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Within the nootropics kingdom, there is a wide assortment of ingredients that frequently find their names on product labels. The basis, and efficacy, of these properties can vary greatly. So, too, can their legality and safety. One particularly buzzworthy compound is piracetam. It’s a controversial nootropic ingredient for several different reasons. So, what is piracetam? Today we will answer that question and equip you with the information you need to understand its downsides.

If you’re unfamiliar, the term “nootropics” refers to a family of dietary supplements with a focus on cognitive function. Rather than seeking to improve or regulate some physical capacity, these products are all about enhancing your brainpower. They are rapidly rising in popularity because they offer benefits that just about everyone can use. If you don’t have period where your productivity wanes due to mental fuzziness, sleepiness or lacking attention span, then you’re one of the lucky few. Nootropics present a typically herbal and accessible alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals and stimulants.

But what is piracetam, an ingredient that is frequently connected to the nootropic world? This one is drawing no shortage of scrutiny, especially in the United States. Here’s everything you need to know about the ingredient.

What is Piracetam?

Piracetam comes from the racetams class, which has a rep for its impact on neuronal and vascular function. In studies on rats, racetams showed considerable promise for improving the completion of cognitive tasks. Their efficacy increases when paired with another ingredient called choline. What is piracetam going to if when you take it? Its primary positive outcomes are memory enhancement and alertness.

Unlike herbal nootropics ingredients such as ginkgo biloba and green tea extract, piracetam is a manmade compound. Although its specific origin is unknown, there is a belief that it was first created sometime in the 1950s. You might not often see the term “piracetam” because this property appears under many different patents and brand names around the world.

Is Piracetam Illegal?

It’s fairly common to see piracetam in product formulas throughout Europe and Asia. However, in the United States, this ingredient does not have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and therefore you will not find it in readily available dietary supplements. Our understanding, based on research and conversations with experts, is that this has more to do with a lack of in-depth study than a preponderance of negative data.

In the United Kingdom and Canada, it is legal to important piracetam and keep it for personal use. The same is true in Canada.

Piracetam Side Effects

Although the true severity this ingredient’s dangers are the subject of debate, there are some piracetam side effects worth being aware of. For instance, it has been shown to cause headaches, anxiety, irritability and insomnia. In rare cases it can lead to weight gain and muscle weakness. However, these are not at all common occurrences.

In general, we recommend against piracetam. There are simply better nootropic components out there with a better record of safety. And, of course, if you live in the US, you can’t even legally get your hands on it.

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