Racetams are one of the most popular nootropic supplements available on the market today. Since the discovery of the prototypical racetam, piracetam powder, in the 1960’s, racetams have become well-known for their cognitive-enhancement abilities. However, many of them provide additional antioxidant benefits, making them even more useful.
So why would you want a supplement that boosts your brain power as well as provides antioxidant advantages? While it may seem like a strange combination, antioxidants protect cells, including those within the brain. If your brain cells suffer damage from oxidation, reason stands that your memory could be similarly affected.
Adding a memory enhancer on top of an antioxidant might just be the smartest move you could make. So what are the racetams, how do they work, and which ones will provide you with a double dose of neuroprotection?
How Racetams Work
While the mechanism of action behind racetams isn’t completely understood, it is believed that they work by encouraging the formation of new synapses and enhancing synaptic plasticity, two factors that are critical in memory formation and learning.
These actions are accomplished by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine within the brain; acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter primarily responsible for learning. Thus, by maintaining high levels of acetylcholine, cognitive enhancement is greatly increased.
Benefits of Racetams
Racetams are able to improve long and short-term memory and have been found to have logic, speech, and sensory-enhancement properties. Additional benefits include improved athletic performance and focus which makes them a favorite among fitness enthusiasts.
Racetams with Antioxidant Properties
Some racetams such as Piracetam have some antioxidant properties. Let’s first discuss a little bit about the process of oxidation and the role of antioxidants in our bodies.
Oxidation is defined as the interaction between oxygen molecules and all the other substances they may meet. The result of such a process in the body is chain reactions that can damage cells.
Examples of oxidation include the browning of an apple when cut open, and the rusting of metals. Simply put, antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements. Free-radical theory states that the effects of aging are a result of the body’s inability to counteract oxidative damage.
These facts bring us to racetams and their anti-oxidation properties. Piracetam is one of the racetams that seems to posses such properties. In a study performed to assess Piracetam’s antioxidant effects on a rat brain, it was determined that Piracetam had the potential to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals cause the body to age more quickly and contribute to cellular damage, including within the brain, so preventing this damage improves longevity as well as memory.
In human experiments conducted to measure the effects of one dose of Piracetam on 12 healthy volunteers, it was determined that this single dosage affected the natural electrical activity that occurs on the scalp.
How about the other racetams like Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and Aniracetam? Although there hasn’t been ample research done on the antioxidant properties of these other racetams, considering the fact that they have very similar mechanisms of action with Piracetam, it is possible that they too posses antioxidant properties.