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Neuropathy is very common in people who have diabetes. It is very important that diabetes is properly treated, which means focusing not just on regulating blood glucose levels, but also on the various complications associated with it. These include endothelial dysfunction, stroke, blindness, and loss of limb. One way to achieve this is through benfotiamine.
What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy makes it hard for messages to travel between the nerves and the brain. Furthermore, it affects the tiny blood vessels (microvasculature) in the extremities in particular. This means that those affected experience pain, numbness, and tingling in their feet and, sometimes, hands. Unfortunately, this could worsen and may lead to amputation of a limb
What Is Benfotiamine?
Benfotiamine is a type of vitamin B1 that is fat-soluble. Studies have shown that it can prevent many diabetic complications, or stop them from progressing. What this means is that it is an arsenal in the diabetic toolkit. The vitamin has been prescribed in Europe for many decades because it has been shown to slow down the worsening of damage to the retina, the kidney, and the nervous system, while at the same time reducing neuropathic pain.
Blood with an elevated sugar level, when it courses through the body, damages cells through different biochemical pathways. Benfotiamine stops this from happening. It is a dietary supplement that is easily available and has huge benefits on protecting diabetics from a range of different complications.
How Benfotiamine Is Unlike Other Diabetic Medications
The number of diabetic drugs prescribed today is incredibly high. Such drugs are mostly designed to lower the level of blood glucose, either by making insulin more effective, or by increasing the production of insulin. Benfotiamine does neither, which is why it is often overlooked. It is related to thiamine, which is vitamin B1, and which converts carbohydrates and fats into glucose, which the body uses for fuel. Hence, it is necessary for proper metabolism.
Thiamine is water-soluble, whereas benfotiamine is fat-soluble. What this means is that it is easier for the cells to absorb it and help with diabetic dysfunction. It is particularly effective in treating damaged nerves in relation to hyperglycemia because of its bioavailability, which is why Nerve Renew decided to include it in their formula.
How Benfotiamine Responds to High Blood Glucose Level
The usual diabetic medication works well at improving the way the body responds to insulin, or at how much insulin is produced. However, it does not protect against the various diabetic complications. Only benfotiamine does this, because it lowers intracellular levels of glucose, while also changing how the body responds biochemically to the way excess blood sugar toxins are broken down. It helps the body to produce transketolase, which enables the body to better deal with glucose.
Benfotiamine has been extensively studied, and it was found that it stops three key pathways that cause toxic substances to be formed. These substances include AGEs (advanced glycation end products). It has been observed that AGEs can cause:
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Cardiovascular disease
- Peripheral vascular disease
What is particularly interesting is that damage associated with AGEs can also be seen in elderly people, even if they do not have diabetes. This is because the above five conditions can also be caused by the natural aging process. Hence, even the non-diabetics may find it beneficial to take benfotiamine as well.
As said, the substance has been available in Europe as a prescription drug for a very long time. Hence, it is known to be well-tolerated and safe. It is now available as a supplement in this country, and this has further raised interest in scientists, who want to understand exactly how it benefits people with diabetes, and why.
Protection of Brain and Nerve Tissue
There are different ways in which the nervous system can be affected by high blood pressure. The nervous system is made up of the peripheral nerves, the spinal cord, and the brain. This system conveys sensory information, coordinates actions and thoughts, and controls how organs and muscles work. Neuropathy is diabetes' most common, but also very painful, complication. It usually presents itself as:
- Damage to the nerves in the extremities
- Pain that does not respond to regular treatment
- Altered sensation in the limbs, including numbness
- Polyneuropathy, which means different nerves malfunction at the same time
A number of clinical trials have demonstrated that benfotiamine is highly effective in treating diabetic polyneuropathy in particular. One German study indicated that 100 mg of benfotiamine four times per day for a three week period led to a significant improvement in the way people experienced neuropathy. Most experienced a notable drop in pain levels. This study followed two other studies that had similar results.
People with diabetes have higher levels of oxidative stress, which is also commonly seen in the elderly. This is particularly dangerous for brain tissue. It is also because of this that people with diabetes are now known to be at increased risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, therefore.
In a more recent study, it was shown that benfotiamine provides protection of the brain as well. Diabetes was induced in test subjects for a two week period in this study. After two weeks, the subjects would be supplemented with benfotiamine. There was a measurable reduction in oxidative stress as a result. This meant that the supplement can also protect the brain.
A Brief Fact Sheet on Benfotiamine
- There is no medication that can stop excess glucose from producing toxic effects.
- It has long been prescribed as a medication in Europe. It is now available in this country as a supplement. It is a form of vitamin B1 but, unlike thiamine, is fat-soluble rather than water-soluble and it can help stop diabetic complications from progressing.
- The supplement can help provide relief from polyneuropathy, while also protecting against the damage caused by oxidative stress.
- The supplement makes the endothelial function healthier, which in turn has positive effects on the cardiovascular system, while also preventing peripheral vascular disease. Additionally, it strengthens the heart's muscle cells.
- It lowers levels of oxidative stress, thereby not just protecting the brain but also the kidneys. Many people with diabetes have kidney disease, and it may help prevent this.
- It has been shown to delay or prevent diabetic retinopathy.