3. Pramiracetam Working principle and clinical research
Like most nootropics, pramiracetam affects the release of neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that transmit signals from one nerve cell to another. But pramiracetam does it indirectly, in a manner somewhat different from the usual actions of racetam supplements, and it stimulates the brain in other ways as well.
Unlike piracetam, Noopept, and many other popular nootropics, pramiracetam is fat soluble rather than water soluble, which means it is absorbed into the bloodstream via fatty acids. It reaches peak concentrations and maximum bioavailability relatively quickly, generally within 30 minutes, and it has a moderately long half-life of 4-6 hours.
Most racetams work by directly stimulating specific neurotransmitter receptor sites and thus increasing production and release of specific neurotransmitters, but pramiracetam doesn’t directly result in changes in neurochemical levels, and it doesn’t appear to have an affinity for any major neurotransmitter.
Its primary direct action is a significant increase in high-affinity choline uptake in the hippocampus, the part of the brain crucial to the formation of long-term memories.
Choline is a precursor of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter profoundly involved in cognitive processes including learning speed, memory, and concentration.
By stimulating choline uptake, pramiracetam indirectly modulates the release of acetylcholine and stimulates increased activity in the hippocampus. Because this part of the brain is essential to memory function, the general stimulation that pramiracetam creates can improve both the formation of new memories and the retention of reference or long-term memories. The increased activity in the hippocampus also increases cerebral blood flow, which enhances alertness and improves cognitive abilities in general.
Pramiracetam may have other mechanisms of action as well. Researchers have hypothesized that in addition to its effect on the brain, pramiracetam acts in peripheral sites outside the brain that rely on the adrenal glands. Animal studies suggest that pramiracetam may also increase or restore brain membrane fluidity, which facilitates cell signaling.
Unlike many other racetam class nootropics, pramiracetam doesn’t appear to actively alter either wakefulness or emotional states. This can be explained by pramiracetam’s limited influence on the production and release of the neurotransmitters that have the greatest effect on mood and anxiety levels such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine.