Nootropics are used by everyone–from college kids to high performing executives–in the hopes of enhancing cognitive abilities, and no discussion on nootropics is complete without mentioning Aniracetam.
Not only is Aniracetam significantly more powerful than it’s predecessor, Piracetam, but it’s also believed to have some unique anti-anxiety/anti-depressant benefits as well.
You can find countless reviews and testimonials across the internet, all claiming that Aniracetam boosted their cognitive abilities, made them more productive, and even richer!
If everything you read about Aniracetam is true, it’s a real game changer…
But is all this hype really warranted? Have any studies actually PROVEN that Aniracetam can do these things? Is this just another over-hyped brain-booster that doesn’t really do anything?
In this article, we’ll answer all those questions and more. By the end, you’ll know everything that is known about Aniracetam. Then you can decide or yourself if it’s worth taking.
Before we get into the research though, let’s first talk about what Aniracetam is and how it works in the first place…
What Is Aniracetam?
Aniracetam is a synthetic nootropic (smart drug) which is anywhere from 5 to 8 times more powerful than its cousin, Piracetam, one of the most widely used nootropics of all time.
Like Piracetam, Aniracetam is supposed to improve cognitive function, but with a slant more towards the creative side.
There are tons of anecdotal reports of Aniracetam use resulting in things like:
- Enhanced Memory
- More Creativity
- Better Learning Capabilities
- Sharper Senses
- Improved Communication Skills
Such benefits shouldn’t immediately be ruled out, though.
Aniracetam is definitely not your typical nootropic. Though often compared to other nootropics, like Noopept and Piracetam, the way it works is quite unique.
There may be some overlap in terms of benefits, of course. After all, every nootropic is trying to accomplish the same thing in the end: cognitive enhancement.
But Aniracetam works in complex and somewhat mysterious ways, interacting with several key neurotransmitters to ultimately induce a diverse range of cognitive effects.
Research is ongoing, but scientists have furthered our understanding of how Aniracetam does what it does quite significantly in the past several years.
How Does Aniracetam Work?
As is the case with most of the compounds belonging to the racetam family, the mechanisms by which Aniracetam exerts its benefits are not entirely understood.
Research has yielded some clues though…
Aniracetam appears to interact with four important neurotransmitter systems.
Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. It increases overall brain activity and plays an important role in memory and learning.
Glutamate receptors have three subsets: AMPA receptors, Kainate receptors, and NDMA receptors.
AMPA activation triggers the release of Noradrenaline.
Aniracetam appears to enhance AMPA-induced release of Noradrenaline which has a very direct impact on things like attention, mood, learning, memory, and motivation.
Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter most heavily involved in memory and learning. Increasing Acetylcholine levels is seen as beneficial for cognitive function in general.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter most closely associated with pleasure and reward. It also plays a critical role in motivation, attention, memory, focus, and mood. Increasing Dopamine levels is generally seen as beneficial for enhancing these things.
Aniracetam delays Dopamine turnover in certain parts of the brain, presumably increasing Dopamine levels.
GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It slows down overall brain activity. GABA and Glutamate regulate the inhibition and excitation of brain activity in a yin-yang type of way.
Aniracetam appears to enhance the activity of GABA to some degree. This could explain the anecdotal reports of reduced anxiety and anti-depressive effects.
What Does The Research Say About Aniracetam?
Before you get too excited about Aniracetam, it’s important to understand one thing.
There have hardly been any studies in human beings.
All of the benefits atttributed to Aniracetam come from studies in mice.
In fact, Aniracetam has flat out failed to influence cognitive measures in healthy mice.
In humans, Aniracetam has been shown to improve cognitive function, but only in dementia patients. Studies in healthy, human subjects are completely non-existent.
This begs the question:
Does Aniracetam only boost cognitive abilities in people with some kind of cognitive deficit? Or does it actually work in normal, healthy people who are just looking for a cognitive boost?
The reality is, we just don’t know.
You can go on forums and read all about the experiences of Aniracetam users who swear it makes them smarter, more creative, less anxious, and more motivated, but any sort of anecdotal report should be taken with a grain of salt.
If someone thinks something is supposed to work, they may convince themselves that it actually does work.
This behavior can be further compounded by the fact that most people who are taking Aniracetam paid money for it and don’t want to admit they wasted their money.
Unfortunately, until the effects of Aniracetam are studied in healthy, normal functioning human beings, it’s tough to say what it’s truly capable of.
Due to the lack of human studies, it’s tough to say what the ideal (clinical) dose of Aniracetam would be.
The study I referenced above, in which patients with mild Dementia experienced cognitive and anxiolytic benefits, used a standard dose of 1500mg/day.
This fall pretty much in line with what anecdotal reports suggest is an effective dose.
For the purposes of enhancing cognitive function and reducing anxiety, 1000-2000mg seems to be the preferred range.
Due to Aniracetam having a relatively short half-life of just a few hours, it makes sense to divide the dose evenly throughout the day.
Also, since Aniracetam tastes absolutely horrible, I recommend you go with capsules as opposed to raw powder.
Most vendors sell capsules containing about 500mg each, so you need to take at least 2 or 3 per day.
Because it is fat soluble, it is recommended to take Aniracetam with your highest-fat meals of the day. At the very least, you should take it with some kind of fatty acids.
This helps ensure maximal absorption.
Are There Any Side Effects Associated With Aniracetam?
Aniracetam can potentially cause side effects if taken at high enough doses, but serious side effects are rare.
At the most, you’re looking at things like:
You know, nothing too serious.
It’s virtually impossible to “OD”, but there does come a point of diminishing returns where higher doses won’t necessarily ‘work better’.
There have been no deaths or hospitalizations reported as a result of Aniracetam supplementation, but combined with other substances, who knows?
Many people use Aniracetam in combination with stimulants to further enhance cognitive function, but it’s impossible to say which combinations are safe and which may cause some sort of negative interaction.
My Personal Experience With Aniracetam (And Piracetam)
Years ago, when I first started to research supplements, nootropics immediately caught my attention.
When you’re doing anything that involves thinking, learning, remembering, or organizing, any supplement that promises to help with those things is going to interest you.
I’ve tried both Aniracetam and Piracetam for extended periods of time, on and off, for the past few years.
To be honest, I never really noticed much benefit with the racetams. Maybe a little more mental clarity, but I can’t say it translated into more productivity.
I’m not denying the benefits of these substances, but for me, they just don’t do the trick. I have a handful of supplements I use for optimizing cognitive function and they work better than Aniracetam for me.
Other Nootropic Supplements To Consider
If you don’t feel like rolling the dice on Aniracetam, and would rather supplements with some more proven alternatives, there are a few supplements to consider.
Alpha GPC is one of the most widely used nootropic supplements. It is a highly bioavailable form of Choline, an essential nutrient which serves as the precursor to the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is heavily involved with memory and learning and higher levels are typically seen as beneficial for cognitive function and brain health in general.
Inferior forms of Choline, such as Choline Bitartrate, are unable to cross the blood-brain-barrirer, but Alpha GPC does so with ease.
It has been shown to increase Acetylcholine production and improve certain aspects of cognitive function in healthy human subjects.
A clinically effective dose of Alpha GPC would be anywhere from 600-1200mg/day.
Phosphatidylserine is a major component of cell membranes in various tissues throughout the body. It is particularly concentrated in the brain, though, where it is believed to contribute to cognitive health in general.
It’s one of the few nootropic supplements which has actually been shown to improve cognitive abilities in young, healthy individuals, not just elderly people with some sort of cognitive dysfunction.
In addition to improving cognitive function, Phosphatidylserine also has stress-reducing properties which have been observed in multiple human studies.
Ultimately, if there’s one supplement you should take on an ongoing basis for the purposes of cognitive health, it’s Phosphatidylserine.
Studies show it’s remarkably safe, even at high doses.
A clinically effective dose of Phosphatidylserine is anywhere from 200-800mg/day.
Bacopa Monierri is one of the few herbal nootropics that actually works. Many herbs have been used for years throughout various systems of traditional medicine, but few have withstood the test of modern scientific scrutiny.
Bacopa is an exception though.
It has been shown to enhance various aspects of cognitive function, not just in people with some sort of cognitive disorder, but in healthy people as well.
Research indicates an effective dose is anywhere from 300-500mg, depending on the quality of the extract.
The Bottom Line On Aniracetam
If you’re on a quest to find a magic pill that makes you smarter, more productive, and just better at life in general, Aniracetam may be the final destination.
Maybe it doesn’t work at all.
Aniracetam, though promising in some regards, is still very under-researched as a cognitive enhancer.
There are tons of anecdotal reports of people saying it can make you smarter, but the research just hasn’t caught up yet.
As is the case with so many nootropics, Aniracetam has only been shown to enhance cognitive function in people with some level of deteriorating cognitive health.
Does that mean it doesn’t work in normal, healthy people? Not necessarily. It just hasn’t been proven.
If you want to give Aniracetam a shot, nobody’s stopping you. All I ask is that you let me know how it goes in the comments below…
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