Of all the different nootropics I’ve tried over the years, few have been as effective as bromantane. While it’s far from the perfect nootropic, this interesting substance is one of my favorites. And it even made it onto my list of the 3 most underrated nootropics.
In this research-backed article, we’re going to take a look at the nootropic benefits of bromantane. We’ll look at its effects, dosage, potential side effects, and more. But first, let’s take a look at what bromantane is.
What Is Bromantane?
Like many other nootropics, this substance was developed in Russia. Bromantane, also known as adamantylbromphenylamine, was first derived from adamantane in the 1980s. The Russians had been experimenting with adamantane derivatives since the 1960s, originally as a treatment for influenza (the flu). After realizing that adamantane derivatives had psychostimulant effects, they developed new ones including bromantane.
Bromantane was found to have stronger and longer-lasting psychostimulant effects than the other adamantanes. Because of this, it was rigorously studied and eventually became a prescription drug to treat asthenia (lack of energy/physical weakness) sold under the brand name Ladasten.
In addition to using bromantane as a prescription medication, the Russians also used it for performance enhancement. During the 1996 Summer Olympics, several Russian athletes tested positive for bromantane. A year later, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned bromantane, noting its stimulating and performance-enhancing properties.
WADA, the agency responsible for making sure athletes don’t use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), doesn’t go around banning every substance it comes across – only the ones that work. And there’s plenty of science to show that bromantane works, which we’ll get to shortly.
Additionally, there are numerous case reports from around the world that support bromantane’s use as a nootropic. Users often report that it makes them feel more motivated and focused, less anxious, and puts them in a better mood. While not everybody responds to bromantane, many people do. For me personally, it’s worked great. I’ve experienced all the nootropic benefits mentioned above. Now let’s dive a little deeper into the science behind bromantane and look at some of these effects in more detail.
The Nootropic Benefits Of Bromantane
Bromantane has undergone extensive clinical trials in Russia and has been shown to be both safe and effective at treating a variety of mood-and-anxiety-related disorders. Unfortunately, this fascinating substance has not been the subject of very much human study in the English-speaking world. However, some animal research has been published in English that supports the conclusions made by Russian scientists.
The research that has been done, both in humans and animals, shows bromantane to have a lot of potential as a nootropic. Though its use as a nootropic hasn’t been explicitly studied to any significant degree, the science that has been done points to several potential benefits. The nootropic benefits of bromantane include:
- Improved mood
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased energy
- Improved physical performance
- Improved overall sense of well-being
The largest clinical trial done on bromantane I could find was conducted in Russia, the results published in 2010. This study looked at the effect bromantane had on the mental health of 728 patients diagnosed with asthenic (weakness-related) disorders. These patients were given a daily dose of between 50-100 milligrams (mg) of bromantane for 28 days. The researchers assessed each patient before starting bromantane; on days 3, 7, 14, and 28; and again a month after the end of treatment.
The results of this study showed bromantane to have a variety of nootropic-like properties. After just 3 days of treatment, patients had an increase in mental and physical energy. This effect remained throughout the trial and was even found during the one-month followup. The researchers also reported that bromantane had a powerful anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect, improved sleep quality, and increased overall quality of life (QOL).
Of the 728 patients in this trial, less than 3% experienced any side effects. And none of the ones reported were serious. The authors of this study concluded that bromantane is safe and effective at treating asthenic disorders and recommends its use in clinical practice.
Though the above study is the largest I could find, it’s not the only one. A placebo-controlled clinical trial published in 2009 looked at the effect bromantane had on patients diagnosed with neurasthenia. This is a generic diagnosis used to describe a variety of symptoms including depressed mood, decreased energy levels, and fatigue.
The results of this five-week placebo-controlled study showed bromantane to have a combination of psychostimulant and anxiolytic effects. It was found to be significantly more effective at treating neurasthenia than a placebo. The authors of this study also noted the absence of any serious side effects or signs of withdrawal syndrome after bromantane was discontinued.
While the above studies looked at the effect daily bromantane dosing had, a paper published in 2006 discussed the effects of a single dose. The authors found bromantane’s stimulant effect to predominate its anxiolytic-and-other effects. They conclude that bromantane can be not only a safe and effective treatment for a variety of psychiatric symptoms, but also a rapidly acting one.
All of this human research is consistent with my own experience with bromantane. I’ve found it to be both stimulating and relaxing at the same time. But how does it work? Let’s take a look at some of the research that has been done on how bromantane works in the brain.
Bromantane In The Brain
While it is often categorized as a psychostimulant, bromantane works differently than stimulants like amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine, etc.), methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, etc.), cocaine, and others. These substances induce the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and/or inhibit its reuptake by acting directly on the dopamine transporter.
Bromantane also affects dopamine in the brain, but through less-direct genomic mechanisms. It has been shown to cause fast, long-lasting upregulation in several parts of the brain of two important enzymes the body uses to create dopamine: tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and DOPA decarboxylase, aka aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AAAD).
By upregulating TH and AAAD, bromantane is able to increase dopamine production and release throughout the brain. After bromantane administration, enhanced dopaminergic neurotransmission has been observed in several parts of the brain including the hypothalamus, nucleus acumbens, striatum, and ventral tegmental area, among others.
A study done on rats published in 2012 showed that bromantane increased the expression of neurotrophins in the brain. In other words, it increased the growth of new brain cells. Among the neurotrophins bromantane affected were nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). The parts of the rat brain the increase in gene expression was found included the hypothalamus, striatum, and hippocampus.
Bromantane Side Effects
Bromantane has been shown to be very safe when taken in therapeutic dosages. Personally, I’ve never noticed any side effects from taking 50-100 mg of bromantane. However, when I tried a dose of 150 mg, it made me feel slightly edgy at times. It really wasn’t that bad: the edginess was barely noticeable. But as long as I stick to 100 mg or less, I’ve never noticed any side effects.
Several human studies have looked at the safety of bromantane and concluded that it has few-to-no side effects and is safe to take for extended periods of time. They note that bromantane doesn’t produce dependence or tolerance, has little or no potential for addiction, and does not show any withdrawal symptoms after stopping it.
Animal studies have also shown that bromantane is safe to take for extended periods of time. A paper published in 2000 looked at the effect bromantane administration had on rats. After 2 months of daily use, the rats did not experience tolerance to bromantane, nor did they show any signs of drug dependence.
Bromantane is usually taken in a dosage of 50-100 mg/day. Almost all of the studies mentioned above used dosages within this range. And this is the range typically seen used for nootropic purposes.
While some of bromantane’s effect may be noticeable after a single dose, it works best when taken daily. Most users find it’s best to take bromantane early in the morning. That’s because it can take several hours for its effect to be felt. According to one study, the psychostimulant effects of bromantane come on gradually over the course of 1.5-2 hours and lasts for 8-12.
This is consistent with my experience. Sometimes it takes even longer for me to feel bromantane after I take it. And lots of people who have taken bromantane for nootropic purposes report the same thing. It’s often reported that it can take up to 4 hours for the acute effects of bromantane to be felt. One study showed that it takes 2.75 hours for bromantane to achieve maximum concentration in women and 4 hours in men.
Bromantane can be taken with or without food, but may absorb better when taken with a small meal or snack that contains at least a few grams of fat. I’ve always taken bromantane on an empty stomach and it’s always worked fine.