As human beings we always strive to reach our full potential. The idea of expanding the brain and enhancing our learning capabilities has existed for generations.
Opening our minds and reaching a deeper state of consciousness are things most people can only dream of.
Although we dream of achieving this heightened state of awareness, few ever reach it.
The movie Limitless comes to mind as one man uses a miracle pill to expand his brain capabilities and reach goals he previously thought were unobtainable.
Although this is a fictional movie, there are mind enhancers which exist today.
One of these drugs is known as Piracetam. Many have laid claim to it being a brain booster, mind enhancer, and neurological phenomenon.
But Piracetam is not a new trendy drug that has recently entered the marketplace. In fact, Piracetam has existed for nearly half a century.
It’s also one of the most widely reviewed supplements of all-time as several thousand studies have been performed on it based on hundreds of clinical trials.
To truly understand the capabilities of Piracetam, one must dive deep into the pharmacological nature of it and understand how it was created.
Piracetam can help you improve upon all aspects of your life whether it be home, work, or social life.
In this blog, we will look into the rich history of Piracetam to help us understand what it can be used for and why it may be the right option for you.
Who Created Piracetam?
Once upon a time there was a Romanian scientist and chemist known as Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea. Not only was he a science scholar, but also somewhat of a philosophical genius.
Giurgea studied at the University of Bucharest where he received his Ph.D and later became a lifelong practicing professor.
As a man ahead of his time, he believed that he could create a substance that could expand the mind. Giurgea lived a life that was dedicated to helping the human mind reach it’s full potential.
After years of experimentation he created the world’s first nootropic substance known as Piracetam in the year 1964.
He would retroactively categorize this Piracetam under a new category of drugs called nootropics, a term first created in 1972.
According to Giurgea, the five main principles behind nootropics were the following:
- They should increase one’s ability to learn and enhance memory capabilities
- They should enhance the resistance of learned behaviors and memories
- They should provide neurological protection against physical or chemical issues
- They should increase the capabilities of the brain
- They should be differentiated from traditional psychoactive drugs and should have little to no side effects nor be harmful to the body
These principles along the creation of Piracetam led many people to call Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea the godfather of cognitive research and brain enhancement.
Few supplements have stood the test of time, so it’s safe to say there is some validity as to why Piracetam is still widely used today.
What are Nootropics?
Unlike other compounds, nootropics encompass a wide umbrella of drugs and supplements used to expand the mind. What each of these substances have in common is their end goal – increasing the cognitive abilities of the brain.
In fact, the formal definition for Piracetam is “mind enhancer,” otherwise commonly known as “smart drugs.”
According to a 2016 research piece nootropics improve cognitive performance by key improvements in the following areas:
Nootropics can be synthetic or naturally derived and can improve brain performance through a number of different mechanisms or pathways. Piracetam was the first substance to be classified under this wide category of drugs and supplements.
Many drugs and supplements may be classified as nootropics due to their brain enhancing capabilities such as:
- Bacopa Monnieri
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Panax Ginseng
These are just a few of the other common supplements sometimes categorized as nootropics, but there are surely many more.
How is Piracetam Created?
Although the main purpose of Dr. Giurgea’s research was brain enhancement, we have since learned the supplement has a wide range of possibilities.
Piracetam is a synthetic supplement created from gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Unless you are in the .0001% of the world who holds an advanced degree in chemistry, this statement probably holds no bearing to you.
GABA is an amino acid and neurotransmitter which sends information between cells. Although the body produces it naturally, it can also be created in synthetic form.
GABA supplements help raise GABA levels which is said to help treat:
- Anxiety problems
- Relieve stress
- Help with depression
- Improve sleeping habits
GABA is not readily available in the foods we eat but can be increased through the consumption of vegetables, fruits, wine, and tea.
Studies show certain health disorders can also be improved with piracetam according to a 2005 drug review claiming it can help relieve:
- Cognitive disorders
- Sickle cell anemia
These are just a few of the disorders regular Piracetam use is said to help correct. Piracetam can be used for a multitude of other reasons as well.
How Does Piracetam Work?
The exact mechanisms of Piracetam are not fully understood, but many believe it enhances production of the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine receptors.
Acetylcholine helps regulate functions such as focus, memory, mood, and alertness. It also provides neuroprotective traits that are necessary to ensure long-term brain health.
Another way Piracetam works is through increasing communication between the two spheres of the brain. Piracetam does this by increasing blood flow and oxygen. As a result the brain is able to communicate more efficiently resulting in better motor and language skills.
Piracetam also increases cell membrane permeability. A 2005 study revealed Piracetam has been shown to alter the physical properties of the plasma membrane by increasing fluidity and providing cellular protection.
Piracetam works to activate various regions of the brain by allowing it to work at maximum efficiency.
What Piracetam Does in the Body
Piracetam can provide an array of positive benefits, but few people understand how it works in the body.
Although not entirely understood, many people have some type of idea as to how Piracetam works in the body.
Let’s take a look at the ways Piracetam works to increase cognition and mental capabilities.
Neurotransmitter Receptor Activation
The beauty of Piracetam is its ability to affect neurotransmitters by interacting with receptors in the central nervous system.
Two of the ways Piracetam does this is by enhancing acetylcholine and glutamate transmission in humans.
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter responsible for creating synaptic connections. Essentially it controls the energy within synapses. A study looked at mice brain activity and noted Piracetam enhanced glutamate receptors. These suggest a facilitatory effect of piracetam in relation to memory.
Acetylcholine is also activated by Piracetam use. As a neurotransmitter responsible for memory, focus, and mood, Acetylcholine is stimulated with Piracetam consumption.
In a study performed on mice, Piracetam was shown to elevate choline receptors in the brain. As a result, sensory reception can be enhanced through increased Acetylcholine.
Communication Between Different Parts of the Brain
Piracetam is said to help improve communication channels within the brain. Since the brain has two distinct hemispheres, Piracetam can help coordinate information transference within the brain itself.
Piracetam can allow information to flow freely in the brain which can help stimulate production of Adenosine Triphosphate in the Cerebral Cortex.
Increased Blood Flow
One of the main drivers of Piracetam is its ability to increase blood flow within the brain.
In one study performed on stroke patients, Piracetam was shown to increase blood flow in three separate regions of the brain which dealt with sensory and linguistic ability.
As a result Piracetam effectively improved speech therapy which in turn enhanced various language functions.
What are the Uses of Piracetam?
As we’ve already discussed the main goal of nootropics is to improve mental performance and increase the capabilities of the mind.
The popular supplement has been shown to help brain function and may even treat critical ailments.
Some of the most common benefits of Piracetam are:
- Boosting brain function
- Helping reduce dyslexia
- Helps improve cognition
- Can reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease
- May treat Parkinson’s disease
- Treatment of depression
- Treatment of mental illness
Let’s take a deep dive into some of these benefits in closer detail.
Enhance Your Brain Function
Let’s start with brain function as that was the goal Dr. Giurgea set out to achieve when he first created Piracetam.
Piracetam increases the blood supply in your brain which in turn enhances oxygen and glucose consumption. In a study conducted on 16 individuals, a dose of 1,200mg of piracetam resulted in improved learning capabilities compared to a placebo group after a period of two weeks.
A 1979 study was performed on sixteen male dyslexic children who were given a 21 day trial of Piracetam. The subjects with dyslexia increased verbal learning tasks by 15% compared to the placebo group.
These studies show Piracetam can help activate certain mechanisms of the brain responsible for learning. Children and adults with focus and learning problems may benefit from regular use of Piracetam.
Helping Treat Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning disorder which can impact the ability to read, write, and study. Studies have shown Piracetam may be able to help minimize the impact of this disorder.
In 1987, two hundred twenty-five dyslexic children were placed in a nine month placebo controlled study. Those taking Piracetam experienced improvements in reading and writing after only three months and the benefits continued for the duration of the study.
A second study performed in 1985 looked at 257 dyslexic boys who struggled with reading. The children who took Piracetam regularly showed noticeable improvements in reading comprehension and speed. They also had improved memory capabilities as well.
The studies show that Piracetam may be useful for treating Dyslexia and certain learning disorders.
Helps Improve Cognition
Piracetam has been hailed for its cognitive benefits and ability to expand the mind. A number of cognitive benefits may be experienced from Piracetam especially in aging individuals.
Protecting against mitochondrial damage is of vast importance for preserving cognitive abilities. A study was performed on the elderly showing Piracetam may keep mitochondria intact and preserve overall brain function.
Preventing Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are two neurological aging diseases which affect millions of people all over the world.
Piracetam may provide the neurological protective abilities to prevent age-related mental damage,
A study was performed in 2000 on 104 patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease who were administered 2400 mg daily doses. Within a few weeks of taking Piracetam, subjects noticed substantial improvement compared to when they began treatment.
Another meta analysis was performed on 19 double blind placebo studies in patients with dementia or other cognitive impairments. Subjects receiving Piracetam had favorable results compared to placebo groups providing evidence that Piracetam can slow down or reverse cognitive impairment in the elderly.
Piracetam may provide an alternative form of treatment for those individuals suffering from brain impairments resulting from aging.
May Treat Parkinson’s Disease
With it’s neuroprotective benefits, another potential use for Piracetam is the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
In a study performed on 60 rats they were given 100-200mg of Piracetam per day or one of two other substances. Motor function was assessed regularly during this process. Piracetam was shown to exhibit neuroprotective capabilities rendering it potentially useful for treating Parkinson’s disease.
Treatment of Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental ailments in America. Prescription treatments for depression often come at a cost as they can potentially be dangerous.
A 2010 study cited Piracetam as a potential alternative treatment for depression. Although the exact mechanisms behind treating depression are unknown, groups taking Piracetam showed more improvements than placebos.
Treatment of Mental Illness
Mental illness is one of the largest problems currently faced in America. Treatments can often be difficult and prescriptions may be hard to accurately diagnose.
Piracetam has been shown to be a supplementary treatment that may help certain mental illnesses.
In 1976, 26 patients who were diagnosed with schizophrenia or depression were given Piracetam in addition to normally prescribed medication. Those given Piracetam showed substantial positive changes compared to control groups.
Does Piracetam Have Side Effects?
Although Piracetam can provide several potential health benefits, it is not without its potential downfalls.
Like most drugs and supplements there is a risk of side effects involved including but not limited to:
- Weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
- Upset stomach
- Muscle spasms
These are just a few of the side effects commonly experienced when taking Piracetam. As with any new form of medication or supplementation, it is best to speak with your doctor before undergoing any new form of treatment.
Is Piracetam a Stimulant?
Piracetam can boost brain activity and may help improve certain cognitive abilities. As a result, some people may commonly mistake Piracetam as a stimulant.
Stimulants are classified as drugs which increase activity of the central nervous system in the body. By this definition, Piracetam cannot be categorized as a stimulant.
The truth is Piracetam influences neuronal and vascular function and enhances cognition without acting as a stimulant.
The recommended dosage for Piracetam can vary from person to person. According to examine.com the standard recommended dosages are as follows:
- Children: 40-100mg per kg of bodyweight, although dosages on the lower end (40-50mg) are given most frequently.
- Adults: 1,200-4,800mg per day is the typical range for adults. The largest effective dose is considered to be 1,600mg in three separate doses over the course of a day.
It is not necessary to take Piracetam with food as it will not affect its overall efficacy. As with any new regimen, be sure to seek the advice of your doctor when appropriate.
How Long Do the Effects of Piracetam Last?
The peak performance of Piracetam generally occurs approximately 90 minutes after taking it. If you are using Piracetam for a mentally intensive event such as a test or an interview, you should consider timing your dosage as such.
The half-life of Piracetam generally lasts five hours, however it tends to take a full 30 hours to leave your system completely.
Is Piracetam Right for You?
There are a broad range of capabilities for using Piracetam. Everyday people may benefit from its cognitive and mental benefits as a means to improve their overall mental capacity.
Others suffering from debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or even depression may also be able to use Piracetam as an alternative or supplementary form of treatment.
Although Dr. Giurgea set out to create a mind enhancing supplement, he could never have envisioned the range of capabilities Piracetam is now has today.
Whether you are looking to increase your mental capacity at work or simply want to focus better throughout the day, Piracetam may be the right choice for improving your daily life.
Performing at your peak can drastically improve your life. Try starting with a small dose of Piracetam and see if you can recognize any positive changes.
Who knows Piracetam may be just the miracle supplement you were searching for all along.
Ryan Rodal is a health, fitness, and wellness writer who has been creating content since 2014. With over 500 articles under his belt, he is experienced in numerous topics including diets, workouts, supplementation, and general nutrition. He is also a certified personal trainer who enjoys going to the gym, boxing, and cycling in his free time.