Coluracetam is a synthetic nootropic that is fast gaining popularity as a mood enhancer that increases our motivation and also enhances our vision. Researchers have observed that coluracetam has many potential benefits such as boosting our long-term and working memory, enhancing our senses and thus improving our color and sound perception, relieve depression, reduce anxiety, and so much more.
Coluracetam was found to have the ability to repair memory and learning in test subjects with damaged nerve cells. This unique racetam drug is believed to enhance learning, reading comprehension and free recall.
User feedback reveals that it improves thinking speed and information retention. Coluracetam users confide that they experience the equivalent of “HD vision,” as colors seem brighter, contrast more intense, and lights more radiant. Now that does sound like a wonder drug indeed. Now let's take a deeper look into these claims to see just how effective this synthetic nootropic really is.
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What is Coluracetam?
As a new and distinctive addition to the racetam class of nootropics, Coluracetam was first synthesized in 2005 by the Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation in Japan. They initially experimented on this drug as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Coluracetam was later in-licensed by BrainCells Inc. to develop treatments for major depressive disorders.
Coluracetam was released for licensing in 2012. This supplement is sold as a dietary supplement in the US though its legal status varies from country to country. It can be legally imported and possessed in Canada and the UK, though you will need a prescription to sell it from a medical store.
The neurotransmitter most closely associated with memory and cognition is Acetylcholine. Coluracetam functions primarily as a choline uptake enhancer which can selectively affect our memory functions. It’s nootropic capabilities arise from its ability to enhance high-affinity choline uptake and thus increase the acetylcholine supply to the brain.
Also known as BCI-540, or MKC-231, Coluracetam is a fat-soluble nootropic that has proven to be much more potent than Piracetam, the original racetam. It should be taken in much smaller doses than the other racetam class nootropics as Coluracetam is a very fast acting drug that reaches high plasma levels within half an hour of administration and the concentration levels decline within the next three hours.
How Coluracetam Works in the Brain
Coluracetam helps improve brain health and its functions in three main ways:
1. By assisting the HACU System: Racetams usually work by triggering acetylcholine production by stimulating the relevant receptors. But Coluracetam is unique in its action as this is the only racetam that raises the brain’s uptake of choline by specifically working with the high-affinity choline uptake (HACU) system in the brain’s neurons.
Coluracetam promotes acetylcholine production by increasing the rate at which choline is drawn into nerve cells, thus raising the brain levels of this crucial neurotransmitter. It creates a rise in CHT1, the high-affinity choline transporter molecule, leading to more availability of choline for uptake.
Choline and acetate are both needed for the synthesis of Acetylcholine (ACh). Many foods such as egg yolks, organ meats, seeds, and legumes contain choline. Our liver also produces some amounts of choline naturally. Free choline in the blood plasma is taken up by cholinergic neuron terminals when it crosses the blood-brain barrier. The HACU system is the primary means for transporting choline into the brain, so it is considered to be the rate-limiting step in the neurotransmitter production.
If the HACU system experiences any kind of breakdown, this results in brain fog, and problems with memory, as well as, learning. Coluracetam helps the HACU system work more efficiently, even if there are damaged neurons. The resulting increase in acetylcholine in neurons boosts memory, decision-making capabilities boosts and cognition.
2. By Improving AMPA potentiation: Coluracetam has been found to improve AMPA potentiation. AMPA receptors are affected by glutamate which in turn is intimately involved with Long-term potentiation (LTP), the biological basis for learning and memory.
Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly used medication for depression and mood disorders have many known detrimental side effects as they affect serotonin levels in the brain. Since Coluracetam enhances both choline uptake and AMPA potentiation, it helps improve mood disorders without disrupting the serotonin levels. According to research, Coluracetam can help treat major clinical depression and anxiety disorders without triggering side effects that result from serotonin disruption.
3. By protecting the NMDA receptors from glutamate toxicity: Damage to NMDA receptors is a major factor in brain diseases, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s, and so on. Coluracetam was found to have the ability to protect the NMDA receptors from glutamate toxicity.
The 9 Health Benefits of Coluracetam
Research results from documented human studies, animal testing and self-reports from users make it clear that this nootropic supplement does offer various cognitive, physical and sensory benefits.
1. Improves Working Memory
Coluracetam enhanced the memory and learning in study subjects with damaged choline uptake system in their brains. In a study, conducted on mice, by the Japanese Iwate Medical University, Morioka, Japan, the researchers studied the effects of acute and chronic administration of Coluracetam (MKC-231) on working memory deficits and decreased hippocampal acetylcholine (ACh) content.
The mice had been treated with a nerve toxin to damage their choline uptake system. They observed that this supplement improved the drug-induced working memory deficit and ACh depletion, by increasing the HACU and ACh release. They recorded a significant reversed in the acetylcholine deficit.
2. Enhances Learning
Acetylcholine levels are often found to be lower in those with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia. Coluracetam can help improve certain symptoms, like poor memory and learning for such patients by boosting acetylcholine in their brain. In a study from the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Tottori University, Japan, the researchers recorded that Coluracetam could be a therapeutic drug for the treatment of Schizophrenia.
3. Enhances Reading Comprehension and Free Recall
There are many comments and discussions from users on various threads online which can give an insight into the potentials and drawbacks of using Coluracetam. Users revealed that in their experience, coluracetam dramatically improved their short-term memory and free recall.
Many others noted that it increased their memorization and recall abilities while enhancing their reading comprehension as well. Coluracetam was also found to increase thinking and learning speed while improving information retention.
4. Provides Long-lasting Cognition Improvement
In a study from the Yokohama Research Center, in Japan, even when the serum concentration of coluracetam was negligible, the positive results from coluracetam administration were still evident for many days after the dosages. They observed that this nootropic could induce long-lasting procognitive effects by changing the choline transporter regulation system.
5. May Reduce Treatment-Resistant Depression
In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial using coluracetam for treating people with depression and anxiety, a positive effect was recorded on depression scores. The subjects were patients who had failed treatment with at least 2 antidepressants, but they responded positively to this supplement at doses of 80 mg 3 times daily. This nootropic’s ability to lower glutamate toxicity may be a helping factor here.
Though this ranks among the few coluracetam studies done on human subjects, it is considered evidence that this synthetic nootropic is useful in treating major depressive disorder (MDD) with a comorbid generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Brain Cells Inc. conducted these tests on 100 people with major depression and anxiety, and they noted the benefits of coluracetam for major depressive disorder (MDD), but sadly their trials were never published.
User reports regarding it’s effect on anxiety and depression are mixed though most people say its a mood booster that helps with both anxiety and depression.
6. May Promote Neurogenesis
Patents state that coluracetam promotes nerve cell growth (neurogenesis). The mechanism is unknown, yet is thought to be related to the increase in hippocampal acetylcholine when this supplement is dosed daily for a few weeks [R].
7. May Help with Mental Disabilities
Though learning ability improves for those with mental disabilities like Alzheimer's with the use of coluracetam, patients with Schizophrenia may find this supplement to be quite beneficial for them as Coluracetam intake increases the activity of acetylcholine. The enzyme needed to produce acetylcholine is impaired in schizophrenia.
8. May Improve Vision
Coluracetam may encourage nerve growth in people suffering from degenerative diseases of the retina. There are numerous user reports online about the extraordinary vision effects of this nootropic compound. Multiple effects of vision are reported by the users, including enhanced color vision, shape recognition, and sharper eyesight.
9. May Help Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by intestinal dysmotility. The high-affinity choline transporter 1 (CHT1) is a determinant of cholinergic signaling capacity and it modulates the intestinal motility associated with stress-induced IBS. In a 2018 study conducted by Lin MJ, of Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, China, the researchers examined the effects of MKC-231 on colonic motility. T choline uptake enhancer, coluracetam, was found to improve the regulation of CHT1, and thus improve the symptoms of IBS.
Who All Benefits From Coluracetam?
Anyone can use coluracetam to experience its benefits though it may not be advisable for people with certain medical conditions or for pregnant women. But coluracetam’s mood enhancing, and cognition-boosting capabilities can be beneficial to those with age-related memory disorders and for students who are looking to do better in school. They may find that are able to learn faster with better reading comprehension and memory retention.
As the years pass and we grow old, our energy metabolism and brain chemistry changes. As we all grow older, our brain cells will start to degenerate. Our reaction time and recall gets diminished. We may start feeling more anxiety and depression as the conversion of choline to acetylcholine breaks down and the acetylcholine levels in our brain decrease.
When do we start to age? When does the irreversible deterioration start? Can we do anything to slow it down? How fast we show or feel the signs of age depend on many factors. Our personal choices, including our attitude, play a major part of it. Mild aging signs start by mid-twenties though it becomes more evident as we cross into our forties.
According to experts, cognitive decline can start as early as the mid-forties. A study conducted jointly by the Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in France and the University College London in the UK, observed 5,198 men and 2,192 women over a 10-year period, starting from the year 1997. With consideration to their differences in education levels, they were tested for their vocabulary, memory, hearing, and visual comprehension skills.
Over the 10-year study period, in men aged 45-49, the researchers noted a decline of 3.6% in mental reasoning and a 9.6% decline in those aged 65-70. The corresponding figures for women were 3.6% and 7.4%. This is robust evidence of cognitive decline before the age of 60 which emphasizes the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles. “ This study has profound implications for prevention of dementia and public health”, says Francine Grodstein, Associate Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
To delay the rate of aging and cognitive decline, we all need to have healthy lifestyles and attitudes. Nootropics like coluracetam can help us perform better in our lives by boosting the declining acetylcholine levels and controlling glutamate in the brain.
Dosage Ranges of Coluracetam
Though there are no universally accepted dosing guidelines for coluracetam, the active dosage range is considered to be 5–20 mg. Users of coluracetam have reported a wide range of doses administered both orally and sublingually.
User feedback has also mentioned that tolerance to coluracetam can develop quickly. As with all medications, especially nootropics, it's best to start at smaller doses and up the dose gradually as your body reacts and adjusts to the medication. Coluracetam is non-toxic and is considered to be well-tolerated and safe.
Side Effects of Coluracetam
Side effects of coluracetam are rare, but they can result from unusually high doses of the nootropic. Anxiety, fatigue, headaches, nervousness, and nausea may occur if you overdose. Reducing dosage is a simple solution here. Gradually increase the dose as required and allow your body to adjust.
Choline deficit in your brain can cause headaches, so if you experience headaches as a side effect, then a good choline supplement can be helpful, after all, this nootropic works by increasing choline absorption. Supplemental daily choline doses are 300–600 mg if you’re using alpha GPC or you can take 250–750 mg of CDP choline.
Daytime sleepiness is another possible side effects which can be lessened with reduced dosages.
Though Coluracetam is a new addition to the racetam class of nootropics, it’s fast becoming a favorite with its users. This synthetic nootropic works by promoting the levels of the “learning neurotransmitter” acetylcholine in our brain, which in turn boosts cognition. This helps offset memory deficits without having to suffer from notable adverse side effects.
Despite the lack of documented human research on this synthetic nootropic, there are plenty of animal studies that has recorded many of its potential health benefits. The benefits of A potent and fast acting nootropic, Coluracetam is effective in low dosage amounts. It’s available as a dietary supplement in the US.
Coluracetam supplementation has been found to be long-lasting, even for days after the drug administration has stopped. Research studies have observed that this supplement can:
- Enhance the synthesis of acetylcholine
- Improve choline uptake in damaged neurons
- Improve long-term memory
- Enhance learning and recall
- Boost reading comprehension
- Restore working memory
- Treat severe depression symptoms
- Relieve general anxiety symptoms
- Improve retinal and optical nerve damage
If you are looking a memory booster or a mood enhancer, then coluracetam is a nootropic that definitely deserves your consideration. When taken responsibly, coluracetam is safe to take and it has so many benefits to offer.
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Anju Mobin is a certified nutritionist who writes health and wellness articles online. The holder of two graduate degrees, she combines her passion for advertising with her knowledge of the health industry to create custom content for healthcare products.