Piracetam is one of the most well researched and original cognitive enhancers. It is a supplement of the Racetam class. It is known to be a very modest neuroprotective and memory-improving agent which offers solid cognitive and neurological benefits, consolidated with essentially non-existing toxicity (less than that of table salt).
A very small percentage of those that use Racetams may experience unpleasant headaches. The headaches caused by Piracetam may last many hours after the initial intake or sometimes it can be very short-lived. Using Piracetam may also intensify migraines and headaches that are caused by some other stimuli.
So, what causes this adverse side effect to occur and what can you could do to avert it from happening to you? Before getting started, let’s see why people take Piracetam:
PROS of Piracetam*
Why Does Piracetam Cause Headaches?
Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam along with Piracetam stimulate the Acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Acetylcholine is possibly the most significant Neurotransmitter responsible for many brain related functions and is also responsible for functions in relation to learning, concentration and reasoning.
Acetylcholine is produced from the food we eat that contains choline, but in so many cases, humans do not get adequate amounts from just food alone. Evidence suggests that taking enough choline with Piracetam, may cause headaches to subside and or be prevented (reference). This is because Piracetam demands a high level of choline be present in our brain when supplemented, without it, your brain will give you a headache. You can think of it as similar to getting a headache from being dehydrated after running, with Piracetam your brain is “running” and choline is the source it needs to keep you going.
The liver makes very little amounts of choline, thus it may be beneficial to buy a choline supplement. Numerous foods contain choline, such as: egg yolks (250mg per egg roughly) and liver meat, regardless of its wide accessibility, scientists think many individuals don’t get sufficient levels of choline.
As per a popular anecdotal evidence, the use of Piracetam can often times overly tax an individual’s cholinergic system. If enough choline is not present in your food, then there is a chance that you might be choline deficient. This can be evidenced from any of the racetam nootropics being consumed on our platform, most are “commonly paired or stacked with” one choline source or another, see aniracetam with AlphaGPC, phenylpiracetam with the same, and pramiracetam here.
How to Cure a Piracetam Headache?
If an individual is suffering from a consistent headache while using Piracetam, they should first try adding choline to their diet (food). Secondly consider stacking your choline powder of choice with Piracetam, see alpha gpc dosage amount, and choline bitartrate dosage amount here or you can also try Centrophenoxine.
You should start by adding a small dose initially (250mg if alpha gpc for example) and then can slowly increase the dosage until your headaches are gone. If you did not notice any effects from adding additional choline at up to ~750mg, continuing to add more may not help. Again see the Piracetam page to determine what the most ‘common’ ratios are to get an idea as to where to draw your limit and call it quits. E.g. If you consume 4.8g of Piracetam with 250mg of Alpha-GPC you may not notice the helpful effects of adding choline to your stack, however if you consume 1.8g to 500mg of AlphaGPC–you might just notice that you don’t have a headache. Generally consuming choline is also a good habit in and of itself and can act as a cognitive enhancer as well, see choline+inositol stack.
Choline stacks and Headaches
Taking Piracetam alone can cause headaches among some people and with the addition of choline, the headaches may stop, however for a few people the opposite is true. Taking Choline with Piracetam can cause headaches while taking Piracetam alone does not. In this case you could be “choline dominant” and your best course of action could be to cease supplementing choline. Many people read and feel as if it is absolutely essential to take a choline source with the Racetams and that’s just not true. If you don’t need it and your body is telling you it doesn’t need it via headaches, stop or take half the dose and observe the results.
Many users when adding choline experience depression, brain fog, lethargy or fatigue. Some research demonstrates a relationship between depression and large amounts of choline in the brain. Having said that, the opposite research is also available, so as of now, you may need to test what works and doesn’t for you. You can search for many supplement stacks which contain choline here, add a choline source you have and Piracetam on the compound search bar in the textbox on the left menu of the page and see what other’s are doing.
What to Do If the Headaches Persist
Additionally, the problem can be caused be something totally unrelated to Choline as well, are you hydrated enough?, are you getting enough restful-sleep?, do you have any chronic conditions?, stress? could it be the result of a interaction with other drugs or supplements?
Tracking these variables is key, and if you do have a condition and or are on other drugs, you can see if other’s on TrackMyStack have had the same symptoms as you — which can help in determining the cause of the problem. You can spend time researching and learning/biohacking yourself but don’t forget to visit a professional who may be able to diagnose the issue much quicker.
Generally, Piracetam is not common drug to supplement in the Western part of the world, chances are your health care professional will not know anything about it and ask you to get off of it right of the bat — as it is the safest thing for them to recommend. Consider taking another ‘supplement’ (Piracetam is a synthetic drug) for cognitive enhancement (if that is your goal). Another option is to utilize a Nootropic with a alternate mechanism of action such as Adrafinil.