Change How Your Body Handles Sugar and Carbohydrates with Benfotiamine
Written by Amanda Williams, MPH
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is known to be high in carbohydrates. But the rate at which our bodies convert those carbs into sugar is very high. That’s where Benfotiamine comes in!
Think about going to a backyard barbecue and seeing those beautiful grill marks on the chicken, steak, cob of corn, or green peppers. This crispy, blackened appearance is from a reaction – but not a good one! This type of alteration to the food is known as the ‘Maillard reaction’, which creates harmful AGE’s.[i]
What are AGE’s?
The creation of Advanced Glycation End Products, or AGE’s as they are more commonly known, are harmful to your health. Their formation is part of normal metabolism processes, however, if excessively high levels are reached in tissues and circulation (and many times this is the case due to our modern, largely heat-processed diets), they can become dangerous. These AGE’s have been linked to the development and exacerbation of many common chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment, and kidney disease.[ii] AGE’s can affect the following systems; cardiovascular, nervous, urinary, endocrine and ocular. What makes AGE’s so harmful is their ability to deactivate key enzymes, damage the DNA of the cell, create oxidative stress, disrupt cell signal pathways, and drive up inflammation throughout the body.[iii]
The Importance of Vitamin B1, Benfotiamine
The SAD diet, or the Standard American Diet is known to be high in carbohydrates. The rate at which our bodies can convert carbohydrates into glucose from the SAD diet is very high, creating a high demand of Thiamine (Vitamin B1). Our body utilizes Thiamine to prevent advanced glycation end products from doing significant damage.
The main problem with Thiamine is that it is quickly depleted by glucose. Also, being that it is a water-soluble vitamin, Thiamine cannot easily cross into cell lipid membranes. This is where a highly unique lipid form of Thiamine, called Benfotiamine comes into the picture.
Benfotiamine can significantly increase the uptake of Thiamine into the cells by up to 40% in the liver, heart, brain, and muscles, thereby reducing the formation of harmful AGE’s. [iv] With Benfotiamine, we can positively affect the way the body handles excess glucose. There are many ways that Benfotiamine is the superior form of Vitamin B1.
- Activation of transketolase. This enzyme converts toxic glucose metabolites into harmless compounds.[v]
- Reduces inflammation by inhibiting Nuclear Kappa Factor Beta (NF-kB).[vi]
- Reduction of Beta Amyloid plaques and Tau proteins, both linked to Alzheimer’s disease.[vii]
- Reduction in oxidative stress[viii]
The many studies that have assessed the impact that Benfotiamine can have on human health are extensive. For example, a study in England at The University of Essex, showed that Benfotiamine had a protective role in the kidney function of diabetics.[ix] As their research indicated, diabetic nephropathy is a severe complication of the disease, and Benfotiamine had the following effects:
- Reduced oxidative stress in the kidneys.
- Lowered AGE’s by 50% in kidneys.
- Inhibited the development of microalbuminuria by 80%. Microalbumin is a protein that indicates kidney disease.
Benfotiamine has been shown to be so beneficial that The Burke Medical Research Institute in conjunction with the National Institute of Aging, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and Columbia University are conducting a clinical trial to determine if Benfotiamine can minimize cognitive decline in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild Alzheimer’s disease.[x]
Based on the scientific research and documented evidence of the benefits of Benfotiamine, it is inconceivable not to recognize its significance in promoting multiple health benefits. Whether you are suffering with nerve pain, lowered kidney function, arterial disease, cataracts, insulin resistance or declining memory, Benfotiamine is a wonderful option to consider. Benfotiamine is a highly absorbable form of B1 that supports the mind and body.
[i] Sztanke K, Pasternak K. The Maillard reaction and its consequences for a living body. Ann Univ Mariae Curie Sklodowska Med. 2003;58(2):159-62
[ii] Uribarri J, Cai W, Sandu O, Peppa M, Goldberg T, Vlassara H. Diet-derived advanced glycation end products are major contributors to the body’s AGE pool and induce inflammation in healthy subjects. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1043:461-6.
[iii] Vasdev S, Gill V, Singal P. Role of advanced glycation end products in hypertension and atherosclerosis: therapeutic implications. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2007;49(1):48-63
[iv] Bitsch R, Wolf M, Moller J, Heuzeroth L, Gruneklee D. Bioavailability assessment of the lipophilic benfotiamine as compared to a water-soluble thiamin derivative. Ann Nutr Metab. 1991;35(5):292-6
[v] Hammes HP, Du X, Edelstein D, et al. Benfotiamine blocks three major pathways of hyperglycemic damage and prevents experimental diabetic retinopathy. Nat Med. 2003 Mar;9(3):294-9
[vi] Hammes HP, Du X, Edelstein D, et al. Benfotiamine blocks three major pathways of hyperglycemic damage and prevents experimental diabetic retinopathy. Nat Med. 2003 Mar;9(3):294-9
[vii] Pan X, Gong N, Zhao J, et al. Powerful beneficial effects of benfotiamine on cognitive impairment and beta-amyloid deposition in amyloid precursor protein/presenilin-1 transgenic mice. Brain. 2010 May;133(Pt 5):1342-51
[viii] Stirban A, Negrean M, Stratmann B, et al. Benfotiamine prevents macro- and microvascular endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress following a meal rich in advanced glycation end products in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006 Sep;29(9):2064-71
[ix] Babaei-Jadidi R, Karachalias N, Ahmed N, Battah S, Thornalley PJ. Prevention of incipient diabetic nephropathy by high-dose thiamine and benfotiamine. Diabetes. 2003 Aug;52(8):2110-20