Does oxiracetam work better if it is cycled on and off periodically? If you peruse the internet researching oxiracetam or other nootropics and the topic of cycling, you will see some disagreement. I will attempt to clear up this issue based on my own research and experience.
1. Cycling Works
The practice of “cycling” is well established for certain supplements and drugs. It can be very effective in preventing “down regulation” of receptors and avoiding a situation where more and more of the substance is required for the same effect.
Cycling certain drugs can also prevent serious health issues.
Stimulants are the perfect example of how cycling works. Many of you probably have some firsthand experience with this.
If you take stimulants regularly (caffeine for example) you will notice that your tolerance noticeably changes over time.
The longer you take them, the more you will need to get the same effect you are seeking.
I experience this myself with coffee. I am a self-admitted coffee addict, so I drink quite a bit of the stuff. I am to the point where I can drink coffee shortly before bed and fall asleep without a problem. Caffeine from coffee can still give me a boost, I just have to drink more or make it stronger.
Cycling of anabolic steroids is major topic of discussion in bodybuilding circles. The practice of cycling anabolic steroids goes even further than avoiding down regulation since prolonged use without a break can become a serious health issue.
Cycling is necessary to prevent a complete shutdown of endogenous testosterone production, as well as protection of critical organs. The complex topic of cycling anabolic steroids is way out of the scope of this blog, but the takeaway point is that cycling makes their use relatively safe.
It is important to keep in mind that when discussing cycling of oxiracetam, or other nootropics and cognitive supplements, that serious health effects from long-term use are not likely an issue.
The concern with oxiracetam and other nootropics is the down regulation of receptors resulting in less effectiveness with prolonged use. Considering the goals and costs of using oxiracetam, this is a serious concern. The last thing you want to do is waste money and not get the cognitive benefits supplementing with oxiracetam provides.
2. But, Is Cycling Really Necessary With Oxiracetam?
There seems to be two general schools of thought on the issue.
- Oxiracetam usage will eventually lead to receptor “down regulation” and its effectiveness will decrease over time. Cycling off oxiracetam for a period of time will “reset” the receptors and enable effective neurotransmission to occur.
- Oxiracetam usage without a break will have increased benefits over time due to neuroplasticity Long-term usage will have neuroprotective benefits and some research even provides evidence that the formation of new connections (synapses) within the brain will occur.
So, which one of the above is correct? While you will see where I stand on this issue, both schools of thought may have validity based on user feedback.
When To Cycle Oxiracetam
A primary reason to cycle is if you cannot afford to take your lowest effective dose every day. Oxiracetam is a relatively expensive nootropic, but for good reason– it is great stuff! If you have taken the time to determine your lowest effective dose, and it is out of your budget to take it every day, then your decision is easy.
Cycling oxiracetam is certainly better than not taking it all (in my opinion).
Another reason to cycle oxiracetam is if a primary reason you take it is for its stimulant effect. It seems possible that down regulation could occur with regard to the stimulant properties of oxiracetam. I have not experienced this effect myself as I do not rely on oxiracetam for its stimulant effect, and any dissipation of this effect for me would be masked by other supplements.
If you start to see a decline in cognitive benefits from oxiracetam after using it awhile compared to your initial use, taking a break would be something to try. Determining the best cycling schedule would be your next challenge. Figuring out the optimal amount of time on and time off would be something that would require keeping good records of your personal experiences.
3. When Not To Cycle Oxiracetam
The simple answer to this is:
- If you can afford taking oxiracetam every day.
- If you do not see diminishing positive effects from long-term daily use.
- If you are interested in the potential long-term benefits from using oxiracetam without a break. These benefits are due to the neurophysiological principle of neuroplasticity.
Point number 3 above does contradict with the idea discussed in the previous section that a possible decline in the cognitive benefits from oxiracetam will occur over time. Hence the disagreement on this topic.
I have yet to see any decline in positive oxiracetam effects with long-term oxiracetam use without a break.
However, it seems that some users do report this effect and advocate cycling. I tend to agree with the phenomenon of neuroplasticity (discussed in more detail below) from taking oxiracetam without a break.
A key thing to always keep in mind is that we will all respond differently to nootropics depending on a multitude of variables, and one prescribed way to take oxiracetam, or any other supplement, may not work for everyone.
Neuroplasticity & Synaptogenesis
Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe how your nervous system continually evolves over time due to changes in environment, behavior, neural processes, and injury. The phenomenon of neuroplasticity is well researched and established, and I believe it is a very real effect associated with using nootropics on a long-term basis.
Synaptogenesis is a form of neuroplasticity at the cellular level. It is the development of connections (synapses) between nerve cells in the nervous system (CNS). Nootropics like oxiracetam directly affect neurotransmitters and transmissions between neurons (nerve cells) in the nervous system.
Neuroplastic and synaptic changes within the CNS is an extremely complex topic, but it seems that these changes occur due to the effect of oxiracetam on the cellular level and the CNS as a whole. This combined effect on the micro and macro levels of the CNS is what gives oxiracetam its wonderful benefits.
Oxiracetam enhances many mental processes, but in short, it will make you better at learning and recalling information. As your ability to learn improves and you supplement long term with oxiracetam, a cycle begins with neuroplasticity and synaptogenesis occurring throughout the process:
- Cognitive enhancements enable you to become better at learning and remembering new information.
- With your improved learning capability you will want to acquire even more information.
- Your nervous system responds to this change in utilization (neuroplasticity and synaptogenesis).
- Due to these nervous system changes, your ability to learn is enhanced even further.
- This further enhancement enables you to learn even faster, and amplifies the previous steps.
- This wonderful cycle continues with continued use of oxiracetam.
My Final Thoughts
The bottom line is you are going to have to experiment some to find the optimal oxiracetam dosage and cycling schedule (if you decide to cycle) that works best for you. While I would love to give you a clear answer about whether or not to cycle oxiracetam, it really depends on your individual situation. There are different variables to consider for each user and your own experience will guide you to the best solution.
If you are able, I would start with the intention of not cycling oxiracetam. The primary reason I feel this way is that based on my research and experience, I think the phenomenon of neuroplasticity and synaptogenesis are valid. While I think the short-term benefits of oxiracetam are awesome, I also want to benefit from the positive cumulative effects attained over time.
However, if you cannot afford to take an optimal daily dosage without taking a break, I feel it is better to cycle as needed for your budget. In my opinion, taking too low of a daily dose is less desirable than taking an occasional break. I think it is also the case that cycling oxiracetam is certainly better than not taking it at all.
I believe that you will see positive results from oxiracetam whether you decide to cycle or not. It is truly an amazing nootropic that deserves your attention.
A great source I recommend to buy quality pharmaceutical-grade oxiracetam is Peak Nootropics. They offer a wide variety of nootropics and other supplements related to increasing mental performance.