Vitamin B1 as Treatment for Diabetes
A new study from the University of Bristol published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology shows that a dietary supplement of B1 vitamins can potentially prevent heart disease for people with diabetes. Half of all people with diabetes succumb to cardiovascular disease and it is the leading cause of death for diabetes patients.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, aka juvenile diabetes, results from the inability of the body to produce insulin, requiring frequent insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes, aka adult-onset diabetes, by far the most common, is when the body's cells are unable to use insulin properly. Both types are incurable but manageable. With steady treatments, people with diabetes can go on to live normal, productive lives.
The effects of diabetes on the heart are more severe than on other organs. Less oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the heart, making it more vulnerable to stress. The high levels of glucose in the blood can form toxins in the cardiovascular cells which accelerate the ageing of the cell.
The researchers at the University of Bristol experimented with different treatments for diabetes, and found that a synthetic derivative of vitamin B1 has amazing effects. The compound known as benfotiamine was administered to mice with both types of diabetes. They found that it delayed the progression of heart failure and improved the survival and healing after a heart attack.
Previous studies have showed that people with diabetes have 75 percent less vitamin B1 in their bodies that people without diabetes. The theory is that vitamin B1 is more readily ejected from the body for people with diabetes. B1 has also been found to reduce the risks of kidney failure.
Dr. Victoria King, Head of Research at Diabetes UK, which funded the study, says that she is encouraged by the results. However, she noted that it is too early to draw definitive conclusions until the treatment can be confirmed in human trials. Taking the vitamin alone is not sufficient in preventing cardiovascular complications.
Link to published article in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20542491