12 June 2008
Scientists Slam Benfotiamine Supplement
Benfotiamine, a popular vitamin supplement, is being advertised with claims that are demonstrably untrue, say researchers in the journal BMC Pharmacology.
Benfotiamine, a synthetic derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1), is marketed as a dietary supplement using a selection of unsubstantiated, not-quite-medical claims, note the researchers. They add that a large part of this campaign has been built around the belief that benfotiamine is lipid-soluble and, therefore, more physiologically active, which Dr Lucien Bettendorff of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology at the University of Liège, Belgium, says is entirely untrue.
"We suspect that those companies selling benfotiamine have poisoned much of the recent literature in an attempt to bestow it with properties that it does not have," said Bettendorff. The researchers carried out experiments in mice in which benfotiamine was administered using several different techniques and the resulting levels of thiamine were measured in various parts of the body. Contrary to other claims about its solubility, the results show that benfotiamine is only sparingly soluble in water under physiological conditions and cannot be dissolved in octanol or oils.
"Our study shows that it does not even penetrate cell membranes, except in those cells containing an ecto-alkaline phosphatase. There is no evidence that benfotiamine would be more effective than other precursors as a therapeutic agent for complications of diabetes," Bettendorff adds.
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Source: BioMed Central