Effectiveness of Phenibut for the Treatment of Anxiety and Stress

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Phenibut is a compound derived from GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter in the brain thought to be responsible for the regulation of sleep cycles, anxiety, depression, and stress. This compound was developed in the former Soviet Union where it became famous as being a part of a cosmonaut’s medical kit as a treatment for stress during the Apollo-Soyuz space missions. Phenibut has been prescribed in Russia as a treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and insomnia.

There are a lot of benefits associated with increased levels of GABA levels in the brain. Supplementing with it however, is not too practical as it is known to have poor bioavailability when it is taken via oral administration and it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. The addition of phenyl in the structure of GABA in Phenibut allows for it to be absorbed much more efficiently. Once phenibut has been absorbed into the system and crosses the blood-brain barrier, it stimulates the GABA receptors in the brain giving off a relaxing effect on the user.

Phenibut was developed in the 1960s in the Soviet Union at the Academy of Medical Sciences USSR and the I. M. Herzen Leningrad Pedagogical Institute USSR. Its ability to reduce stress without affecting performance made it a good alternative to tranquilizers for Soviet cosmonauts. In some cases however, Phenibut has also been observed to have a sedating effect and also acts as a muscle relaxant. It is generally taken as a sleep aid, especially in the US where it is being sold as a dietary supplement.

Manufacturers and distributors of Phenibut in the US also claim that it has nootropic effects and has the ability to improve memory, learning abilities, and logical reasoning. However, there are no clinical studies to support this claim. As a matter of fact, its sedating effect is opposite to the usual effects associated with nootropics, which is stimulatory.

Phenibut benefitsThe effectiveness of Phenibut as an anxiolytic has earned the supplement quite a following in North America. This ability of Phenibut may help improve the cognitive processes to a certain extent as it relaxes overactive neurons thereby helping improve the processing of data in the brain. Nootropic users usually add anxiolytics to their nootropic stacks in order to offset the edginess and jittery effect that some potent nootropics are known to have.

Sleeplessness and insomnia is also a common side effect among nootropic users who use potent cognitive enhancers. In this regard, the ability of Phenibut to regulate sleep cycles makes it a welcome addition to a nootropic stack. One study also seems to point out that Phenibut does have a direct nootropic effect. This study showed that Phenibut helped facilitate the synaptic exchanges between the two hemispheres of the brain. An improved communication between the two hemispheres of the brain is believed to result in better problem solving skills as well as improved creativity.

The common complaint about Phenibut is that it causes undue sleepiness without warning at any given time of the day. This effect not only limits the user’s productivity, but it likewise impairs the cognitive processes somewhat.  The effects of Phenibut also takes time before it actually becomes noticeable, which is perhaps the same reason why it is blamed for drowsiness during times when it is inconvenient during the day. One can also build a tolerance for Phenibut, which is why it is advisable to cycle with it. Being a GABBA b agonist, it may also cause fatty liver and have side effects similar to alcoholism.

PROS

  1. It can be a good sleep aid.
  2. It is an effective anxiolytic.
  3. It can improve your creativity.
  4. It can complement your existing nootropic stack.

CONS

  1. It has limited cognitive enhancing effects.
  2. It can cause drowsiness during the day.
  3. You can build a tolerance for it.
  4. It has similar side effects to alcoholism.

The recommended dosage for Phenibut is 200 to 1,000mg per day, preferably on a 5-2 on off cycles. As with other supplements, it will be wise to consult a doctor prior to supplementation.

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