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
Benefits of Piracetam
- Improved Cognitive Abilities - Brain studies on elderly individuals have found taking a daily dose of piracetam to be helpful in boosting cognitive abilities.
- Enhanced Memory - A number of studies have indeed revealed that taking piracetam will give an individual a substantial boost in their memory capacity.
- Elevated Mood - People who use piracetam have reported experiencing a significant improvement in their mood every time that they use this nootropic. Nonetheless, clinical studies about this effect are currently underway.
- Increased Perception - Evidence-backed reports reveal that users of piracetam typically experience improvements in their speed of activity in addition to a substantial decrease in their depression once they use the drug.
Side Effects of Piracetam
Studies so far have proven piracetam to be 100 percent safe. In some of these studies, massive doses of the drug were administered to animals. The findings were that there was no evidence of symptoms of toxicity.
However, some users have reported feeling drowsy and irritable after using piracetam.
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
Benefits of Aniracetam
- Boosting Memory - Studies show that aniracetam enhances signaling of acetylcholine receptors in the brain. This effect is associated with improved attention, learning, memory and reasoning. Moreover, regularly using aniracetam has been shown to improve recall speed.
- Improving Cognitive Functioning and Performance - A study on individuals about to sit for tests revealed that those who used aniracetam were able to improve their overall test scores by up to 30 percent. Additionally, this drug has been shown to enhance cognitive abilities in cognitively impaired individuals.
- Improving Awareness and Attention - Aniracetam has been found to increase attention and awareness significantly. As such, it is helpful in managing attention disorders such as ADHD.
- Lowering Anxiety and Boosting Mood - Research shows that aniracetam has mood-enhancing and antidepressant properties.
Side Effects of Aniracetam
This drug directly affects the brain’s neural pathways. As such, it can trigger headaches in some users. Others have reported feelings of fatigue after using.
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
Benefits of Coluracetam
- Boosting Concentration and Focus - Coluracetam is effective at desensitizing AMPA receptors in the brain, thus boosting neural signaling. This is what results in better concentration and focus.
- Better Eyesight - Users of coluracetam report experiencing enhanced vividness, color, and recognition.
Side Effects of Coluracetam
Coluracetam is inherently non-toxic; as such, most people can tolerate it well. Nonetheless, some users have reported experiencing dizziness and headaches after using the drug. Experts recommend so-supplementing with choline in order to avoid those 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.
Side Effects of Fasoracetam
Scientific research is yet to find concrete side effects of using this drug. However, some users have complained of insomnia, headaches and nausea after using the drug. Also, experts recommend that pregnant/lactating mothers as well as those on other medication not to use fasoracetam.
The most recommended dosage for this nootropic is around ten sublingual milligrams per day.
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.
Side Effects of Oxiracetam
Oxiracetam also has no scientifically-proven side effects. Its users can tolerate it even in high dosages. Additionally, no adverse effects have been found from using it in the long-term. Some of its users, however, have reported of symptoms such as nausea, headaches and anxiety after using this drug.
Your dosage of oxiracetam will depend on your needs. Nevertheless, experts recommend keeping that dosage between 750 and 1500 mg per day, which you can divide into 2 or 3 doses.
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.
Side Effects of Phenylpiracetam
So far, no clinical trial has been able to find any concrete side effects of using this racetam. Nonetheless, some users have reported headaches, irritability, sleeping problems and stomach issues. Experts recommend that phenylpiracetam users co-supplement with choline in addition to drinking plenty of water.
Due to its effectiveness, a small phenylpiracetam dosage would suffice. Most of its users need as little as 100 mg a day to experience its effects. Nevertheless, experts advise against using this drug daily.
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
Benefits of Pramiracetam
- Enhancing Cognitive Functions - A study undertaken in 1991 on young males with brain injuries revealed that their cognitive functions improved throughout the term where pramiracetam was administered.
- Improving Memory Functions - This racetam works by stimulating areas of the brain that are responsible for memory functions. As such, it is useful in the treatment of memory loss related conditions as well as other cognitive problems resulting from brain injuries. Pramiracetam is also useful in treating and managing some degenerative neurological disorders.
- Boosting Mental Alertness - Studies show that subjects experience enhanced levels of lateness, visual sensory perception and mental energy when they use pramiracetam.
Side Effects of Pramiracetam
Pramiracetam is yet to reveal any plausible side effects, even at high dosages. As such, it is considered to be non-toxic and safe.
Nonetheless, there are users who complain of effects such as dizziness and headaches. However, as with other racetams, such reports are far and few in between.
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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