Benfotiamine and Alzheimer’s Disease

If you are one of the thousands of physicians who use benfotiamine, a high potency lipid-soluble form of thiamine (vitamin B1), in the treatment of polyneuropathy, you are certainly aware of its beneficial effects on the functioning of neurons in the peripheral nervous system.  But a neuron is a neuron, whether in the peripheral or central nervous system, and it would be reasonable that a nutrient which improves the function of the peripheral nervous system might also improve central nervous system functioning.  This may be the case with Alzheimer’s disease.

It has long been known that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with the impairment of thiamine dependent processes in the brain.  This leads to reduced glucose metabolism and decreased energy availability to central neurons.  Research indicates that benfotiamine may prove to be beneficial for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

A 2010 paper published in Brain and authored by X. Pan, et al., from the department of neurology of Shanghai Medical College, reported on the results of a study which found powerful beneficial effects on cognitive impairment with the use of benfotiamine in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.  A 2016 paper authored by X. Pan, et al., in Neuroscience Bulletin reported on a study in which five patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease exhibited cognitive improvement after 18 months of receiving oral benfotiamine (300 mg daily).

A clinical trial is currently underway in the US to assess the effect of benfotiamine on Alzheimer’s disease.  The estimated study completion date is November of 2019.  Hopefully, the impressive therapeutic benefits of benfotiamine will not be limited to improving function of the peripheral nervous system and benfotiamine will, to some degree, prove helpful in the treatment of this terrible neurodegenerative disorder.

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