One of the most popular classes of nootropics are the racetams. The first nootropic, piracetam, belongs to this family of smart drugs, as do dozens of others.
We often get asked, “What is the best racetam?” Unfortunately, it’s a question without a solid answer. Like asking, “What is the best nootropic?” the answer will vary from person to person, depending on their goals and individual brain chemistry.
But, inspired by the question, “What is the best racetam?” we’ve decided to write up this racetam comparison post. By the time you’re done reading, you should have a good idea about what the best racetam is – the best racetam for you, that is.
In this post, we’re gonna first explain exactly what the racetams are. Then, we’ll compare eight of the racetams most commonly used around the world for their nootropic properties.
What are the racetams?
The racetams are a family of drugs that are all chemically similar. For those of you who are interested in chemistry, this similarity comes in the form of a pyrrolidone nucleus, of which all racetams share. Almost all the racetams end with the suffix -etam.
There are dozens of different drugs in the racetam family. Many (but not all) of them have nootropic properties. In fact, it was the discovery of the first racetam, piracetam, that inspired the creation of the term nootropic.
Each nootropic racetam offers a different set of benefits. Some help to reduce anxiety, while others do not. Some racetams have stimulating properties, but most don’t. The one thing that all nootropic racetams have in common is that they improve focus and memory. That, after all, is why they’re considered nootropic racetams.
And, just as each nootropic racetam has different potential benefits, they all work differently in the body and brain. While the exact mechanisms of action are unknown (which is true of all drugs that affect the brain), the racetams work by changing the way certain chemicals act in the nervous system.
Now that we’ve briefly gone over what they are, we can dive into our racetam comparison. Once you understand how they compare to each other, you can decide what is the best racetam (or racetams) for you.
It only seems fair that we start with piracetam. This was the first racetam to be discovered and the one that inspired the name nootropic. It was first synthesized in the 1960’s by a Romanian chemist, who came up with the word “nootropic” to describe its unique cognition-enhancing properties.
Piracetam has been shown to have a variety of potential benefits. And, unlike many of the newer racetams, piracetam has years of research behind it to support both its effectiveness and safety. Some of the potential benefits of piracetam include improved memory, increased ability to learn, decreased anxiety, and improved mood.
You can learn more about piracetam here.
This popular racetam was created a few years after piracetam. And, like piracetam, there has been a lot of research done that supports its safety and effectiveness.
The thing that a lot of users love about aniracetam is its ability to significantly reduce anxiety without causing sedation. Unlike common prescription anti-anxiety medications which often make learning more difficult, aniracetam can actually increase focus and improve learning while reducing anxiety at the same time.
You can learn more about aniracetam here.
Oxiracetam is a powerful nootropic and one of the more potent racetams. It’s been shown to act as a mild stimulant. A lot of users consider oxiracetam to be the best racetam because of its ability to improve cognitive function without affecting mood or anxiety levels.
This powerful racetam has been extensively studied and shown to improve focus and memory. It’s also been shown to be very safe. Even daily, high-dosage use has been shown to be safe in clinical trials.
You can learn more about oxiracetam here.
This nootropic racetam has a lot in common with oxiracetam. They both improve cognitive function without affecting mood or anxiety levels. And, they’re both much more powerful than the prototypical racetam, piracetam.
Pramiracetam is estimated to be between 15 and 30 times stronger than piracetam. Created in the late 1970’s, pramiracetam has been extensively studied and is used to treat memory problems in some Eastern European countries.
You can learn more about pramiracetam here.
This is a much newer nootropic racetam. Sunifiram doesn’t have anywhere near as much research behind it as some of the other racetams. Though no serious side effects have been reported with sunifiram use, its safety has not been scientifically established.
While there isn’t a lot of science to support its use as a nootropic (yet), there are tons of positive reports from people around the world that have used sunifiram as a cognitive enhancer. Users report improved focus and sense of well-being and improved memory, among other benefits.
You can learn more about sunifiram here.
This one, for a lot of people, is the best racetam. According to many nootropic users, other racetams don’t even compare to phenylpiracetam. Some even say it works as well at improving focus as prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.
Phenylpiracetam is an analog of piracetam and was created in 1983, making it one of the newer racetams. Due to its wide array of potential benefits, phenylpiracetam has been the subject of a fair amount of research. In Russia, it’s a prescription medication used as a general stimulant and to increase tolerance to extreme temperatures.
Users of this fascinating racetam have reported a variety of benefits, including improved focus, increased memory and learning, reduced anxiety, and improved mood, among others. Research conducted on both humans and animals support these claims. At recommended dosages, phenylpiracetam has been shown to be safe and free of serious side effects.
You can learn more about phenylpiracetam here.
First created in 2005, coluracetam is one of the latest members of the racetam family to be created. Like phenylpiracetam, it was created by chemically modifying piracetam. Coluracetam hasn’t been as extensively studied as some of the other racetams, but it has been investigated as a treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) and other conditions.
Though further study is needed to support coluracetam’s use as a nootropic, initial results are promising. Users report an increase in focus, improvements in mood, and a reduction in anxiety. The clinical trials that have been conducted on coluracetam show that it’s free of major side effects at dosages up to 240 milligrams a day.
You can learn more about coluracetam here.
The last nootropic racetam that we’re gonna mention is fasoracetam. It was first synthesized in the 1960’s, but has only recently started to be used for its nootropic properties. Though scientific evidence to support fasoracetam’s use as a nootropic is lacking, preliminary research has been encouraging. Currently, fasoracetam is being investigated as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Fasoracetam users have reported improvements in memory and focus, claims that preliminary research seems to support. Additionally, some users also report improved mood and reduced anxiety. Research in animals support this and have shown a possible mechanism of action. Fasoracetam users haven’t reported any serious side effects, however, its safety hasn’t been scientifically established, yet.
You can learn more about fasoracetam here.
So… What is the best racetam?
As we mentioned earlier, there is no single best racetam for everyone. There is, however, a best racetam for you. Which one depends on your goals.
If you’re looking for the best racetam to increase focus and improve memory without affecting mood or anxiety, oxiracetam or pramiracetam may be the right choice for you. Maybe you want a racetam that will increase focus and reduce anxiety. If so, aniracetam is the best racetam for you.
The best racetam is the one that helps you function optimally. Everyone’s brains are different and so is the results they get from each racetam. You should figure out what benefits your brain needs and choose accordingly.
Taking more than one nootropic, also called stacking, is common among smart drug users. Most racetams seem to stack well, either with other racetams or with other classes of nootropics.
If your goal is to increase focus and memory without affecting mood or anxiety, the best racetams for you are oxiracetam and pramiracetam. After trying them each individually, you may want to try stacking them to see if, together, they work better.
Some experienced smart drug users like to stack many nootropics together, sometimes more than ten at a time. If you’re new to the wonderful world of nootropics, you should probably stick to stacking no more than two or three at a time.
If you decide to try any of these racetams, you may want to also consider stacking it with a choline source, like alpha-GPC. Though not serious, some people get headaches when they take certain racetams. It’s thought that these headaches are caused by inadequate acetylcholine levels. For most users who experience headaches after taking a racetam, adding a choline source will stop them from happening. Adding a choline source may also help make the benefits of certain racetams more pronounced.
For more info about stacking, check out this post: The Top 3 Nootropic Stacks For Beginners. It includes a popular beginner stack which contains two racetams and a choline source.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how the different racetams compare to each other. While there is no single best racetam for everyone, there is a best racetam for you.
To learn more about the racetams and all the other amazing nootropics being used around the world, make sure to sign up for the Nootropics Zone newsletter. For signing up, you’ll get a free gift: The Ultimate Nootropics Quick Reference Guide, which contains the basic info about dozens of popular nootropics.