Benfotiamine is a synthetic, or man-made, version of vitamin B1 that has been used as a supplement to help treat diabetic neuropathy. Scientists are now examining the usefulness of benfotiamine as a supplement for patients with Alzheimer’s-associated MCI and mild dementia. In a 12-month clinical trial, 70 volunteers were randomized into either a placebo group or a benfotiamine-treated group. All participants were aged 60 or older and diagnosed with MCI or mild dementia. Those in the treatment group were administered 300 mg benfotiamine twice daily. The benfotiamine was well-tolerated. Cognitive function was assessed every 3 months. Over the course of the study, researchers observed improved brain chemistry in the benfotiamine-treated group, but not the placebo group. They also observed less cognitive decline in the benfotiamine-treated group. However, the beneficial effect was more significant in participants without the APOE ε4 gene, which is associated with a predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease. While confirmation through additional studies needs to be done, these results are encouraging and suggest that benfotiamine may be beneficial in treating MCI.
Gibson GE, et al. Benfotiamine and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease: results of a randomized placebo- controlled phase IIa clinical trial. J Alzheimers Dis [epub ahead of print 2020]. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200896.