What is Pramiracetam?
Pramiracetam is a synthetic molecule which was first development for the treatment of memory loss and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease in the 1970’s.
The molecule is a member of the racetam family. Pramiracetam was derived from piracetam but due to chemical changes in its structure, the molecule is around 30 times more potent that piracetam.
Pramiracetam is widely used as a nootropic compound, and appears to have beneficial effects on mental focus, cognition and memory. It also appears that pramiracetam has some neuroprotective effects which can help to protect our brains from the damaging effects of trauma and age-related decline.
One of the main mechanisms of underlying the benefits of pramiracetam appears to be its ability to modulate the acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter with vital roles in learning, memory and concentration.
Brain Benefits and Mode of Action
A variety of animal studies have indicated that pramiracetam may boost cognitive and learning abilities. The compound’s ability to increase focus, alertness and cognition has made pramiracetam a popular and reliable ‘study aid’.
Mode of action: There are multiple way in which pramiracetam may improve cognition and enhance learning ability:
- As mentioned previously, the compound can increase choline uptake and elevate acetylcholine production. Acetylcholine and optimal function of the cholinergic system is robustly linked to cognitive tasks, memory and learning. This may be one of the primary ways which pramiracetam can improve cognition.
- Pramiracetam has been shown to increase cerebral blood flow, particularly in ‘higher order’ cortical and hippocampal regions. This increase in blood flow allows oxygen, glucose and other vital nutrients to be more effectively delivered to neurons. Neuroscientists have suggested that this increase in blood flow likely contributes to cognitive enhancements.
- Although not yet investigated in humans, some animal studies have indicated that pramiracetam can modulate a molecule called nitric oxide synthase (NOS). NOS activity has been associated with brain development and enhanced neuronal plasticity. By modulating the levels of NOS, pramiracetam may improve cognitive and learning abilities.
- Some research also suggests that pramiracetam can increase cell membrane fluidity, which can enable more effect cellular signalling.
Numerous animal and human studies have highlighted the memory boosting effects of pramiracetam.
One preliminary human study investigated the effects of pramiracetam in elderly volunteers who were experience memory loss. Researchers found that the compound was able to greatly improve memory in patients who has previously been experiencing memory loss and forgetfulness.
The results of this study were echoed by a small-scale study conducted on four people who had experience a traumatic brain injury which negatively impacted their memory. In this study, pramiracetam was shown to significantly improve both long and short-term memory. Researchers were also encouraged by the finding that these memory boosting effects lasted for around 1 month after pramiracetam treatment was ceased.
Animal studies have also mirrored these findings. Multiple rodent studies have shown that pramiracetam administration improved long term memory and elevated performance on object recognition tasks.
Importantly, one animal study found that administering one dose of pramiracetam was enough to significantly improve performance on memory tests. This suggests that the compound can get to work and confer it’s benefits straight away, rather than taking time to build up in the system.
Mode of action: Pramiracetam main mechanism of action appears to be its modulation of the choline uptake in the brain. Pramiracetam can increase choline uptake in neurons by between 30-37%. Choline is the primary molecule from which acetylcholine is synthesised from. A greater uptake of choline means that more acetylcholine synthesised and used for neuronal communication. Subsequently, this boosts overall cognition, improves memory and recall.
This increase in acetylcholine may also underlie the increase in concentration, focus and learning which many users report. Interestingly, pramiracetam seems to exert this effect mainly in a brain region called the hippocampus. The hippocampus is well known as the ‘memory centre’ of the brain; neuroscientists believe this structure has critical role in memory encoding, consolidation and storage. This might be why pramiracetam has such powerful effects on memory.
May boost creativity
While not well researched, many users of pramiracetam report feelings of increase creative while supplementing with the drug. This often relates to more creativity and ‘flow’ in conversation and social situations.
Possible mode of actions: Our brains generate a number of brain waves (or ‘oscillations’) of different frequencies. These brain wave patterns are produced by the synchronous firing of wide-scale networks of neurons. Different brain wave patterns can indicate a lot about the current mental state. Scientists can detect these brain waves using a technique called electroencephalography (EEG).
As we age, our brain waves change and we begin to lose the activity of some frequencies. More specifically, slow-wave Theta frequency oscillations begin to disappear with old age. These theta waves are associated with creativity and information integration. Human participants often exhibit an increase in theta during meditation or when experience an epiphany-like moment. In one study, researchers found that pramiracetam was able to fully restore theta waves in the brains of aged rodents. This may be one mechanism which underlies the appear increase in creativity found by users who take pramiracetam.
How to Use
Pramiracetam is a man-made compound, and so we can only get the molecule through supplementation.
Since pramiracetam is a fat-soluble molecule, we advise the supplement is taken along side a good quality oil, such as coconut or MCT oil, to maximise absorption and beneficial effects.
Pramiracetam is thought to be generally safe and well-tolerated by most people. On rare occasions, users may experience headaches due to increase acetylcholine function. In this case, it’s advisable to stack with a choline supplement such as citicoline of Alpha GPC. Otherwise, lowering the dose may aid with this problem
Stacks well with
- Stacks well with Stack pramiracetam with a high-quality fat such as coconut or MCT oil to maximise beneficial effects.
- Pramiracetam stacks well with citicoline to powerfully improve focus, cognition and memory by synergistically increasing acetylcholine production and uptake.
- Stack pramiracetam with a high-quality fat such as coconut or MCT oil to maximise beneficial effects.
- Pramiracetam may also stack nicely with aniracetam to combine the focus boosting effects of pramiracetam with the ant-anxiety effect of aniracetam.
- Stacking pramiracetam with oxiracetam will likely intensify enhancement to mental alertness and allow these effects to be sustained over a longer period of time.
Recommended Dose: 250-500mg up to 3 times per day, 1200mg maximum per day
The best evidence suggests dosing with 400mg pramiracetam three times daily, or 600mg twice daily, to reap the memory, focus and cognitive benefits. We suggest taking no more that 1200mg of pramiracetam per day.
Classification: Cognition, Memory, Focus, Creativity
We’ve classified pramiracetam as primarily an enhancer of cognition and memory, these benefits are some of the most well-researched. We also classify the compound as a focus and creativity booster, as many users report these benefits. There is some biological evidence which suggests mechanism which could underpin these functions.
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