Your body uses thiamine, also known as vitamin B-1, for numerous functions. A synthetic form of thiamine, benfotiamine, offers superior bioavailability, and physicians prescribe this compound for therapeutic purposes. There is no tolerable upper limit for thiamine or benfotiamine, although there are some standard doses. Consult your physician before taking any dietary supplements.
Thiamine helps your nervous system and muscles function properly and aids in metabolism and digestion. Because thiamine is water-soluble, very little is stored in your body and you can become deficient in just 14 days, according to the Mayo Clinic. Benfotiamine helps to prevent diabetic complications by increasing thiamine absorption in the liver and the blood, preventing tissue damage. However, benfotiamine has no effect on thiamine levels in the nervous system.
Dosages and Sources
The United States has established a recommended dietary allowance for thiamine. Men over the age of 19 should consume at least 1.2 milligrams per day. Females require 1.1 milligrams of thiamine per day. For women who are breastfeeding or pregnant, the recommended dietary allowance increases to 1.4 milligrams per day. Many foods naturally contain thiamine, but high doses of the supplement can be found in pork and organ meats. Other good dietary sources include legumes, fortified rice, cereal, wheat germ and bran.
Although the recommended dietary allowance of thiamine is only 1.1 to 1.4 milligrams, most supplements contain 50 to 100 milligrams. What is considered a high dose of the supplement varies. There is no established upper limit of the supplements because they are water-soluble and your body removes any excess. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have investigated the effects of up to 100 milligrams of thiamine, and this dose is considered safe. Benfotiamine has also been tested at 100 milligrams.
Consult your physician for a recommended dose. Your doctor may recommend a high dose of thiamine and benfotiamine if you have certain health conditions. Thiamine is generally safe and has few side effects. Some users experience allergic or hypersensitivity reactions to the supplement. Symptoms include rash, skin irritation or difficulty breathing. Doses above the recommended dietary allowance may cause fatigue or muscle relaxation. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking thiamine or benfotiamine because of potential interactions with certain medications and possible effects on pre-existing conditions.
- MayoClinic.com: Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- BMC Pharmacology: Benfotiamine, a Synthetic S-acyl Thiamine Derivative, Has Different Mechanisms of Action and a different Pharmacological Profile Than Lipid-Soluble Thiamine Disulfide Derivatives
- PubMed Health: Beriberi
- MayoClinic.com: Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Dosing
- MayoClinic.com: Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Safety
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)