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The Racetam Family of Nootropics: Piracetam and Beyond

25 March, 2014
The Racetam Family of Nootropics: Piracetam and Beyond

The Racetams are a group of related synthetic nootropics that have a range of benefits from improving memory and cognition, enhancing mood, and protecting against aging. When combined with intentional learning efforts, the Racetams can increase neuroplasticity – your brains ability to change itself and form new connections. All Racetams are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, enabling them to exert their cognitive benefits. The most popular Racetam is Piracetam, which is credited as being the “first nootropic” after it was synthesized in 1963. Other popular Racetams that will be explored in this post are Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam, Phenylpiracetam, Coluracetam and Noopept.

Piracetam

History:

Piracetam is one of the most popular nootropics among the nootropic community for its uses in enhancing memory and cognition as well as lowering anxiety and depression. Piracetam was synthesized in 1964 by a Belgian pharmaceutical company, and is used as a prescription drug in many European countries for its memory and mood boosting properties.

The Racetam Family of Nootropics: Piracetam and Beyond

Research and Uses:

In a two-week long study on Piracetam conducted in 1976, the cognitive enhancer was found to enhance verbal memory in college students, and it has since been studied for an array of other benefits. Though this nootropic is most commonly credited for it’s memory-enhancing properties, some sources suggest more recently that its effect on lowering depression and anxiety might actually be more pronounced.

Dosage:

A standard for the recommended daily dose of Piracetam is not established, and users report positive effects from doses ranging from less than 800mg to over 4 grams, taken multiple times per day.

Aniracetam

History:

Aniracetam was developed in 1970, and is popular for its mood-enhancing effects. It is commonly used to combat social anxiety, making it ideal for public speakers or performers. In Europe, Aniracetam is sold as a prescription drug, though it is not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.

The Racetam Family of Nootropics: Piracetam and BeyondResearch and Uses:

Aniracetam exhibits neuroprotective qualities, meaning that it protects the brain. In research, it has been found to promote the formation of new synapses and to enhance synaptic plasticity. What this means for you is that your brain will more easily make new connections between thoughts and memories, enabling creativity and problem solving in a newly induced calm mental environment. For Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, it also means the possibility of strengthening these connections in the brain and preventing their decay, which it has been studied extensively for.

Dosage:

A typical dose of Aniracetam is 750mg, every 3-5 hours as needed or desired.

Oxiracetam

History:

The first published study on Oxiracetam is from 1990, and there have been many studies conducted on this nootropic since then.

The Racetam Family of Nootropics: Piracetam and Beyond

Research and Uses:

Oxiracetam is most recognized for its ability to enhance learning and prevent cognitive decline, and it is generally understood to be non-toxic and very safe, exhibiting no long-term side effects. Oxiracetam has been found to potentially improve spatial memory and spatial learning, while possibly increasing cellular ATP, which would provide a range of added physical and mental health benefits. Oxiracetam works by affecting the production of two key neurotransmitters in the brain: acetylcholine and glutamate. By increasing production of acetylcholine, our ability to think, to concentrate, and to make logical decisions are enhanced. Glutamate, on the other hand, is an amino acid that our brains rely on in the formation of memories, so enhanced memory is often experienced when taking Oxiracetam.

Dosage:

A daily dose of Oxiracetam can range from 600-3000mg, divided into three doses throughout the day. For a first timer, starting with a low dose is always a good idea so you know how your body responds!

Pramiracetam

History:

First developed in the late 1970s, Pramiracetam is popular for increasing focus and memory, and improving mental endurance and clarity of thought. Pramiracetam is one of the strongest members of the Racetam family, with a potency of up to 30 times that of Piracetam.

Research and Uses:

Because of Pramiracetam’s potency, the effects of this nootropic are felt immediately and effectively shortly after ingesting it. Research has found that this cognitive enhancer works by increasing the rate of high-affinity choline uptake, and oxygenating and increasing blood flow to the brain, resulting in healthier neurons and a wide range of perceivable cognitive benefits. Pramiracetam is a prescription drug in several European countries, and is prescribed for ADHD, dementia, and a number of other mental disorders.

Dosage:

A common dose of Pramiracetam is about 250-500mg, up to 3 times daily.

The Racetam Family of Nootropics: Piracetam and Beyond

Noopept

History:

While not always recognized as a member of the Racetam family of nootropics, Noopept is derived from the Racetams, and shares a mechanism of action similar to its ancestors. This synthetic Nootropic was patented in the United States in 1995.

Research and Uses:

Noopept has been found to show neuroprotective and memory-enhancing qualities in animal studies, and has shown promising results in human studies testing the drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Noopept has also been found to reduce or eliminate irritability, anxiety and even sleep disorders.

Dosage:

Noopept is up to 1000 times as strong as Piracetam, and is typically ingested in small doses of 10-30mg, up to 3 times daily.

 

The Racetam Family of Nootropics: Piracetam and BeyondPhenylpiracetam

History:

Phenylpiracetam is a stimulant nootropic that was developed in Russia in 1983 and was initially given to soldiers and astronauts for its ability to increase ones tolerance to pain and cold weather. It is still prescribed for these reasons in Russia, as well as for its general stimulatory effects, though for these same reasons it is banned from use in the Olympics. Phenylpiracetam is thought to be 30-60 times as potent as Piracetam, making it even more potent than Pramiracetam.

Research and Uses:

Phenylpiracetam has also been found to prevent retrograde amnesia, increase outcome-driven operant behavior, enhance mood, and suppress social anxiety and fears about responding. It affects choline and glutamate receptors in the brain, and also increases dopamine and serotonin levels, therefore providing the mood-enhancing effects. Phenylpiracetam can do wonders, though it is quite expensive!

Dosage:

Due to its high potency, Phenylpiracetam is commonly taken in small doses of 25-100mg, twice daily.

Coluracetam

History:

Coluracetam is the newest member of the Racetam family of nootropics, and was initially developed in 2005 for possibly treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Research and Uses:

Though the results were inconclusive in regards to Alzheimer’s treatment, later studies conducted by BrainCells Inc. found Coluracetam effective for treating major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder in patients who had previously failed treatment on an average of two antidepressants. The patients experienced positive changes in behavior and self-efficacy without changing serotonin levels. The absence of effects on serotonin levels suggest that Coluracetam may provide the benefits of SSRIs without the side effects typically associated with these medications. Coluracetam is a high-affinity choline uptake enhancer, meaning that it speeds up the flow of acetylcholine in brain synapses, providing memory and mood-enhancing effects.

Dosage:

An effective dose of Coluracetam is generally in the range of 20-80mg.

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