What is Sulbutiamine?
Sulbutiamine is a synthetic derivative of Thiamine. Thiamine is more commonly known as vitamin B1.
This widely used nootropic is composed of two modified Thiamine molecules bound together with a sulfur group. It’s main nootropic advantage appears to be its ability to treat fatigue, although many other benefits are reported by users.
This supplement is often used by people looking for benefits related to Alzheimer’s disease, weakness, athletic performance, depression, diabetic nerve damage, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and memory.
Sulbutiamine is able to cross the blood brain barrier much more effectively than thiamine and it increases the levels of thiamine and thiamine phosphate esters in the brain.
Thiamine itself is known to improve cognitive function but it has a low absorption rate. It was this low absorption rate that led researchers to the discovery of Sulbutiamine as they were looking for a more bioavailable form of thiamine.
It is not fully understood how sulbutiamine works. It does however seem to have effects on the brain that might improve memory and reduce feelings of weakness.
Other names for Sulbutiamine are Arcalion, Enerion, Bisibuthiamine and Youvitan. Sulbutiamine shouldn’t be confused with Sibutramine which is a pharmaceutical appetite suppressant.
Why Was Sulbutiamine Developed?
Japanese researchers looking for a better form of thiamine to treat Beriberi were the first to synthesize Sulbutiamine.
Beriberi is a disease caused by a thiamine deficiency and until the twentieth century the populations in Japan and other Asian countries were particularly susceptible to this deficiency due to their reliance on polished white rice.
Beriberi in its two forms affects the heart and circulatory system and damages the nerves, leading to a loss of muscle strength and eventually, muscle paralysis.
Thiamine was first isolated in 1926 and synthesized in 1936. The development of the more potent Sulbutiamine was reported by Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. in 1965.
Benefits of Sulbutiamine
Sulbutiamine seems to be a fairly hit or miss nootropic supplement. Some people experience great benefits from Sulbutiamine while other experience little to no effect.
This difference could be due to the different original nutritional status among users so your milage may vary! A common feature among the user accounts that I have looked at appears to be that a very noticeable improvement happened quickly in those reporting existing symptoms of fatigue.
Used To Treat Symptoms Of Asthenia And Fatigue
Asthenia is the medical term for loss of strength, weakness, or lack of energy and it is the most frequent cause of pope seeking help from their physician.
Typically a person with Asthenia experiences fatigue, disturbances in their sleep patterns, and an increase in sensitivity to various stimuli.
75% of cases of Asthenia have a functional origin. A functional disorder has no identifiable physical cause unlike a structural disorder where something in the body can be seen to be abnormal.
As an example some people will react to stress with depression or anxiety, whereas others will experience physical symptoms of fatigue and weakness. The stress itself can’t be observed only its effects.
Sulbutiamine, is the only antiasthenic compound known to cross the blood brain barrier and to be active on specific brain structures directly involved in asthenia.
Studies Using Sulbutiamine On Fatigue
A 28 day double blind placebo controlled study was conducted on patients with chronic postinfectious fatigue. Patients received a daily dose of 400 or 600mg of sulbutiamine or a placebo.
Researchers noted that both groups receiving Sulbutiamine had no significant reductions in fatigue compared to those taking the placebo. In the group taking 600mg a non consistent effect was noted by the 7th day, but by the 28th day no persistent effect was observed.
In another less controlled and unblinded, commercial, observational study, 1772 patients with a current infectious disease and symptoms of asthenia received Sulbutiamine in addition to their anti-infective treatment for 15 days.
Of the total group, 916 patients reported complete resolution of all asthenic symptoms.
For the remaining patients severe asthenia was reduced but still present in 11, and moderate asthenia was still present in 94 patients.
The response was greatest in patients with an acute infection and with symptoms more related to cerebral function.
I would say that it’s no great surprise that people experiencing fatigue as a result of an infection, would see that fatigue disappear when their infection cleared up.
Other research has found that taking sulbutiamine daily for 28 days resulted in no improvement in levels of fatigue in people with an infection.
Sulbutiamine has also been looked at with regard to chronic fatigue in people with Multiple Sclerosis. The severity of fatigue was assessed using the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS). Prior to treatment with Sulbutiamine the average indicators of fatigue on MFIS were 42.3. After the treatment of up to 600mg per day for 4 weeks, the MFIS indicators were 32.4.
The MFIS is a structured, self-report questionnaire that the patient completes without intervention by the interviewer.
Sulbutiamine’s Effects On Memory
Early research indicates that taking sulbutiamine orally for 3 months improves attention in people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. When Sulbutiamine was then combined with the anti-Alzheimer’s drug donepezil for a further 3 months, it showed improvements in episodic memory. Those taking donepezil plus a placebo during this 3 months experienced a decline in their episodic memory.
In mice Sulbutiamine at doses of 300mg/kg body weight for 10 days showed an initial task learning rate comparable with untreated mice, but 24 hours later their performance on the task showed a significant improvement over that of the untreated mice. Neurochemical investigations showed that the Sulbutiamine treatment “induced a slight (10%) but significant increase in hippocampal sodium-dependent high affinity choline uptake.”
Sulbutiamine’s Effects On Depression
Research suggests that taking sulbutiamine daily for 4 weeks improves one aspect of depression called psycho-behavioral inhibition, but has no effect on other measurements of depression.
Psycho-behavioral inhibition is a pattern of fearfulness, timidity, avoidance and guardedness surrounding new stimuli and is commonly found in those suffering from shyness or depression.
Patients suffering from major depressive disorder and accompanying psycho-behavioural inhibition were studied for their reactions to Sulbutiamine. The treatment group received 600mg per day of Sulbutiamine while the control group received a placebo.
At the end of the 4 weeks those taking Sulbutiamine were significantly less incapacitated in all of the various facets (affective, cognitive, emotional, behavioural) of psycho-behavioural inhibition, than the placebo group.
Sulbutiamine was not found to have any antidepressive effect. The authors concluded that sulbutiamine can “facilitate the rehabilitation of patients in their social, professional and family-life functioning”.
Sulbutiamine Shows Improvement In Erectile Disfunction
A 2005 research study shows that taking sulbutiamine for 30 days improved erectile dysfunction in 16 out of 20 men. The form of erectile disfunction in this case was of a psychological nature rather than a physical one. The mean value of the scores on the international index of erectile function increased in the participants from 17.5 to 24.8 points. Scores of 17.5 indicate mild to moderate dysfunction, and a score of 24.8 is just under the 25 points that indicates no dysfunction.
Other Claimed Benefits Of Sulbutiamine (lacking or contradicting research evidence to date)
- General Improved Memory
- Enhanced Cognition
- Increased Focus And Attention
- Reduced Anxiety And Stress In People
- Improved Communication Between Neurons
- Protect Nerves
Many sites reviewing Sulbutiamine misrepresent the results of research studies, report benefits where the studies they link to actually found no benefits, or fail to mention that effects have only been observed in mice to date.
The research backed and known effects of Sulbutiamine to date are those described above.
Given the results of studies it is accurate to say that you could benefit from Sulbutiamine in a limited way if you suffer from major depressive disorder, and also if you are affected by chronic fatigue, Alzheimer’s disease, or experience erectile dysfunction that has a psychological origin.
Possible Side Effects Of Sulbutiamine
Sulbutiamine is considered to be safe when taken at appropriate doses. At recommended doses there is a low risk of experiencing negative side effects, while doses of 1000mg a day or more are more likely to cause a problem.
A small number of users have experienced nausea, headache, tiredness, and insomnia.
Some users have reported experiencing mood swings which include feeling depressed, angry or having no enthusiasm.
There is currently insufficient data to be certain of its safety when taken for long durations.
There is no reliable information available about the effects of taking Sulbutiamine while pregnant or breastfeeding, so its use is not advised.
Recommended Sulbutiamine Dosage
The recommended dose is 400mg to 600mg a day. Results will vary for each person.
Some people report improvements at lower doses while others are taking up to 1000 mg a day in combination with other nootropics.
You should always start with a low dose and increase the amount you take if you need to. Experimenting over the recommended dose isn’t advised.
How to Use Sulbutiamine
Sulbutiamine comes in either a powder or capsule form. The most economical way to use this supplement is to buy bulk powder and encapsulate it yourself.
Encapsulation kits are available from Amazon and Ebay and from some nootropic vendors, and empty capsules come in a number of sizes so you can choose your dose.
Unlike Thiamine which is water soluble, Sulbutiamine is fat soluble, so it needs to be taken with fat, you can’t mix it with juice or water.
A common way to take this supplement is with fish oil or milk. If you don’t have fat available in your system when you take Sulbutiamine then it won’t be absorbed and will be excreted unused.
Users report that it tastes utterly disgusting (like dried vomit), so you might want to benefit from the mistakes of others and take it in capsule form.
Some users report that they encounter a tolerance to Sulbutiamine when they take it for an extended period of time. To resolve this if it happens to you, you can cycle the supplement once you work out where your tolerance lies. Taking the supplement for a few weeks and then resting for a week (or more if necessary) should see its effects restored.
Nootropic Stacks That Use Sulbutiamine
Stacking nootropics creates a synergistic effect between the various supplement used. A synergistic effect is one where combined substances increase one another’s effectiveness.
When creating a nootropic stack you should already be familiar with the way that you react to the individual supplements.
Add one new supplement at a time and evaluate the effects, take notes so that you can keep track of changes in your performance and mood. Don’t forget to note any adverse effects like changes to sleep patterns or increased irritability.
If a particular nootropic doesn’t deliver the additional benefits that you expect, do your research and find out if you might be missing some basic nutrients that affect the potency of the supplement.
It’s common for people to react differently to nootropic supplements and some just may not work for you.
Bear in mind that many reported effects can be solely based on anecdotal user experience rather than research backed findings. In these cases you can’t discount the placebo effect, although the effects may also be completely valid.
Since some nootropics are quite expensive, it’s in your best interest to dig around on nootropic forums and see what others are saying before you lay out your cash. Heady reports in an opening post can turn out to be exaggerated on closer questioning by other forum users, or the effects for the user weren’t sustained beyond the first few days.
You can be reasonably confident where good research studies exist, and where user experiences are consistent, otherwise you pay your money and you take your chance.
Conversely, research studies only look at the effects of one substance, and a substance taken as part of a stack could be enhanced enough by the other ingredients to produce beneficial results that were lacking in a limited study.
It’s a difficult area to pin down, everyone starts from a different baseline of physical and mental health. Ultimately you are your own research experiment.
Social Anxiety Stack
Improved Mood and Motivation Stack
Intense Studying and Focus Stack
Improved Mood, Wakefulness and Concentration Stack
Increased Energy and Motivation Stack
Where To Buy Sulbutiamine
Nootropics Depot sells powder in a 25 or 50 gram jar starting at $13. The also supply 200mg capsules in 90 and 180 count quantities, starting at $15.
New Star Nootropics offers a slightly better deal on larger quantities, with 200 grams of powder retailing for $75 (which includes free shipping).
Powder City appears to offer the best prices currently, but some reviewers on the site are questioning the quality of different batches of the product. Prices start at $10 for 25 grams of powder up to $34 for 100 grams. Their capsules are very affordable starting at a little over $7 for 30 x 200mg.
Sulbutiamine User Reviews
This is a sample of both positive and negative reviews.
“This stuff really works, it taste like chemical warfare though is advise a capsuling kit”
“Huge fan, been on it for 3 months now, nice energy boost, head has been really clear and sharp recently. Essential part of my stack!”
“It gives me energy and a mood boost. However I can’t use daily since it feels like tolerance is built quickly.”
“I’ve taken this quite a few times now to say that I love this substance. It’s a real shame it has a tolerence to it because the effects are incredible. It puts you in a really great mood, has a good amount of energy to it And if you’re shy, it takes away those inhibitions you get in social situations at the recommended dosage. I tend to take 2 days on, 2 days off. I haven’t tried any higher doses.”
“This is definitely a feel-good and work-better supplement. Each dose lasts about two hours and the only problem is a little bit of a “drop” after it wears off.”
The Not So Good
“I tried the sulbutiamine with and without choline bitartrate.never did feel any energy or any side effects.”
“Zero effect from sulbutiamine , try every way to take it but don’t feel anything.”
“I took this for a few days. I noticed no benefits. Instead it made me sick to my stomach every time I tried it. I would not recommend it.”
“Didn’t really get anything from it, tried upping the dosage to a gram but felt more relaxed than anything which wasn’t what I was looking for.”
“I’ve read the review’s. interesting, but i have not experienced any of the reviewed examples. I know that recommended amount could be changed, but unsure of at what level expectations could be realized.”
Wrapping It Up
Sulbutiamine was developed to be a more bioavailable form of vitamin B1. If your status for this vitamin is low, you could be experiencing effects that will be alleviated by taking this fast acting form of the vitamin. Heavy users of alcohol often have lower B1 levels than normal as do those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Several conditions have shown some improvement when Sulbutiamine has been administered as a treatment. Sulbutiamine may be helpful if you suffer from fatigue, depression, Alzheimer’s disease or erectile dysfunction.
Few human research studies exist at this time.
Anecdotal user accounts of Sulbutiamine are varied, with some finding great benefit from the supplement and other experiencing no improvements.
Sulbutiamine is inexpensive at recommended doses and works out to around 50 cents a day if you purchase the more costly capsules.
It may be more effective if taken with other nootropics.
Since it’s so cheap, it’s worth giving it a trail run, especially as you could reap some nice benefits if it works for you.