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Piracetam is an old compound much used in Europe to treat neurological damage following stroke and various forms of age-related memory impairment. It is not currently available in the United States. It appears to enhance the metabolism of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and the effect on memory increases if piracetam is taken with a precursor of acetylcholine, such as phosphatidylcholine1.
In recent studies of patients with hypertension but without apparent memory loss, piracetam significantly improved memory2 3. One recent piece of research reports significant improvements in serial learning and memory in normal human subjects 90 minutes after a 25 gram dose of phosphatidylcholine4. In Alzheimer's, age-related memory loss, and neurological impairments from cerebrovascular disease, CDP-choline causes improvements in both learning and memory. It also yields benefits for Parkinson's diseases5 6. Unlike piracetam, CDP Choline is currently approved for sale in the United States.
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1 Bartus RT, et al. Profound effects of combining choline and piracetam on memory enhancement and cholinergic functions in aged rats. Neurobiological Aging, 1981;2:105-111.
2 Dasaeva LA, Vertel AE. The treatment with antihypertensive and nontropic preparations of patients working under neuroemotional stress. Tex Arkh, 1996;68:60-63.
3 Dasaeva LA. Effects of piracetam on occupationally significant functions of patients with arterial hypertension under conditions of psychoemotional stress. Medical Treatment Prom Ekol, 1995;10:26-28.
4 Ladd SL, et al. Effect of phosphatidyl choline on explicit memory. Clinical Neuropharmacology, 1993;16:540-549.
5 Secades JJ, Frontera G. CDP-choline: pharmacological and clinical reviews. Methods Find Exp Clinical Pharmacology, 1995;17SB:2-54.
6 Spiers PA, et al. Citicholine improves verbal memory in aging. Archives Neurology, 1996;53:441-448.