Image: Marcos Moraes/Unsplash Aniracetam: In-depth Review of Usage, Effects, Stacks & More

Aniracetam: In-depth Review of Usage, Effects, Stacks & More

Aniracetam is classed as a synthetic nootropic agent from the family of Racetams. It’s a more potent compound than its derivative Piracetam. And, it’s one of the top nootropics because of its ability to enhance cognition, improve memory, and elevate mood. But, there’s a lot more to the powerful nootropic than you might think. Find out why it’s so popular and how you can use it to boost your mind power.


Aniracetam is one of the top nootropics available today. It’s classed as a synthetic nootropic agent from the family of Racetams. It sits among other highly popular nootropics such as Adrafinil, Noopept, Sulbutiamine, Oxiracetam, and Pramiracetam. While Aniracetam is most popular for its overall brain boosting properties, it also provides a number of other health benefits. Some of the main ones being to reduce stress, fatigue, and anxiety. In addition to improving mood, and avoiding the effects of cognitive decline.

Aniracetam helps to elevate your mental performance, giving you greater ability to think, concentrate, recall information, and make decisions.

Taking aniracetam to improve your cognition is the equivalent of turbocharging your car. It elevates your mental performance, giving you greater ability to think, concentrate, recall information, and make decisions. Users of the nootropic, have reported noticeable improvements in their mental performance. For instance, experiencing a sharper, faster, and more focused state of mind. The nootropic can go a step further by helping to make you feel more relaxed, happier, and confident. Some users of aniracetam have also reported improved vision and hearing. In addition, after taking aniracetam for a period of time, users reported dramatic increases in their perception of color, depth, visual clarity, and sound.

The Benefits of Using Aniracetam

  • Better focus and attention to mental tasks
  • Improves memory formation and retention
  • Promotes learning of abstract concepts
  • Enhances holistic thinking (i.e. putting pieces of a puzzle together)
  • Boosts creativity
  • Elevates mood
  • Lowers stress and anxiety
  • Fights depression
  • Increases verbal fluency and social confidence
  • Makes vision sharper and colors more vivid
  • Helps avoid the detrimental effects of cognitive decline

What is Aniracetam?

Aniracetam is a widely popular multi-faceted synthetic nootropic. It’s best known for its extreme effectiveness at enhancing both mood and cognition. It belongs to a group of nootropics known as Racetams. All Racetams are derivatives of Piracetam—the very first synthetic nootropic discovered in the 1960s. Piracetam led the way for synthetic nootropics but, today, it’s regarded as one of the mildest nootropics. Conversely, aniracetam is considered to be substantially more potent than its relative Piracetam.

Being a derivative of Piracetam, this means it’s also closely related to other Racetam nootropics. These include Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and arguably the most powerful Racetam on the market, Phenylpiracetam. Few smart drugs have been as extensively studied and tested as aniracetam. Since its development in the 1970s, aniracetam has become one of the most prescribed nootropics.

A Brief History of Aniracetam

The renowned pharmaceutical company Hoffman-La Roche first developed aniracetam in Belgium in the 1970s. The company is famous for being the first to manufacture synthetic vitamin C back in the 1930s and has a proud history stretching back to 1896. The development of aniracetam was part of global efforts to find a more potent form of Piracetam, the first nootropic to be discovered in the 1960s. As the cognitive enhancing abilities of Piracetam became highly sought after, Hoffman-La Roche developed aniracetam to treat cognitive disorders and enhance the overall performance of the brain. Since then, aniracetam has undergone numerous clinical and laboratory tests, which have proven its robust cognitive enhancing abilities[1].

Throughout Europe, healthcare professionals sold it as a prescription medication for its ability to improve memory and elevate mood. In other parts of the world, including the U.S., aniracetam is popular as an off-label supplement for improving cognition. The use of aniracetam continues to expand due to its potency as a nootropic, as well as its safety and mood enhancing properties.

How Aniracetam Works

Aniracetam works by modulating 3 different neurotransmitters. These are Acetylcholine, Serotonin and Dopamine, and Glutamate Transmission.

What makes aniracetam extremely effective is its significantly high rate of bioavailability and absorption. Its bioavailability (the percentage that enters circulation and is able to have an effect on the body) becomes, even more, higher when aniracetam is taken with fatty acids. It gets to work almost immediately after ingestion. Immediately after ingestion, this brain enhancing supplement quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier. While it is quickly taken up from the gut, it’s important to note that the rate of absorption is subject to extensive first-pass hepatic metabolism. According to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the nootropic can quickly be absorbed into the body within a mere 20 to 30 minutes before it is rapidly metabolized and achieves full concentration levels[2]. This is primarily what makes it faster acting and, therefore, an extremely effective compound.

Mechanism of Action

Every nootropic compound has what is called a mechanism of action. It’s how the compound works to make changes in the human body and human brain. Researchers are still carrying out control studies to clearly establish the exact mechanism of action for aniracetam. However, what is clear is that this supplement works by modulating a number of different neurotransmitters. While the mode of action for aniracetam has been well studied, much of its mechanism of action remains unknown. While further research is required to fully understand the compound, clinical studies show that aniracetam works by modulating the following 3 main neurotransmitters that play important roles in the brain.

1. Acetylcholine

Aniracetam helps to boost cognition by helping to promote the synaptic release of acetylcholine (ACH) throughout the entire acetylcholine system. ACH is the first neurotransmitter to be affected by aniracetam. Aniracetam binds to ACH receptors to help inhibit and prevent receptor desensitization and to boost the release of the neurotransmitter. The ACH system represents a section of the brain that plays a pivotal role in determining cognitive functions. These functions include learning speed, attention span, memory, concentration and other important cognitive processes.

2. Serotonin and Dopamine

Aniracetam helps to boost the levels of the neurotransmitters—serotonin and dopamine. This leads to an elevated mood, reduced anxiety, and higher levels of energy. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is derived from Tryptophan. A α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins[3]. It plays key roles in facilitating important brain functions such as memory, sleep, stress and many other neurological processes. Dopamine, on the other hand, is an essential neurotransmitter that helps to control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Dopamine also plays a pivotal role in regulating emotional responses and movement. This is what enables us to perceive rewards then take action to achieve them.

Aniracetam works by, effectively, binding to serotonin and dopamine receptors to help prevent the breakdown of the two neurotransmitters. This further increases their levels in brain cells. As a result, aniracetam helps with improving mood, boosting energy, and decreasing anxiety through increasing the levels of these two neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine). Additionally, this nootropic also binds to both serotonin and dopamine receptors to help inhibit them from breaking down hence helping restore maximum levels of both. This is what makes it a particularly effective and reliable mood enhancer and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) agent.

3. Glutamate Transmission

Aniracetam improves memory formation and information storage by enhancing the transmission of glutamate. It achieves this by binding to α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) and kinase receptors. Important receptors linked to memory formation and storage. What is glutamate? It’s an important neurotransmitter that plays an important role in neural activation. By attaching to and stimulating kainate receptors, glutamate receptors help to aid with information storage and in the creation of new memories. Aniracetam is extremely effective in improving both information storage and memory because of the unique way it helps in enhancing glutamate transmission.

Properties of Aniracetam

Aniracetam is a nootropic that has a high permeability through cells. This is primarily because it is a fat-soluble molecule. Since the cell membrane is made up of fat, this means that aniracetam gets into cells very quickly. This boosts its bioavailability and helps it cross the blood-brain barrier more efficiently. It’s usually taken with food or drinks containing fats and oils to promote its uptake by cells. Most users prefer taking the compound with milk or a mixture of coffee and butter.

Taking it with fish oil and olive oil are also good options to help significantly increase the bioavailability of aniracetam in cells. What makes it different in structure from the rest of the racetam family is that it is a pyrrolidinone compound. This means it has an additional anisoyl ring with a methoxy group at the lone para position (this replaces the amine group found in most racetams). This unique modification is what enhances fat solubility.

Despite being a fast acting nootropic, its effects don’t last long when compared to other Racetams. With a half-life of between 2 to 3 hours, it’s known to have a “short and sweet” effect. What distinguishes this nootropic from other Racetams is its anxiolytic, or calming, effect. Unlike other Racetams, aniracetam has significant anti-anxiety and anti-panic effects. Combining cognitive enhancing properties and an antidepressant makes aniracetam the nootropic of choice for many stressed and overworked individuals. Particularly those who need to get the most out of their performance and feel good at the same time.

Recommended Dosages and Use

Although individual requirements of aniracetam vary from one person to the next, a dosage of 750-1,500mg per day is typically considered safe and effective. Doses that go up to 3,000mg per day, however, have been documented to be tolerable for both females and males. If you are starting out with the nootropic, it is recommended to take only the minimum effective daily dosage—750mg twice a day. The dosage is minimal but, one intended to get your body used to the drug. After a few days, you may then increase each dosage to between 750mg and 4,500mg taken up to 4 times per day. Only gradually increase the dosage as your needs change and your tolerance increases.

  • Recommended Daily Dosage: 750-1,500mg
  • Frequency: 2x Daily
  • Half-life: 2-3 hours
  • Peaks: Approximately at 40mins

It’s important to note that aniracetam has a relatively short half-life. Approximately 2-3 hours. The dosage, therefore, needs to be repeated in intervals to maintain the effects. For this reason, taking three doses a day with meals rather than one or two large doses delivers better results. Aniracetam is well tolerated with the lethal dose being between 3.6g/kg and 4.5g/kg. This is a very high dose, which makes the risk of getting a deadly overdose extremely low. Just like other nootropics especially those in the racetam family, the effect of this particular supplement may disappear if too much of it is present in your system. To gain maximum effect, monitor the dosage closely. While doing this, keep in mind that the compound tends to peak in the bloodstream after about 40 minutes.

Best Time to Take Aniracetam

Since Aniracetam is fat-soluble, it’s advisable to take it at least 15 minutes after a meal. As long as your meals contain enough amounts of fats and oils, it’s not necessary to take aniracetam with fish oil or olive oil. While the powder form absorbs faster than the capsule form, swallowing both with milk will enable it to work faster. Users of this nootropic will often use capsules as it’s convenient to carry (e.g. when traveling).

One common problem with synthetic nootropics is their overuse. For aniracetam, the risks are very much the same. Taking more than the recommended levels of aniracetam can lead to adverse effects such as nausea, headaches, and over stimulation. To avoid the adverse effects, follow the intake directions and be aware of your mental, emotional, and physical reactions. Following the recommended dosages can, ultimately, save your life. However, taking Aniracetam with choline reduces these side effects.

The Pros of Taking Aniracetam

Improves Memory

This is by far the most impressive and popular benefit of using this supplement. Numerous studies have discovered the effectiveness and efficiency of aniracetam in substantially boosting memory[4][5]. In addition, these studies have ascertained that aniracetam not only boosts memory but also considerably enhances recall speed. An active part of the memory function of the brain. Results from these studies also suggest recall speeds improve with regular use.

Increases Cognition

Equally impressive is aniracetam’s ability to elevate healthy cognitive functioning and cognitive performance. In fact, it has shown great potential for considerably improving brain functioning in people suffering from any kind of cognitive impairment.

Boosts Awareness and Attention

Did you know that the average attention span for a human is about 8 seconds? For most healthy teenagers and adults, it’s difficult to sustain attention on one thing for more than 20 minutes. More and more people are finding it difficult to focus their attention on one thing due to a number of factors (e.g. technology, distractions, etc.) If you have trouble focusing for long periods of time, aniracetam might be a good solution for you. It helps to cause a significant rise in how long you can remain focused and attentive. This brain enhancing function is particularly effective and useful in people suffering from mild ADHD and other attention disorders that can disorient the mind. Studies, for instance, show that users who consistently consume aniracetam gradually become more aware of their environment and their decisions[6]. This, in turn, plays a significant role in broadening attention span.

Well Researched

It is backed by several studies which prove its efficacy in enhancing cognition[7]. These studies, for example, have ascertained the efficiency of aniracetam in boosting memory. These studies have also ascertained that aniracetam not only boosts memory but also considerably enhances recall speed which is an active part of the memory function of the brain. The studies also suggest that recall speeds will improve with regular use.

Elevates Mood and Reduces Anxiety

Unlike other racetams, aniracetam has mood elevating properties. These properties work to help make you feel energized and motivated at the same time. Aniracetam is also reported to help reduce stress and anxiety[8]. Anxiety and mood swings are a big problem in this generation mostly because we are living very demanding lives. Balancing a busy career and trying to keep abreast with family life can be very stressful. Although we may not always be aware of it, these challenges can take a toll on our mental strength and cognitive functioning. In such situations, use aniracetam to help prevent chronic stress and constant overwhelm. It will act as an effective and quick-acting antidepressant and mood enhancer. If taken consistently, it will help relax your mind and reduce the chances of developing anxiety and stress related issues such as depression.

Sharper Focus

With greater attention comes heightened focus which helps achieve more within a limited period of time. This makes it extremely easy to handle demanding tasks that require a lot of mental effort and critical thinking.

Improves Sleep

Quality and quantity of sleep have a big effect on one’s ability to perform mental tasks better and more accurately. The anti-depressant and anti-anxiety qualities of this supplement can calm a users mind and help alleviate stress. Properties that come in handy towards improving the quality and quantity of sleep.

Strong Potency

It is much stronger than the original nootropic Piracetam, which means you need lower doses to achieve the same benefits.

Not Expensive

Compared to other nootropic supplements, it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain. Using it will not put a burn a hole in your finances.

The Cons of Taking Aniracetam

Fat-solubility

As aniracetam is fat-soluble, take it with a meal for maximum benefits.

Choline Boosts

It’s also more efficient when taken with a choline booster such as DMAE or CPD Choline. The disadvantage with this is that choline is much more expensive than aniracetam.

Side-effects

Aniracetam also has a few side effects, especially when taken in excess amounts. They include headaches and nausea. Furthermore, although its effects can be felt quickly after taking it, maximum results tend to show after longer use. Although the side effects of most nootropics especially—aniracetam are few—it is nonetheless extremely important to know how it might affect you. Remember that the brain is arguably the most important organ of the body. It defines who you are and plays an indispensable role in elevating performance. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of what you are taking and the potential risks. While there are risks involved with taking nootropics, a 2014 study reported that aniracetam does not alter cognitive behavior or affect behavior negatively[9].

Risk of Increased Anxiety and Nervousness

Similar to the aforementioned negative side effect, aniracetam can also increase anxiety and nervous energy—which can lead to panic. Although this supplement is known to reduce the latter, taking a higher dosage than what is recommended can actually cause the opposite effect. This increase in nervousness and anxiety will manifest in form of jitters and anxiety. To avoid this undesirable side effect, the solution is easy. Follow the golden rule- always take the recommended dosage don’t overdose yourself. This is because you will be doing more harm than good to both your body and mind.

Fatigue and Nause

Aniracetam can cause general distress which leads to discomforts such as fatigues and nausea. Again, this is generally caused by users overdosing and can be rampant in beginners who are trying to build tolerance. Like any other supplement always seek a certified doctor’s advice before getting on the drug. This is especially important if you have an existing medical condition such as ADHD and any another brain-related dysfunction. Also, seek medical advice if you suffer from chronic ailments such as Diabetes. Additionally, ask for advice if you are taking any other medication. This is so that the doctor can assure you that the drugs will not react with aniracetam and affect your body or brain negatively. If side effects become intolerable, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.

Best Aniracetam Stacks

If you are currently using Aniracetam and would like to step up its actions, then stacking it with other nootropics is the best choice. If you’re new stacking nootropics, you might be asking “why should I use more than one?” The main reason for stacking nootropics is so that you can maximize the benefits of each of the combined nootropics. For example, nootropics such as racetams influence cognition in similar ways through different mechanisms. Using them in combination with each other or other types of nootropics will enhance or magnify the results, helping you achieve a higher level of results.

Different nootropics also offer various improvements in cognition, memory,  raising your energy and motivational levels, as well as reducing stress, and anxiety. By combining aniracetam with other nootropics, you will get a wider variety of benefits. Whether you are a college student, corporate executive, airline pilot, stock-trader, professional athlete, or an entrepreneur, stacking aniracetam with other nootropics is a great way to maximize its benefits. Below are the 3 best nootropic stacks for memory, learning, and mood enhancement with aniracetam.

Aniracetam, DMAE, Huperzine A, and Vinpocetine

This stack is popular for improving memory. DMAE works with Aniracetam to improve the effects and availability of acetylcholine (ACH) for better memory. DMAE increases the levels of choline, while the two herbal supplements, Huperzine A and Vinpocetine, not only encourage the flow of blood to the brain but also increase the levels of ACH. This stack is designed to boost memory and is suitable for students and older persons suffering from age-related memory loss.

Aniracetam and CPD Choline

This stack is designed to boost learning. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF helps to enhance the learning process, which helps in the formation of new neuronal connections and synapses central to learning. Aniracetam effects include increasing BDNF as well as ACH. Adding CPD Choline boosts levels of choline, a precursor of ACH. The effect is to improve learning capacity and good judgment.

Aniracetam, L-Theanine, and Bacopa Monieri

In addition to improving memory and cognition, use this stack to enhance mood and lower anxiety. Stacking aniracetam with Bacopa Monieri and L-Theanine magnifies these effects. L-Theanine is a nootropic compound found in green tea. It is a mood enhancer and produces a relaxation effect without harmful side effects. Bacopa Monieri, on the other hand, is a natural nootropic that improves cognition while lowering anxiety and stress. The combination of the three powerful ingredients makes this a top cognition and mood enhancing stack.


See also: Noopept: In-depth Review of Usage, Effects, Stacks & More


How to Use Aniracetam Safely and for Best Results

To safely use aniracetam or any other nootropic supplement, ensure you inform your doctor if you are taking prescription medications. Aniracetam may influence the action of other drugs by increasing or lowering their efficacy. You should also not take aniracetam if you are suffering from a serious health condition unless expressly permitted by your doctor. Like any other nootropic, aniracetam use should start with a small dosage before building up to the recommended daily dosage. This will allow your body used to its effects. To magnify the results, use a recommended aniracetam stack and stick to recommended dosages. Also, since aniracetam is a fat-soluble molecule, take it with food containing enough levels of fats and oils. This will improve its absorption and bioavailability in blood. Taking the powder on an empty stomach, however, can be just as effective.

Summary

Aniracetam and other top nootropics have received extensive media coverage in the last few years. Top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz hit the headlines when it poured millions of dollars into Nootrobox, a startup engaged in nootropic research. The story, covered by The New York Times, points out that Andreessen Horowitz was a major early investor in Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Pinterest, and other highly successful startups[9]. Such big bets on nootropics can only signal how important smart drugs will be in the coming years. Not a bad bet considering Forbes Magazine predicts that nootropics will be big business in years to come due to increasing demand for cognitive-enhancing drugs[10].

Clearly, aniracetam is a very effective and safe nootropic that can improve brain function, elevate your mental performance and mental strength. Although controversy surrounds the use of nootropics, there is yet to be evidence that completely renders them ineffective or detrimental to cognitive health. Research conducted on aniracetam, in particular, show that it’s a safe nootropic to take and can also work as a therapeutically useful cognitive enhancer. As the world continues to demand greater performance from our already overworked brains, supplements such as aniracetam have come to the rescue. Finally, above all else. aniracetam gives people the opportunity to boost their cognitive abilities to new heights that they perhaps had never dreamed possible.


References

  1. “Aniracetam – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com. n.d.
  2. Eleore, L., I. Vassias, P.-P. Vidal, and C. De Waele. “Modulation of the glutamatergic receptors (AMPA and NMDA) and of glutamate vesicular transporter 2 in the rat facial nucleus after axotomy.” Neuroscience 136.1 (2005): 147-60.
  3. “Tryptophan.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 May 2017. Web. 07 May 2017.
  4. Vaglenova, Julia, Noemi Pandiella, Nayana Wijayawardhane, Tiru Vaithianathan, Sandjay Birru, Charles Breese, Vishnu Suppiramaniam, and Clark Randal. “Aniracetam Reversed Learning and Memory Deficits Following Prenatal Ethanol Exposure by Modulating Functions of Synaptic AMPA Receptors.” Neuropsychopharmacology 33.5 (2007): 1071-083.
  5. Cumin, R., E. F. Bandle, E. Gamzu, and W. E. Haefely. “Effects of the novel compound aniracetam (Ro 13-5057) upon impaired learning and memory in rodents.” Psychopharmacology 78.2 (1982): 104-11.
  6. Nakamura, K., and M. Kurasawa. “Serotonergic mechanisms involved in the attentional and vigilance task performance of rats and the palliative action of aniracetam.” Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology 361.5 (2000): 521-28.
  7. Nakamura, Kazuo, and Mitsue Kurasawa. “Anxiolytic effects of aniracetam in three different mouse models of anxiety and the underlying mechanism.” European Journal of Pharmacology 420.1 (2001): 33-43.
  8. Merced, M. J. de la. “Andreessen Horowitz to Invest in Nootropics Start-Up.” The New York Times. 03 Dec. 2015.
  9. Montgomery, M. “Better, Stronger, Faster: Why Nootropics Will Be Big Business In 2016.” Forbes. 19 Jan. 2016.
  10. Elston, Thomas. “Aniracetam and Behavior.” BEARdocs. N.p., 02 June 2014.
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