thiamine, SIBO, IBS, constipation

SIBO, IBS, and Constipation: Unrecognized Thiamine Deficiency?

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In many of my clients, chronic upper constipation and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are misdiagnosed as bacterial overgrowth. Unfortunately, they are often non-responsive to antimicrobial treatments. Yet, sometimes the issues are fixed within a few days of vitamin B1 repletion. This has shown me that often times, the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is simply a symptom of an underlying vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency.

GI Motility and Thiamine

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is one of the main systems affected by a deficiency of thiamine. Clinically, a severe deficiency in this nutrient can produce a condition called “Gastrointestinal Beriberi”, which in my experience is massively underdiagnosed and often mistaken for SIBO or irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). The symptoms may include GERD, gastroparesis, slow or paralysed GI motility, inability to digest foods, extreme abdominal pain, bloating and gas. People with this condition often experience negligible benefits from gut-focused protocols, probiotics or antimicrobial treatments. They also have a reliance on betaine HCL, digestive enzymes, and prokinetics or laxatives.

To understand how thiamine impacts gut function we have to understand the GI tract. The GI tract possesses its own individual enteric nervous system (ENS), often referred to as the second brain. Although the ENS can perform its job somewhat autonomously, inputs from both the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system serve to modulate gastrointestinal functions. The upper digestive organs are mainly innervated by the vagus nerve, which exerts a stimulatory effect on digestive secretions, motility, and other functions. Vagal innervation is necessary for dampening inflammatory responses in the gut and maintaining gut barrier integrity.

The lower regions of the brain responsible for coordinating the autonomic nervous system are particularly vulnerable to a deficiency of thiamine. Consequently, the metabolic derangement in these brain regions caused by deficiency produces dysfunctional autonomic outputs and misfiring, which goes on to exert detrimental effects on every bodily system – including the gastrointestinal organs.

However, the severe gut dysfunction in this context is not only caused by faulty central mechanisms in the brain, but also by tissue specific changes which occur when cells lack thiamine. The primary neurotransmitter utilized by the vagus nerve is acetylcholine. Enteric neurons also use acetylcholine to initiate peristaltic contractions necessary for proper gut motility. Thiamine is necessary for the synthesis of acetylcholine and low levels produce an acetylcholine deficit, which leads to reduced vagal tone and impaired motility in the stomach and small intestine.

In the stomach, thiamine deficiency inhibits the release of hydrochloric acid from gastric cells and leads to hypochlorydria (low stomach acid). The rate of gastric motility and emptying also grinds down to a halt, producing delayed emptying, upper GI bloating, GERD/reflux and nausea. This also reduces one’s ability to digest proteins. Due to its low pH, gastric acid is also a potent antimicrobial agent against acid-sensitive microorganisms. Hypochlorydria is considered a key risk factor for the development of bacterial overgrowth.

The pancreas is one of the richest stores of thiamine in the human body, and the metabolic derangement induced by thiamine deficiency causes a major decrease in digestive enzyme secretion. This is one of the reasons why those affected often see undigested food in stools. Another reason likely due to a lack of brush border enzymes located on the intestinal wall, which are responsible for further breaking down food pre-absorption. These enzymes include sucrase, lactase, maltase, leucine aminopeptidase and alkaline phosphatase. Thiamine deficiency was shown to reduce the activity of each of these enzymes by 42-66%.

Understand that intestinal alkaline phosphatase enzymes are responsible for cleaving phosphate from the active forms of vitamins found in foods, which is a necessary step in absorption. Without these enzymes, certain forms of vitamins including B6 (PLP), B2 (R5P), and B1 (TPP) CANNOT be absorbed and will remain in the gut. Another component of the intestinal brush border are microvilli proteins, also necessary for nutrient absorption, were reduced by 20% in the same study. Gallbladder dyskinesia, a motility disorder of the gallbladder which reduces the rate of bile flow, has also been found in thiamine deficiency.

Malnutrition Induced Malnutrition

Together, these factors no doubt contribute to the phenomena of “malnutrition induced malnutrition”, a term coined by researchers to describe how thiamine deficiency can lead to all other nutrient deficiencies across the board. In other words, a chronic thiamine deficiency can indirectly produce an inability to digest and absorb foods, and therefore produce a deficiency in most of the other vitamins and minerals. In fact, this is indeed something I see frequently. And sadly, as thiamine is notoriously difficult to identify through ordinary testing methods, it is mostly missed by doctors and nutritionists. To summarize, B1 is necessary in the gut for:

  • Stomach acid secretion and gastric emptying
  • Pancreatic digestive enzyme secretion
  • Intestinal brush border enzymes
  • Intestinal contractions and motility
  • Vagal nerve function

Based on the above, is it any wonder why thiamine repletion can radically transform digestion? I have seen many cases where thiamine restores gut motility. Individuals who have been diagnosed with SIBO and/or IBS and are unable to pass a bowel movement for weeks at a time, begin having regular bowel movements and no longer require digestive aids after addressing their thiamine deficiency. In fact, the ability of thiamine to address these issues has been known for a long time in Japan.

TTFD and Gut Motility

While there are many formulations of thiamine for supplementation, the form of thiamine shown to be superior in several studies is called thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide or TTFD for short. One study investigated the effect of TTFD on the jejunal loop of non-anesthetized and anesthetized dogs. They showed that intravenous administration induced a slight increase in tone and a “remarkable increase” in the amplitude of rhythmic contractions for twenty minutes. Furthermore, TTFD applied topically inside lumen of the intestine also elicited excitation.

Another study performed on isolated guinea pig intestines provided similar results, where the authors concluded that the action of TTFD was specifically through acting on the enteric neurons rather than smooth muscle cells. Along with TTFD, other derivatives have also been shown to influence gut motility. One study in rats showed an increase in intestinal contractions for all forms of thiamine including thiamine hydrochloride (thiamine HCL), S-Benzoyl thiamine disulphide (BTDS -a formulation that is  somewhat similar to benfotiamine), TTFD, and thiamine diphosphate (TPD). A separate study in white rats also found most thiamine derivatives to be effective within minutes.

Most interestingly, in another study, this time using mice, the effects of thiamine derivatives on artificially induced constipation by atropine and papaverine was analyzed. The researchers tested whether several thiamine derivatives could counteract the constipation including thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), in addition to the HCL, TTFD and BTDS forms. Of all the forms of thiamine tested, TTFD was the ONLY one which could increase gut motility. Furthermore, they ALSO showed that TTFD did not increase motility in the non-treatment group (non-poisoned with atropine). This indicated that TTFD did not increase motility indiscriminately, but only when motility was dysfunctional. Finally, severe constipation and gastroparesis identified in patients with post-gastrectomy thiamine deficiency, was alleviated within a few weeks after a treatment that included three days of IV TTFD at 100mg followed by a daily dose of 75mg oral TTFD. Other symptoms also improved, including lower limb polyneuropathy.

To learn more about how thiamine affects gut health:

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This article was first published on HM on June 1, 2020. 

Elliot is a nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner based in the UK. He runs a private nutritional practice called EONutrition and consults with people virtually from around the globe.

Elliot originally developed a keen interest in the clinical application of thiamine TTFD after reading "Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia and High Calorie Malnutrition. After applying high doses of this nutrient in clinical practice and witnessing the immense benefits it could provide, he now seeks to raise awareness of its therapeutic potential through educating others.


  1. Could these gut issues happen in the absence of issues with blood sugar control? I have all of these symptoms, but I wonder if the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (if this is responsible for my symptoms) would also have caused issues in the pancreas as it relates to insulin production? I don’t have issues there, so I am very curious. Thanks!

  2. I’m not sure if my 2 Questions got answered from this article.
    1) when longstanding gut issues, low B vitamin levels, low stomach acid, mcas & Sibo incl methane , what form of administering B Vitamins ?
    Can they be absorbed by mouth ?
    or only injections (how often) ?

    2) I react to ttfd thiamine (garlic) and cannot take this form… is Bentothiamine ok to take ? Also does it come in injectable form ?

  3. Elliot, I am learning so much from your articles and videos. You present complex material in a clear understandable manner. You also provide new insight and perspective. SIBO and IBS so often turn out to be chronic conditions with individuals going through round after round of antimicrobials, probiotics, etc. There does seem to be the need for a paradigm shift, a going “outside of the gut” if you will.
    Exploring such factors as thiamine/acetylcholine/vagus nerve activity/etc. offers new options and indeed new hope for the many individuals struggling to regain healthy GI function.

    In his book DIRTY GENES, Dr. Ben Lynch writes that sulfites interfere with thiamine B1 absorption and draws an interesting connection between sulfur/sulfites/thiamine/molybdenum. He also identifies several factors to consider in sulfur intolerance & sulfite sensitivity which I would like to share. Regarding sulfur intolerance, he writes “some people can’t seem to tolerate sulfur well” and wisely points out we ingest sulfur from sulfur foods and also “SULFUR-BASED SUPPLEMENTS”. It is worthwhile, I believe, for individuals with SIBO to evaluate their intake of sulfur food but also their intake of supplements containing sulfur. Perhaps an appropriate decrease in sulfur foods and sulfur supplements would provide relief. Regarding sulfite sensitivity, Dr. Lynch maintains high sulfur intake can overwhelm the SUOX gene leading the body to be depleted of molybdenum and consequently causing sulfite levels to climb. He cautions that a buildup of sulfites can lead to health issues such as asthma and, again, that sulfites interfere with thiamine absorption.
    Thank you. I look forward to your ongoing writings, insights and wisdom.

    • Beth, thanks for your post.

      I’m quite shocked that neither Dr. Lonsdale or Ms. Marrs has ever considered that indeed, one needs MOLYBDENUM to process sulfur. Eliot Overton has mentioned it on his facebook page, but apparently hasn’t spoken w/them about it.

      Not only does sulfite inhibit thiamine, but thiamine itself is a SULFUR COMPOUND, which I think explains the negative “paradoxical” reactions that some have when they take thiamine.

      They’re missing molybdenum, which helps convert sulfur to sulfite to SULFATE, which we need.

  4. Elliot and Dr. Lonsdale,
    Thank you so much for providing critical information on the connection between thiamine ( B1) deficiency and the epidemic of chronic gastrointestinal disorders that exist today. I have always believed that our deepest understanding and our most successful remedies come from having a solid foundation of human anatomy & physiology and a functional approach (versus symptom management). How does the human body perform its critical functions such as digestion? When there is malfunction, what does the body need to correct the malfunction? These are always the critical questions, I believe.
    I am most grateful to have discovered your writings. Thank you both! Beth RN

  5. I am so happy to have stumbled on this website. For a few years now we have struggled to help our now 18 year old son. He is almost 5ft 11 but weighs only 100lbs. He has been diagnosed with IBSD and anxiety and the cause of his significant weight loss and chronic stomach issues. We have had upper and lower GI scopes, biopsies and all sorts of labs looking for celiac etc. we have ended up in emergency and just been discharged with a diagnosis of gastritis each time. Food hurts so he does not eat and when he does eat it is a high carb highly processed food to add calories. We have ordered the Thiamine supplement in hopes that something this simple may actually be the culprit.

  6. Hello! I just started TTFD. I suspect my constipation is related to prescription medication for depression and anxiety. I take pristiq and a small amount of abilify. Anyone find thiamine helping with motility with these or similar drugs?

  7. This article speaks to me. I’ve had adhd, depression and anxiety most of my life (I’m 45 now). Now over the last 10 yrs I’m experiencing bloating, constipation, poor sleep, itchy ears, itchy perineum and brain fog. I quit smoking about 5 yrs ago which has made my brain symptoms worse. I’m having a tough time with work and being social. I’ve tried a lot of different diets and probably spent a couple thousand on supplements, none of these have helped. I’ve ordered a bottle of Allithiamine. Really hoping I get some results.

    • A few other notable health concerns…. magnesium gives me worse insomnia, anxiety, a pounding heart and dehydration. After 2 or 3 B12 injections given by my naturopath, I was floored, really depressed and lethargic for almost a month. My eyesight gets blurry on and off.

  8. This is very interesting. Have you looked at a vagus nerve disorder/dysfunction angle to this? My issue seems to be related to a delayed adaptation to heat/cold/pressure/humidity that first impacts the gut, and then my extremities (feet,hands,head).

    I have been supplementing with magnesium and b2,b6, and B12.

    In my experience, I suspect my vagus nerve being central to a lot of my chronic issues. I had a few instances if syncope in my teens, mainly triggered by dehydration, which probably morphed into GERD and then IBS over 30 years. My GERD went away almost 20 years back, with constant burping bloating and incomplete evacuation being my primary symptoms.

    When I quit smoking (nicotine apparently mimics acetylcholine) , I experienced a major flare with nightly GI issues that mainly consisted of chronic burping sitting in the toilet. I lost 25lbs in 3 weeks and couldn’t sleep or eat. I was prescribed mirtazapine, but it didn’t really address the root cause, just numbed me enough to sleep, but caused a lot of other issues.

    Since I stopped mirtazapine cold turkey 3 years ago, I am dealing with systemic autonomic dysfunction. What’s interesting is that it all seems to flare up when the gut is slow to move. I have regular BMs, but gas gets stuck in my sigmoid colon, and then I not only start burping, but I get GERD like symptoms, a hot upper body, and cold extremities.. fortunately, it doesn’t last too long and working on diaphragmatic breathing lying down helps the kickstart the gut movement, which in turn helps clear the circulation issues (heavy sinuses, cold feet, feet paresthesia etc).

    The trigger for a stuck gut seems to be drastic changes in heat/cold (thermoregulation) and maybe humidity and pressure changes as well to lesser extent. Most of my flares occur between 11pm-3am, but the stuck gut usually happens in the afternoon, and that’s usually when daytime temp peaks, humidity drops etc.

    • Hi,

      Yes, this article is primarily about addressing vagal nerve dysfunction/lack of parasympathetic tone which is a main symptom of thiamine deficit. You sound like a text-book example which might respond nicely to TTFD.

      Nicotine activates nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which ironically induces gut motility and calms inflammation. I think some people “depend” on it for their nervous systems to remain somewhat stabilized.

      Thiamine is necessary for the generation and action of acetylcholine in the nervous system – and this is particularly important for the vagus nerve… which ultimately innervates most of the gastrointestinal organs

  9. I would like to attempt to connect the dots between B-1 deficiency (BeriBeri) and C-19 virus. The symptoms of both are apparently strikingly similar.

    The new Delta Variant is not virus-like at all; not like flu or cold. It is an apparent bio-weapon nerve agent more like Sarin (a chemical). It attacks the autoimmune system first – shuts off smell, taste, sleep, eating. It does this by wrapping the Spike Protein in a sugar glycan to disguise the spike from the immune system. So one starts with fever and cold sweats, loss of appetite and sleeplessness, and gets weak. Then one feels better because the so-called virus hides and then reappears. Then WHAM – you must seek hospitalization for hypoxia and pneumonia.

    Delta Variant victims say we have two choices, both bad: take the vaxx, which has a duplicate protein spike on it to generate antibodies, and suffer fever and sleeplessness for a week; or do not take the vaxx and risk being on death’s doorstep for a month. Pick your poison they say.

    But since the Delta Variant is a potential bio weaponized nerve agent, one should consider taking very high doses of B-1 at least to prevent permanent nerve damage or at best as a complete prophylaxis to the Delta Variant. I am taking 15,000 mg day or sometimes higher. Those we see videos of with uncontrollable muscular spasms after taking the vaxx are apparently B-1 deficient. The U. of Nebraska Med School reports research that NAC plus Bromelain can dissolve C-19 protein spike (but not the spike wrapped in sugar).

    • Interesting Mr. Lusvardi, I got ill in July 2021 visited an elderly family member that was vax first my sister got unwell then I. Haven’t been the same since. I know have this strange nerve pain in my hands and feet it’s gotten better but not completely gone. I will continue to take my b1.

  10. Thanks for helping me understand that the issue with gut dysfunction can also be caused by lacking of some cells. I guess I really need to see a doctor to know the cause of the stomach pain I have been experiencing every now and then. I usually experience it when I eat too much or when I was not able to eat on time which has never been experienced by my other family members.

  11. I would like to provide some identification for the various thiamine derivatives. Dietary thiamine, existing in naturally occurring food, has to be activated in the body. First, it is absorbed and requires a protein transporter to get it into cells. The transporters are a series of proteins that are under genetic control and in their absence, intracellular thiamine deficiency occurs and may be present from birth. Their absence seems to be relatively common. Absence of a transporter can be overcome by the use of a thiamine derivative.
    Thiamine hydrochloride and mononitrate are “salts” and are readily available over-the-counter.
    Thiamine derivatives.
    There are two sorts, one is known as an S acyl derivative (Benfotiamine is one) and the other is known as a disulfide (TTFD is one). Both are known as “open ring” forms of thiamine that exists normally as two connected rings known as a thiazolium and a pyrimidine. It is the thiazolium ring that is opened and it is this open ring form that enables it to pass through the cell membrane without the use of a transporter. It is this process that appears to alter the thiamine activity radically, creating something that might be justifiably called a drug. For example, Japanese scientists found that thiamine propyl disulfide, one of the early disulfide synthetics, could protect experimental mice partially from cyanide and/or carbon tetrachloride poisoning. The therapeutic properties of thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD) are largely untapped and unknown in Western civilization. It has been used for many years in the East where it is a prescription item. In my own experience, I have found cases where the supplemental use of thiamine hydrochloride did not work for that patient, but TTFD would work dramatically. It have always assumed that the benefit is gained from its ability to get thiamine into cells where a high concentration stimulates energy metabolism, deficiency of which is probably the commonest form of human disease. However, perhaps further research might expose a hitherto unknown effect. There is no doubt at all that it has an untapped therapeutic value, much needed in the widespread incidence of energy deficient disease that is almost totally misunderstood by physicians.

  12. TTFD is good stuff, but it hasn’t resolved this for me. I assume that this is partly because I have anti-parietal cell antibodies, which I’m told are a common cause of hypochlorhydria. My doctor’s best guess for the gastroparesis is a connective tissue disorder. I’ll continue taking high doses of B1 (and magnesium, and getting the B12 injections that bypass GI malabsorption, etc., etc.), but I’m not giving up my prokinetics, betaine HCL, or digestive enzymes either.

  13. Elliot,
    I can’t thank you enough for this post. Really, from the bottom of my heart – thank you.

    Like others have posted here, I’ve had DECADES of health problems – some severe – always with ‘constipation’ as an aggravating factor (which was really a lack of motility). I’ve seen dozens of (well over a hundred by now) doctors, specialists, naturopaths, etc… I read countless books and websites, watched dozens of online seminars, etc…

    NOT ONE has ever mentioned B1/thiamine’s possible role.

    I’m now largely homebound with ME/CFS/MCAS/POTS/Fibro/mold illness (plus hashimoto’s, celiac, etc..) so my husband shops for me. Based on this article he went to buy TPP – not available at our local health store so they recommended benfotiamine – and miracle of miracles there was movement! It’s only been three days, and hasn’t been earth shattering otherwise, but the movement is consistent.

    I’d like to know why you (and Derek Lonsdale) are knowledgeable enough to warn and educate people about thiamine deficiency when almost no-one else seems to know about or mention it?

    I have no idea when I signed up to your website, but a recent software update started loading dozens of websites into my rss feeds: yours started loading just before this post (at your post “Beyond Defiency: Using Thiamine as a Metabolic Stimulant”.) Somehow God, the fates – someone out there – wanted to point me to your information. Thank heavens, And thank you.

  14. Elliot,

    Thank you for this excellent article! Let me share my experience for other readers. I have been experimenting with allithiamine for about 8 months now. My standard dose has been 100 mg. a day, but up to 200-300 some days as I experimented with higher doses. I am in my 60s, and after a LIFETIME of often severe issues with motility, my motility issues are SOLVED. One hundred percent. As a matter of fact, I use motility as my main indicator as to whether I am taking enough thiamine. When I go through a stressful event of some kind, I have found I need to increase my dosage or motility stops once again.

    The main thing I would like to share is that all of my life, my issues have been referred to as “constipation”. And I have been prescribed stool softeners and laxatives, as hard stools were considered to be the problem, but motility was never mentioned. Though chronic, I was only given short-term solutions. After anesthesia, I would have NO indication of “life” in my intestinal tract for nearly a week. Never, never had a doctor suggested there was an issue with thiamine.

    For the record, I have taken a high-potency vitamin shake (Alive! pea protein shake) several days a week for over 20 years. It has a couple thousand times the RDA for thiamine in it. It did not fix my motility issues the way allithiamine has. It was very interesting to read above that TTFD was the ONLY form that increased gut motility. I notice that many commenters are not taking TTFD, but other forms of thiamine. I did not experience the gains I have seen from anything but TTFD.

    I have all the other issues discussed in this article as well–low stomach acid, and severe issues with digestion. Of course, all of these issues together also cause yeast overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth and damage to the lining of the intestines–causing “leaky gut” and all the food sensitivities that go with it. So I was a typical example of a patient with all the woes you read about here in the comments.

    The last months since discovering allithiamine have been nothing short of miraculous for me. I feel like a different person. My energy is way up–and that “I can’t, I can’t” feeling that I have fought much of my life is gone most days. After reading Elliot’s recent article about the high-dose thiamine protocols he has had such success with in his practice, I am beginning to really up my daily dose and hope to see even better gains. I feel so very blessed to have found Dr. Lonsdale’s work, this blog, and now Elliot’s work as well.

    Elliot, if you read this, I saw yesterday that you have many articles and videos on your web site about oxalates. This is an issue I have struggled with for a lifetime also, with my first kidney stone at 8 years old and significant scarring on my kidneys today. I have not had an opportunity to read/watch any of this yet, but look forward to finding out what you have to say about oxalates, and what the connection to thiamine deficiency might be.

    Thank you again for this article!

    • Pea protein — no wonder you were both constipated and low in thiamine. Veggie based shakes contain a lot of thiaminase — the enzyme that inhibits/destroys thiamine. And peas are astringent, which can cause constipation.

  15. Thank You SO much Elliot. I have been struggling though all of this for several months now and you just seem to have presentations that help me SO much! I have been doing well until I switched this week to the cheaper thiamine (Allithiamine was not available) which is apparently not effective for me at all. TTFD worked within an hour once you pointed it out to me. Wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  16. Wow….this makes so much sense to me and I am fortunate that my ND has had me on B1 recently. Now I understand why! Keep up the great work on this site and very big thank you!

  17. Every physician should read our book. But it will be a long time before that happens, if at all. I don’t know whether UK physicians have a fixed notion in their minds like American physicians that vitamin deficiency “absolutely can never be the cause of modern disease because of vitamin enrichment by the food industry”. Even if thiamine deficiency is suspected by an alert physician a blood test is almost invariably found to be normal. I believe that there is a logical explanation. There must be a normal ratio of calorie/thiamine content and diet in America is loaded with calories. The thiamine concentration would be normal for a healthy diet, so the result of its measurement is misleading. The same applies to measuring transketolase. It is almost invariably normal when the thiamine pyrophosphate effect is abnormal.

    • I’m sorry to hijack your comment

      I am desperately seeking help. I’ve been treated for H pylori (my stomach acid dropped and no longer going up). I’ve been worse since i treated H Pylori. I’m currently using 13x Betaine HCL w/pepsin capsules, 1-2x pancremax enzymes, Iborgast for prokinetic, Magnesium Citrate in the evenings, Megabiosporebiotic (SIBO hates other probiotics). Eating chicken, beef, salmon, pork pretty much every other day alternating with carrots, spaghetti squash, eggs, pink salt, basmati rice, ghee. My diet is very limited.

      My heart had severe palpitations and it stopped after i started taking Zoloft 25mg for almost 2 months. I think i’ve got Beriberi and POTS, my heart accelerates quickly just by walking to another room. My vision went white several times in 2019 and never again and my ears are always ringing. I noticed the ringing at the end of my triple antibiotic with PPI treatment for H pylori in October/november 2020. I’ve lost a ton of weight, only 128 lbs at 5’6 height. I’m a male.

      I have been prescribed Xifaxin for 14 days and Neomycin. I discovered my constipation was due to my low stomach acid and prokinetics also help so i’m not entirely sure if i even need Neomycin to treat for methane.

      I have several types of Thiamine at my disposal, and several more coming in the mail soon from Amazon, other websites. Allithiamine 50 mg, Thiamine mononitrate in 100mg and 500mg forms. I also purchased Thiamax, which i’m waiting for in the mail currently. I don’t have other B-vitamins, I do have Magnesium citrate. I really don’t know how to start to replenish my thiamine and other B-vitamins.

      Please help

      • Somehow your comment got missed. I hope you have been able to work out a good B vitamin dosage.

        I take both Thiamine HCL & Benfo just to hedge my bets, 100-500mg HCL & 250mg Benfo. I also take a good B-50 complex & ‘active’ sublingual B12 drops. I find when I’m taking high doses of Thiamine I also have to increase my B12 or I start to get low B12 symptoms. B vitamins are synergistic & all rely on each other in various ways, so taking one in isolation may potentially lead to depletion of others.

  18. I have sibo and food sensitivities for over a year now. 3 rounds of xifaxin and it just gets better for a month then comes back. The thing is, is I have soft stool/diarrhea, not constipation. I do have a zinc deficiency and lower iron also from this. Could thiamine work for me? Should I try and get tested first or just take it? Thank you

  19. Wow! Very interesting! I have had constipation predominant SIBO for years and have had no answers that have helped. I will certainly look into this more.

    I was also diagnosed with POTS, an autonomic nerve issue dealing with accelerated heart rate upon transitioning from different postures. I wonder if this could also help with that due to the autonomic problems related to this deficiency?

  20. Speaking from direct experience (I was thiamine deficient and treated with TTFD, magnesium and B complex): If you are deficient in B1, you’re likely very deficient in other B vitamins too. This will impact the rate your gut and liver can detoxify. You may become very sensitive to some foods. For me, it was tomato sauce (especially tomato paste!). This sensitivity went away as I healed.

    • How long did it take to heal? I cannot tolerate any histamines. This went in for over a year until I realized I was deficient. I’m on my own and need the encouragement.

    • This is actually not true. You can actually build-up excess in other Bs BECAUSE of a B1 deficiency, since those processes stop functioning. This is particularly prevalent if you’re a monotonous eater, or are taking high doses of isolated vitamins, or just because some vitamin formulations are terrible and have no explanation for their numbers (like a lot of those numbered complexes that go, “Multi 300!” and just throw 300mg of everything in there, when it makes zero sense.)

      That being said, if you are B1 deficient due to something like malabsorption or high calorie malnutrition, you most definitely could be deficient in many things. Worth getting the things tested that you can check for (where blood levels matter,) and ensure adequate intake of the others.

  21. I cannot tell you how much this website has helped me! I have Celiac Disease. I suffered greatly until I found the hormones matter website and high dose thiamine.
    Can you share this information with the website I am active on the forum on, but lots of members poo-poo the information on thiamine deficiency. They prefer to blame everything on gluten, despite Celiac Disease being a malabsorption disease. Scott Adams is the administrator there. He’s always looking for contributors for articles.
    Please help!

  22. Dear Elliot!
    I’m so glad I found you.
    And, finally someone questions labels like SIBO and IBS, and try to find the root cause of these “diagnoses”. I admire your work and look forward to continue to follow you.
    Thank you, Elliot.

  23. Mr Lonsdale, I came across your site while doing my research to heal myself and my 2 daughters. We all show symptoms of B1 deficiency. I started taking B1 Thiamine HCL that is the only one there is in my country. I am feeling improvements in symptoms that I have had for over 23years. However I am giving my daughters half of one tablet. My elder daughter who is 32 is experiencing a lot of pain in her hips and legs muscles she says it is deep in the muscle. Could you possibly advise on this. Thankd

    • There are two/three options:

      Allithiamine/Lipothiamine are products manufactured by Ecological Formulas. Lipo contains a little alpha-lipoic acid with the TTFD at 50mg per pill.

      On the other hand, I manufactured my own brand called Thiamax (the company is Objective Nutrients). This contains 100mg per capsule, and is free from any additives for those people who are sensitive or who wish to avoid consuming fillers/bulk agents.

      Both work the same!

      • Hello Elliot! Thanks so much for this great article! I have been borderline SIBO probably for a long time but with D not C due to high histamine. Also run short on choline (MTHFR double mutation) but take lecithin and TMG which helps. I am very sensitive right now, but just a couple days into Benfo I can see there is help with the B1. Thought my multi was covering things but not enough I guess. Interestingly I tested low in B1 three times on Nutreval few years back (even with my multi) and I have suffered like so many here. Am trying to get the “noise” in my head to stop, which I would describe similar to getting a song stuck in your head but this is just a repetitive “deee, dooo” (hard to describe, LOL) which begins the moment my eyes open each day. I know it is not a good thing, for sure. It also sometimes manifiests as counting while doing repetitive tasks such as filling water buckets on the farm. Anyway, I ordered Allithiamine and it’s on the way but don’t like the fillers so will give Thaimax a go next time.

        The real reason I am here though is to see it you know how I could get some clean version of this B1 for my horses. I have 4 here which I do my own research on for metabolic disease and nutrient repletion has been eye opening for sure. I have FM Doc but even she has not been as helpful as what has transpired here with my beloved boys. They have helped me discover things to improve my own health as well (no placebo effect).They are better, for sure but not fixed. Many MANY horses die of impaction colic. When I mentioned to my vet about one of my guys having some walking issues which appeared neurological and asked her about B1 deficiency I might as well have been peeing in the wind. He holds his stool for hours on end and then finally passes a HUGE pile about mid day… SO not normal. So he and the others are all on the Benfo (have seen some changes already) and I am trying to figure a dose, currently 300mg for two of them and 600 mg for other two. Little is known about what is required but I did research that 1000 would not be too much. Would rather have a different version for them though. Any help is appreciated, and I will let you and Dr Lonsdale know if switching to the Allithiamine helps with my head noise. I am currently taking 50-150 Benfo but is kicking up my stomach acid (as did Taurine) so have to go slow. Many thanks to you and everyone here at Hormones Matter….. feel so blessed that I have found you folks after many many years of suffering needlessly alongside a lot of others. Just as an aside, I have a very good pretty clean diet, omnivore with no processed food and plenty of veggies/fiber. Have had this diet for many years but was not the answer obviously. No diet helps if you don’t digest it, LOL!

  24. Elliot, what a superb post! It reflects a lot of study and I am delighted to read an extremely clear and erudite expression of a subject that is rejected and even scorned by the medical profession as a whole. I truly hope that you will get a lot of comments.

    • Thank YOU very much, as it was only after reading all of your published work that I began to appreciate the significance of thiamine in chronic disease. It never ceases to amaze me when someone with severe gastrointestinal distress, who has previously found no benefit in any other therapy, responds very quickly to thiamine supplementation.

      It would seem that doctors/nutritionists will prescribe *every* other vitamin before giving thiamine. Very unfortunate indeed.

      • Hi Elliot,
        I’ve struggled with SIBO and GI issues for several years. I also have edema in my lower extremities, LPR (after eating), tinitus and eustachian tube dysfunction, I purchased Dr. Lonnsdale’s book and I believe this is all related to a thiamine deficiency. I’m curious what the appropriate dosage of TTFD would be.

        Thanks for the insightful post.

  25. Great article, thank you! I have just started dosing with TTFD in the past week, I am hopeful that Allithiamine/Lipothiamine will cure my SIBO, GERD, narrowed esophagus, fatigue, hair loss. I have added the other Bs at higher doses, as well as magnesium and other vitamins/minerals. I have cleaned up my diet and cut out added sugars. I have noticed improvements in digestion and fatigue already. Who knew a simple B vitamin wasn’t simple at all? I never knew how important thiamine and the other vitamins/minerals were!

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