Breaking Through…Again and Again

Breaking Through Again and Again

Little did an HSI member named Howard know that his simple suggestion might be a huge and important health tip for diabetics – both type 1 and type 2.

In an e-Alert I sent you about two years ago, I shared this quote from Howard: “It’s that time of the year to increase your intake of vitamin B-1 (thiamine) and garlic. Both of these items make you ‘stink’ to a mosquito. I have used this method for years to keep the ‘Minnesota State Bird’ at bay. Just stop by at your favorite supermarket or health food shop and pick up some B-1 and garlic tabs.”

Any diabetic who took Howard’s advice will be happy to know that, in addition to repelling mosquitoes, they may also be protecting their hearts and kidneys from damage associated with diabetes.

Well-known “discovery”

Earlier this month, officials at Warwick Medical School in the UK issued a press release regarding a new thiamine study conducted at their school. The press release states that researchers “have discovered that deficiency of thiamine – Vitamin B1 – may be key to a range of vascular problems for people with diabetes.”

As press releases are prone to do, this claim is a little exaggerated. Diabetes researchers know that previous animal research has already established such a link. And last year, a study from George Washington University Medical Center (GWU) showed that 100 mg of thiamine given intravenously slowed the development and progression of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) among subjects with impaired glucose tolerance and subjects with type 1 diabetes.

Nevertheless, the Warwick study offers an important confirmation of this link.

When the Warwick team measured thiamine levels in 94 volunteers (20 healthy subjects, 26 type 1 diabetics, and 48 type 2 diabetics), thiamine concentration was found to be about 75 percent lower in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics compared to subjects in the non-diabetic group. Furthermore, urine tests revealed that the deficiency is caused by an increased rate of thiamine removal from the body, rather than low thiamine intake.

Add a little garlic

The Warwick study implies that thiamine supplements might not make much of a difference for diabetics, while the GWU research shows that intravenous thiamine might make a big difference. Intravenous supplementation obviously isn’t a convenient way for diabetics to bump up their thiamine levels, but a third option just might do the trick.

More than three years ago, HSI members read about a unique form of thiamine supplement in an article that appeared in the June 2004 HSI Members Alert. The author of the article – Kathryn Mays-Wright – begins by comparing thiamine to a positive role model that can actually “teach” cells how to overcome the bad influence of glucose.

Kathryn notes that thiamine plays a vital role in carbohydrate metabolism, so when the vitamin is deficient, “your cells are literally soaking in a toxic glucose bath. This gives glucose ample opportunity to move in and cause all sorts of problems, from fatigue to neuropathy.”

The typical form of thiamine supplement is water soluble, which is easily excreted from the body. But Kathryn cites a breakthrough 2003 study that used a fat-soluble form of thiamine supplement.

Kathryn writes: “The factor that made the significant difference in this study is a supplement called benfotiamine, a lipid/fat soluble derivative of vitamin B1 (thiamine). In the presence of allicin, the active principle of garlic, the water-soluble thiamine hydrochloride is transformed into a lipid-soluble compound. According to studies, as an oral supplement, benfotiamine is absorbed more rapidly and for longer periods than water-soluble thiamine. And its unique structure enabled it to pass directly through cell membranes, readily crossing the intestinal wall and being taken straight to the cell. As a result, your body absorbs benfotiamine better than thiamine itself and levels of thiamine remain higher for longer. Thiamine absorption from benfotiamine is about five times higher than conventional thiamine supplements.

“Benfotiamine was developed in Japan in the late 1950s to treat alcoholic neuropathy, sciatica, and other painful nerve conditions. Japanese researchers patented the process in1962. It has been used for over a decade in Germany. And although it has been used successfully for over 12 years in Europe for the prevention and relief of symptoms in people already suffering with various neuropathies, it has only recently been introduced into the United States.”

You can find more information about benfotiamine at, and HSI members can read Kathryn’s full article in the HSI Members Alert archives on our web site at

The HSI Members Alert provides a convenient way to stay informed about all of the most groundbreaking advances in alternative medicine. Use this link to find out how you can be among the very first to learn the inside scoop about cutting edge cures that you’ll rarely hear about in the mainstream media.

“Researchers Find Vitamin B1 Deficiency Key to Vascular Problems for Diabetic Patients” Press Release, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, 8/7/07,
“High Prevalence of Low Plasma Thiamine Concentration in Diabetes Linked to a Marker of Vascular Disease” Diabetologia, Published online 8/4/07,
“Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Improved Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilatation in the Presence of Hyperglycemia” Annals of Vascular Surgery, Vol. 20, No. 5, September 2006,
“Prevent – Even Reverse – Diabetes Damage with the Vitamin ‘Teacher’ Breakthrough” Kathryn Mays-Wright, HSI Members Alert, June 2004,