A Synthetic Version of THIS Vitamin Proving Helpful for Cancer Patients

What if there was a vitamin that could help prevent cancer, slow its growth, and protect against the damaging effects of chemo and radiation? There is! And one of its synthetic forms is also proving to be equally effective in fighting this disease.

While Vitamin C has long been valued for its cancer-fighting abilities, it turns out that Vitamin B1 is another champion in the body’s fight against cancer. Benfotiamine, a synthetic form of vitamin B1, is also proving its ability to slow the growth of cancer or possibly help prevent it altogether. Additionally, because it can shield against the damaging effects of chemotherapy and radiation, benfotiamine’s chemo-protective function is an advantage for cancer patients who may be receiving those treatments.

Vitamin B1 and Cancer

Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, has long been appreciated for its role in energy metabolism and nerve function. And now, new research highlights its anti-cancer effects. For instance, one study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry indicated that thiamine supplementation can lower the quantity of breast cancer cells. Additional research published in the scientific journal Oncotarget revealed that a deficit in the body’s supply of thiamine actually aided the development of tumors.

Research is also being done on the role of vitamin B1 in cancer prevention. According to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, women who consumed adequate vitamin B1 had a decreased risk of developing colorectal cancer. A separate study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention concluded that a higher intake of Vitamin B1 was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer in women. The reason? Vitamin B1’s ability to protect the body from oxidative stress and DNA damage.

Vitamin B1’s synthetic derivative, benfotiamine, has also demonstrated significant anti-cancer effects:

  • Benfotiamine can stop the signals that make cancer cells grow and spread. A study published in the journal Oncology Reports showed that benfotiamine stopped the NF-κB signaling pathway from activating. This signal is involved in inflammation and cancer development.
  • A study published in the International Journal of Cancer showed that benfotiamine inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The study used benfotiamine at concentrations ranging from 25 to 200 μM (microns) to treat pancreatic cancer cells in a laboratory setting.
  • In another study, benfotiamine was found to stop breast cancer cells from growing by changing the way signals are sent through the Akt/FOXO3a pathway (this pathway contributes to cell survival and proliferation). Benfotiamine was given to breast cancer cells in a laboratory setting to determine the effects of inhibiting transketolase activity at doses ranging from 0.1 to 100 M.
  • Yet another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry showed that benfotiamine was able to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called transketolase-like protein 1 (TKTL1), which is involved in the energy metabolism of cancer cells. The results? The development of cancer cells is slowed down and chemotherapy treatments become more effective. A win-win!

These studies and others suggest that vitamin B1 and its synthetic version, benfotiamine, can play a significant role in cancer prevention by targeting various stages of the disease.

A chemo-protective effect

So what if you’re already receiving traditional cancer treatments such as chemo and radiation? One way benfotiamine can protect against chemotherapy and radiation damage in cancer patients is due to its ability to shore up the body’s natural antioxidant defense system. The body’s ability to recuperate from the oxidative stress and damage brought on by these therapies is greatly aided by this synthetic form of Vitamin B1.

Benfotiamine can also have chemo-protective effects on the body by lowering inflammation and boosting the immune system. While more research is needed to fully understand how benfotiamine protects against chemotherapy and radiation damage in cancer patients, its potential benefits are promising.

Enhances the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments

Anywhere from 50-60% of cancer patients choose chemotherapy or radiation treatments (American Cancer Society). And these aggressive treatments often have significant uncomfortable side effects. The good news is that research has found that benfotiamine can help these traditional cancer treatments work better.

For example, one study showed that benfotiamine made pancreatic cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy by slowing down certain enzymes that resist the drugs. Benfotiamine boosts the effectiveness of radiotherapy in prostate cancer cells by increasing the levels of reactive oxygen species, making cancer cells more responsive to radiation therapy.

How much Vitamin B1 do you need?

Research shows that if vitamin B1 levels are low, cancer patients may fare worse than others with adequate levels of this essential nutrient. It is vital that cancer patients get adequate vitamin B1 – it can not only help to maintain their general health, but may also increase the efficacy of their cancer treatments. Simply understanding how a vitamin B1 shortage might impact your body’s ability to fight cancer as well as a variety of other health problems, like weakness and nerve damage, can be a very useful tool in your toolbox.

Too much Vitamin B1

When it comes to Vitamin B1, too much of a good thing is not necessarily best. According to Science News, while supplementation with thiamine may be essential for cancer patients, these patients tend to consume 250 to 20,000 times more thiamine than is recommended per day. Men should take in approximately 1.4mg and women 1.0mg daily as easily achievable quantities in typical American food diets. Medical texts recommend 3mg of daily thiamine; however, this dosage must be reviewed given new research findings mentioned in stated article.

Some doctors tend to disregard excess thiamine because it’s water-soluble and the body tends to flush it away quickly, but recent research demonstrates that excess amounts can actually contribute to cancer-cell proliferation as well as resistance against chemotherapy treatments among tumors.

Laszlo Boro, a researcher from Ohio State University’s Department of Surgery’s Surgery Research Department, recommends that cancer patients be evaluated to ascertain their thiamine levels before supplementation is prescribed if necessary.

Work with your healthcare provider to determine if supplements are needed and to help determine what is right for you.

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