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Piracetam: Nootropic Explained

September 13, 2023

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Welcome, brain enthusiasts! Today, we're diving deep into the world of nootropics, specifically focusing on the star of the show, Piracetam. If you've ever wondered about this cognitive-enhancing marvel, you're in for a treat!

From its discovery to its effects on the brain, we'll explore every nook and cranny of Piracetam. So, buckle up, because we're about to embark on a journey into the fascinating world of nootropics!

History of Piracetam

Our story begins in the 1960s, in the laboratories of UCB Pharma, a Belgian pharmaceutical company. A chemist named Corneliu E. Giurgea was on a quest to create a sleep-aid. Instead, he stumbled upon Piracetam, the first-ever synthetic nootropic. Talk about a happy accident!

Giurgea coined the term "nootropic" to describe this new class of substances. The word comes from the Greek "nous" (mind) and "trepein" (to bend). So, nootropics are essentially mind-benders, but not in the Inception kind of way!

The Birth of Nootropics

Giurgea didn't just discover Piracetam; he also laid down the criteria for what constitutes a nootropic. According to him, a nootropic should enhance learning and memory, increase the brain's resistance to disruptive conditions, protect the brain from harm, and lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs.

Piracetam fit the bill perfectly. It was non-toxic, non-sedative, and had cognitive-enhancing properties. Thus, the era of nootropics was born, with Piracetam leading the charge.

Piracetam's Journey

Since its discovery, Piracetam has been extensively studied and used across the globe. It's available over the counter in some countries, while in others, it requires a prescription. Despite its widespread use, it's not approved by the FDA in the United States. But don't worry, it's not because of any safety concerns. It's just that the FDA has strict criteria for drug approval, and Piracetam hasn't met them yet.

Regardless of its legal status, Piracetam continues to be a popular nootropic, used by students, professionals, and seniors alike for its cognitive-enhancing effects.

How Piracetam Works

Now, let's get to the juicy stuff: how does Piracetam work its magic on the brain? Well, it's not entirely clear, and that's part of the mystery. What we do know is that Piracetam influences neuronal and vascular functions and influences cognitive function without acting as a sedative or a stimulant.

It's believed to enhance the function of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory formation. It might also increase blood flow and oxygen consumption in parts of the brain that are responsible for attention and memory.

Acetylcholine and Piracetam

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in memory formation and learning. It's like the brain's mailman, delivering messages between nerve cells. Piracetam is thought to enhance the function of acetylcholine, making the mailman more efficient, so to speak.

This enhancement could be due to increased receptor sensitivity, improved release of the neurotransmitter, or both. The result? Improved memory and learning. It's like giving your brain a turbo boost!

Blood Flow and Piracetam

Another theory is that Piracetam improves blood flow and oxygen consumption in the brain. This is like giving your brain a breath of fresh air! Increased blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients for your brain cells, which can lead to improved cognitive function.

Some studies have shown that Piracetam can increase red blood cell flexibility, making it easier for them to navigate through tiny capillaries in the brain. This could potentially improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, enhancing its function.

Benefits of Piracetam

So, what can Piracetam do for you? Well, as a nootropic, its primary benefits are related to cognitive enhancement. This includes improved memory, enhanced learning ability, increased attention and concentration, and improved mental performance.

But that's not all. Piracetam has also been used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and dyslexia. It's even been used to reduce symptoms of withdrawal in alcoholism.

Memory and Learning

One of the most well-known benefits of Piracetam is its ability to enhance memory and learning. This makes it a popular choice among students and professionals who need to absorb and retain large amounts of information. It's like having a secret weapon during exam season!

Several studies have shown that Piracetam can improve both short-term and long-term memory. It can also enhance learning ability, making it easier to acquire new skills and knowledge. So, whether you're cramming for an exam or learning a new language, Piracetam has got your back!

Attention and Concentration

Having trouble focusing? Piracetam can help with that too. It's been shown to improve attention and concentration, making it easier to stay on task. This can be particularly beneficial for people with attention deficit disorders, but anyone can benefit from a little extra focus.

By enhancing the function of acetylcholine and improving blood flow to the brain, Piracetam can help you stay sharp and focused. It's like a spotlight for your brain, illuminating the task at hand and helping you stay on track.

Side Effects and Safety

Now, you might be wondering, does this magical brain booster have any side effects? Well, the good news is that Piracetam is generally well-tolerated and has a low toxicity. Most people can use it without experiencing any adverse effects.

However, like any substance, it can cause side effects in some people. These can include headaches, nausea, irritability, and insomnia. But don't worry, these side effects are usually mild and go away on their own.


Some people may experience headaches when taking Piracetam. This is thought to be due to the increased demand for acetylcholine in the brain. To counteract this, some users take a choline supplement along with Piracetam, which can help reduce or eliminate headaches.

Remember, if you're experiencing persistent headaches or other discomforts, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional. They can help you determine the best course of action and ensure you're using nootropics safely.

Nausea and Other Side Effects

Nausea is another potential side effect of Piracetam, although it's less common than headaches. If you experience nausea, it may help to take Piracetam with food. Other possible side effects include irritability and insomnia, especially at higher doses.

Again, these side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. However, if you're experiencing persistent or severe side effects, it's important to seek medical attention. Safety should always be your top priority when using nootropics or any other supplements.


And there you have it, folks! That's the lowdown on Piracetam, the granddaddy of nootropics. From its accidental discovery to its cognitive-enhancing effects, it's a fascinating substance that continues to intrigue scientists and brain enthusiasts alike.

Whether you're a student cramming for exams, a professional trying to stay sharp, or just someone curious about brain enhancement, Piracetam offers a world of possibilities. Just remember to use it safely and responsibly. After all, your brain is your most valuable asset, so treat it with care!

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