I’ve recently come across a molecule with some interesting properties. Sulbutiamine is a synthetic derivative of thiamine that lends for interesting results. Sulbutiamine is, essentially, thiamine (B1) that is bound together at the thiol group.
This simple alteration in molecular structure, results in an increased liphophilicity that allows this molecule to penetrate through the blood brain barrier (BBB), with much greater ease. So, if I haven’t lost you yet I’m sure you’re wondering why this is such a great thing? To help understand better the importance of thiamine on the mind, we should first look and see what is rendered by a deficiency. A condition known as beriberi, is directly caused by a deficiency in vitamin b1. This condition is usually one that is usually common only to alcoholics and people with poor nutrition. Moreover, beriberi is mostly seen in areas that depend heavily on rice as a form of nutrition, in fact the condition was common enough to warrant the discovery of this molecule from a nation that depends on rice. The effects of beriberi are heavily weighted neurologically, and can result in:
- Difficulty in walking
- Tingling or loss of feeling (sensation) in hands and feet (numbness)
- Loss of muscle function or paralysis of the lower legs
- Mental confusion/speech difficulties
- Involuntary eye movements (nystagmus)
Although, this does not imply that boosting your brain B1 will yield positive benefit, the removal or negative effect becomes obvious, thiamine is doing something neurologic.
With that said, sulbutiamine has actually been found to have positive benefits, mainly centered around countering central asthenia (mental fatigue). Sulbutiamine has also been shown to potentiate cholinergic effects in the hyppocampus, which is the center of new memory formation. Furthermore, mice studies have displayed significant results in object recognition and operant conditioning, implying an effect on memory. All of which are properties I, personally, like to see out of my nootropics.
As with any substance, you should consult your doctor before taking them but, particularly, sulbutiamine has been shown to have adverse effects in bipolar patients and has been know to cause some skin reactions. In any case, this compound is something that has entered our radar and will likely stay there.