With new products constantly hitting the nootropics market, it can be difficult to keep up. If “racetam” sounds familiar to you, you may have already tried one of fasoracetam’s many cousins; you can find aniracetam, oxiracetam, and others all over nootropic brands’ online shelves. This variant shows promise as an anxiety-reducing productivity aid in animal studies and has earned a cult following on Reddit for its ability to boost mood at a manageable dosage, without an unpleasant buzz. Hailed as a safe and effective alternative to phenibut, users feel safe turning to this non-addictive supplement when they need to calmly crank out a hair-raising project.
What is Fasoracetam?
Fasoracetam is a nootropic that belongs to the racetam family, a collection of synthetic molecules with eclectic affinities for neurotransmitter receptors. Specifically, racetams target acetylcholine and glutamate receptors in the central nervous system. A variety of racetams can be used as nootropics, though some variants also boast anticonvulsant properties, that make them helpful in mitigating seizures.
Medical interest in fasoracetam began in the 1990s, in Japan, when Nippon Shinyaku, a pharmaceutical firm, discovered it, and began testing it as a potential treatment for vascular dementia, a term describing reduced blood supply to the brain, which results in strokes and cognitive decline. Though it proved unsuccessful as an anti-dementia solution, Fasoracetam has found its niche in enhancing cognitive performance, and is now being studied in clinical trials as a treatment for ADHD in patients with glutamate gene mutations. Applications for ADHD are particularly exciting, given that fasoracetam does not act as a stimulant, unlike traditionally prescribed drugs such as Vyvanse and Adderall; scientists are hopeful that treatment with fasoracetam could thereby preclude some of the riskier side effects associated with prescribed stimulant options, such as nervousness, insomnia, and hallucinations.
As a nootropic, fasoracetam is reported to be anxiolytic, or anxiety-reducing, as well as mood, sociability, and productivity-boosting. If you’re looking to overcome feeling “stuck” during difficult tasks at work, are searching for a non-alcoholic social lubricant to help calm your nerves at meetings or parties, or need to tamp down general anxiety, this may be the racetam for you.
How Does Fasoracetam Work?
Scientists are still discovering the precise pharmacological mechanisms of drugs in the racetam family. However, it is now understood that racetams generally work by binding with glutamate and acetylcholine receptors, activating the proteins to incite activity. These receptors manage the body’s excitatory neural messaging functions, control skeletal muscle activation, and play a key role in encoding new memories. In other words, glutamate and acetylcholine receptors are in charge of nerve cell communication, voluntary muscle movement and memory creation. In their research, scientists attribute fasoracetam’s effects to both the activation of glutamate receptors, and increased acetylcholine release in the brain.
How does increased glutamate receptor and acetylcholine activity result in your enhanced cognition? As explained in a previous Mindzymes blog post, glutamate is a nonessential amino acid with huge responsibilities in the human central nervous system: it is the predominant excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain, meaning nearly all synaptic connections utilize it to send and receive messages between neurons. Without glutamate, your brain would be at a loss for forming memories, learning, and regulating neuron communication. Your body’s management of its blood glutamate level is essential to a long, healthy life; chronically high glutamate levels, as a result of excessive production, uptake inhibition, or their coincidence can lead to stroke, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Glutamate receptors are a collection complex, yet tiny, proteins distributed across the surfaces of neurons, or nerve cells. They bind with glutamate to allow nerve cells to relay messages. Fasoracetam activates the metabotropic variety of glutamate receptor, which is associated with prolonged stimulus, and long-lasting signaling effects. With greater activation, your neurons can send and receive messages at an increased rate.
Acetylcholine is a fellow neurotransmitter, though its functions differ from that of glutamate; acetylcholine is a versatile molecule whose affected, or cholinergic, regions in the body perform various functions. For instance, acetylcholine is known to operate at the neuromuscular junction, where it its release is regulated by aptly-named motor neurons. In order to move skeletal muscle, or the muscle responsible for your voluntary body movements, motor neurons fire off acetylcholine, which prompts muscles to spring to action. When your fingers clicked the link to this article on your smartphone or trackpad, acetylcholine let it happen. Acetylcholine also plays a prominent, if subtler role, in the autonomic nervous system, which controls the unconscious transition between sympathetic nervous system activity and parasympathetic nervous system activity. By acting on different cholinergic receptors, acetylcholine helps us relax from “fight or flight” agitation into “rest and digest” mode. The cholinergic regions of the learning center of the brain are what attract nootropics users to fasoracetam: acetylcholine receptors in the hippocampus deal in matters of arousal, memory, attention, and motivation. Users often remark on their ability to remember more details when taking fasoracetam.
Benefits of Fasoracetam
A quick scan of fasoracetam reviews, reveals its popularity among the nootropic community. Users report a significant, immediate calming effect, with a pronounced reduction in anxiety, when faced with challenging tasks at work that would otherwise induce deep worry and procrastination. A common refrain among reviewers that have tried other anxiety-reducing drugs, lauds fasoracetam’s “just right” level of induced relaxation; it has noticeable benefits without the “recreational” (read: sleep-inducing, unproductive) effects felt when taking stronger anxiolytic alternatives. In rat studies, fasoracetam has been shown to improve cognitive function by preventing memory disruption, and increasing the animals’ performance under the stress of escape/survival conditions.
Fasoracetam vs. Phenibut
Fasoracetam has become particularly appealing to phenibut users looking for an over-the-counter anxiolytic, without the risk of addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and overdose. Phenibut, which is sold under the names Fenibut, Anvibut, and Noofen, is a powerful anxiolytic drug with commensurable risks; while it can induce relaxation, social disinhibition, and even euphoria, users are cautioned against tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms that can occur quickly, upon repeated use.
Phenibut’s addictive quality may be due to its slight positive effect on brain dopamine levels. Additionally, it takes up to several hours to feel the effects of phenibut, often prompting unaware first-time users to take more than the recommended dose, believing their first dose was insufficient. At 750mg to 1.5g, phenibut has a relatively high recommended dosage, and overdose can occur at at 7 grams. Overdose typically manifests in symptoms that range from vomiting to motor skill impairment, though it can cause psychosis in some cases.
While there are no known phenibut overdose deaths, you’re certainly in for some serious discomfort upon exceeding the recommended dose. This laundry list of potential ills has earned phenibut a total ban as a scheduled substance in Australia, and a similarly prohibited status in Hungary.
Unlike phenibut, fasoracetam does not have notoriety for the risk of tolerance, and addiction at increased doses. Fasoracetam appears safe at high doses, and does not have dopaminergic properties.
Though there is no pharmacological consensus on the dosage for fasoracetam, Reddit users report effectiveness at doses ranging from as low as 10mg to in excess of 100mg a day, with no undesirable side effects. Online, it is often sold in 20mg capsules.
Fasoracetam does not have any known side effects and appears safe at elevated doses.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.