Quick Phenibut Summary Points
- Phenibut is a derivative of GABA which can cross the blood brain barrier.
- It is chemically synthesised from GABA and is commonly used as a anti-anxiety ingredient and sleep aid.
- Increased calm and deeper sleep may help support growth hormone release.
- Phenibut has also been studied to support performance and wellbeing.
- Phenibut may cause some drowsiness and tolerance can develop leading to higher doses being required.
- 250mg is generally the recommended dose, and you should cycle phenibut containing supplements every 4-6 weeks.
- Phenibut can be stacked with other GH support supplement and casein.
What is Phenibut?
Phenibut (or beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a derivative of GABA (gamma- aminobutyric acid). Unlike GABA, because of the added phenyl group, phenibut is able to easily cross the blood brain barrier, and can consequently exert its functions more effectively on the brain. It has been reported that phenibut is able to improve mental performance as well as reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
Phenibut was first discovered in the former Soviet Union and is chemically synthesised from GABA.
Phenibut has a rich and impressive history. After it was first discovered, it was soon widely used in the USSA, and was even a mandated addition to the kits of Soviet Cosmonauts (equivalent of NASA astronauts) (Lapin, 2009).
Phenibut Benefits for Sleep
The most commonly application for phenibut over the recent years is its use as an anti-anxiety drug and sleeping aid. It has been well documented that phenibut improves sleep quality and duration (Shulgina et al, 2009) as well as having a calming effect that is not a result of sedative effects (Lapin, 2001). Such calming and improved sleep as a result of phenibut supplementation may be beneficial for bodybuilders as growth hormone is secreted during periods of deep sleep, while sleep and rest is also very important for a recover.
Phenibut Benefits for Mental Performance
Animal studies have shown that mice given phenibut resulted in significantly improved reaction times when given a stimulus to respond to. Furthermore, treated animals performed better at other mental performance tests (Lapin, 2009).
Phenibut Benefits for Feelings of Wellbeing
Dopamine is a hormone that is responsible for feelings of wellness and joy, especially after an accomplishment. Phenibut is known to stimulate dopamine receptors (Lapin, 2001), which may result in similar feelings of general wellbeing. Animal studies showed that rabbits showed better signs of coping when challenged with emotionally negative situations after given phenibut (ZyablitsevaI & Pavlova, 2010). Thus, phenibut may be a helpful supplement during periods of stress.
Phenibut Negatives & Side Effects
A potential negative is that research on this ingredient has been primarily performed in Russia. It is therefore difficult to find well designed studies, especially those performed on humans, written in English. It will be interesting to review such findings in the future.
Phenibut has been used widely in Russia for decades and shows a good safety record, especially when compared to alternatives such as benzodiazepine (Shulgina, 1986). However, there have been reported cases over the recent years of people developing tolerance towards the effects of phenibut, which results in higher doses, and ultimately, withdrawal symptoms (Odujebe et al, 2008; Lovisa et al, 2012). These symptoms are said to be similar to benzodiazepine withdrawal, including insomnia, hallucinations, and anxiety. It is therefore recommended that doses should not be elevated, especially beyond that of recommendations.
Phenibut Recommended Doses & Ingredient Timing
The recommended dose is around 250 mg, taken as needed (Makarov et al, 1997). Generally, for enhancing sleep, it is recommended that phenibut is to be taken around two hours before bed. Given the tolerance associated with phenibut, it is also best to cycle its use.
Phenibut can be found as a stand-alone supplement used to treat insomnia, anxiety, or other disorders. It can also sometimes be found as an ingredient in growth hormone supplements. The addition of phenibut to an amino acid mixture designed to promote growth hormone release during sleep works in synergy to maximise this effect.
Phenibut can be stacked with supplements intended for use before sleep. These include growth hormone supplements and micellar casein. However, do not stack phenibut with other sedatives and supplements designed to promote sleep unless under the direction of a health care professional.
Lapin (2001), Phenibut (â-Phenyl-GABA): A Tranquilizer and Nootropic Drug. CNS Drug Reviews, 7: 471-481
Lapin (2009), From the Inside. Luniver Press, Beckington
Lovisa et al (2012), Psychotic symptoms during phenibut (beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid) withdrawal. Journal of Substance Use, doi:10.3109/14659891.2012.668261
Makarov et al (1997), Experimental bases of the use of pharmacologic agents aimed at higher heat resistance of humans as means of individual protection. Med Tr Prom Ekol, 5: 35-38
Odujebe et al (2008), Phenibut Withdrawal - A Novel "Nutritional Supplement". Clinical Toxicology, 46: 605
Shulgina et al (2009), The Influence of Agonists of GABAA and GABAB Receptors on the Formation of the Defensive and Inhibitory Conditioned Reflexes. Doklady Biological Sciences, 429: 497–499
ZyablitsevaI & Pavlova (2010), Effects of the GABA Receptor Agonist Phenibut on Spike Activity and Interactions between Neocortex and Hippocampus Neurons in Emotionally Negative Situations. Neuroscience & Behavioral Physiology, 40: 1001-1011