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Identification of High-Dose Thiamine Supplementation as a Possible Therapy for Early Stage Nephropathy in Diabetes

Paper: High-dose thiamine therapy for patients with type-2 diabetes and microalbuminuria: a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study Diabetologia 52, 208 – 212 (2009) Read on Pubmed

This work was conducted by the Protein Damage laboratory (Rabbani, Thornalley co-PIs). The aim of this pilot study was to assess whether oral supplements of thiamine could reverse microalbuminuria in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Patients were given 3 x 100 mg capsules of thiamine or placebo per day for 3 months with a 2 month follow-up washout period. The primary endpoint was change in urinary albumin excretion (UAE). Other markers of renal and vascular dysfunction and plasma concentrations of thiamine were determined.

UAE was significantly lower in patients who had received thiamine therapy compared with those who had received placebo and continued to decrease in the 2 month washout period in both groups, but not significantly. This study has provided the first steps towards validation of the use of thiamine supplements at high doses to provide improved therapy for early-stage diabetic nephropathy.

The findings of the study have been recently replicated in a second trial. The possibility of conducting a much larger trial in collaboration with Brunei Darussalam University has been discussed, attracting widespread press coverage in Brunei: