Benfotiamine is the lipid soluble form of Vitamin B-1. (Lipid soluble meaning that it metablolizes more quickly in the body therefore it is available for use in the body more rapidly than regular Vitamin B-1 or thiamine). This allows it to produce higher levels of thiamine pyrophosphate – the active form of thiamine. It was developed in Japan in the 1960’s for use in treatment of alcoholics.
Benfotiamine has been used in Europe for treatment of diabetes. Researchers have found that there are four biochemical pathways that cause blood vessel damage in daiabetes. Benfotiamine blocks three of them.
In diabetes, all cells are surrounded or bathed in blood that is high in glucose. Most cells can keep their internal glucose levels at a constant. But the cells that line the kidney and the retina cannot, as a result, damage occurs that eventually can lead to blindness and kidney disease.
How does it help diabetes?
Benfotiamine has shown promise in the reduction of damage caused by:
1. Diabetic Neuropathy – this disease causes nerve damage in the body due to the high blood levels of glucose. Sensation becomes abnormal with pain and tingling and numbness developing. Due to this loss of sensation, diabetics can develop potentially deadly sore on the soles of their feet. This is why doctors advise them to check their feet regularly for sores or any other changes in the skin integrity.
2. Diabetic Nephropathy – this disease causes blood vessel damage in the tiny cells of the kidney which prevents it from properly filtering toxins from the blood. Due to impaired kidney function, this can lead to a build up of protein in the blood.
Many patients have shown dramatic improvement in 14 – 21 days of use. (See benfotiamine.org FAQ).
Is it Safe, and what is the FDA’s position?
Research has shown that benfotiamine is safe. However, check with your healthcare professional before combining it with a medication regimen.
Benfotiamine, although a synthetic derivative of Vitamin B-1, is considered a supplement unfer the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. (See FDA.gov)
How much should I use?
Most diabetics report getting excellent results from taking (2) 150mg tablets in the morning and (2) 150 mg tablets in the evening. It is not necessary to take with food.
Clinical trials demonstrate that benfotiamine effectively relieves diabetic polyneuropathy.
A random double blind study in Germany found that diabetic patients supplemented with 100 mg of benfotiamine demonstrated statistically significant improvement in nerve function scores. A decrease in pain was the most pronounced effect noted. (“The Deadly Connection between Diabetes and Alzheimer’s” Life Extension, December, 2006).
Haupt, E. Ledermann, H., Kpocke, W., “Benfotiamine in the Treatment of Diabetic Polyneuropathy – A 3 week randomized, controlled pilot study (BEDIP study). Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Feb; 43 (2) 71-7