An antioxidant dietary supplement called benfotiamine can help with diabetic neuropathy. Benfotiamine is a lipid-soluble form of thiamine, which is commonly referred to as vitamin B1. Benfotiamine was originally designed to help treat alcoholic neuritis in Japan during the 1960s.
What are the differences between vitamin B1 and benfotiamine?
Vitamin B1 is considered a water-soluble vitamin. Therefore it commonly is washed away in the body. Benfotiamine is lipid-soluble. This means that instead of washing away, it is absorbed by the lipids in the body. Since it is lipid-soluble it can be used in much higher doses than vitamin B1.
It has also been noted that there have not been any clinical reports of toxicity or adverse side effects associated with benfotiamine. Whereas, with water-soluble vitamin B1 there can be some danger in taking. Benfotiamine is even said to be far less toxic than the standard vitamin B1 supplement.
Diabetic neuropathy is mostly controlled by bringing the blood glucose into a normal range. This can be done by diet, exercise as well as some medications and injections. What many do not know is that proper cellular nutrition helps combat the metabolic effects of high blood glucose. Benfotiamine is shown to help with cellular functions.
After much research, it is thought that benfotiamine enhances the activity of an enzyme called transketolase. Transketolase converts harmful glucose metabolites at the cellular level into harmless chemicals. By doing this, it prevents damage to areas such as the endothelial cells which line the small arteries and capillaries of the retinas and kidneys.
One thing to keep in mind about benfotiamine is that since it is a supplement it has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that research needs to be done to get the adequate supplement. The absolute best news about benfotiamine is that a study shows that it is 30 times less toxic than acetaminophen.
People who choose to use benfotiamine, need to use their best judgment. If someone has a sensitivity to thiamine, then they should probably not take benfotiamine.
Start slow with benfotiamine, as excessive amounts can cause weakness, sweating, nausea, restlessness, difficulty breathing, tightness of the throat, a feeling of warmth or bluish colored skin. If any of these symptoms occur, the dosage needs to be lowered or the supplement needs to be stopped.
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