Nootropics Case Study: A Soothing Compound Called Phenibut

Published September 27, 2019

Most people take good care of their physical health and fitness, or at least they try to. Mental wellness, on the other hand, is often neglected and many early signs of mental disorders are overlooked until the problem gets too serious to ignore.

The good news is that there is increasing recognition of mental disorders and the importance of mental health in our stress-loaded present-day lifestyle. Consequently, there is increasing interest in products and supplements that are intended to improve mental well-being.

Nootropics are a hot topic right now. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard the word “nootropic” before — this is simply a fancy term for any supplement or drug that is used to enhance aspects of cognitive performance. For example, caffeine improves alertness and concentration, thus it is considered a nootropic substance.

There are probably hundreds of different nootropic substances on the market, consisting of both natural extracts and synthetic compounds. They can be categorized based on their primary uses, and one of the most sought-after types of nootropics are those used to support relaxation and restful sleep.

Anxiety and stress can dramatically hinder cognitive abilities during the day. Additionally, anxiety can make it impossible to get adequate sleep at night, which also contributes towards poor cognitive performance.

By reducing the levels of anxiety and stress and promoting better sleep quality, some nootropics can make a big improvement in some people’s lives. Phenibut is one of those nootropics and we are going to learn a little bit more about this common anti-anxiety aid and its benefits.

What is it? What does it do?

Phenibut is the commercial name for the compound 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid. This is a synthetic analogue of an amino acid called GABA — short for gamma aminobutyric acid.

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for inhibiting stimulation and inducing a state of rest and tranquility.

Since phenibut is structurally similar to GABA, it binds to GABA receptors in brain cells and causes them to calm and slow down. In other words, phenibut is effectively GABA, but it has greater effectiveness at lower concentrations.

Phenibut has strong anxiety-reducing and sedative properties, and it is mainly used for people who suffer from anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. In a few countries, it is an approved treatment option for some disorders, however, in the USA it is not approved by the FDA, but it is available as an over-the-counter supplement.

The Suggested Benefits

The commonly suggested benefits and uses of this supplement are all based on its ability to promote relaxation by boosting the levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.

There are a few primary and secondary benefits of this nootropic agent, and here are the main ones:

Anxiety relief.

There are numerous types of anxiety disorders, and while phenibut may not be effective for all of them, it has been shown to help people with social and mild forms of anxiety.

Improved sleep quality.

People who suffer from insomnia constitute a major segment of phenibut users. Its ability to relieve anxiety, stress and mild depression makes this supplement a very helpful sleep aid. It can shorten the amount of time needed to fall asleep and prolong the duration of restful sleep.

Improved cognitive function.

Anxiety has been linked to cognitive impairment, so when you are less anxious you will have a clearer mind and better cognitive function. As studies have shown, phenibut may help improve attention and memory for people with anxiety disorders. Additionally, it was found to have neuroprotective properties, which means it may help protect brain cells from damage.

Phenibut on the Market

There is a very active online market for nootropics, especially the synthetic ones that are not easily found at local retailers, and phenibut is a perfect example of those.

Because it is not a natural dietary supplement and due to some potential adverse effects, most health stores opt not to sell this nootropic supplement and a few similar ones. Even Amazon has removed all phenibut products from their store — reports morris-health.com.

This compound is legally available over the counter in the USA and most countries, but it is not allowed to be sold under any health claims. Phenibut in its pure form is available as powder and capsules at many nootropics stores on the Internet, and you can also find it as an ingredient in several sleep aid formulations.

Lacking Evidence

Although most commercially available nootropics have been clinically studied and shown to have positive health effects, there is still a lot to be learned about their mechanism of action and long-term effects before they can be declared safe and effective for use by healthy people.

Studies have revealed numerous potential benefits of phenibut when used by individuals who suffer from anxiety and other mental problems, but despite the short-term benefits, there is no evidence that long-term supplementation does more good than harm.

The benefits of these supplements are often overstated by manufacturers and commercial websites, which should always be looked at with a critical eye.

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  1. Robert 4 weeks ago
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