What Is Benfotiamine?

This thiamine derivative has been studied for diabetic neuropathy and Alzheimer's

Benfotiamine capsules, tablets, almonds, lentils, and pasta

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Benfotiamine is a dietary supplement that is converted in the body to thiamine (vitamin B1). Thiamine helps your body turn nutrients into energy and is essential for brain function. Some people use benfotiamine to raise thiamine levels because it is considered to be highly bioavailable. This means that it reaches the bloodstream quickly and produces high levels of thiamine in the body.

Because it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, benfotiamine may also be helpful for diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain) and Alzheimer's disease.

This article reviews the current evidence about benfotiamine's effectiveness. It also discusses potential side effects and precautions, and what to look for when buying it.

Unlike drugs, dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLab, or NSF.

However, even if supplements are third-party tested, it doesn't mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and to check in about any potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

  • Active ingredient: S-benzoylthiamine O-monophosphate
  • Alternate name: Benphothiamine, betivina, benzoylthiamine monophosphate, benfotiamina, benfotiaminum
  • Legal status: Over-the-counter (OTC) supplement in the United States
  • Suggested dose: 300 milligrams twice a day
  • Safety considerations: Safety unknown during pregnancy, lactation, and in children

Click Play to Learn About the Uses of Benfotiamine

This video has been medically reviewed by Anju Goel, MD, MPH.

Uses of Benfotiamine

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

Recommended daily levels of thiamine are 1.2 milligrams (mg) for adult males, 1.1 milligrams for adult females, and 1.4 mg during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Some people may develop a thiamine deficiency when intakes are lower over time than recommended levels, they have a specific risk factor for lower-than-normal levels, or there is a particular reason they are unable to digest or absorb thiamine.

Thiamine deficiency is rare in the United States, but it is more likely in older adults and people with the following conditions:

Thiamine deficiency can lead to nerve, heart, and brain conditions. Initial symptoms include weight loss, memory loss, confusion, and muscle weakness. More severe forms are beriberi (characterized by peripheral neuropathy or nerve pain) and the life-threatening Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which involves peripheral neuropathy and psychosis.

Benfotiamine can boost thiamine levels and help prevent these effects. Some research supports the use of benfotiamine for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and diabetic neuropathy as well. Here's the latest evidence supporting these claims.

Alzheimer's Disease

AD is a degenerative brain disease. Symptoms include:

  • Progressive memory loss
  • Poor judgment
  • Misplacing things
  • Getting lost
  • Mood and personality changes

AD symptoms are believed to involve abnormal clumps of proteins in the brain called amyloid plaques. Those features may be linked to processes in the body that rely on thiamine. But thiamine supplements have been found ineffective for slowing disease progression or reducing symptoms, even at high doses of 3 grams (g) per day for a year. It's thought this is because thiamine is poorly bioavailable or unable to be used by the body efficiently.

In one study, five people with AD took 300 milligrams (mg) of benfotiamine daily for 18 months. They all had some cognitive improvement. A small sample size limited this trial. Also, there was no placebo (sugar pill) control compared to the benfotiamine treatment.

Another study of 70 patients with either mild cognitive impairment or mild AD showed benfotiamine 300 mg twice a day for 12 months increased thiamin levels and improved cognitive function, as measured by several tests. These results suggest benfotiamine may be helpful for mild AD, but more research is needed.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes involves high blood sugar levels, which can damage blood vessels and cause diabetic neuropathy.

Symptoms of neuropathy include:

  • Pain or diminished sensation in the feet
  • Burning or shooting pains in the lower legs
  • Balance and coordination problems

Benfotiamine inhibits what are known as advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which are markers for diabetic complications. Because thiamine deficiency is also known to cause nerve pain, in theory, supplementing with benfotiamine could alleviate some symptoms of neuropathy.

But clinical data is minimal. A review of six trials that studied the effect of benfotiamine on diabetic nerve pain was inconclusive. Overall, there was not enough evidence to support the use of benfotiamine for people with this condition.

The BOND trial is a 12-month randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing benfotiamine 300 mg twice daily with a placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. Results are pending, but more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn.

Additional Uses

In addition to the potential health benefits listed above, some people use benfotiamine to support:

There is currently not enough evidence to recommend benfotiamine for these uses.

What Are the Side Effects of Benfotiamine?

Your provider may recommend you take benfotiamine for nerve pain or Alzheimer's disease, or another reason. However, consuming a supplement like benfotiamine may have potential side effects. These side effects may be common or severe.

Common Side Effects

While few side effects have been reported, extremely high doses aren't advised. Little is known about the long-term safety of benfotiamine.

A safety and tolerability study reported that the rate of adverse effects for short-term benfotiamine use in young, healthy volunteers was similar to that for placebo. The maximum doses studied were 1,200 mg daily for up to ten days. Side effects reported with benfotiamine included:

Severe Side Effects

There are no documented severe side effects of benfotiamine. However, most studies are short-term, and safety data are limited.


The safety of supplements hasn't been established for: 

  • Pregnant women
  • Nursing mothers
  • Children
  • Those with specific medical conditions
  • Those taking medications

Benfotiamine contains sulfur. Don't take it if you have a sulfur sensitivity.

Almonds, lentils, and pasta

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dosage: How Much Benfotiamine Should I Take?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.

No safe or effective dosage recommendations have been established for benfotiamine as a treatment for any condition.

Most studies in people with diabetes have used dosages of 300 mg twice a day. Other trials have used doses as high as 900 mg per day without significant problems.

If you want to try benfotiamine supplements, talk to your healthcare provider. They can guide you on whether it's safe for you and help you determine an appropriate dosage.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Benfotiamine?

Benfotiamine does not appear to cause toxicity.


Little is known about benfotiamine's potential drug or food interactions.

Prescription medications furosemide (Lasix) and fluorouracil (Adrucil) lower the levels of thiamin in the body, so those medicines might also make benfotiamine less effective.

It is essential to carefully read a supplement's ingredients list and nutrition facts panel to learn which ingredients are in the product and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

How to Store Benfotiamine

Benfotiamine should be stored in a cool, dry place and discarded according to package instructions. Keep it out of the sight and reach of children and pets.

Similar Supplements

Commonly used supplements for thiamin deficiency are:

  • Thiamine mononitrate
  • Thiamine hydrochloride
  • Combination B-vitamin products

Other supplements that may benefit patients with diabetic neuropathy include:

Supplements of interest in Alzheimer's Disease include:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much benfotiamine should I take for diabetes?

    Healthcare providers may suggest between 150 and 300 mg of benfotiamine twice a day. It may decrease pain from diabetic neuropathy. More research is needed to be sure it's safe and effective.

  • What are the benefits of benfotiamine?

    Benfotiamine supplements help increase thiamine (vitamin B1) levels. Thiamine is key to a healthy nervous system. Some research suggests it helps with diabetes-related nerve damage and the cognitive declines of Alzheimer's.

Sources of Benfotiamine & What to Look For

Several sources of benfotiamine are available.

Food Sources of Benfotiamine

Benfotiamine is found in roasted garlic and other herbs from the Allium family, such as chives, shallots, and leeks.

Benfotiamine Supplements

Benfotiamine supplements are widely available online and in stores specializing in supplements. They may be purchased in capsule or powder form.

When choosing one, review the Supplement Facts label. It'll tell you about any fillers, binders, or flavorings. It also says how much of the active ingredient it contains.

Look for a seal of approval from a third-party quality-testing organization, such as USP, ConsumerLab, or NSF. This ensures the product contains the listed ingredients and no harmful contaminants. A seal of approval doesn't guarantee the product's safety or effectiveness.


Benfotiamine is a supplement that can increase the level of an essential vitamin, thiamine, in the body. It may help with diabetic neuropathy and Alzheimer's disease. More research is needed, though.

Side effects are possible, but they've been rare in studies. Official dosages aren't yet established. Check with your healthcare provider before taking benfotiamine.

23 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Thiamin.

  2. Raj V, Ojha S, Howarth FC, Belur PD, Subramanya SB. Therapeutic potential of benfotiamine and its molecular targets. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2018;22(10):3261-3273. doi:10.26355/eurrev_201805_15089

  3. Sambon M, Wins P, Bettendorff L. Neuroprotective Effects of Thiamine and Precursors with Higher Bioavailability: Focus on Benfotiamine and Dibenzoylthiamine. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22(11):5418. Published 2021 May 21. doi:10.3390/ijms22115418

  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 3032771, Benfotiamine. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Benfotiamine.

  5. Gibson GE, Luchsinger JA, Cirio R, et al. Benfotiamine and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease: Results of a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Phase IIa Clinical Trial. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;78(3):989-1010. doi:10.3233/JAD-200896

  6. Whitfield KC, Bourassa MW, Adamolekun B, et al. Thiamine deficiency disorders: diagnosis, prevalence, and a roadmap for global control programs. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018;1430(1):3-43. doi:10.1111/nyas.13919

  7. National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging. What are the signs of Alzheimer's disease?

  8. Pan X, Chen Z, Fei G, et al. Long-term cognitive improvement after benfotiamine administration in patients with alzheimer's disease. Neurosci Bull. 2016;32(6):591-596. doi:10.1007/s12264-016-0067-0

  9. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. What is diabetic neuropathy?

  10. Stirban A, Pop A, Fischer A, Heckermann S, Tschoepe D. Variability of skin autofluorescence measurement over 6 and 12 weeks and the influence of benfotiamine treatment. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2013;15(9):733-737. doi:10.1089/dia.2013.0103

  11. Karaganis S, Song XJ. B vitamins as a treatment for diabetic pain and neuropathy. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2021;46(5):1199-1212. doi:10.1111/jcpt.13375

  12. Bönhof GJ, Sipola G, Strom A, et al. BOND study: a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled trial over 12 months to assess the effects of benfotiamine on morphometric, neurophysiological and clinical measures in patients with type 2 diabetes with symptomatic polyneuropathy. BMJ Open. 2022;12(2):e057142. Published 2022 Feb 3. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-057142

  13. Manzardo AM, Pendleton T, Poje A, Penick EC, Butler MG. Change in psychiatric symptomatology after benfotiamine treatment in males is related to lifetime alcoholism severity. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015;152:257-263. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.03.032

  14. Khurana N, James S, Coughlan MT, MacIsaac RJ, Ekinci EI. Novel Therapies for Kidney Disease in People With Diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022;107(1):e1-e24. doi:10.1210/clinem/dgab639

  15. Sheng L, Cao W, Lin P, et al. Safety, Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics of Single and Multiple Ascending Doses of Benfotiamine in Healthy SubjectsDrug Des Devel Ther. 2021;15:1101-1110. Published 2021 Mar 9. doi:10.2147/DDDT.S296197

  16. Nwadiugwu MC. Inflammatory Activities in Type 2 Diabetes Patients With Co-morbid Angiopathies and Exploring Beneficial Interventions: A Systematic Review. Front Public Health. 2021;8:600427. Published 2021 Jan 25. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2020.600427

  17. Ziegler D, Papanas N, Schnell O, et al. Current concepts in the management of diabetic polyneuropathy. J Diabetes Investig. 2021;12(4):464-475. doi:10.1111/jdi.13401

  18. Araya-Quintanilla F, Gutiérrez-Espinoza H, Sánchez-Montoya U, et al. Effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in patients with Alzheimer disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Efectividad de la suplementación de ácidos grasos omega-3 en pacientes con enfermedad de Alzheimer: revisión sistemática con metaanálisis. Neurologia (Engl Ed). 2020;35(2):105-114. doi:10.1016/j.nrl.2017.07.009

  19. Browne D, McGuinness B, Woodside JV, McKay GJ. Vitamin E and Alzheimer's disease: what do we know so far?Clin Interv Aging. 2019;14:1303-1317. Published 2019 Jul 18. doi:10.2147/CIA.S186760

  20. Singh SK, Srivastav S, Castellani RJ, Plascencia-Villa G, Perry G. Neuroprotective and Antioxidant Effect of Ginkgo biloba Extract Against AD and Other Neurological Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2019;16(3):666-674. doi:10.1007/s13311-019-00767-8

  21. Roschel H, Gualano B, Ostojic SM, Rawson ES. Creatine Supplementation and Brain Health. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):586. Published 2021 Feb 10. doi:10.3390/nu13020586

  22. Pai ST. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Integrative Medicine. Elsevier; 2018:120-132.e8. doi:10.1016/B978-0-323-35868-2.00013-X

  23. Allowitz KV, Yoo JJ, Taylor JR, Baloch OA, Harames K, Ramana KV. Therapeutic potential of vitamin B1 derivative benfotiamine from diabetes to COVID-19. Future Med Chem. 2022;14(11):809-826. doi:10.4155/fmc-2022-0040

Additional Reading

By Megan Nunn, PharmD
Megan Nunn, PharmD, is a community pharmacist in Tennessee with over twelve years of experience in medication counseling and immunization.

Originally written by Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong

Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.

Learn about our editorial process