Oxiracetam: A Stimulating Memory and Learning Nootropic
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Oxiracetam is among the most popular and potent nootropics in the racetam family that is particularly effective for increasing memory, attention and perceived mental energy. It shares similar mechanisms and effects to other racetam nootropics but is noted as being far more potent than others such as Piracetam, the first nootropic developed. The fact that it is water soluble means this nootropic is easy to use and can be dissolved into a glass of water or juice. This article details some of the things you should know about this supplement including its benefits, mechanisms, potential side effects and usage guidelines.
Racetams like Oxiracetam are derived from the first racetam nootropics developed, Piracetam. As such, many of them share similar benefits and mechanisms and Oxiracetam is no different. However, it differs from other racetams in the sense that it is considered by many as being almost purely for cognitive enhancement due to the fact that it does not significantly alter mood.
The first benefit that this nootropic offers is to boost memory. This applies particularly to long-term memory as well as the ability to quickly and efficiently recall information. Oxiracetam can also aid in improving the fluidity, clarity and speed of thought processes while attention span, concentration, focus and motivation may also see significant improvements. Many of these benefits may be related to the fact that Oxiracetam appears to have a slight stimulatory effect in contrast to other racetams, like Aniracetam, that have a more sedative calming effect. These benefits are seen not only in healthy individuals, but have also been observed in individuals with mild to moderate dementia, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Similar improvements have also been seen when this supplement was given to individuals suffering from prolonged symptoms as a result of concussion (known as post-concussion syndrome).
Oxiracetam is also highly effective when it comes to boosting learning capacity with a large body of evidence that suggests it may improve both contextual and spatial learning. Additionally it may improve the efficacy of, and performance in, brain training exercises that are used by many nootropics users to further advance the cognitive enhancing abilities of their supplement regimens. This supplement can also improve your ability to think logically, critically and analytically, skills that are associated with what is perhaps one of the most important measures of cognitive performance, fluid intelligence. This wide range of cognitive enhancements, coupled with stimulatory and attention increasing effects makes this nootropic a popular choice for students who are studying for long periods of preparing for exams.
In addition to cognitive enhancement, this supplement offers neuroprotective benefits. Oxiracetam in this respect functions as an antioxidant with the ability to eliminate harmful substances like excessive levels of calcium. Some research has even suggested that this nootropic can prevent, and perhaps even reverse the damage caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Another interesting, albeit minor benefit of this nootropic is that unlike other racetams, many users have noted that it does not have an unpleasant taste. While other racetams are thought to be quite bitter, Oxiracetam has a distinctly sweet taste that should not adversely affect the palatability of whatever drink you may want to dissolve it in.
How Does Oxiracetam Work?
Oxiracetam’s mechanisms of action are somewhat similar to other supplements in the racetam family. Although these mechanisms are still not fully understood, it is believe to work by modulating levels of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and glutamate. Acetylcholine is a vital neurotransmitter that is involved in many functions ranging from neuromuscular control to arousal and reward mechanisms in the central nervous system. When concerning cognitive enhancement, this neurotransmitter is able to contribute to the formation of new memories, while deficits of acetylcholine are commonly associated with memory impairment seen in Alzheimer’s. Additionally, acetylcholine plays a role in synaptic plasticity which refers to your brain’s ability to alter synaptic connections between neurons. These connections represent information and memories, so having a higher level of synaptic plasticity will allow for the process of memory formation and learning to be carried out with greater efficiency.
Oxiracetam is also classed as an ampakine affecting both AMPA and NDMA receptors that correspond to the neurotransmitter glutamate. Oxiracetam is able to facilitate the transmission of signals at synapses in these glutamatergic systems, boosting the action of glutamate. Similarly to the action of acetylcholine, this is known to promote more efficient memory encoding and learning.
Learning performance may be further enhanced through the action of a substance known as protein kinase C (PKC). Studies conducted using animal models demonstrate that administration of Oxiracetam causes an increase in hippocampal concentrations of PKC, resulting in enhanced spatial and contextual learning abilities.
Recommended Dosage for Oxiracetam
Oxiracetam has quite a variable dosage range, with most users recommending a range between 600 to 3,000mg per day. Those that are new to nootropics should start with relatively small amounts and ensure they are comfortable with the effects of this supplement before increasing the dosage slowly and incrementally. Due to the fact that Oxiracetam has a relatively short half-life, this dosage should be split into several equal parts to be administered throughout the day. This ensures consistent cognitive enhancing effects. Ideally these administrations should be taken shortly after waking in the morning, then a few hours afterwards, with a final dose in the early evening. As this supplement may have some subjective stimulatory effects, it is generally not a good idea to take Oxiracetam too late in the day to avoid possible sleep disruptions.
There are additional dosage strategies for using this supplement known as attack and mega dosages. Attack dosages are generally used by first time Oxiracetam users and this involves using two to three times the normal dosage. This allows Oxiracetam to accumulate faster at receptors, allowing users to experience benefits sooner. The megadose strategy involves using around two to four times the normal dosage in order to concentrate the benefits gained. This can be useful for example before an exam, or indeed any event that may require higher levels of cognitive performance. It is important to note that although Oxiracetam is generally considered to be safe, both of these dosage strategies present an increased risk and as such, only advanced nootropic users should consider them.
Potential Side Effects of Oxiracetam
Oxiracetam, like most nootropics is considered to be well tolerated and quite safe for use by healthy adults. It has shown to have minimal toxicity and there have been no reported cases of severe side effects associated with this supplement. There have been some reported side effects although these are quite mild and have generally only occurred in instances where the recommended dosage was exceeded. Possible side effects of Oxiracetam are similar to other racetam supplements and may include headaches, anxiety, nervousness, fatigue and gastrointestinal distress. If such symptoms occur you are advised to lower your dosage or stop using Oxiracetam for a few days.
The most common of these symptoms is headaches, likely a result of increased acetylcholine activity. This is a side effect seen with many racetams and can be easily overcome by using a high quality choline supplement such as Citicoline or Centrophenoxine.
Oxiracetam Stacks and Cycling
There is the potential, although this is not particularly likely, for individuals to build a tolerance to Oxiracetam. This may mean that more of the supplement is required to produce the same cognitive enhancing effects. To avoid this, you may want to consider cycling this supplement with other similar nootropics that meet your needs. A commonly used cycle involves using Oxiracetam for a period of two to three weeks before taking a break from it for a week. This will ensure your body does not have sufficient time to build a tolerance to Oxiracetam, thus maintaining its effectiveness.
Oxiracetam is commonly used as part of various nootropic stacks. As well as combining it with choline which is advised to potentiate benefits and negate side effects, Oxiracetam may also be used in conjuction with a wide range of other nootropics. One popular stack is known as the PAO stack which combines this supplement with Aniracetam and Pramiracetam for increased cognitive enhancement, in addition to anxiolytic effects. Other users find it useful to cycle Oxiracetam with Aniracetam, using the former in the morning for its stimulatory benefits, and the latter in the evening to promote relaxation. There are a limitless number and combination of stacks that use Oxiracetam so it is a good idea to experiment with this nootropic to find the best stack for you.