Piracetam was the first nootropic to be created in a lab. Corneliu E. Giurgea, a Romanian chemist, made an amide in 1964 that eventually became known as Piracetam after converting 2-pyrrolidinone. Piracetam was originally intended to be used for medical purposes. Studies have shown that this substance might have some medical benefits, but it is not currently registered in the U.S. for this type of usage. Instead, Piracetam capsules are only available in North America as an off label nootropic.
Mechanism of Action
Although countless studies have been performed on Piracetam since 1964, it is still unknown exactly how this supplement works. Researchers have discovered that Piracetam is a derivative of GABA, but interestingly, GABA modulation or receptors do not appear to be influenced by this substance in any way. Piracetam has been shown to influence the taker’s cognitive abilities, but it does not act as a stimulant or sedative. Studies have shown that Piracetam can act as a cerebral circulatory agent and vasodilator which may synergistically enhance its’ nootropic effects.
What we do know about Piracetam’s mechanism of action is that it has some influence on the NMDA, AMPA and aCH receptor sites which are types of glutamatergic and cholinergic receptors within the brain. It is believed that piracetam and related racetams act as positive allosteric modulators at glutamate and acetylcholine receptors leading to enhanced cognitive function such as increased learning and memory.
As previously mentioned, Piracetam is not registered in the U.S. for medical purposes. However, it is used in several other countries for a diverse list of conditions. The most common medical usage for Piracetam is as a neuro-protective agent, which may assist patients before or after a stroke. Piracetam is known to act as an anti-thrombotic and anti-coagulant agent. There is some evidence that suggests this substance can minimize the damage caused by strokes and also reduce the user’s odds of suffering from an ischemic stroke.
A lot of research has been done into the possibility that Piracetam may be helpful for neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. To date, many of these studies have shown that Piracetam offers positive benefits, but the nootropic has not been proven to demonstrate a reversal in the applicable symptoms. Therefore, it has not been approved for usage in place of any existing medications.
Although Piracetam capsules are used off-label and sold as supplements, the large amount of medical research has helped determine that this nootropic is generally well-tolerated due to its low risk of drug interactions, side effects and toxicity.
Potential Piracetam Benefits (Claimed)
Piracetam capsules and powder have been in usage for several decades. During this time, user reviews and medical studies have found a long list of potential benefits. People who ingest excess quantities of Piracetam may experience one or more of the following reported perks:
- Improved Memory
- Increased Learning Capacity
- Enhanced Sensory Functionality
- Greater Ability to Focus
- Reduction in the Symptoms of Brain Trauma
- Reduction in the Symptoms of Anxiety/Depression
- Improved Vasodilation
Many users have reported enhanced sensory functionality, and this is most likely caused by an increase in receptor efficiency and the Acetylcholine neurotransmitter. Piracetam is also believed to help reduce oxidative stress that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s through the reduction of free radicals. Some people who take Piracetam capsules may experience either reduced or increased feelings of anxiety or depression and the paradoxical reactions experienced may have to do with the complex interactions with other neurotransmitters.
Possible Piracetam Side Effects and Interactions
Piracetam can cause side effects. In most cases, these side effects are mild to non-existent, but always be aware that a rare allergic reaction could lead to side effects of a more serious nature. The individuals who experience side effects are usually either sensitive to this particular nootropic or are taking a very high dose. The most commonly reported side effects include:
- Gastrointestinal Problems
If you begin experiencing these issues, you may wish to reduce your usage or stop taking the Piracetam capsules. Please note that headaches have been avoided by some people through stacking Piracetam with a choline supplement. There is no scientific evidence to back this up.
There do not appear to be any serious drug interactions with Piracetam, but always make sure to discuss your supplements and medication with your doctor to avoid any issues. Keep in mind that Piracetam capsules are not meant to be used as a treatment for any medical condition and are sold for personal research only.
Piracetam appears to be a very low tolerance substance. This means that most people can take Piracetam capsules on a regular basis for several months daily without experiencing a reduction in benefits or any withdrawal issues. Piracetam has not been shown to be physically or psychologically addictive in studies.
Piracetam capsules stack very well with a variety of other nootropics. Choline supplements such as Alpha GPC or CDP Choline are a popular choice. Piracetam also works well when stacked with other members of the racetam family. One of the most commonly utilized stacks includes Piracetam capsules, Aniracetam, Oxiracetam and a choline source.
The Pros and Cons of Choosing Piracetam Capsules
Piracetam capsules make the process of taking this nootropic supplement extremely easy. After all, capsules eliminate the need to measure out an exact quantity, and they also remove the bitter taste that can be associated with nootropic powder. Due to these factors, many people prefer to purchase Piracetam capsules.
It is important to be aware that buying nootropics in a powder supplement does make it easier to create a wide variety of stacks. Additionally, capsules are typically a little bit more expensive because of the extra time and labor that is involved in putting this product together. However, if you do not need to measure out unusual dosage amounts, the convenience of taking a Piracetam capsule is well-worth the price difference for many people, especially for those with busy lives.