Phenylpiracetam, the Performance Enhancing Nootropic Banned in the Olympics



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Phenylpiracetam is a nootropic stimulant that was developed in Russia in 1983. The motivation for its development was to aid Russian Cosmonauts in maintaining alertness and warding off stress while in outer space. Phenylpiracetam is also commonly used in athletic doping due to it’s strong psychostimulatory effects which include increased psychomotor activity, tolerance to cold, and reduced anxiety, and as a result is one of the banned substances in the Olympics.

This may excite some of you and may scare others. Both reactions are quite reasonable. Phenylpiracetam is one of the most aggressive nootropic out there, especially in terms of its subjective effects.

Most “true” nootropics do not have particularly noticeable stimulatory effects, but rather have subtle effects that are best over the long-term. Phenylpiracetam is different. It’s more of an on-demand, nootropic stimulant. If your goal is to have stronger focus, attention, memory, physical energy, and overall mental clarity, then look no further.

Interestingly enough, as aggressive of a drug as phenylpiracetam is, it appears to have strong neuroprotective effects1, which help demonstrate its quality as a true nootropic. Studies have shown that  phenylpiracetam demonstrated cognitive-enhancing qualities, including higher brain functions, improved motor coordination, memory, attention, and counting, as well as higher mobility, lowered discomfort and anxiety, and resulted in more intense alpha and beta EEG activity4 Phenylpiracetam also exhibits anti-depressive qualities4

The first thing you might notice is the name of this substance  – “phenyl” piracetam. This drug is simply piracetam with a phenyl ring attached to it. This allows it to easily and rapidly cross the blood brain barrier (the “filtering” mechanism of the brain) which other racetams struggle to do effectively. However, it’s pharmacological profile is remarkably different than Piracetam despite this structural similarity.

Unlike the other racetams, phenylpiracetam has a strong affinity for dopamine. It increases the density of the d1, d2, and d3 dopamine receptors by 16%, 29%, and 62% respectively2, thus allowing dopamine to be more efficiently absorbed in the synapses. In addition to this, phenylpiracetam is also a mild dopamine reuptake inhibitor3, which means that it keeps dopamine circulating in the brain by preventing it from being terminated in the synapses. It it a norepenephrine reuptake inhibitor as well3, further increasing its utility as a stimulant.

Phenylpiracetam is unique because has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties. It has been shown to bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) which confer anxiolytic and cognitive-enhancing benefits. It also increases the density of the GABA-A receptor by 25%2 GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain and is responsible for feelings of relaxation.

Phenylpiracetam has been known to decrease fear and anxiety and this is likely the main mechanism of action behind these anxiolytic properties. It is rather uncommon for a drug to provide both stimulatory and anxiolytic properties but phenylpiracetam is quite unique.

Overall, Phenylpiracetam is unlike typical stimulants such as Adderall, which is characterized by being having overly-stimulating, addictive, and unpleasant side-effects with nefarious long-term consequences. Phenylpiracetam, however, appears to have neuroprotective and self-regulating effects as well as more general cognitive-enhancing effects, with more moderate stimulatory effects, making it much safer for general brain health, as it does not have any serious side effects, toxicity, or potential for addiction.

What’s the catch, you might ask? The one problem with phenylpiracetam is that tolerance builds rapidly. Many people only take it once a week because it loses effectiveness when taken every day or even every other day. I sometimes take it twice a week but even then it’s less effective. Upping your dose won’t really help much either, so it’s best to just stick to once or twice a week at the most. I do not really consider this to be a bad thing, however, as this implies a self-correcting mechanism that does not disrupt the brains homeostasis.

In my experience, Phenylpiracetam is an excellent nootropic for raising energy levels and improving mood. It provides a very clean, astonishingly long stimulatory effect with zen-like focus, as well as increased mental clarity and creativity. It also has the quality of not causing any anxiety, over-excitement, or euphoria (which is addicting and counter-productive).


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Phenylpiracetam Dosage Information

The half-life of phenylpiracetam is about 3-5 hours. The recommended dosage is 100-200mg taken up to 3 times daily.

Personally, I prefer to take 200mg thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and may follow up with another 100mg in the early afternoon if desired. Doses of 300mg are safe; if you are a non-responder to 100mg, it would not be unreasonable to try 300mg to see how that makes you feel.

Phenylpiracetam does not appear to have a strong affinity for the acetylcholine system, unlike other racetams, and therefore choline supplementation may not be required. Even though it is fat-soluble, phenylpiracetam does not need to be taken with meals. It has been shown to be 100% absorbed in the gut within 30 minutes in a fasted state, so taking it the first thing in the morning may prove most effective.

Phenylpiracetam is best used on an as-needed basis, as repeated daily use does result in a tolerance and diminished effectiveness.











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