Benfotiamine is a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1 that has been shown to help prevent the development and progression of many diabetic complications.
Used for decades in Europe as a prescription medication, benfotiamine ameliorates the progression of diabetic nerve, kidney, and retinal damage, and relieves the painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy which is a numbness and painful tingling in the feet (and hands) that can eventually result in amputation of the lower extremities.
Neuropathy, or nerve disease, is one of the most prevalent and painful complications of diabetes. Characteristics of diabetic neuropathy include:
- Damage to the peripheral nerves of the extremities
- Pain that may be unresponsive to conventional pain relievers
- Numbness and altered sensation affecting the limbs
- Nerves of the extremities may malfunction simultaneously, causing polyneuropathy.
Clinical trials demonstrate that benfotiamine effectively relieves diabetic neuropathy. A recent random, double-blind study in Germany found that diabetes patients with neuropathy who supplemented with 100 mg of benfotiamine four times daily for three weeks demonstrated statistically significant improvement in nerve function scores. A decrease in pain was the most pronounced effect noted. The study authors said their findings support the results of two earlier randomized, controlled trials, which also found evidence of benfotiamine’s beneficial effects in patients with diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes has been associated with increased oxidative stress, a contributor to many age-related disease processes. Delicate brain tissue is especially susceptible to the damaging effects of oxidative stress. As a result, diabetes is increasingly associated with cognitive decline, including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
A relatively new study indicates that benfotiamine may protect the brain against oxidative stress associated with diabetes. Investigators experimentally induced diabetes in a group of test subjects. Following two weeks of induced high blood sugar levels, the subjects received two weeks of benfotiamine supplementation. Benfotiamine alleviated the oxidative stress in the brain that typically occurs with diabetes, leading the research team to conclude that benfotiamine may avert diabetes-induced cerebral oxidative stress through a novel mechanism.
This important finding means that benfotiamine offers critical protection for the delicate nervous system by shielding the peripheral nerves and brain from damage caused by diabetes.
Years of use as a prescription drug in Europe have shown that this vitamin is safe and well tolerated.