High-dose thiamine improves the symptoms of Friedreich's ataxia

Antonio Costantini, Rafaela Giorgi, Sonia D’Agostino, Maria Immacolata Pala

  • Author Affiliations

Department of Neurological Rehabilitation, Villa Immacolata, Viterbo, Italy
Correspondence to
Dr Antonio Costantini, ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive inherited disorder characterised by progressive gait and limb ataxia, dysarthria, areflexia, loss of position sense and a progressive motor weakness of central origin. Some observations indicate that all symptoms of FRDA ataxia could be the manifestation of a thiamine deficiency because of enzymatic abnormalities. Two patients with FRDA were under rehabilitative treatment from February 2012 to February 2013. The scale for assessment and rating of ataxia was performed. The patient began an intramuscular therapy with 100 mg of thiamine every 3–5 days. Injection of high-dose thiamine was effective in reversing the motor failure. From this clinical observation, it is reasonable to infer that a thiamine deficiency due to enzymatic abnormalities could cause a selective neuronal damage in the centres that are typically affected by this disease.

Benefits of thiamine

Thiamine, Vitamin B1, is considered to be the anti-stress vitamin. It helps the body convert food into fuel, which is burned in the cells, to produce energy.

It also helps the body metabolize fats and protein for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. It also helps the nervous system function properly and is necessary for optimal brain function.
People who are deficient in thiamine experience fatigue, irritability, depression and abdominal discomfort. They have difficulty digesting carbohydrates, resulting in a buildup of pyruvic acid in the bloodstream causing a loss of mental alertness, difficulty in breathing, and heart damage. They also may suffer from a loss of appetite, “pins and needles” sensations, numbness in muscles (especially in the legs), and muscle tenderness.

Thiamine is water-soluble, which means that the body cannot store it. Ingested vitamin B1 soon leaves the body through urination, and must be constantly restored by eating foods rich in the vitamin such as: pork and organ meats, whole-grained cereal, rice, legumes, wheat germ, bran, brewer’s yeast, blackstrap molasses, asparagus, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds, tuna, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant, and Brussels sprouts, or by wearing a trans dermal patch which releases a constant supply of thiamine for up to 36 hours.

Thiamine is currently used in the medical profession for the treatment and/or prevention of:

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, memory loss
heart failure
alcohol withdrawal (and hang-over), and alcoholism
kidney damage in people with type 2 diabetes
cervical cancer
Crohn’s disease
multiple scleroses
poor appetite
ulcerative colitis
chronic diarrhea
stomach problems
brain conditions
heart disease
canker sores
other conditions are currently under study

Vitamin B1, in its natural state in food is highly unstable, and is easily damaged by heat (as in cooking) and coldness (as in refrigeration), and by chemical substances such as the chemicals used in the processing of grain, so ingested thiamine can be neutralized even though you are eating plenty of it. Our trans- dermal patch guarantees you a continuous supply of vitamin B1 for up to 36 hours.

Some people experience a minor skin irritation from the patch, usually from the adhesive, so we recommend that you place the patch in a different area on the body each time you use one, especially if you are using them continually, to prevent redness in the skin.

Q-Can you get too much vitamin B1 (thiamine?)

A-NO.Thiamine B-1 is a water soluble vitamin that is a PRIMARY active ingredient in the energy metabolism cycle of your body. It is not normally stored in the body and is used by the body, naturally, as needed to metabolize glucose and to help perform other normal and necessary chemical reactions within the body.

Any extra quantities of this vitamin that your body does not use is flushed away through your urinary system. There have been no known reports of toxic effects of vitamin B-1 at levels below 200mg per day.

The only reports of any negative response, is with direct intravenous mega dose injections of B-1.

You can buy thiamine (vitamin b1) as different brands e.g. Swanson, Solgar etc at different prices, quantity of tablets and strengths (mg). Prices vary from £3.50 to £16.00. Look at http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=thiamine+vitamin+b1&tag=googhydr-21&index=aps&hvadid=12913218848&hvpos=1s1&hvexid=790688&hvnetw=g&hvrand=13773524141749935497&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=t&ref=pd_sl_78r8olko6y_b or type in google “buy thiamine”.

Thanks, Champ, for the info.

I eat a lot of spinach…some people might be relieved to know that it’s rich in B-1…or not.