What Are Disulfides?

Disulfides are a group of compounds with the general structure expressed as R-S-S-R’. In biochemistry, this linkage is referred to us a disulfide bridge or SS-bond. In very simple terms, disulfides are basically chemical compounds containing two sulfur atoms combined with other radicals or elements.

Sulfur occurs in our bodies mainly as a constituent of methionine and cysteine. The disulfide linkage formed between two cysteine residues contributes to the rigidity of many proteins and enzymes. It’s also an important constituent of thiamin (Vitamin B1) found in many drugs and supplements.

Sulfur-containing drugs and supplements have been used in a wide variety of treatments. Among these are nootropic supplements, which are known to enhance cognitive and mental performance. The most popular nootropics in the market classified as disulfides are Pyritinol and Sulbutiamine. Below is a comparison of the two and how each of them can help improve your mental performance and overall health.

2 Common Disulfides ~ Pyritinol vs Sulbutiamine

Pyritinol and Sulbutiamine are frequently compared anxiolytic nootropics with similar effects and mechanisms of action in the brain. They are both well known to reduce signs of stress and anxiety, increasing alertness and focus and promoting more efficient cognitive processing.

These two are classified under vitamin B family and are known to easily cross the blood-brain barrier to the central nervous system where they exert their influence. Both Pyritinol and Sulbutiamine seem to their primary effects to the human brain such improved memory, focus, mental clarity and learning capacity.

Where they seem to differ is in their chemical structure, as well as a few of the peripheral benefits offered by each. Even though these two disulfides share most of their benefits, there is quite a different experience when using Pyritinol vs. Sulbutiamine.

So, what are the main differences between the two nootropics, and how do you know which one is right for you?

Sulbutiamine overview

Sulbutiamine is a synthetic form of thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. Chemically, it’s an isobutyryl thiamine disulfide type of fat-soluble vitamin. This supplement is designed to improve energy transmissions within the nervous system, as well as proper energy metabolism. Some studies have shown that it can also be used in the treatment of insomnia and fatigue.

The main purpose of designing Sulbutiamine supplement was to take care of effects of vitamin B1 deficiency. Vitamin B1 deficiency is commonly associated with memory lapses, decreased attention span, mood swings, acute depression and reduced alertness. Beyond vitamin B deficiency, people have used Sulbutiamine to benefit from its ability to improve mood, increase energy and enhance cognitive performance.

Sulbutiamine benefits include…

  • Increased alertness and energy levels

Sulbutiamine is known for boosting energy metabolism, which stimulates the ability of users to concentrate on their specific tasks. For this reason, it’s commonly used as a study aid to boost focus and concentration

  • Improved memory

Numerous studies have associated Sulbutiamine with improved memory as a result of enhanced glutaminergic and cholinergic transmission. Doctors have explored this property in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia patients too.

  • Reduced anxiety and improved mood

This is another property that Sulbutiamine shares with Pyritinol. It’s known to reduce stress-induced anxiety as well as prevent mood swings. Sulbutiamine stimulates dopamine in the brain to increase focus and reduce nervousness.

  • Effects on erectile dysfunction

A study carried out on 20 patients suffering from erectile dysfunction showed significant improvement in 16 patients –with 10 of them experiencing full recovery in a period of 5 days.

Pyritinol overview

Pyritinol is chemically known as Pyridoxine disulfide. It might not be a very common nootropic, but it packs very powerful cognitive and mental benefits. Like Sulbutiamine, it has been used to enhance cognitive functions and to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Due to its benefits in comparison to Sulbutiamine and other popular nootropics, some users have considered it to be highly under-rated.

Pyritinol delivers its benefits through various mechanisms. The most common mode of action is by improving the blood flow and glucose metabolism in the brain. These helps to prevent damages in the nerves and loss of flood flow. It may also help in protecting the brain under situations of disturbed glucose metabolism –this property has been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients and also to cure alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Pyritinol benefits include…

  • Enhance cognitive function

By increasing glucose utilization, Pyritinol boost levels on energy in the brain which improves cognitive functions such as concentration, decision making, impulse control as well as eliminating brain fog.

  • Anti-hangover stimulant

Pyritinol is regarded as a Central Nervous System stimulant, which gives it the ability to treat hangovers as well as boost brain function. It has been utilized by some users in curing the symptoms of alcohol hangover and withdrawal. For this reason, some researchers have reported that Pyritinol is effective in treating ADHD and age-related decline in mental function.

  • Inflammation and the Immune System

Pyritinol is thought to reduce symptoms associated with an autoimmune inflammatory disease known as Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s also associated with enhanced movement and sustainability of neutrophils which are important in defending infection.

  • Antioxidative properties

Pyritinol possesses antioxidative properties that protect the brain against free radicals. Free radicals, if not controlled, can damage the neurons, protein, and even the DNA.


While Pyritinol and Sulbutiamine are not directly interchangeable, we can see that they are quite similar in terms of what they offer to users. However, if you need something more specific such as combating erectile dysfunction or curing hangovers, you have to choose one of this two disulfides basing on the above lists of benefits.

Going by the above two examples, we see that disulfides play a very significant role in critical biochemical processes in our brains and bodies at large. As supplements, disulfides carry invaluable benefits such as enhancing our cognitive performance as well as improving our memory and focus.

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Nicole Sanders

Hi, I'm Nicole, chief editor at Nootropics Revealed. Learn more about me and my mission here.