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Smart drugs and nutrients: Piracetam, the original nootropic

November 26th, 2016

Smart drugs and nutrients, or to give them their correct medical terminology- nootropics, are agents that can not only improve conditions of senile dementias, but in recent times have become popular for older individuals to improve their mental and cognitive processes.

It was Ward Dean, M.D. who highlighted these facts through his very popular ‘Smart Drug’ series of books in the 1980s, since then the term ‘smart drugs’ has become mainstream.

The original Nootropic – Piracetam

The smart-drug we focus on here was in fact the first, developed as it was by Dr. Giurgea for UCB laboratories in Belgium in the 1960s. Originally it was designed to assist with travel and altitude sickness, but shortly afterward individuals realised that piracetam had positive cognitive enhancement effects.

Why do people use Piracetam?

People turn to Piracetam due to its abilities to enhance cognition, increase attention levels and improve memory. It has long been used in treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease to help slow down “senile involution” and dementia, as well as helping to improve the recall in those who are suffering from “age associated memory impairment”.

Other conditions that Piracetam has also been seen to help with include:

  • Stroke, especially for those who have resulting aphasia (speech impairment following a stroke).
  • Acute / chronic cerebral ischaemia, for those who have impaired use of their limbs and speech.
  • Piracetam has also been seen to increase neuronal activity in the brain (measuring on EEG).

Piracetam is not just for those with health problems – healthy individuals may also take Piracetam to help with idea creation, creativity and also longevity – “seeing things through”. People describe the feeling after taking Piracetam as “the fog lifting”.

How does Piracetam enhance cognition?

Piracetam works directly on the Corpus Callosum – this is a large bundle of nerve fibers that allow the right and left sides of the brain to communicate. By working in this way, it is believed that Piracetam allows the logical side of the brain to connect more effectively with the creative side, “Yin and Yang”.

What are the doses of piracetam?

  • The most common dose for taking Piracetam is 800mg, 3x a day.
  • After a month, the dosage should be lowered to 800mg 2x a day.

Note: The effects of Piracetam can be enhanced if taken concurrently with centrophenoxine or Hydergine®.

Side effects of Piracetam

These are seldom and minimal, however some users have reported neausea or headaches if they accidentally take over the prescribed dosage.

If this is the case, the dosage should be reduced and built up more slowly if necessary.

Note: There are many articles and videos on the IAS website about smart drugs and nutrients.


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