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Vitamin (Benfotiamine) Reverses Nerve Pain

Benfotiamine, a form of the B vitamin thiamine, has been used to treat peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes.
Vitamin (Benfotiamine) Reverses Nerve Pain
Neuropathy

Q. I heard a caller on your radio show talk about a vitamin for peripheral neuropathy and restless leg syndrome. What is it? Can you tell me more?

Benfotiamine for Neuropathy:

A. The compound is benfotiamine, a synthetic form of thiamine (vitamin B1). It has been used in Germany to treat peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes. Our caller, a physician, says the dose is 300 mg twice daily to start with; maintenance is 150 mg twice a day. Benfotiamine is available without a prescription, but not all pharmacies carry it.

When he called, we had forgotten that we’d heard from other listeners several years ago about the same compound:

“I have suffered for about four years from an intermittent, sharp ‘electric’ pain on the sole of my left foot. Recently it became worse and was interfering with my sleep.

“I heard you speaking about peripheral neuropathy and a diabetic caller said her doctor had recommended ‘benfotiamine.’ This had returned feeling to the bottom of her feet for the first time in many years.

“After reading all I could find on the subject, I ordered benfotiamine and began taking it. Within 24 hours my pain had almost completely disappeared and the very isolated recurrences are comparatively mild.”

A placebo-controlled trial for diabetic neuropathy found a significant benefit for pain (Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes, Nov., 2008). We could find no trials of benfotiamine to treat restless leg syndrome, but it could be worth a try.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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