It can be difficult to know which nootropics to take and to differentiate between the various Racetams currently available. Although all the Racetams share similar common benefits, each one has noticeable differences that make it more suitable for individual needs or situations. It has been noted in studies and observations that some stimulate creativity, some calm anxiety, and others will have a greater effect on focus and concentration. Important to note is that every individual’s biochemistry is different and there will be differences in the effects felt from person to person.
Generally speaking, a nootropic is a drug that improves mental functioning, improve your memory and makes you more focused.
They have a neuro protective effect, meaning they prevent memory loss and other cognitive defects common in the aging process or in people who’ve suffered from some types of brain damage such as that from toxins, such as alcohol, or physical, for example, from an accident or stroke.
It is for this reason that nootropics have been used to treat conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Recently the usage of nootropics has begun to rise as healthy minded individuals seek them out for their cognitive enhancing and productivity boosting advantages but they remain a mainstay for many of us who are seeking healthy aging strategies.
Piracetam – The Most Popular Nootropic
- – The original Racetam developed in 1964, the most studied, and most popular of the nootropics family.
- – It has been found to mildly enhance verbal memory
- – Observed to increase verbal learning
- – Piracetam is generally beneficial for cognitive decline associated with age
The Grandfather of the Nootropics Family
[the_ad id=”911″] A scientist by the name of Corneliu E. Giurgea, working for a Belgian pharmaceutical company called UCB first synthesized Piracetam and was fascinated by its apparent ability to boost mental functioning in even healthy individuals and also, by its safety. As a result of Giurgea’s new found discovery, he coined the term nootropic to describe it and other substances. Piracetam (trade name “Nootropil”) was launched clinically by UCB in the early 1970s, and currently is in use in many European countries.
Why are they called Nootropics?
The word nootropic was created from the Greek words, noos, mining mind, and tropos, meaning turn, to describe Piracetam and other drugs like it. Giurgea defined a nootropic as a drug that improves attention and memory and has a very low toxicity.
For the young otherwise healthy individual, Piracetam seems to provide moderate beneficial effects. While there is certainly some cognitive enhancement with Piracetam, it’s effects are not pronounced. For individuals with cognitive decline, particularly related to aging, Piracetam seems much more relevant.
Alcoholism and Piracetam
Piracetam has been used successfully to treat alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. 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.
Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Stroke
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 ischemia, 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.
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.
Inhibit Sickle Cell Anemia
Both clinically and experimentally Piracetam has been used to inhibit sickle cell anemia.
Improves Parkinson’s disease
Piracetam has improved Parkinson’s disease, and can work synergistically with standard L-dopa treatment.
Lack of Toxicity
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.
Suggested Use: 800mg-2400mg taken 1-2 times per day, with food or without food. Piracetam possesses a moderate half life (around 5 hours) and is best dosed 2-3 times per day.
What People Have to Say About Piracetam
Piracetam Reviews from Reddit:
“While it doesn’t make you smarter it does improve cognition and memory. My own personal testing via simple tests of memory and cognition have showed increases of 10-18%.”
“Piracetam makes me feel just like a more confident and creative person. Its a welcome amplification of who I am already, rather than changing me.
Both modafinil and piracetam motivate me by making success seem more obtainable. Whereas modafinil just keeps pushing me as I have tonnes of energy, piracetam makes me motivate myself a little better. But with piracetam its easy to get sidetracked off non-creative work with creative ideas.”
“I found myself a little more social when using piracetam. It made it easier to recall conversations and form sentences fluently. I guess that made me enjoy talking to people more.”
Piracetam Reviews From WebMD:
“I just recently started taking it for memory and overall brain function that I damaged from drug use. I have noticed an improvement in all aspects of my memory, cognition, mood, sleep, etc. From what I’ve read about it on the web, I think it’s going to help me greatly with my recovery. I am so grateful for this.”
“I’ve been taking piracetam everyday now for about one month, and have found it to be extremely effective in my daily cognitive activities. It helps me think clearly and also has helped me become more sociable, as it gives me a positive attitude. I have also found that piracetam makes me more spiritual and thirsty for wisdom and knowledge, as I am more interested in prayer and reading when I’m taking it.”
- – A fat soluble Racetam derivative developed in the 1970s
- – Regarded as two to five times more potent than piracetam
- – Known to improve attention, alertness, learning and memory
- – Known to aid in collective and holistic thinking
- – Treats depression and anxiety
Developed in Europe
Aniracetam was first made by Hoffman La-Roche a Belgian pharmaceutical company in the 1970’s. It is a successor of piracetam that appears to be more potent and possess anti-anxiety effects. Many reports from the various forums on the internet (Reddit.com, Longecity.com) have published reports of Aniracetam having the effect of creating a feeling of well being, calmness, mental fluidity and enhanced focus and concentration.
Aniracetam has been extensively studied for many years, and like Piracetam has an extremely low toxicity and is considered very safe.
Visual Recognition and Cognitive Performance
Several studies provide evidence that Aniracetam can improve cognitive performance.
Aniracetam improves visual recognition, motor performance, and general intellectual function in humans. (Ingvar M, Ambros-Ingerson J, Davis M, Granger R, Kessler M, et al. (1997))
There is growing evidence in the scientific community that suggests that ‘core object recognition,’ or the ability to rapidly recognize objects despite substantial appearance variation, is solved in the brain via a cascade of reflexive, largely feedforward computations that are not yet well understood. However, the decline of visual recognition is one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and results in the forgetfulness for everyday words and objects considered so normal for the rest of us.
Aniracetam’s reported positive effect on visual recognition may be significant to its’ efficacy for enhancing learning, solving complex holistic type problems and diminishing the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and other experiences of cognitive degeneration.
Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Stroke
According to a study published by Adis International Limited of Auckland New Zealand, and conducted by C R Lee and P Benfield, “The efficacy of orally administered Aniracetam in improving cognition and various other subjective symptoms in elderly patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT) has been evaluated in a few comparative trials. Aniracetam 1500 mg/day was more effective than placebo at 4 and 6 months in 1 study in 109 patients fulfilling the clinical criteria guidelines of the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association for probable SDAT of mild to moderate severity. Aniracetam recipients showed a 12 to 35% improvement in items assessed from the Sandoz Clinical Assessment Geriatric (SCAG) scale.”
There have been studies on the anti-anxiety effects of Aniracetam usage in animals. A study from the European Journal of Pharmacology found that Aniracetam improved social interaction test scores and reduced depression and anxiety in environmental stress tests. Another study published in the same journal found that Aniracetam outperformed Piracetam in relieving stress and depression on similar tests. A study published by Brain Research concluded, “the physiological roles in the Aniracetam-sensitive brain regions may closely link with their clinical efficacy towards emotional disturbances”.
With respect to what people report feeling from Aniracetam, users observe that Aniracetam increases feelings of calmness, and relaxation. Anxiety experienced in anticipation of stressful events such as social situations, examinations or work related events, can become much easier to deal with and less emotional.
Aniracetam, like it’s older brother Piracetam has very low toxicity, is considered very safe and does not adversely affect the liver. Side effects are usually not detected but will vary amongst individuals. Some individuals may experience mild headaches and the substance is known for having a bitter taste which is noticeable when taking it in bulk powder form. As Aniracetam needs to be taken with a lipid as it is not water soluble, many people take it along side a Krill or Fish Oil supplement, while others take it with butter coffee or flavorful blends of herbal tea and cocoanut oil.
Suggested Use: 750mg taken 1-3 times per day, with food. Aniracetam possesses a short half life (around 1-2 hours) and is best frequently dosed.
What People Have to Say About Aniracetam:
Aniracetam Reviews from Reddit:
“Aniracetam seems to have this similar effect to Focalin in that it kills boredom, laziness and gives you a certain sense of purpose.”
Aniracetam Reviews from Longecity:
“The persistent, quite debilitating fatigue I experience as a result of mental illness has halved, easily. I’ve enrolled in a community college as of two days ago because the effects are so substantial. They’re cumulative.
The fifth day of use showed the most effect. Previously I had noticed the effects but they weren’t very impressive. Eight days in my mood has improved, my sociability has improved, my anxiety has lessened, my fatigue has vastly lessened, and my never ending mental block (Which I now know is termed “brain-fog”) has largely dissipated.”
Aniracetam Reviews from socialanxietysupport.com:
“I too can attest that Aniracetam is a powerfully beneficial substance. I’ve been taking it for 3 months and can say that life feels simpler than it used to be, and tasks that i used to find tedious are now much more doable. It hasn’t directly had much effect on my anxiety, but it’s made my attention easier to control which has consequently allowed me to spend less time worrying and ruminating about the past”
“I have started today Aniracetam tests. I have ordered it from US. As my concentration and memory was not really good I decided to get something form nootropics. I have found it can work for anxiety as well. Today I tried it in two doses. One at the morning (2g), other one at 6 pm (1g). I can tell you it is working really nice for anxiety! All day long I felt so alert(but nut in a wrong way), calm, confident and focused practically without anxiety at all. It works really subtle for me but makes a difference! It gives me very good concentration level without anxious thoughts. Grab it if you can”
- – Considered to be the most powerful of the Racetam family of nootropics
- – A water soluble piracetam derivative first reported in the literature in 1977
- – Regarded as stimulating,
- – Considered for increased mental energy and cognitive processing
- – Clinically used to prevent cognitive decline in dementia
- – Detectable in blood for much longer than Piracetam
A Relative Newcomer
Oxiracetam was originally developed by the Italian pharmaceutical company, ICF. [the_ad id=”920″] The supplement was introduced in Italy in 1988 and is now sold and widely known throughout the world. Currently in most countries, it is not considered a drug and is consequently taken by people as a brain supplement. Often stacked or added to Piracetam for greater cognitive affect as well as with Choline (see our article on Choline) for improved effectiveness and in the event of a choline deficient diet.
Brain and Memory Boosting plus Concussion Benefits
The proven beneficial effects include results that lead to higher scores in tests for logical performance, attention, concentration, memory and spatial orientation. According to an article published by The Brain Research Review, tests were performed on patients with mild to moderate dementia and ADHD, at doses of 800–2400 mg orally twice a day for one to six months. Improvement was seen in patients with exogenic post-concussion syndrome, organic brain syndromes and other dementias. According to V. Gallai et al, Oxiracetam is more effective than piracetam for this purpose.
Oxiracetam is really considered to be a true cognitive enhancer since it does not seem to have any significant effects on anxiety or mood. The supplement is not known to work on the brain chemicals dopamine, serotonin or their associated receptors. While other nootropics are both mood enhancers and cognitive enhancers, Oxiracetam would not be used to treat depression.
Stimulating and Improves Mental Energy
Oxiracetam is generally regarded as the “speedy” Racetam as it provides the most stimulating effects as reported in many reviews and comments on forums like Reddit and Longecity.
Caffeine is taken by many people either through beverages or in powder form as a stimulant in order to feel more awake and alert, but it can have other unintended consequences that are not as positive. Some people can experience adrenal fatigue or that coffee letdown from drinking too much coffee and taking caffeine supplements. In contrast, Oxiracetam is a very high quality yet mild stimulant that can improve your memory at the same time.
Due to the relatively quick absorption and bioavailability, the Oxiracetam enters the blood stream fairly quickly and reaches peak serum levels usually within one or two hours. This is often followed by a stimulating effect which is one of the reasons many people take Oxiracetam. In addition, people also combine piracetam and Oxiracetam for longer term memory enhancement with a short-term stimulant boost.
A Coffee Replacement
For those tired of the negative health affects of caffeine, this might be a good option for you to use as a stimulant.
Water Soluble and Easy to Take
Since Oxiracetam is water soluble its not necessary to take it with any liquid in particular. It’s easy enough to swallow a capsule with your morning orange juice or a glass of water and its often suggested that it be taken without food for quicker absorption.
Suggested Use: 750mg taken 1-2 times per day, with food or without food. Oxiracetam possesses a longer half life (8 hours) and stimulant sensitive individuals probably shouldn’t take it close to bedtime
What People Have to Say About Oxiracetam:
Oxiracetam Reviews from Socialanxietysupport.com:
“I much prefer Oxiracetam. More potent and flavorless. I could dump it in anything including plain water and hardly notice. It also only took 1/8-1/4tsp. Unfortunately, it’s a little harder to find and more expensive. Piracetam gave me respiratory issues. I started coughing a lot and having asthma reactions to things. Aniracetam is ok but I have to put it in capsules because of the taste.”
“Initially I experienced immense focus and mental clarity that I only feel on rare occasion, you’re motivation levels certainly increase, Thoughts and ideas begin to flow more fluently and mental block seemed to be very rare, hence learning new concepts becomes a breeze (at least it was in my experience) . The easiest way to describe the feeling is to imagine that you’ve consumed a decent amount of caffeine but no jitters, no sweating and no increase in heart rate because it’s not technically a stimulant so you feel totally wired but non of the adverse side effects occur that are associated with classic stimulants ;Caffeine, Adderall, Ritalin , Dexamphetamine etc. The beauty of Oxiracetam is that unlike other Racetams such as Aniracetam and its older brother Piracetam is that it does not need weeks –months to start showing results.”
Review From Bulletproofexec.com:
“The Oxiracetam does improve memory, but I like it more for its effect on my outlook. It shuts down brain chatter and makes me emotionless and extremely logical. That is, it seems to greatly reduce compulsion so I can just make clear decisions. It also makes it easier to focus on long-running tasks such as studying in my experience.”
If you haven’t tried nootropics yet you may want to start out with Piracetam the oldest and most popular and see what difference it makes. On the other hand if you have specific concerns such as energy and stimulations, learning or visual memory or anxiety you may want to consider Oxiracetam or Aniracetam or a combination. As always consult with your health professional and ensure you use supplements from a trusted source.
Tell Us Your Experience:
Please share with others reading this article what your experiences have been. What effects do your nootropics have on you? How do you take your supplements and what combinations do you use or have used in the past? Ask us your questions, we’re here to help.