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Piracteam is perhaps the most well-known nootropic, and arguably kickstarted the entire nootropic movement. Discovered in the 1960s, when it was used to treat motion sickness, it wasn’t until the early 70s that its neuroprotective properties were first noticed. Part of the racetam family, piracetam works in much the same way as other racetams such as aniracetam and pramiracetam, but it significantly less potent than more modern nootropics. Piracetam is a great starter point for anyone new to nootropics.

Method of Action

Despite being one of the oldest nootropics, the mechanism of piracetam, along with other racetams, is much debated. The most likely hypothesis is that racetams interact with glutamate neurotransmission, reinforcing the neurotransmitter glutamate and promoting an increase in the quality of memory encoding, thus increasing learning capacity. Racetams also recruit AMPA receptors that would not normally be part of synaptic transmissions. It should be noted that the racetam family possess a variety of other mechanisms, as well as only having weak to moderate AMPA modulation.

•Increases memory and learning function
•Protect against shock and hypoxia-induced amnesia
•Reduce neuronal loss in alcoholics


Piracetam has a high oral bioavailability – nearly 100% – which means that practically all of it makes it to the bloodstream. You can take up to 5g per day without suffering any noticeable side effects, but obviously this will differ from person-to-person. You will also need to factor in other nootropics in your stack if you’re combining piracetam with anything else.