Are Racetams As Scary As They Sound?

Not too long ago we did an investigation into nootropics, to find out exactly what they are and how they work. Recently they have been making waves in the dietary supplements industry for a multitude of reasons.

In the investigation, we looked at the different types of Nootropics, one of the largest classes being Racetams. In this article, we will look into them in more depth so you know everything about them.

colourful brain

So What Are Racetams?

Quite simply put, Racetams are synthetic compounds that all have a similar structure and are based on the original compound, Piracetam. The slight differences between all of the racetams provide different properties and effects to take place.

The potency of these types of Racetams are all individual and have pros and cons. This is why we are going to look at each type carefully to bring you the information you need to know about them.

While some believe the original Racetam is the best, others would say that they are finding ways of improving them in newer forms that will increase cognitive performance. Some even have more benefits that just one, such as reducing anxiety and enhancing your sense of sound.

How Do They Work?

It isn’t easy to understand how Racetams work, so that is why we are here to help. The compounds cross the blood-brain barrier to bind with the Acetylcholine receptors, which are neurotransmitters that play a role in learning, focus, memory and decision-making. When Acetylcholine is increased, your cognitive abilities also do the same. You feel more alert due to increased glucose metabolism and oxygen.

The Different Types of Racetams


This is the most commonly used type of nootropic and the first nootropic supplement ever, discovered in 1964 by scientists at the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB. This one in particular works by stimulating the Acetylcholine receptor system, which results in releasing more of the neurotransmitter into the brain. This is seen to have amazing benefits such as improving long-term brain health. It also has an extremely low toxicity level which makes it very safe for you, maybe safer than a cup of coffee perhaps? Which is what some people have suggested is true. If there are any side effects they will be mild and consist of:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Agitation

With Piracetam you will have better learning and memory retention, which will help with studying new information or recalling old notes. It provides energy just as well as coffee, making it useful if you choose to take it before you work out as it will supply a boost to help you out.

Piracetam is sold throughout the world under a number of names and can be imported near enough anywhere. Although the FDA in America does not approve it, in the UK it has been prescribed to treat myoclonus, which is a brief, involuntary twitching of a muscle or group of muscles.


This type of racetam is very similar to Piracetam, except that it is more potent and longer lasting, which is good news for people who want the effect to be as long. While they can take longer to feel, they are felt for a greater half-life.

It works to increase cognition and memory and is, in fact, an anxiolytic, meaning that it has anti-anxiety properties. This is the main reason why it is chosen, because it can enhance your mood. It is sold in Europe as a prescription drug, but like Piracetam, isn’t approved by the FDA in America.


This type of racetam is even stronger and faster acting than both piracetam and aniracetam, but it is also more expensive. It is used to increase motivation levels and get rid of any symptoms of mental fatigue, and like all the others it is a cognitive enhancer first and foremost.

There have been several studies conducted that suggest the substance is safe to take even when high doses are consumed for a long period of time. One, in particular, has been investigating the use of Oxiracetam as medication for symptoms of dementia, which would go towards helping cognitive memory functions.


This type of racetam has 30 times the potency of Piracetam and is the strongest of all the racetam nootropics, as well as lasting the longest. It is often stacked with other nootropics and racetams as it enhances the effects of the compounds. The side effects as said to be equivalent to that of table sale, one of the safest around. In particular, it can increase mental energy levels and alertness for up to 8 hours.

Who Should Take Them?

While the fact that they have hardly any side effects suggests that anyone can take them, there are certain groups of people who are more likely to take Racetams than others.

The people who are most likely to take racetams, and any form of nootropics for that matter, would be those who are experiencing cognitive decline such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. They are used to help with memory recalling, which is why doctors prescribe drugs that are similar to nootropics to them.

People who are narcoleptics have been known to take these to relieve symptoms of fatigue, especially if they do shift work and find it hard to sleep.

Nowadays students have started to use racetams to improve memory when a test is coming up and they know they need to focus. As the side effects are minimal they are seen as being safe.

How Safe Are They?

Before taking anything that is likely to alter your system in any way it is always a good idea to look up ingredients and see if something is safe to take. A lot of professionals feel that because the research and testing are limited, coupled with the fact they haven’t been around long enough to see long term effects, you should avoid taking them if you really don’t need to.

The good thing about racetams is that they have low toxicity levels, making them safe to take, but it doesn’t completely rule out side effects as people respond to things differently. As long as you stick to the recommended doses everything should be fine.

The most common side effects are:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sleeping issues
  • Irritability

If you are experiencing symptoms it is best to stop taking the racetams immediately and you should discuss the situation with your doctor.


It would seem that these supplements are too good to be true, doing all they say they can with no side effects. Where’s the catch? The truth is that there isn’t one.

Looking at these supplements, it seems that they could be better than some dietary supplements at offering energy boosts to help with workouts, as well as added benefits for cognitive abilities.

What we like the most about these is that there have been clinical studies done on them and it has proven that they have low toxicity levels meaning they are very safe, probably safer than some of the diet supplements we review on a daily basis.

We recommend trying a Racetam supplement if you want to have a go at Nootropics as they seem to be the safest out there and can be bought online easily. Always check with your doctor if it is safe for you to use such substances, especially if you are taking medication, and always remember to stop taking them if you experience any side effects.

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