Racetams have been a key buzzword in the health and wellness community lately. Their claim to fame has been due to their ability to enhance a wide array of cognitive functions as well as treating various cognitive conditions in patients with forms of Alzheimer’s, dementia, hypoxia, and other mental illnesses.
Additionally, racetams are also being used by and recommended for people looking to boost their memory recall and learning capabilities such as students preparing for exams or people experiencing cognitive decline. Other categories of people reveling in the benefits of racetams include athletes looking to boost their motivation in addition to people looking to lower their anxiety.
So, what are racetams, and how do they work? This article aims to find out.
List of Racetams That Boost Cognition
What are Racetams?
These are a group of artificially synthesized cognitive enhancement drugs. They are also referred to as nootropics. While there are over 19 different types of racetams, only a select few are used for cognitive enhancement purposes.
Nonetheless, despite there being so many types, racetams have very similar chemical structures, and therefore, also have similar bio-effects. Nonetheless, the minute differences in chemical structure are what causes the differences they have in dosage, strength, and potency.
Types of Racetams
If you are looking to harness the benefits of these nootropics, then you should know the options available to you. Your choice is going to be determined by your specific needs.
Piracetam was the first-ever racetam to be synthesized. It also happens to be the most popular of these nootropics. Going by the chemical name 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide, it is derived from a type of amino acid and brain chemical known as Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
Initially, piracetam was designed to boost communication within the brain’s corpus callosum. Today, however, it is mostly used to help old patients boost their cognitive functions. Healthy individuals can also use piracetam to enhance their brain functions.
- Side Effects
Physicians typically base dosage amounts on the reason for supplementation. These dosages usually range between 1600 and 1900 mg per day, divided into three doses.
Nonetheless, piracetam usually comes in 100 mg capsules. Experts recommend that you start with one capsule in the beginning. Depending on how you feel afterward, you can either increase or decrease your dosage.
This nootropic bears a close resemblance to piracetam, both in structure and function. However, it has significantly stronger effects on your AMPA receptors, hence is more powerful. Additionally, it is fat-soluble and, therefore, goes through the blood-brain barrier faster than piracetam.
Nonetheless, it has a shorter half-life (1-3 hours). As such, you might need to take more of it to sustain its effects.
- Side Effects
Individual dosages may vary; however, doctors typically recommended dosage of 750-1500 mg. Its short half-life means that you might have to take multiple doses to sustain the effects.
However, since it is fat-soluble, taking it with food will help you maximize its absorption. Additionally, consider supplementing it with a high-quality source of choline. Choline synthesizes acetylcholine, which is useful in compounding the benefits of aniracetam.
Coluracetam is also a fat-soluble racetam. However, unlike its peers who were designed to boost cognitive function, coluracetam was created to help manage Alzheimer’s disease.
This racetam also strongly targets choline. It enhances the rate of converting choline to acetylcholine. As mentioned earlier, increased levels of acetylcholine in the brain are associated with enhanced attention, alertness and memory.
- Side Effects
Though a scientifically-backed dosage of coluracetam hasn’t been released yet, the typical dose recommended by experts is 200 mg per day. However, individuals with higher levels of depression and anxiety are advised to take as much as 100 mg three times a day if necessary.
This racetam was also designed to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. However, fasoracetam has grown to become popular among nootropic users due to its effects on the brain’s acetylcholine as well as other neural receptors. Most notable are its effects on GABA, Glutamate and choline, which are all linked to increasing the brain’s capability for memory functions.
- Side Effects
Benefits of Fasoracetam
- Anxiolytic and Antidepressant Properties - One study revealed that regularly using fasoracetam can help up-regulate GABA receptors. This results in lowered anxiety and depression.
- Treating ADHD - Results from ongoing research are showing that using fasoracetam can help in the treatment and management of ADHD.
- Boosting Memory - Fasoracetam is able to interact with GABA and acetylcholine neurotransmitters. As a result, it is able to improve the associated memory functions such as retention, organization, storage and recall.
- Enhancing Mood - Through up-regulating the GABA receptors, fasoracetam is able to improve the mood of the individual.
This racetam differs from its peers in that it contains an extra hydroxyl group in its structure. That extra compound is believed to be the reason behind oxiracetam’s potency and bioavailability.
Also, even though the blood absorbs oxiracetam readily, this nootropic tends to remain in circulation for long. As such, due to its long half-life, users are advised not to take more than one dose of oxiracetam a day.
- Side Effects
Benefits of Oxiracetam
- Boosting Cognitive Function - A study of the drug’s effect on people’s capabilities revealed that oxiracetam enhances cognitive functions and reaction times in its users.
- Enhanced Memory Retention - This nootropic usually binds to the brain’s glutamate reactors. And because glutamate is a neurotransmitter, it is able to enhance the rate of memory absorption. As such, short and long-term memory retention becomes enhanced as well.
- Other benefits - In addition to being a useful aid in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, autism, ADHD and dementia, oxiracetam has also been found to help slow down memory degradation, boost verbal fluency and enhance psychostimulatory effects.
This racetam also goes by the names phenotropil or carphedon. Phenylpiracetam, as you can probably tell, is piracetam with an extra phenyl group. The presence of this extra compound allows the drug to cross the blood-brain barrier a lot more efficiently and faster. Also, phenylpiracetam is believed to be more bioavailable as well as powerful than piracetam.
- Side Effects
Benefits of Phenylpiracetam
- Combating Effects of Sleep Deprivation - Another effect that the extra phenyl group causes are stimulation. It enhances the sensitivity as well as the density of your dopamine receptors. As a result, it makes you more alert.
- Enhanced Cognitive Abilities - Phenylpiracetam also increases the uptake of choline, thereby resulting in enhanced acetylcholine synthesis. As such, one can expect the accompanying benefits to follow, such as more attentiveness, better reasoning capabilities, improved memory function and increased mental energy.
Pramiracetam came into existence when the amide group in piracetam was replaced by a dipropan-2-ylaminoethyl group. Pramiracetam is also known as Primastar.
The reason for replacing the amide group was in order to enhance the drug’s rate of absorption. In doing so, this nootropic would have a more profound impact on learning and memory capabilities. Pramiracetam is considered to be up to 30 times more potent than piracetam.
- Side Effects
Dosage amounts vary among individuals. However, as this racetam is quite potent, experts recommend that it be used in small quantities not exceeding 600 mg a day. Some clinical trials, however, suggest that the optimal dosage is around 1200 mg a day.
As such, consider starting small and working your way up, taking notice of how your body responds to the drug.
Even though there might be more potent nootropics on the market, there is an issue of risk and safety. Some of them have not gone through enough clinical studies and trials to ascertain that they will not have adverse effects on the body.
This is why racetams are so popular; they have gone through enough research to ascertain that they will not cause you adverse problems as they boost your cognitive abilities.
Are you looking to enhance your cognitive or memory functions? Give any of the above racetams a go and let us know what you think.
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