I’m a 34 old woman from Germany. Health wise, my childhood was unremarkable. My health issues began in my teenage years. I was feeling ‘off’ and dizzy. I was told that was because I am tall and thin and many girls feel like that when their period starts. I was also experiencing visual disturbances, intestinal problems, and tinnitus. I attributed these problems to ‘stress’ and my tinnitus to my ‘hearing problems’ (I was born deaf in one ear).
When I began studying at the university, I suddenly developed insomnia and very bad vertigo/dizzy spells. I was then given antidepressants which helped with my insomnia (they made me insanely tired). The dizzy spells came and went and I kind of learned to live with these. I took antidepressants for several months before deciding to taper off. Coming off the antidepressants gave me withdrawal symptoms that included brain zaps. I had to slowly taper them off over many months. Even years after stopping them, I would sometimes experience recurrences of these weird brain zaps.
Over time, my symptoms list grew and I gave up going to doctors. I was always told that I was healthy and the symptoms were all in my head. By the time I was in my twenties, I had developed frequent headaches, pins and needles, fatigue spells and brain fog among other things. I realized that I feel better during autumn and winter but had no explanation why. Although I was functional, I was truly one of the walking sick. In an attempt to feel better, I was constantly tweaking my lifestyle to find out what was helping me and what not.
I became pregnant in April 2020. I became very fatigued, had restless legs and headaches. I meditated every day and felt better towards the end of my pregnancy. That was during the winter months, the time of the year when I always improved.
My health went downhill fast after giving birth to my daughter. My fatigue became so awful that I could not function. I suffered from nerve pain all over my body. I couldn’t have proper conversations with my husband because my brain fog was quite severe. I was getting new symptoms such as muscle twitches, strange inner vibrations and hot flashes. I was not able to go back to work. I tried the carnivore diet and felt even worse.
I read about thiamine and finally understood some mechanisms of what could be going wrong in my body. In March of 2022, I began taking TTFD alongside a B-complex and magnesium. It has helped me very much but it took many months of paradoxical reactions before I began to improve.
A few weeks in, I realized that this form was maybe a bit too strong to begin with, although I titrated up very slowly. On TTFD my brain fog got so severe that I went nuts. I felt like I entered the world of dementia. I also suspected that the oral B12 was not working as it should. I switched the B12 to sublingual tablets and that cleared the brain fog. I was so thrilled about the effect of B12 that I self-injected it a few times, but oh boy, this made me so fatigued and all my symptoms, except the brain fog, remained the same or even got worse. So I went back to the sublingual.
I decided to give up TTFD and switched to Thiamine HCL to see if that worked better for me. Plus, I added NAC and glycine to my regimen to support glutathione production. I titrated up to 2 grams of oral Thiamine HCL per day (over several weeks/months) and didn’t experience significant paradox but also didn’t feel better at all. I was puzzled. Would I need to kick start energy metabolism by having injections of vitamin B1? I gave it a try and injected a tiny, tiny bit in my muscle to check how I’d react. As nothing bad happened I got braver and titrated up my injections to 25mg of thiamine HCL per shot. Now I got some paradox reactions in the form of heart palpitations. I thought I’d only need to push through it but it got worse over time. Also, I got weaker and more sleepy and finally decided that I’d try potassium and calcium supplements. That was in November. I was already 9 months into my thiamine journey, and finally I felt improvements!!
However, some weeks after that I had that weakness and achy feeling again. I have learned that having high-doses of thiamine inhibits carbonic anhydrase and thus bicarbonate supplements are needed. Adding potassium bicarbonate into my regimen felt like a real game changer. Now, most of my symptoms are gone. I am only left with some fatigue and headaches, mostly in the evening, but I’m hopeful that time and finding the right dosages will dissolve my remaining symptoms.
I still feel like a delicate plant and I’m afraid that this improvement will be temporary. I am able to incorporate some activity back into my life and spent time with friends and family without crashing afterwards. I am so thankful and enjoy life again. The feeling of normality is priceless.
We Need Your Help
More people than ever are reading Hormones Matter, a testament to the need for independent voices in health and medicine. We are not funded and accept limited advertising. Unlike many health sites, we don’t force you to purchase a subscription. We believe health information should be open to all. If you read Hormones Matter, like it, please help support it. Contribute now.