Background – Piracetam is the prototype for the Racetams family of ‘cognitive enhancers’, and has extensive usage as a pharmaceutical for treatment of cognitive impairment. According to a meta-analysis on literature and trials (many unpublished) on human interventions, it exerts moderate to weak benefits to persons in a state of cognitive decline that appear to benefit the brain in a non-specific manner (not favoring any single aspect of cognition, but all of them).
Positive Effects – There is not enough literature on healthy persons to conduct a meta-analysis, but it seems to exert either weak or no overall cognitive enhancing benefits to otherwise healthy persons. There is some evidence saying that it can enhance cognition in aged individuals, but it cannot be assumed that this ‘otherwise healthy’ cohort of aged adults is not suffering from organic cognitive decline.
Side Effects – There is no apparent toxicity with Piracetam, and it appears to work via a variety of mechanisms of which the most important may be through enhancing membrane fluidity (or at least preserving it) by directly interacting with cell membranes. This correlates best with the instances of which Piracetam enhances cognition, and partially explains both selective benefits to aged persons and to explain high interindividual variability.
Dosage – The largest effective dose appears to be 1600mg of Piracetam taken thrice a day in divided doses to total 4800mg overall.
Misc. – Piracetam appears to preserve health in a non-specific and weak manner, and may be a useful longevity agent. The mechanisms underlying cognitive enhancement in otherwise healthy subjects are elusive and relatively weak, and may be better suited to another supplemental intervention such as
another Racetams compound or Nootropic.
Conclusion – Overall, cognitive enhancing properties of Piracetam in healthy persons are understudied and fairly weak.