Thiamine and benfotiamine: Focus on their therapeutic potential

Heliyon. 2023 Nov 7;9(11):e21839. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e21839. eCollection 2023 Nov.


Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and overall health. It is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy in the body. Thiamine is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, heart and muscles. Thiamine deficiency is a life-threatening disease that leads to various disorders and lesions in the nerves and brain, at least in vertebrates. Several thiamine precursors with higher bioavailability have been developed to compensate for thiamine deficiency, including benfotiamine. Benfotiamine is more bioavailable and has higher tissue penetration than thiamine. Studies have shown its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential in activated immune and glial cells. It also improves complications observed in type 2 diabetes and has beneficial effects in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease. Benfotiamine represents an off-the-shelf agent used to support nerve health, promote healthy aging and support glucose metabolism. Accordingly, the present review aimed to provide an overview of the neuroprotective effects of thiamine/benfotiamine in the context of inflammation and oxidative stress.

Keywords: Benfotiamine; Neurological disease; Thiamine deficiency.

Publication types

  • Review