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Name: Benfotiamine, S-benzyolthiamine-O-monophosphate
Goes well with: Vitamin B complex, Resveratrol
Number of scientific references: 19
Level of Evidence: Level III What is this?
Note: Benfotiamine supplementation significantly reduces nerve pain in diabetic neuropathy primarily by reducing oxidative stress. It may also benefit from peripheral neuropathy in alcoholism. Alone or in combination with other B complex vitamins it may help relieve neuropathic pain.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine is an essential human dietary nutrient. This is due to the important role it plays in energy metabolism.
One of the derivatives of Vitamin B1 is the compound, benfotiamine. What differentiates it from regular thiamine is the presence of a Sulphur- acyl group.
It has a better bioavailability than vitamin B1, approximately five times better absorbed in the body than B1. Benfotiamine is a fat-soluble version of thiamine which is water soluble.
It is different from sulbutiamine which has two thiamine molecules. Allithiamine is the natural fat-soluble thiamine derivatives that are found in garlic.
Based on these compounds several analogues have been created that have better absorption than B1 and hence are referred to as members of allithiamine group, but researchers state this may not be the correct denomination for them. 
Benfotiamine helps modulate concentrations of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
High levels of AGEs are often associated with diabetes-related complications. They are produced as a result of defective glucose metabolism. They are the causative agents of inflammatory problems and oxidative stress conditions in diabetes which in turn can result in nerve damage.
The distinctive anti-AGE property of benfotiamine enables it useful for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy. This control mechanism is brought about through a series of reactions.
Benfotiamine is transformed to thiamine diphosphate in our body which activates the enzymes required to degrade the advanced glycation end products, in turn, reducing oxidative damage. 
Research has found that benfotiamine helps in peripheral neuropathy by relieving nerve pain. It reduces oxidative damage that adversely affects nerve function. Also, it may help rectify nutrient deficiencies ( in this case Vitamin B1) which result in restoration of nerve function in neuropathy.
Suggested Benfotiamine Supplement for Peripheral Neuropathy
Please consult your healthcare provider before taking any health supplements. Please read the ingredient list before purchasing any supplement.
Benfotiamine can be taken alone or in combination with B complex vitamins.
|Thorne Research B-Complex #12||Doctor’s Best Benfotiamine with Benfopure|
Image Credit: Thorne Research, Inc.
Image Credit: Doctor’s Best, Inc.
|It contains all B complex vitamins in a bioavailable form with an extra dose of vitamin B12.
They are allergen free and vegetarian capsules.
|It contains benfotiamine or Allithiamine which is a garlic-derived soluble form of vitamin B1.
It can be taken in combination with vitamin B complex or alone.
They are gluten and soy free, vegetarian capsules.
4 Proven Benefits of Benfotiamine For Peripheral Neuropathy
Let’s explore the research behind benfotiamine and nerve pain.
Table of Contents
- 1 Suggested Benfotiamine Supplement for Peripheral Neuropathy
- 2 4 Proven Benefits of Benfotiamine For Peripheral Neuropathy
- 3 Dosage of Benfotiamine For Peripheral Neuropathy
- 4 Precautions with Benfotiamine Use
- 5 Conclusion
1. Benfotiamine lowers pain in Diabetic neuropathy
Benfotiamine administration increases the cellular levels of thiamine phosphate which activates an enzyme named transketolase.
The enzyme breaks down advanced glycation end products to relieve nerve damage and other organ damage in diabetes.
In 2001, Stracke and colleagues carried out an interesting study in an animal model of diabetic neuropathy. They examined the effects of both benfotiamine and thiamine.
Over the period of the study, it was seen that benfotiamine administration resulted in enhanced nerve function and lower AGE level. Its potency was found to be higher than even regular thiamine. 
The positive results from this study prompted further research in this area. Scientists discovered that benfotiamine offered numerous benefits in experimental diabetes. It could reverse nerve damage brought about by thiamine deficiency through repair of biochemical pathways.
Namely, it aids activation of protein kinase C, activation of the hexosamine pathway and increased glycation. In turn, oxidative stress levels are reduced. It also displayed the ability to normalise cholesterol and triglyceride concentration. 
Assessment of the optimum dosage of benfotiamine for diabetic neuropathy revealed that higher concentrations of the compound are preferable.
In an extensive human trial, varying doses were provided to patients, and their effects were analysed through certain key parameters: pain sensation, the vibration and the current perception threshold.
Results showed that high doses, 320 mg benfotiamine/day, showed the best outcome. Both short-term and prolonged administration of the compound has shown no adverse effects.
Estimation of its safety and efficacy have yielded highly beneficial outcomes, and it is strongly considered as a potential therapeutic agent for diabetic polyneuropathy. 
Even in a recent case of acute painful neuropathy in a 12-year-old girl affected by type 1 diabetes, benfotiamine use, in addition to conventional medicines, showed great potency in nerve pain reduction and nerve damage reversal.
The patient recovered completely post nine months of the administration. This shows how benfotiamine can be applied in the treatment of complicated diabetes cases as well. 
Quick Gist: Benfotiamine offers several benefits concerning diabetic neuropathy. Through its antioxidant activity, it relieves nerve damage. Doses of around 320mg daily show the best results for nerve pain relief. The compound is safe for use over long periods of time and shows potency even in complicated cases.
2. It can benefit in alcoholic neuropathy
One of the potential harms of long-term alcoholism is the development of neuropathy. This occurs when essential nutrients such as Vitamin B12 become unavailable to the body’s cells due to a disturbance in the pathways controlling them.
Vitamin B deficiencies in alcoholism may manifest as mood alterations and challenges in movement.
Benfotiamine can protect neurons from alcohol damage through various different modes. One of these involves relief of psychological distress.
Manzardo et al. studied the effects of benfotiamine in groups of both men and women who suffer from lifetime alcoholic severity. The recovery potentials in both groups were found to be so beneficial that the compound is being considered as an adjuvant therapy for alcoholic rehabilitation. 
Another study on individuals affected with alcoholic neuropathy revealed that benfotiamine could improve motor and sensory functions of this group. It was found to be effective in individuals at even stage II-III chronic alcoholism.
With positive neurophysiological data backing this study, further applications of vitamin B1 for these conditions are likely to be developed. 
Quick Gist: Benfotiamine offers benefits for alcohol-related neuropathy. It relieves psychological and biological distress associated with the disorder and restores nerve function.
3. Benfotiamine relieves nerve pain
Neuropathy is a severely painful and disabling condition. The analgesic capability of benfotiamine for its treatment was highlighted through an animal model.
It was observed that the compound acted on certain key receptors to bring about anti-nociception. This means that the detection of a painful stimulus by sensory neurons is blocked. 
Benfotiamine also exerts antiallodynic and anti-inflammatory effects of neuropathy. Allodynia is pain response to a sensation that is not likely to cause pain in healthy individuals. Reduction of inflammation brings about relief to the damaged nerve cells. 
Benfotiamine works well with conventional medicines prescribed for nerve pain. Combinations with gabapentin and carbamazepine in animal models have displayed positive results. 
Quick Gist: There are several modes through which benfotiamine helps reduce pain caused by neuropathy. It blocks detection of the stimulus by sensory neurons, it inhibits pain sensations and relieves inflammation. Synergistic application of conventional medicines with benfotiamine for neuropathic pain relief like gabapentin and carbamazepine have also been explored.
4. It lowers inflammation and oxidative stress
A group of cells called microglial cells are responsible for modulating immune responses of the central nervous systems. Their concentration regulates neural homeostasis, injury and repair. An increased concentration of microglial cells leads to neurodegeneration.
A study published in PLoS One, 2015 illustrated the mechanisms through which benfotiamine could counter inflammation brought about by microglial cells.
It brought down the production of pro-inflammatory mediators such as the inducible form of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and NO; cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70), tumour necrosis factor alpha α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
Simultaneously, it increased anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 (IL-10) production thereby bringing down inflammation. 
One of the harms posed by the presence of AGEs is an accumulation of reactive oxygen species which in turn contribute to the development of neuropathic pain. The antioxidant activity of benfotiamine benefits in such a case.
Experimental results reveal that it can prevent oxidative stress and reduce oxidative DNA damage. 
Quick Gist: Benfotiamine works as a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Therefore, it is useful in reducing factors that cause nerve pain.
Dosage of Benfotiamine For Peripheral Neuropathy
The dose of benfotiamine for peripheral neuropathy used in studies ranges from 150-600mg per day (in divided doses).   A dose of 300-400 mg benfotiamine per day is found to be effective for relieving nerve pain.
It can be combined with B vitamins that also benefit from peripheral neuropathy treatment.
You can obtain vitamin B1 from food as well. This can be through consumption of beef, liver, milk, nuts, oats, oranges, pork, eggs, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast. Other food sources of thiamine include rice, pasta, bread and cereals.
Please consult a health practitioner before taking dietary supplements.
Precautions with Benfotiamine Use
There has been no scientific evidence indicating the side effects of benfotiamine use. Prolonged use of benfotiamine may cause nausea; consider cycling the supplement when necessary.
Please consult your health practitioner before taking benfotiamine supplements especially in case of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.
Vitamin B1 and its derivative benfotiamine exert numerous positive effects for neuropathy treatment. They work against pain, inflammation and oxidative stress.
Benfotiamine is beneficial for diabetic neuropathy and alcoholism-induced neuropathy treatment. It helps relieve nerve pain. You can take it standalone or in combination with other B complex vitamins.
If you have tried benfotiamine for neuropathy relief, please do leave a comment below on what dose benefits you and what has your experience been with its use.