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Why B1 May Protect Diabetics

Source: Delicious Living, March 2004
Author: Anthony Almada, MS, Nutrition and Exercise Biochemist

Ask the Expert: Why B1 May Protect Diabetics

Question: Can taking thiamine help prevent diabetic kidney disease?

Answer: Thiamine, or B1, may be especially helpful for diabetics because of its prominent role in glucose metabolism. Some evidence indicates that diabetics have low levels of B1 and often display reduced activity of a B1 dependent enzyme, called transketolase, within red blood cells. Such a compromise may prevent transketolase – dependent reactions from halting adverse diabetic metabolic reactions.

Recent studies show that high-dose supplementation with vitamin B1 prevents the development of diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy) in rats with toxin-induced diabetes. Although this type of diabetes leads to kidney dysfunction, both groups taking thiamine, either as regular thiamine or in a fat-soluble form, had their kidney dysfunction arrested by 70 percent to 80 percent after 24 weeks. This study, combined with others with similar results, lends support to taking high dose thiamine supplements to ward off diabetic complications.