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The Benefits Of Benfotiamine + Dosage Recommendations

Vitamin B1, commonly known as thiamine, is a B-vitamin that brings with it a host of benefits. Benfotiamine is a synthetic derivative of thiamine, and is one of the building blocks of basic cellular processes in the body. Recent studies demonstrate the possibility that benfotiamine can have a significant impact on the treatment of certain diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, nerve damage, and alcohol addiction.

Photo: Shutterstock/Alim Yakubov

The Basics Of Benfotiamine

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is a substance that the body readily metabolizes for several vital chemical reactions. It protects cells against free radical damage, and promotes healthy cell function. The compound is found in foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, and most meats.

While a thiamine deficiency is considered rare in the United States, this deficiency can be linked to the development of several chronic health conditions, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. The creation of benfotiamine occurred because a particular group of people needed to build up their thiamine levels, namely because these people had difficulty getting adequate levels of thiamine from food alone.

Once in the body, benfotiamine undergoes a series of chemical reactions in the gut and the liver, interacting with red blood cells as it’s broken down into thiamine, which most people can naturally assimilate. The thiamine then goes to work, helping cells function more efficiently, and protecting virtually every system in the body from free radical damage. Through these more efficient mechanisms comes greater resistance to the development of chronic conditions. Here are some of the health benefits of benfotiamine:

  • Reduces complications from diabetes: Not only does benfotiamine help to improve insulin reduction and facilitate energy breakdown, but one of the most promising benefits is its ability to block harmful sugar products that can cause blood sugar complications. Benfotiamine is also being investigated for its ability to reduce pain, inflammation, and neuropathy in patients with diabetes.
  • Reduces symptoms of depression and dependence on alcohol: Alcoholics are particularly deficient in thiamine, and this deficiency can impair cognitive ability and affect mental well-being. Supplementation with benfotiamine helps reduce depression and anxiety in patients with long term dependency issues, as well as reduces the urge to drink. Studies of people with problematic drinking habits conclusively showed that the addition of thiamine to their diets helped facilitate recovery.
  • Reduces symptoms of chronic pain and arthritis: The same sugar by-products that prove harmful for diabetics are those that increase inflammation and joint pain in people prone to developing conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even multiple sclerosis. Acting as an AGE-inhibitor, benfotiamine minimizes the chemical reactions brought on by excess sugars, thus reducing the painful inflammatory response.
  • Reduces the development and possibly slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease: Early studies indicate that thiamine improves cognitive repair and function, bringing hope to those with Alzheimer’s diagnoses. It has been shown to slow the progression of plaque formation in the brain that leads to cognitive decline.
  • Improves symptoms of depression and anxiety: The addition of thiamine causes a trigger in the brain for the release of serotonin, a “feel-good” hormone that elevates mood and boosts mental clarity. It has also been shown to facilitate the repair process of damaged neurological connections often associated with these mood disorders.
  • Stimulates the growth of new cells in the heart: By promoting cell renewal and growth, thiamine may be one of the more promising therapies on the horizon for patients who have heart disease or who have suffered from heart attacks and strokes.
Photo: pxfuel

Are There Side Effects Associated With Benfotiamine?

As with all supplements and medications, there may be a risk for developing potentially harmful side effects. Some have reported issues, such as:

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Body odor
  • Weight gain

Studies have shown that the dosage of thiamine is directly proportional to the number and severity of side effects that are experienced. Daily requirements for thiamine are 150 mg for children and 300-600 mg for adults. Following your doctor’s recommendations for supplementation and diet suggestions will ensure you have the information that you need to make for optimal decisions for your health.

With numerous implications for better health and improved mental clarity, it could be worth discussing with your doctor whether incorporating this vitamin into your health regimen makes sense for you.