Piracetam Review: That Time I Enhanced My Brain
Note: If you are unfamiliar with nootropics, please read this brief introduction to nootropics before this review.
Piracetam – Da’fuck is that?
Piracetam is a nootropic that belongs to a class of drugs called Racetams, some of which qualify as nootropic “smart drugs” and others which do not. In the future, I will be reviewing other racetams including but not limited to Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and Coluracetam. But for now, I start with Piracetam.
Created in 1964, Piracetam was the first nootropic to be engineered. Scientists have also researched the shit out of Piracetam compared to its racetam counterparts, since it was the first of its class to be developed. (Insert a few mild assumptions here) Thus, it is the most understood of all racetams and has been identified as the mildest and safest. Most of the existing literature focuses on Piracetam’s potential to treat an array of cognitive disorders such as dyslexia, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
Reasons to take Piracetam
While research related to Piracetam’s efficacy on healthy individuals are relatively lacking, the compound is generally believed to improve memory, increase learning, enhance focus, and magnify sensory perception. This particular study found a significant increase in verbal learning in healthy adults after daily administration of Piracetam. Interestingly enough, the researchers reported that the increased learning did not emerge until after the 14th day. Which brings me to an important point: The effects of Piracetam are cumulative, meaning most people will not feel the effects right away. So be patient Young Padawan, and give it some time before you give up if you decide to give this nootropic a try. “Effects” felt within the first week are likely placebo. It can take a while for one to feel any significant effects–anywhere from days to weeks. Remember: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY!
How to start taking Piracetam: dosing strategies
Piracetam has a short half-life so you’ll need to re-dose 1-3 times a day, depending on your metabolism, among other factors. There are two popularly accepted dosing regimens when first starting out with Piracetam: Gradual Dosing and Attack Dosing.
- Note: The typical recommended dose is anywhere between 800mg – 2,000mg, taken 1-3 times per day in 3 – 4 hour intervals (source).
This allows for a lot of wiggle room for experimentation. You may also need to tinker around with your dosage once your body starts getting used to the compound (e.g., increasing dosage once body develops tolerance).
Gradual dosing requires one to start by taking 800mg – 1000mg of Piracetam 2 to 3 times per day for the first week. If desired effects are not felt by the end of the first week, add an additional 500mg to your dose. If desired effects are still not felt by the end of the second week, add another 500mg. Continue this pattern until you start noticing positive effects–whatever dose you end with is your optimal dose. Continue taking your optimal dose 1 to 3 times daily.
This method involves taking more than the recommended dose during the first week of your Piracetam undertaking. Attack doses usually range from 4ooomg – 4800mg, taken consistently at least twice (max thrice) per day. Once this initial week of attack dosing is over, lower your your dosage to 1000mg-2000mg (roughly) 1 to 3 times per day. You will need to play around with the exact dosage and frequency of re-dosing until you feel optimal effects. The strategy behind attack dosing involves “jump starting” your brain to try to shorten the time it takes for effects to emerge. Additionally, some people report positive nootropic effects via attack dosing and no effects via gradual dosing.
For further dosing information and guidelines, read this Nootriment article. I found it extremely useful when first starting out with Piracetam.
My experiences: positive and negative
I purchased my Piracetam powder years ago from a reputable vendor that is no longer in business, due most likely to FDA crackdowns. Luckily, there are always new vendors popping up. It is wise to do your research on vendors before purchasing your first batch of Piracetam, as some vendors are untrustworthy and sell bunk nootropics. Some reputable vendors include Powder City and Peak Nootropics.
I opted for the attack dosing method and found it quite effective. I started out by taking 4800mg twice per day, and then lowered the dosage to 1500mg – 3000mg following the first week. I played around with the dosage a lot and often dosed in relation to how much I needed to get done on a given day. If I knew I needed to expend more mental energy than usual, I’d dose 3000mg as opposed to 1500mg on a lazy day. I started noticing effects around 5 days in, which continued to build as the days went on. Here are some important experiences to note:
- Increased Energy: This manifested in my ability to work out a bit longer than usual, feel more awake in the morning (I am not a morning person), and engage longer in social situations/events.
- Mental Clarity: While taking Piracetam, my mind felt extremely…clear. I don’t know any other way to describe it. It felt like a blank canvas with thoughts and ideas that were sharper and magnified.
- Enhanced Focus: I definitely experienced an improved capacity to focus in that I was quicker to “get in the zone” and could stay in said zone for longer stretches of time for almost all tasks.
- Elevated Motivation: I experienced a heightened desire to finish whatever tasks I started. The feeling was akin to hyperfocus, yet not as detrimental or distracting.
- Racetam Headaches: A small percentage of nootropics users experience something called racetam headaches, primarily when they take Piracetam. Unfortunately, I fall under this category of nootropic enthusiasts. The dominant theory that explains racetam headaches suggests that they are caused by a
lack of Acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a large part in processing memories, and Piracetam works in part by speeding up Acetylcholine functions and thereby depleting them in the brain and causing headaches. The solve is simply to add Choline to your nootropic stack, which is exactly what I did to fend off the nasty Piracetam headaches. I generally took 1.5 – 2 grams of LiveLong Nutrition Choline Bitartrate powder along with each administration of Piracetam.
- Note: You will need to play around with your Piracetam:Choline ratio to get rid of your racetam headaches. Too much or too little may exacerbate the headache or prove ineffective. 2 grams of Choline Bitartrate is considered a rather high dose, but that’s the amount it took to stave off the headaches for me. Everybody’s different!
- Increased Anxiety: Somewhere between weeks 1 and 2 on Piracetam, I started feeling increased anxiety. I’m generally a little more anxious than the average person, so it may be the case that I was simply more disposed to being anxious on Piracetam. This may not occur for most people; in fact, many report feeling less anxiety. The increased anxiety leveled out once I lowered my dosage a bit.
- Malapropism: Malapropism refers to the act of unintentionally substituting a word with a similar sounding word. I experienced quite a bit of this on Piracetam. It was as if my mind was working faster than my mouth or hands (texting), which would result in word substitution mistakes. For example, I would text something like “Let’s get some phone” instead of “Let’s get some food,” or something to that effect.
- Tip of the Tongue Effect (TOT): TOT refers to the phenomenon when you feel you know a word but can’t seem to retrieve it from your memory/vocabulary, and is often accompanied by the ability to recall part of the word such as the first letter or syllable. I encountered much TOT and it was at times very frustrating.
- Insomnia: This was the worst side effect of them all. After a while of taking Piracetam, it became extremely difficult to fall asleep. I would go to bed physically tired, but mentally I would remain wide awake for hours on end. One night, I tried to tire out my mind by opening up a 400+ page novel that I was only 70 pages into and ended up finishing the entire book by sunrise. My mental stamina was almost godlike to the point that it was becoming pernicious. I think I finally fell asleep for a few hours at 7 am that day.
I decided to stop taking Piracetam shortly thereafter.
If you are new to nootropics and are interested in trying some out, Piracetam is the perfect nootropic to start with. It is the cheapest of all racetams, and the mildest in terms of experienced effects. You’ll get a bang for your buck.
Purchase some of your own Piracetam here! Use coupon code FEDORA for 10% off.
Worried about headaches? Buy some Choline Bitartrate here to quell those fears!
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