Noopept is an example of a smart drug, otherwise known as a nootropic. It’s taken to enhance cognition by improving memory and focus, among a list of other things. It might sound like science fiction, but noopept can be found in supplements available online today.
A pill that makes you smarter sounds great, but it might be better to leave your brain alone. While noopept is effective, we’re not sure what those benefits might cost you down the road. Read on to learn more about this super smart-drug.
Key Takeaways: Noopept
Noopept Review: What Is Noopept?
The word noopept is a portmanteau of nootropic and neuropeptide. The technical name is N-phenylacetyl-l-prolylglycine ethyl ester, which is why most people call it noopept. It is a synthetic substance that was first created in a Russian lab as a nootropic for memory, focus, and cognitive function.
Noopept is related to another type of nootropic called racetams, the most common of which is piracetam. However, noopept is far more powerful. While the dose for most racetams can go up to 100s of milligrams, noopept can achieve the same effect with less than 20 milligrams.
Evidence shows that it can actually act as a cognitive enhancer. It also helps reduce the effects of some mild cognitive disorders. However, its long-term effect on brain health is not known and its legal status is questionable.
How Does Noopept Work?
Evidence indicates that noopept can cross the blood-brain barrier and affect brain chemistry. While we’re not sure how noopept produces its effects, there are a few theories that are supported by evidence. Among those are:
- Stimulates BDNF: Noopept can stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and the related nerve growth factor. Both of these are endogenous neuropeptides, compounds the brain makes for itself that help build and maintain neuron pathways .
- Stimulate glutamate receptors: Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. Stimulating the related receptors increases nerve excitability which improves mental energy, focus, and reaction times.
- Antioxidant properties: Oxidative stress damages cells and may even cause some of the effects of aging. Noopept reduces levels of oxidants that cause damage .
The short-term health benefits of noopept are really only beginning to be assessed. At this point, there has been no study on its long-term effects on overall brain health.
However, as a rule, anything strong enough to have a genuine effect is also powerful enough to be dangerous. Noopept can cross the blood-brain barrier and has the potential to affect brain structure. There really needs to be more evidence-based analysis of human trials before its long-term effects are understood.
Duration of Effects
It’s difficult to judge the length of noopept’s effects as there has been so little study. Those who use it for cognitive enhancement have usually found that a single dose a day is sufficient to clear brain fog. Studies regarding the effect of noopept on cognitive disorders also usually dosed subjects once or twice daily.
The half-life of a drug, more properly called the elimination half-life, is the time needed for the amount in the body to drop by half. Noopept appears to have a short half-life, only between 5 and 10 minutes. The short half-life is drawn from studies on rats, so we don’t know precisely what the noopept half-life is for humans .
Potential Benefits of Noopept
Potential benefits of noopept include:
- Improved emotional balance
- Reduced stress
- Boost memory and cognition
- May have positive effects on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
The study of noopept is really just beginning. As a result, how noopept benefits users is still being established. Moreover, as we’ve mentioned, most information is drawn from animal studies. Additionally, a lot of those studies were done on people or animals with altered brain function, including mild cognitive impairment and a model of Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite that, users claim noopept features a range of benefits.
Improved Emotional Balance
As we’ve mentioned, noopept can stimulate glutamate receptors, which can have an energizing effect. Rather than causing jitteriness like coffee, noopept acts more like an anti-anxiety medication balancing out your mood. Supplementing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factors is also linked to reductions in depression .
This effect is thought to be related to the increase in BDNF. Chronic stress can negatively impact cognitive function, particularly memory formation. It also can cause a drop in BDNF, while supplementing BDNF has been found to reverse the negative effects of stress .
Boost Memory and Cognition
Stress and emotional upset can both lead to less effective memory formation and reduced cognition. As a result, the two previous benefits can also be considered to help here. Noopept probably also has direct effects that improve focus and attention, clearing up brain fog.
In addition to on-the-spot cognitive enhancement, noopept may also protect against age-related cognitive decline, making noopept a good nootropic for memory.
One thing to note is that, in people with healthy memory function, there was no real benefit from noopept, so it may be most effective for people with cognitive impairments.
May Have Positive Effects on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
Limited studies have been done on humans, including a few on people suffering from traumatic brain injury, or other neurodegenerative disorders. Studies regarding Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease have generally been performed using rats, so their results aren’t definitive.
However, noopept did appear to improve brain health, encouraging the growth of brain cells as well as improved blood flow.
Side Effects of Noopept
Noopept, or more properly N-phenylacetyl-l-prolylglycine ethyl ester, hasn’t really been evaluated for human use. As a result, just as it’s difficult to say what the positive effects may be, we don’t know what side effects may be caused.
Based on animal studies and a few human studies, side effects might include irritability, increased blood pressure, and trouble sleeping. Its short half-life means it probably leaves the system quickly. However, taking too much may lead to problems like glutamate toxicity, where neurons get so over-excited they die .
It’s also important to note that there’s no way to know if users should be wary of negative drug interactions. If you’re taking any medications or supplements, it might be wise to steer clear.
How To Take Noopept
In many ways, noopept is an attractive nootropic. It seems to effectively improve cognitive processes. Additionally, the low dose size means you’re less likely to experience tolerance buildup. However, low doses are possible because noopept is so strong, which means it has to be used with some care.
The typical dosage you’d find recommended online is 10mg or more. However, studies have found that a smaller amount may be effective. In fact, taking a larger dose may actually have less of an effect, perhaps even leading to cognitive impairment .
Noopept dosage, like most medications, should probably be linked to body weight. In human trials, subjects were given an oral dosage between 0.5 mg and 1.2mg per kg of body weight. Lower doses, between 0.5 and 0.7mg per kg, were found to be more effective. The larger dose of 1.2mg/kg was less effective.
At 0.5mg/kg, a 200 lb person would take about 45mg a day. However, you’re likely to see effects even at just 5 or 10 mg a day. The dosing would be similar for noopept powder.
This is a slightly different path for taking medication. Rather than taking a pill or powder, you put a drop of oil under your tongue where it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. As a result, smaller doses are usually just as effective.
For a number of reasons, mega-dosing noopept is probably not a good idea. Mega dosing just means taking a much higher dose than you normally would, hoping for a correspondingly dramatic effect.
Studies seem to indicate that taking more noopept doesn’t create a stronger effect. There’s a sweet spot, usually quite a low dose, where it’s most effective.
Additionally, noopept is a rather strong substance so taking enormous amounts increases your chances of adverse effects quite a bit.
As we’ve mentioned, noopept’s legal status is problematic. While it’s better known by its brand name, noopept, legally it’s often referred to by its chemical name: N-phenylacetyl-l-prolylglycine ethyl ester. Whatever its name, it’s strong enough that most governments treat it with caution.
Is Noopept Legal in the US?
No. The Federal Drug Administration has decided that noopept is strong enough to be considered a regulated drug . However, it hasn’t gone through the extensive human research and testing that is required before a prescription drug can be brought to market. As a result, it can’t be legally sold in the United States.
Additionally, the US military has banned its use by servicemembers .
Despite that, enforcement has been lacking and some vendors sell it and supplement manufacturers include it in their products anyway .
Is Noopept Legal in Canada?
It seems as if Canada is treating noopept similarly to the United States. To date, it has not been assigned a drug identification number, which would mean it has not been assessed for use or safety. As a result, it’s likely illegal to sell or supply.
Is Noopept Legal in the UK?
It’s not illegal to possess noopept. However, as elsewhere in the world it’s illegal to sell or supply noopept .
Is Noopept Legal in Europe?
Similar to the UK and US, most European countries recognize noopept is powerful enough to require more study before it can be prescribed or used. The exception is Russia, where it can be prescribed by a doctor.
Where To Buy Noopept
Despite not generally being approved for sale, it’s possible to buy noopept online in one of several forms. Noopept users can choose from capsules, pills, powders, and oil products.
Due to the dubious legality of noopept in most of the developed world, however, it’s difficult to say where these products are coming from. Likewise their safety and purity may also be open to question.
Noopept may also sometimes be found in nootropic supplements, though its inclusion in those sorts of products has been banned.
You’re unlikely to find noopept on the shelf anywhere. Additionally, as it’s not legal to sell you’re unlikely to find it on the website of any big companies like Amazon, Walmart, CVS, or any large retailer.
Noopept Alternatives: Nootropics
The effects of noopept might seem attractive in some ways. Who doesn’t want to think more clearly and be more emotionally stable? However, since we can’t judge what the risks are at this point, it may be best to leave noopept alone.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get a mental pick-me-up when you need it, though. There are a number of other nootropics that are less powerful, but correspondingly safer that are also perfectly legal ways to improve cognition. These use herbal ingredients and natural compounds to provide clarity, improve memory, and generally enhance cognitive function.
There’s no reason to risk your brain health. Instead, check out some of these alternatives.
Mind Lab Pro
This product contains a choline supplement, citicoline, that is recognized as providing a lot of benefits to cognitive performance. Some of the benefits and features you’ll find that come with using Mind Lab Pro include:
- Improved cognitive performance, including improved memory and focus
- Neuroprotective properties for long term brain health
- May even help regenerate damaged neurons
- 30-day risk-free guarantee
Find out more about this option in our Mind Lab Pro review.
NooCube is a fast-acting supplement that can take effect in less than an hour. Benefits of NooCube can include:
- Provides l-tyrosine, the raw material for dopamine
- L-theanine stimulates alpha brain waves to help relaxation
- Alpha GPC can improve focus and motivation
Find out more in our in-depth NooCube review.
Performance Lab Nootropics
Similar to Mind Lab Pro, this supplement includes citicoline which can provide a cognitive boost and mental clarity. Other benefits can include:
- Neuroprotective properties of citicoline
- Pine bark extracts act as antioxidants to reduce oxidative damage
- Lab standardized ingredients, so every bottle has the same effects
Check out the pros and cons of taking this supplement in our Performance Lab Nootropics review.
Nootropics is a complex topic. If you’re just looking for some straight answers, we’ve got them for you.
Is Noopept A Stimulant
Noopept does stimulate some aspects of the nervous system. However, the word stimulant usually refers to compounds that stimulate central nervous system activity. The classic example is caffeine, which causes both physical and mental effects.
On the other hand, noopept stimulates a specific aspect of brain function that has to do with focus, attention, and memory. As a result, it will provide some mental clarity without the jitteriness of caffeine.
Is Noopept Bad?
Noopept is a powerful drug that hasn’t been evaluated for safety or long-term effects. While it has some benefits and therefore isn’t strictly bad, it shouldn’t be used without a doctor’s direction.
What Is Noopept Good For?
Generally, noopept supplements are used to improve cognitive function, including things like:
It is also possible it can have neuroprotective effects to keep your level of brain health higher for longer.
In scientific studies, noopept’s use has been on patients who have suffered brain injuries, are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, or those who have some sort of neurodegenerative condition.
Maybe one day cognitive enhancers like noopept will be found on pharmacy shelves, instead of the pages of SciFi novels. For the moment, the potential for dangerous effects remains too high. The smart thing may be to avoid noopept until it is better understood and instead, opt for safer nootropic alternatives like Mind Lab Pro, NooCube and Performance Lab.
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- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Peak Nootropics LLC AKA Advanced Nootropics – 557887 – 02/05/2019.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 4 Feb. 2019, www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/peak-nootropics-llc-aka-advanced-nootropics-557887-02052019.
- “Dietary Supplement Ingredients Prohibited by the Department of Defense.” Opss, 15 July 2021, www.opss.org/dietary-supplement-ingredients-prohibited-department-defense.
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