How Can Something As Simple As Thiamine Cause So Many Problems?

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thiamine and the limbic system
I have read a criticism that thiamine deficiency is “too simple” to explain the devastating nature of the post Gardasil illnesses or the systemic adverse reactions to some medications. Sometimes, it is the simple and overlooked elements that are the most problematic.

Understanding Thiamine’s Role in Complex Adverse Reactions – The Limbic System

The lower part of the brain, called the brainstem, is a like computer, controlling the most basic aspects of survival, from breathing and heart rate, hunger and satiety, to fight or flight and reproduction. This computer-like function within the brainstem is called the autonomic system (ANS). The ANS together with the limbic system act in concert to regulate our most basic survival functions and behaviors. Both require thiamine to function.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS , a type of dysautonomia (dysregulation of the autonomic system) seems to be the among the commonest manifestations of the Gardasil effect. Many cases have been diagnosed already, while others present all of the symptoms but have yet to receive a diagnosis. Dysautonomia and POTS have also been observed with adverse reactions to other medications, as well. Dysautonomia and POTS, at the most basic level, represent a chaotic state of the limbic-autonomic system. Let me explain.

Fragmented Fight or Flight

The brainstem autonomic system together with the limbic system enable us to adapt to our environment, presiding over a number of reflexes that allow us to survive. For example, fight-or-flight is a survival reflex, triggered by perception of a dangerous incident that helps us to kill the enemy or escape. This kind of “stress event” in our ancestors was different from that we experience today. Wild animal predators have been replaced by taxes/business deadlines/rush hour traffic etc. These are the sources of modern stress. The beneficial effect is that the entire brain/body is geared to physical and mental response. However, it is designed for short term action and consumes energy rapidly. Prolonged action is literally exhausting and results in the sensation of fatigue. In the world of today where dietary mayhem is widespread, this is commonly represented as Panic Attacks, usually treated as psychological. They are really fragmented fight-or-flight reflexes that are triggered too easily because of abnormal brain chemistry.

Thiamine and Oxidative Metabolism: The Missing Spark Plug

Our brain computers rely completely on oxidative metabolism represented simply thus:

Fuel + Oxygen + Catalyst = Energy

Each of our one hundred trillion body/brain cells is kept alive and functioning because of this reaction. It all takes place in micro “fireplaces” known as mitochondria. Oxygen combines with fuel (food) to cause burning or the combustion – think fuel combustion engine. We need fuel, or gasoline, to burn and spark plugs to ignite in order for the engines to run.

In our body/brain cells it is called oxidation. The catalysts are the naturally occurring chemicals we call vitamins (vital to life). Like a spark plug, they “ignite” the food (fuel). Absence of ANY of the three components spells death.

Antioxidants like vitamin C protect us from the predictable “sparks” (as a normal effect of combustion) known as “oxidative stress”.  Vitamin B1, is the spark plug, the catalyst for these reactions. As vitamin B1, thiamine, or any other vitamin deficiency continues, more and more damage occurs in the limbic system because that is where oxygen consumption has the heaviest demand in the entire body. This part of the brain is extremely sensitive to thiamine deficiency.

Why Might Gardasil Lead to Thiamine Deficiency?

We do not know for sure how Gardasil or other vaccines or medications have elicited thiamine deficiency, but they have. We have two girls and one boy, tested and confirmed so far. More testing is underway. Thiamine deficiency in these cases may not be pure dietary deficiency. It is more likely to be damage to the utilization of thiamine from as yet an unknown mechanism, affecting the balance of the autonomic (automatic) nervous system. It is certainly able to explain POTS (one of the many conditions that produce abnormal ANS function) in two Gardasil affected girls. Beriberi, the classic B1 deficiency disease, is the prototype for ANS disease. Administration of thiamine will not necessarily bring about a cure, depending on time since onset of symptoms, but it may help.

Thiamine Deficiency Appetite and Eating Disorders

Using beriberi as a model, let us take appetite as an example of one of its many symptoms. When we put food into the stomach, it automatically sends a signal to a “satiety center” in the computer. As we fill the stomach, the signals crescendo and the satiety center ultimately tells us that we have eaten enough. Thiamine deficiency affects the satiety center, wrecking its normal action. Paradoxically it can cause anorexia (loss of appetite) or the very opposite, a voracious appetite that is never satisfied and may even go on to vomiting. It can also shift from anorexia to being voracious at different times within a given patient. That is why Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia represent one disease, not two.

Thiamine Deficiency, Heart Rate and Breathing

The autonomic nervous system, responsible for fight or flight, regulates heart activity, accelerating or decelerating according to need. So heart palpitations are common in thiamine deficiency. Its most vital action is in control of automatic breathing and thiamine deficiency has long been known to cause infancy sudden death from failure of this center in brainstem.

Thiamine Deficiency and Sympathetic – Parasympathetic Regulation

The hypothalamus is in the center of the brain computer and it presides over the ANS, as well as the endocrine (hormone) system. The ANS has two channels of communication known as sympathetic (governs action) and parasympathetic (governs the body mechanisms that can be performed when we are in a safe environment: e.g. bowel activity, sleep, etc.). When the ANS system is damaged, sometimes by genetic influence, but more commonly by poor diet (fuel), our adaptive ability is impaired. A marginal energy situation might become full blown by a stress factor. In this light, we can view vaccines and medications as stress factors. From false signal interpretation, we may feel cold in a warm environment, exhibiting “goose bumps on the skin”, or we may feel hot in a cold environment and experience profuse sweating. The overriding fatigue is an exhibition of cellular energy failure in brain perception.

Sometimes, it really is the simple, overlooked, elements that cause the most devastating consequences to human health. Thiamine deficiency is one of those elements.

To learn more about thiamine testing: Thiamine Deficiency Testing: Understanding the Labs.

 

This article was published previously on Hormones Matter in October 2013.

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23 Comments

  1. Hi Dr Lonsdale,

    You can refer back in our thread for my case, but i have been taking lipothiamine since August after suffering from fluoroquinolone toxicity and beriberi and have been getting better and better and better since! I had some bloodwork done in October and my thyroid numbers were moving in the right direction which made me so excited. I have had CBC several times over the last year and my eosinophils were high for the first time on this round of blood work. Is this related to the thiamine supplementation?

    This month i was feeling so fantastic, i felt better and healthier than i did BEFORE taking Cipro and my health crash! I cried tears of joys because i felt healed and free. I applied for life insurance and received the top rating that only a few clients receive and the lowest premium.

    Last December, after taking Cipro, a holistic Dr ordered a ton of lab work trying to figure out what was wrong with me. He ordered many random tests including a full allergy panel. I was shocked when the report came back that i was allergic to almost everything they tested. The results were very low to low level allergies but still why so many that i never knew about. Nonetheless i cut out all of the foods it listed. I often asked if the test could be replicated, if it was valid or if allergies could change over time. He never was able to give me an answer.

    Fast back forward to this month, I’m feeling better than ever. I’m working out 3 times a week, going to bible study and church, taking care of my kids and home, living a full life. My thyroid has gotten better, all my symptoms have either disappeared completely or are almost gone. I ask my dr to reorder that allergy panel to see if the allergies went away. I get my blood drawn on November 10th and leave for vacation to the Colorado mountains on November 13th.

    While I’m in Colorado, I am having a great time but feeling the effects of the high altitude. The first day i arrive i take my thiamine with lunch and feel my heart beating faster. This also happens on the second day and i felt car sick while driving up the mountain to look at a lake called the Maroon Bells. On the third day, we drive to Vail. I skipped my thiamine that day to see if it was related to the heart racing. That night i started having a strange sensation that i was suffocating even though i was breathing. I felt ok when i woke up on the 4th day. I was eating lunch outside surrounded by mountains and trees when i got my allergy report in. Not only did my allergies get tremendously worse, i gained new allergies! How could this be, i thought? I’m surrounded by trees and am completely fine. This doesn’t make any sense. I was feeling better and healthier than i had in years. I rarely ever have to take an antihistamine. Is this test just being interpreted incorrectly, something is not adding up. Could the high eosinophils give a false positive?

    Anyway, on the 5th day I fly back home and have still been having the air hunger sensation off and on despite living at almost sea level. I’ve been home from almost two days and can tell something is off. I’ve been tripping over words and caught myself slurring. The air hunger sensation is unsettling and scares me as does the cognitive issues. My beriberi symptoms before included foot numbness, neuropathy, feeling strange and out of it. It is different symptoms this time. Have i relapsed due to the stressor of the altitude? I also broke my very strict diet while traveling due to lack of food options and had some candy and an oatmeal bar that had added sugar which I know now is a big no no. Should i up my thiamine dose? I’m heartbroken to have this set back after getting my life back. I have worked so hard for an entire year to get healthy after taking Cipro.

    What should i do about the allergy testing? Should i be worried about it? First one was taken last December when i was VERY sick and the current one was taken when I was feeling better than I ever have.

    Thank you for your time reading this long message.

  2. Dear Dr. Lonsdale… I appreciate this article so much… I was “floxed” 5 months ago. I am 73 year old female.. so a bitter result from taking Cipro for a simple U.T.I. Other than thyroid problems I was exceptionally healthy and fit for my age or for the age of 40 for that matter. I now have symptoms of Chronic Fatigue among other issues. My research (about 50 hours I think) led me to your article as I was learning about the mitochondria, which brought me to Hormone Matters and some of Lisa Bloomquist’s articles (also reading Floxie Hope). When I read about Thiamine I wanted to know how much to take and if it was safe… some online searching brought me to the information below which I think you will find of interest:

    “Then a little over a month ago, a new fibromyalgia study caught my eye – “High-dose thiamine improves the symptoms of fibromyalgia.” It was a very small study conducted by a group of researchers in Italy.* In fact, the study was so small – only three FM patients – that I normally wouldn’t give it much weight. But the dramatic improvement in fatigue and pain levels experienced by all three participants piqued my interest. ” Link –
    http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=18187
    Suggest reading right through comments below the adverts.

    After reading the article above, I decided to try Thiamine – 6 days now.. experimenting with dosage along with magnesium and COQ10. Immediate results were more energy and feeling better in many ways, including improved brain fog.. But I do think the thiamine is now having an affect on dosage of Levothyroxine now and not feeling so great… still I remain hopeful on B1.

    * Dr. Antonio Costantini has also been doing research and testing (small samplings) on thiamine and I think you will find some of his work of interest if you are unaware of this Italian doctor.
    (his other work definitely suggests that the thiamine is affecting my thyroid meds)

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Costantini%20A%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=23696141

    Thank you for all your fine work and articles.

  3. I found an interesting study thar showed that quinolines turn off SLC19A3, which seems to explain my horrendous symptoms after taking Cipro. Thiamin seems to be helping. Thank you for this article.

  4. Hi, I had an article that I wanted to share with you about thiamine mononitrate.

    “The Journal of Nutrition reported in 1985 that diets fortified with thiamine mononitrate do not compensate for lower thiamine levels in rats that were thiamine deficient. Therefore, you may want to seek a more natural source of thiamine.” ( http://www.livestrong.com/article/498105-vitamin-b-complex-vs-green-urine/ )

    If modern methods of food production of mainly wheat and rice involves the removal of natural thiamine and replaces it with a synthetic form that is not usable to the body, this means that all foods in the US that are fortified with thiamine mononitrate are essentially creating a thiamine deficiency. Would you agree with this assessment?

    Thank you so much for your time and research. You are the only person that I have found in the last 3-4 years now that is actively trying to research the importance of thiamine in our modern diets. 🙂

    1. Sounds like BS to me but I have never used thiamine mononitrate. As for the color of urine as a mark of toxicity from vitamin B, I have never experienced it in anybody and I have used vitamin B in literally thousands of patients.

  5. Several questions, kind sir.

    Do you have a preference between Allithiamine and Lipothiamine? If so, please explain why.

    Since they are fat soluble, are they effective if taken on an empty stomach, or should they be taken with a fat-containing meal?

    If taking one of those two, would there be any reason to concomitantly take Benfotiamine, regular B-1 (Thiamine HCl), or sublingual cocarboxylase?

    Could Authia cream be beneficial for peripheral (diabetic) neuropathy if applied to the feet? Would adding DMSO to the topical application enhance any possible benefit?

    Thank you so much.

    1. Both of them are thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD). Lipothiamine was a later development than Allithiamine and both are sold by the same company. Lipothiamine is enteric coated so that it passes more easily through stomach acid. Thiamine is absorbed in the jejunum. TTFD is called “fat soluble” only because it passes through the lipid barrier of the cell membrane. It is actually soluble in water and can be given intravenously. Benfotiamine is not a disulfide and the prosthetic group has to be removed by an enzyme in the liver or kidney. Neither does it cross the blood brain barrier. It has been used with success in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In my view, TTFD is the best of all the thiamine derivatives that have been synthesized and there is no need for combinations.

        1. Unfortunately, there is a colossal amount of ignorance that surrounds substances that are referred to as thiamine derivatives. All of them are dependent on the discovery that a disulfide derivative of thiamine occurs naturally in garlic and other species of the allium plants. All these synthetic derivatives can be divided into two groups. One group is known as the disulfides. Sulbutiamine is a member of this group. Fursultiamine, Lipothiamine, Alinamin and perhaps others are all disulfides. The formula of thiamine in chemical terms consists of a pyrimidine ring joined to a thiazolium ring by a methylene bridge. All thiamine derivatives are created by attaching what is known as a prosthetic group to the thiazolium ring. The disulfide acts as the attaching mechanism. At the cell membrane, the disulfide is reduced non-enzymatically and allows the intact thiamine molecule to pass through the cell membrane into the cell. Because of this ability for the intact thiamine molecule to pass through the lipid barrier of the cell membrane, all thiamine derivatives are known as “fat-soluble”.It does not mean that they have to be dissolved in fat. The other group of derivatives, known as the S acyl group require an enzyme in the liver or kidney to separate the prosthetic group from the thiamine molecule. Benfotiamine is a member of this group. I am sorry to be highly technical but there is so much mystery surrounding these derivatives, that I want people to understand one simple thing. All of them deliver thiamine into the cell and therefore are exactly the same as naturally occurring thiamine. It is just a manner of delivery that counts. This is very important because the disulfide derivatives are soluble in water and can be given intravenously. Benfotiamine is not soluble in water and cannot be given intravenously. An announcement on the Internet says that Sulbutiamine “has to be dissolved in fat”, a statement that is inaccurate and ridiculous. The derivative that I have studied in detail and used to treat many many patients has the chemical name of thiamin tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD), sold under two trade names, Lipothiamine and Fursultiamine. Both of them are TTFD.

    2. I have been studying thiamine for 35 years. I have taken hundreds if not thousands of doses of B complex with or without thiamine as an extra. I have never seen colored urine and I have never seen the symptoms described as a toxic reaction. In fact, they are the typical symptoms of thiamine deficiency as described in beriberi. I have never used the mononitrate and believe that the symptoms ol thiamin deficiency are because of a huge intake of empty calories.

      1. Dr. Lonsdale,

        This is the link to the LiveStrong article that I sent to you a while ago. For some odd reason it posted incorrectly to your comments section of your website. >>>> http://www.livestrong.com/article/313249-the-side-effects-of-thiamine-mononitrate/ <<<<

        The article says that, "The Journal of Nutrition reported in 1985 that diets fortified with thiamine mononitrate do not compensate for lower thiamine levels in rats that were thiamine deficient. Therefore, you may want to seek a more natural source of thiamine.”

        So does this mean that thiamine mononitrate is creating a deficiency in processed foods?

        Thanks for your time and help. 🙂

  6. Just read your article for the fifth time and wanted to outline all the symptoms of b1 deficiency that either my daughter with apraxia, and my older daughter (who was also affected by magnesium deficiency and b1 deficiency, but in completely different ways), experienced that are also outlined in your article: older daughter has shown signs of POTS once, she stood up then fell over, it was scary, this could have been increased heart rate when standing, then the drop in blood pressure, typical of POTS, which caused her to fall for no apparent reason (at the time). Older daughter has had the panic attacks. Younger daughter shows signs of impaired oxidative metabolism. Low b1 affected my younger one’s satiety center for sure, she had low appetite most of the time, then suddenly such high appetite she would gorge herself and throw up. Bowel activity was affected for sure, she was constipated, and she had very poor sleep.

  7. Sorry also wanted to add just how b1 deficiency in a very young child would cause a gray tone in the area where the eyes should be white. b1 is required for the production of collagen, and a lack of collagen would prevent the white of the eyes from developing properly (as well as preventing bones from growing properly). Hope this helps someone out there. This is somewhat related to a genetic condition called Osteogenesis imperfecta, which prevents collagen from being used by the body, however, I don’t think my daughter has that condition, I think it was the magnesium deficiency, accompanying vitamin b1 deficiency, then the collagen issue.

  8. I appreciate this post. My four year old girl never took Gardasil, however I believe she has been suffering from thiamine or b1 deficiency because of my calcium supplementation while breastfeeding her. I believe that too much calcium in the breastmilk caused a magnesium deficiency, and since magnesium is the cofactor for b1, this caused the b1 deficiency. Since she was younger, she had different symptoms, including complete regression of speech at 11 months, not speaking again until 18 months, apraxia (still persisting), ataxia, loss of eye contact, repetition of same phrase for one year, symptoms of autism, constipation, nystagmus, mini-coma, gray where her eyes should have been white, low muscle tone, malabsorption, very low appetite most of the time, inability to tan, inability to fall asleep and stay alseep. Not sure which symptoms would be attributable to the b1 deficiency, or the magnesium deficiency, or other issue. Just posting this information in case another parent is trying to connect the dots too. Also, want to point out, in my daughter’s case, she needed magnesium and b1, not just the b1.

  9. Unfortunately this information is too late for my friend who is passed now. He was prescribed a course of Cipro for a sinus infection which resulted in a syndrome of fatigue, insatiable hunger, pain and difficulty breathing. He went to multiple doctors none of whom gave him an accurate diagnosis, while he himself was mistakenly convinced it was a yeast infection.

    1. It definitely sounds to me like your friend had a yeast overgrowth. Are you assuming that it wasn’t or you have evidence that it was all a serious thiamine deficinecy?

  10. Unfortunately, prolonged deficiency or abnormal thiamine metabolism leaves its mark and I don’t want to give false hope. There is, however, no alternative to using thiamine supplementation since it is safe.

  11. Thank you very much for the article, Dr. Lonsdale! I have been eating a couple cloves of crushed raw garlic every day since I read your last post on HormonesMatter. I hope that it helps me to resolve some of my last remaining ANS issues that are a result of an adverse reaction to Cipro. Your articles on Thiamine make me hopeful that the damage done by cipro is a result of Thiamine deficiency, not DNA damage. Thank you for both the insight and the hope!

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