When supplemented, it may provide a boost to brain function. Piracetam has a history of being used to support cognitive function.
√ May Boost Memory Function
√ Supports Improvement In Learning
√ May Enhance Focus
√ Boosts Ability to Protect Brain
Piracetam helps with cognitive function and may support to obtain mental clarity.
What is Piracetam?
Piracetam is a nootropic (a term which comes from a Greek word meaning acting on the mind.) that is commonly reported to be a stimulant to the Central Nervous System and a booster of intelligence with no known toxicity or addictive properties. People who have used the product often describe the sensation as waking up the brain.
Piracetam enhances memory and cognitive performance, it slows down the aging process on the brain, increases blood flow and oxygen into the brain, aids in the recovery after a stroke and improves Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, senile dementia and dyslexia. Piracetam a derivative of GABA, is one of the few racetams which can inhibit brain damage caused by a variety of factors including a lack of oxygen to the brain and even excessive alcohol consumption.
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In 1964 Dr Corneliu Giurgea led the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB to first synthesize Piracetam and it was he who first coined the phrase or term Nootropic drug – a substance which enhances mental performance. Nootropil was the first brand name of Piracetam and was launched clinically in the early 1970’s.
During this same period evidence began to show that Piracetam works in part through a multimodal cholinergic activity. When combining Piracetam with either lecithin or choline studies in both aged rats and humans proved to radically enhance learning ability in both plus significant improvement in memory in Alzheimer’s patients. Yet giving choline or lecithin alone provided little or no benefit, while Piracetam alone at least provided some benefit.
How Does Piracetam Work?
Piracetam works to increase memory by making the transfer of acetylcholine more effective. Not only is acetylcholine implicated in memory processes, the chemical compound is a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS) in many organisms, including humans. Further, It also affects NMDA glutamate receptors which also play a role in the memory formation and learning processes.
Piracetam has a range of cognitive, mood, social, and physical benefits. Piracetam’s effects are considered less strong compared to its more modern counterparts but still remains a very popular choice for a well-rounded nootropic supplement that has stood the test of time. The following are some of the key reasons that people take this nootropic.
Memory Improvement – Piracetam is perhaps best well known for being a memory enhancer. According to a meta-analysis on human studies, piracetam improves general cognition when supplemented by people in a state of cognitive decline, such as the kind that comes with aging.
Cognition – In brain enhancement circles, memory and “cognition” are considered different things. While neither you nor I need to know the details of this distinction, the evidence suggests piracetam can improve cognitive function particularly in those who have ailments or degeneration
Neuroprotection – As the human brain ages, it starts to decline. Just like an old car starts to sputter and stall, the aged brain will start to develop ailments that impact memory, hand-eye coordination, among a host of other things. Piracetam can help elderly (and non-elderly) to prevent the decline of neurons in the brain.
Mood – Anecdotal reports suggest piracetam can be an effective tool for dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression, but the clinical research is slim. One study had self-reported reductions in depression with unhealthy patients
Piracetam in Treatment of Diseases and Conditions
Over the last 4 decades and mainly in Europe, Piracetam has been used experimentally or clinically to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, some of which are covered below.
Piracetam has been used successfully to treat alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. It has brought improvement, or slowed deterioration in senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and after a stroke improved recovery from speech impairment. For those suffering with decreased brain blood flow or cerebral ischaemia, Piracetam has restored some limb function, speech and a state of consciousness. For elderly psychiatric patients with cerebral impairment Piracetam improved IQ, alertness and co-operation.
With Piracetam dyslexic children have better reading comprehension, accuracy of reading, writing, spelling and an increased memory and verbal learning.
For those experiencing middle-aged forgetfulness to the elderly suffering from age related memory impairment Piracetam has improved mental performance, memory and recall. Piracetam reversed the typical EEG slowing associated with normal human aging whilst at the same time increasing vigilance, attention and memory.
Following head injuries, comatose or post-concussional patients had a reduction in the severity of major symptoms and an improved state of consciousness with Piracetam.
It has been used successfully to treat motion sickness and vertigo.
With severe muscle spasms (Myoclonus) or vasospasm’s in the hands or feet (Raynaud’s syndrome) Piracetam has proved to be one the best products for treatment.
Both clinically and experimentally Piracetam has been used to inhibit sickle cell anemia.
Piracetam has improved Parkinson’s disease, and can work synergistically with standard L-dopa treatment.
Piracetam has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to prevent or reverse the toxic action of an array of chemicals and conditions. It was discovered that after one year feeding alcohol to rats the formation of lipofuscin (an age-related waste pigment) in brain cells was significantly increased. After high doses of Piracetam were given to the alcohol-fed rats their lipofuscin levels significantly reduced.
Piracetam Side Effects
Piracetam is generally considered very well tolerated. One of the major key points to note with Piracetam is its amazing lack of toxicity. Clinical toxicity studies have failed to find a lethal dose (LD50) of Piracetam and one conclusion stated that Piracetam is virtually non-toxic and is therefore considered to be one of the safest products ever developed.
Even at long term high doses Piracetam is regularly recognized as being devoid of negative side effects. In a study on 225 dyslexic children it was noted that piracetam was well tolerated, with no serious adverse clinical or laboratory effects reported. There are so many clinical studies which share and draw the same conclusion, Piracetam is incredibly well tolerated and without side effects.
There are few side effects reported, with less than 10 percent of users having any kind of negative reaction. The few reported adverse effects include headache, anxiety, and insomnia. Headache is the most widely reported side effect which can often be remedied by stacking with a choline supplement.
Piracetam has a large range of effective doses. A low baseline dose of 400 mg is the bottom of most suggested servings, while 800 mg is the median which many people take in a single sitting. This amount can be repeated three times a day with zero toxicity effects.
Keep in mind that these recommended dosages are for when piracetam is taken on its own without being stacked with other nootropics.
Piracetam Stacking Advice
Piracetam can be easily added to many different nootropic stacks. Here are three great variations:
Piracetam and Choline Stack: This is one of the more typical and widely used blends. Piracetam works to increase memory by making the transfer of acetylcholine more effective. Add choline sources, like Alpha GPC, Centraophenoxine and Choline Bitartrate, to increase the production of Acetylcholine.
Piracetam, Aniracetam and Choline Stack: Piracetam is also commonly stacked with other racetams. When combined with another nootropics, the results are usually synergistic. The Piracetam & Aniracetam stack is often praised for its excellent effect on memory and mood. The recommended ratio of piracetam to aniracetam is 4:1. Add choline sources, like Alpha GPC, Centraophenoxine and Choline Bitartrate, to increase the production of Acetylcholine.
In a clinical experiment lasting 3 weeks, rats were given Hexachlorophene (HCP), a toxic chemical that induces edema, membrane damage and increases the sodium whilst decreasing the potassium levels in brain cells. The HCP seriously disrupted the rats’ ability to navigate a horizontal ladder without frequently falling off the rungs. After the introduction of Piracetam the fall rate reduced by 75%. Piracetam was also found to increase the survival rate of rats subjected to severe hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the brain) and also proved to reverse the induced amnesia and learning problems plus speeded up the post hypoxic recovery time. In humans, when a single 2400mg dose of Piracetam was administered and tested in an environment equal to 5300m./17,000 ft. altitude, eye movement reflexes were enhanced and the breathing rate and choice reaction time were reduced.
Neuroscientists in the 1980’s discovered that brain cholinergic neural networks are intimately involved in memory and learning. They also discovered that the structure and function of the cholinergic nerves degenerate in brain aging and in dementias such as Alzheimer’s, impairing both the ability of memory and of learning.
Research has also shown that Piracetam increases high-affinity choline uptake (HACU), a process which forms acetylcholine (ACh) through the cholinergic nerve endings. In another rat experiment using a drug which blocks ACH receptors learning was prevented and glucose utilization was reduced. But when pre-treated with Piracetam learning was normal as was the glucose-energy metabolism.
In normal aging humans a decline occurs in the cortex acetylcholine receptors. The same happens in aged mice with receptors becoming inactive but with oral treatment of a high dose of Piracetam the activity of the ACh cortex nerves were partially restored.
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ACh and Glutamate (GLU) are two of the most central activating neurotransmitters facilitating alertness, focus, attention, memory and learning. As Piracetam improves memory and mental performance its effects on ACh/GLU neurotransmission must be presumed. Another interesting point to note is that although Piracetam is usually reported to have little to no side effects, on the rare occasion side effects including anxiety, insomnia, agitation, irritability and tremor are identical to the symptoms of excessive ACh/GLU neuroactivity.
Piracetam has shown in the numerous animal and human studies that it has a diverse range of neurological and psychological effects but it is not considered to be a direct activator or inhibitor of the synaptic action of most neurotransmitters. Findings indicated that Piracetam and other similar nootropics in fact enhance neuronal excitability [electrical activity] within specific neuronal pathways exerting their effect in the cell membrane of all excitable cells. Therefore the result of their action is an increase in general neuronal sensitivity towards stimulation thus optimizing the functional state of the brain.
Various studies have found that Piracetam enhances brain energy levels especially under deficit conditions. ATP is Energy and it is essential to the brain’s very survival. The brain uses 15-20% of the body’s total ATP production. Created out of glucose and oxygen brain cells have to produce all their own ATP. Studies of cerebral blood flow, oxygen uptake and glucose utilization have shown that brain carbohydrate metabolism is impaired in a variety of dementias and that the degree in the reduction of brain carbohydrate metabolism correlates to the severity of the dementia. A 1987 study concluded that with Piracetam there was a 22% increase in whole brain glucose metabolism.
In humans and animals the cerebral cortex is divided into two hemispheres – the left and right. Generally the left hemisphere (which controls the right side of the body) is the dominant hemisphere tending to be logical, analytical, linguistic and sequential in its information processing, while the right will be intuitive, picture-oriented and simultaneous in its information processing. Most favour one side over the other with the dominant hemisphere showing more electrical activity and even though the two sides are linked by nerve fibres, it seems that they are separated. Part of the definition of a nootropic is to facilitate inter cerebral information transfer between the two hemispheres and research has shown Piracetam to do so.
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