Could aniracetam have the potential to help with anxiety, stress, depression, and cognition? Let’s have a look at the available evidence.
Aniracetam is an Ampakine compound that’s derived from a chemical class of compounds called Racetams. Racetams and their derivative compounds have shown favorable results in the enhancement and function of the AMPA receptor.
AMPA receptors are located in many parts of the brain, as well as the central nervous system. If this receptor is impaired in any way, it can have a negative synergistic effect on our system as a whole. Test subjects in trials with impairments have shown positive results in performance related to mood, behavior, and cognition.
Nootropics – ” also called smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers—are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that improve one or more aspects of mental function. Specific effects can include improvements to working memory, motivation, or attention. ”
One of my favorite resources for aniracetam and other nootropic studies can be found here. It’s a “mind map” info graph that shows positive test results for a host of problems; test subjects include rats, mice, and elderly patients.
” The present study tests the activity of nootropic drugs in a behavioral test linked to depression. This test measures the reduction of submissive behavior in a competition test as the relative success of two food-restricted rats to gain access to a feeder. ”
” Aniracetam, a cognition enhancer, has been recently found to preferentially increase extracellular levels of dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), basolateral amygdala and dorsal hippocampus of the mesocorticolimbic system in stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats. In the present study, we aimed to identify actually active substances among aniracetam and its major metabolites and to clarify the mode of action in DA and 5-HT release in the PFC. ”
” The antidepressant-like activity of aniracetam, which is probably due to the combined effects of 2-pyrrolidinone and N-anisoyl-GABA, may be mediated by mainly facilitating dopaminergic transmission (dopamine release and dopamine D2 receptor activation) through nicotinic acetylcholine receptor stimulation. ”
” These results indicate that aniracetam possesses a wide range of anxiolytic properties, which may be mediated by an interaction between cholinergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic systems. Thus, our findings suggest the potential usefulness of aniracetam against various types of anxiety-related disorders and social failure/impairments. ”
” New indications are based on findings that aniracetam restores various types of mental function impairment or cerebral dysfunction in animal models of CNS disorders. These findings suggest possible usefulness of aniracetam in the treatment of personality disorders, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, autism, negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and sleep disorders. Clinical trials are needed to validate these new indications. ”
Aniracetam vs Anxiety Medication
Note: This section is not meant to override professional advice but rather to highlight common side effects associated with often prescribed medications.
There are a lot of known side effects when using medication for anxiety and depression. When I first started researching nootropics for my anxiety, I also looked into the effects of anti -anxiety medication.
One thing that stuck out as a red flag for me was someone who had been taking anti-anxiety medication and reported that although it helped with her anxiety, it also destroyed her short-term memory.
Memory is the base and key component to increasing knowledge. With a diminished capacity to form memories comes an impairment of us being able to store information that we can later retrieve and use in our everyday lives.
I wanted to reduce my anxiety and stress levels and increase my overall cognition.
It was information on the side effects of these prescribed medications that steered me into the direction of further researching, and then trying out nootropics such as aniracetam for myself.
Possible Side effects of Prescription Medication for Depression and Anxiety
- Dry mouth
- Sexual dysfunction
- Joint pain
- Muscle spasms
A lot of the symptoms listed above can also be withdrawal symptoms when coming off of the medication.
Positive effects of medication: Can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
I want to look at the above list from a negative synergistic perspective.
Any mixture of the above symptoms can result in the brain going into a non-optimal state that may increase those negative symptoms, have a short, and sometimes long-term effect on our overall well-being and cognition.
If we can get our receptors, central nervous system, brain and body as a whole to fire the way that it is intended to, then we can reduce and/or eliminate negative effects for the short and long term.
Possible Side Effects of Aniracetam
These side effects are reported to be rare and easily manageable. The receptors affected by aniracetam and most other nootropics require choline as fuel.
Getting a good amount of choline either through diet or supplementation should result in little to no side effects when taking aniracetam.
I’ve been taking aniracetam twice daily for the last two years, the only time I have had any side effects was when I hadn’t eaten for hours prior or I hadn’t taken a choline precursor. Once doing so, the headaches disappeared.
As for the other listed side effects, I’ve never experienced them.
Taking any nootropic before bed can result in insomnia, simply because of the stimulatory effect that nootropics have. Caffeine is considered a nootropic, drink that before bed and hello insomnia.
Nootropics increase blood flow to the brain and stimulate our associated receptors, so the brain “turns on”. I take aniracetam one hour after waking and then about 2 pm in the afternoon. Taking aniracetam or any other nootropic before or around bed time can result in difficulties sleeping.
Positive effects of aniracetam: Can reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression; whilst increasing memory retention, mental clarity, mood, sleep quality, focus, attention, overall cognition, and awareness.
My Experiences with Aniracetam
I’m so glad that I looked into nootropics as an alternative to help deal with my stress levels and anxiety. Just over two years ago I was confronted with a traumatic experience that almost took my life. The stress and anxiety from the aftermath of this trauma, according to my Doctor put me at high risk for a heart attack or stroke.
I was offered on two separate occasions anti-anxiety prescription medication. Having researched these medications and having knowledge of the side effects resulted in me refusing them. I chose to deal with my anxiety and stress levels by changing my diet and adding supplements and nootropics.
What I didn’t want was a further reduction in cognition and the extra danger of addiction to the medication that my Dr wanted to prescribe. Nootropics such as aniracetam have been shown to be non-addictive and have little to no toxicity in studies. That has been my experience with them as well.
I did stop taking aniracetam at one stage, soon after my stress levels and anxiety steadily increased. It took me a couple of days to realize that the one change that I had made, which correlated with my increase of stress and anxiety, was that I had stopped taking aniracetam.
Note: I can’t report anecdotally on the effects of aniracetam on depression, as depression is something that I haven’t had to deal with in well over a decade. However, the positive effects that aniracetam has on our receptors indicate that aniracetam may have positive results in reducing depression.
Initial and Long Term Effects
The first dose of aniracetam for me had immediate positive effects. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but it felt like my brain turned on to a higher level about 20 mins after my first dose. The effects that I experienced are very similar to the experiences of others who have tried aniracetam and other racetam nootropics.
- Hearing – Became more acute and 3D like. If I heard a sound I could intuitively locate the direction that it was coming from. Music is more colorful and vibrant.
- Eyesight – Also 3 D like. Colors are more radiant or vibrant, spatial awareness when looking at things like moving clouds, trees swaying in the wind. Peripheral vision was more vivid and switched on.
- Anxiety – Immediately decreased and a sense of calm set in.
- Stress levels – Also immediately decreased, along with a decrease in anxiety-related heart palpitations.
- Verbal fluency – Previously I had problems with articulating myself. I’d forget what I was talking about mid-sentence (brain fog), have trouble getting words out (almost like stuttering) and would have to think of what I wanted to say in advance. Immediately and as time went on these problems with speaking started to disappear. I can think on the fly, formulate sentences and rarely if ever forget what I’m saying mid-sentence.
- Clearer thinking and focus – Everyday tasks are so much easier to plan out and accomplish, both simple and more complex tasks. When I have a task to do I simply think about it, plan it out and then go about completing that task.
- Memory – This is sort of hard to explain so I’ll use an analogy. Have ever used a computer that hasn’t been cleaned and defragged in a while? The computer will usually behave in a slow and sluggish manner. After cleaning and defragging the computer, it will work in a more efficient manner. The computer can now access those files quickly and efficiently; resulting in quicker loading, browser and starting times. That’s the difference that I have noticed with my memory with both short term, long term and accessing memories from my past that I had long forgotten about.
- Dreams – Dreams have been interesting. My dreams have a story line aspect to them now. Typically there is a start, middle and a happy ending (not that sort of happy ending ;). My dreams are vivid and almost movie like.
- Overall cognition – I’m a member of a website called luminosity.com, a website that specializes in brain training games. My results increased dramatically after I introduced aniracetam to my daily routine.
Aniracetam isn’t an “I no longer have anxiety, stress or depression” supplement. I want to make that clear. I still have occasional bouts of anxiety and stress.
What aniracetam has done for me, along with cleaning up my diet; is that it has made it a lot easier to deal with day to day activity.
My anxiety and stress levels are greatly reduced and manageable, whilst my overall well-being and cognition are up. Aniracetam is one part of the puzzle that has helped increase my quality of life. It’s my go to nootropic supplement.
Everything is clearer.
” I wasn’t high, I wasn’t wired, just clear. I knew what I needed to do and how to do it “
Eddie Morra played by Bradley Cooper from the movie Limitless.
Conclusion: Thoughts and Considerations
I’m a big, big, big proponent of nootropics and aniracetam due to my experiences, and recommend it to anyone who is looking to try an alternative to anxiety, stress or depression medication. Or for someone who wants to improve their overall cognition.
Some things to consider when looking into nootropics.
- Do your due diligence, there are plenty of studies as well as reports by others who have used aniracetam.
- If you decide to try aniracetam, choose a reputable and proven company.
- Make sure the nootropics are clinical grade and that the company is known for efficient delivery and quality customer service. I recommend peak nootropics.VIEW HERE
- Check your country’s import laws. I can’t get piracetam in my country (Australia), which I’m very disappointed about as choline, aniracetam and piracetam would make a nice nootropic stack.
- If/when you take nootropics, find a way to record and quantify your experiences. Keep a record on what you notice, and/or join an online brain training program or download a brain training app.
- Stick with recommended doses and use a choline precursor.
Important note: If you are having acute problems with anxiety, depression or stress please see your Doctor. Don’t take nootropics if you are already on other medications. Check with your Doctor first.