Noopept: Review on Benefits, Dosage, & Side Effects
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Mon 24 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD
What is Noopept: The proline molecule N-phenylacetyl-L-prolylglycine ethyl ester, commonly known as Noopept, is a modified version of the original racetam smart drug; Piracetam. Specifically, Noopept is a peptide analog of Piracetam.
Noopept was created in Russia in 1996, where its known also as Ноопепт or GVS-111. It’s commonly grouped up with the other nootropics in the racetam class due to having similar effects, but technically speaking Noopept is not a racetam due to lacking the actual pyrollidine-skeleton which is used to characterize racetams.
Noopept is claimed by German researchers to be up to 1000-times as potent as the originally synthesized and first of its kind nootropic; Piracetam.
The structure of Noopept highly resembles that of a naturally occurring neurotransmitter of the human brain called cycloprolylglycine. In fact, the main metabolite of Noopept that can be detected in the brain quickly after administration is cycloprolylglycine itself.
Noopept (Ethyl 1-(phenylacetyl)-L-prolylglycinate) is synthetic and doesn’t naturally occur in plants or other food sources.
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How Does Noopept Work
Similarly to Piracetam, Noopept is able to increase brain EEG patterns related to increased focus and attention.
These beneficial effects can be abolished with administration of drugs that block the excitory NDMA-receptors, which indicates that like many other racetam smart drugs, Noopept has a mild stimulatory effect associated with activation of “upper-like” brain neurotransmitters and their receptors.
Noopept also reliably increases the amounts of proteins called nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain derived neurothropic factor (BDNF), which are associated with long-term chronic improvements in learning abilities and memory formation.
In isolated brain slices, it has been shown that Noopept improves the transportation of acetylcholine to the neurons and makes the ACh receptors more sensitive towards the neurotransmitter. Both mechanisms that are linked to improved learning, memory, attention, and reasoning abilities.
Noopept is cholinergic and has a mild stimulatory effect via NDMA-receptor activation. Administration to rats triggers brain waves patterns similar to what are seen with increased attention and focus. Noopept can also have a long-term “building” effect on memory formation due to increased neurotrophic factors.
Noopept Benefits and Research
Noopept shows similar benefits as many other racetams, but is also unique in certain effects.
As with its predecessors, one of the main benefits of Noopept is its reliable neuroprotective benefits. It has shown to prevent cognitive decline and protect the brain during electric shocks, concussion, stroke, hypoxia, circulatory disorders, toxin administration, and from oxidative stress.
Over a 56 day study period, subjects with previously occurred mild brain trauma who were given 20mg/day of Noopept, noticed significant improvements in a 30-point mini-mental state examination (MMSE) test, which is commonly used to asses cognitive abilities.
In healthy mice, Noopept administration significantly improves memory trace retention and learning ability, but appears to not be effective in a type of mutated mice that lack the natural cholinergic systems.
Noopept’s effects are not limited to acute cognitive enhancement. In a 28 day rodent study, chronic daily dosing of Noopept led to gradually increased growth of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF). Whereas in another rat study, gradual improvements in cognitive abilities were still noted 24-hours after the Noopept administration.
In isolated hippocampal slices and living rats, Noopept administration has been associated with reduced anxiety and stress. In the above mentioned 56-day human study, Noopept also showed improvements in mood, anxiety, irritability, and apathy, suggesting that it may work well as an anxiolytic.
Noopept has a mild psychostimulatory effect in isolated brain neurons as it was seen to dose-dependently increase the synaptic activity.
Noopept seems to have several mechanisms of action which promote both acute and long-term effects on memory formation. It’s pretty well-researched in animal-model and in people with cognitive deficits, but lacks further evidence on healthy humans.
Noopept Dosage and How to Take
The generally recommended dosage of Noopept is 10-30mg per day, taken once or divided into two doses. Taking a look at the Noopept review of science it also seems to be effective at such low amounts.
Since oral Noopept bio-availibity has been shown to be only 10% of what is seen with injections, new methods of taking it have emerged in the nootropics community.
One is sublingual Noopept, where you put the powder underneath your tongue and just let it absorb to the bloodstream through mucus membranes (takes 2-5 minutes), and the other one is literally just snorting Noopept (yes, some do this and it likely boosts the bio-availibity).
In my opinion, you may take it as you wish. Capsules are the easy way, but if you wan’t more bang for your buck, by all means try dissolving some under the tongue. Lots of people report anecdotally (on Noopept Reddit and Noopept Erowid experience database) that this produces a far more noticeable effect.
Noopept is water-soluble, and doesn’t need a meal for absorption.
The actual noopept has a short half-life of only ~38 minutes, but it rapidly metabolizes into other compounds that are able to slowly saturate the neurons and build up the cognitive effects over a long period of time.
If you’re looking for acute cognitive boost (before exam for example), consume Noopept approximately 1-hour before the test for maximum short-term effects.
Since Noopept increases choline conversion into the neurotransmitter; acetylcholine, one should eat choline rich foods and co-supplement with high-quality choline source to preserve the bodily pool.
Noopept should be taken at 10-30mg/day. Use it sublingually for maximum absorption and co-supplement with choline as well. My personal Noopept experience has been a positive one, and I often use it in stack with Modafinil and Aniracetam.
Noopept Side Effects and Tolerance
If you look at the impressive list of studies showing Noopept’s neuroprotective effects, you should be able to easily conclude that it couldn’t be very toxic for the body.
And it isn’t. In animal-model, extremely high dosages of Noopept (100mg/kg) administered daily for 6 months resulted in no signs of toxicity, no changes in organs, no mutagenic activity, and no allergenic effects. In fact, the high dose Noopept actually ended up significantly improving immunity by boosting T-cell count.
When it comes to Noopept side effects, there aren’t much of those either.
In a study comparing Piracetam (considered one of the safest nootropics) and Noopept, it was seen that although Noopept is more potent, it was also associated with significantly lower amounts of side effects.
Anecdotally some people report headaches or sleep disturbances when taking noopept, and these are often reversed by co-supplementing with choline and not taking the smart drug too close to bed-time.
From the available science, there appears to be no tolerance build up, withdrawals, or addictive behavior linked to Noopept.
Noopept is considered very safe, non-toxic, and only has rarely occurring anecdotal reports of slight side effects. It’s non-addictive and has been proven to not cause tolerance at least within a 56-day study period.
NOTE: You can learn everything you need about nootropics from the Smart Drug Crash Course.