- Post navigation
- Uses of Piracetam
- How does Piracetam Work?
- Does Piracetam Work?
- What is the correct dosage?
- Is stacking necessary
- Common side effects
- Where can I buy the best dosage?
- Piracetam Review – An Overview Of This Nootropic Compound
- What is Piracetam Used For & It's Benefits?
- Alternatives to Piracetam
- Piracetam: Side Effects, Risks & User Reviews
- What is Piracetam?
- Mechanism of Action
- Piracetam Side Effects & Risks
- Reported Side Effects
- What would happen if we all took smart drugs?
- The Health Benefits of Piracetam
- Probable Nootropicinduced Psychiatric Adverse Effects: A Series of Four Cases
- Piracetam: Side-Effects, Risks & User Reviews
- Mechanisms of Action
- Piracetam Side-Effects & Risks
The initial intention of developing Piracetam was for brain enhancement. Although not much scientific findings have been published on how effective the drug is, user reviews show that Piracetam is significantly effective in treating cognitive disabilities as well as memory enhancing.
Piracetam is popular in Europe and parts of Asia. In fact, it was first developed in Belgium to join the long list of nootropics that are available today.
Uses of Piracetam
There are various uses and benefits associated with the correct use of Piracetam. They include:
- ✓ Treating Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease
- ✓ Curing dyslexia in children
- ✓ Memory enhancement and cognitive impairment treatment
- ✓ Alcohol withdrawal treatment
- ✓ Preventing undesired clotting of blood
How does Piracetam Work?
When ingested, Piracetam improves fluid retention in body cells. This in turn enhances communication between the brain and the neurotransmitters. The chemical process is much more complicated.
The bottom line is that it increases cell fluidity which in turn improves the rate at which the brain is able to relay and receive signals.
The resulting effect is an improved memory as well as an enhanced cognitive ability.
Additionally, Piracetam improves blood circulation and in turn oxygen provision to the brain.
Does Piracetam Work?
If the right Piracetam dosage is taken, desirable effects will certainly be underway. User reviews have shown that Piracetam can work as a focus booster with limited side effects.
The popularity of Piracetam comes from the fact that it largely helps in cells provision process. This is very important for it in turn leads to an improved general body health. In fact, it has successfully been used to slow down aging of the brain as well as early loss of cognitive abilities.
What is the correct dosage?
The correct Piracetam dosage set at 40mg and 100mg when it is being used to treat brain impairment in children.
For healthy adult individuals, a dosage as high as 1000mg and 1500mg is recommended. This dosage should be taken every day. Most users find nit more convenient to split the doses at take it about thrice a day.
As expected, the starting dosage should be the lower limits of the same. This will prevent the various dangers associated with overdosed drugs. It is also advisable to go through the available reviews to know exactly which Piracetam dosage will work for you.
All the same, never take capsules amounting to more than 5000mg in a day.
Is stacking necessary
According to reviews, stacking Piracetam with other real limitless pills can produce desired effects. For instance, stacking the same with choline can improve the rate at which membrane fluidity is achieved as well as the rate which mitochondrion activities occur.
Even when used alone, Piracetam does bring about the above identified benefits. The important thing is to maintain the right dosage and getting help where doubts arise.
Common side effects
Piracetam side effects are rare and when they occur, reviews have proved that they can be comfortably dealt with. Most problems occur due to overdosing.
All the same, headaches and insomnia are commonly reported. In other cases, users do report cases of increased anxiety. For this reason, you can consider stacking this drug with a stress reducing drug or supplement.
Where can I buy the best dosage?
If you are considering to buy Piracetam in a local pharmacy, chances are high that you will not access it. Most users get their dosages online.
Before you buy Piracetam online, ensure that the Piracetam powder being offered has been tested. This includes a purity test as well as a users’ test. For a purity test, search for the details of lab reports and clinical reports of what the Piracetam powder or capsules are made of.
Ensure that the ingredients used are all safe and can be found in the list of original Piracetam ingredients.
For the users’ test, the best approach is to browse through user reviews. They will take you through the various experiences expected from a particular brand of Piracetam for sale.
They will also give you an idea of where best to buy the best dosage.
All the same, never take a drug that you are having doubts on its usage, dosage and expected side effects. Approach a doctor or make use of online doctor services to get further help. Also, ensure that you have an emergency help line in case of an unexpected turn of events. Otherwise, a correctly taken Piracetam dosage will work just fine.
Piracetam Review – An Overview Of This Nootropic Compound
If you’ve come to this page, chances are you already know about Piracetam. Publicized as the world’s first ever smart synthetic smart drug, Piracetam is one of the most highly researched, clinically studied nootropics ever created.
But just how effective is Piracetam? If you’re most people you may question the claim of “world’s best brain booster.” It’s a bold statement but it comes backed with massive amounts of clinical trials and extensive claims. To say piracetam has been clinically researched in significant detail would be an understatement.
With over 1500 pieces of published research performed on over 200 clinical trials, piracetam is arguably one of the most researched supplements of the last several decades.
As a form of alternative medicine used by numerous people all over the world, people have seen improvements in various mental and physical aspects of their lives. We only just begun to scratch the surface of this drug’s potential.
But just how effective is piracetam? Let’s take a closer look at the world’s first synthetic smart drug that has been used around the world for over 50 years.
Piracetam was first created by a Romanian psychologist and chemist named Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1964. Commonly hailed as “the godfather of brain pharmacology and cognitive performance research science,” Dr. Giurgea is credited as the creator of nootropics.
Nootropics are drugs or supplements designed to improve cognitive function, memory, creativity, and motivation. When first creating the drug, Dr. Giurgea set out with a single goal – synthesize a compound to improve memory and enhance the ability to learn.
Credited with the creation of the term “nootropic,” meaning mind enhancer, Dr. Giurgea set out to create a new way to improve cognition and memory. What he ended up creating was a drug that did that and so much more.
According to an abstract of a study performed in 2005, Piracetam is a derivative of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. The main function of piracetam is the restoration of cell membrane permeability. Just what does this mean you ask?
Piracetam increases brain functionality in various ways. Piracetam increases blood flow and oxygen uptake enhancing the communication channels in the brain. With its use, the left and right sides of the brain can communicate more quickly and efficiently. The result is heightened brain functionality energizing the mind to work at optimum peak capacity.
Through various mechanisms, piracetam allows the brain to fire on all cylinders.
What is Piracetam Used For & It's Benefits?
Piracetam has a wide range of benefits ranging from treatments of diseases to improvement of learning capabilities. It’s range of positive side effects make it useful for people from all walks of life.
Some of the most common uses for Piracetam include:
- Cognitive enhancement
- Memory improvement
- Treatment of depression
- Prevention of neurodegenerative decline
1. Cognitive Enhancement
Piracetam is most widely used for the purpose of cognitive enhancement. Evidence has shown piracetam to be a brain enhancer as it improves memory, concentration, and motor skills.
Although piracetam can effectively be used to improve cognition in all ages, older populations are most ly to see the potential benefits. Improved blood flow and enhanced neurological function help to increase overall brain function.
Piracetam also acts as an energy booster improving focus and enhancing creativity. For people with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, it can also improve learning capabilities.
2. Memory Improvement
Piracetam improves blood flow to and from the brain leading to better memory function. Improved blood flow enhances cellular membrane activity.
In a 1981 study performed on aging rats, piracetam combined with choline showed improved memory capabilities. A 1976 study showed that after fourteen days of use, subjects using piracetam also showed significantly increased verbal learning skills.
3. Treatment of Depression
Aside from cognitive function, piracetam can also act as an effective form of alternative depression treatment as cited in a 2010 study. For patients seeking a different form of therapy beyond traditional prescription drugs, it may be worth looking into.
A 1976 study showed drug-resistant patients diagnosed with schizophrenia showed significant improvement after being on piracetam for a short period of time.
4. Prevention of Neurological Decline
Another benefit of piracetam is the protection against cognitive decline in aging subjects. In 2000, research performed on stroke patients showed that piracetam improves recovery of language function and the ability to perform certain tasks.
In a 2000 study on patients with epilepsy, piracetam was shown to be an effective add-on treatment lessening symptoms of the disease.
Although hundreds of clinical studies have been performed on piracetam, its exact mechanisms are still not fully understood.
Piracetam is widely believed to improve brain function and cognitive abilities through increased blood flow activation and enhanced neurotransmission. Let’s take a closer look at the different ways piracetam works within the brain.
Heightened Brain Circulation
Piracetam is widely known for enhancing memory, increasing focus, improving brain function, and increasing cognitive abilities. All cognitive brain functionality is dependent on cerebral circulation. A 1987 Russian study showed that brain functionality is maximized when blood flow kicks into high gear at a cerebral level due to enhanced oxygen and nutrients.
Piracetam is also believed to improve brain metabolism allowing the brain to use oxygen and nutrients at optimal efficiency. As we age, mitochondrial dysfunction causes cognitive impairment. A 2016 study on Piracetam cites an improved mitochondrial function as a method of preventing cognitive decline in aging patients.
Enhanced Neurotransmitter Function
Piracetam increases neurotransmitter functions within the brain as a means of boosting cognitive activity.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter believed to be responsible for cognitive functions such as learning, focus, and memory. In a 1988 study performed on rodents, piracetam was found to increase the number of acetylcholine receptors in the brain. This may explain why memory functionality enhancement is a byproduct of piracetam.
Although cognition is improved with piracetam, the brain can become depleted of choline with regular use. Since choline is considered an essential element of neurotransmitter function, consider choline supplementation if you choose to take piracetam.
Another neurotransmitter involved in the majority of synaptic connections is glutamate. Glutamate is responsible for how strong or weak synaptic connections are. A 1991 Chinese study shows piracetam increases glutamate receptor sensitivity thereby enhancing memory and cognitive performance.
Transference Between Brain Hemispheres
Piracetam acts as a vehicle for information transference between different hemispheres of the brain. In other words, it sends communicative signals to different parts of the brain. By doing such it enhances motor skills and coordination.
The ability to speed up transmissions between various parts of the brain makes it a popular remedy to help treat in the recovery of stroke patients.
Through improved neurotransmitter activity, increased brain blood flow, and enhanced communicative signal responses, piracetam is able to improve various aspects of cognition and other abilities.
According to examine.com, the recommended dosage of piracetam will depend upon age and bodyweight. The standard dosage for children is recommended to be between 40mg – 100mg per kg of body weight.
For adults, a standard recommended dosage is between 1,200mg – 4,800mg per day. The largest effective dose is 1,600mg three times per day to maximize the effect.
Some people report better results splitting the dosage into hourly increments while others take the entire dosage at once.
Piracetam can provide positive benefits through enhanced cognitive function, better memory, an increased mental capacity. But most drugs, certain side effects can occur. By understanding the negative side effects associated with piracetam, you will be able to protect yourself from potential harm.
The common side effects of piracetam most frequently noted are:
- Weight gain
- Muscle spasms
Additionally, piracetam may negatively interact with other certain drugs. Piracetam is not known to have any serious interactions with other drugs, but mild to moderate interactions may occur in drugs such as:
This list is not considered conclusive and may not contain all possible interactions or adverse side effects. Be sure to consult with your doctor or pharmacist before trying any new drugs or supplementation as this is not considered official medical advice.
People taking supplements to enhance memory and improve brain function will usually see performance peak around one and a half hours after taking it. Due to the plasma bioavailability of the drug, almost all of it goes into the bloodstream unchanged.
The best cognitive abilities are generally seen after one and a half hours. If you are aiming to experience the increased mental abilities and general focus at a certain time, be sure to time your dosage correctly.
Typically, the half-life of piracetam is about five hours and most of the drug will be your bloodstream by this point in time. Benefits of the drug are generally limited to this five-hour timeframe, so many people choose to take a dosage every four to six hours to ensure optimal mental capacity.
The central nervous system takes about eight hours to remove piracetam, but the drug does not leave the body completely until after about 30 hours.
Alternatives to Piracetam
If you are looking for an alternative to piracetam for improving brain health and functionality, there are other natural choices you can try. Fish Oil, a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids provides some of the same benefits as Piracetam.
Fish oil may enhance cognitive function, improve memory, and prevent depression.
Piracetam is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), therefore it is not allowed to be labeled as a dietary supplement. However, it is completely legal to purchase in the United States.
Due to the nature of FDA laws on sales and distribution, many vendors choose not to sell Piracetam in the United States. Most people purchasing the product in America import it from other countries that have less regulated sales.
The legal status of piracetam in other countries will vary. In Canada, piracetam is not regulated and therefore cannot be sold in the country. However, possession is legal allowing people to import the product from other countries. In the United Kingdom and Australia, piracetam is only available with a prescription.
The legality of piracetam in other countries may vary, so be sure to check your nation’s laws and regulations.
With its ability to boost brain power, enhance cognition, and prevent age-related mental decline, piracetam may be the right supplement to take you to the next level.
In conjunction with other remedies, piracetam can even help treat epilepsy and aid in the recovery of stroke victims. The potential uses for piracetam seem endless as several studies have cited the positive benefits associated with its use.
If you think piracetam may help you perform better in the office, at home, or on the go be sure to give it a try. You too can perform at peak efficiency. The choice is up to you.
Mind Lab Pro® is the world's first Universal Nootropic™ – formulated to promote a healthy, peak-performing mindstate known as 100% Brainpower™
Ryan Rodal is an avid health and wellness enthusiast. He enjoys staying active in a variety of hobbies including weight lifting, boxing, cycling, and hiking.
With over 500 publications to top named websites and supplement companies, he brings a wealth of experience on topics including health, wellness, workout routines, and supplementation.
When he’s not working out, he enjoys spending time with friends and his dog. He believes health and wellness isn’t just a mindset, it’s a lifestyle choice.
Important Disclaimer: The information contained on the Nootropics Review Nerd is intended for informational and educational purposes only.
Any statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and any information or products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness.
Please consult a healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet or taking supplements that may interfere with medications.
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Piracetam: Side Effects, Risks & User Reviews
Some people think of piracetam as a risk-free drug. While some evidence suggests it is low in risk in comparison to certain other drugs, piracetam use carries potential risks. Read about its side effects and reviews in this article.
What is Piracetam?
Piracetam is the “original” racetam and is considered one of the most popular “smart drugs” or nootropics.
Although it is allegedly less potent than other racetams, people still take it to enhance cognitive function.
The racetam group of synthetic compounds is characterized and differentiated by their chemical structures that all contain a pyrrolidone lactam ring. Piracetam and other racetams oxiracetam and aniracetam are considered cognitive enhancers or nootropics, while others levetiracetam are used to treat epilepsy as anticonvulsants.
Unfortunately, there appears to be little proper clinical research with piracetam, especially in young, healthy volunteers.
However, there is some research on elderly populations with dementia, schizophrenics, and those suffering from neurodegenerative disorders caused by head trauma, stroke, and alcoholism.
Piracetam supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use. Supplements generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.
To find out about some of the uses and side effects of specific racetams, check out these posts:
Mechanism of Action
How piracetam works is not fully understood. It has been proposed to have several actions in the brain including :
- Activates AMPA receptors
- Increases NMDA receptors
- Increasing acetylcholine (ACh) receptor number
- Enhancing energy metabolism – increased oxygen utilization, mitochondrial permeability, and cytochrome B5 synthesis.
- GABA- characteristics
- Antioxidant properties
People popularly stack racetams are typically alongside choline donors (alpha-GPC and citicoline), as their mechanism is thought to deplete choline stores in the brain. No evidence backs up this practice .
On the other hand, injections of piracetam increase high-affinity choline uptake in the rat hippocampus .
Administration of piracetam has been shown to cause a decrease in acetylcholine levels in the hippocampus of animals. Piracetam and choline taken together have been shown to increase memory and cognition in animals. However, the effects of piracetam – with or without choline – on acetylcholine in humans are unknown [4, 5, 6].
Piracetam Side Effects & Risks
Keep in mind that the safety profile of piracetam is relatively unknown, given the lack of well-designed clinical studies. The list of side effects below is not a definite one, and you should consult your doctor about other potential side effects, your health condition and possible drug or supplement interactions.
Reported Side Effects
A study of 927 recent stroke patients taking 12 grams (a very high dose) of piracetam for 12 weeks reported no adverse effects from piracetam. However, this study was not designed to monitor side effects. Even more concerning is that this study noted that death within 12 weeks occurred more frequently in the piracetam group, but the difference from placebo was not significant .
Furthermore, in the group who had suffered a primary hemorrhagic stroke, the death rate in the piracetam group was half of that in the placebo group. This group was not large enough for this to be considered a significant result .
A longer study of 11 people for 18 months reported that 2 people experienced fatigue, but the study concluded that piracetam was well-tolerated .
In a study of 60 people who suffered a concussion, a daily dose of 4800 mg for 8 weeks reduced symptoms. However, side effects were reported by 64% of the patients under piracetam and by 32% under placebo .
The study reported that the following symptoms were more frequent in people taking piracetam than the placebo :
In 60 elderly psychiatric patients, the following side effects were reported :
- Mild dizziness
- Increased sexual activity
The study concluded that their impression, piracetam was well tolerated by most subjects. They stated that side effects disappeared upon discontinuation of the medication.
One study in 2015 looked at side effects of piracetam from a particular forum (drug-forum) and reported symptoms of [11, 12, 13]:
- Restlessness (Psychomotor agitation)
- Unhappiness (Dysphoria)
- Memory loss
The study brought down a case report of a 17-year-old kid with OCD, who was stable on an SSRI. He went to the emergency room because his OCD got worse and he experienced restlessness and paranoia.
Further investigation revealed that the supplement was piracetam. The parents had not objected to him using the supplement since they perceived it as a safe and “natural remedy.
” He was discharged home after a short hospital stay in a stable condition on olanzapine at bedtime. Piracetam was discontinued.
This list does not cover all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any other side effects.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. In the US, you may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch
What would happen if we all took smart drugs?
Honoré de Balzac was a great believer in the cerebral power of coffee. The renowned French writer had a punishing schedule – every evening, he would scour the streets of Paris for a café that was open past midnight, then write until the morning. It is said that he would consume 50 cups of his favourite drink in a single day.
Eventually he graduated to eating whole spoonfuls of coffee grinds, which he felt worked especially well on an empty stomach. As he put it, after a mouthful of gritty coffee: “Ideas quick-march into motion battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages.”
It may have worked. Balzac was prolific, and produced nearly 100 novels, novellas and plays in his lifetime. He died of heart failure at the meagre age of 51.
Honoré de Balzac was an avid user of early smart drugs – imbibing huge amounts of caffeine per day to get his ideas flowing (Credit: Getty Images)
For centuries, all workers have had to get them through the daily slog is boring old caffeine. But no more. The latest generation has been experimenting with a new range of substances, which they believe will supercharge their mental abilities and help them get ahead.
In fact, some of these so-called “smart drugs” are already remarkably popular. One recent survey involving tens of thousands of people found that 30% of Americans who responded had taken them in the last year.
It seems as though we may soon all be partaking – and it’s easy to get carried away with the consequences.
Will this new batch of intellectual giants lead to dazzling, space-age inventions? Or perhaps an explosion in economic growth? Might the working week become shorter, as people become more efficient?
To answer these questions, first we need to get to grips with what’s on offer.
The original “smart drug” is piracetam, which was discovered by the Romanian scientist Corneliu Giurgea in the early 1960s. At the time, he was looking for a chemical that could sneak into the brain and make people feel sleepy.
After months of testing, he came up with “Compound 6215”. It was safe, it had very few side effects – and it didn’t work. The drug didn’t send anyone into a restful slumber and seemed to work in the opposite way to that intended.
Piracetam did have one intriguing side-effect, however. When patients took it for at least a month, it led to substantial improvements to their memories. Giurgea immediately recognised the significance of his findings, and coined the term “nootropic”, which combines the Greek words for “mind” and “bending”.
Today piracetam is a favourite with students and young professionals looking for a way to boost their performance, though decades after Giurgea’s discovery, there still isn’t much evidence that it can improve the mental abilities of healthy people. It’s a prescription drug in the UK, though it’s not approved for medical use by the US Food and Drug Administration and can’t be sold as a dietary supplement either.
Texas-based entrepreneur and podcaster Mansal Denton takes phenylpiracetam, a close relative of piracetam originally developed by the Soviet Union as a medication for cosmonauts, to help them endure the stresses of life in space. “I have a much easier time articulating certain things when I take it, so I typically do a lot of recording [of podcasts] on those days,” he says.
Creatine has been staple of most bodybuilders' diets for years – but now people are taking it in the hope it will give them some cerebral gains too (Credit: Getty Images)
In fact, this scenario is fairly typical of smart drugs. Though many have a passionate following of regular users, often their benefits on the brain are either unproven, or minimal. Which brings us to the least exciting possible consequence of a workforce saturated with them: nothing would be any different.
Take creatine monohydrate. This dietary supplement consists of a white powder, which is usually mixed into sugary drinks or milkshakes, or taken in pill form. The chemical is found naturally in the brain, and there is now some evidence that taking some extra creatine can improve your working memory and intelligence.
But though it’s relatively new on the scene with ambitious young professionals, creatine has a long history with bodybuilders, who have been taking it for decades to improve their muscle #gains.
In the US, sports supplements are a multibillion-dollar industry – and the majority contain creatine. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs last year, 22% of adults said they had taken a sports supplement in the last year.
If creatine was going to have a major impact in the workplace, surely we would have seen some signs of this already.
Of course, there are drugs out there with more transformative powers. “I think it’s very clear that some do work,” says Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist based at Stanford University.
In fact, there’s one category of smart drugs which has received more attention from scientists and biohackers – those looking to alter their own biology and abilities – than any other.
These are the stimulants.
Two increasingly popular options are amphetamines and methylphenidate, which are prescription drugs sold under the brand names Adderall and Ritalin.
In the United States, both are approved as treatments for people with ADHD, a behavioural disorder which makes it hard to sit still or concentrate.
Now they’re also widely abused by people in highly competitive environments, looking for a way to remain focused on specific tasks.
Ritalin is a stimulant intended to treat ADHD, but is often abused by people seeking to improve their focus (Credit: Getty Images)
Amphetamines have a long track record as smart drugs, from the workaholic mathematician Paul Erdös, who relied on them to get through 19-hour maths binges, to the writer Graham Greene, who used them to write two books at once. More recently, there are plenty of anecdotal accounts in magazines about their widespread use in certain industries, such as journalism, the arts and finance.
Those who have taken them swear they do work – though not in the way you might think. Back in 2015, a review of the evidence found that their impact on intelligence is “modest”.
But most people don’t take them to improve their mental abilities. Instead, they take them to improve their mental energy and motivation to work.
(Both drugs also come with serious risks and side effects – more on those later).
One consequence of taking stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin is the ability to stick with mentally taxing tasks, especially those with a clear reward in sight at the end. One study found that people considered a maths task “interesting” when they were on the latter.
If the entire workforce were to start doping with prescription stimulants, it seems ly that they would have two major effects. Firstly, people would stop avoiding unpleasant tasks, and weary office workers who had perfected the art of not-working-at-work would start tackling the office filing system, keeping spreadsheets up to date, and enthusiastically attending dull meetings.
And secondly, offices would become significantly more competitive. This fits with the general consensus about the long-term side effects of smart drugs more generally, though whether it’s a good thing is debatable.
“There seems to be a growing percentage of intellectual workers in Silicon Valley and Wall Street using nootropics.
They are akin to intellectual professional athletes where the stakes and competition is high,” says Geoffrey Woo, the CEO and co-founder of nutrition company HVMN, which produces a line of nootropic supplements. Denton agrees. “I think nootropics just make things more and more competitive.
The ease of access to Chinese, Russian intellectual capital in the United States, for example, is increasing. And there is a willingness to get any possible edge that’s available.”
But there would also be significant downsides. Amphetamines are structurally similar to crystal meth – a potent, highly addictive recreational drug which has ruined countless lives and can be fatal.
Both Adderall and Ritalin are known to be addictive, and there are already numerous reports of workers who struggled to give them up.
There are also side effects, such as nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, stomach pains, and even hair loss, among others.
Finally, a workforce high on stimulants wouldn’t necessarily be more productive overall. “One thinks ‘are these things dangerous?’ – and that’s important to consider in the short term,” says Huberman. “But there’s also a different question, which is: ‘How do you feel the day afterwards?’ Maybe you’re hyper-focused for four hours, 12 hours, but then you’re below baseline for 24 or 48.”
Given these drawbacks, it seems fair to speculate that prescription-strength stimulants aren’t ly to be changing the world anytime soon. But there is a milder version out there, which you can buy over the counter in nearly any café, newsagent, or supermarket: caffeine.
In the United States, people consume more coffee than fizzy drink, tea and juice combined.
Alas, no one has ever estimated its impact on economic growth – but plenty of studies have found myriad other benefits.
Somewhat embarrassingly, caffeine has been proven to be better than the caffeine-based commercial supplement that Woo’s company came up with, which is currently marketed at $17.95 for 60 pills.
Coffee: helping people stay on task for centuries (Credit: Getty Images)
Another popular option is nicotine.
Scientists are increasingly realising that this drug is a powerful nootropic, with the ability to improve a person’s memory and help them to focus on certain tasks – though it also comes with well-documented obvious risks and side effects. “There are some very famous neuroscientists who chew Nicorette in order to enhance their cognitive functioning. But they used to smoke and that’s their substitute,” says Huberman.
So what would happen if we all took smart drugs? It turns out most of us are already taking them every day, as we sip our morning coffee. But Balzac could have told you that.
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The Health Benefits of Piracetam
MT2013 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Piracetam is a nootropic, a class of drugs that may enhance memory and boost cognitive function. Derived from the amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), piracetam was first developed in the 1960s and is touted for the prevention and treatment of age-related cognitive decline, seizures, and learning disabilities.
Often referred to as a “smart drug,” piracetam is sold in health-food stores, but it is not considered a vitamin, mineral, amino acid, botanical, or dietary substance and therefore not classified as a dietary supplement by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. In Europe, piracetam is approved as a treatment for seizure disorders and sold as Nootropil.
Piracetam (chemical name 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide) is in a class of drugs called racetams, which include aniracetam, fasoracetam, phenylpiracetam, and adrafinil.
These drugs work on receptors in the brain known as αlpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptors, a key element in brain circuitry.
Stimulating AMPA receptors is believed to improve signal transmissions between neurons improving cognition and nerve system functioning.
Piracetam has been investigated for the past six decades as a potential treatment for several conditions including stroke, seizures, dementia, and alcoholism. It is derived from the neurotransmitter GABA, which is involved in mood regulation and movement disorders.
To date, however, most of the research is limited to animal studies and few human clinical trials have been published. Here's a closer look at the most promising potential health benefits of piracetam.
Several studies suggest piracetam offers promise in the treatment of central nervous system disorders including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and tardive dyskinesia. In Europe and the United Kingdom, piracetam is approved for the treatment of seizure disorders.
A 2012 study found piracetam may improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as difficulty walking and impaired motor functioning. However, this research is limited to studies in rats and there are no published human trials of piracetam for Parkinson’s.
Piracetam has been studied for its potential in improving cognitive function in patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular cognitive impairment. A 2002 report published in Dementia & Geriatric Cognitive Disorders found that piracetam was superior to placebo in the treatment of older adults with cognitive impairment.
Just how piracetam impacts memory is unclear. Some research points to its impact on beta-amyloid, a factor in Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies suggests piracetam works to reduce the inflammation that may lead to cognitive decline.
However, the literature is limited to animal studies and human trials are needed before piracetam can be recommended for the treatment of cognitive decline.
Piracetam may trigger a number of side effects, such as sleep disruption, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, diarrhea, weight gain, and anxiety.
It's important to keep in mind that supplements are largely unregulated and haven't been tested for safety. In addition, piracetam is not FDA approved as a dietary supplement and or an over-the-counter medication and should not be labeled as such.
Piracetam may interact with alcohol and may increase the rate of intoxication. If mixing piracetam with alcohol, use caution and do not drive.
Piracetam is sold in the United States as capsules and powder, but there is no standard recognized dose. In Europe, where it is available as a prescription, it is sold in 800mg and 1,200mg tablets, with a recommended dose between 2.4 grams and 4.8 grams daily.
Although piracetam cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement in the United States, piracetam products are widely available for purchase online. Look for brands that have been certified by a trusted independent third party U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or ConsumerLab.
While the potential brain-boosting benefits of piracetam have been touted for years, there is limited clinical evidence to support its use. However, there are a number of natural remedies that have been shown to be effective.
For instance, fish oil, a source of omega-3 fatty acids, has been found to enhance cognitive function, preserve memory, and protect against depression and Alzheimer's disease. Found naturally oily fish (including salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and herring), fish oil is also sold in supplement form.
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Piracetam: Side-Effects, Risks & User Reviews
Piracetam is one of the most popular “nootropic” (“cognition-enhancing”) drugs. Due to its popularity, it is often presented as a “risk-free” drug, without any major side-effects or other risks.
However, legitimate scientific data about its overall safety and potential dangers is lacking, and many different studies have reported conflicting results regarding its efficacy and safety in healthy human users.
In this post, we’ll be counter-balancing some of the “hype” about piracetam by reviewing what some of the latest science has to say about its potential negative side-effects and other possible risks. Read on to learn more!
Mechanisms of Action
Due to a lack of extensive research on piracetam, the potential mechanisms behind its possible effects remain largely unknown.
However, some early research has identified a few possible candidate mechanisms and effects, such as :
- Activating AMPA receptors
- Increasing NMDA receptors
- Increasing acetylcholine (ACh) receptor numbers
- Enhancing energy metabolism – increased oxygen utilization, mitochondrial permeability, and cytochrome B5 synthesis.
- GABA- characteristics
- Antioxidant properties
Piracetam Side-Effects & Risks
any drug, piracetam has the potential to cause adverse side-effects, and it is therefore important to be aware of these.
Unfortunately, however, the safety profile of piracetam is relatively unknown, due to the lack of well-designed large-scale clinical studies.
This is why it is always crucially important to speak to your doctor before starting any new supplements or medications.
The list of side-effects below is not a complete or definitive list, and you should consult your doctor about other potential side-effects, any pre-existing health conditions and possible drug or supplement interactions.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side-effects. In the US, you may report side-effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch