Benfotiamine for neuropathy

Numerous trials have indicated that benfotiamine might  improve, but not cure the effects of nerve damage caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy(DPN).

Benfotiamine itself is a lipid soluble analogue of thiamine, which has been linked to diabetic peripheral neuropathy. But thiamine supplementation has little success against DPN. Since benfotiamine appears to have better absorption by the body than thiamine, some people use it to raise their thiamine levels and manage certain health conditions.

One paper from Germany (1) said the results of their tests using a daily benfotiamine dosage of 200mg have “provided further evidence for the beneficial effects of benfotiamine in patients with diabetic neuropathy.”

Another study from Germay (2) mentioned benfotiamine (via vascular damage prevention) was evaluated in phase III clinical trials, but failed to gain US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval.

Earlier German researchers at the University of Giessen (3) concluded from their trial in 1995 and “reports in the literature support the contention that the neurotropic benfotiamine-vitamin B combination represents a starting point in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy.”

However in 2012 a group of researchers from Norway (4) found no difference among 67 patients who received either benfotiamine or a placebo in their long-term study.

“Our findings suggest that high-dose benfotiamine (300 mg/day) supplementation over 24 months has no significant effects upon peripheral nerve function or soluble markers of inflammation in patients with type 1 diabetes.”

In 2008 German researchers (5) tried benfotiamine dosages of 600 mg and 300 mg versus a placebo on patients with diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN). Using a measure called Total Symptom Score (TSS) they concluded benfotiamine at higher doasges worked best in relieving neuropathic pain.

“The improvement was more pronounced at the higher benfotiamine dose and increased with treatment duration. In the TSS, best results were obtained for the symptom ‘pain.’ Treatment was well tolerated in all groups.”

Researchers from New York (6) in 2008 found that a mix of benfotiamine and alpha-lipoic acid works much better than benfotiamine alone.

“We determined fixed doses of benfotiamine in combination with slow-release alpha-lipoic acid normalize markers of reactive oxygen species-induced pathways of complications in humans.”


Benfotiamine can be purchased without a prescription and tried as a supplement under the supervision of a licensed practitioner to determine if it works for you.

Thiamine deficiency is considered rare in the United States. With that being said, people who mainly eat highly refined carbohydrates (such as white rice) or unfortified white flour products, or who avoid whole grains, may be at greater risk for a thiamine deficiency. Strenuous exercise and conditions like hyperthyroidism increase the body’s demand for thiamine, which can lead to a deficiency as well.

Where to get benfotiamine

Pure Formulas
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, rice flour, magnesium stearate, silica

BestVite
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, rice flour and ascorbyl palmitate

PipingRock
Other ingredients: gelatin capsule, rice powder, magnesium stearate

Swanson
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, rice flour, magnesium stearate, silica

Vitacost
Other ingredients: gelatin capsule, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide, stearic acid

Search Wellness
Other ingredients: cellulose capsule, silica, magnesium stearate, rice flour

Longlifenutri
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, magnesium stearate

Physician Nutrients
Other ingredients: HPMC capsule, microcrystalline cellulose, ascorbyl palmitate, silica, medium-chain triglycerides

Doctor’s Best
With l-leucine
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, cellulose, ascorbyl palmitate

Life Extension
With thiamine
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, microcrystalline cellulose, silica, vegetable stearate, dicalcium phosphate

Country Life
With thiamine
Other ingredients: vegetable capsule, cellulose, rice bran extract, vegetable glaze, silica, sunflower oil


Footnotes

  1. Benfotiamine in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy
    Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther, 2005;Feb;43(2):71-7
  2. Burning through the pain: treatments for diabetic neuropathy
    World Journal of Diabetes, 2015;Dec;17(12):1115-25
  3. A Benfotiamine-vitamin B combination in treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy
    Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes, 1996;104(4):311-316
  4. The Effects of Long-Term Oral Benfotiamine Supplementation on Peripheral Nerve Function and Inflammatory Markers in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes
    Diabetes Care, 2012;Mar;DC_111895
  5. Benfotiamine in diabetic polyneuropathy (BENDIP): results of a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study
    Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes, 2008 Nov;116(10):600-5
  6. Oral benfotiamine plus alpha-lipoic acid normalises complication-causing pathways in type 1 diabetes
    Diabetologia, 2008;51:1930–2