Sunifiram is a more advanced nootropic supplement currently available. It was first researched around 2000, and although it has only been available for the public to buy, for the last few years, it has gained lots of attention and respect from nootropics researchers. Though still deemed to be "experimental", reviews have claimed a wide range of potent cognitive benefits, including enhanced memory, learning, alertness, attention and decision making. Beware...Sunifiram is a remarkably potent supplement, and believed to be around 1000 times the strength of Piracetam. This article covers some of the basic information that researchers should think about, before using this potent nootropic.
Benefits and Mechanisms of Sunifiram
Sunifiram has a mechanism of action that stimulates many of the receptor groups found in other nootropics, but in different ways. This supplement works primarily on AMPA receptors and is known as an ampakine. AMPA receptors are associated with glutamate, which is an important neurotransmitter that is related to many facets of cognition. To understand how this is significant it is a good idea to gain some basic knowledge of how the brain works.
The brain is composed of a network of brain cells known as neurons that communicate with one another using electrical impulses known as action potentials. These neurons have a number of extensions from their cell body (known as axons or dendrites) that branch out and form connections with other neurons. Where these axons and dendrites are in close proximity, a synapse may be formed. Information and memories in the brain are stored and represented by these synaptic connections. Our brain’s ability to form, destroy, strengthen and weaken such connections is known collectively as synaptic plasticity. This is significant to the mechanism of Sunifiram as activation of AMPA receptors is thought to increase synaptic plasticity and this is where many of the supplements benefits are derived. With a greater degree of synaptic plasticity, an individual will be able to form and recall memories more effectively, as well as learn new information with greater ease.
Glutamate activity is also linked to a particular type of synaptic plasticity known as long-term potentiation (LTP). This refers to the strengthening of synaptic connections between two neurons that fire synchronously. This is a useful mechanism as two neurons firing at the same time will often be part of the same pathway or response on a cellular level, so it makes sense to strengthen this connection for when it is used in the future. LTP is a particularly important function that underpins memory formation, and the effects of Sunifiram appear to be especially prominent in a region of the brain known as the hippocampus. This brain region is intimately linked with the formation of declarative and long term memory. This former type of memory refers to memories that can be consciously recalled, such as knowledge or facts, as opposed to procedural memory (memories of how to perform a particular skill such as playing a guitar). This means that Sunifiram makes an excellent nootropic for study purposes as it can help a user to remember facts and figures with greater ease.
These memory boosting benefits are not only useful to healthy individuals; Sunifiram is currently under investigation as a treatment for memory deficits that are related to cognitive impairment. A study carried out in 2013 used a group of mice that had memory deficits caused by removal of the olfactory bulb. Upon administering Sunifiram, researchers found that this supplement was able to restore lost LTP function in the hippocampal regions of the brain. These effects are believed to be linked to molecules known as protein kinases (calmodulin dependent protein kinase II and protein kinase C) that affect the density of dendrites in the post synaptic neuron following LTP. While there is limited research on such effects in humans, this supplement may one day prove useful in the treatment of certain neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and various types of dementia.
Sunifiram is although thought to affect other neurotransmitters, namely acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is known to be linked to several important cognitive functions that include modulating plasticity, arousal, reward, decision making and attention, while deficits of this neurotransmitter have been highlighted as a possible causal factor in depression as well as linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Acetylcholine release is particularly prominent in the cerebral cortex where it can contribute to enhance learning, focus and memory. Interestingly, this neurotransmitter also increases the brains responsiveness to various types of sensory stimuli. Higher levels of acetylcholine have been observed to increase neuron firing rate. In behavioural terms, this correlates to higher levels of attention while some users have also reported gaining a greater level of perceptual awareness.
Acetylcholine is also thought to improve interhemispheric communication between left and right brain hemispheres. It is often thought that each side of the brain performs different tasks, a theory known as lateralisation of brain function. However this theory has been highly distorted in pop psychology and it appears that most high level brain functions are dependent on communication between these two halves. We know this as split brain patients who have had their corpus callosum severed (the part of the brain that joins the left and right halves) struggle to perform particular tasks. For example such patients when shown an object may not be able to name the object due to severed communication between visual and language centres that reside in different sides of the brain. Thus, it stands to reason that by increasing the strength of communication between brain hemispheres, many cognitive functions can be improved. This applies to skill such as logic and pattern recognition as well as social acuity.
Individuals using Sunifiram on a regular basis commonly report that it has ergogenic and stimulant-like effects similar to smart drugs such as Adderall. Sunifiram allows users to increase their levels of perceived mental energy, concentration and attention without the dangerous side effects that are commonly associated with amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin. Other users report that this supplement provides a boost to motivation, allowing them to easily avoid procrastinating over study or work related tasks.
Additionally, user reviews suggest that Sunifiram has some slight mood modulating effects with the ability to reduce anxiety and stress while promoting more positive moods. There are even some who report that this supplement can have an aphrodisiac effect, helping to increase sex drive in both men and women, while increased perceptions may also aid in improving one’s sex life. While these effects have not yet been studied, there are theories that suggest Sunifiram can increase blood flow to the genitals as well as other pleasure centres in the body.
Sunifiram is an extremely potent supplement, even when compared to some of the strongest racetams such as Pramiracetam. Users will notice benefits with dosages of only 4mg, although many individuals typically use between 5 to 8mg in a single dose, with more stimulant-like effects seen with slightly higher doses of around 10mg. While using doses of Sunifiram up to 10mg is not considered to be toxic or likely to cause dangerous side effects, some users may see an increase in body temperature and perspiration. Those that are new to this nootropic are advised to start with a relatively low dose around 3mg, and only increase this dosage if needed after a one or two weeks.
Potential Side Effects
Sunifiram is widely considered to be safe and exhibits no severe side effects when used according to dosage guidelines. However, evidence from numerous user reviews suggests that many individuals use this supplement with few or no side effects at all. Some of the mild side effects that may be encountered with Sunifiram include headaches (which may be easily counteracted with the use of additional choline supplements), anxiety or foggy thoughts as the supplement is cleared from the body, insomnia or disruption to sleep patterns if taken late in the day, indigestion or nausea, and jitters or perspiration when using doses in excess of 10mg.