A Brief History of the Racetam Chemical Family

A Brief History of the Racetam Chemical Family

Racetams are a category of synthetic drugs designed to boost brain functions in a number of ways. All the members of this family of synthetic drugs share the same basic chemical structure and have similar effects on the brain and biological processes. Nevertheless, the differences in their structures can alter the strength and concentration of their effects.

digital brain

History of Racetams

The very first racetam was discovered accidentally when the research scientist Dr. C.E. Giurgea was looking for a sleep and relaxation inducer. “Piracetam,” as it became known, was the first racetam ever made and provided the benchmarks for an entire class of brain-boosting compounds called nootropics.

Dr. Giurgea was thrilled by the unexpected cognitive enhancing effects of piracetam that expanded capacity for learning, boosted memory functions, increased brain stamina, and endurance. The impressive results did not go unnoticed by the former Soviet Union, who invested heavily in new drugs and serums to enhance cognitive functioning of their athletes, soldiers, scientists, and cosmonauts.1

How Do Racetams Work?

Racetams specifically support the synthesis and activities of chemical communicators in the brain upon which cognitive function, brain health, and even demeanor depend. Some racetams are better at speeding up the productions of these neurotransmitters while others interrupt the natural processes that break them down, so these compounds are active for a longer period of time.

These actions all work to improve the activities acetylcholine, a primary neurotransmitter in the brain. Science is still learning more and more about this vital process, but we know enough to understand the brain needs a healthy supply of acetylcholine to fully operate the memory, decision making, and cognitive functions of the brain.

After the discovery of piracetam, other racetam nootropics were added to this family including aniracetam, oxiracetam, phenylpiracetam, and pramiracetam.

Some of the more notable benefits of this line of nootropics are:2

  • Anxiolytic
  • Antidepressant
  • Mood booster
  • Memory enhancer
  • Improved Cognition
  • Neuroprotection

white pills

Are Racetams Safe?

Since racetams are synthetic drugs, there has been some concern about their safety while taking these supplements. One important aspect of nootropic use is that they are safe from adverse side effects even after long-term use. Some of the more common side effects may include headaches due to over exhaustion and the ensuing fatigue.

Pregnant women and those breastfeeding young infants are advised to seek medical advice before attempting any type of nootropic supplementation including racetams.3

Final Notes on Racetams

The best way to enjoy the benefits of racetams and avoid any side effects is to begin with a clean bill of health. After this, take time to introduce racetams into your cognitive performance slowly to get a feel for their effects. This will lead you to the best brain boosters to support your mental output.

Photo credits: ArtemOleshko/shutterstock.com, STILLFX/shutterstock.com


By Maddy Jenner

Maddy is a researcher and an essential oil advocate and loves learning about the intersection of these categories. She loves hiking, camping, exploring and being outside.

Favorite MONQ blend: Zen

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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