Sulbutiamine: Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage


What is Sulbutiamine?

Sulbutiamine is a chemical similar to thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. The chemical is man-made, developed by scientists in Japan searching for a way to treat beriberi, a disorder caused by thiamine deficiency (x). The disorder can affect the cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems (x).

Not only does it offer benefits for the brain, but it also benefits the body and mind (x). The body absorbs sulbutiamine better than thiamine because it is fat-soluble and passes easier through the blood-brain barrier. Thiamine dissolves in water, but sulbutiamine dissolves in fats. Compounds that cannot cross the blood-brain barrier will not have the same effect on the central nervous system. A research study tested the effects of thiamine and sulbutiamine. When the subjects took equal amounts of thiamine and sulbutiamine, they absorbed the sulbutiamine faster (x).

Sulbutiamine increases thiamine levels in the brain. Thiamine has a low absorption rate, so sulbutiamine may be able to boost cognitive performance. Designed to improve brain function, it may also treat Alzheimer’s disease, depression, memory and diabetic nerve damage. It may also reduce fatigue and stimulate athletic performance (x).

Benefits of Sulbutiamine

Mental Performance

Sulbutiamine is part of a group of drugs called nootropics. These drugs aim to enhance memory and mental focus (x). Because of its effect on memory, researchers are also analyzing sulbutiamine for its potential therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer’s patients (x).

Athletic Performance

Sulbutiamine increases glutamate production, an abundant neurotransmitter (brain chemical) in the central nervous system. Low glutamate levels cause fatigue, so giving the body a boost of vitamin B1 may banish fatigue and increase endurance. Sulbutiamine may induce a mild stimulating effect on mood and energy, making it popular with athletes (x).


Sadness is a normal human emotion and everyone feels down sometimes. But long-lasting, overwhelming sadness that results in changes in sleep habits, appetite and loss of interest in regular activities indicate something more serious, depression.

Vitamin B1 affects dopamine levels and deficiency can cause depression, as well as lack of focus, mood swings and memory issues (x, x). Dopamine is partly responsible for mood and can act as an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer in the short-term. Neurotransmitters facilitate signals between brain cells and dopamine signals the brain to perform different functions.

As a vitamin B-based compound, sulbutiamine may have a positive influence on dopamine activity. Research states that sulbutiamine does not act as an antidepressant, but it may help relieve psycho-behavioral inhibition associated with major depressive disorder (x).


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated and debilitating condition in which the patient experiences an extreme lack of energy that an underlying medical condition cannot explain. The fatigue may worsen with mental or physical activity but it does not improve with rest (x). Sulbutiamine may have promise as a natural remedy for chronic fatigue syndrome in patients with multiple sclerosis (x). In a specific type of CFS called asthenia, sulbutiamine may be helpful when pain originates in the muscles rather than the central nervous system (x).


Anxiety disorders affect nearly 40 million people in the United States, making it the most common mental illness in the country (x). Sulbutiamine’s potentially positive effect on mood and focus may help with anxiety. It may help increase confidence and energy and may help relieve social anxiety in group situations (x).

Erectile Dysfunction

Estimates say that one in ten men suffer from long-term erectile dysfunction (ED). Studies show that sulbutiamine may help relieve erectile dysfunction when the source of the problem is anxiety, stress, depression or other psychological issues (x).

Sulbutiamine Benefits

Side Effects of Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is generally safe. However, the risk for side effects increase with long term use and high doses. It may cause nausea, headache, drowsiness and trouble sleeping (x).

If you are nursing, pregnant or planning to become pregnant, check with a doctor before adding this or any supplement to your health regimen. There is not enough research to determine if sulbutiamine is safe for pregnancy or nursing (x).

Sulbutiamine Dosage

It is recommended that sulbutiamine is used as a research compound and should only be taken if advised by a physician. Dosage varies by individual and can change because the body can build a tolerance to sulbutiamine. Use an accurate scale to measure the dose. Although sulbutiamine may help with certain health conditions, it is not a form of medical treatment. Always follow a doctor’s instructions and consult a doctor before using this compound.

The Bottom Line

Sulbutiamine is a nootropic, which is a group of drugs that aim to enhance cognitive function. It is man-made, created to treat deficiencies in thiamine, or vitamin B1. Research suggests that it may improve neurotransmission, affecting dopamine levels to improve mood and reduce fatigue. This makes it a popular choice among athletes to maintain stamina and increase energy. Some people use it to help treat anxiety and depression. It may also benefit overall mental performance, treat chronic fatigue and ease cases of erectile dysfunction. Side effects may occur after long-term use in high doses, such as nausea, headache and trouble sleeping. Sulbutiamine is not a sufficient medical treatment. Consult a physician before adding any new supplements to your diet.

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Susan Seabury

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