Sulbutiamine: Review of Nootropic Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

Updated on June 1, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)

Sulbutiamine, also known as Arcalion and bisibuthiamine, is a synthetic thiamine derivative that has gained attention for its beneficial effects on cognitive function, mood, and energy levels. It was initially developed to treat thiamine deficiency and beriberi, but due to its unique capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier, it also found use as a nootropic substance.

Sulbutiamine's ability to promote memory, reduce anxiety, and boost energy has made it popular among individuals seeking cognitive enhancement. Furthermore, its neuroprotective and antioxidant properties give it potential in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

In this article, we will examine the various benefits, effects, and usage guidelines of sulbutiamine, as well as its relationship with thiamine.

Sulbutiamine Review Summary

Sulbutiamine is a man-made molecule structurally similar to vitamin B1 (thiamine). It can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which allows it to raise thiamine levels in the brain. Sulbutiamine is commonly used for weakness, fatigue, to enhance athletic performance, and to improve memory.

It's a fat-soluble vitamin and is generally well-tolerated, though may cause GI distress, insomnia, headache, and nervousness in some people. If you're looking to boost your motivation, productivity, and focus or need help with memory recall and depression, then Sulbutiamine is the perfect nootropic.


  • Crosses the blood-brain barrier and raises thiamine levels in the brain
  • Boosts motivation and energy
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Enhances memory recall and learning ability
  • Provides relief from depression
  • Perfect for athletes who are looking for an edge


  • Some people may need to take higher doses to achieve the desired results
  • Banned in most competitive sports

Overview of Sulbutiamine

sulbutiamin structure

Sulbutiamine (isobutyryl thiamine disulfide) is an analogue of Vitamin B1 (thiamine) (1). Sulbutiamine is two thiamine molecules bonded together. This allows the vitamins to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) more efficiently, thus reaching the brain faster and in higher concentrations.

Although its effectiveness is debated, Sulbutiamine is taken to alleviate symptoms of asthenia like fatigue or weakness. It's also a popular nootropic among biohackers, students, and working professionals seeking to improve their concentration, memory, and motivation. Some athletes even use it in an attempt to give themselves a competitive edge by increasing performance endurance (2).

Sulbutiamine is fat-soluble. It is more bioavailable than thiamine and therefore more effective at performing its functions in the body. Thiamine, which your body needs to convert food into energy, plays a role in heart, nerve, and brain function. Therefore, taking Sulbutiamine supplements can improve your energy and cognitive function (3).

Thiamine is critical for aiding your body to convert food into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP then converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is used as fuel by the brain and nervous system (CNS).

Thiamine is key for developing myelin sheaths (4). Myelin protects the axons from damage by forming an insulating layer around the brain and spinal cord nerves. This layer consists of protein and fatty substances.

The myelin sheath serves as a protective layer for the nerve cells. This thickening around the nerves helps to conduct electrical impulses quickly and efficiently. If myelin becomes damaged, it can result in a decrease in speed for these electric signals.

Imagebuy sulbutiamine
EffectsIncreases thiamine levels, improves focus, helps fight stress
Potential Side EffectsHeadache, diarrhea, nausea, tremor,  drowsiness
Half-Life5 hours
Common Dosage400 - 1,000 mg daily
Content50 g
Money Back Guarantee30 days
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How Does Sulbutiamine Work In The Brain?

In the brain, Sulbutiamine works in two specific ways:

sulbutiamine review
  1. Sulbutiamine is a fat-soluble molecule that more easily crosses the blood-brain barrier than thiamine. In your brain, it leads to higher levels of Thiamine Pyrophosphate (TPP).
  2. Sulbutiamine plays a role in creating Pyruvate Dehydrogenase (PDH), an enzyme essential to making acetylcholine (ACH). This leads to better cognitive function and motivation.

TPP is an essential cofactor for numerous enzymes in the brain, including ACH and dopamine. It's also key for preserving healthy myelin sheaths and citric acid cycle function in the brain. The citric acid cycle (also known as the Krebs cycle) is a chemical reaction that breaks down food into energy (ATP) and maintains the health of your brain and nervous system.

PDH is important in transporting carbohydrates and other nutrients from the bloodstream into the mitochondria (the powerhouse of cells). This means that PDH helps your brain convert those nutrients into (ATP), which it then uses as fuel.

A deficiency in TPP could eventually manifest as Wernicke encephalopathy or Korsakoff syndrome (5). These two conditions are often caused by chronic alcoholism but can also result from obesity (bariatric) surgery, Crohn’s disease, anorexia, and kidney dialysis.

Taking sulbutiamine supplements will prevent thiamine deficiency and maintain your energy, focus, and overall brain health. Because sulbutiamine is fat-soluble, it's more easily absorbed by the body and provides quick cognitive benefits.

What Is Sulbutiamine Used For?

According to the scientific literature, sulbutiamine has been shown to be particularly useful in:

  • Improving Mood
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Improving Memory
  • Improving Athletic Performance
  • Improving Erectile Dysfunction

Let's take a look at each of these potential uses in more detail:

Improved Mood

A study from the University of Wales Swansea in the UK looked at thiamine supplementation for mood and cognitive functioning in non-depressed individuals (6).

They gave either a placebo or 50 mg of thiamine to 120 young adult females every day for 2 months, then monitored their mood, memory and reaction times. Those with an improved thiamine status reported feeling more clearheaded, composed, better mood, and more energetic.

Chronic Fatigue

Another randomized, double-blind study of two doses of sulbutiamine (400-600 mg/day) versus placebo looked at treating chronic postinfectious fatigue (7).

On days 7 and 28 of the trial, patients were given tests. Those who took 600 mg of Sulbutiamine showed less fatigue, improved attention, and greater self-reported vigor than those who took the placebo.

Improving Memory

Low choline activity in the brain has been linked to memory impairments. Choline is a nutrient that serves as a building block for acetylcholine (ACh), which is a neurotransmitter important for facilitating communication between neurons and, thus, plays an role in forming memories.

One study looked at the chronic administration of sulbutiamine in long-term memory formation in mice (8). The study aimed to test if, on the contrary, large doses of sulbutiamine given over a long period would affect memory and central cholinergic activity. Mice were given 300mg/kg daily for 10 days.

Micheau, J et al. discovered that mice given sulbutiamine progressed at the same rate as control subjects during a single learning session. However, when tested 24 hours later on partially acquired skills from the same task, those treated with sulbutiamine showed remarkable improvement.

Neurochemical investigations conducted in parallel showed that the treatment slightly but significantly increased hippocampal sodium-dependent high-affinity choline uptake by 10%.

The findings, in conjunction with previous results, suggest that sulbutiamine improves memory formation. This behavioral effect is likely mediated by an increase in hippocampal cholinergic activity.

Improving Athletic Performance

In 2009, the Moscow Anti-Doping Center studied 16,000 blood samples from athletes in Russia to look for anabolic steroids (9).

Of the 100 samples collected during competitions, sulbutiamine was found in them (concentration was estimated to be greater than 500 ng/ml). Since Sulbutiamine has properties that can give users an edge while competing, it's likely that it was given to the athletes intentionally.

Improving Erectile Dysfunction

A study from 2005 looked at the clinical efficacy of sulbutiamine in the treatment of patients with psychogenic (functional) erectile dysfunction (10).

20 patients with psychogenic erectile dysfunction were given the drug enerion (sulbutiamine). After 30 days, 16 of these patients showed improvement in their condition. The average value of the international index for erectile function increased from 17.5 points to 24.8 points.

Out of the 6 patients with arterial disorders, 3 saw an improvement in cavernous arterial blood flow after treatment. Additionally, 8 patients had normalized electric activity as shown by electromyographic examinations. To summarize, enerion (sulbutiamine) is an effective way to treat psychogenic erectile dysfunction.  

What Are The Benefits Of Sulbutiamine For Cognition?

The benefits of sulbutiamine for cognition include:

  • Improved memory
  • Increased alertness and attention
  • Better ability to form new memories
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Helps with erectile dysfunction
  • Has anxiolytic (anti-depressant) qualities

Sulbutiamine plays a direct role in the citric acid cycle, providing energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within your mitochondria. This leads to more efficient brain and nervous system function, which can help improve memory, attention, alertness, focus, and overall cognition.

In addition to its effects on energy metabolism within the mitochondria of your neurons, sulbutiamine also influences neurotransmitter activity in your brain. It may increase levels of acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in memory, learning, and overall cognition.

Sulbutiamine is also essential for maintaining optimal levels of the neurotransmitters glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Where To Buy Sulbutiamine Online?

The best place to purchase sulbutiamine online is from a reputable vendor that specializes in nootropics and other supplements. Look for a vendor that offers high-quality sulbutiamine at affordable prices.

We highly recommend for all your sulbutiamine and other nootropic needs, as they offer high-quality products at competitive prices. Their sulbutiamine is sourced from the best manufacturers in the United States.

They test every new batch of nootropics in American labs to ensure you get the best possible product. Plus, they offer free shipping on orders over $100.

What Do People Say About Sulbutiamine On Reddit?

Let's take a look at some of the most popular sulbutiamine reviews on Reddit:

According to user njsolarchaser:

"I've been taking sulbutiamine for about a month now, and it has made a huge difference in my energy levels. I feel more focused and alert both at work and while studying. Definitely worth trying if you need an extra boost!"

According to user urmomcantthinkofone:

"Sulbutiamine has been a godsend for me. I suffer from chronic fatigue and mood disorders, and sulbutiamine really helps to lift my mood and give me the energy to get through my day."

According to user Shtty_Halo:

"I have tried several nootropics over the years, but none have worked as well as sulbutiamine. I find that it helps to improve my focus and attention, even on stressful days when I'm feeling a little burnt out."

How Do You Take Sulbutiamine For Cognitive Enhancement?

Sulbutiamine is available in capsules or powder, with most people finding the capsules easier to take because of the powder's bitter taste. Sulbutiamine is fat-soluble, so it will be better absorbed if taken with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive or coconut oil.

Most biohackers will split their daily dose of sulbutiamine into two or three doses throughout the day. For cognitive enhancement, most people start with a low dose and work their way up from there.

To get the best results from sulbutiamine, it's important to pair it with other nootropics like racetams or choline supplements for synergistic effects. You can also try stacking sulbutiamine with other supplements like caffeine to boost energy and focus further.

Some users find that they can prevent tolerance and maintain effectiveness by cycling sulbutiamine (taking regular breaks from it). For example, take Sulbutiamine for 4 days, then take 3 days off before your next dose.

When it comes to dosage, it is important to note that sulbutiamine is not a regular vitamin supplement and should not be taken in large doses. The recommended dosage for sulbutiamine is between 200 - 800 mg per day, taken in divided doses. It is important to discuss the dosage with your doctor to ensure that you are taking the right amount for your individual needs.

Taking more than the recommended amount may lead to side effects such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Additionally, it is important to note that sulbutiamine should not be taken with other B-vitamins, as it can interfere with their absorption.

What Are The Side Effects Of Sulbutiamine?

Because Sulbutiamine is non-toxic, it is considered well-tolerated and safe. However, rare side effects at higher doses include skin rashes and eczema-like outbreaks. Sulbutiamine can also create mood swings; bipolar or those taking medication for bipolar should be especially cautious.

Although Sulbutiamine is meant to be taken during the day, some find that it affects their sleep if they take it too close to bedtime. In addition, a few people have reported feeling mildly stimulated after taking Sulbutiamine.

Because of its potential to affect dopamine levels in the brain, those with addiction-like tendencies should exercise caution when taking this supplement.

What Nootropics Are Similar To Sulbutiamine?

If Sulbutiamine alone doesn't do it for you, you may want to try pairing it with other nootropics like racetams or choline supplements. These nootropics have similar effects, including boosting concentration and focus, but they work slightly differently.

Some of the most popular nootropics in this category include Piracetam, Aniracetam, and Oxiracetam. These synthetic compounds boost cognitive function by increasing your brain's oxygen supply and nutrients.

  • Piracetam improves cognition and memory function by acting on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Additionally, Piracetam affects NMDA glutamate receptors, which play a role in synaptic plasticity (the ability of synapses to change or adapt over time).
  • Aniracetam acts as an enhancer for some AMPA receptors, leading to a decreased rate of receptor desensitization. This likely manifests as more controlled and prolonged neurological stimulation, thus leading to better cognition and memory.
  • Oxiracetam influences the AMPA-sensitive glutamate receptors present in neurons. Doing so increases the density of binding sites for both AMPA and calcium uptake, which leads to an increase in neural activity. This increase in activity leads to better learning, memory, and heightened focus.

If you want to stay on the natural path, another option is to try choline supplements like Alpha GPC or CDP Choline, which increase levels of acetylcholine in your brain, leading to the same benefits as Sulbutiamine.

What Brain Supplements Can Sulbutiamine Be Stacked With?

We highly recommend stacking Sulbutiamine with one of the above nootropics to maximize its benefits. Some other potential supplements to use when taking Sulbutiamine include caffeine, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, and Bacopa monnieri.

Caffeine is a popular stimulant that has been used for centuries to help people stay alert and focused. It accomplishes this by blocking the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation (11).

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has been shown to promote calmness, reduced stress levels, and better attention. And L-tyrosine is another protein found in foods like dairy, meat, and eggs that have been shown to help with memory formation.

When we combine, or stack, these supplements with Sulbutiamine, we create a potent nootropic combination that works synergistically to boost cognitive function and improve brain health.

If all of these different options seem overwhelming, we highly recommend looking into nootropic blends like NooCube. NooCube contains 13 science-backed ingredients that have been carefully selected and tested to promote better cognitive function.

NooCube makes the perfect foundation for a Sulbutiamine stack, as combining these two nootropics can lead to enhanced concentration and focus and improved memory and learning capacity.

So whether you're looking for a standalone supplement or a powerful combination of brain-boosting ingredients, NooCube is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get the most out of their Sulbutiamine supplement. You can find NooCube right here:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Let's take a look at some commonly asked questions about using Sulbutiamine:

How Long Does It Take For Sulbutiamine To Work?

Sulbutiamine kicks in fairly quickly, typically within 30-60 minutes of taking it. However, the full effects may take a few days to be felt, as it can take time for your brain to adjust and increase oxygen flow to different brain parts.

How Does Sulbutiamine Make You Feel?

Sulbutiamine makes you feel more energized, focused, alert, and motivated. It is often used to address fatigue or low energy symptoms and can also help improve memory and learning capacity. People report an overall sense of clarity and mental focus.

Is It Safe To Use Sulbutiamine?

Sulbutiamine is non-toxic and generally considered safe for most people. As with any supplement, it is important to consult your doctor before starting a new regimen, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking other medications.

What's The Half-Life Of Sulbutiamine?

Sulbutiamine is absorbed quickly and reaches peak blood concentration between 1 and 2 hours after taking it. The half-life of Sulbutiamine is approximately 5 hours which means that your body will continue to experience the benefits of this supplement for several hours after you take it.

Is Sulbutiamine FDA-approved?

While it is available as an over-the-counter medication in other countries, its efficacy has not been approved by the U.S. government for any use. However, some companies market it as a supplement that can improve cognitive function and memory recall - among other things.

Sulbutiamine vs. Thiamine - What's The Difference?

Although Sulbutiamine and Thiamine appear similar at a molecular level, they actually differ in several ways. Thiamine (vitamin B1) is an essential nutrient that naturally occurs in the body, while Sulbutiamine is a synthetic form of Thiamine that has been designed to be more easily absorbed by the body and cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB).


So what do we know so far about Sulbutiamine?

We know that Sulbutiamine is a highly effective nootropic that can help improve energy levels, focus and concentration, and memory. It increases oxygen flow to the brain and supports healthy neurotransmitter function. And it can be easily combined with other nootropics for an even more powerful effect.

Sulbutiamine provides many benefits like long-term memory formation, reduced fatigue, and improved mood. It also treats human conditions associated with thiamine deficiency.

Sulbutiamine makes the perfect addition to any nootropic supplement stack and can also be taken on its own to improve brain health.

Sulbutiamine: Review of Nootropic Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects 1

If you get easily tired and feel weak, Sulbutiamine might be the answer to help you alleviate fatigue and help you get the energy and focus that you need.

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