Health requires energy

Health Requires Energy. Energy Requires Nutrients.

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A Fundamental Issue

I was horrified to watch the “60 Minutes” program Sunday, April 12th, 2020 on television that dealt with the colossal number of Americans suffering from obesity, chronic fatigue and diabetes, both types I and II. About half of the program dealt with the essential consumption of natural food, reminding us that Hippocrates, 400 BCE said “let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food”. This must have been said thousands of times but everything in our modern civilization is totally destructive to the whole idea. I have seen so many hundreds, if not thousands, of people whose illness was caused by themselves. It was treatable by making sure that each individual understood the fundamental issue. So before I illustrate a typical illness situation within my experience, I will try to state what I mean by describing what I consider to be the “fundamental issue”.

“We behave according to what we eat”.

I have stated this so many times but unfortunately the American medical profession is the major inhibitor to its clinical success. When a suffering patient with many symptoms arising from what I call “dietary mayhem”, goes to his or her physician, they simply do not recognize the clinical expression of the popular high calorie malnutrition. The many symptoms are usually referred to as psychosomatic and the unfortunate patient is told that “it is all in your head”. I have witnessed this so many times; I cannot understand why the physicians don’t pay a little more attention to what the patient is trying to tell them. Often the patient has discovered the real cause of the problem but find that her words are considered to be the voice of ignorance and delusion.

Food and Energy

Our food consists of fuel that must be burned (oxidized) to liberate energy. In any text this element of the food is described as “calories”. The energy quality of our food intake is measured in kilocalories and a single one is defined as “the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water through 1°C”. Notice the use of the word energy, the result of oxidation. Now, as everyone knows, vitamins and minerals, known as non-caloric nutrients, are vital to the release of energy from the caloric elements. To understand how this combination of chemicals works, there must be a ratio of calories to the noncaloric elements. That is why high calorie foods without vitamins or minerals are known as empty calories. It is the consumption of empty calories across America that has given rise to the idea of high calorie malnutrition. I have actually seen a written statement that this is an oxymoron. “How can excess of calories be considered a form of malnutrition?” It seems that few people understand this vital ratio and they seem to think that as long as you are consuming calories, you will flourish. Also, the food industry fills the grocery store with cartons of temptation and seems to have no regard for the well-being of its consumers. They keep using the term “all natural” so much, it becomes meaningless.

A Typical Case of Energy Deficiency

I was a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic and one of my interests was sudden infant death (SIDS). So one day I was having lunch with one of the surgeons who practised ear nose and throat surgery. He told me that he had been called to the medical ICU because a woman had stopped breathing and he had performed a tracheostomy. He was intrigued by the reason for this disaster and, knowing my interest, he suggested that I should take a look. Pediatricians are assumed to be familiar with diseases of children but ignorant of adult disease and I knew that I was  not welcome. I found a 50-year-old woman who was grossly edematous and unconscious. Without considering the technical details, I proved that she had the vitamin B1 deficiency disease beriberi. With injections of thiamine she became conscious and the edema disappeared. During her recovery she developed a progressive anemia, thought to be evidence of internal bleeding, but all the tests were negative. I took some urine from her and subjected it to a special type of test. It showed that she was deficient in folate, another B vitamin. It is important to note that she did not develop folate deficiency until she began her recovery from thiamine, it was masked by cellular energy deficiency. When she began to receive folate there was an immediate recovery from the anemia but she had been given at least one injection of thiamine by then.

She was discharged from hospital, wheelchair bound, taking both thiamine and folate. When she returned as an outpatient, I found that she had a skin rash and that her legs were, if anything, weaker. It had long been known that anemia would develop from either folate or B12 deficiency, but the folate deficient variety required B12 supplementation as well as folate. If B12 was not provided, the patient would develop paralysis of the legs and I had forgotten this. Also, it is not well-known that vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a skin rash. I gave her an injection of B12 and the rash disappeared. However, for a few days she had muscle aches and fever that I did not understand at that time. Looking back I would now assume that this was what we call “paradox” on Hormones Matter. To those that may not have read about this it is the temporary worsening effect by introducing an essential nutrient to someone who has long been deficient in that nutrient. One of the things that had probably been a serious indictment on self cause was that she was a chronic cigarette smoker, a well-known habit that damages oxidation.

Energy Metabolism

Can we extrapolate from this case any general ideas about how medical treatment should advance? Perhaps the general opinion would be that this is a rare and unusual case, an outlier from the “usual and customary diagnosis”. But if we consider the facts; long-term cigarette smoking, dietary indiscretion and genetic risks appear to be quite common. I treated a 12-year old girl  with a conventional diagnosis of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, using a  nutritional supplement. Without discussing the technicalities of laboratory evidence, it was clear that defective energy metabolism was the underlying cause. The combination of genetic risk, failure to adapt to any form of stress (infection, trauma, chronic useless brain activity etc) and inadequate energy metabolism are the three factors that either collectively or singly lead to breakdown of health. As Selye predicted, energy for adaptation is the essential ingredient.

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Image by Inns-Web from Pixabay.

This article was published originally on April 22, 2020.

Derrick Lonsdale M.D., is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (FACN), Fellow of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (FACAM). Though now retired, Dr. Lonsdale was a practitioner in pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic for 20 years and was Head of the Section of Biochemical Genetics at the Clinic. In 1982, Lonsdale joined the Preventive Medicine Group to specialize in nutrient-based therapy. Dr. Lonsdale has written over 100 published papers and the conclusions support the idea that healing comes from the body itself rather than from external medical interventions.


  1. When health requires energy, the electron transport chain (ETC) requires electrons (and functional mitochondria membranes)
    , to give the electrons to the ultimate electron acceptor. Oxygen, then h2o/co2 are formed by the step 4 of the ETC , Cytochrome C Oxidase

    Everything of relevance within OXPHOS happens between PyruvateDehydrogenase, and the ultimate step CytochromeC Oxidase, and the questions are: Is the problem/solution closer to the entry point,(Thiamine and Magnesium) or the end point (Electrons/molecules which can accept and donate electrons to feed the ultimative antioxidant step Cytochrome C Oxidase?

    (The term antioxidant is not ideal in my opinion, electrons (protons equally)are just as essential as oxygen to derive energy from „cold combustion „)

    • Dear Dr. Lonsdale,

      I have a question about Sarcosinemia.

      But first of all thank you for all your research and work. I was made aware of Thiamine by my specialist who is predominately treating me for mold illness. She actually spend almost 2 hours explaining this very issue of high calorie malnutrition and Thiamine depletion, or metabolic block. Now everything is starting to make sense.

      From since I can remember I have suffered from CFS and dysautonomia. Then in 2016, after 3 years of mold exposure my body completely started to fall apart, I had over 15 symptoms and was cognitively declining. In 2021 I got covid and this is when all hell broke loose, I dropped from 63 kgs to 55 kgs (I’m 1.75, and was 31 at the time) in a few weeks and could stand up for longer than a few minutes at the time. My heart was constantly pacing and I had chest pain. I ended up with severe hypothyroidism and auto-immunity after that. Anyways I spend a month in bed and could eventually sort of function again, but the arrhythmia’s stayed and I am not able to exercise due to shortness of breath/hypoxia, my heart and fibromyalgia. I have started taking small doses of Thiamine and the aim is to build up gradually.

      But to get to my question,

      I was diagnosed at birth with Sarcosinemia. They tested me because my sister had this condition and died at 1.5 years of age (of course she had other co-morbidities which I did not have). The doctors told my parents these was not much known about this condition and that is was most likely benign. However my parents were advised to give me riboflavin just as a precaution. Until this day I haven’t found any conclusive information as to whether it is actually benign or whether it can cause issues in some people. As I child I was already quite symptomatic and now I wonder whether sarcosinemia could play a role in this too. What are your thoughts about this?

      Kind regards,


  2. Ahh, I never blame the victim for his or her predicament. Bad eating is good marketing, amazing colonizing of entire societies.

    Here, in western cultures, and now in developing nations (Mexico come to mind, but India, too), the food web has been bastardized, poisoned, undermined, captured by the interests of quick profits over any other concern.

    You have youth in the 1960s growing up in a town with more and more liquor stores, quick marts, and, alas, fewer and fewer green grocers, and plenty of that new radically propagandizes, super-infantilized, hyper marketed, Fast Food. Then, continue on with each decade, until 2000 and you have schools in that neighborhood closing, and those that are open, well, guess who subsidizes teacher vacations and the school itself? Pepsi and Coke and Pizza Hut, and do I need go on?

    You Taco Bell nacho ads on every network. The old days of no hard liquor ads allowed, gone. The constant construction of this or that fast-food, drive-thru chain. And the Dollar General stores with canned, plasticized, high calorie food tied to the brain centers of cocaine addiction – salt, sugar, fat. But then illegal dyes, and then HFCS, and then all these additives that if you touched them raw, in a 55 gallon drum, you’d burn you skin.

    Then, even with the cereals and the supposedly health veggies, you have 80 percent of that food with pesticides, and with Round Up. Glyphosate, according to many great researchers, plays a part in obesity, gut deregulation, learning disabilities, fatty liver disease, cancers, attention deficits (brain fog) and well nervous conditions, and more.

    Okay so we are in 2020 and what do we have? Generation after generation brought up on highly psychologically influential, militarized brainwashing when it comes to food and other consumptions. These people are working with fear-panic-pleasure-anxiety-addictive centers of the brain with advertising, and baselines where the bad is now acceptable.

    But again, food deserts. Fast food chains with two for one deals. Look at maps of the McDonalds and Burger Kings and dozens of other dirty food chains. It looks like cancer on a map.

    In schools, k12, vending machines, and then all the food allergies, and then this tokenism, where youth get a Gummy Bear or Cheetos bag for spelling their names right or sitting more or less still for 10 minutes.

    Never blame the kids, and then like vicious child abuse, sexual abuse of youth, violence of youth, all of this is generational, cyclical.

    When multimillionaire footballers can’t get the billionaires to do more for the proven brain injuries (CTE) caused by banging heads and getting hit, then how do we expect a family of six, with parents working four jobs, and maybe teens working in fast food during high school, to lobby, advocate and pressure the captains of predatory, parasitic, disaster Capitalism, where money is made on poverty, pain, disease, flagging communities, disrepair?

    So, yes, we are what we eat, drink, breathe, do, say, read, watch, philosophize, debate, build, grow, maintain, learn, hope for, dream of, aspire to, but in the end, the youth, from birth to 21, are bombarded with a society of planned obsolescence, perceived obsolescence, constant marketing of fear, or how to keep up with the Joneses, or what success and failure look like. These youth are hobbled young, and their k12 education is like a prison term, and the people around them, adults, are predatory and only interested in profits, the stock market.

    And, really, more calories, less nutrition, that’s what the profiteers want. A feeling of empty stomach, a feeling of never being satisfied, and a feeling of wanting more. Those feelings are tied to bio physiology and psychology. These people are experts in lying, scamming, lobbying, inventing facts where they do not exist. They hire doctors and scientists to defend sugar, defend pork, defend vaping, defend allowable amounts of carcinogens in water, air, soil, food.

    “Prove microplastics in people is harmful. Show me where nano particles in food is bad. Please provide evidence that advertising and marketing of products like booze, beer, burgers causes alcoholism and obesity.”
    These monsters get other monsters, politicians and groups like FDA USDA EPA to cave and allow for laws that make it a crime to attack beef, fries, industrial farming, atrazene on apples, etc., etc. Food disparagement bills, also called cheeseburger bills. This is how the system rolls, so I can’t imagine that family of six having the power and the wits and the knowledge to overcome the psychological wars that are attacking them and their children DAILY.

    There a million and one documentaries and fictional accounts of the dirty lies, the murderous methods and the global presence these poisoners and polluters have deployed to make trillions – at the expense of people’s health.

    Back to Mexico – water systems are sold to Nestle, Coke, Pepsi and Dutch and German and you name it beer makers. Then, you have dirty water systems because the oligarchs pay off the other scum in those countries, and so we have black pools of waste around those twin-plants, and we have water that is never piped in, or dirty water. And, then, a Coke seven times a day is like seven glasses of water a day. That’s where we are at in Mexico. Around 150 pounds of sugar a year per person. Grim.

    These farmers and laborers do not want their children to end up on dialysis or with insulin twice a day. They do not want young adults with liver issues and with kidney stones and with an array of medical issues tied to the GMOs, the sugary drinks, the over-refined flour products, the suspect cooking oil drenched foods.

    They do no. I have live there, reported on issues there and have listened to food and safe community advocates there.

    Again, generation after generation gets pummeled with what is normative, what is acceptable, what are the cool and hip and modern things to do. Again, it’s tough for parents to have youth wrapped up in some small supportive community, agrarian, when the marketers of the world, with corrupt blood in their Capitalist veins, are determining what kids should be vis-à-vis — what they eat, drink, breathe, do, say, read, watch, philosophize about, debate, build, grow, maintain, learn, hope for, dream of, aspire to.
    I wish it was that easy – tell people to stop eating the western diet, to stop the package refined stuff, to eat less, drink water and walk an hour a day. These monsters have set up the world for Fast-Food Nation, Auto-Nation, and Fear Nation, as we know it as Capitalism – And Inflammatory Disease!

    Finally — back to censoring: mRNA inventor Dr. Robert Malone gave a fascinating interview t which aired on New Year’s Eve.

    If you’ve got three hours to spare, watch the entire thing (cliffs notes here):

    Dr. Malone: The Twitter suspension came after Malone was vilified by a hit piece in The Atlantic which was funded by Facebook and Johnson & Johnson.

    “Three days before this thing came out, the journalist – he previously publishes on ‘woke’ issues on the topic of higher education. He’s clearly hired. And they explicitly say the article was funded by the Robert Boyd Johnson foundation and the Zuckerberg-Chan initiative.

    He was totally obsessed.

    ‘Robert, why are you saying these things? You must have some financial incentive. There must be some reason you’re doing this’ – and I told him repeatedly, ‘because it’s the right thing to do.’

    I think I’m the only one who has been involved deeply in the development of this tech, that doesn’t have a financial stake in it. For me, the reason is, because what’s happening is not right. It’s destroying my profession. It’s destroying the practice of medicine worldwide … I’m a vaccinologist. I spent 30 years developing vaccines. A stupid amount of education learning how to do it, and what the rules are. And for me, I’m personally offended watching my discipline get destroyed for no good reason at all except, apparently, financial incentives, and – I dunno – political ass-covering?” -Robert Malone

    And this is via Joe Rogan, who is not a journalist, not someone with decades reporting on the ground, in city council chambers, across all news beats, as opposed to someone like me. But, there you have it: a world where my decades of work, writing, education, in the trenches are devalued, and a guy like Rogan, who just got a $100 million contract, gets the hits, the views, the media attention.

    So much is upside down. But Malone has some good things to say.

    He’s not smart enough to be a socialist, a true democracy guy, but he is spot on about his work on mRNA and the bizarre nature of lock-step censoring alternative views.

    Information equals danger. Lies are truth, Peace is war. Bizarre:

    Malone then explained to Rogan how the Uttar Pradesh province in India crushed Covid with early treatment that included ivermectin, however he claims that the Biden administration met with Modi and a ‘decision was made not to disclose the contents of the treatment.’

    They then went deeper into the topic of ivermectin and early interventions in general. According to Malone, “There are good modeling studies, that show a half a million excess deaths have happened in the US, through the intentional blockade of early COVID treatment by the US Government.”

    They then discussed the case of a 14-year-old girl who was injured by the vaccine, yet the incident was reported as a stomach ache.

    “This young woman who was listed as having a stomach ache, when in fact what she had was a seizure. And she’s now wheelchair-bound with a nasal-gastric tube. One of 1,000 subjects.”

  3. I have written on another posting about my wife who gets these mysterious headaches every night at 2-4 AM for 10 years. After two months of paradoxing on Lipothiamine she was all better. No headaches, sleeping like a baby. This lasted for almost 3 weeks, then wham she is slammed again. 3 nights of terrible pain and flu like symptoms, something akin to radiation sickness.
    She is a great believer in the Lipothiamine and has kept taking it.200mg with magnesium every day. Can the paradox come and go like that ?
    I know you have had experience where the one lady got better then worse, you added folate, she got better then worse. You added B12.
    My wife takes a B vitamin
    Is this paradox too? Should she add something else?
    You have saved her life. She was so thinking it was going to go on forever now she knows it is and can go away.

    • Well, I suspect (but don’t know for sure) a vitamin imbalance. Try 1. stop B1 and B complex and substitute a well rounded multivitamin. Wait to see what happens. If no resolution 2. decrease Allithiamine to 100 mg and add B complex. Continue multivitamin 3. Try B12 injections. Please understand that this is pure guesswork. It is quite safe but we don’t know enough. I have not come across nocturnal headache before but one of the curious things about sleep is that it requires brain energy consumption.

      • What do you consider is a good multivitamin. We have looked at many and they have more of this one and less of this one. Do you have one that you have had some experience with.
        Your help is most appreciated.
        Again for the last few nights no headache.
        We both think there is something missing.

      • Reading this again and with more experience, it seems that the “right dose” of thiamine is required. The 200 mg dose of Allithiamine may be too much. I would experiment reducing it by small increments trying to find “the right dose”

  4. Is pinching sharp chest pain, inability to sleep, massively increased hunger and palpitations a sign of paradox/refeeding? I’ve also seen other websites state that means you’re taking too high a dose…I’m taking around 300mg thiamin HCL a day. Really struggling here

      • I don’t eat processed sugar. but I do eat things like fruit/dried fruit…vegetables, fish, sweet potatoes, whole grains, nuts my diet is very good I think I’m just eating a lot more from the hunger although I do have 1 coffee a day. the funny thing is if I stop the thiamin the palpitations/pinching stabbing chest immediately goes away in a day or two but then my original symptoms which were digestive issues (gerd/terrible heartburn), fatigue, depression, low appetite come back. I would have waited this out without asking but it’s already been about 7 weeks with no improvement.

        • helpmeh, are you taking magnesium with the thiamine? I understand the latter needs the former to work.

        • I believe you’re still starved of nutrients. I and many of my clients find that they need to incorporate large amounts of animal flesh and fat in order to fully heal which makes sense since it’s THE most nutritious and bioavailable to humans, especially that of ruminant animals . It also takes time to heal and eating plants and sugar (of which dried fruit and grain most certainly is) will just continue to prolong the time needed to optimize your health.

  5. Energy deficiency, as in one of its major causes, TD, results in manifestations that are usually thought of as ” a mystery”. The brain reacts in an unpredictable fashion, depending on the deficiency affected area. We may not know the mechanism that is initiated, but if we understand the energy based reason for it, our treatment has to be aimed at restoring the chemistry of energy production. Now, obviously I cannot “prove” it but I have accumulated so much evidence over the years. I started as a pediatrician and I treated the children with megadose thiamine, irrespective of the variable symptoms with which they presented. Since this was clearly an abrupt difference in medical thinking, it is not surprising that I was perceived by my colleagues as, shall we say, “unusual” . Today, it is the reason for the slow but sure development of Alternative Complementary Medicine that is trying to usher in a connection with Hippocrates and the best parts of modern medicine.

  6. Dr Lonsdale my fellow Americans don’t want to give up their bad habits they would rather take a pill and still be able to do the said bad habit. Physician’s don’t help with their attitude that nutrition doesn’t matter, it’s a perfect storm of chronic disease. You are completely and utterly right in everything you say about the reasons behind people suffering,. Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if we got back to food as medicine!!

  7. Dr. Lonsdale, do you think the muscle weakness could have been from a drop in potassium as the B12 allowed aldosterone to be made?

    Was the rash like seborrheic dermatitis? Which could be from too little riboflavin or biotin?

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