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How serious are the side effects of Racetams or Choline?

racetams choline side effects

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#1 Hansen213

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 06:41 PM


I have ADD and creating my first stack primarly for improving my concentration and energy. Racetams and Choline seems to be 1st recommendation by almost anyone.

Then I found this blog, which listed many very negative reviews of Piracetam (I cant post links yet, but when you google "piracetam" and "selfhacked.com", you find it immediatly).

Here are some qoutes

4) I’m a very rare case, but I took piracetam for 2 week and I now have muscle convulsions randomly, at different places of my body, at random times. sometimes twice in a minute, other times twice in an hour. it only lasts for a few seconds. i only took it for 2 weeks and the side-effects have been present for the last 3-4 months. i don’t think its going away… eh

5) First of all ,i also have very negative effect from Piracetam like user on forum post like hard to talk ,read,write,driving car that for sometime Piracetam effect even drop in a week ,negative effect still remain .

6) I’ve stopped using the piracetam, and I still experience some brain fog, like someone is putting pressure
on my head… Will this go away?

7) Hey. Did it ever go away for you? I’m having the same problem. I was on piracetam for 1 month and stopped it suddenly. Now I feel like I can’t do anything (driving, writing, thinking). It fucked up my brain.

8) I have used piracetam 5 g/day for two days now and what I feel is the following:
- slight nausea, brain fog, lower scores in lumosity (brain) games, slight pressure in frontal lobe, maybe

9) I started by taking an 800mg dose 3 times a day for the first 3 days and nothing happened. I pushed it up to 1600mg 3 times a day and I got the worst headache of my life accompanied by brain fog and nausea.


The blog looks legit imo, although the vast amounts of affiliate links make me kinda suspicious. Also, this is the internet, so you have tons of trolls or just attention seeking people, who will write anything to get a reaction, so I am not sure ow much of these reviews are real or not.

However, if there is a significant risk of damaging your brain for a long period, I def. want to avoid it by just not taking Racetams.

So what do you think about this? Is it just a marketing article like "5 Thing You SHOULD Know Before Ordering Piracetam!!!" or are these risks real?


About Choline I found a study, in which I read that men, who ate 1 egg per day, had not only a 70% higher chance of getting lethal prostate cancer (= already existing prostate cancer spreading to other organs), but also a significant higher rate to get prostate cancer. Note, they speak about 1 egg per day, the recommended dose with racetams is way higher.

Unfortunately I cant find the source right now, I have to look on my PC at home whether I saved it.

What do you think?

#2 mrd1

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 03:15 AM

"While it’s true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol—and so may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels—eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate.

A solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet. Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption—up to one a day—does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals (1, 2) and can be part of a healthy diet. " (Harvard) Good enough for me to go cook up some eggs right now.

"Adverse effects, although rare and of short duration[3] are limited to anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness and agitation. It may be safe for up to 18 months in humans at doses of 3.2g daily[49] with one year-long study in ambulatory patients with Alzheimer's using 8g daily reporting no side effects.[45] Piracetam also appears to have clinical usage (and a lack of side effects) when used in youth for the purpose of Breath Holding Spells at oral doses of 50-100mg/kg bodyweight in children aged 5-60 months.[68][67][66]" (Examine.com)

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#3 thx1138az

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 04:39 AM

I feel the "pressure" (more like a tingle) on my forehead (likely histamine) but I also felt that while drinking. I'm a fairly bright guy who has been working in IT for almost 30 years. I've started using piracetam last year to help me stay mentally fit so I could keep drinking excessively. Usually one takes piracetam to help quit. I was beginning to have word selection and working memory issues. It helped... but what really helped is when I finally quit drinking. The piracetam gave me better access to my long term memory. At first it was pieces or flashes. Some were painful memories... many were memories of things that happened, bad things, as a result of my drinking. I think that may be how piracetam helps one to quit the drinking... by helping one pull out of the fog, to face ones memories, and to become fully cognizant of the consequences and costs of ones drinking. Now at 49 years old I realize everything I missed out on (failed opportunities and life advancements), Now I get a second chance.

For me the side effects were worth the risk. Since everyone is a little different, not everyone will have all or any of the posted side effects. Now that I haven't been drinking I've resumed my life and studies. I still take piracetam. 1500 mg in the morning and 1500 mg in the afternoon. I also take alpha GPC and ALCAR (as a vegetarian the carnitine is also helpful) to offset any depletion headaches that may result in increase demand for acetylcholine.

The piracetam is still working for me. My word selection and working memory are restored to (better than) youthful (sober) levels. My reading speed and comprehension levels are higher than ever.

Piracetam helps with concentration but I also find I have practice at this. I use meditation to learn focus and prolonged concentration. I have to train my mind to do this. At work I'm expected to "multi-task" and this is a bad habit that the mind can fall into. In mediation I focus my mind on my breathing to "discipline" it. At first it is difficult... I could only focus for a short time before mentally wandering off. Now I can focus longer but I'm still a beginner. It has really helped.

I hope this was helpful.

Edited by thx1138az, 07 December 2013 - 04:49 AM.


#4 Hansen213

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 11:23 AM

A solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet. Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption—up to one a day—does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals (1, 2) and can be part of a healthy diet. " (Harvard) Good enough for me to go cook up some eggs right now.


My concern was pure Choline from supplements in high doses and not Cholesterol from one or two eggs.



http://www.onegreenp...rostate-cancer/

The latest study out of Harvard found that choline consumption was associated with not just getting and spreading prostate cancer but also with a significantly increased risk of dying from it. Those men who ate the most choline (i.e. eggs) had a 70% increased risk of getting and dying from lethal prostate cancer. This is consistent with another recent study which found that men who consumed 2.5 or more eggs per week—that’s just like one egg every three days—had an 81% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer.
The Harvard researchers suggest that maybe choline is the reason some studies have found a relationship between advanced prostate cancer and meat, milk, and egg consumption (there’s a good bit of choline in all those foods). They note that choline so concentrates inside prostate cancer cells that oncologists can actually track the spread of cancer through the body by following choline uptake. But it may be more than just the choline somehow feeding the cancer.


Edited by Hansen213, 07 December 2013 - 11:58 AM.


#5 Hansen213

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 11:31 AM

The piracetam is still working for me. My word selection and working memory are restored to (better than) youthful (sober) levels. My reading speed and comprehension levels are higher than ever.

Piracetam helps with concentration but I also find I have practice at this. I use meditation to learn focus and prolonged concentration. I have to train my mind to do this. At work I'm expected to "multi-task" and this is a bad habit that the mind can fall into. In mediation I focus my mind on my breathing to "discipline" it. At first it is difficult... I could only focus for a short time before mentally wandering off. Now I can focus longer but I'm still a beginner. It has really helped.

I hope this was helpful.


Congratulation for getting sober! I have someone in my family with an alcohol problem and know how much it can change a person. Be strong!

Yeah, I think I just will take a try with Piracetam and Choline, too. I mean the very negative side effects really seem to be very very rare. I think its worth the risk. If I get some weird reactions to it, I will stop taking it immediatly.


Since I cannot edit my initial post, here is the link about Piracetam

http://selfhacked.co...with-piracetam/

Edited by Hansen213, 07 December 2013 - 11:32 AM.


#6 mrd1

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 01:57 PM

Hmmm, that prostate study sounds interesting! But, selfhacked.com well, (LOL). I wouldn't even waste your limited amount of time on that site if its like that link. If piracetam has side effects, they do a horrible job at making a argument.

#7 Hansen213

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 03:28 PM

Hmmm, that prostate study sounds interesting! But, selfhacked.com well, (LOL). I wouldn't even waste your limited amount of time on that site if its like that link. If piracetam has side effects, they do a horrible job at making a argument.


Yeah, I think you are right about this site. The crazy thing is, if you google Piracetam, his article is on #2 right after wikipedia.

#8 thx1138az

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 03:12 AM

I looked at the abstracts this consultant at selfhacked.com posted that were publishied in 1990 and 1992 that were supposed to support his argument that piracetam was linked to stress hormones and therefore dangerous. The studies he references were studies with mice and one of the hormones used to restore memory enhancing effects of piracetam to the mice destroyed by an adrenalectomy (surgical removal of the adrenal gland) was corticosterone. Corticosterone in a non-human hormone produced by the adrenal gland of rodents and other non-human animals. The other hormone used to repair the adrenalectomy damage to the piracetam enhancing effects to the mice was the hormone aldosterone which is found in humans. Aldosterone plays a role in the regulation of blood pressure by causing the retention of sodium and the secretion of potassium in the kidneys. Now what I find interesting is that piracetam is thought to affect the ion potentiation along axon by modulating the ion channels. The two of the ions are responsible for this signal transmission are the sodium and potassium ions.

http://www.ncbi.nlm..../pubmed/8061686
"The racetams possess a very low toxicity and lack serious side effects. Increased turnover of different neurotransmitters has been observed as well as other biochemical findings, e.g., inhibition of enzymes such as prolylendopeptidase. So far, no generally accepted mechanism of action has, however, emerged. We believe that the effect of the racetams is due to a potentiation of already present neurotransmission and that much evidence points in the direction of a modulated ion flux by, e.g., potentiated calcium influx through non-L-type voltage-dependent calcium channels, potentiated sodium influx through alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor gated channels or voltage-dependent channels or decreases in potassium efflux. Effects on carrier mediated ion transport are also possible."

These are my conclusions but I don't have much in the way of a neuroscience background... so take them for what they are. But I'm fairly confident these studies (his only references besides the acetylcholine reduction in mice reference) doesn't do much in supporting his stress hormone argument. First of all these are mouse studies and may not apply to humans. Second his article is written as an opinion piece filled with cherry picked anecdotes from around the internet many of which sound hysterical and irrational.

Just my two cents.

Edited by thx1138az, 08 December 2013 - 03:38 AM.

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#9 thx1138az

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 05:35 AM

I also just looked at the onegreenplanet.com article too. The Harvard studies look supportive despite the obvious militant vegetarian activism in the article (and this coming from a vegetarian). They really liked to emphasis the word "lethal" to the point of putting it in italics. :-)

Too much choline can give one diarrhea. In my experience with a product called Focus XT(choline bitartrate) this was a problem. Intestinal flora feed off of the choline and multiply. This is why I also take a good probiotic supplement to increase the beneficial bacteria and displace the villains. I take Swanson's Ultimate Probiotic with food (with food more bacteria survive the stomach acid and make it to the intestines).

The article also talks about carnitine (and phosphatidylcholine) being metabolized in the gut to a toxin called TMAO. This only happens if the gut flora has the particular species of bacteria present that can metabolize carnitine to TMAO. The vegetarian diet supposedly promotes gut flora that doesn't produce (significant) TMAO from carnitine. This brings me back to another reason why I supplement with a good probiotic. A healthy intestinal flora seems to be very important for many other reasons too. http://www.pvhmc.org...ails.asp?RID=49

I take 600 mg of alpha GPC. 300 mg in the morning and 300 mg in the afternoon. Only 40% of that is choline too. This is more enough to offset the accelerated turnover of acetylcholine. Some stacks use choline bitartrate or choline citrate. The alpha GPC is supposed to be superior because it is able to more readily pass through the blood brain barrier.

Edited by thx1138az, 08 December 2013 - 05:46 AM.


#10 thx1138az

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 07:53 AM

I just found this thread on choline and cardiovascular disease... interesting stuff.
http://www.longecity...se/page__st__30

Edited by thx1138az, 08 December 2013 - 07:54 AM.


#11 Hansen213

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 11:16 AM

Great! Thanks for your input! I feel more comfortable now adding it to my supplements.

#12 Jeoshua

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 11:33 PM

As I'm sure others have already mentioned, the side effects noted were almost all stemming from a Choline deficiency. Most 'racetams modify the way the body processes Acetylcholine, and is seemingly a great part of their function. In the initial stages of dosing, it's important to supplement with a natural source of Choline, such as eggs or Acetyl-L-Carnitine (found easily at your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe), or pressure headaches are a real concern. This is, of course, only until your body "up-regulates" the amount of ACh receptors in your brain (a natural and common mechanism of homeostasis) and adjusts to the new chemical flow.

Also, almost all the 'racetams stick with you and cause actual structural changes to your brains neurochemistry. One does not simply stop taking them to make their effects go away, and in some cases can last a few months after chronic usage. This is not a bad thing, as these "side-effects" are generally positive and neuroprotective.

Edited by Jeoshua, 08 December 2013 - 11:34 PM.

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#13 eon

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 10:45 AM

Side effects vary from person to person. Listen to your body. If uncomfortable simply stop or lower the dosage.

At the moment I'm only using noopept and no other nootropics, despite everyone stacking it with the racetams and or choline. I just want to "feel" out the noopept first. So far I don't feel anything at dosages of 10mg in the morning and 10mg at night. Maybe I'm not supposed to feel anything or it's subtle. Maybe I was fresh off another nootropic cycle of phophatidylserine complex with vinpocetine so it might take some time to adjust and feel noopept's effect.

#14 mrd1

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 02:33 PM

To be honest, this "all natty" snapple I am foolishly drinking will kill me before any amount of piracetam.

#15 Joe Cohen

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 06:13 PM

Hi, I wrote the article and noticed this link. I appreciate the feedback.

1) The article is an opinion piece, like a user here mentioned.
2) You can copy and paste on Google any of the dozens of reports of harm and you will find them all on forums.
3) The article was written as a cautionary note to people who want to supplement with piracetam and an investigation to why brain fog and other side effects are widely reported, including my own negative results. When I had negative result many years back I thought it couldn't be piracetam because it was so safe. As time went on, I noticed there were lots of case reports of harm on the forums and I wasn't an anomaly.
4) I think our knowledge of piracetam is undeveloped and people would be wise to use caution and not naively assume it's risk-free.
5) I think there are more promising substances than the racetams for increasing cognitive function
6) Regarding the aldosterone comment:
"The blockade of the memory-enhancing effects of piracetam resulting from adrenalectomy can be abolished by substitution with either corticosterone or aldosterone. However, corticosterone substitution does not reinstate these effects if the aldosterone receptors are blocked by the aldosterone antagonist epoxymexrenon."
http://www.ncbi.nlm..../pubmed/2149831

You're right about corticosterone, but we see from this that aldosterone plays a role in memory - at least in mice. I used to have an issue with aldosterone insufficiency and it seemed like a strange coincidence that aldosterone is involved in the memory enhancing mechanism, so it could theoretically make sense why I didn't have positive results (and maybe also explain negative results). This is just a hypothesis.

Alternatively, I mentioned in the article that oxidative stress is the main cause of BF in my opinion, so it's possible it's causing oxidative stress, for at least a portion of the population.

Again, I thank all the commentators for their input.
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#16 mrd1

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 03:45 AM

While I use choline and racetams, I would not make them a first second or third recommendation for adhd because they are not approved for treatment of ADHD. However, if you want to supplement them on the side it might help but these are not a replacement for medical care.





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