|Neuropathy is an abnormal and usually degenerative state of nerve fibers or the nervous system. It may also include muscular atrophy (wasting) as a result of the condition. In short, it is a malfunctioning of the nervous system that can produce symptoms anywhere in the body that are often referred to as neuralgia or neuritis.
Benfotiamine (S-benzyolthiamine O-mono-phosphate)
Developed in Japan in the late 1950s to treat alcoholic and diabetic neuropathy and other nerve disorders including sciatica, benfotiamine has been marketed in apan since 1962, in Europe since 1992 and in the U.S. since 2005. It is a synthetic derivative of vitamin B1, thiamine, and is present in trace amounts in roasted, crushed garlic, onions, shallots and leeks. Benfotiamine’s supplemental use has been shown to significantly decrease the unpleasant physical symptoms of diabetes such as burning, tingling, prickling, or loss of sensation in the feet and hands. Its use may also lessen the more serious complications, which include deafness, loss of vision, high blood pressure,and stroke. Due to its unique chemical actions, benfotiamine may also help repair and regenerate diabetes-induced damaged cells throughout the body (1)—including nerve cells in the extremities and cells of the small capillaries of the eyes (retina) and kidneys (glomeruli), thus restoring some function to these organs.
Ironically, while the characteristic underproduction of insulin and/or the lack of cells’ sensitivity to it prevents glucose from entering many of the body’s trillions of cells, excess glucose within the blood floods into blood vessel cells, causing great damage to both cellular structure and function.
In contrast to most of the other substances used to treat diabetes—which work either by increasing the quantity of insulin and/or increasing the cells’ sensitivity to it—benfotiamine eliminates excess levels of potentially-damaging glucose metabolites (triosephosphates) from within the blood vessel cells. It accomplishes this cellular purging by increasing the activity of the enzyme transketolase by 300-400%, allowing glucose to be processed through an alternate metabolic pathway, thus normalizing glucose levels and metabolism within the affected cells. (2) Interestingly, benfotiamine’s benefits are not the result of a drop in blood sugar levels—as measured by fasting plasma or HbA1c—but rather its unique ability to balance cellular glucose metabolism.
Recent studies have shown benfotiamine may be helpful in treating many neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s, Bell’s palsy, herpes simplex, Parkinson’s, sciatica, shingles, tinnitis, tooth hypersensitivity, and Tourette’s syndrome. Other ailments which may be beneficially affected are AIDS, end stage renal (kidney) disease, sleep disorders, and liver diseases including hepatitis. Benfotiamine is a safe compound having no known drug interactions or side-effects at treatment dosages.The basic treatment level is 600-900 mg daily in divided doses, with a maintenance dosage of 150 mg. However, this may vary depending upon the severity of the condition and the patient’s subjective experience. Up to 1,200 mg/day has been used safely. To learn more, visit www.benfotiamine.org.
ReBuilder Medical, Inc. of Charles Town, WV offers a small, battery-operated electrical device that promises to reduce or eliminate the pain, numbness, burning sensations, and tingling so common to peripheral neuropathy. The ReBuilder sends healing, non-painful electrical signals to the feet (or hands) which wake up dormant nerves and restore blood flow, hence oxygen, to the extremities. Patients begin by using the device once per day for about 30 minutes. As symptoms subside, frequency of use can be decreased to two or three treatments per week.
According to the company, patients average a 95% reduction in pain and burning and an 83% reduction in numbness. Even those who’ve been told “nothing else can be done, the nerves are dead” may find relief using this device. David Phillips, Ph.D., inventor of the ReBuilder, is also the inventor of the GST® Breast Cancer Detection System, and was given the Inventor of the Year award in 1986 for his development of the infrared ear thermometer, a well-known household item. To learn more about The ReBuilder, visit http://rebuildermedical.com.
Several other technologies presented in The Encyclopedia of Medical Breakthroughs include the Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block discussed under Pain Relievers. At times, a localized procaine or similar analgesic injection is effective. This is sometimes given along with DMSO, a substance discussed in more detail under Spinal Cord Injury and Pain Relievers. Otherwise, many of the Pain Relievers and General Treatment Methods offer relief. See Light and Electricity under Pain Relievers and Prolotherapy and Seanol under General Treatment Methods. See Memantine under Alzheimer’s Disease, which has been shown to reduce the pain of neuropathies. See Alpha Lipoic Acid under Alzheimer’s Disease and Tamanu Oil under Psoriasis.
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