What is Piracetum and Should You Use It? 5 Possible Benefits and Alternatives
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What is Piracetum and Should You Use It? 5 Possible Benefits and Alternatives

Jillian Levy via Dr. Axe — Food is Medicine
Nov 27, 2018

Piracetam is now available over the counter without a prescription in certain countries throughout Europe, Asia and South America but has not yet been approved as a supplement by the U.S Food and Drug Administration.

Nootropics (also known as “smart drugs”) have risen in popularity over the past decade. One product you may have recently heard more about is piracetam. Like other nootropics, the makers of piracetam claim that it can help improve cognition function by boosting memory, neuroplasticity and more.

Most of the available research that has been conducted so far has focused on piracetam’s effects in the treatment of age-related conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Some clinical studies have found evidence that piracetam is helpful for not only managing memory loss, but also agitation, dyslexia, brain injury, vertigo, anxiety and more. (1)

Is piracetam legal, and more importantly … is it safe? Piracetam is now available over the counter (without a prescription) in certain countries throughout Europe, Asia and South America but has not yet been approved as a supplement by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So should you try piracetam? While users generally report tolerating the drug well, piracetam can cause a number of side effects and can also interact with many other medications. Piracetam may turn out to have certain cognitive benefits to offer, but there are safer alternatives available that have been more thoroughly tested.

What Is Piracetam?

Piracetam is a medication/supplement in the racetam drug class that is derived from the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Racetam drugs are synthetic compounds that are used to boost brain function; however, they have mostly been shown to only have mild effects. Piracetam was one of the first drugs of its kind to be developed, originally formulated by the company UCB Pharma located in Belgium.

How does piracetam work in the brain? It has a number of physiological effects because it’s capable of modulating neurotransmitter systems, including cholinergic and glutamatergic pathways.

Studies suggest that piracetam can have beneficial effects for cognitive/mental health, due to its neuroprotective and anticonvulsant properties, ability to boost circulation and capability of improving neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience). (2)

Depending on the country it’s being sold in, piracetam, which is the drug’s generic name, is available under brand names including: Dinagen, Myocalm, Nootropil and Qropi.

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