We’ve all heard about the different forms of Vitamin B that are essential to human life. These vitamins are essential to life because they’re responsible for the production of neurotransmitters in our brains, they allow us to absorb certain nutrients, and they allow our bodies to metabolize foods and generate energy. So it’s no surprise that a supplement called sulbutiamine, that was derived from one of these B vitamins offers a wide variety of benefits to people, especially those that are deficient in Vitamin B1 (thiamine).
In the mid-1900s Japan was experiencing an epidemic in individuals called beriberi. Beriberi affected the central nervous system and was believe to be caused by low levels of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). A Japanese naval doctor synthesized sulbutiamine while trying to find a drug that could significantly increase thiamine levels in the body (or increase thiamine bioavailability). Sulbutiamine consists of two modified thiamine molecules, then bound together which seems to be more bioavailable and lipophilic than thiamine, also allowing it to more easily cross the blood-brain barrier. The first known synthesis of sulbutiamine was reported in 1965 by Taisho Pharmaceuticals.
Benefits of Sulbutiamine Use
Sulbutiamine has ergogenic and stimulant-like properties
Sulbutiamine is not necessarily deemed an official stimulant and does not possess direct psychostimulant effects, but it does have positive effects on the central nervous system which may, in effect, boost energy levels and have impact on the body’s sub-systems that contribute to stimulating properties in the body. Sulbutiamine is a popular treatment for Asthenia which is a condition that causes fatigue of the muscles.
B Vitamins, as well as sulbutiamine, are essential to our body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and some proteins into energy. Those that are deficient in thiamine most likely are not functioning at peak performances. Therefore, sulbutiamine will likely provide ergogenic benefits by increasing muscular output from the increase in metabolism and ATP.
In 2009, after a discovery that sulbutiamine caused a false positive for the anabolic steroid boldenone, a Russian laboratory re-analyzed its subjects’ tests for Sulbutiamine and found that over 100 subjects had tested positive for the sulbutiamine compound. After further investigation and after speaking with some of the users, they had found that sulbutiamine was being used as a supplement for its ergogenic effects.
Sulbutiamine has neuroprotective benefits
There are several studies that suggest sulbutiamine acts to protect the brain against stress responses and may prevent many natural stresses from having a negative impact on the brain. One of the most suggestive studies showed that sulbutiamine was able to increase neural activity in the hippocampus of a test subject suffering from oxygen-glucose deprivation. The hippocampus is one of the first parts of the brain to be affected by ischemia (oxygen deprivation). The positive effects of sulbutiamine on ischemia suggest that it could act as a neuroprotective agent in those with oxygen deprivation in the brain.
Sulbutiamine is effective for mental fatigue
Sulbutiamine’s lipid solubility makes it more bioavailable in the brain. The chemical compound is able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Once it enters the brain, it is converted to thiamine, thereby increasing thiamine levels which enhance brain cell energy overall due to increased and faster metabolism of nutrients.
Mental fatigue is probably one of the most common symptoms that lead users to take the sulbutiamine nootropic. While studies have been conducted on the chemical for its effects on metal fatigue, the wide availability of sulbutiamine supplements at a very low cost has led to wide experimental use by college students and others that experience mental fatigue. Many of these users post their sulbutiamine experience in the form of a sulbutiamine review on internet forums, or nootropics websites that they purchase the chemical from. The majority of users tend to express very positive effects of their sulbutiamine use. Many users also create their own sulbutiamine stack, or a cocktail of nootropics, supplements, vitamins or minerals that are believed to work synergistically with each other to combat mental fatigue and to produce peak brain performance or maximum creativity with their everyday patterns of thinking.
Many members of sulbutiamine forums report that the effects of sulbutiamine are similar to effects of the popular drug, modafinil (sold under the brand name Provigil). Modafinil is a drug that is prescribed for narcolepsy, mental fatigue, shift work disorder/jet lag, and as a treatment for ADHD. Modafinil, like sulbutiamine, is not an official stimulant, but has stimulant-like properties and has proven to be very useful for mental fatigue, allowing its users to work or study for longer hours than they would be able to without use.
Increase in memory processes
The sulbutiamine nootropic is also commonly used for memory enhancement. Sulbutiamine is thought to have positive impacts on the neurotransmitters dopamine, glutamate, and acetylcholine in the brain. These effects on neurotransmission are most likely responsible for sulbutamine’s memory enhancement effects.
Dopamine is well-known for producing pleasure or reward in individuals and is thought to be a key-player in learning and cognition. This is why ADHD drugs and treatments often stimulate the neurotransmitter dopamine because it has shown to stimulate attention, learning, focus, and memory improvement when there is an abundance of the neurotransmitter in the brain. Acetylcholine is also known to play an important fact on memory creation, retention, and recall. Glutamate triggers a response termed LTP, or long-term potentiation, which enables simultaneous-firing neurons to be strengthened for long periods of time. This increased glutamatergic activity caused by sulbutiamine is likely responsible for improving memory, learning, and general cognition.
Sulbutiamine has antidepressant properties
Sulbutamine has shown to be useful in those with major depressive disorders when used during rehabilitation. Sulbutiamine aids in biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter GABA which slows down certain activities of the brain. Anti-anxiolytic drugs such as benzodiazepines mimic GABA, thereby decreasing anxiety and stress in individuals which is often a common contributor towards depression disorders.
Other sulbutiamine studies suggested that it may help reduce shyness and social anxiety in people that are afraid of public speaking and those with general social issues. The chemical seems to have positive impacts on those that are emotionally guarded, timid, or fearful of interacting with others in society. Another sulbutiamine mechanism of action thought to be responsible for sulbutiamine antidepressant effects are the supplement’s impacts on dopamine transmissions in the brain. It is also thought that sulbutiamine effects act on dopamine activity in a manner that does not encourage receptor down-regulation or tolerance to its use.
Possible treatment for men with erectile dysfunction
Not only is sulbutiamine well-known for having increased cognitive benefits, but it is also used as a treatment for men with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) which makes it another popular choice as a supplement for men. Many users have also reported increases in libido while using sulbutiamine. While sulbutiamine libido and erectile dysfunction benefits are not fully understood, a study conducted on 20 men with erectile dysfunction for 30 days reported that 16 of the test subjects had positive effects with sulbutiamine treatment.
Sulbutiamine side effects are almost non-existent in most users. The most common side effects reported with sulbutiamine are irritability and skin rash. More rare side effects include headache and anxiety. Most side effects were reported in users using a sulbutiamine dosage that was multiple times higher than the recommended dosage of 400mg twice daily.
Because sulbutiamine is more of a vitamin or nutrient that is essential to the body vs. a foreign drug that the body recognizes as a substance that needs to be cleared from the body, it is able to be used daily without developing tolerance to the chemical and its benefits.
Sulbutiamine is available for purchase over the counter at many health stores and online. It is sold by most nootropics websites and sites that specialize in cognitive enhancement supplements. The supplement is available in capsules for easy dosing and is also commonly available in powder form because sulbutiamine is almost tasteless. Many users mix the powder in with a drink or with water alone for quick ingestion. Whether purchased in capsules or powder form, many sites provide up to a 3-month supply for less than $10-15.
Because sulbutiamine offers such a wide variety of treatments and so many benefits, while being generally recognized as safe (without many reported side effects) and because of the low cost of the supplement, it continues to gain popularity and will likely continue to be a nootropics that will be studied more and more. There are most likely many more potential benefits to be reported from future studies and reports from users of the supplement.