Phenibut for Less Stress, Less Anxiety and Better Sleep

26/05/2014 Tags: all, mood

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Phenibut is a nootropic supplement that is derived from the naturally occurring compound gamma-aminobutyric acid, more commonly known as GABA. This supplement is used by many for its anxiolytic properties which make it useful for sufferers of anxiety disorders and depression alike. Others use Phenibut to promote more restful sleep or correct disruptions to sleep cycles, while it may also have some cognitive enhancing benefits. It works using different mechanisms and like most nootropics, has a good safety and toxicity profile when used correctly. This article is aimed at describing some of the benefits, mechanisms, potential side effects and usage guidelines associated with this nootropic supplement.


What are the Benefits of Phenibut?

phenibut stressOne of the major benefits of this nootropic is its mood modulating properties. Phenibut is considered to be an anxiolytic supplement which means it has the ability to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. This makes it useful in lessening the symptoms associated with various types of anxiety disorder as well as depression. Phenibut may be particularly useful for social anxiety, a disorder characterised by feelings of tension in response to certain social situations. As well as calming an overactive anxious mind, they can serve to lower unnecessary inhibitions which may otherwise prevent sufferers from carrying out successful social interactions. By lowering stress levels, it can prevent damage to the heart and neurons caused by stress hormones.

phenibut anxietyUnlike a number of other anxiolytic supplements such as Valium, Phenibut also has the added benefit of not reducing cognitive function. In fact, quite the opposite may be true as this supplement appears to possess some modest cognitive enhancing properties. Though studies that explore this relationship are somewhat limited, experimental evidence does seem to suggest that Phenibut can enhance interhemispheric communications between the left and right sides of the brain. Better global brain function in this regard is thought to be associated with the ability to think more creatively and solve problems. Additionally, other evidence points to the idea that learning and memory may also see improvements with this supplement, but more detailed research is required to substantiate these claims. Some users have also reported that this supplement provides them with a greater ability to concentrate and maintain focus.

Another reason many people use Phenibut is its ataractic or sedative effects which can be invaluable in providing more restful sleep. For example, some individuals find it difficult to fall asleep because they have trouble “switching off” or are preoccupied with anxious thoughts. Phenibut can help to inhibit overactive and anxious thought processes, making it much easier to drift off. Others may have trouble staying asleep during the night but a dose of Phenibut before bed can prevent you from waking up prematurely with its long lasting action. As this supplement helps you to remain asleep, you are more likely to achieve a sufficient amount of time in deep sleep stages, particularly the REM stage that is required for good quality, restful sleep. Not only will this help you to feel more rested, but a good night’s sleep can also indirectly contribute to better cognitive performance.


How Does Phenibut Work?

phenibut moleculePhenibut is essentially a variation of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter known as GABA. Many substances including GABA would be useless as a supplement as they would not be able to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) to reach their target cells in the brain. The BBB is a kind of biological filter that regulates the type of materials that can pass from the blood stream into the brain. However, unlike GABA Phenibut possesses an additional phenyl ring allowing it to cross the BBB with relative ease.

Upon reaching the brain Phenibut functions as a GABA agonist meaning that it can activate receptor groups that normally correspond to GABA. It is believed that Phenibut binds to GABAB metabotropic receptors that are responsible for the sedative effects of other substances including baclofen and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). There is some disagreement in the literature as to whether Phenibut also acts on GABAA receptors, with some researchers suggesting this is possible at higher concentrations. These GABAA ionotropic receptors are responsible for some of the calming and inhibitory effects seen with alcohol consumption.

phenibut brainActivation of these receptor types can cause a highly negative charge to build in the neuron known as hyperpolarisation. This is achieved by allowing negative chloride ions to enter the neuron, while allowing positive potassium ions out. As a result, any excitatory signals will have to overcome a more negative charge than under normal conditions in order to propagate additional excitatory action potentials. This mechanism can be useful in helping to pacify excessive brain activity that is commonly associated with anxiety disorders, as well as promoting feelings of calm, relaxing muscles and providing other effects similar to sedatives. Some experimental evidence has suggested additional anxiety reducing mechanisms where Phenibut works to antagonise the anxiogenic effects of an endogenous substance known as phenethylamine.


Phenibut Dosage

Phenibut has a wide range of benefits but if used improperly can have a number of negative side effects and thus dosage control with this supplement is particularly important. Phenibut has a recommended dosage of 250 to 1,000mg per day; however, you are advised to start with relatively small dosages. This will allow your body sufficient time to adjust to the supplement, after which you may slowly increase the dosage as needed. Unlike many other nootropic supplements, Phenibut has a relatively long half-life meaning that effects from one dosage may last for up to a day. Due to this, you are not likely to require more than a single dosage of Phenibut in the course of a day, and are advised to allow around 4 to 6 hours if you do choose to use an additional administration. As Phenibut is soluble in water it can be mixed into a drink for the purposes of administration, however its sour taste means that most people opt for the pill format which also provides greater convenience.


Potential Side Effects of Phenibut

While Phenibut is generally considered to be safe when used according to dosage guidelines, exceeding the recommended dosage is known to cause some mild side effects. It is also highly advised against using Phenibut in conjunction with other similar substances as the cumulative effects pose the risk of more serious side effects. Side effects that are commonly seen with Phenibut use include headaches, nausea, fatigue, feeling lightheaded, gastrointestinal discomfort and in more extreme cases, memory loss and unconsciousness. Some online users have also reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms with the use of this supplement and as such, Phenibut should not be used for prolonged periods as a precautionary measure.