What Is Sulbutiamine?
Japanese scientists developed sulbutiamine in the 60s while exploring treatments for thiamine deficiency. Some brand names for this compound are Enerion and Arcalion .
Sulbutiamine is synthetically produced by binding two thiamine (vitamin B1) molecules together. Sulbutiamine is more fat-soluble than thiamine, allowing it to pass to the brain easier (cross the blood-brain barrier) .
- Reduces fatigue
- May improve cognition
- May protect the brain and nerves
- May stimulate digestion
- Most uses lack clinical evidence
- Long-term safety is unknown
How Does it Work?
- May Increase thiamine (and thiamine derivative) levels more than thiamine itself .
- Increases dopamine (D1) and glutamate activity in decision-making regions of the brain (such as the prefrontal cortex) [5, 6].
- Increases energy use in the brain (by increasing thiamine triphosphate) .
Health Benefits of Sulbutiamine
In a study of 1,772 patients with infections and chronic fatigue, sulbutiamine (along with anti-infective treatment) helped with low energy. Fifty-two percent of the patients felt a significant boost in mood and energy .
326 patients with chronic fatigue (post-infection) were treated with sulbutiamine or a placebo. Some individuals felt an energy boost from sulbutiamine, but the results were not significant .
Sulbutiamine reduced fatigue by 44% in 341 patients with chronic fatigue, but this study lacked a placebo control .
36 patients with chronic weakness from posttraumatic disorders were treated with either piracetam or sulbutiamine. Sulbutiamine was more effective in improving energy and functionality than piracetam .
Fatigue is a major symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Sulbutiamine treatment (400 mg daily for 2 months) significantly improved energy levels of 20 MS patients. Once again, the lack of a placebo control makes the results questionable .
Larger, well-designed clinical trials are needed to verify the therapeutic effects of sulbutiamine for fatigue.
No valid clinical evidence supports the use of sulbutiamine for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal studies, cell-based research, or low-quality clinical trials which should spark further investigation. However, you shouldn’t interpret them as supportive of any health benefit.
2) Memory Improvement
Sulbutiamine, when used with donepezil, improved memory in a study of 26 patients with Alzheimer’s Disease .
3) Diabetic Neuropathy
Nerve damage can be caused by high blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes. A 6-week treatment of sulbutiamine (400 mg daily) in 15 patients with diabetes significantly improved nerve and muscle function .
4) Erectile Dysfunction
Sulbutiamine treatment for 30 days restored sexual performance in 16 patients out of 20 with erectile dysfunction, but the study lacked a placebo control .
Animal and Cellular Research (Lacking Evidence)
No clinical evidence supports the use of sulbutiamine for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based studies. They should guide further investigational efforts but should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
1) Brain Protection
Nutrient-deprived brain cells treated with sulbutiamine lived much longer than cells that weren’t treated .
Additionally, sulbutiamine improved the lifespan of brain cells that were deprived of oxygen and sugar. It also increased activity in the memory-forming part of the brain (hippocampus) .
2) Antioxidant Support
Limitations and Caveats
- The majority of the human studies were carried out without control groups.
- Only a few studies assessed the use of sulbutiamine orally.
- Some benefits were demonstrated in animal and cell models but lack clinical data.
Sulbutiamine Side Effects and Risks
This list does not cover all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any other side effects. In the US, you may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada, you may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
In general, sulbutiamine is well tolerated with doses up to 600 mg/day .
Sulbutiamine Supplements & Dosage
Sulbutiamine supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use. In general, regulatory bodies aren’t assuring the quality, safety, and efficacy of supplements. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.
The below doses may not apply to you personally. If your doctor suggests using a grape seed extract supplement, work with them to find the optimal dosage according to your health condition and other factors.
The standard sulbutiamine dose is 200 – 600 mg/day. This dosage should be divided into 2 or 3 times a day .
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On the other hand, irritability, insomnia, and euphoria are the most cited negative effects. In addition, some people do not feel any different while using sulbutiamine.