Vitamins are becoming a very popular way to fulfill nutritional needs. It’s becoming especially popular for those who may be deficient in one or more necessary nutrients. Sometimes, these supplements are derivatives of the actual vitamin or mineral, but because they are absorbed better by the body, they’re used to manage deficiencies. One example of this kind of supplement is benfotiamine.
What Is Benfotiamine?
Benfotiamine is a derivative of thiamine or Vitamin B1. Foods like legumes, seeds, nuts, and fortified wheat products, including bread, rice, and cereal, contain thiamine. Used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, benfotiamine is fat-soluble and chemically manipulated by enzymes in the intestines then broken down by red blood cells or the liver into thiamine. It seems to be more bioavailable and easier to absorb than thiamine alone as it increases blood levels of Vitamin B1 fivefold, making it a prime candidate for inclusion in a multitude of nutritional aids.
What Can Benfotiamine Help With?
As mentioned, benfotiamine can help increase thiamine levels in the blood, but it can also help manage and maintain certain health issues. There are several areas of health that benfotiamine may have a positive impact on, including heart, kidney, nerve, and brain health. It may also protect the body against the negative effects of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can cause inflammation and the progression of some age-related health concerns.
Benfotiamine & Poor Blood Glucose Control
Benfotiamine helps reduce free radical damage and protects the body from the dangerous side effects of too much sugar. In fact, it has been proven to be beneficial for patients with blood glucose control issues. Benfotiamine has been shown to have positive effects on issues caused by poor blood glucose control. It helps reduce harmful glucose metabolites and the intracellular formation of certain proteins involved in microvascular damage. It also improves vibratory sensation, nerve conduction, and pain sores caused by nerve damage.
Benfotiamine benefits circulation and blood vessel health and even helps muscles heal after suffering poor circulation. In the eyes, benfotiamine protects retinal cells from high blood glucose levels, stabilizes cells structure, and reduces cell death. With all these benefits, perhaps the best effect benfotiamine has with patients is its little to no effect on blood glucose levels.
Are There Side Effects of Supplementing with Benfotiamine?
It’s rare to have any negative reactions to benfotiamine supplementation. However, there are a few documented side effects related to benfotiamine. Those with a sulfur sensitivity should avoid benfotiamine as it’s been known to contain this chemical. Other recorded side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Body odor
- Decreased blood pressure
Benfotiamine can be a very beneficial nutrient to include in a daily nutritional supplement, especially if that supplement is aimed at helping patients with poor blood glucose control. Though there are benefits, it is best to be cautiously optimistic if patients begin to supplement this B-vitamin derivative. More research needs to be done to confirm its overall health benefits.
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- Wong, Cathy. “The Benefits of Benfotiamine.” Edited by Richard N. Fogoros, Verywell Health, About, Inc., 17 Sept. 2018, www.verywellhealth.com/benfotiamine-89417.