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Sulbutiamine is a fat-soluble derivative of thiamine. It is considered a nootropic and antioxidant and is used in France to reduce fatigue. It also stimulates gut activity, improves muscle weakness, boosts memory, and protects the brain. Keep on reading to learn more about the health benefits of sulbutiamine, dosage, and possible side effects.

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 [R].

Sulbutiamine is synthetically produced and is made by binding 2 vitamin B1 molecules together. Sulbutiamine is more fat soluble than thiamine, allowing it to pass to the brain easier (cross the blood-brain barrier) [R].

Sulbutiamine increases thiamine in the brain more than other forms of thiamine [R, R].

Mechanism of Action

  • Increases thiamine (and thiamine derivative) levels more than thiamine itself [R].
  • Increases dopamine (D1) and glutamate activity in decision-making regions of the brain (such as the prefrontal cortex) [R, R].
  • Boosts attention and mood (by changing how glutamate acts on dopamine) [R].
  • Increases energy use in the brain (by increasing thiamine triphosphate) [R].
  • Improves memory formation (by increasing activity in the hippocampus) [R].

Health Benefits of Sulbutiamine

1) Sulbutiamine Boosts Energy


In a study of 1,772 patients (non-randomised) with infections and chronic fatigue, sulbutiamine (200mg twice a day) for two weeks (along with anti-infective treatment) helped with low energy. Fifty-two percent of the patients felt a significant boost in mood and energy [R].

326 patients with chronic fatigue (post-infection) were treated with sulbutiamine and a placebo  (DB-RCT). Some individuals felt an energy boost from sulbutiamine, but the results were not significant [R].

Sulbutiamine boosted energy in 341 patients (observational study) with chronic fatigue diagnosed as asthenia (measured with a 44% decrease in their Fatigue Intensity Scores) [R].

Additionally, sulbutiamine treatment (400 mg daily for 1 month) greatly improved symptoms of severe depression, anxiety, and fatigue in most patients (75%) in a study of 40 participants (open-label) [R].

36 patients with chronic fatigue (caused by brain damage) were treated with either piracetam or sulbutiamine. Sulbutiamine was a more effective treatment than piracetam [R].

2) Sulbutiamine Improves Memory


Sulbutiamine (when used with donepezil) improved memory in a study (DB-RCT) of 26 patients with Alzheimer’s Disease [R].

Sulbutiamine improved long-term memory in rats. This is a result of boosting neurotransmitters (such as choline), which may increase memory retention in humans too [R, R].

3) Sulbutiamine Protects Nerves

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 (RCT) significantly improved nerve and muscle function (compared to a placebo group) [R].

4) Sulbutiamine Improves Sexual Performance

Sulbutiamine treatment for 30 days restored sexual performance in 16 patients out of 20 (open-label) with erectile dysfunction (caused by psychological issues) [R].

5) Sulbutiamine May Improve Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

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 [R].

An 8-week study (DB-RCT) evaluated the effectiveness of sulbutiamine in the treatment of fatigue in MS. Daily 600 mg doses improved fatigue in patients with fatigue who were on MS drugs [R].

6) Sulbutiamine May Improve Digestion

Some of the first studies on sulbutiamine proved it can help with digestion. In a study with 33 patients (RCT), sulbutiamine restored digestion after kidney surgery in 21 patients. Sulbutiamine also greatly improved gut flow in tissue studies [R, R].

7) Sulbutiamine May Protect the Brain


Nutrient-deprived brain cells treated with sulbutiamine lived much longer than cells that weren’t treated [R].

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) [R].

8) Sulbutiamine Is An Antioxidant

Sulbutiamine treatment increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes (GSH) in cells and decreased levels of harmful compounds (ROS) [R].

9) Sulbutiamine May Prevent Tissue Damage

A lack of oxygen in tissues may eventually lead to tissue damage (caused by reperfusion). Sulbutiamine protected brain cells from any damage after a period of oxygen deficiency [R].

Should You Take Sulbutiamine?

You can request that your doctor test your thiamine to see if you should take sulbutiamine. Conventional doctors will look at high or low thiamine levels and not mention anything. Sometimes, a lab result may be in the reference range, but not actually be in the optimal range. Reference ranges are not the same as optimal ranges. This is why even thiamine in the ‘normal’ range can be unhealthy and indicate that certain processes in the body aren’t optimal. Lab Test Analyzer will let you know if your thiamine levels are optimal and what you can do to get them there if they aren’t.

Side Effects and Risks

In general, sulbutiamine has few side effects with doses up to 600 mg/day [R].

Side effects are infrequent and include mild skin allergies, mild agitation (in the elderly), and headaches [R].

Euphoria and sleep pattern disturbance may occur in high doses [R].

In combination with antibiotics, nausea, headache, insomnia, diarrhea, tremor, and drowsiness were reported by 0.6% of patients [R].

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.

Drug and Supplement Interactions

Sulbutiamine and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors improve symptoms of early stage and moderate Alzheimer’s disease [R].

It is not advised to use sulbutiamine in conjunction with bipolar disorder medications [R].

When used with an antidepressant (clomipramine), 600 mg/day of sulbutiamine helped patients with depression recover faster [R].


The standard sulbutiamine dose is 200-600 mg/day. This dosage should be divided into 2 or 3 times a day [R].


User Experiences

Users report that effects of sulbutiamine were immediately seen in most cases. Positive mood, focus, and motivation are the main reported benefits.

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.

Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick

At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.

That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:

  • Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
  • SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
  • SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
  • Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
  • Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
  • Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
  • BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

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  • pl

    If I am right — you can get Arcalion from Arcalion help the mind to have dopamine (ataxia
    and Parkinson)–you also need to have other drugs for maintain of dopamine in the brain. Vinpocetine
    and Arcalion as a stack work wonder for the brain — together help fire the energy level of the brain cells.
    I have a high doses of Arcalion and vinpocetine stack — first thing in the morning to keep me going
    for the day — Arcalion 600mg and vinpocetine 30mg.

    I wish you all well and have a good day — I hope that I have helped you all.

  • Dottie Bozzetti

    This sounds like something that could benefit me. Where do I find sulbutiamine…
    Thank you,

  • Marianne Bajkasz

    Please write something for sarcoidosis and endometriosis. You have for TH1 and [email protected] dominant conditions, but it would be great t have an overview to compare with Dr Axe as you go deeper into the cytokines and understanding immunity at that deeper level.

  • Rob Haan

    would sulbutiamine help with Parkinson’s disease?

  • Ruth Robertson

    How does sulbutiamine compare to benfotiamine? I am guessing it is more powerful. They are both fat soluble so have the same advantages here? Just that benfotiamine is much more affordable and available. Time pressed at present so haven’t had a look, but just wondering if there are any studies for benfotiamine and if their benefits overlap. Thanks.

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