Sulbutiamine For Memory, Mood, and Anxiety

Sulbutiamine For Memory, Mood, and Anxiety

Sometimes little things can have big effects. This certainly seems to be true of sulbutiamine. By tweaking a simple B vitamin, scientists were able to create a powerful nootropic that can potentially reduce fatigue, boost, mood, decrease anxiety, improve memory, and create a general feeling of well being.

In this science-backed article, we’re going to be taking an in-depth look at sulbutiamine. We’ll take a look at its benefits, side effects, dosage, and more. But first, let’s see what sulbutiamine is.

What Is Sulbutiamine?

Sulbutiamine is a synthetic substance that was created by slightly chemically altering the B vitamin, thiamine (B1). Thiamine was the first of the B vitamins to be discovered, hence the name B1. It was first discovered in 1897 and has been researched extensively ever since.. Thiamine is an essential B vitamin that is necessary for the proper function and growth of cells.

Sulbutiamine was developed in Japan during the 1950s to be a more-effective version of this essential B vitamin. In 1973, the French drug company Servier made sulbutiamine available as a prescription drug under the brand name Arcalion. It is still available in France in 200 mg tablets for the treatment of fatigue and other conditions.

Although more research is needed, sulbutiamine seems to be able to easily cross the blood-brain barrier while thiamine cannot. This may explain, at least in part, why sulbutiamine seems to have many of the same effects as thiamine, plus more. These include nootropic effects like improved memory, mood, and motivation.

Over the past couple of decades or so, sulbutiamine has become somewhat popular around the world as a nootropic. While it’s not as widely used as things like modafinil or piracetam, some nootropic users find that sulbutiamine helps them to focus, improves their mood, reduces anxiety, and even increases motivation. But what does the science have to say about this interesting B vitamin derivative? Let’s dive into this interesting substance further.

Nootropic Benefits of Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine has been reported to provide a wide array of nootropic benefits. However, nootropic users aren’t the only ones enhancing their performance with this substance. Endurance athletes have been using sulbutiamine to improve performance for at least a decade. They claim it increases power and reduces recovery time.

But we’re not here to discuss sulbutiamine’s benefits on physical endurance: we’re here to look at its nootropic effects. Users report a variety of benefits that include improved mood and memory, increased focus and energy, and decreased anxiety and fatigue. Now let’s see what the science has to say about the following nootropic benefits of sulbutiamine:

  • Neuroprotection
  • Improved Memory
  • Increased Energy
  • Reduced Fatigue
  • Improved Mood
  • Decreased Anxiety


One nootropic benefits that sulbutiamine seems to offer is neuroprotection. An animal study done in 2011 explored sulbutiamine’s neuroprotective potential. Researchers wanted to see what effect sulbutiamine had on oxygen-and-glucose-deprived hippocampal neurons in rats.

Neuron aka nerve cell

The hippocampus is one of the first brain regions to get affected when having a stroke and no drug exists that can fully counteract its negative impact. The researchers found that sulbutiamine had a neuroprotective effect on these hippocampal neurons. While more human studies are needed to fully illuminate sulbutiamine’s neuroprotective properties, initial animal research is very encouraging.

Improved Memory

One of the main nootropic benefits of sulbutiamine that users report is improved memory. Since thiamine deficiency is known to cause memory problems, it’s not surprising that a thiamine derivative like sulbutiamine might improve memory. Let’s take a look at some of the science that has been done.

A study published in 1985 looked at the effect chronic sulbutiamine administration had on memory in rats. Researchers found that the rats who were given sulbutiamine performed better on memory-related tasks than rats who were not. They also did neurochemical analyses on the rats and found an increase in high affinity choline uptake (HACU). An increase in HACU means an increase in acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter known to play a vital role in learning and memory.


A more-recent rat study published in 2005 also found sulbutiamine to have an effect on memory. The results showed two interesting effects. First, rats given sulbutiamine performed better in object-recognition tasks. And second, sulbutiamine seemed to counteract the amnesiac (memory-reducing) effects of the drug dizocilpine. These results show that sulbutiamine has a beneficial effect on memory.

Lastly, a human study published in 2007 looked at the effect sulbutiamine had on patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Patients were given given sulbutiamine, donepezil, a placebo, or some combination thereof for six months. The researchers found that sulbutiamine improved both memory and attention. They concluded that sulbutiamine can be an effective add-on treatment for patients with moderate, early-stage Alzheimer’s.

Increased Energy/Reduced Fatigue

Another common benefits of sulbutiamine that users often report is an increase in energy and a decrease in fatigue. This isn’t surprising given that sulbutiamine has been found to have a modulatory effect on the transmission of dopamine and glutamate in the brain. These neurotransmitters are known to play a role in energy levels, motivation, and more.

Fatigued and tired

A scientific article from Spain published in 1999 noted that the most frequent medical reason patients sought help from their doctor was asthenia (lack of energy, weakness). Asthenia research shows that sulbutiamine can have a positive effect on fatigue and energy levels in general.

A 2003 study done in India looked at the effect sulbutiamine had on asthenia. 1,772 patients diagnosed with infectious diseases who had asthenic symptoms were given sulbutiamine for 15 days. The results revealed that 95% of the patients showed a complete resolution of all asthenic symptoms. The researchers concluded that sulbutiamine may be a useful adjunct treatment for people with asthenia.

A 2017 study done on patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) looked at the effect sulbutiamine had on fatigue. 26 patients (males and females) with MS were given 400 milligrams (mg) of sulbutiamine once a day for two months. The results showed a significant reduction in fatigue and an improvement in cognitive, physical, and psychosocial functioning. The researchers also noted that sulbutiamine was well-tolerated by all the participants.

Improved Mood/Decreased Anxiety

Mental health

Two nootropic benefits of sulbutiamine that users most commonly report are improved mood and decreased anxiety. Given its ability to influence the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate, sulbutiamine very well may produce these benefits for many users. However, as of 2023, there has been very few human studies conducted on healthy volunteers, so more research is needed before these claims can be stated conclusively.

The only human study to look at sulbutiamine’s effect on mood and anxiety was published in 2000. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers gave 600 mg of sulbutiamine or a placebo to participants diagnosed with major depression. The results showed that, while the participants given sulbutiamine showed no antidepressant effect, they did show a significant reduction in psycho-behavioral inhibition. In other words, the participants given sulbutiamine did not experience improved mood but did experience decreased anxiety.

Sulbutiamine Dosage

Drug icon

Nootropic users typically take sulbutiamine in a dosage of anywhere from 200 milligrams (mg) a day all the way up to 1,000 mg a day. However, many people find that a dosage of somewhere between 400-600 mg a day to be effective. Some people even report an increase in energy and motivation, an improvement in mood and memory, and a reduction in anxiety with a dosage as low as 200 mg a day.

Like with all nootropics (and all substances in general), you should start with a low dose and work your way up as needed. A lot of people get the results they’re looking for with 400 mg a day or less. The brain is incredibly complex and everyone responds differently to every nootropic.

Sulbutiamine is a lipid-soluble (dissolves in fat) substance. Because of this, the body is able to absorb sulbutiamine more efficiently when it’s taken with food. You may want to take sulbutiamine with a small meal that contains at least 10-15 grams of fat. It shouldn’t matter if the fat is saturated or unsaturated.

Sulbutiamine For Memory, Mood, and Anxiety 1

You may also want to think about stacking sulbutiamine with a choline source like alpha-GPC. Since sulbutiamine increases high affinity choline uptake (HACU), taking a choline source with it may allow your body to create even more acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is heavily involved in learning and memory.

Nootropic users have safely and effectively stacked sulbutiamine with a number of other nootropics. Things that are commonly stacked with sulbutiamine include CDP-choline, alpha-GPC, other choline sources, some of the racetams, and more. You may want to try stacking different things to see what works best for you.

It’s worth noting that it is usually a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any new supplements, drugs, plants, diets, exercise plans, or behavioral routines. This is especially true if you are currently taking any prescription medications, being treated for a medical-or-mental-health condition, or are planning on getting pregnant in the near future.

Sulbutiamine Side Effects

Side effects clipboard icon

Most people seem to tolerate sulbutiamine well. Side effects are rarely reported and, when they are, they always seem to be very mild. And when side effects are reported, it’s usually because an excessive dosage (well over 1,000 mg) was taken. Even then these high-dose side effects aren’t very severe and tend to disappear once sulbutiamine use is discontinued.

While most people don’t experience any side effects from sulbutiamine at recommended dosages, a small number of people do. These side effects can include headache, nausea, tiredness, and insomnia.

If you experience any intolerable side effects from sulbutiamine, simply stop taking it. Any negative effects should go away on their own within a short period of time. In the unlikely event they persist or get worse after stopping sulbutiamine, contact your doctor.

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