Piracetam : The Original ‘Smart Drug’

Piracetam, a member of the racetams group of chemicals, is a nootropic supplement that is a cyclic derivative of gamma-Aminobutyric acid or GABA. The chemical name of this supplement is 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide and it shares the same base structure of 2-oxo-pyrrolidone as pyroglutamic acid.

Currently, this compound is used in a number of European countries, South America and Asia, though it is not approved for medical usage or for sale as a dietary supplement in the United States. It is used to treat a number of neurological issues, including dementia, depression, anxiety, dyslexia, sickle cell anemia, vertigo, and myoclonus.

It has also been shown to be effective in improving overall cognition, concentration, perception, learning, memory and learning.  Results, of course, vary from person to person.

A Brief History of Piracetam

Piracetam was invented more than five decades ago by a Romanian chemist and psychologist, Dr. Corneliu E. Girugea. He synthesized this compound with the main purpose being to boost learning ability, thereby creating the first nootropic compound.

As with all the other racetams, it’s unclear precisely how Piracetam works. It has been observed, though, that the drug has an effect on vascular and neuronal function, while also influencing cognitive function, but without behaving as a stimulant or a sedative.

Despite it being a GABA derivative, it doesn’t appear to affect GABA receptors or present GABA metabolism in the method used to achieve improved cognition. It does seem that this compound’s effects are somehow connected to the method used to boost acetylcholine activity, like many nootropics.  For those unfamiliar with acetylcholine, it is an important neurotransmitter that has significant effects on how our memory works. Thus, by improving the effectiveness of acetylcholine transfer, this supplement helps to improve memory.

It also seems to have an impact on NMDA glutamate receptors, which also have an impact on our learning ability and memory.
Scientists think that one of the possible ways in which this supplement works is that it has the ability to improve the membrane fluidity of compromised neuronal cells.

The cells lose fluidity when they are compromised, which makes it impossible for signaling molecules to migrate through the corpus callosum lipid bilayer, meaning they can’t get from the left to the right hemisphere of the brain.  Piracetam may help solve this problem.

Piracetam Benefits

Piracetam’s main and most well-known benefit is it’s capacity to improve brain function. However, studies have been carried out that show this supplement can help in treating neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism, and dyslexia.
This supplement also presents benefits for healthy individuals, alongside its clinical usage, which is why it is one of the oldest and most widespread nootropic substances. It is used to improve memory as it boosts communication between the left and right sides of the human brain by stimulating blood flow between the two areas. Essentially, this means that the logical and analytical side of our brains becomes better connected with the creative and imaginative side of our brains, which helps to increase memory.

It should be noted that the effects of this supplement are considered relatively mild by comparison to some of the newer nootropic drugs on the market, but it is still considered an effective way to improve cognitive performance.

Side Effects of Piracetam

It is very rare for anyone to present side effects from Piracetam usage. In fact, the whole racetam family presents incredibly low rates of toxicity. In the extremely rare cases that side effects occurred, they tended to be headaches, insomnia, and anxiety, with headaches being the most frequent.  In clinical studies, patients have taken as much as 8 grams per day of this supplement without experiencing any side effects.

Dosage Guidelines for Piracetam

Studies have found that the best dosage to improve cognitive function in adults is 4800 mg, administered in a single dose, two or three times daily, as required. Other studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that as little as 400 mg of Piracetam taken three times per day over a 14-day period are more than enough to improve cognitive function.

Those who use this supplement have reported a wide range of doses as being ideal. Ideally, like with any supplement, you should start with the lowest effective dose and work your way up. While you will experience some positive effects immediately, it could take as long as two weeks for the full benefits to set in.

The supplement can be taken in powder or capsule form in order to control serving size.  Most people tend to take the capsules due to the strong taste that piracetam is known for.

Take Aways

Piracetam is a very basic nootropic when compared with the other supplements available on the market. However, its benefits of improving learning capacity and memory are quite noticeable as is its ability to improve overall brain performance. It’s a great supplement for anyone who wants to be able to think faster and it’s an excellent starting point for anyone new to the world of nootropics.  It is considered a staple among veteran nootropic users.

Nicole Sanders

Hi, I'm Nicole, chief editor at Nootropics Revealed. Learn more about me and my mission here.