Sulbutiamine: Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!

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Key Information

Sulbutiamine is a synthetic B1 derivative:

Sulbutiamine is a fat-soluble compound that delivers thiamine to the brain more efficiently than regular thiamine.

Sulbutiamine boosts energy and mood:

Sulbutiamine increases mental alertness, motivation, and subjective well-being by modulating neurotransmitters and mitochondrial function.

Sulbutiamine enhances memory and cognition:

Sulbutiamine improves memory formation and recall by facilitating the flow of choline, dopamine, and glutamate in the brain

Sulbutiamine is well-tolerated and safe:

Sulbutiamine has few side effects and is generally safe to use, although it may cause overstimulation or agitation in some users.

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As a holistic nutritionist and biohacking junkie, I’m always on the lookout for natural ways to optimize my mind and body. And after countless hours of research and personal experimentation, I’ve become quite enamored with this synthetic derivative of vitamin B1 (thiamine).

Sulbutiamine was originally developed in Japan to address a serious thiamine deficiency crisis that was causing the neurological disorder beriberi. By binding two thiamine molecules together, the resulting compound was able to cross the blood-brain barrier more readily, offering an impressive boost in bioavailability.

But as it turns out, sulbutiamine offers benefits that go far beyond preventing beriberi. From enhancing mood and memory to fighting fatigue and depression, this unique nootropic has a lot to offer the modern brain hacker.

In this post, I’ll take a deep dive into the science and practical applications of sulbutiamine. Consider this your ultimate guide to unlocking your brain’s potential with this fascinating compound. Let’s get into it.

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What is Sulbutiamine?

Sulbutiamine (isobutyryl thiamine disulfide) is a synthetic derivative of vitamin B1 (thiamine). It consists of two thiamine molecules bound together by a sulfur group, which allows it to cross the blood-brain barrier more easily than standard thiamine.

Thiamine was the first B vitamin discovered by scientists – that’s why it’s called B1. It plays a crucial role in converting nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your cells. Thiamine also supports proper nervous system, cardiovascular, and brain function.

Unfortunately, thiamine is poorly absorbed from food and supplements. That’s where sulbutiamine comes in. By modifying thiamine’s structure, scientists increased its bioavailability and effectiveness in the brain.

Sulbutiamine vs Thiamine: What’s the Difference?

While sulbutiamine and thiamine are very similar in function, there are a few key differences:

  • Sulbutiamine is fat-soluble, while thiamine is water-soluble
  • Sulbutiamine crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily
  • Sulbutiamine has higher bioavailability and potency than standard thiamine

So while they’re “cousins,” sulbutiamine is like thiamine on steroids when it comes to nootropic effects. Its unique structure allows it to penetrate your brain and work its magic far more efficiently.

How Sulbutiamine Works in the Brain

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Sulbutiamine is a vitamin B molecule that is optimized for quicker absorption

Once sulbutiamine makes its way into your brain, it significantly boosts thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) levels. TPP is a coenzyme that plays a vital role in the citric acid cycle, helping break down sugars, fats and proteins to generate ATP energy in your mitochondria.

TPP also aids the synthesis of acetylcholine, GABA, and glutamate – three neurotransmitters that are crucial for learning, memory, and overall brain function. By optimizing TPP levels, sulbutiamine helps keep your cognition running on all cylinders.

Additionally, sulbutiamine increases the density of D1 dopamine receptors in regions like the prefrontal cortex. Healthy dopamine activity is associated with sharp focus, motivation, and feelings of reward. Many people find sulbutiamine extremely effective for boosting drive and crushing procrastination.

The Benefits of Sulbutiamine

Alleviates Fatigue

Multiple studies show that sulbutiamine is a powerful weapon against persistent fatigue. For instance, in this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients with chronic fatigue who supplemented with 600 mg of sulbutiamine for 28 days reported significant reductions in fatigue compared to the placebo group.

By supporting ATP production and neurotransmitter synthesis, sulbutiamine provides a clean, steady energy boost that makes it easier to power through your busy schedule. I find it’s much smoother and longer-lasting than a cup of coffee, without the jitters or crash.

Enhances Mood and Motivation

Looking to get more done with less mental resistance? Sulbutiamine is a motivational powerhouse. Many users describe feeling a strong drive to be productive on it. Boring tasks become more engaging, and it’s easier to enter a flow state.

Sulbutiamine also has antidepressant effects, likely due to its ability to raise dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and glutamate activity. Anecdotally, some even find it more effective than prescription antidepressants, without as many side effects.

In one study of young women, 50 mg of thiamine daily for two months led to meaningful improvements in mood, energy, and reaction times. Imagine what a more potent dose of sulbutiamine could do! Personally, it’s become my go-to on days when I need an extra kick in the butt.

Boosts Memory and Learning

Students, professionals, and life-long learners rejoice! Sulbutiamine can noticeably sharpen your memory when preparing for exams or tackling challenging projects.

Several animal studies illustrate this benefit. For example, mice given sulbutiamine for 10 days showed improved memory formation, while rats supplemented with sulbutiamine for 9 weeks demonstrated better working and episodic memory. The mechanism? Enhanced cholinergic activity.

Sulbutiamine also protects your neurons and promotes the growth of myelin, an insulating layer that helps your brain cells fire faster. The result is quicker learning, better information retention, and more mental endurance.

Additional Sulbutiamine Benefits

  • Increases mental clarity and alertness
  • Improves verbal fluency and sociability
  • Enhances athletic performance and endurance
  • Helps erectile dysfunction (by boosting testosterone)

Sulbutiamine Dosage

The typical sulbutiamine dosage is 400-1000 mg per day, split into two doses (morning and early afternoon). Since it does have energizing effects, I don’t recommend taking it too late in the day unless you want to be up all night philosophizing about the universe.

It’s best to start with a low dose and assess your tolerance before incrementally working your way up. Some people are more sensitive to sulbutiamine and may feel over-stimulated on higher dosages.

Sulbutiamine powder is very unpleasant-tasting, so capsules are highly preferred. You can stock up on empty gel caps and make your own to save money if you’re crafty like that. Since sulbutiamine is fat-soluble, take it with food or a spoonful of coconut oil to boost absorption.

Where to Buy Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is sold over-the-counter as a supplement in most of the world. However, in December 2019 the FDA added it to their Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List. This caused major retailers like Amazon to stop selling it. What a bummer.

Luckily, sulbutiamine is still available from several specialty vendors. My go-to is Double Wood Supplements – their sulbutiamine is pure, potent, and 3rd party tested. You can get it here with an exclusive HolisticNootropics discount.

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Sulbutiamine vs Other Nootropics

NootropicEnergy & MotivationMemory & LearningMood Support

Sulbutiamine User Experiences

Let’s see what the nootropics community on Reddit has to say about their sulbutiamine adventures:

I feel a mild boost in energy and memory when I take it. Nothing crazy.

u/tellitothemoon in discussion “Sulbutiamine-Need Info/Experiences”

It’s effective for fatigue, mental or physical. Good experience for me.

u/opiazin in discussion “Sulbutiamine-Need Info/Experiences”

Sulbutiamine feels HORRIBLE for me. Extreme insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.

u/ysosrs1999 in discussion “Sulbutiamine feels HORRIBLE”

I had the most productive two weeks in as long as I can remember when I tried sulbutiamine. That feeling of deeply driven motivation was insane. Unfortunately it only lasted the two weeks.

u/BigLicking in discussion “Sulbutiamine Extreme Motivation and Drive!!”

As you can see, individual responses to sulbutiamine vary quite a bit. Some feel amazing, others feel over-stimulated, and some barely notice anything. The only way to know where you fall on that spectrum is to experiment cautiously.

The Verdict: Is Sulbutiamine Worth Trying?

If you struggle with low energy, brain fog, poor motivation, or mild depression, sulbutiamine may be the secret weapon you’ve been searching for. Its potent effects on attention, mood, and mental stamina are backed by science and loads of glowing anecdotal reports.

I know it can be intimidating to try a new nootropic, especially a synthetic one. But sulbutiamine has an impressive safety profile, and most people tolerate it well. Even if it’s not a “miracle drug” for you, chances are you’ll still gain a nice cognitive boost.

Of course, please don’t take any of this as medical advice. I’m just a holistic nutritionist with a radiant glow and a fridge full of kale. Always consult a qualified health professional before adding a new supplement to your regimen.

With that said, sulbutiamine is one nootropic I believe is worth exploring for anyone seeking to become a happier, higher-performing, more actualized human being. Give it a shot, and let me know about your experience in the comments below!

Sulbutiamine Dosage & Safety Guidelines

Recommended Sulbutiamine Dosage: 400-1000 mg per day, split into two doses (morning and early afternoon). Start with the lowest effective dose.

Side Effects: Headache, nausea, insomnia, irritability, skin rash. Stop use if side effects are severe or persistent.

Interactions/Warnings: Use caution if you have bipolar disorder, as sulbutiamine may trigger mania. Has the potential for abuse/dependence in susceptible individuals. May interact with levodopa and MAOIs.

Key Sulbutiamine Benefits

  • Boosts energy and reduces fatigue
  • Enhances motivation and mental endurance
  • Improves mood and has anti-depressant effects
  • Sharpens focus and memory
  • Increases verbal fluency and social ease

Learn More: How Thiamine Deficiency Destroys Your Brain

Sulbutiamine FAQs

How long does it take sulbutiamine to work?

Many people notice a mood and energy lift within an hour of taking sulbutiamine, with effects lasting 6-8 hours. Cognitive benefits may accumulate over days/weeks of consistent use.

Should I take sulbutiamine daily?

It’s usually recommended to cycle sulbutiamine, taking it for 5 days on, 2 days off to prevent tolerance and maintain effects. Listen to your body and don’t exceed 1000 mg per day.

Is sulbutiamine safe to combine with other nootropics?

Sulbutiamine often pairs well with cholinergic nootropics like Alpha-GPC and stimulants like caffeine. Take extra precautions if stacking it with other dopaminergic compounds. When in doubt, ask an expert!

Is sulbutiamine legal?

Currently, sulbutiamine is not illegal, but it exists in a legal gray area in the United States since it was added to the FDA’s Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List. This makes it difficult to find at major retailers. Always check your local regulations before purchasing.

Does sulbutiamine increase dopamine?

While sulbutiamine doesn’t directly release dopamine, it has been shown to increase the density of D1 dopamine receptors. This can make you more sensitive to dopamine’s effects.


  1. Benton D, Griffiths R, Haller J. Thiamine supplementation mood and cognitive functioning. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1997;129(1):66-71. doi:10.1007/s002130050163 [PubMed]
  2. Bizot JC, Herpin A, Pothion S, Pirot S, Trovero F, Ollat H. Chronic treatment with sulbutiamine improves memory in an object recognition task and reduces some amnesic effects of dizocilpine in a spatial delayed-non-match-to-sample task. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Aug;29(6):928-35. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2005.04.035. [PubMed]

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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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