Welcome to your one stop guide to Noopept. This is a powerful cognitive enhancer with a range of effects. So powerful in fact that if it were addictive (which it’s probably not), then walking down Brunswick street, you’d be accosted by well-dressed people asking for a ‘taste’ of Bertrand Russell or a few dollars to solve The Goldbach Conjecture. Who can blame them? Bertrand is to reasoning, what Angelina Jolie is to teenage masturbation.

Noopept was developed in Cold War Russia during the 70s by the pharmaceutical company JSC LEKKO and patented in both Russia as (Ноопепт) and in the US as Noopept. Noopept is a synthetic water soluble peptide (chain of amino acids) called super-kaller-fragilistic-expi-ali-docious. It may as well be called that. OK fine, it’s N-phenylacetyl-L-prolylglycine ethyl ester.

It’s absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and in rat studies it crosses the blood-brain barrier really quickly in around 7 minutes, has a half-life of about 16 minutes and a serum level detectability limit of 25 minutes. But cognitive effects are still detectable up to an hour or more later. It is likely this is due to the peptide being metabolised into cycloprolylglycine. Also remember that rats are not people (*but some people are rats;) So in English all this means is that it may come on fast, peak fast and then plateau.

Another thing to consider is that water soluble drugs that are ingested are typically broken down by the liver pretty quickly, so  only a portion of the bio-active ingredient makes it to the brain. So a lot of nootronauts take Noopept under the tongue (sublingually) as this increases the amount that makes it to the ol noggin. I haven’t tried it yet, but apparently it tastes bad. Like saw off your tongue with a rusty bread knife bad. On the up side it’s really powerful so you don’t need to take much, around 10-30 mg. Some other nootropics are dosed at 10 times that much.

Rat studies also suggest that it builds up over about 9 days and then drops off in effect, so with all of these nootropics, it’s recommended you cycle on and off them to give your body a rest and prevent a tolerance developing. Holy crap. We are basically developing a supergenius strain of rat here really. How could we have not seen this coming? You know me and overlords. I welcome them all.

Magic beans floating in your head

Once Noopept reaches your brain it does a bunch of funky shit. It targets AMPA and NMDA receptors, preventing them from absorbing neurotransmitters. It sensitises acetylcholine processes, induces neurotrophin production, Increases NGF and BDNF mRNA concentrations, inhibits glutamate production and increases glucose metabolism. Honestly I have no idea either. Sounds impressive though.

I’ll step you through the general science. Happy now? Jesus you people are demanding. OK. The two main things to understand here are that receptors are being targeted and glucose is being metabolised better.

So the magic beans float into your brain like a million keys that enter all the locks. Once a key enters a lock it doesn’t work any more. This means that the keys that are already naturally there (neurotransmitters) don’t have any locks to go into. So they hang around for longer doing their thing. Their thing involves making your brain perform better.

Glucose is like fuel. So if you increase its metabolism in the brain, it’s like tuning your engine to burn more of the petrol in the cylinders, producing more energy that can be put to work. This energy can then be used by your brain –  for example to understand some basic science without having to resort to lock or engine metaphors. You better see a doctor about that burn;)

If you’ve seen the movie Coneheads…

All of this leads to reported effects like increased alpha and beta wave patterns (alertness and concentration). Faster and better recall of information, from both short term and long term memory. Faster communication between nerve cells and between regions of the brain leading to faster holistic thinking. Some people have also reported better creativity and verbal fluency.

It’s also said to be neuroprotective, meaning it mops up free radicals that damage your neurons. In rat studies it even stimulated nerve growth. Now I’m no scientist, but if you’ve seen the movie Coneheads with Dan Ackroyd (RIP you magnificent bag of mixed nuts), then I think you know where this is going.

Finally it is said to have positive effects on anxiety, stress and depression. But a word of caution. I’ve read anecdotal reports by nootronauts who say it caused these effects instead of reducing them. Remember your brain is complex and poorly understood, much like my wife. If you’re going to mess with it, choose carefully, tread lightly and remember that all the facts in the world won’t save your ass if you don’t respect it’s power, much like my wife.

Also some people have reported side effects like headache and ‘brain fog’. So start with a very low dose like 5mg and slowly increase your dose to say 10mg, 3 times per day. Experiment with when to take it. It stimulates, but has a fairly short half life, so find the best times to take it that don’t cause you to stay awake when you want to sleep.

Do not exceed 50-60mg in a 24 hour period as this has been reported to lead to headaches. Do not take anything else to begin with (see my article on stacks) except perhaps choline to reduce the chance of headaches. Do not use if you’re on antidepressants or taking recreational drugs. Don’t take while pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have heart or liver conditions or if you are generally a reckless dickhead.

In terms of what it was actually designed to do, in Russia It’s regularly prescribed for degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but the FDA and the European Medicines Agency have neither approved nor disapproved the use of Noopept. In Australia it’s probably considered to be a Schedule 4 drug under our drug analogue and psychoactive substance laws, but it’s a grey area. This means with a prescription, you can import up to a three month supply from overseas, but it’s illegal to possess, buy or sell without one.

While some people have had success importing it without a prescription, especially if the packages are small, weighing less than 250 grams and our border controls are as hard to get through as a pair of edible undies at a Catholic School Girls year 12 break up party, you still might get your stuff confiscated. We in no way condone the importation of illegal substances into this fine nanny state of ours.

That’s it from me on this subject. Be safe. Think fast.