Most who are knowledgeable with supplements know the importance of vitamin B12 for preventing and reversing negative neurological maladies. But recent research has uncovered the more obscure B1 (thiamine) vitamin deficiency can result in brain damage, neurological conditions, terrible mental states, coma, and death. It’s important to understand that although high dose B1 or B12 can be a remedy for many neurological issues, it’s important that a foundation of the other B vitamins be present in at least ordinary amounts.
B1 is one of 8 distinct members of the B complex, which helps maintain or improve brain and nervous system functioning, liver health, and resist the effects of stress on the immune system. Thiamine was named B1 simply because it was the first of the B complex series discovered.
B complex vitamins are water soluble and cannot be stored in the body, except for one form of thiamine that is fat soluble known as Benfotiamine. It’s application will be discussed later in this article.
You need it to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which every cell of the body uses for metabolic energy. One of the signs of B1 deficiency is fatigue, but that symptom covers many other deficiencies as well. There are other more distinct manifestations of vitamin B1 deficiency that have been isolated.
Loyola Neurologists Report the Extremes Vitamin B1 Deficiency Cause
Researchers at the Loyola Medical Center of Loyala University in Maywood, Illinois published a report in the journal Scientific American Medicine explaining how thiamine deficiency can lead to permanent brain damage from which there may be no recovery.
Wernicke encephalopathy is a brain disease that’s caused by metabolic disorders and toxic substances, which occur from a lack of sufficient vitamin B1. In first world countries, this malnutrition disorder is considered rare and occurs mostly in alcoholics, anorexics, Crohn’s victims, people who use diuretics, and those undergoing kidney dialysis.
But the Loyola neurologists claim Wernicke encephalopathy is under diagnosed. Many victims slip under the radar. They estimate that perhaps three percent of Americans suffer from the extremes of Wernicke that lead to Kersakoff syndrome.
“Toxic and metabolic encephalopathies may range in severity from the acute confusional state to frank coma,” wrote Loyola neurologists McCoyd, Ruland and Biller. “As permanent injury may occur, an organized approach is needed to make an accurate and rapid diagnosis.”
Permanent injury can occur after the rapid onset of acute encephalopathy with symptoms of confusion, hallucinations, coma, loss of muscle coordination and double vision or involuntary eye movements. If ignored and not diagnosed as a vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency that can be remedied by supplementation, it can lead to late stage Wernicke and/or Kersakoff syndrome (KS).
Then things get really delusional. Untreated, Wernicke encephalopathy can lead to KS, characterized by profound memory loss and an inability to form memories leading to confabulation (making up memories). The 2000 movie “Memento” offers an intriguingly entertaining example of extreme memory loss and confabulation.
About 80 percent of Wernicke encephalopathy patients develop KS, and once this occurs, only about 20 percent of those patients recover. Then brain damage can induce coma and death. Prior to that, B1/thiamine supplementation usually turns things around.
The Pharmacist Who Came in from the Cold
Pharmacist Stuart Lindsay had submitted an article to Orthomolecular.org entitled “Confessions of a Frustrated Pharmacist” in which he explains how he had abandoned conventional chemical solutions and used supplements to overcome his own diabetes type 2 symptoms, especially the neuropathy that was affecting his feet.
Orthomolecular medicine uses high dose vitamin and mineral supplements while eschewing pharmaceutical drugs. After getting frustrated by fellow graduate pharmacy students and teachers shunning his vitamin discoveries, Stuart sent his article to Orthomolecular.org.
His symptoms of peripheral neuropathy affected the feet and lower legs with unwanted tingling sensations, pain, or a lack of any sensation at all from numbness. Big Pharma offered him no solutions. This can lead to the barbaric solution of amputations if unchecked.
Neuropathy is a less life threatening form of Wernicke that has not yet gone to its extreme or morphed into Kersakoff syndrome. Thus the B1/thiamine solution was the same, except Stuart chose to use the fat soluble Benfotiamine for supplementing thiamine to optimize results of replacing thiamine lost through excess urination, which is common to diabetes 2 patients, to help eliminate his neuropathy.
And despite Stuart’s continued high blood sugar, the Benfotiamine B1, with other supplements, completely handled his lower legs and feet neuropathy.