Noopept is a fascinating nootropic that was recently developed in Russia in 19961http://www.academia.edu/957372/Synthesis_and_antiamnesic_activity_of_a_series_of_N-acylprolyl-containing_dipeptides.
It is distinct from other racetams in that is it actually a peptide, which is a chain of linked amino acids. Some people actually do not categorize Noopept with other racetams due to its different molecular structure, but for simplicity most people categorize it because it has an otherwise similar structure and MoA to other racetams.
Noopept does not have a large body of evidence behind it, having only been around for a little over 20 years, which isn’t very long for a drug of this class. It appears to be a significantly more potent version of Piracetam, with the two sharing a similar MoA, though Noopept has some very unique qualities of its own, which I will discuss in detail.
For starters, Noopept appears to have mild psychostimulatory and anxiolytic effects3https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11055-009-9128-4. And like Piracetam, it seems to increase alpha/beta EEG activity in the brain though the modulation of glutamate2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21414388. However, unlike Piracetam which specially targets regions of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, Noopept appears to increase activity in every region of the brain2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21414388″.
But what really sets Noopept apart from Piracetam is that it appears to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF)5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/192408536http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21395007. BDNF and NGF are an endogenous (produced in the body) molecules in the brain which regulate the growth, survival, and proliferation of neurons4. Following Noopept administration, the expression of NGF and BDNF are appear to be very active in the hippocampus5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19240853.
In short, what this means is that Noopept promotes the growth and expansion of new neurons in the region of the brain that is responsible for memory and learning. This is extremely promising and exciting, and more studies will need to be made to determine some of the implications of such a profound mechanism of action.
Out of all the nootropics I’ve discussed so far, Noopept is the only one I would be careful not to “abuse”. My mission here is to avoid playing up the strengths of these substances and ignoring their potential risks. While I don’t like to speculate, if you do a bit of digging this is something you may come across, and I want to clear up any confusion or worry.
Some people have shown concern that increasing levels of NGF/BDNF can cause a downregulation of them over time. This is a general sort of rule of homeostasis, in that chronic overexposure of certain neurochemicals can cause them to downregulate by decreasing the baseline of these chemicals and the ability to absorb them. Most particularly, there is concern that chronic BDNF over-expression can cause the receptor site Tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB, pronounced like Track-B) to downregulate.
I was able to find one study which indicated that Noopept may cause BDNF levels to decrease through downregulation of the TrkB receptor7http://openworks.wooster.edu/independentstudy/6232/, however I could not access the full text and therefore do not know the full details. On the other hand, I did find a different study which found that chronic treatment of Noopept did not result in a tolerance of BDNF availability, but actually potentiated the neurotrophic effect of BDNF5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19240853. Another study tested Noopept administration over 28 days and also indicated increased BDNF expression, but did not say whether it caused any TRkB downregulation6http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21395007. That same study did imply that Noopept may be effective for the treatment of Alzheimers, which would not recommended if there was any downregulation of the TrkB receptor.
This part is more speculative and hypothesized, but in short, I would advise you to to cycle Noopept if you plan on using it frequently. I would strongly recommend cycling it in one month phases at the longest. When sold as a prescription, it actually recommends to cycle it on a one month on, one month off cycle.
I personally preferred to use it on an as-needed basis as I found the psychostimulatory effects to be very noticeable and was initially unaware of it profound effects on BDNF/NGF expression. The psychostimulatory effects are short lived, however. The half-life is only 1 hour, so if you’re taking it for the psychostimulatory effects, it may require dosing a few times throughout the day. But as I covered previously, Noopept’s main benefits appear to work by increasing levels of NGF/BDNF in the brain, which is not a subjective effect you would notice right away anyway. This means if you’re taking Noopept simply to increase memory and learning, you do not need to constantly redoes it if you stop “feeling it”.
Where to Purchase Noopept
Noopept may be purchased at Nootropics Depot.
I recommend Nootropics Depot because they have been around for a long time and have maintained a solid reputation. They have excellent quality control metrics: they do in-house testing as well as independent 3rd-party testing, and they have certificates of analysis available for all of their products.
A standard dose is 10-30 mg, which should be taken sublingually (under the tongue) as oral dosages do not seem to be particularly effective at getting absorbed. It does not taste bad so this shouldn’t be a problem. Just make sure you do not take it for more than 1 month at a time. Lastly, from my research it would appear that it does not necessarily need to be be taken with a choline source, as it does not appear to increase the demand for acetylcholine nor cause an increase in acetylcholine turnover. Anecdotally I can confirm that like phenylpiracetam, I did not experience any symptoms of a choline deficiency when taking Noopept.