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Benfotiamine 26 July 2009

Benfotiamine is a fat soluble form of vitamin B1 which prevents the development and progression of many of the complications of diabetes. Thiamine is the typical from of vitamin B1 but is not fat soluble and therefore can not enter cells. Benfotiamine on the other hand can enter cells and help prevent damage inside cells. It has been used for years in Europe as a prescription medication to delay the progression of diabetic nerve, kidney and eye damage. It has also been used to relieve the pain of diabetic nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy).

Benfotiamine acts in a unique way by blocking the biochemical pathways allowing high sugar levels to damage cells. It is now considered an essential supplement for people with diabetes. Diabetic medication helps reduce blood levels of glucose but only benfotiamine reduces intracellular levels of glucose and protects the inside of the cells from these levels. Benfotiamine stimulates the enzyme transketolase which converts the toxic products of elevated glucose (such as advanced glycation end products) into harmless compounds.

A study published in the February 2005 edition of the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that benfotiamine relieves the pain of diabetic nerve damage (diabetic polyneuropathy). Benfotiamine has also been shown to improve damage to the lining of blood vessels (endothelium) and retina of the eye caused by high glucose levels. Research has shown benfotiamine reduces kidney damage in diabetes, specifically a study published in the August 2003 edition of the journal Diabetes found an 80% reduction in urine albumin levels and a 50% reduction in kidney advanced glycation end products.

In conclusion, benfotiamine should be considered a first line treatment in the prevention of the complications of diabetes. In my opinion, everyone with diabetes should supplement with benfotiamine.

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