Nootropic use has steadily grown over the past decade or so. There are dozens of substances, from plants to pills to powders, that people use to improve cognitive performance. Oxiracetam is one such substance and is commonly used for its nootropic benefits.
In addition to the tons of anecdotal reports about oxiracetam’s effectiveness, there is plenty of scientific research that has been done on this interesting substance. In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at oxiracetam’s benefits, potential side effects, dosage, and more. But first, let’s see what exactly oxiracetam is.
What Is Oxiracetam?
Oxiracetam is a potent nootropic that is one of the more powerful members of the racetam family. The racetams are a group of chemically-similar substances, many of which are nootropics. Piracetam was the first racetam – and the first nootropic – to be created. Oxiracetam, which was made by slightly altering the piracetam molecule, is more powerful than the nootropic it was created from.
Oxiracetam works in a similar way to many of the other racetams. It exerts its nootropic effect, at least in part, by influencing the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and glutamate. These neurotransmitters are known to play a role in memory and learning. Oxiracetam has also been shown to stimulate AMPA and NMDA receptors in the brain.
Speaking of stimulation, oxiracetam is considered to be a mild stimulant. Researchers have compared it to other stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, and have found that oxiracetam also has a significant effect on learning and memory. Now that we’ve taken a look at what oxiracetam is, let’s explore its nootropic benefits.
Nootropic Benefits of Oxiracetam
Like many of the other racetams, oxiracetam can be a powerful cognitive enhancer. While it’s often taken as part of a larger stack, oxiracetam can be quite effective on its own. Now, let’s take at some of the nootropic benefits of oxiracetam that people report and the science that has been done to support those claims.
1. Improved Memory
This is one of the main reasons why people use oxiracetam. In addition to countless anecdotal reports, there have been a number of both human and animal studies that demonstrate oxiracetam’s ability to improve memory.
An animal study published in 1986 compared the effect oxiracetam had on memory and learning versus piracetam. Even back in the 1980’s, piracetam had already been extensively studied and shown to improve some aspects of memory. The researchers found that oxiracetam improved several aspects of memory, including one that piracetam did not.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 1992 looked at the effect oxiracetam had on patients with dementia. The participants were assessed at six and at twelve weeks. Those receiving oxiracetam showed significant improvements in memory and quality of life while those in the placebo group did not.
That’s just one of several human studies that have demonstrated oxiracetam’s potential as a memory booster. Another article published in the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology looked at the results of three oxiracetam trials: one done on healthy volunteers and two done on patients with dementia. The researchers concluded that oxiracetam is very safe and has a positive effect on memory. When summing up their findings, the researchers referred to oxiracetam as “a vigilance-enhancing compound.”
2. Increased Focus & Attention
Another reason why nootropic users like oxiracetam is because it can increase focus and attention. It’s often reported that oxiracetam helps to keep you on task and allows you to work on mental tasks harder and longer. And there’s a lot of science to support these reports.
A study published in 1989 looked at the effects long-term oxiracetam use would have on patients with different types of dementia, ranging from mild to moderate. Half of the participants received oxiracetam twice a day for six months and the other half got a placebo. At the end of treatment, the participants in the oxiracetam group showed improvements in attention, memory, and other aspects of cognition while the placebo group did not.
Another study published in the Journal of Neural Transmission also looked at the effect oxiracetam had on patients with mild-to-moderate dementia. Participants were either given oxiracetam twice a day for 90 days or a placebo. The participants in the oxiracetam group scored significantly higher on all neuropsychological tests than those in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that oxiracetam was “effective in enhancing both attentional activities and other, more complex, neuropsychological functions.”
Several other human and animal studies have shown oxiracetam to have a beneficial effect on attention and focus. To mention just one more, a study published in the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology looked at the effect oxiracetam had on patients with organic brain syndrome (OBS). Participants were either given oxiracetam twice-a-day for eight weeks or a placebo. The participants in the oxiracetam group showed improvements in attention, logical performance, and other cognitive functions.
3. Other Benefits of Oxiracetam
Improving memory and increasing focus and attention are the main reasons why nootropic users take oxiracetam. However, many users report other benefits from taking this interesting substance.
In addition to memory and attention, many oxiracetam users report that it makes them think more logically and analytically. At least one study done on oxiracetam noted that it increased logical thinking. Given the way oxiracetam works in the brain, this isn’t surprising. It’s able to readily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and, after oral administration, is found in several parts of the brain including the septum and hippocampus. These brain regions are known to be heavily involved in short-and-long-term memory, emotion, learning, and other aspects of cognition.
Another reason why many nootropic users like oxiracetam is because it often improves memory and focus without affecting mood or anxiety levels. While many nootropic users want substances that improve mood and reduce anxiety, some do not. For those who are looking for a nootropic that won’t affect their mood or anxiety levels, oxiracetam can be an excellent choice.
Oxiracetam Side Effects
Side effects from oxiracetam are rare and, when they do happen, usually very mild. That is one of the reasons why it is so popular. In all the human studies we’ve looked at, oxiracetam was found to be very safe. Even when taken twice a day for an entire year (at a dosage of 1,600 mg a day), oxiracetam was shown to be safe and free of serious side effects.
That being said, a small percentage of people who take oxiracetam may experience some mild side effects. These can include headache, nausea, dizziness, insomnia, irritability, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Although these side effects are rare, if you experience them, they can often easily be reduced or eliminated. If you experience nausea or upset stomach, try taking oxiracetam with a small meal instead of on an empty stomach. Insomnia can often be eliminated by only taking oxiracetam in the first half of the day. And if oxiracetam gives you headaches, try taking a choline source with it like alpha-GPC or CDP-choline. Many users who get headaches from oxiracetam find that taking a choline source with it gets rid of their headaches.
When used as a nootropic, oxiracetam is usually taken at a daily dosage of anywhere from 1,200 milligrams (mg) to 2,400 mg. This is often split between 2-3 doses. Most users find a dosage of about 1,500-1,600 mg to be effective, taken as either 750 or 800 mg twice a day. However, if you do not get the desired results from this dosage, oxiracetam has been shown to be safe at up to 2,400 mg a day, even when taken daily for a year.
It is not known whether or not oxiracetam absorbs better with or without food. Some users have reported that it works best when taken on an empty stomach while others have said it doesn’t matter. It’s probably best to try it on an empty stomach first. If you experience nausea or upset stomach, in the future, take oxiracetam with food.
Some prescription medications may affect the way your body absorbs oxiracetam. If you take carbamazepine or valproic acid, medications used to treat epilepsy and other conditions, you may need to take oxiracetam more frequently. These prescription drugs make your body eliminate oxiracetam faster than usual. However, there doesn’t seem to be any other negative or dangerous interactions between oxiracetam and these antiepileptic drugs.