A Brief Review Of The Use Of Galantamine

What Is Galantamine?

Cognition enhancers are gaining a lot of traction these days. Scientific research in nootropics has resulted in some promising data suggesting their beneficial effects. However, as these agents work on the brain, it is very important to gather as much information about them before trying them out. One of the more popular supplements that seem to have taken the internet by storm is Galantamine. In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at this popular nootropic agent and its benefits and drawbacks. Keep in mind, Galantamine uses vary widely from person to person.

Galantamine is a natural compound extracted from the bulbs and flowers of a plant called Galanthus causasius. It is a nitrogen-containing, naturally occurring phytochemical belonging to the class of plant chemicals called Alkaloids. Since its discovery, it has been synthesized in the lab in its pure form and is available in many countries o use as a medicine.

The Galanthus plant was used in ancient Chinese medicine as a memory booster and in ancient Greece for its mind-altering effects. However, the modern usage of the plant dates back to the 50s. The active ingredient, Galantamine, was isolated in the Soviet Union and was studied to determine its effects on the central nervous system.

The initial studies with the extracts containing Galantamine revealed that it has the compound has the ability to modulate a chemical in the brain called Acetylcholine. It wasn’t till the late 1950s, that the drug was able to be synthesized in the lab. A host of experiments were undertaken once the synthesized drug was available to the scientific community.

A lot of data was generated in the initial phases and it was approved in Europe and Russia for the treatment of certain diseases including Myopathy, Myasthenia Gravis and sensory and motor dysfunction of the central nervous system. It was approved in early 2001 for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by the FDA.

How Does Galantamine Work?

Galantamine has a dual action both of which result in an increase in the concentration of an important Neurotransmitter: Acetylcholine. It plays a very crucial role in learning and memory function of the brain.

Acetylcholine is a very short-lived molecule that is very rapidly degraded by the enzyme called Acetylcholinesterase. Galantamine is a mild inhibitor of this enzyme. Thus, in the presence of Galantamine, the enzyme is not able to metabolize Acetylcholine and the level of available Acetylcholine increases.

Galantamine is also itself promotes the actions of Acetylcholine in the brain by binding to the receptors of Acetylcholine. This binding helps more Acetylcholine to bind to the receptor and stimulate the neurons.

Both these effects result in an increased effect of Acetylcholine in the brain. The increased Acetylcholine is responsible for increased mental acuity, improvement in memory and general cognition.

Benefits Of Galantamine

The benefits of Galantamine areas a result of increased Acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is an excitatory neurotransmitter, which means, it increases the rate of firing of neurons in the brain. An increase in this neurotransmitter results in neuronal stimulation and state of alertness. The greater rate of neuronal firing also means that the brain is more receptive of new stimuli and is able to process information faster. In simple terms, the brain works faster.

Galantamine supplementation has also been linked to an increase in the speed of memory recall. It has also been found to improve attention span and focus.

Another benefit of supplementing Galantamine is an improvement in sleep. Galantamine supplementation has been shown to promote relaxation in individuals especially, after a stressful day. People taking Galantamine supplements often report being able to sleep quicker and waking up much more refreshed.

These are also some evidence that Galantamine can be able to induce a state of lucid dreaming. It is sometimes used to have an out of body lucid dreaming experience.

Recommended Dosage Of Galantamine

The recommended dosage of Galantamine is 4-12 mg taken twice a day. The drug is active within an hour of ingestion. It is not recommended to increase the dosage beyond a maximum of 24 mg per day.

Before starting on this supplement, you should ideally consult your doctor. Also, make sure that you are not stacking this supplement with other stimulant nootropics which also increase the amount of Acetylcholine in the brain.

Side Effects

Galantamine, like other drugs, has both physical and psychological side effects. These are mentioned below.

Physical Side Effects Of Galantamine

Although Galantamine is a safe and fairly well-tolerated supplement, there are some side effects associated with the drug. The side effects of the drug are due to the excess Acetylcholine levels outside the central nervous system.

The most common side effects are related to the gastrointestinal system. These include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn

Some people may also have an allergic reaction to Galantamine. Seek immediate medical attention if you observe any allergy related symptoms such as rash, swelling of tongue or difficulty in breathing. Uses of Galantamine are not limited to that of a nootropic, as it is often times used by athletes looking to bulk up.

Psychological Side Effects Of Galantamine

Galantamine increases micro-awakenings during the night. It has also been associated with some individuals to cause a phenomenon called sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis occurs when you remain awake during the onset of REM sleep but the body undergoes a muscular paralysis. This results in panic in many people resulting in very realistic and paranoid dreams.


If you are taking drugs that have an anticholinergic property such as Cogentine or Artane, they will counter the effects of Galantamine.

Also, avoid Galantamine if you are suffering from any of the following conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Heart conditions
  • Epilepsy or history of seizures
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Ulcers
  • Urinary tract problems

Uses Of Galantamine As A Nootropic

With an increase in scientific studies, Galantamine was found to have a cognition-enhancing effect. It was also found to promote mental alertness and acuity. It is frequently taken by people to help them relax, especially after a stressful or an anxious day. It is also known to be one of the best lucid dreaming aid.

When ingested, Galantamine is thought to induce a night of deep sleep, allowing the body to repair itself. It is also thought to improve memory by promoting REM sleep. It is a well-known fact that deeper REM sleep is essential for memory consolidation and improvement.


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