A bit of information about me: I am 24 year old man. I have always been fit, always exercised at least 5 times a week, and have had physical jobs. I never really cared about what I ate and my diet consisted of a load of protein (mainly protein shakes and chicken) with massively high carb/sugar consumption. I went out drinking with friends on most weekends. About two years ago, I had COVID and since then my health seemed to decline massively. I did not see a doctor initially, because I was not aware of how bad my health would become.
About a year after having COVID, my anxiety levels were through the roof. It was so bad, I couldn’t even leave the house without worrying something was going to happen. The symptoms I developed included: a change in personality, hand a feet neuropathy, shocking circulation to hands and feet, severe bowl issues, really low body temperature, extreme fatigue to the point where I was unable to get off the sofa after work most days, memory problems and an inability to think.
A year into this, I realized that I had to do something about my health. I was literally at breaking point. I did not know what was going on with my body or mind. At first, I thought I was diabetic because I matched so many symptoms but blood test showed normal sugar levels. I went back to the doctors numerous times. They basically told me that I was mad. They told my family all my symptoms and that I was really struggling, but no one believed that I was ill. They said it was all in my head and led me to believe that I was actually going mad.
Heart Problems, Breathlessness, and Thiamine Deficiency
Then the heart problems started. I have always played football, since I was 10 years old, and I have always been extremely fit, but I began having trouble breathing when playing. It gradually got worse and I became unable to walk the stairs without becoming breathless. As the breathing problems worsened, I had to stop all exercise. The exertion seemed to make me worse.
At this point, I was positive my symptoms were not imagined and so I did endless research online and found a video by Dr. Berg about thiamine/vitamin B1. I ordered some Benfotiamine and it definitely seemed to help. The anxiety vanished almost instantly and most of my symptoms went away except neurological ones. So I took about 4 tablets, 250mg each, per day for about 9 months. After this time, I felt I was not progressing any further. I thought I would never get circulation back in my hands and feet. My brain was still confused all the time and my breathing became slightly better but it was still nowhere near where I wanted to be.
I returned to internet for research and found Elliot Overton’s YouTube channel and ordered some TTFD, b-complex, magnesium, potassium. Thiamega, the product from Objective Nutrients, has 100mg thiamine HCL, 200mg Benfotiamine, 50mg Sulbutiamine and 50mg TTFD. At first, the paradox reaction, getting worse before getting better, was absolutely shocking. I remember being on the sofa each weekend and just sleeping most of the day. The brain fog was the worst it had been for months but after maybe a month that seemed to clear up and my brain problems seemed to have massively improved.
I forgot to mention earlier that prior to beginning supplementation with Benfotiamine and then TTFD, I had a private MRI scan on my brain. It showed high T2W right signal – a sign of lesions and demyelination and confirmation that I had thiamine deficiency. So, I went for another MRI with contrast recently to see if I have improved any. I am still waiting for the results on that one.
Improved But Still Missing Something
I am at the point now, where I feel I am back to normal health with most of my symptoms improved. All that remains to be resolved are the circulation and breathing problems. The rest do seem nearly resolved.
I have recently tried the carnivore/keto diet, but I usually get to day 3 or 4 and have to stop because it seems to make my symptoms worse especially the breathing and circulation. My current diet is mostly whole foods, with high protein, high fat and lower carbs. I try and eat a lot of red meat and that seems to help.
I was wondering if there was anything I can do to repair this issue, or is it for life now? Sugar and alcohol definitely seem to make me worse, but then so does keto and so I am unsure what to do. Maybe if I manage to push past the first week on keto I would feel better and my nerves would start to repair? All I know is that I must have had a serious case of beriberi disease, which has caused all this damage to my body. Obviously, I know it is my fault for not taking care of my diet, but I also feel the doctors are partly to blame as they seem to know absolutely nothing about thiamine deficiency. All they want to hear about is anxiety and depression. Any help at all would be massively appreciated. Thanks.
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