Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vitamin Supplement Little More Than 'Snake Oil,' Researcher Claims

Date:
June 13, 2008
Source:
BMC Pharmacology
Summary:
A popular vitamin supplement is being advertised with claims that are demonstrably untrue, as revealed by recent research.

A popular vitamin supplement is being advertised with claims that are demonstrably untrue, as revealed by research published in the open access journal BMC Pharmacology.

Benfotiamine is a synthetic derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1). It is marketed heavily as a dietary supplement using a selection of unsubstantiated, 'not-quite-medical' claims that tend to characterize this field. A large part of this campaign has been built around the belief that benfotiamine is lipid-soluble and, therefore, more physiologically active. Scientific research led by Dr Lucien Bettendorff of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology at the University of Liθge, Belgium, has entirely disproved these claims.

A severe deficiency of thiamine is known to cause weight loss, emotional disturbances, impaired sensory perception, weakness and pain in the limbs, and periods of irregular heart rate. Deficiencies can occur as a result of alcoholism or malnutrition. As thiamine itself is very poorly absorbed by the body, it must be taken in as various precursor forms. This research shows that benfotiamine may not be as effective in this regard as has been claimed, in particular concerning its ability to raise effective thiamine levels in the central nervous system.

According to Bettendorff, "We suspect that those companies selling benfotiamine have poisoned much of the recent literature in an attempt to bestow it with properties that it does not have". Benfotiamine has been previously shown to prevent several diabetic complications in experimental animal models. The researchers carried out experiments in mice in which benfotiamine was administered using several different techniques and the resulting levels of thiamine were measured in various parts of the body. Contrary to other claims about its solubility, the results show that benfotiamine is only sparingly soluble in water under physiological conditions and cannot be dissolved in octanol or oils.

As Bettendorff explains, "Benfotiamine is very often considered a 'lipid-soluble' thiamine precursor from the disulfide derivative family though it is neither lipid-soluble, nor a disulfide. Sometimes, it is considered to have more biological activity than thiamine disulfides, but our study shows that it does not even penetrate cell membranes, except in those cells containing an ecto-alkaline phosphatase. There is no evidence that benfotiamine would be more effective than other precursors as a therapeutic agent for complications of diabetes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMC Pharmacology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marie-Laure Volvert, Sandrine Seyen, Marie Piette, Brigitte Evrard, Marjorie Gangolf, Jean-Christophe Plumier and Lucien Bettendorff. Benfotiamine, a synthetic S-acyl thiamine derivative, has different mechanisms of action and a different pharmacological profile than lipid-soluble thiamine disulfide derivatives. BMC Pharmacology, (in press)

Cite This Page:

BMC Pharmacology. "Vitamin Supplement Little More Than 'Snake Oil,' Researcher Claims." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080611220431.htm>.
BMC Pharmacology. (2008, June 13). Vitamin Supplement Little More Than 'Snake Oil,' Researcher Claims. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080611220431.htm
BMC Pharmacology. "Vitamin Supplement Little More Than 'Snake Oil,' Researcher Claims." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080611220431.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) — Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins