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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Benfotiamine Side Effects?

I recently began taking a Benfotiamine (  Benfotiamine, (pronounced ben-fo-ta-mean )                             supplement from Swanson health products. I am very interested in this particular product as it has shown great promise in reducing diabetic neuropathy in type 2 diabetics among other health benefits. It appears to be well tolerated and the side effects are minimal from what I can find. Here is a link that you can look at for yourself and decide if you would benefit from adding this product to your supplementation program. I DO NOT HAVE AND HAVE NOT HAD any diabetic neuropathy and have been a type 2 diabetic for over 10 years. I am on a minimum dose age of Metformin and Glipizide to to my knowledge have not had any side effects from those two prescriptions either.

I think you will find this information helpful especially if you currently suffer from diabetic nerve damage and are a type 2 diabetic. As always talk about this approach with your doctor FIRST. When you read the side effects of Lyrica which I understand only relieves the symptoms somewhat without doing anything to possibly reverse or heal the nerve damage and knowing it comes with a LONG list of side effects, I believe that the fat soluble form of Vitamin B1 called Benfotiamine shows real promise. It is certainly worth checking out and showing the printed literature to your diabetic doctor to look at.

The LINK below is the pharmaceutical drug Lyrica answer to nerve damage and neuropathy. IF you get the OK to add benfotiamine to your regimen, I think you will find the side effects are almost non-existent.




Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness (especially if you also have a fever and feel tired);
  • vision problems;
  • easy bruising or bleeding; or
  • swelling in your hands or feet, rapid weight gain.
Less serious side effects may include:
  • dizziness, drowsiness;
  • loss of balance or coordination;
  • problems with memory or concentration;
  • breast swelling;
  • tremors; or
  • dry mouth, constipation.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

God Bless,



What You Need to Know About Benfotiamine Side Effects

Japanese researchers have long had an understanding of vitamin B1 that has been slow to be recognized by Western researchers. In the 1940's, for example, a group of Japanese investigators learned that "vitamin deficiency" disease beri-beri, for example, could also be caused by an anti-vitamin produced by molds that grow on rice. Sometimes the problem is not getting enough vitamin B1, and sometimes the problem is getting a vitamin destroying substance from contaminated food. 

The Japanese were also the first to recognize the potential of vitamin B1 for treating nerve damage caused by alcoholism and diabetes. Before American researchers were even considering the subject, Japanese researchers developed an especially well-absorbed form of vitamin B1 called benfotiamine. 

But if you weren't associated with a European research institute that had good connections with researchers in Japan (I was), and you didn't read scientific papers in Japanese (I could, but I really had to struggle with the language), chances are you never heard about this nutritional aid even if you were a nutrition "expert." 

Interest in benfotiamine in the US and Canada was not drummed up by experts. It was driven by ordinarily people looking for treatments for long-term health problems for which Western medicine did not have an answer. You can read more about the benefits of benfotiamine in another article I wrote

Is Benfotiamine Safe?

But what about benfotiamine side effects? Is the 150 mg benfotiamine dosage too much? Does the benfotiamine formula make a difference?

There are no reports of benfotiamine side effects in the medical literature. There are no reports of benfotiamine interactions with prescription drugs, other vitamins, foods, or supplements. The three-times-a-day 150 mg dosage is safe, as is the 450 up to 1000 mg daily dosage used in Germany and Japan. Theoretically, overdose with benfotiamine should cause hot flashes, bluish skin (due to rapid use of oxygen), tingling, and shortness of breath, but in practice, this just has not happened.

Vitamin Pills

There is only one category of user who may need to exert caution with benfotiamine, and that is cancer patients with solid tumors not controlled by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or other means. The reason benfotiamine should be avoided by people who have cancer has only been understood for a few years.

Benfotiamine and Cancer

The theoretical connection between benfotiamine and cancer involves a group of enzymes called transketolases. These enzymes don't appear in healthy cells. They sometimes appear in cancer cells.

The transketolases enable a cell to use ribose sugar for fuel without the need for oxygen. This allows a cancer cell to "hide" inside a tissue where it cannot be detected by the immune system and it also causes the cancer cell to rob nutrients from its health neighbors. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is required by the cancer cells to make the transketolases.

Since benfotiamine is a readily available form of vitamin B1, it is theoretically possible that benfotiamine could feed the processes that allow cancer cells to burn sugar without oxygen. However, this only occurs, if it occurs, after cancerous tumors have already formed. Benfotiamine will not cause cancer, but it may provide nutrients to already-existing cancers, at least in theory.

I know two nutritionists and one oncologist in Germany who tell their clients and patients who have cancer to avoid all vitamin B supplements and all foods fortified with vitamin B. This is probably a reasonable precaution. Transketolase researcher and oncologist Dr. Johannes Coy, however, believes that the people who are at risk for this process are those who have a mutation of the genes for forming transketolases that would lead to cancer no matter what they did, and there are other studies that find that benfotiamine actually prevents damage to DNA that leads to cancer.

I agree with the German experts. If you know you have cancer, don't take benfotiamine. If you find out you have cancer, stop. Otherwise, use this form of vitamin B in the recommended doses for help in recovery from nerve damage for which there are very few other treatments. 


  1. God bless you Dan; It may be more important it not only reduced glycation and AGE's, some researchers have found that it may be important for diabetics to supplement with it.

    Researchers find vitamin B1 deficiency key to vascular problems for diabetic patients

    1. Sam, thanks for reading the BLOG and your kind words on Benfotiamine.