Oxiracetam - An Overview
Oxiracetam (4-Hydroxy-2-oxopyrrolidine-N-acetamide) is a synthetic nootropic in the ampakine family of supplements.
It is a derivative of the original racetam, piracetam. It was first synthesized in the 1970s.
Oxiracetam is considerably stronger than its predecessor and has more nootropic benefits. These include:
- Processing speed
This nootropic is one of the most popular choices among the biohacker community.
It is also famous for its mild stimulatory effect. Some describe oxiracetam as a subtler form of Adderall without the nasty side effects.
Oxiracetam works by modulating AMPA receptors, regulating glutamate levels, and increasing neurotransmitter release in the brain.
Oxiracetam is safe and well-tolerated, with a low side-effects profile.
What Does Oxiracetam Do?
Oxiracetam is Neuroprotective
A rodent study found that Oxiracetam could improve cognitive impairment and prevent neural deficits in rats that had hypoperfusion-induced brain damage.
These results suggest that Oxiracetam may be effective as a potential agent against cognitive impairment.1Yao XL, et al. Oxiracetam can improve cognitive impairment after chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in rats, Psychiatry Res. 2016
Substantial evidence suggests that Oxiracetam could promote metabolism and have neuroprotective roles in severe cognitive impairment.
In this study, the rats they chemically-induced amnesia in performed better in a maze after being injected with oxiracetam.2Hlinák Z, Krejcí I. Oxiracetam prevents the MK-801 induced amnesia for the elevated plus-maze in mice, Behav Brain Res. 2000
Oxiracetam And Alzheimer’s
Oxiracetam may be an effective treatment for degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. It could slow the progression of this condition.
One study looked at oxiracetam’s effects on senile populations.
After 12 months, researchers measured a statistically significant improvement in reaction time and cognitive function.
This was contrary to the placebo group, who showed significant worsening of cognitive and global function in comparison with baseline score over the year.
he authors believe that Oxiracetam favorably acts on the symptoms of senile cerebral deterioration and can improve the capability of information processing.3Rozzini R, Zanetti O, Bianchetti A. Treatment of cognitive impairment secondary to degenerative dementia. Effectiveness of oxiracetam therapy, Acta Neurol (Napoli). 1993
In contrast, a 1992 study did not find any improvements on subjects who were suffering from Alzheimer’s.
However, we do take this result with a grain of salt, considering the study only lasted for a month and had 12 participants. A larger, longer study is needed investigate oxiracetam’s role in treating Alzheimer’s.4Green RC, et al. Treatment trial of oxiracetam in Alzheimer’s disease, Arch Neurol. 1992
Oxiracetam could treat cognitive impairments caused by cerebral hypoperfusion.
Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion is a condition that is heavily associated with vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia can cause significant mental issues by blocking blood flow to the brain.
It is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer disease, which accounts for at least 20% of all dementia cases.5Iadecola C. The pathobiology of vascular dementia, Neuron. 2013 6Wan li, et al. (S)-Oxiracetam is the Active Ingredient in Oxiracetam that Alleviates the Cognitive Impairment Induced by Chronic Cerebral Hypoperfusion in Rats, Sci Rep. 2017 7Ohta H, et al. Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion by permanent internal carotid ligation produces learning impairment without brain damage in rats, Neuroscience. 1997
Another study looked at a group of 96 out-patients suffering from cognitive disorders related to degenerative dementia. The study, performed in double-blind, lasted 26 weeks.
They concluded that oxiracetam favourably acts on the symptoms of senile cerebral deterioration and can improve the capability of information processing.8Rozzini R, Zanetti O, Bianchetti A. Effectiveness of oxiracetam therapy in the treatment of cognitive deficiencies secondary to primary degenerative dementia, Acta Neurol (Napoli). 1992
A clinical trial of 200 patients concluded that oxiracetam “was of some benefit in the treatment of cognitive dysfunction.” The participants were all suffering from vascular dementia.9Baumel B, et al. Oxiracetam in the treatment of multi-infarct dementia, Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1989
Oxiracetam For Cognition and Memory
Many people swear by oxiracetam for better memory and over-all mental function.
One study found that dementia patients taking oxiracetam over 12 weeks performed significantly better on cognition and memory tests than patients taking a placebo.10Bottini G, et al. Oxiracetam in dementia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Acta Neurol Scand. 1992
Oxiracetam vs. Piracetam: What’s the Difference?
Piracetam and oxiracetam are both racetam-class ampakines that modulate AMPA and NMDA receptors.
Oxiracetam is actually a derivative of piracetam.
They have similar effects in some regards, and both are useful for memory and neuroprotection, but there are a few differences to keep in mind.
Oxiracetam is much more potent than its predecessor and requires much smaller doses to be effective.
It also has more of a “kick,” producing a mild stimulation that piracetam does not. It seems to improve attention and focus to a greater degree than piracetam.
Both nootropics are safe and well-tolerated, but for most people, oxiracetam will be more effective.
They also have slightly different mechanisms of action. According to clinical research, Piracetam and Oxiracetam have opposing effects on the content of high-energy phosphates and shape of astrocytes in vitro.11Gabryel B, et al. Influence of piracetam and oxiracetam on the content of high-energy phosphates and morphometry of astrocytes in vitro, Pol J Pharmacol. 1999
Oxiracetam and aniracetam are both popular piracetam analogs.
They both provide enhancements for overall cognitive function, increase long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, and have mild stimulatory properties.
But, they also have some important differences.
Aniracetam provides a boost in mood that oxiracetam does not.
Aniracetam seems to work on the serotonin and dopamine systems in a way that oxiracetam has not been shown to.
Although there have been no human trials, some animal studies suggest that this nootropic can improve mood and alleviate depression in rodents. There are also plenty of personal testimonials to that effect.
In contrast, oxiracetam is not known for its mood enhancement.
Instead, it seems to provide more neuroprotective and memory improvements than aniracetam does.
There is also more evidence it can help fight off cognitive decline.
How Oxiracetam Works In The Brain
At this point, researchers don’t understand Oxiracetam’s method of action 100%, but the do have a pretty good idea of how it works.
It’s interesting to note that this nootropic does NOT appear to have an effect on neurotransmitters like dopamine or serotonin. It achieves its effects through other pathways.
Oxiracetam increases the availability of acetylcholine (ACh) available in the brain by boosting the sensitivity of ACh receptors, such as NMDA and AMPA. It also may be able to repair damaged receptors. This can have a huge impact on learning and memory, especially as you get older.12Fordyce DE, et al. Enhancement of hippocampally-mediated learning and protein kinase C activity by oxiracetam in learning-impaired DBA/2 mice, Brain Res. 1995
Oxiracetam potentiates neurotransmission and can improve the metabolism level of brain.13Gouliaev AH, Senning A. Piracetam and other structurally related nootropics, Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1994
Many studies show that Oxiracetam improved the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine, proteins, and nucleic acids.
Additionally, Oxiracetam can increase the content of high-energy phosphates. This action may be responsible for oxiracetam’s boost in energy and increased focus.14Fordyce DE, et al. Enhancement of hippocampally-mediated learning and protein kinase C activity by oxiracetam in learning-impaired DBA/2 mice, Brain Res. 1995
Oxiracetam can increase protein kinase activity in the hippocampus, which is important for cognitive function and memory encoding.15Gabryel B, et al. Influence of piracetam and oxiracetam on the content of high-energy phosphates and morphometry of astrocytes in vitro, Pol J Pharmacol. 1999
Oxiracetam Potential Side Effects
Oxiracetam is safe, non-toxic, and well-tolerated.
The main complaint people seem to have is headaches, which is a side effect associated with all racetams.
We strive to bring you the most up to date, research-based information about Oxiracetam and other nootropics.
Something we missed? Do you use Oxiracetam? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
About the author:
Erik Levi is a co-founder of HolisticNootropics.com and a certified holistic nutritional therapy practitioner.
As an NTP Erik takes a nutrition first approach to health. He has worked with many different people to help them use nutrition to optimize their quality of life.
Erik believes that mental health is a physiological process and cognitive enhancement is not something that can be achieved by just taking some pills with good Amazon reviews.
Instead, true cognitive enhancement comes with the right balance of nutrients, movement, and gratitude. Erik continues to stay up to date with the most current nootropic and holistic health research and promises to deliver the best solutions possible.
You can check out his personal health blog/podcast/YouTube Channel all under the name Holistic A-Hole.