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Piracetam


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Piracetam is a nootropic ("smart drug") being used as a dietary supplement. I recently discovered it while doing some non-related research and became fascinated by it's reported properties, as suggested by many studies that have been done on it. This is what wikipedia has to say in the opening paragraph for the article:

It is a dietary supplement which is claimed to enhance cognition and memory, slow down brain aging, increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, aid stroke recovery, and improve Alzheimer's, Down syndrome, dementia, and dyslexia, among others

 

It sounds interesting and all, but I'm still skeptical...

So, has anyone here tried it as a supplement? Would you? Do you think it could help with your memory/cognitive function/etc?

 

A quick google search returns multiple sources of research, although it's hard to judge how reputable some of them are.

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Piracetam is a nootropic ("smart drug") being used as a dietary supplement. I recently discovered it while doing some non-related research and became fascinated by it's reported properties, as suggested by many studies that have been done on it. This is what wikipedia has to say in the opening paragraph for the article:

 

 

It sounds interesting and all, but I'm still skeptical...

So, has anyone here tried it as a supplement? Would you? Do you think it could help with your memory/cognitive function/etc?

 

A quick google search returns multiple sources of research, although it's hard to judge how reputable some of them are.

 

I haven't heard of it but it sounds like something I could use, is it available over the counter?

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I haven't heard of it but it sounds like something I could use, is it available over the counter?

 

Yes. Apparently it's available in grocery stores with the other health supplements. I have yet to look, but it's supposedly there. Doctors also prescribe it for certain conditions, although I'm not quite sure a prescription would be necessary for something that's already sold OTC.

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I think you are wise to be skeptical.

 

Piracetam is a psychoactive drug that some believe may improve cognitive function. The National Down Syndrome Society does not recommend the use of Piracetam because of the lack of approval by the Food and Drug Administration and because a study on the use of Piracetam in children with Down syndrome found that Piracetam therapy did not enhance cognition or behavior and was associated with adverse effects. Results of the study were published by Dr. Nancy J. Lobaugh in the April 2001 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Although there are informal anecdotal reports of improvement in cognitive performance after the use of Piracetam, scientific studies to date have not found Piracetam to be effective. Without proof of effectiveness and because adverse side effects were found, NDSS does not recommend the use of Piracetam in individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society - Use of Piracetam

 

The key words here are:

 

"Although there are informal anecdotal reports of improvement in cognitive performance after the use of Piracetam, scientific studies to date have not found Piracetam to be effective."

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I think you are wise to be skeptical.

 

 

National Down Syndrome Society - Use of Piracetam

 

The key words here are:

 

"Although there are informal anecdotal reports of improvement in cognitive performance after the use of Piracetam, scientific studies to date have not found Piracetam to be effective."

 

This was what I was worried about. I could have sworn I saw formal studies from UC-Berkeley and Columbia University though. I'll try to dig them up again.

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I haven't tried it and don't feel particularly inclined to. Several foods, herbal supplements, or activities may improve memory, based on scientific studies or evidence, so I'm not sure why one needs to reach for a specific health supplement/drug based on anecdotal evidence. There should be clear and understandable mechanisms by which the drug or supplement works, and how it exerts its effects physiologically. A lot of supplements work off of hype, testimonials, or faulty information/reasoning.

 

Other foods and activities said to boost memory include...

 

1. Coffee. Yes, everyone's favorite early-morning nootropic cocktail in a cup. Proper coffee has lots of antioxidants and moderate caffeine, and usually has a positive effect on memory and mood. Boosts energy.

 

2. Caffeine. Tablets anyone? Favorite of college students for all-nighters. Easy to OD and suffer, though.

 

3. Teas, but I'm talking about real tea: green, oolong, or black teas. The catechins, tannins, caffeine, etc. all seem to help the brain and neurons to function better. Theanine induces a state of focused relaxation. May also decrease inflammation and stress in the body.

 

4. Blueberries. Certain flavonoids in blueberries may help prevent neurons from dying, function better, and more excitable by making them "talk" to each other more. Also decreases inflammation in the brain.

 

5. Omega-3 fatty acids. Supposed to improve memory by improving the membrane composition and sheathing (myelin sheaths) of neurons. May increase production and release of neuronal growth factors and decrease inflammation in the brain, allowing it to function better.

 

6. Exercise. Running, biking, swimming, etc. Surprise, anyone? Better circulation and oxygen to the brain, improves heart, and causes the release of natural painkillers, anti-inflammatory agents, and nerve growth factors and survival factors in the brain and endorphins, which make brain cells really happy. Seems to increase neurogenesis in the hippocampus, which is an area critical to memory.

 

If anyone wants me to provide links, sources, or studies for the above claims, I would do so gladly.

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