Oxiracetam (4-Hydroxy-2-oxopyrrolidine-N-acetamide or ISF-2522) is a water-soluble Ampakine nootropic in the racetam-class of compounds. Oxiracetam is considerably more potent than the original racetam, Piracetam.[i]
Oxiracetam was the 3rd racetam nootropic and developed in the 1970’s. It is chemically derived from Piracetam (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidinoacetamide) where the main difference is the addition of a hydroxyl group. Oxiracetam, similar to other racetam nootropics, has a pyrrolidone nucleus at its core.
- Brain Optimization: Oxiracetam significantly improves cognition and memory, sensory perception and reflexes. Focus and concentration get a boost. And recall is easier.
- Neurotransmitters: Oxiracetam enhances choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT) in your brain.[iii] ChAT is the enzyme responsible for acetylcholine (ACh). ACh is the neurotransmitter critical for encoding new memories, reasoning, concentration, cognition and neuroplasticity.
- Brain Energy: Oxiracetam modulates AMPA-receptors in your brain. Ampakines provide a stimulant-effect by influencing glutamate receptors. Without any of the side effects associated with stimulants.[iv] Oxiracetam also seems to boost ATP synthesis in brain cells.[v]
- Oxiracetam vs. Piracetam: What’s the Difference?
- How does Oxiracetam Work in the Brain?
- How things go bad
- Oxiracetam to the rescue
- How does Oxiracetam feel?
- The Research
- Dosage Notes
- Side Effects
- Available Forms
- Nootropics Expert Recommendation
Oxiracetam (4-Hydroxy-2-oxopyrrolidine-N-acetamide or ISF-2522) is in the racetam-family of nootropic compounds. It is a water-soluble ampakine nootropic. AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic) refers to one of three glutamate receptors in your brain.[vi]
The racetam-class of nootropics have a pyrrolidone nucleus at their core. But Oxiracetam has the addition of a hydroxyl group. And Oxiracetam is a Cholinergic compound, meaning it affects acetylcholine levels in the brain.
Oxiracetam is sold as an over-the-counter, unrestricted compound in much of the world including the United States.
Oxiracetam is considered to be more potent than Piracetam. As an ampakine nootropic, it helps increase attention span, alertness and boosts memory. Including the ability to form long-term memories even if taken after the initial memory formation.[vii]
Ampakines tend to have a stimulant effect. But do not produce the same stimulant side effects as Ritalin or coffee from prolonged use.
Oxiracetam vs. Piracetam: What’s the Difference?
Oxiracetam was developed in the 1977 as a derivative of Piracetam.
Oxiracetam and Piracetam are both water-soluble. The half-life and nootropic benefits are similar.
The potency of Oxiracetam seems to be about 5-times that of Piracetam. So it’ll take less to get the same nootropic effect.
Both Oxiracetam and Piracetam are cognitive enhancers. And both have neuroprotective qualities. Both racetams are able to improve learning and memory. And both are able to repair brain damage.
Oxiracetam has additional benefits not shared with Piracetam. Oxiracetam provides more of a stimulatory effect than Piracetam. Some even compare it to Modafinil.
Many prefer Oxiracetam over Piracetam. But if you’re a first-time user of Oxiracetam, start with a lower dose and see how you react to it. And make sure you stack it with a good choline source to avoid the racetam-headache and irritability sometimes associated with racetams.
How does Oxiracetam Work in the Brain?
Oxiracetam boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.
- Oxiracetam boosts memory and cognition. Oxiracetam modulates AMPA receptors in the brain. These receptors work like control channels, overseeing and regulating synaptic transmission. Oxiracetam also increases the density of binding sites for neurotransmitters on AMPA receptors.[viii]
The result of these actions is a stimulant-effect without any of the negative side effects associated with stimulants. And there is clinical evidence that this stimulant action has an effect on memory and cognition.
One double-blind, placebo controlled trial was done with 65 patients diagnosed with primary degenerative dementia. Patients were given 800 mg of Oxiracetam twice daily for 12 weeks, or a placebo. Subjects were tested before the trial, and after 6 and 12 weeks of treatment.
The researchers found a significant difference in favor of Oxiracetam based on a ‘quality of life scale’, and several neurological tests for memory.[ix]
Oxiracetam also seems to prevent an imbalance of acetylcholine activity when NMDA receptors are malfunctioning.[x] AMPA and NMDA receptors work together for the flow of glutamate necessary for learning and memory processes. Including Long-Term Potentiation that is associated with neuroplasticity that allows long-term memories to form.
- Oxiracetam boosts the availability of acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain. Leading to improved short-term and long-term memory. And eliminating ‘brain fog’. Oxiracetam does this by boosting the sensitivity of ACh receptors.
Oxiracetam enhances protein kinase C (PKC) which affects M1 acetylcholine receptors. Oxiracetam even demonstrates the ability to repair these receptors when damaged.[xi] More ACh results in better memory and learning.
How things go bad
↓ Too little glutamate can cause problems with memory, learning and perception
↓ AMPA and NMDA receptors wear out or die
↓ Acetylcholine levels decline
↓ Cholinergic neurons wear or die out
All of these changes can happen at any age. And are a product of the food we eat, what we drink, lifestyle habits, the air we breathe and more.
So Oxiracetam can help for age-related cognitive decline, as well as a student looking to do better in school. By boosting acetylcholine and controlling glutamate in the brain.
Oxiracetam to the rescue
Clinical studies have looked at using Oxiracetam to treat Alzheimer’s, ADHD, dementia, concussions and other brain disorders. Many of these trials demonstrated Oxiracetam’s ability to improve learning, spatial learning performance, memory, recall and quality of life scores.
Oxiracetam works similar to other racetams by targeting the neurotransmitters acetylcholine (ACh) and glutamate. ACh has a significant impact on memory formation and recall. And glutamate plays a role in memory formation, motivation and attention.
Oxiracetam encourages the use of acetylcholine in your brain. So when using Oxiracetam you must ensure you have adequate choline levels available to make acetylcholine. Most neurohackers stack Oxiracetam with a choline supplement like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.
Oxiracetam is used to boost short and long-term memory, eliminate brain fog, improve attention and focus, and the ability to learn.
How does Oxiracetam feel?
Nootropics users report that Oxiracetam clears brain fog, improves focus and motivation. Especially when learning new material or working through a tedious task.
You could see a significant improvement in recall. Reading is easier giving you the ability to get through more pages faster and retain the information for later.
And some report an improvement in mood which could be the result of more acetylcholine available for use in the brain.
Oxiracetam does have a stimulant-effect so try not to take it too late in the day as it may interfere with a good night’s sleep.
You should be able to experience the effects of Oxiracetam soon after you take it. It’s water-soluble so it’s digested and enters your cells quickly. And unlike other stimulants, there is no “crash” once Oxiracetam leaves your system.
Researchers worked with 96 patients diagnosed with dementia for 12 months. Patients were treated with 1600 mg per day of Oxiracetam or a placebo. And were assessed at 2, 6 and 12 months of the trial.
The patients treated with Oxiracetam showed a significant improvement in reaction time and cognition. The placebo group experienced a worsening of conditions. The study authors concluded that Oxiracetam favorably acts on the symptoms of dementia. And can improve information processing, reaction times and attention.[xii]
Oxiracetam helps Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health issue affecting 1.7 million Americans each year.[xiii] TBI can be caused by sports injuries, work accidents, car and motorcycle accidents, falls, and your wife hitting you over the head with a frying pan.
Many survivors end up with long-term or even permanent neurocognitive dysfunction. Affecting cognition, motor function (movement) and personality. These disabilities are estimated to cost $9.2 billion in lifetime medical costs and $51.2 billion in productivity losses.[xiv]
In one study done with 30 Wistar rats, researchers looked at the role Oxiracetam could have on TBI. The animals were randomly divided into 3 groups. Rats in the treatment group were given 100 mg/kg of Oxiracetam for 21 days. Neurologic impairment scores were measured on days 1, 4, 7, 14 and 21.
The researchers found the treatment group has significantly less brain impairment after 7, 14 and 21 days. And concluded that Oxiracetam shows promise in decreasing neural injury caused by TBI. Increasing learning ability, memory and space cognition.[xvi]
Oxiracetam Improves Cognition and Memory
Researchers worked with 43 patients to evaluate the effects of Oxiracetam on ‘organic brain syndrome’ (OBS). OBS is brain dysfunction that is not attributable to a specific disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled study had one group of patients taking 800 mg of Oxiracetam twice a day for 8 weeks, and the other group took a placebo.
In OBS patients with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, Oxiracetam improved cognition, logic and attention. The placebo group experienced no change in cognitive impairment.[xvii]
Another study with memory impaired rats showed that Oxiracetam restored acetylcholine receptors. Restoring learning and memory as a result.[xviii]
Oxiracetam is sold in tablet, capsule and powder form. Tablets and capsules are usually 750 mg each.
Since Oxiracetam boosts the efficiency of acetylcholine in your brain, you should stack it with a good choline source like Alpha GPC or CDP Choline.
Oxiracetam non-toxic. So is considered well-tolerated and safe.
Side effects are rare but can include anxiety, fatigue, headaches, nervousness and nausea. Side effects are often a result of unusually high doses of the nootropic.
Headaches from using Oxiracetam typically happen when you forget to combine it with a good choline supplement. Headaches are often a symptom of a choline deficit in your brain.
Oxiracetam is sold in tablet, capsule and powder form. Tablets and capsules are usually 750 mg each.
Nootropics Expert Recommendation
Oxiracetam 750 – 1,500 mg per day
We recommend using Oxiracetam as a nootropic supplement.
Your body does not make Oxiracetam on its own. So to get its benefits you must take it as a supplement.
Oxiracetam is especially helpful for those suffering from lack of energy, brain fog and the inability to focus. Oxiracetam influences AMPA and NMDA receptors in your brain. Improving the efficiency of the neurotransmitter glutamate. This excitatory brain chemical is responsible for sending signals between neuron in the brain. And plays a critical role in learning and forming memories.
Oxiracetam is also particularly useful to students and executives who want to boost cognition, learning and memory. It boosts the efficiency of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain. ACh is critical for encoding new memories, reasoning, concentration, cognition and growth of new synapses (neuroplasticity).
Oxiracetam also helps improve verbal fluidity and sociability. Words seem to come easily, and vocabulary you didn’t know you had access to come into play.
You can safely boost daily intake of Oxiracetam to 2,800 mg if needed.