Aniracetam is a synthetic nootropic supplement that is said to be more potent than Piracetam (the original racetam).
Anecdotally, Aniracetam is said to reduce anxiety and depression and boost holistic thinking and creativity. There is little scientific evidence to support these assertions, but that doesn’t mean that the subjective experiences reported by users are incorrect. Conversely, we also can’t rule out that a placebo effect is taking place.
As is common with the majority of nootropic supplements a variety of effects are reported by users of Aniracetam, ranging from the euphoric ‘this supplement changed my life’ type, to the frustrated, ‘this didn’t do a thing for me.’
One of the requirements of drugs used as medications is that their effects should be consistently reproducible in a large number of people. This reproducibility isn’t the case with any nootropic. And while nootropics aren’t medications, many people look to them to relieve conditions that are commonly treated with medications, like anxiety and depression, cognitive impairment and decline, sleep problems, low levels of energy, and more.
Others are looking for an overall boost to give them a cognitive edge.
If you have a cognitive or emotional problem that is affecting the quality of your life then it would be wise to seek professional advice rather than attempting to self medicate with untested supplements. This is especially the case for those under the age of 25 because the brain is still not fully mature at this time and DIY experimentation just isn’t a good idea.
So how does Aniracetam stack up as a nootropic? Does it work? Are there any studies? Any clinical trials? Or is this nootropic, and the claims made for it hot air?
That’s what we’ll try to ascertain in this Aniracetam review. But first we’ll take a few minutes to understand the basic function of neurons so that you can better understand the way that Aniracetam may work.
A Quick Overview Of The Nervous System
Your nervous system is made up of billions of individual nerve cells called neurons. They function as the body’s wiring allowing the electrical signals necessary for every bodily function, and for life itself, to travel around the body.
But neurons aren’t one continuous thread like the wiring in your homes electrical system Nerve signals travel along the length of a neuron as an electrical impulse. When a signal reaches the end of the neuron it can leap over to the next cell by using chemical messengers called neurotransmitters.
In the central nervous system – brain and the spinal cord – neurotransmitters pass from neuron to neuron.
In the peripheral nervous system, which is made up of the nerves that run from the central nervous system to every other part of the body, the neurotransmitters pass between a neuron and a neighboring muscle cell or gland cell.
Tiny sacs bursting with neurotransmitters are stored at the end of each neuron. When a nerve impulse reaches the end of a neuron, it triggers these sacs to release the neurotransmitters into the spaces that separate one nerve cell from another. These spaces are called synapses.
The neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and upon reaching the neighboring neuron, they click into specialized receptor sites just like a key fits into a lock. When enough neurotransmitters attach to the receptors, the neuron “fires,” sending an electrical impulse down its length.
The two most abundant neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, and especially in the cerebral cortex, which is where thinking occurs and sensations are interpreted are Glutamate and GABA.
GABA is made in brain cells from glutamate. It functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means that it blocks nerve impulses.
Glutamate acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter and encourages neurons to “fire” and send a nerve impulse. GABA does the opposite and tells the adjoining cells not to send an impulse.
Without sufficient GABA, nerve cells fire too often and too easily.
Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, seizures, and other conditions including addiction, headaches, cognitive impairment and pre menstrual syndrome are all related to low GABA activity.
Because GABA hinders the transmission of nerve impulses, it has a calming or quieting influence.
This effect can be illustrated using caffeine as an example. Caffeine inhibits GABA release. The less GABA, the more nerve transmissions occur. When you have had too much caffeine you are experiencing the effects of glutamate without enough GABA to counteract it.
The reason that caffeine inhibits GABA is that is allows other molecules to attach to the neuron near the GABA binding site and influence GABA’s effect.
Tranquilizing drugs like Benzodiazepines and barbiturates work in a similar way, they attach to the binding sites but they increase GABA or imitate its effects and inhibit nerve transmission.
Please keep in mind that substances other than those identified as nootropics have profound effects on the brain – especially when they are missing. Two very important nutrients which play key roles in the brain are vitamin C and magnesium.
These are both substances that many people are deficient in. In addition to playing a role in the development of chronic disease like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, low levels of these nutrients are associated with depression and anxiety and various types of cognitive impairment.
Before looking to nootropics to solve your problems or offer enhancement, you may want to make sure that you are taking optimum amounts of these two nutrients. You would be missing a very basic building block of good physical and mental health otherwise.
The recommended daily amount for magnesium is between 320 mg and 420 mg a day but most American get far less, with the average amount being 250 mg. Supplementing to reach the required amount is safe, inexpensive and easy to do.
The recommended daily amount for Vitamin C – 75 mg to 90 mg – is considered by many to be far too low for optimum health, and vitamin C researchers and some physicians recommend 3000 mg as a minimum amount.
When you are under stress, sleep deprived, unwell, eating junk foods, eating a high carbohydrate diet, using alcohol, smoking or taking prescription drugs, your vitamin C gets used up very quickly so it’s important to take sufficient amounts several times a day. You can pick up one kilo of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) for less than $20.
Okay then let’s see what Aniracetam can do.
What Is Aniracetam And What Does It Do?
Aniracetam is a fat soluble ampakine nootropic in the racetam family. An ampakine is a positive allosteric modulator of AMPA receptors.
AMPA receptors are a type of glutamate receptor. Glutamate if you recall is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and it has effects on memory and learning. These AMPA receptors are the targets of therapeutic drugs aimed at treating psychiatric and neurological disease.
An allosteric modulator modifies the function of the receptor. Aniracetam appears to reduce the rate that AMPA receptor becomes desensitized, which should in theory manifest in a controlled and prolonged neurological stimulation effect. But compared to some other ampakines like Sunifiram and Unifiram, this effect is weak.
Systematic reviews have found that ampakines have no significant cognition-enhancing effects in healthy individuals. Research is ongoing into the effects of Aniracetam, as an AMPA modulator for use in depression and other disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Aniracetam also has effects on GABA inhibition, and proponents of its use claim that it has anxiolytic properties and is helpful for their anxiety issues.
Aniracetam appears to enhance the transmission of acetylcholine, which plays an important role in cognitive function.
Animal studies show that Aniracetam may reduce anxiety and have positive effects on socialization by interacting with the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (happy hormones), and acetylcholine receptors, it also appears to increase the release of serotonin and dopamine, which both work to improve mood. Aniracetam is the only racetam that seems to have any ability to reduce anxiety.
Serotonin plays a role in various functions, such as regulating body temperature, sleep, mood, appetite, and pain. Disruptions in serotonin are implicated in disorders like depression, impulsive behaviour, aggressiveness and suicide.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in controlling movement, it also regulates mood and plays an important role in positive reinforcement and dependency.
Aniracetam may also be neuroprotective. Animals studies in which various methods have been used to cause damage to the brain have shown that aniracetam can prevent memory impairment.
In rats, Aniracetam was also able to repair the damage inflicted by fetal alcohol syndrome. After the administration of Aniracetam synaptic transmissions in their brains were restored and cognitive deficits were reversed.
However, in healthy mice research has shown that Aniracetam delivers no cognitive enhancement at all. The researchers noted that,
“We detected no significant differences between the naive, placebo, and experimental groups across all measures. Despite several studies demonstrating efficacy in impaired subjects, our findings suggest that aniracetam does not alter behavior in normal healthy mice. This study is timely in light of the growing community of healthy humans self-administering nootropic drugs.”
In human use there is the suggestion that Aniracetam may be able to improve memory and cognition in those who are cognitively impaired. There is no clinical evidence at this time that points to benefits for those with healthy brains.
Additionally after a failed clinical trial, Aniracetam was withdrawn from use in Japan.
Anecdotally Reported Effects Of Aniracetam
Because there is very little clinical data on the use of Aniracetam, and the data that does exist is concerned with its effects on those suffering from cognitive decline conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, the best way to get an overall picture of what Aniracetam may or not be able to do is by finding out how it has affected other users.
When we look to user experiences and read around various sites online, we have to keep several things in mind.
Every person is different and will respond in different ways to different nootropic supplements.
Benefits may be the result of a placebo effect and when users claim that a nootropic has had tremendous effects on many different aspects of their mood and cognitive abilities it is very possible that this is the placebo effect at work. A placebo effect is still a worthwhile benefit though!
For every person deriving benefits from their nootropics of choice, there is another person getting no upside at all.
Many people are taking a variety of nootropic supplements and the effects are synergistically experienced, you probably won’t get the same effects if you only take one supplement.
Some people need to take larger than recommended doses to generate effects.
For some users, Aniracetam’s benefits are felt fairly quickly while others need to take the supplement for several weeks before they notice changes. As indicated by the manufacturers insert, therapeutic effects (in cognitively impaired elderly people) take 60 days to appear and are more pronounced after 4 months.
For users experiencing fast benefits these effects appear to dwindle as a tolerance builds up and breaks from the drug need to be taken.
Ultimately the only way to know for sure if Aniracetam will work for you is to buy a small amount and test it out.
Commonly reported positive effects of Aniracetam use include:
- Increased attention span and ability to complete difficult or boring task.
- Wider awareness
- Clarity of mind
- Sharper focus
- Superior visualization skills
- Enhanced enjoyment of music
- Better analytical abilities
- Increased verbal fluency
- Improved imagination and creativity.
- Lowered levels of depression
- Less anxiety
- Increased mental energy
- Improved sociability
User reviews – the good
“Suffered major depression, anxiety and complete lack of motivation. Start taking Aniracetam and within a week everything mentioned above reversed itself. Since taking the product my mental capacity to problem solve has increased along with my level of creativity at work which has helped my job a lot.”
“Aniracetam just works for me. It makes me calm but clear headed.”
“Aniracetam works amazing for me. Great focus and anti anxiety.”
“I really like aniracetam because of the increased creativity/problem solving and the decreased anxiety. It helps me think clearly and calmly. I stack it with bacopa monnieri. “
“Well, it’s only been about 5 days since I started taking Aniracetam daily but the results are already quite staggering. Decreased anxiety, cheerier attitude, better focus, less frustration, better sleep. I’m not sure why it’s affecting me the way it is so far but I only hope that it keeps up as time goes on.”
“After a week on Aniracetam i drink way less; It went from getting smashed every night(8+ Drinks) to me drinking 2 beers a night and feeling content. I hope this isn’t placebo, but even if it is it’s helping me cut down on alcohol consumption.”
User reviews – the not so good
“Aniracetam isn’t for me. While my focus level was pretty good, I felt a little foggy, tired, and antisocial. Kind of the opposite effect of what I am looking for in a nootropic.”
“Ani was meh, didn’t have any effect at all.”
“Sadly, I had nothing noteworthy happen as I took this product.”
Doses between 10 mg per kilo of bodyweight and 100 mg per kilo of bodyweight have been used effectively with rats in laboratory settings.
In humans there is limited evidence for optimal doses but amounts in the 1,000 mg to 1,500 mg range taken in several doses throughout the day appear to be effective.
Doses as low as 400 mg have been reported to have some benefit, and it is common to take divided doses of 500 mg to 750 mg twice daily with meals.
Aniracetam powder is very bitter so capsules are a preferred route of administration for many users.
The bioavailability of Aniracetam is believed to be improved when it is taken at the same time as a meal containing fat. If you are taking aniracetam without food, then you may want to take it with a little olive oil or with a fish oil supplement, although Aniracetam is fat soluble it doesn’t have to be taken with fat.
Side Effects Of Aniracetam
Aniracetam has very few and mild side effects and appears to be well tolerated. At higher doses you may experience anxiety, fatigue, headaches, nervousness and nausea.
Headaches typically happen when choline is in short supply so taking a choline supplement like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline, with Aniracetam can rectify that problem. But choline isn’t necessarily recommended as a complementary supplement for Aniracetam, and you may get better results by using Aniracetam alone. However if you find that you don’t get any effects with Aniracetam, it may be that you need more choline. It’s a very individual thing.
Since the effects of Aniracetam have not been investigated on pregnant women or nursing mothers, this drug should not be used at these times.
Where To Buy Aniracetam
Aniracetam is available in powder and capsule form from several online vendors.
Nootropics Depot sell both forms, and 30 grams of powder starts at $11, while 750mg capsules start at $20 for 60.
Nootrostop provide powder in the following sizes 10 grams, 30 grams, 100 grams, 500 grams starting at $7.
Pure Nootropics sell powder and capsules. Powder is available in 75 gram and 200 grams starting at $25. Capsules containing 750 mg start at $14 for 30.
New Star Nootropics sells powder in 25 gram and 50 gram sizes starting at $12.80.
New Mind sell powder in 50 gram, 100 gram, 200 gram and 400 gram sizes starting at $16.88
If using the common dose of 1.5 grams per day, capsules would work out at about 65 cents per day and powder at 55 cents per day. Purchasing larger amounts can cut the price considerably – 400 grams of powder from New Mind retails at just under $74, working out at a daily dose for about 28 cents, which makes Aniracetam a very affordable choice if it proves to be beneficial for you.
Summing Up – Is Aniracetam Worth It Or Not?
Many user accounts seem to indicate that Aniracetam has beneficial effects. Some possible modes of action have been identified through research but the full details are yet to be understood.
Animal research has shown some positive results in cognitively impaired mice, and while animal research is only a starting point, with many effects often non reproducible in humans, the research reveals some insight into the possibilities for Aniracetam.
In healthy mice studies have not revealed any cognitive benefits at all.
Potential benefits that may be present in those suffering with disease states like Alzheimer’s cannot be extrapolated to those with healthy brain function.
For some users tolerance builds up quickly while for others several weeks of dosing are needed to produce any effects at all.
Reported benefits may be the result of a placebo effect and many users report no beneficial effects after taking Aniracetam.
Side effects are rare and mild however, and the supplement is inexpensive which makes it low risk and low cost to try out for yourself.
As with the majority of nootropic supplements there is no clinical evidence at this time that points to any beneficial cognitive effects in people with normal brain function.
Try it for yourself and see how you get along.