Autonomic nervous system

Post Gardasil POTS and Thiamine Deficiency

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On July 8th 2013, I received an e-mail from a mother of a 17-year old daughter who had received Gardasil vaccination in 2008 resulting in a severe reaction. Two weeks after the second injection she began to experience a “flu-like” episode that continued for about a week and was followed by facial swelling, streptococcal infection, double ear infection and a diagnosis of mononucleosis. It was initially concluded that this was coincidental, not due to the vaccination. From then on she suffered from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome ( POTS), severe edema and “digestion issues which have been constant since”. POTS is a multi-symptomatic disease of the lower brain that affects many aspects of brain/body control mechanisms. She reported that “30,000 girls (and some boys) have been affected by the vaccine” and of those of which she was aware,“ the majority have POTS and trouble metabolizing sugar and carbs”.

Because of the persistent edema and digestive problems, my informant had done her own research and concluded that her daughter’s symptoms were due to thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency. She found my name in connection with this subject and requested my help. There is a blood test, known as erythrocyte (red cells) transketolase that is specific for identifying thiamine deficiency, so I suggested that this be done. It was strongly positive, proving TD. This led to the test being done on another Gardasil affected girl and this was also strongly positive.  Most of the affected girls known to her had POTS. Some had mitral valve prolapse (MVP).  About twenty five percent of POTS patients are disabled.  The symptoms often follow a virus infection. It is one of many conditions classified as dysautonomia and this includes beriberi, long known to be due to thiamine deficiency.

Dysautonomia, often associated with MVP, affects the lower brain controls of both branches of the autonomic (automatic) nervous system (ANS) that enable our adaptation to the constant changes in environment. For example, one branch, known as the sympathetic system, accelerates the heart and the other, called the parasympathetic, slows it. We sweat when it is hot and shiver when it is cold, both automatically initiated by the sympathetic branch of the ANS.

In the early stages of beriberi the ANS is unbalanced, so that either the sympathetic or parasympathetic, normally working in synchrony, dominates the reaction, adversely affecting blood pressure, pulse rate and many other adaptive mechanisms, like POTS.  It can be seen that the patient with POTS or beriberi is essentially maladapted and is unable to adjust bodily systems to meet environmental changes. Edema (swelling in parts of the body), a cardinal feature of beriberi, supported a diagnosis of thiamine deficiency in this mother’s daughter. Also, Gardasil is a yeast vaccine and an enzyme called thiaminase, whose action destroys thiamine, is known to be in the yeast. Thiaminase disease has been reported in Japan in association with dietary thiamine deficiency.

We know from the history of beriberi that exposure to the stress of ultraviolet light (sunlight) sometimes “triggers” the first symptoms of the disease when thiamine deficiency is marginal, but not severe enough to cause symptoms. Other stress factors (virus, inoculation, injury) can do the same. In effect, diet may cause an individual to be in a state of marginal vitamin deficiency. A mental or physical stress factor automatically induces a need for energy to meet this stress. If cellular energy is insufficient to drive the  mechanisms by which an adaptive adjustment is required, it results in a maladaptive response.

The lower brain, where the ANS control mechanisms are situated, is particularly sensitive to thiamine deficiency, equivalent to a mild to moderate degree of oxygen deprivation. The commonest cause of thiamine deficiency in industrial nations is alcohol, but it is also known that sugar consumption will increase the need for thiamine. Beriberi has recently been reported in Japan in seventeen adolescents consuming carbonated soft drinks. The social life of adolescents may thus increase the risk from an inoculation that might otherwise be less threatening.

The statistics on sugar ingestion (150 pounds per person per year) suggests that marginal TD is common. The report of a “difficulty in metabolizing sugar and carbs” may be highly relevant. One of the questions asked by parents of the affected girls known to my informant is why did the vaccine seem to “pick off” the most intelligent and athletic individuals. The answer must be that the higher the IQ, the more is cellular energy required by the brain. Sugar, even at social levels of consumption, may be a greater risk for them.

It is important to understand that there are multiple factors that have to be taken into account in solving the cause of this disaster. The “fitness” of the individual implies her adaptive ability in biochemical terms, not her athletic or student prowess. Dietary indiscretion may or may not enter the equation and depends on individual sensitivity to food substances as well as the ratio of calories to the necessary vitamins for their processing in the body. The stress factor, the case in discussion being Gardasil, may be more or less stressful in its own right, perhaps related to batch number or commercial process. Lastly the genetics of an individual always enters the equation. These three factors, Genetics, Stress and Nutrition can be seen as three interlocking circles, all of which overlap at the center. Each circle must be evaluated in its contribution to the ensuing result.

Publications and resources from Dr. Lonsdale:

  1. A Review of the Biochemistry, Metabolism and Clinical Benefits of Thiamin(e) and Its Derivatives
  2. Treatment of autism spectrum children with thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide: A pilot study.
  3. Thiamine
  4. Asymmetric functional dysautonomia and the role of thiamine.
  5. Exaggerated autonomic asymmetry: a clue to nutrient deficiency dysautonomia.
  6. Oxygen – the Spark of Life. Dr. Lonsdale’s blog.

Resources for Understanding Thiamine Deficiency

Molecular Mechanism of Thiamine Utilization

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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. Hi Dr. Lonsdale,
    You treated my son, Craig Print in the early 80’s. I brought him to see you because of severe anger issues. You had said that he was the angriest child you have ever seen and referenced him in one of your books.
    Now his 6 year old daughter is having the same issues. I see that the Preventive Medicine Group has now closed. Do you have any idea where his records might be?
    If you would kindly respond to my inquiry, it would be very helpful as doctors at Children’s Hospital In Philly would like to help. I do remember that you told us Craig had an enzyme deficiency- Delta 6 desaturase -preventing the conversion of linoleic acid to gamma linolenic acid. But according to the doctors at CHOP,
    they have no knowledge of a genetic mutation or this.
    Hoping you are well in your retirement and that I will hear from you shortly.
    Jeanette Print

    • I hope you were able to reach Dr. Lonsdale!

      As the mom of a kid who had severe anger issues, I want to suggest another thing to check out…Dr. William Walsh’s book “Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain.” Especially read the sections on pyrrole disorder and treatment. For my child, pyrrole disorder treatment with nutritional supplements (primarily zinc and Vitamin B6, but also borage oil which is high in GLA) made an enormous difference in just one week. Explosive episodes went way down, and her ability to cope with small day-to-day stresses went way up. (By the way, lab testing for pyrrole disorder is very tricky. My child didn’t test “positive” for pyrrole disorder but had about 30 of the symptoms and traits of pyrrole disorder listed on page 64 of Walsh’s book.)

  2. Dr. Lonsdale, You said that: ” We know from the history of beriberi that exposure to the stress of ultraviolet light (sunlight) sometimes “triggers” the first symptoms of the disease when thiamine deficiency is marginal, but not severe enough to cause symptoms”. Does it mean that thiamine may have the role to protect the DNA from UVs rays? I read this article that got my attention:

  3. Dr. Lonsdale, I was reading one article that made me rethink about Thiamine role in the body. Is one of its roles to protect us from x-rays? Does it mean that when you get into the sun, the stress happens because thiamine is protecting us from the uv rays?

    • I draw my information from the history of the early attempts to solve the cause of beriberi. They reported that sunlight could trigger the first symptoms. I think that the explanation is that ultraviolet light is known to stress the body. Literally any form of stress has to result in an adaptive response and requires a huge amount of cellular energy. That is why I have concluded that the people who came down with beriberi after this exposure were mildly deficient in thiamin. Their ability to muster the necessary energy to meet the stress was “weighed in the balance and found wanting”, thus precipitating clinical thiamin deficiency and the first symptoms of the disease. I do not think that thiamin is a protection, except in this format.

      • I read the article and it is very impressive. It stated that thiamin has antioxidant properties, like vitamins C and E, but its action is probably different because it is a key factor in the hexose monophosphate shunt, responsible for producing reducing equivalents, hence the antioxidant effect. X-rays and ultraviolet rays produce oxidative stress, as does infection. A recent paper by a professor of medicine has shown that giving intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamin in addition to antibiotics and any other conventional therapeutic support, produces a much better cure rate for sepsis. This additional therapy manifestly exceeds the results from conventional therapeutic support alone.The more I read about thiamin, the more important it seems to be. It probably explains why I became used to seeing beneficial effects in children by giving them thiamin, irrespective of the diagnosis. There is a growing suggestion that all disease is caused by defective oxidative metabolism. If that is true, thiamin becomes a “cure-all” when provided with magnesium and a multivitamin. Its “leadership” in the vitamin hierarchy may make it a uniquely important nutrient.

  4. Thank you Dr. Lonsdale for your work in identifying the link between Dysautonomia and thiamine deficiency. I have Dysautonomia/POTS and chronic lyme disease myself, and like many others have been abandoned by the medical community in finding the root cause behind my health issues. I have ordered your book and TTFD supplements and plan on following your advice to see if thiamine deficiency is at the root of my issues. I know Lyme can cause neurological issues such as dysautonomia but I’m wondering if Lyme is just the “stress” and TD is the real problem. I’m also extremely sensitive to supplements, so I may also have issues with biochemical pathways (extreme anxiety/panic attacks, frequent urination).

    You mentioned that Gardasil is a yeast vaccine (this is a new concept to me) and the thiaminase destroys thiamine and causes TD. Is this a specific yeast that does this, or do all species of yeast have thiaminase? After reading your article I completely eliminated all sugar and baked goods with plain flour. I’m also taking supplements for candida and upping my minerals.

    Although I’ve never had the Gardasil vaccine I’ve had the Hep A and B. I also had injected into my vein a drug called Isuprel (increases heart rate), as part of the Tilt Table Test for POTS. That same day I developed Dermatographia and my POTS symptoms intensified (increase in HR 20-40bpm, etc) for the next 4-5 months until I healed it with nutritious shakes and returned it back to my POTS baseline. I’m still left with the Dermatographia. One ER doc told me that Isuprel is a 100 year old drug that is not used anymore and it probably contained ingredients that a vaccine would have. Was this reaction from the drug just a “stress” or would it have had yeast? What are your views on this?

    My MRI came out normal, but I’ve had a QEEG done on my brain and my most problematic area is the posterior/brainstem. POTS is a lower part of the brain problem, and you also mentioned that that part is very sensitive to TD. It’s very interesting to see the pieces come together.

    A big THANK YOU for all the information you put out that so many of us desperately need!

    ps – How much magnesium should one take with TTFD?

    • It seems to me that thiamin deficiency can be precipitated by some kind of stress factor in a person who is in a states of marginal thiamin sufficiency. I think that the organism causing Lyme disease is an opportunist organism. Hence it seems to be a complexity in many cases of dysautonomia.Gardasil is made from a special type of yeast and the thiaminase may be a contributory factor. You probably need about 300 milligrams of a magnesium salt with TTFD.When you start taking supplements, the symptoms often get worse for a limited time. It is often the best indicator that there is going to be benefit if you stick with the supplements

  5. Hi Dr. Lonsdale,

    I was hoping you could comment on this PubMed article about thiamine deficiency and hypochloridia, which is low gastric acid secretion. ( )

    Do you think that this is why so many Americans are having digestion problems right now if thiamine deficiency causes a lack of gastric acid production and most Americans are now thiamine deficient?

    I think this is what this PubMed study is indicating, though I can’t be sure because I don’t quite understand the medical lingo very well. Could you please look it over and give your opinion on it?

    Thank you for your time, help and research. 🙂


    • Hi Dr. Lonsdale,

      I had another article/medical study that I wanted to share with you.
      ( )

      It says:
      “On the assumption that typical diabetic neuritis is due to a combination of destruction and defective absorption of Vitamine B1 due to a high pH of the gastric and duodenal secretions, an attempt was made to treat such cases of neuritis with hydrochloric acid only. The results in the three cases of severe neuritis cited suggest that this is probably the correct explanation.”

      This study also suggests a link to thiamine/B1 and hypochloridia (low stomach acid). Or rather if I am understanding correctly, it’s not the level of gastric acid that is a problem but that it’s ph is too alkalkine and not acidic enough to break down the thiamine from food.

      I have also read that taking baking soda with meals can create a thiamine deficiency, as well as with magnesium carbonate or milk of magnesium.

      I am just searching for answers to my lack of stomach acid and many other symptoms and I feel that thiamine deficiency is a cause of them all. I was wondering what your input it on the relationship to stomach acid and thiamine deficiency.

      Thank you Dr. Lonsdale.

    • The answer demands a knowledge of what happens in beriberi. Reported by the vitamin B1 committee of Japan, secretion of stomach acid could be low at one stage of the disease and high at another. Curiously, when the stomach acid was low and thiamine was given to the patient, the stomach acid would become high before becoming normal. If the high acid was treated with thiamine it would become low before becoming normal. It should remind us of the ancient philosophy of Yin and Yang. The explanation given and for which there is now good evidence is that thiamine deficiency causes the actions of the autonomic nervous system to become labile. Therefore the state of acid in the stomach is a result of abnormal autonomic nervous system action. It is also interesting that “indigestion” might be related to either a high or a low stomach acid, suggesting that thiamine deficiency is the cause of the symptom and that the symptoms expressed are perceived in the brain by signals from the stomach. What has been found in diabetes is that the patient excretes huge amounts of thiamine in the urine, thus causing the deficiency. Because thiamine deficiency results in high blood sugar, it is the hyperglycemia that damages the tubular mechanism in the kidney. This illustrates the extraordinary polysymptomatic nature of thiamine deficiency and the danger of a high blood sugar.

      • The diabetes study mentioned above seems to indicate that the thiamine deficiency was resolved by simply replacing the hyrdrochloric acid in the stomach with betaine supplements. Am I reading this study correctly and do you agree with their conclusions? I’ve been taking 500 mg of thiamine 2x a day with malic acid supplements which really seem to helping my digestion and anxiety alot. The metabolic healing website says malic acid is a better substitute for betaine HCL ( because it helps to create more hydrogen in the stomach and release pepsin needed to break down proteins.

        I think the diabetes/B1 study referenced above came from here:

        It says:

        “The Relation oí Hydrochloric Acid and Vitamin B Complex Deficiency in certain Skin Diseases.

        Author(s) : ALLISON, J. R.

        Journal article : Southern Medical Journal 1945 Vol.38 No.4 pp.235-40 ref.8 figs.
        Abstract : Four hundred cases exhibiting a variety of skin conditions thought to be associated with a vitamin B complex deficiency were investigated in regard to gastric hydrochloric acid.
        The group was drawn from poorer classes taking a diet of white bread, white grits, polished rice, fat meat and a few vegetables.
        All showed some deficiency in acid secretion and all improved on being given hydrochloric acid by mouth together with high vitamin diet, yeast and liver. The author believes that treatment with addition of hydrochloric acid is better than by vitamin B complex alone. H. S. Stannus. “

        • Obviously, the clue is in the diet, consisting of white bread, white grits, polished rice, fat meat and a few vegetables.This would cause beriberi with certainty. The point that I have tried to make is that low gastric acid and high gastric acid are both caused by beriberi at two different stages of the same disease. If the patient is reconstituted with thiamine, the low acid becomes normal after becoming high. The high acid becomes normal after becoming low whether the patient receives hydrochloric acid or not. Hydrochloric acid is synthesized by the stomach cells and the stomach cells stop performing normally when the patient has beriberi. The answer to high acid and low acid is thiamine reconstitution.The reason that low acid becomes high and high acid becomes low before becoming normal is because the autonomic (automatic) nervous system is deranged in beriberi. Stomach acid, produced by stomach cells is because the autonomic nervous system signals the stomach cells, telling them what they need to do. The confusion is a nervous system abnormality not a stomach effect.

    • This article is very interesting because it points up the fact that thiamin deficiency results in a lack of stomach acid in a frog’s stomach. What it does not show is that an excess of stomach HCl occurs in beriberi as a different stage of the disease. I have no doubt that thiamin deficiency and its effect on stomach acid is a major cause of digestive problems in Americans

  6. Hey, my wife is suffering severely since receiving the gardasil vaccine. From reading i understand that girls/boys develop a thiamine deficiency because of the yeast in the vaccine. My question is, is there a possible link to prions and/or prion disease since prions and yeast are related? A lot of people effected by gardasil seem to have a lot of the same symptoms as CJD which is a prion disease. I was just wondering if it could be a more mild/modified/mutated for of prion disease. Thank you all for any feedback!!!!

  7. Nicole’s story involves a yeast infection. Yeast feeds on sugar which it ferments for its life energy. The byproduct is alcohol, tartaric acid and arabinose. Those are absorbed and can make us feel ill. A medical lab can find tartaric acid and arabinose in urine,thus making a diagnosis of an intestinal yeast infection. This can be so active that it will give rise to “bubbles and squeaks” from the stomach of an affected person. It has been published as “intestinal brewer’s syndrome” and some have actually got drunk from making their own intestinal alcohol. Since sugar is the food for yeast, it should be TOTALLY WITHDRAWN from human diet. It is a natural “friend” in the bowel of a healthy person and is “in balance” with intestinal microbes. It detects an unhealthy bowel and changes to become a predator. It is an opportunist organism that only affects marginally unhealthy people. It is that marginal ill health that makes us more susceptible to the “stress”of vaccination or any other form of mental or physical stress. Cellular energy is automatically used in meeting the normal body defenses and that is where thiamine fits into the story.
    Its function is in the complex machinery that enables us to convert calories to cellular energy——-all that is needed to run the amazing defenses of the brain/body organization.

  8. Nicole has a typical thiamine damage story. PLEASE——anyone affected by Garasil should obtain the transkeolase blood test. This MUST be done through a doctor who must call 1-888-WSTLAKE for insructions on obtaining the test If most or all victims have this test positive for thiamine deficiency,we will have important data that will need publication. Nearly all the explanations and “treatment” are a disgrace, particularly those called psychosomatic.

  9. Thank you again, Dr. Lonsdale! I posted your response, along with the post, in one of the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity support groups that I participate in. One of the people in the group who was treated by you while you were at the Cleveland Clinic said that the Thiamine treatments that you provided helped him and that you are a “genius.” Thank you for all that you do!

  10. Japanese investigators discovered that a form of thiamine occurred in garlic bulbs ONLY when the bulb was cut or crushed. They called it allithiamine because it occurs in a number of plants of the allium family.It is a disulfide derivative of thiamine that they found to have a greater biologic effect than the original thiamine. Years of research followed and the most modern and clearly the most effective molecule is thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD). This is the best synthetic form of allithiamine and research in Belgium (Lucien Bettendorff) has shown that it crosses the blood brain barrier(BBB) and enters the brain. Benfotiamine is NOT a disulfide and does NOT cross the BBB. TTFD is made in Japan by Takeda Chemical Industries in Osaka and is a prescription item as Alinamin in Japan. I have had an Independent Investigator Licence (IND) from the FDA since 1973. I have sent regular reports to the FDA that I have never seen toxicity and that many different diseases respond to its use because it BOOSTS CELLULAR ENERGY, thus helping self healing that is the normal bodily response to injury and disease. FDA rules allow it to be imported by individuals FOR PERSONAL USE. It can be obtained on the Internet from Europe and Mexico as Alinamin, or Fursultiamine. For more information I suggest going to my blog, “Oxygen, the Spark of Life” and read the posts about this remarkable substance.

    • The tf# for the transkeolase test is an advertising # for vacations. After reading more posts I discovered,there is not a lab in US anymore? I really believe that the Gardisil depleted my son of Thiamine.I would like to proceed and give him Thiamine. Do I start by taking all sugar out of his diet. Does this include all fruit as well? Then do I give him crushed garlic cloves everyday?? How many garlic cloves and just any garlic cloves or does it have to be ordered on the internet? Thanks! Karina

  11. Are there different forms of thiamine? Will any thiamine supplement help or does it need to be a certain type or brand? Thanks and sorry if I just didn’t read the article carefully enough.

  12. Nicole,
    Your doctor can order the test from King James Lab in Westlake, Ohio. You can call the lab and have them fax a requisition to your doctor. My daughter had many of your symptoms-I even sent your story to Dr. Lonsdale when I read it a few weeks ago because it was so similar. Treating the thiamine deficiency has been extremely helpful for my daughter and I think it would definitely be worth it for you to have the test done.

  13. Thank you so much for this information Dr. Lonsdale. I am another girl who had adverse reactions because of Gardasil. This information is very useful to me, I too have and have had very similar issues that are described above, especially temperature regulation, low blood pressure, GI issues, and trouble metabolizing foods, and accelerated heart rate/dizziness standing up too quickly or moving from one different levels too quickly. It has been difficult to find ways to explain how it feels because how varying each of our Gardasil injuries, many tragically more affected.

    I am wondering if this Thiamine blood test is one my Nutritionist can order for me?

    As with regards to the yeast, this is very new information for me but believe there is a connection. I had my blood tested through a Vital Hematologist after my Gardasil vaccine when I was experiencing all of my symptoms. She used one drop of blood to look under a microscrope, and she said I had a deadly amount of yeast in my bloodstream. I have pictures of the yeast patch that covered bigger than her computer screen, as well as the blood analysis on CD.
    Thank you so much for this information. Here is my Gardasil story, I appreciate your time and help with this and hope to find more information like this that can help myself and everyone who has been affected.


  14. Dr Lonsdale, Thank you for your research into Gardasil injuries, particularly POTS. The SaneVax team has also wondered why it seems to be the ‘best and brightest’ who are severely affected while others appear to be virtually unharmed. We also have seen many cases of POTS go undiagnosed for years because the symptoms are mistaken for other maladies. Your research will help many. I sincerely hope physicians around the world read your article. It could alleviate much suffering.

  15. Thank you very much for your post, Dr. Lionsdale! I remember reading some of your work on B vitamin research on the your Cleveland Clinic profile a couple of years ago. It inspired me to start taking Thiamine to help to treat my symptoms of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. (I had a severe adverse reaction to Cipro, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic). I have improved over the past 2 years and perhaps I should have given more credit to the thiamine than I did. It’s impossible to do a controlled experiment on one’s self, so I’m not sure what helped and what didn’t. Thank you for the attention that you have paid to the young women and girls who have been adversely effected by Gardasil! As I’m sure you know, many other drugs have adverse effects on the autonomic nervous system. I hope that thiamine can be helpful to those people as well.

  16. Dr. Lonsdale- Thanks so much for taking the time to research and write your article. Treating my daughter’s thiamine deficiency has really improved so many of her symptoms and I think your information will be of help to many of the girls. I think parents will find your publications referenced above with your article eye-opening, especially the article about Thiamine Deficiency (1) and Asymmetric Functional Dysautonomia (4).

  17. There are two clues to Brittney’s story. 1. a low potassium is characteristic of thiamine deficiency (TD) though there are,of course, other reasons for it. 2. Gastroparesis, said in her case to be “due to damage to the vagus nerve”. The vagus nerve is now known to be the route through which the brain controls inflammation. This is recent research into what has come to be known as the “inflammatory reflex”. We know,from research at Cornell, that TD gives rise to brain inflammation so it is not a “simple vitamin deficiency”.Thiamine is critical to the production of the neurotransmitter known as acetyl choline, the neurotransmitter upon which the vagus nerve is dependent. Pure TD or its destruction has different effects from those seen in beriberi and the enzyme in Gardasil, known as thiaminase destroys thiamine. With the ingestion of sugar in ALL its forms, this enzyme is likely to be more dangerous in causing a very destructive situation that is unparalleled in my view. Girls affected should completely cease taking sugar AND sweeteners——-period!

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