A natural component of our daily foods, benfotiamine offers many health benefits over vitamin B1 as you know it. And not being associated with any major risks, benfotiamine (fat dissolvable thiamine) is a uniquely safe supplement for people with nervous system issues, memory loss, and diabetes.
Thiamine is required by the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, for normal functionality. It also helps with digestion and regulating metabolism.
Benfotiamine aids in averting complications due to diabetes, when its absorption is enhanced in the blood and liver, and is associated with providing anti-ageing benefits.
Studies prove that use of benfotiamine improves cognitive function. It decreases the production of amyloid plaque which is a vital factor in development of Alzheimer’s disease. With a combined improvement in cognitive abilities and decreased amounts of amyloid plaque being produced, it is believed that benfotiamine can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Only B and C Vitamins Are Water Soluble
Nine (eight B vitamins and C) out of the 13 recognized vitamins are water-soluble, while the remaining vitamins (A, D, E & K) are fat-soluble. Since fat-soluble vitamins are better absorbed by the body, they remain longer in the body’s fatty tissues compared to the water-soluble vitamins.
Benfotiamine Has a Biological Advantage
Thiamine is poorly absorbed by the body and is thus lost quickly, having poor bioavailability. Without replenishing thiamine on a regular basis, one can become deficient in just two weeks.
When benfotiamine is consumed orally, it is absorbed in the intestines and quickly converted to biologically functional thiamine salts. Eight days after consumption, roughly 25 % of the original dose is still available to the body; this is about 3.5 times more than the more commonly used types of thiamine supplements like those commonly available in multi-vitamin tablets.
A number of independent studies show that lipid-soluble benfotiamine is better absorbed by the body than the water-soluble variety. In 1998, ‘Bitsch’ and colleagues found that oral consumption of benfotiamine had the best absorption of the three variants of thiamine studied.
How Does Benfotiamine Work?
Benfotiamine blocks the damaging biochemical passageways that are responsible for nerve and small blood vessel damage, caused by high levels of sugar in the blood.
It also enhances the activity of transketolase (an enzyme responsible for rendering toxic compounds harmless), and prevents the formation of Advanced Glycation End products (AGE) in diabetic patients and normally aging individuals.
Formation of AGE’s is a major factor in cardiovascular disease and other age related disorders in people without diabetes, in addition to being responsible for nerve, kidney and retinal damage in people with diabetes.
There are two kinds of AGE’s.
Those which are created by our bodies during naturally occurring chemical reactions and those we ingest from outside when we consume foods. Specifically, fried, roasted, barbequed and baked foods, all promote oxidative stress which eventually leads to organ and tissue damage.
Benfotiamine Benefits Your Internal Organs
Benfotiamine prevents the formation of AGE’s and minimizes any potential damage.
Burning sensation, tingling and numbness are some of the symptoms of neuropathy (nerve damage), typically occurring in the hands or feet. While it is one of the most common complications of diabetes, it is brought on by other causes as well.
Benfotiamine can provide relief to individuals suffering with neuropathy because B vitamins are vital to nerve damage repair and Benfotiamine is a very powerful form of vitamin B1.
A number of studies have explored the effect of benfotiamine alone and in combination with other B vitamins to see their effect on diabetic neuropathy. In one placebo-controlled study 20 individuals with diabetic polyneuropathy were fed two fifty milligram benfotiamine tablets four times each day while 20 others were given a placebo.
The three week study found significant improvement in neuropathy symptoms of patients receiving benfotiamine compared to those getting the placebo.
Benfotiamine can improve eyesight, also repair damage done, in fact it has been used as a prescription treatment for some eye disease.
When benfotiamine is taken orally, it is quickly metabolized, yielding elevated levels of thiamine pyrophosphate, the normal working form of thiamine in the body.
By itself, benfotiamine does not collect in the body. In fact, the tests used for obtaining the original U.S. patent for benfotiamine show it to be less toxic than vitamin B1 as you previously knew it, thiamine hydrochloride.
Benfotiamine Does Not Interact With Prescription Drugs
Vitamin B1 has a long history of use as a supplement without there being reports of any negative effects. A search through medical literature turns up no reports of interactions with prescription drugs, foods, or other vitamins and supplements.
There are also no reports of any side effects to benfotiamine.
In Germany and Japan a dosage of 450 and up to 1000 milligrams a day are considered to be safe. In theory however, an overdose of benfotiamine could produce hot flashes, skin becoming slightly blue (as a result of rapid oxygen use), shortness of breath, and tingling, but in reality it does just not occur (and there are no records of such).
The logical thing to do if you experience any of these symptoms is to stop taking the supplement at the first sign.
The only place where caution should be exercised when taking benfotiamine is if you are undergoing treatment for tumorous cancers. An understanding of why cancer patients should not use benfotiamine is only now beginning to be understood.
Cancer and Benfotiamine
Studies show that some cancer patients having fast growing tumours are prone to thiamine deficiency. According to studies conducted in animal models and cell cultures it appears that cells that divide quickly have a higher demand for thiamine. All fast dividing cells have a greater need for nucleic acids, and certain cancer cells depend greatly on the transketolase enzyme for nucleic acid synthesis.
One recent study found elevated amounts of transketolase in human breast cancer tissue in comparison to normal tissue, implying a thiamine adaptation in support of cancer metabolism.
While thiamine supplements are routinely given to cancer patients to avert a deficiency, Boros et al. warn that additional thiamine may actually aid the growth of some tumors. Hence it is recommended that cancer patients should only use benfotiamine after careful consultations with their doctors.
1 – https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/alzheimers_disease
2 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transketolase
3 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20385653
4 – Loew D. Pharmacokinetics of thiamine derivatives especially of benfotiamine. Int. J. Clin. Pharmcol. Ther 1996;34:47-50
5 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9587048
6 – Haupt E, Ledermann H, Kopcke W. Benfotiamine in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy – a three-week randomized, controlled pilot study (BEDIP Study). Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther2005;43:71-77
7 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9568183