly addictive substances to be a better person. Nootropics worked for me. – an experience and condition very similar to my own.
So I was using Piracetam sporadically for past 2-3 weeks, at the beginning I thought it is just a hyped up nootropic or maybe not potent at 800mg-1200mg dose or ineffective in comparison to other racetams (I have never tried any other racetam.)
But today I can feel the effects, I took CDP choline for the first time this morning with 1 Piracetam 800 mg tab in the morning and and 1 at night sometime earlier. I am able to think quick, able to respond to what my friends say quickly and the music sounds so so good especially the percussions and I am only wanting to listen to fast paced songs, I did not expect a stimulating effect from piracetam, even I am typing this at a great pace, believe me I did not take caffeine. No benefit in terms of focus, I also didn't expect it, in fact I feel a little distracted.
Overall, Piracetam (alongside Noopept, if I may add) is one of the most fundamental brain boosting nootropics out there. It has very noticeable effects on increasing memory and learning capability, and certainly has the potential to enhance cerebral performance.
Student looking to get the edge on academics, or merely wanting 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. As well as safer than many other alternatives – especially stimulants, that most college students seem to favor.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s legal to buy, but might not be legal to sell. FDA regulations affecting “dietary supplements” may not apply to piracetam. But regardless, those regulations only control the sale of substances and not the purchase of substances. So buying is OK.
Noopept seems to be effective – and longer lasting than Piracetam, due to its effect on the NMDA receptors. It works in a similar way and has similar mechanisms as Piracetam, but at a much lower dosage – when it comes to whole brain function. The research available along with the anecdotal reports seem to strongly support this claim. “Oral ingestion of Noopept results in a very rapid absorption and metabolism of Noopept, although the kinetics of metabolites (which are thought to be bioactive) is not yet known. A true bioavailability study has not been conducted, although it appears that an oral dose is about the equivalent of one tenth an injected dose (10% bioavailability).”
Whereas Piracetam shows affinity for two subsets of AMPA (glutamate) receptors, Glu2 and Glu3, and may attenuate the rate of action potentials. It does not appear to directly act upon the other two glutamate receptors (Kainate and NMDA) although the ability of piracetam to possibly increase receptors in general in aged mice may influence these two receptor classes.”
Although there is no hard evidence on the matter, some users would say Piracetam as well as many other cholinergic nootropics (with notable exceptions like coluracetam), can subdue mood. It can make you have trouble turning off automatic memory associations, and being ‘locked’ in a particular state of consciousness for many hours.
“The correct way to take piracetam is whatever way works for you. If you cannot abide the bitter taste, taking piracetam in pills or capsules is the better way to go. I found that the bitter taste grew on me, so paying extra for capsules (or pharmaceutical tablets with excipients and dyes) is not worth it. For some, it’s taking it constantly, like 600–1000 mg three times a day. For me, I often take the entire daily dose in the morning, which greatly helps my circadian rhythm sync to the day when it is drifting into my old pattern of night-owl-ism. I know people who only take piracetam in certain circumstances, like before a public talk or interview, or flying on an airplane, or traveling to a high-altitude location for business or vacation. I take it when I’m going to be putting demands on my verbal, editing and writing skills. For people with high cholinergic tone (like me), taking piracetam with minimal cholinergic support is best. For a more cholinergically recessive person, taking piracetam with B5, choline, phosphatidylcholine, etc. is best. So I think there is no one correct answer to your question.”
Piracetam does not efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier, so it takes a while to build up enough to modify neurological activity. The time depends on the dose, which is why it is common practice to use a loading dose for the first day or three. When I used an aggressive 6400 mg loading dose (2.6 times the standard daily dose), I got conspicuous effects the first day. The “conservative” escalating loading dose that I suggest is wise for children with Down’s syndrome takes roughly a week to get the level of piracetam into the therapeutic range. The delay with piracetam also depends on the integrity of your blood-brain barrier, which if low facilitates piracetam acting quickly.
The research done on piracetam actually led to the coining of the term “Nootropic” and is the first member of the “Racetam” class of cognitive enhancers. There are several definitions of Nootropic. Corneliu E. Giurgea, the lead scientist that termed Nootropics, has his own list of qualifiers. More anecdotally, Nootropics must meet two identifying criteria:
1. Enhance some form of cognition.
2. Have either neuroprotective or regenerative effects, or at the very least possess very few side effects and extremely low toxicity.
For the first Qualifier:
Chemically, piracetam is a synthetic derivative of our major inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, Piracetam is understood to act primarily on the glutamate system within brain areas specific to memory and learning.
Research suggests that, as a primary mode of action, Piracetam increases neural activity in the hippocampus and cortex by upregulating AMPA and NMDA receptor densities, thereby enhancing glutamate transmission. Piracetam has also been reported to increase cerebral blood flow and the acetylcholine efficacy in the brain, both of which have been suggested to positively influence focus, memory, and learning.
Piracetam is one of the most research nootropics, probably the most researched synthetic one. Piracetam demonstrates relatively low toxicity and shows promise in studies that examine its potential in cognitive decline. [R]
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