Piracetam | Top 5 Benefits & How Does It Work? [Full Guide]

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

In this article we will go over the benefits of the nootropic called piracetram.

We will outline the top 5 benefits and explain how it works.

Top 5 Benefits Of Piracetam:

  1. Improves cognition.

  2. Improves memory.

  3. May help in depression treatment.

  4. May be an anti-convulsant.

  5. May be neuroprotective.

What Is Piracetam:

Piracetam is a substance in the racetams group, with the chemical name 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide.

It is also a derivative of the neurotransmitter GABA (the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter) and shares the same 2-oxo-pyrrolidone base structure with pyroglutamic acid.

Related drugs include the anticonvulsants: levetiracetam and brivaracetam, and other racetam nootropics such as aniracetam, phenylpiracetam etc.

Piracetam was invented in 1964 by Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, whose purpose was to synthesise a compound that could safely enhance memory and the ability to learn.

In turn, piracetam was the first synthetic "smart drug" ever developed.

In fact, piracetam was the inspiration for the word nootropic – a combination of the Greek words noos, which means “min,” and tropein, which means “to bend or turn”.

Piracetam effects many systems within the brain.

Piracetam is one of the most extensively researched nootropics available and is being studied actively, because of its popularity there is lots of anecdotal evidence and discussion.

Piracetam has been a safe and popular nootropic for many years.

Even though piracetam is similar to the neurotransmitter GABA, it is not produced naturally within the body, and is not produced in nature in any plants or food sources.

Its legality varies all over the globe, but for the most part it is legal for consumption and sale in most countries, in fact, in Europe, Russia, South America, and Asia, piracetam is used to treat myoclonus (the involuntary twitching of muscle) and is legally available by prescription.

The Benefits Of Piracetam:

As shown at the top of this article, piracetam seems to possess quite a few benefits.

They are explained in detail below.

Improved Cognition & Concentration:

Piracetam was primarily developed as a cognitive enhancer and is most widely used for that purpose.

Piracetam can help improve cognition.

Users of piracetam report that this nootropic can increase their energy, improve their focus and enhance verbal fluency and also creativity, particularly when taken in combination with choline (another nootropic and important nutrient).‍

Medical studies support this anecdotal evidence, showing that piracetam can significantly increase verbal learning in both healthy students and also students who suffer from dyslexia.‍

Both anecdotal evidence‍ and medical studies and trials suggest that piracetam is an effective nootropic, particularly for memory, concentration. Piracetam may also improve psychomotor speed.

Certain studies reveal that the effect of piracetam, while still showing effects on most or all ages, the effects are more prominent in cases of cognitive decline, such as those with dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative brain diseases.

Another function of piracetam is improving brain blood flow, increasing the production and the function of crucial brain chemicals and neurotransmitters, piracetam may help increase synaptic plasticity (the creation and maintenance of new connection between neurons) which is a crucial process to learning and memory formation.

Sources: Tariska P, et al

An Improvement In Memory:

Piracetam has been shown to act as a powerful memory enhancing substance, particularly when taken in combination with choline.‍

Piracetam has been shown to improve memory in subjects of all ages, including children who have received general anaesthetic.

This is likely a result of the enhanced synaptic plasticity and a combination of the other effects of piracetam, such as increased blood flow and production of brain chemicals.

In the case of elderly subjects, piracetam's memory enhancement may be attributed to the fact that it can improve blood flow to, and within the brain and can enhance cellular membrane fluidity.

Depression Treatment:

Some medical studies show that piracetam is capable of relieving the symptoms of depression, including situations of impaired coordination, stress and anxiety.‍

Piracetam has also proved to be a valuable addition to therapy for drug-resistant depression in patients with a variety of psychotic conditions.‍

However, depression is also reported to be an occasional side-effect of piracetam.

Some sources suggest that piracetam's overall effect on lowering depression and anxiety may be higher than that of improving memory.

Sources: Wikipedia

Anti-Convulsant Effects:

Piracetam has well-documented anticonvulsant properties, similar to those of other racetam drugs such as levetiracetam, which make it a valuable addition to individual therapy in the treatment of epilepsy and many other seizure disorders.

Sources: Fischer W, et al

Neuroprotective Effects:

Piracetam has been consistently shown to have certain neuroprotective properties, especially protecting the brain against age-related cognitive decline and disease.‍

Piracetam may reduce age-related cognitive decline.

Piracetam has also been successfully used as a neuroprotectant in people who have suffered a stroke,‍ and also in the treatment of cognitive disorders caused by cerebrovascular issues and trauma.

Sources: Kretschmar JH, et al

Other Benefits Of Piracetam:

Ongoing research on piracetam indicates that it may be useful and effective in the treatment of a number of physical and mental abnormalities, such as schizophrenia,‍ alcoholism‍, neuroinflammation and age-related cognitive decline.‍

The peripheral vascular effects of piracetam have suggested it's potential use in the treatment of vertigo, dyslexia, Raynaud's phenomenon and even sickle cell anaemia and binge eating disorder (BED).

Piracetam may also diminish erythrocyte adhesion to vascular wall endothelium, making any vasospasm in the capillary less severe.

This contributes to its efficacy in promoting micro-circulation, including to the brain and the kidneys.

An innovative 2017 study even looked at the potential positive effects of piracetam’s use as a treatment for heroin usage.

The study authors said that drug trafficking organisations in Asia and Europe have actually been adding piracetam into their illegal heroin batches because it provides a more intense experience and also decreases the hangover, these effects are most likely attributable to piracetam’s neuroprotective effects.

This study investigated piracetam’s ability to prevent heroin-induced apoptosis (cell death), reducing withdrawal symptoms.‍

Sources: Braintropic.com, Wikipedia

How Piracetam Works:

Though the precise mechanisms of action of piracetam are not fully understood, it is widely believed to work via many factors including:

  • Increasing cerebral blood flow.

  • Modulates metabolism.

  • Acting on crucial neurotransmitters.

  • Modulates glutamate receptors.

  • Increases acetylcholine activity.

Improved Cerebral Blood Flow & Circulation:

One of the primary means in which piracetam is believed to enhance memory, verbal fluency, focus and the other cognitive factors of piracetam is by improving blood flow and circulation within the brain itself.‍

Piracetam may improve memory, verbal fluency and more.

Cognition is very much dependent on the sufficient cerebral circulation of blood, which delivers the oxygen and nutrients brain cells need in high-demand to function efficiently.

The exact mechanism of action in which piracetam is able to increase cerebral blood flow is not well understood, but it is thought to enhance blood flow by promoting the production of new red blood cells and also reducing their ability to adhere to cell walls.

Piracetam Modulates Metabolism:

Piracetam has also been shown to have a positive effect on the brains metabolism, causing brain cells to use oxygen and nutrients more rapidly and effectively, this in turn creates a higher demand for nutrients, which may play a role in triggering an increase in cerebral circulation and blood flow.

Some research has shown that piracetam may also be able to increase the permeability of neurons within the brain, making it easier for nutrients to enter and also for waste to be removed.‍

Acting On Crucial Neurotransmitters:

Piracetam appears to have several neurotransmitter-related mechanisms of action within the brain, these factors likely work together to improve cognition.

These neurotransmitters most effected are glutamate and acetylcholine.

Modulates Glutamate Receptors:

Piracetam may also modulate the brain’s receptors of glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter that is involved in most synaptic connections).

Glutamate is particularly vital for synaptic plasticity, which is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time (likely important in memory formation, learning and other functions).

By increasing glutamate receptor sensitivity, piracetam may be able to significantly enhance memory formation and the ability to learn.‍

Increases Acetylcholine Activity:

Acetylcholine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the body and brain and plays a primary role in learning, memory, concentration and other aspects of cognition and function.

Piracetam has been observed to increase the density of the acetylcholine receptors in rodent brains, which may explain its positive effects on memory.‍

Similarly to other nootropics, it may also up-regulate the production of acetylcholine.‍

Piracetam Dosage:

The accepted dosage of piracetam for cognitive enhancement effects in healthy adults is usually around 4800 mg a day (4.8 grams), preferably split into three doses.

A research study evaluating the different dosages of piracetam for cognitive enhancement in healthy adults found that a single dose of 4800 mg a day was most effective.‍

Another study also concluded that 1200 mg of piracetam, taken three times per day, had measurable positive effects on cognition and brain function.‍

Piracetam is rapidly absorbed, reaching peak blood plasma concentration within 60–90 minutes after consumption. It's half-life is approximately 5 hours.‍

Positive effects may be observed within days, but it may take up to two weeks of daily supplementation for the full effects of piracetam to be experienced.

Nootropics users report very broad dosage ranges, but it is recommended to start at a low dosage and taper up your dosage slowly over a period of a few days to a week.

How To Take Piracetam:

Piracetam should be administered orally, either in tablet or powder form mixed with water, and may be taken with or without food.

The tablet or powder should be swallowed with water.

It is recommended to take the daily dose in 1-3 smaller dosages.

Piracetam tablets or powder should be taken with water.

Piracetam and most nootropics are not usually found in regular stores but can instead be purchased online from certain vendors.

The Side-Effects Of Piracetam:

Generally speaking, piracetam is considered a safe supplement with little risk of side effects.

In long-term studies, doses of up to 24 grams per day have had little to no adverse effects.

Piracetam is generally considered safe.

That said, everyone is different and some people may experience some adverse effects, these include:

  • depression

  • agitation

  • tiredness

  • dizziness

  • insomnia

  • anxiety

  • headaches

  • nausea

  • paranoia

  • diarrhoea

Piracetam is not recommended for pregnant women or people with kidney disorders.

Moreover, it may interact with medications, including blood thinners like warfarin.

If you’re taking any medications or have a medical condition, speak with your GP or doctor before taking piracetam.

We do not advocate the usage of piracetam or any other nootropic or supplement.

Stacking Piracetam:

Piracetam can be taken on its own but it may be much more effective when combined with other nootropics and supplements, this is known as stacking.

Common stacks include the following:

  • Piracetam + Choline Stack.

  • Piracetam + Aniracetam + Choline Stack.

  • Piracetam + Oxiracetam + Choline Stack.

Piracetam + Choline Stack:

Choline supplementation is an essential addition if you are going to take piracetam because of the way it affects the acetylcholine system in the brain.

When supplementing with piracetam, your brain may need more of the acetylcholine and without a choline supplement it’s actually possible to encounter depleted levels of acetylcholine in the brain, possibly leading to a "foggy" head and headaches.

Stacking piracetam with a choline supplement not only mitigates negative side effects of depleted acetylcholine but also allows the piracetam to be even more effective than without it.

There are various different types of choline sources, but we recommend a high quality alpha GPC or citicoline type of choline supplement.

Piracetam + Aniracetam + Choline Stack:

Piracetam is also commonly stacked with other racetams, such as aniracetam and oxiracetam. When combined with other nootropics, the results are usually synergistic and may result in a better effect.

Aniracetam is known for its excellent effect on memory, mood and creativity, and is commonly taken with piracetam and other racetams safely.

The commonly recommended ratio is 4:1 of piracetam to aniracetam.

Remember, when stacking nootropics, the potency of each individual nootropic increases, therefore it’s important to adjust the dosages down accordingly.

Always start a supplement at least 3-4 days before stacking a new supplement to avoid unknown side-effects.

Piracetam + Oxiracetam + Choline Stack:

Similarly to aniracetam, oxiracetam will improve certain effects of piracetam and may increase the effectiveness of piracetam.

Oxiracetam is known for its excellent effect on energy, logical thinking and memory, and is also commonly taken with piracetam and other racetams safely.

The commonly recommended dosage of oxiracetam is slightly lower than aniracetam.

But remember, when stacking nootropics, the potency of each individual nootropic increases, therefore it’s important to adjust the dosages down accordingly.

Always start a supplement at least 3-4 days before stacking in a new supplement to avoid unknown side-effects.

Conclusion On Piracetam:

Piracetam is the oldest synthetic nootropic substance and one of the most widely taken and studied nootropics available.

Its ability as a nootropic and prescribed medication is thoroughly documented, with hundreds of related medical research papers, studies and clinical trials available.

Piracetam is also proven to be a neuroprotectant that’s useful in the treatment of a variety of conditions, while it’s been available for years now, new uses for this nootropic are still being discovered.

It has low toxicity, a low risk of side effects with proper usage, and is generally a well tolerated supplement.

You can see more on this website.

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