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The Top 10 Best Phenibut Alternatives for Stress Reduction and Healthy Sleep

In this article, we explore the Top 10 Phenibut alternatives available today. These naturally-derived dietary supplements are able to provide similar benefits to those of Phenibut, but with a lower risk of overuse/abuse or side effects. While natural supplements are often thought to be milder in their effects, many of these supplements are very powerful and can definitely be considered on par with Phenibut’s effects.

This article is especially useful for anyone who has used Phenibut in the past but experienced difficulties in terms of side effects or overuse; or for somebody looking for the benefits offered by Phenibut but who would prefer using a supplement with less risk of adverse effects or simply prefers taking supplements of natural origins.

top phenibut alternatives cover pic

Why Phenibut?

Many people around the world take Phenibut as a powerful mood-boosting and stress-reducing dietary supplement. When taken at the recommended serving size, Phenibut helps to promote a healthy mood, as well as supporting feelings of relaxation and sociability.[1] It is often preferred by people who tend to be very busy or have a lot of stress in their lives, as a way to calm the mind and help support healthy sleep.

This Russian-developed compound targets areas in the brain called GABA-receptors.[2] GABA is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for ‘dulling’ the signals sent from the Central Nervous System (CNS) to the brain. This is especially important to help with promoting sleep at night and is also essential for maintaining a balanced mood and nervous system. In fact, GABA is so effective at calming the body that many tranquillizers and sedatives target similar receptors in the brain. Alcohol, for example, is a GABA agonist, meaning that it activates GABA receptors.

In general, GABA-agonists are known for their efficacy in reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and supporting a healthy mood, as well as being useful at helping with sleep. However, most compounds that activate GABA receptors have a drawback of making people feel tired or groggy, and negatively affecting motor coordination. Phenibut is unique because it was specially engineered to deliver the benefits of GABA activation without the sedative-like side-effects that categorize this group of compounds, and this is the reason why so many people around the world love using it.

 

Why Do People Search for Phenibut Alternatives?

phenibut-for-stress-reductionDespite the pleasant benefits of Phenibut, it needs to be used responsibly and with care. Unlikely most dietary supplements, Phenibut is not of natural origins. It is typically synthesized in a laboratory and was originally designed to help improve the efficiency of Russian cosmonauts in space.[3] This means that it needs to be taken at the correct serving size and cycled correct, to avoid the risk of experiencing unpleasant adverse effects.

The recommended serving size is between 500 – 2000 mg per day, taken in 2-3 smaller split servings. Never take more than 1000 mg of Phenibut in a single serving, and do not use more than twice per week. A smaller serving size is better to promote a mild improvement in mood and reducing stress. Smaller servings are ideal for promoting better sociability. At larger servings, the sleep-promoting benefits of this supplement become more apparent.

There are some important reasons why people search online for Phenibut alternatives. Mostly, these relate to the potential adverse effects from overusing this supplement. The three most important reasons why some people prefer Phenibut alternatives are that they encounter:

 

1.     Phenibut Side Effects

phenibut headaches and side effectsThe most common reason that people choose to seek out different, but similar, supplements to Phenibut is because they experience some form of side effect. Side effects are generally uncommon at the recommended serving size, but some people can have a great sensitivity and be more prone to encountering these adverse effects.

Phenibut side effects can include one or more of the following: nausea, sedation, irritability and agitation, anxiety, headache, dizziness, allergic reactions. At larger servings, some people encounter adverse effects like motor impairment, loss of balance, and hangovers.[4] That being said, the overwhelming majority of people who use this supplement are able to do so without experiencing any of the above mentioned negative effects.

 

2.     Phenibut Withdrawal

phenibut withdrawalThis is the reason why it is so important to use Phenibut responsibly – within the recommended serving size and not more than twice per week. The reason for this is that it is possible to build a tolerance to Phenibut’s effects over time and when used at large servings, which can lead to dependence.

If you regularly take large Phenibut servings or use it for days or weeks consistently, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping. Symptoms of Phenibut withdrawal can include negative thoughts, depression, lethargy, prolonged insomnia, persistent restlessness, stress and panic attacks. At least one person experienced mild and temporary psychosis as a result of withdrawal symptoms from prolonged heavy Phenibut intake. [5]

 

3.     Interactions and Overdose

Phenibut, being a GABA agonist supplement, has the potential to interact with a number of other supplements and compounds. It is very important to consult with your doctor before taking this supplement if you are using any medication or have any underlying medical conditions. The most important interactions to be aware of are between Phenibut and alcohol, and between Phenibut and benzodiazepines.[6]

phenibut interactions and safetyUnlike most naturally-derived supplements, which are generally safe at all serving sizes, Phenibut can be dangerous to your health if taken above the recommended serving suggestion. Taking this supplement at servings above those recommended on the bottle can lead to adverse effects, and can potentially land you in hospital.

It is important to remember that, although Phenibut is sold online as a dietary supplement and has helped many people around the world to deal with stress and to improve their mood and sleep patterns, it is not like other ‘natural’ supplements, and has the potential to cause harm to your body if taken irresponsibly. If you feel that you may not be able to use Phenibut responsibly, we highly recommend checking out these Top 10 Phenibut alternatives below:

 

Top 10 Phenibut Alternatives

1.     LiftMode’s Sleep Capsules

  • Combination of Four Top Supplements in a Single Capsule
  • Promotes Strong Feelings of Calm & Relaxation
  • Assists with Healthy Sleep and Stress-Reduction

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★★★

liftmode's sleep caps - great phenibut alternativesThis great new addition to LiftMode’s catalogue provides the user with no less than four top calming supplements in a single capsule. The supplement stack is specially formulated to provide the best combination of naturally-derived supplements for stress-reduction, mood-boost and to promote healthy sleep.

In terms of its similarity to Phenibut, this is, most likely, as close as you’ll get with an alternative. The Sleep Aid capsules contain a combination of Melatonin, Oleamide, Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and L-Tetrahydropalmatine (L-THP) – all of natural origins, and without any of the potential hazards of using Phenibut. Our favourite Phenibut alternative on this list!

 

2.     GABA

  • Great for Supporting Healthy Sleep
  • Provides a Natural Serving of GABA: The Calming Neurotransmitter
  • Helps to Promote a Healthy Immune System

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★☆☆

GABA alternativeGABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a well-known calming neurotransmitter. As a natural hormone, it helps the body to ‘dull’ signals from the immune system, promoting rest, relaxation, and stress-reduction.[7] Many calming supplements and compounds target GABA receptors in the brain, and by using this supplement, you simply make more GABA available in the body.

The best-known effects of GABA supplements are for reducing stress and promoting healthy sleep. Studies have pointed to its efficacy at reducing the time taken to fall asleep.[8] However, it is not known to produce the same mood-boosting effects as Phenibut. We’d recommend this Phenibut alternative to someone who is more interested in a stress-reducing and sleep-promoting supplement.

 

3.     5-HTP

  • Significant Improvements in Mood
  • Helps to Maintain a Healthy Metabolism
  • Supports Healthy Sleep

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★☆☆

5-HTP great for mood and sleep5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a powerful amino-acid and the biochemical precursor to serotonin. When you take 5-HTP supplements, a large amount of this becomes available in the brain to synthesize serotonin, a vital neurotransmitter for supporting a healthy mood.[9]

Serotonin is also important for maintaining physiological and psychological functions in the body. These include supporting a healthy emotional state, promoting healthy sleep, and support for a healthy appetite, memory, learning, sex drive, immune systems, and muscle tone.[10] 5-HTP supplements are typically extracted from a plant called Griffonia Simplicifolia, which contains concentrations as high as 20%! Recommended especially to people who enjoy the mood-lifting effects of Phenibut.

 

4.     L-Theanine + Caffeine

  • Powerful Cognitive Enhancer
  • Strong Mood Booster
  • Energizing and Stimulating

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★☆☆☆

The combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine is especially great for people who use Phenibut as a tool to combat stress and improve focus. Although this supplement combination works in a very different way to Phenibut – providing a mental and physical energy boost, in contrast to the more calming and relaxing effects of Phenibut – some of its benefits are seen as similar to those of Phenibut.

For many people, the stress-reducing effects of Phenibut help them to focus better at work or studies. The combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine has been shown to be highly effective at promoting healthy cognitive performance and supporting learning and mental focus.[11] L-Theanine is also well-known for its ability to support relaxation.[12]

 

5.     Magnolia Bark Extract

  • Promotes a Calm, Relaxed State of Mind
  • Effectively Reduces Stress
  • Helps to Support a Healthy Circulatory System

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★★☆

Liftmode Magnolia Bark Extract 20 gramsMagnolia Bark Extract is rich in plant alkaloid compounds called Magnolol and Honokiol. Both of these alkaloids have been studied in depth for their ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and to support a positive mood.[13] Studies have also indicated the potential to use this great plant-extract as a natural sleep aid since it is effective in reducing the time taken to fall asleep.[14]

Magnolia Bark Extract has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries, as a health-promoting remedy. Its traditional name is Houpu. Some people use this supplement for its potential cognitive benefits, although these are still being studied in more detail. This is one of our top Phenibut alternatives because of its similarity in terms of benefits on mood, stress, and sleep promotion.

 

6.     Oleamide

  • Relaxation and Mood-lift
  • Supports Healthy Sleep
  • Neuroprotector and Anti-inflammatory

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★☆☆

Oleamide 50 gramsOleamide (cis-9,10-octadecenoamide) is a naturally-occurring fatty acid that is produced by the human brain to help promote sleep. It is a derivative of oleic acid, which is found in olive oil. When used as a dietary supplement, Oleamide is great for promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and improving mood.[15] Additionally, studies have shown that Oleamide is effective at reducing the time taken to fall asleep and also at protecting the brain from stress.[16]

Some people think of Oleamide as a ‘lighter’ version of Phenibut. It must be said, however, that it’s sleep-promoting effects are generally considered better than those of Phenibut. It is a little lighter on the mood-boosting and sociability-enhancing effects but is also without the potential for adverse effects.

 

7.     Baicalin

  • Powerful Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory
  • Promotes a Healthy Circulatory System
  • Used for Vitality, Relaxation, and Well-Being

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★★☆

baicalin-50-grams-liftmodeBaicalin is one of our all-time favourite health-promoting supplements and a powerful bioflavonoid. It is the active compound found in the Chinese Skullcap and is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has been used for centuries for promoting health, vitality and relaxation. Studies have indicated that Baicalin has strong anti-stress benefits and can help to support a healthy brain.[17]

Like Phenibut, Baicalin acts on GABA receptors, albeit at a slightly lower potency.[18] One of the top things about this supplement is that it is very soluble in water, so it can easily be dissolved in a healthy juice for breakfast, to kick-start your day! All-in-all, this natural alternative comes really close to Phenibut’s effects and is easily one of our top recommendations. We love that it packs in a health-boosting punch in addition to it’s Phenibut-like effects.

 

8.     Melatonin

  • One of the World’s Best Natural Sleep Aids
  • Potent Antioxidant Benefits for Good Health
  • Helps to Improve Mood

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★☆☆

melatonin one of the top phenibut alternativesMelatonin is one of the best-known natural sleep aids available today. It is the brain’s ‘sleep hormone’ and is responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland from serotonin, in response to changes in the dark-light cycle.[19] Melatonin supplements are also great antioxidants and help to support a healthy body by destroying dangerous ‘free-radicals’.[20]

Melatonin is recommended as a natural alternative for people who use Phenibut for its sleep-promoting effects. Study-after-study has indicated that Melatonin supplements are effective, not only at reducing the time taken to fall asleep but also at improving overall sleep quality. Some people who take Melatonin claim that it also helps to promote an improved mood and to support feelings of well-being.

 

9.     L-Tetrahydropalmatine (L-THP)

  • Blocks voltage-activated L-type calcium channels
  • Promotes a healthy circulatory system
  • Works as an anti-stress and calming supplement

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★★☆

L-Tetrahydropalmatine from LiftModeLevo-Tetrahydropalmatine (L-THP) is a plant compound found in Corydalis yanhusuo – which is an essential component to many Traditional Chinese remedies. This plant extract has been used for centuries as a herbal health tonic. Pure L-THP has been available in China for over half a century, where it is used as a pain-relief and anti-inflammatory compound. As a dietary supplement, it is best known for its beneficial effects on dopamine receptors, and for helping to reduce sensations of pain.[21]

Just like Phenibut, and unlike any of the other alternatives on this list, L-THP is a powerful blocker of calcium-gated channels (Ca2+ channel blocker).[22] This means that it prevents calcium from entering into the cells of the heart and blood vessel walls, which helps to support a healthy circulatory system. 

BONUS TIP: We recommend trying a combination of L-THP, taken along with either of our 4-star Phenibut alternatives: Baicalin or Magnolia Bark Extract.

This natural combination mimics both of Phenibut’s key mechanisms: Ca2+ channel blocking, along with stress-reducing GABA-binding effects. In fact, it may just be the best bet for producing a really powerful natural alternative!

 

10.  Agmatine Sulphate

  • Supports cognitive health
  • Helps to reduce stress and promote a healthy mood
  • May help with fitness performance and to support a healthy circulatory system

 

Similarity to Phenibut: ★★★☆☆

agmatine sulfate 500 gramsAgmatine sulphate is a neurotransmitter that has only recently been understood. It is used for receptor signalling in pathways of the central nervous system (CNS) and is stored in the synaptic vessels.[23] Recent studies of Agmatine suggest that it has some great benefits, that may be very similar to those of Phenibut. The results of these studies are echoed by Agmatine reviews on internet forums. Its benefits include reducing feelings of stress, promoting an improved mood, and also good support for cognition, learning, and memory.

Like Phenibut, Agmatine may also provide neuroprotective benefits and support a healthy circulatory system.[24] It is found in many food sources and is produced naturally in the human body. As a result, Agmatine is generally considered safe for use and relatively free of side effects. As a result, it is a great alternative for people who enjoy the cognitive effects of Phenibut but are concerned about potential adverse effects.

 

Other Alternatives

There are a number of different Phenibut alternatives that could also be beneficial but are not currently offered on LiftMode.com. Although these products are not currently listed on our catalogue, we are working to include more of them in the future. Stay tuned for more information!  Other Phenibut alternatives include:

lavender oil for stress reductionAshwagandha: Also called 'Indian Ginseng', it is a part of Ayurvedic medicine, where it is used to maintain youth. It has effective benefits for pain-relief and stress reduction.

Lemon Balm: Traditionally used to improve mood and cognitive function. Recent research points to its additional benefits in reducing stress.

Passion Flower: Also known as Passiflora, this plant extract was long used by Native Americans for a variety of conditions. Some studies point towards its benefits on stress reduction and mood, through GABA receptors.

Kava: A plant endemic to the South Pacific islands and long used as a ceremonial drink to promote relaxation. Recent studies point to its stress-reducing and sleep-promoting effects.

Mulungu: Used for centuries by indigenous people in the Central and South Americas, the bark of the Mulungu tree is effective at supporting a healthy mood and reducing stress.

Magnesium: Magnesium, especially when taken in an easily-absorbable form, appears to be effective at reducing stress - which, scientists say, may be the result of a nutrient deficiency.

Lavender Oil: Lavender has been used in aromatherapy since ancient times for many different conditions. Today, research suggests it may be an effective means of reducing stress without the potential for abuse.

 

Conclusion

In summary, Phenibut is a fantastic dietary supplement for supporting a healthy mood, reducing stress, and promoting restful sleep. Thousands of people around the world successfully use this supplement without experiencing any negative side effects. However, it needs to be used responsibly. Overuse can be detrimental to your health. As a result, many people online are searching for natural/safer Phenibut alternatives.

Our favourite Phenibut alternatives include LiftMode Sleep Capsules and a combination of Levo-Tetrahydropalmatine (L-THP) with either Baicalin or Magnolia Bark Extract. This combination mimics the biological mechanisms underlying Phenibut’s effects, using naturally-derived supplements without the risk of adverse effects. There are many other dietary supplements that mimic one or more of Phenibut’s benefits, although often with slightly milder effects.

phenibut alternatives for stress reduction

References:

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[2] Lapin I. Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug. CNS Drug Rev. 2001 Winter;7(4):471-81.

[3] Högberg L, Szabó I, Ruusa J. [Phenibut yielded withdrawal symptoms and psychosis. Drugs for cosmonauts--now marketed as dietary supplements online]. (Article in Swedish). Lakartidningen. 2013 Apr 17-23;110(16):825-7.

[4] Phenibut. (2018). WebMD.com, available online from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1184/phenibut [Accessed August 3, 2018]

[5] Högberg L, Szabó I, Ruusa J. Psychotic symptoms during Phenibut (beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid) withdrawal., Journal of Substance Use. 2013, 18(4): 335-338

[6] Samokhvalov AV, Paton-Gay CL, Balchand K, Rehm J. Phenibut dependence. BMJ Case Reports. 2013;2013:bcr2012008381.

[7] Wu C, Sun D. GABA receptors in brain development, function, and injury. Metabolic brain disease. 2015;30(2):367-379.

[8] Boonstra E, de Kleijn R, Colzato LS, Alkemade A, Forstmann BU, Nieuwenhuis S. Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior. Frontiers in Psychology. 2015;6:1520.

[9] Hinz M, Stein A, Uncini T. 5-HTP efficacy and contraindications. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2012;8:323-328.

[10] Mohammad-Zadeh LF, Moses L, Gwaltney-Brant SM. Serotonin: a review. J Vet Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Jun;31(3):187-99.

[11] Kahathuduwa CN, Dassanayake TL, Amarakoon AMT, Weerasinghe VS. Acute effects of theanine, caffeine and theanine-caffeine combination on attention. Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Jul;20(6):369-377.

[12] Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45.

[13] Rempel V, Fuchs A, Hinz S, et al. Magnolia Extract, Magnolol, and Metabolites: Activation of Cannabinoid CB2 Receptors and Blockade of the Related GPR55. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2013;4(1):41-45.

[14] Woodbury A, Yu SP, Wei L, García P. Neuro-Modulating Effects of Honokiol: A Review. Frontiers in Neurology. 2013;4:130.

[15] Boger DL, Henriksen SJ, Cravatt BF. Oleamide: an endogenous sleep-inducing lipid and prototypical member of a new class of biological signaling molecules. Curr Pharm Des. 1998 Aug;4(4):303-14.

[16] Coyne L, Lees G, Nicholson RA, Zheng J, Neufield KD. The sleep hormone oleamide modulates inhibitory ionotropic receptors in mammalian CNS in vitro. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2002;135(8):1977-1987.

[17] Srinivas NR. Baicalin, an emerging multi-therapeutic agent: pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and considerations from drug development perspectives. Xenobiotica. 2010 May;40(5):357-67.

[18] Wang F, Xu Z, Ren L, Tsang SY, Xue H. GABA A receptor subtype selectivity underlying selective anxiolytic effect of baicalin. Neuropharmacology. 2008 Dec;55(7):1231-7.

[19] Costello RB, Lentino CV, Boyd CC, et al. The effectiveness of melatonin for promoting healthy sleep: a rapid evidence assessment of the literature. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:106.

[20] Reiter RJ, Tan DX, Mayo JC, Sainz RM, Leon J, Czarnocki Z. Melatonin as an antioxidant: biochemical mechanisms and pathophysiological implications in humans. Acta Biochim Pol. 2003;50(4):1129-46.

[21] Gong X, Yue K, Ma B, Xing J, Gan Y, Wang D, Jin G, Li C. Levo-tetrahydropalmatine, a natural, mixed dopamine receptor antagonist, inhibits methamphetamine self-administration and methamphetamine-induced reinstatement. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2016 May;144:67-72

[22] Liu TT, Qu ZW, Qiu CY, Qiu F, Ren C, Gan X, Peng F, Hu WP. Inhibition of acid-sensing ion channels by levo-tetrahydropalmatine in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. J Neurosci Res. 2015 Feb;93(2):333-9.

 [23] Halaris A, Plietz J. Agmatine: metabolic pathway and spectrum of activity in brain. CNS Drugs. 2007;21(11):885-900.

[24] Xu W, Gao L, Li T, Shao A, Zhang J. Neuroprotective role of Agmatine in Neurological Diseases. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2017 Aug 8