I had experimented with Noopept on it’s own as a smart drug in the past and had honestly been a bit underwhelmed by it. Noopept is back on my radar, since I started experimenting with some genuine Noopept that was sent to me by RUPharma in Moscow.
I dived back in and evaluated recent research coming out of both institutions and (debatably more importantly) the Biohacker community.
I realized that there were some was a couple of mistakes I made, assumptions and misinformed notions in my initial investigation and experimentation with the stuff back in 2014.
- It’s a Racetam. NOT!
This article is mostly going to focus on decoding what the human studies are saying about Noopept and how this squares up with the anecdotal experiences of Biohackers online. In this article I’m going to focus more on the effects, applications and uses of Noopept more than the pharmacology or institutional research being done on the drug because Noopept seems to attract a significant number of users who are higher risk tolerance self– tinkerers seeking performance enhancement. It was Orville and Wilbur Wright, two tinkering bicycle mechanics that invented and successful flew the first airplane in 1903 NOT credentialed engineers or academics at universities; so there’s value in looking at the innovations and insights coming out of the digital Kitty Hawk beaches on the Internet.
First I’ll address the mistakes I made with Noopept so you don’t repeat them…
Is Noopept a Racetam?
Like many Biohackers I long thought of Noopept as a Racetam because of the molecular similarity.
Noopept doesn’t technically make the cut as a Racetam because it lacks a 2-oxo-pyrollidine skeleton.
Although, it is derived from Piracetam and it produces an EEG pattern similar to Piracetam, so it’s kind of like the Prince Harry of the Racetam family.
When it comes to dosage, Noopept is a different animal than a lot of Nootropics or performance enhancers in that more dose does not necessarily equal more effect. In fact with Noopept, often more is less.
The dosage you SHOULD start with is…
10 milligrams in morning, 10 milligrams in the evening.
If that’s ineffective, increase it to 30 milligrams: 10 milligrams in the morning, 10 milligrams at noon, 10 milligrams in the evening
When I first used Noopept back in 2014, I made the mistake of using it at a dose much higher than this, I did as much as 50 milligrams. I tried Noopept at the recommended dosage of 15-30 milligrams daily and experienced very little compared to other Nootropics I’d been using like Piracetam. I was so disappointed I even contacted the vendor and asked them if they were sure it real Noopept. I didn’t understand that it has a much more subtle effect and long term effect than other Racetams.
A lot of people will find upon trying Noopept that it doesn’t do much for them and they’ll assume that they need to increase the dosage, instead…
Try taking just 5 – 10 milligrams daily
If Noopept doesn’t work wonders for you resist the temptation to up the dosage, as counter intuitive as it may seem, try lowering the dose.
I used Noopept on and off for years as part of a racetam rich Nootropic stack but made the mistake of NOT regimenting my cycling. It maybe smart to add notifications to your digital calendar of when to cycle on and off Noopept.
The recommendation from the manufacturer is:
Use regularly for 1.5 – 3 months
Then take 1 month off
Noopept’s Crucial Cofactor
When I did my first trial with Noopept I used it alone and was pretty underwhelmed. To really unleash Noopept and find out what all the hype is about you need to combine it with some Nootropic cofactors. Most notably… ACh Precursors
Like CDP Choline or Alpha-GPC. Noopept floods your mind with the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine which is awesome until you exhaust the supply of Acetylcholine. Which you’ve experienced if you’ve tried Noopept and noticed a nice Nootropic effect for about an hour or two after dosing but then you lost it went back to thinking and feeling like normal unenhanced you.
Perhaps you’re like many biohackers and you don’t like supplementing Choline or Alpha GPC, I recommend taking your Noopept with a meal that’s rich in Choline, my favorite is delicious and nutritious beet root & spinach salad!
There’s a number of other Nootropics that stack well with Noopept but an ACh Precursor is the most important cofactor.
While Noopept is a favorite of Biohackers – you could spend many hours reading online in forums and watching Youtube videos with first hand accounts of it’s Nootropic effects – as a popular Nootropic, it has a lack of human studies documenting it’s cognition enhancing properties.
Noopept is no stranger to the international research community with +80 listings for it on Pubmed, however keep in mind that when it comes to these studies quality outweighs quantity – the three clinical trials done with Noopept demonstrate some benefits that make it worth the attention of biohackers.
It’s a Cycloprolylglycine pro-drug, so it metabolizes into Cycloprolylglycine in the body, other than being a difficult to chemical, it’s a positive modulator of the Ampakine receptor.
The Moscow Study
The single high quality human study of Noopept, Comparative studies of Noopept and piracetam in the treatment of patients with mild cognitive disorders in organic brain diseases of vascular and traumatic origin, was conducted in 2009 over 56 days at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow.
It was comprised of:
- 53 persons with cognitive issues
- 10 Milligrams twice a day
- This human study also collaborated the conclusion of the animal studies in regards to it’s positive effect for those suffering with depression.
To quote the conclusion of the Moscow study:
The results of the present trial of Noopept and piracetam supported previous data on the characteristics of the actions of Noopept,which form a combination of nootropic, mild psychostimulatory, and anxiolytic effects. Noopept was found to produce positive therapeutic influences on cognitive deficit and neurosis-like symptomatology in patients with emotional lability (asthenic) disorder of vascular origin and post-concussional syndrome. There were no significant differences in the extents of the nootropic effects of Noopept and piracetam.
Noopept produced heightened alpha/beta1 EEG brain wave patterns, according to a 2011 Moscow study, which we associate with intellectual activity and outwardly focused concentration.
The two get compared a lot because, for many Biohackers, they have a similar experiential effect.
The big difference, in usage, between Piracetam and Noopept is the dosage required for effect.
- Piracetam recommended dosage is several grams daily (2 – 4 grams)
- Noopept recommended dosage is 10 Milligrams – 30 Milligrams daily (About 1% of Piracetam dosage)
Some Noopept researchers pointed out that…
The use of piracetam was associated with a greater frequency,severity,and spectrum of undesirable effects in the patients,which were dominat-ed by effects linked with the excessive stimulatory action of the agent
The 56 day human study found that 20 milligrams of Noopept was more effective than 1200 milligrams of Piracetam in improving Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores.
Excitatory Psychostimulatory Effect
Throughout the scientific literature and first hand accounts, I kept hearing it described as subtle; it does not hit you with a jolt of energy or creativity 15-30 minutes after dosing as some Nootropics do. It seems to have something of a cumulative effect that grows over time, after a few days or weeks of supplementing it delivers it’s memory and sense enhancing effects to a higher degree.
Skeptics will of course attribute this to a placebo effect. Which could be the case but I bet you could find at least 50 Noopept human study participants in Moscow who would strongly beg to differ.
To quote a 2003 Russian study
“…Possible mechanisms underlying changes in the membrane potential of synaptoneurosomes induced by nootropic agents are discussed. It was interesting whether modulation of electrogenesis can improve memory and potentiate the neuroprotective effect of the test nootropic agents.”
Ampakinic drugs like Noopept are such an effective modulator of our human abilities of focus and perception that they’ve been researched for military applications by DARPA, the shadowy branch of the US government that has a time travel device and sent Obama to Mars (according to Internet conspiracy theorists!)
I’ve been really pleased with the efficacy of noopept. It’s really helped improve my performance at work, my mental arithmetic has improved tremendously – something I struggled with prior to starting Noopept. My focus and retention are also improved while on it.
It enhances memory formation via it’s cholinosensitizing effect and neurotrophin production. There’s some nuance that I’d like to explain about how it improves your memory…
Noopept improves memory formation as opposed to memory recall, so it would be a more beneficial memory aid if it’s January 1st and your New Year’s Resolution is to learn a new language and you’re going to start studying as soon as your hangover wears off than if you studied (or spoke fluently) a language when you were younger but it’s been decades it’s a bit rusty.
However, it’s not so simple to say that memory formation and memory recall are totally different things, they are in fact, somewhat intertwined, to quote from the book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
“The brain that does the remembering is not the brain that formed the initial memory . In order for the old memory to make sense in the current brain , the memory has to be updated . ” Biological memory is in a perpetual state of renewal . The memory stored in a computer , by contrast , takes the form of distinct and static bits ; you can move the bits from one storage drive to another as many times as you like , and they will always remain precisely as they were.” (pp. 191-192)
To synopsize; recalling old memories or refreshing old skills re-contextualizes these things to our current life and state of mind. The best way to learn new skills and knowledge is to intertwine it in your mind with skills and knowledge that you’re already mastered.
Noopept will aid you more in acquiring a new skill or knowledge a lot more than in recalling the past.
From a 2008 paper on it’s effect on neurogenesis…
Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that neurotrophin synthesis in the hippocampus determines cognitive function, particularly in consolidation and delayed memory retrieval. Published data show that neurotrophic factor deficiency in the hippocampus is observed…
The study suggests that you’d want to use Noopept in 28 day cycles although an older animal study indicated that it improves memory within a 9 day cycle of dosing but positive effects on memory diminish after that. Maybe good reason to cycle off Noopept for a day or two after every 9 days.
You don’t want to take Noopept everyday in perpetuity like you might other vitamins or nutrients.
Like Aniracetam it is an anxiolytic, an anxiety alleviating agent, although the mechanism underlying this is not as deeply understood as with any number of other anxiety relieving Nootropics. As of yet, no human clinical trials have scientifically evaluated this effect.
So it would not really be my go to recommendation for treating anxiety; I would first recommend things like Ashwagandha, Phenibut, meditation, etc
On the Longecity forums it is frequently praised as a social smart drug, to quote one Biohacker’s detailed account:
“…subtle yet profound. First of all if I didn’t feel any thing other than the improved coordination and mental functioning after consuming many alcoholic drinks I’d say that alone was an amazing discovery. Think of the social ramifications! Moving on. Many people report this serene feeling. To me its more of a reassuring feeling. But, again, very subtle. What is not subtle has less to do with overall mood and more with verbal fluency. And by that I mean the ability to easily express your thoughts without having to pause very often to search for words. Speech is free flowing and, while not a euphoric high some might be searching for, it serves a great benefit for social situations”
I haven’t noticed the anti-anxiety effect much myself but I’m lucky to not be a natural anxious person, naturally I’m a cool cat. If you’re following the social anxiety protocol Noopept is worth split testing with the other pro-social Nootropics I’ve discussed.
Verbal Smart Drug
A common benefit of cognitive enhancement, working memory enhancement and memory enhancement is a marked improvement in verbal intelligence.
A German biohacker reported
The only improvement I could feel was the effect on the verbal fluency and talking speed. The words simply left my mouth without having to think too much about it.
I am also an advocate for Noopept. I noticed increased verbal fluency when talking in foreign languages…
At least one videoblogger anecdotally reported that it helped a lot with remembering people’s names along with language learning.
Many reviewers report exciting effects on the senses
- Sight – Reds are more red, blues are more blue.
- Sound – Conversations with friends are more engaging, nature sounds are more pronounced, music and bass are more enjoyable.
- Touch – Increased awareness of hot/cold, sensations are heightened while touching animals or loved ones.
A 2008 study, concluded that it’s BDNF mechanism gives those suffering with Alzheimer’s reason for hope
In light of this our findings suggest that Noopept holds much promise to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
But the studies done were in vitro, meaning in the glass, under a microscope as opposed to detailing how they actually affect whole, live humans.
Two studies suggested that it helps abolish learned helplessness but they were animal studies.
A few anecdotal reports suggest that it may have a causal relationship with symptoms of depression
I have expereinced severe depression coming off a month of 20-40mg of noopept with some mega doses (100mg) in between…so much so that I called my ex who I broke up with and happilly had no contact with for 3 months and begged her to take me back… (Longecity)
After taking Noopept I was plunged into a horrific episode of depression. I had suicidal thoughts and spent hours sobbing. I could hardly hold myself together at work and started crying at my desk…
For a lot of people, Noopept might not affect them like this, but if you’re like me it might and you should be careful. I used a lot of drugs in my twenties and developed a dependency on cocaine, alcohol and Valium. I thought a substance like Noopept could help me regain some intelligence that I think years of drug abuse have destroyed. I also used to suffer heavily from depression. (Reddit)
So it has an unpredictable effect on depression, I would not recommend it highly to those with a sordid mental health history.
Animal studies suggest a Neuroprotective effect but it’s unproven in humans, so if you have a jousting tournament coming up and looking for a nootropic to fortify your brain from concussions, I’d reach for something other than Noopept.
However to quote Nootropic meta analysizer extraordinaire Kamal Patel of Examine
More studies are needed to determine the main mechanisms responsible for Noopept’s neuroprotective effect.
The Moscow study noted an improvement in sleep but this probably just has to do with it allaying anxiety.
It doesn’t have a mechanism that works on sleep but there’s a number of anecdotal reports of it improving quality of sleep along with stimulating more vivid dreams with J.J. Abrams-esque arching story lines.
I don’t consider it a sleep hack and you would not want to take it within 4 hours of sleep.
A Nootropic Value
The bang for the the buck Noopept represents is like a Russian hydrogen bomb exploding in some remote corner of Siberia.
It’s an impressive value in comparison to Piracetam and most other cognitive enhancers.
A month’s supply of genuine Noopept runs €23 or $28
So there’s a significant savings in using it in powdered form but it sure is convenient to just drop a little 10 milligram pill a few times daily.
It comes in a much smaller container which is convenient for those taking Nootropics while traveling or packing light – I’d be a lot less nervous about an over aggressive and under paid border security guard with a discrete package of Noopept in my luggage than I would with a conspicuous bag full of powdered Piracetam. The small size of the package, also makes it more affordable for those abroad who need their Nootropics shipped internationally.
Powder vs Pills vs Stacks
There’s three main ways that people use Noopept.
The downside to this is that you have to measure out the minuscule dose with the tiny measuring spoon several times a day, it’s kind of a pain in the ass and you’ll inevitably spill Noopept on yourself or laptop – over the years I’ve inadvertently given my laptop a lot smart drugs and they really haven’t made my laptop any smarter.
I’d urge you to only consume powdered Noopept from a reputable source, Noopept is an unpatented molecule created by hundreds of different labs around the world, there’s good reason to be skeptical of Noopept that is NOT verified by a 3rd party certificate of analysis or spectroscopy.
Are another common form of it, I’ve gotten some of the best cognitive results from genuine Russian Noopept. It’s still pretty affordable with a month’s supply running about $28. The advantage is that each little pill is just 10 milligrams, so dosing is super easy.
Noopept is included as an ingredient in a lot of aggressively marketed Nootropic stack products. Noopept does stack well, there’s lot of synergies that it has with other Nootropics you’ll see in these stacks.
But I’m a bit skeptical of this because you have no idea of the quality of the Noopept itself. Again, unless you’re seeing a COA for it, your decision to buy or consume something is just based upon faith in whoever is selling it.
Also, Noopept is really something that you want to do dosage experiments with to figure out what is really right for your unique neurobiology. A stack product deprives you of this, just giving you the same universal dose as everyone else.
Low priced yet highly beneficial, it’s no surprise that it’s a product of the free market, first synthesized in Russia in 1996.
I often thought that Noopept was just a good marketing name that a clever Russian came up with but actually it’s derived from endogenous neuropeptide cycloprolylglycine, which it’s chemically based upon.
According to Wikipedia it also goes by the name Omberacetam, I’ve never heard of that name before before. Wikipedia has a laughably short and incomplete entry for Noopept. Wikipedia is not the place to learn about biohacking kids.
Mechanism of Action
There are two proposed mechanisms of action of Noopept:
Sensitizing effect on acetylcholine processes – Noopept has a ‘cholinosensitizing’ effect, wherein acetylcholine delivery to the neuron is improved.
Induction of neurotrophin production – according to a 2008 study, which found that it calibrated Brain-derived neurotrophic factor. To quote the study:
Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that neurotrophin synthesis in the hippocampus determines cognitive function, particularly in consolidation and delayed memory retrieval… In light of this our findings suggest that Noopept holds much promise to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
Other mechanisms include
- Tonic inhibition in the hippocampus blunts anxiety.
- Modulates brain waves via glutamatergic inhibition.
- It does cross the blood brain barrier
- Boosts Nerve growth factor and Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Based upon examination of brain concentrations it does cross the blood-brain barrier.
Some other stacks recommended highly by the Biohacker community
Obsessive Noopept self experimenter Ryan Michael Ballow recommends a daily driver focus stack of 10-30 milligrams of Noopept with…
CDP Choline – 150 milligrams
Theanine – 300 milligrams
This stack enhances creativity and alleviates anxiety, so it’s a good social stack.
Ryan Michael Ballow also recommends stacking 10-30 milligrams of Noopept with
Phenylpiracetam – 150 milligrams
Choline – 500 milligrams. Phenylpiracetam also exhausts your ACh so you need to up your choline intake.
Sunifiram – 4 milligrams
Uridine – 150 – 200 milligrams. Uridine adds a bit more of an energetic edge to the psychostimulation of Noopept.
Noopept – 30 milligrams
CDP Choline – 75 milligrams
Modafinil – 75 milligrams of Modafinil+10-15 milligrams of Noopept
If you find Modafinil over stimulating or that it hurts your sleep break a 100 milligram tablet into fourths and take 3 with a tiny measure Noopept.
Bromantane – Aleksie with RUPharma recommended combining Noopept with this Russian drug. Some biohackers find Bromantane to be a very visceral Nootropic.
Since it’s effects and mechanism are similar to Racetams, it will likely lead to a cross tolerance to Racetams. If you’re stacking it with Racetams it’s wisest to keep the Noopept dose low.
Noopept is kind of an instant satisfaction smart drug, if it’s working for you it will be discernible within an hour of dosing, if not sooner.
It’s not like some Nootropics that you need to take for weeks or months before their effects become apparent.
And it’s a relatively fast burning cognitive enhancer, according to an animal study it’s effect last less the 70 minutes.
It’s recommended that you take it with or just prior to a meal or snack, although this is NOT crucial.
Water soluble. Taking it with a glass of water is fine.
Take it sublingually. Meaning that you place it below your tongue and let it dissolve into the floor of your mouth. It’s oral bioavailability is not great, I’ve noticed a greater cognitive bang for my Noopept buck when I take it sublingually.
Don’t snort it. A lot of idiots on the Internet recklessly do this or brag about it for clicks and apparently it stimulates a little bit of euphoria. This is not a good idea as it can cause nosebleeds and sinus problems.
Taste and Aesthetics
- Self reporters throughout popular biohacker forums seem to agree that the taste isn’t great but not as bad as some powdered Racetams.
- Aesthetically, as a generic white powder it’s virtually indistinguishable from Piracetam.
- USA – It’s a legal, none-prescription none-scheduled drug.
- Canada – It does not have a Drug Identification Number but it’s also not scheduled nor controlled in Canada, so it kind of falls into the gray zone, so not a great idea to do a border crossing with a ton of it in your car.
- Australia – It’s legally sold in Australia.
- UK – Sorry mates! Noopept likely falls under the Psychoactives ban. If you want to try it, better order from a source that delivers anonymously and from outside of UK.
Like a lot of popular Nootropics there’s a couple of severe edge cases; people ending up in the hospital or suffering from depression but they all had a two things in common
- They were people with histories of mental health issues.
- They were using Noopept in high or extreme dosages without cycling
So it seems like it’s pretty easy to avoid negative experience with Noopept.
- The most commonly reported side effects are headaches, insomnia and brain fog – about 15% of users report these.
- According to the Moscow study the occurrence of undesirable side effects was less with Noopept than with Piracetam.
Risk Grade: B
- It has a lot of overlap with the very well tolerated Nootropic category of Racetams.
- Thousands of astute Biohackers have reported their experiences with it and there’s a real lack of serious undesirable side effects.
- Noopept doesn’t deserve an A risk grade because there’s only three clinical trials meticulously evaluating Noopept in humans.
- It is less documented than some other (more official) members of the Racetam family like Piracetam, Aniracetam or Phenylpiracetam.
- It’s none- addictive. It’s mechanisms are not habit forming.
- Excessive dosage may result in unpleasant and dangerous excitotoxicity.
When my close friends and loved ones come to me asking about Nootropics and if Nootropics can really help them I’ve never recommended Noopept.
Noopept just is not that proven relative to other Nootropics that I hold in higher esteem. Also a lot of times it’s effects on cognition and memory are not clearly noticeable, you need to have some faith in it’s long term effects when taking it.
There’s a lot of interesting hypotheses about how it promotes neuroplasticity and interacts beneficially with other Nootropics and there’s also a lot anecdotal reports of it really empowering people’s minds.
While it may not be one of my most recommended Nootropics; it’s very cheap and safe, it’s worth trying and if you’ve tried it before and were underwhelmed by it, it’s worth trying again with some of the cofactors I’ve mentioned above.