Monday, July 21, 2008

Anorexia Prevention with Vitamins: Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C

Losing little girls and young women to anorexia – debilitating, painful, embarrassing, and chronic – is one of life’s great tragedies. What makes it far more tragic is the fact that it is largely preventable, and typically curable if treated in the early stages. Even more tragic, society generally blames the victim by claiming that it is a psychological problem. What makes it outrageously tragic is the inability of the health care system and society at large to publicize the relationship between anorexia and nutrition. Instead, the job is left to activists operating on the fringes of the internet.

I estimate that there are 50,000 healthcare specialists providing services to between 500,000 and 1,000,000 children and young adults coping with eating disorders. I challenged this community over 10 months ago to produce case histories of individuals who were treated early with vitamin supplements and failed to respond. Read more here. I don’t expect a response because the vitamin supplements work.

In the meantime I hear from readers and other activists. Thiamine deficiency reliably causes anorexia (it is a known clinical marker for the thiamine deficiency disease named beriberi). Many children have trouble getting enough thiamine from diets or ordinary thiamine supplements. These children need a fat-soluble form of thiamine known as TTFD. Providing children with a multivitamin, extra niacin, extra vitamin C, and extra vitamin D in addition to the thiamine cures anorexia in the early stages and prevents children with ordinary appetites from developing eating disorders. The vitamins work and a small number of children are already being helped.

The central role of thiamine has been documented. The 1987 book is titled, “A Nutritionist’s Guide to the Clinical Use of Vitamin B1.” Chapter 5 contains numerous case reports. 11 of the cases involved anorexia. All 11 patients responded to thiamine hydrochloride and/or TTFD. Individuals, families, and healthcare institutions have been watching vitamins prevent and/or cure anorexia for several decades. The vast majority disown responsibility for their firsthand knowledge of the extraordinary healing powers of vitamins. Do not expect this to change. I don’t know why, but people are secretive about their personal habits with supplements and unwilling to generalize beyond their own personal experience. This is not going to change. You are on your own.

Eating disorder specialists provide useful behavior modification services. Most of them probably just do what they are trained to do. There is no problem seeking their services and, in addition, also using vitamin supplements. Children at risk of eating disorders have much to gain and little to lose by giving supplements a try.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vitamins and Depression, Dementia, Sleep Disorders, Diabetes, Infertility, Impotence (erectile dysfunction), Heart Disease, Cancer & Chronic Diseases

Deficiency of four special nutrients - vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B1 (thiamine), and vitamin D - plays an important role in the pandemic of chronic diseases afflicting the residents of affluent, industrialized countries. If you are looking for good doses to start with, click here.

These four nutrients are special because extreme deficiency causes devastating deficiency diseases. Deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy. Deficiency of niacin causes pellagra. Deficiency of vitamin B1 causes beri-beri. Deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets. Read more here,here, and here. No other pandemic human deficiency diseases are known. I believe that regular use of these four special nutrients as supplements can eliminate immeasurable suffering.

Active and effective vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin D supplements are readily available. Vitamin C and niacin supplements can cause side effects but are non-toxic. Permanent harm from taking these supplements is almost unknown. Vitamin D is considerably more toxic. High doses of vitamin D are achieved more safely by getting out into the sun. Twenty minutes under the full summer sun delivers between 10,000 and 40,000 IU.

An active form of vitamin B1 (thiamine) is not readily available as a supplement. The common forms of vitamin B1 go by the names thiamine hydrochloride and thiamine nitrate. These forms of vitamin B1 are not readily absorbed. A fat-soluble form of vitamin B1 named TTFD is readily absorbed. It is manufactured on a large scale in Japan and used, instead of thiamine hydrochloride and/or thiamine nitrate, to supplement the food supply in order to prevent beri-beri.

An extraordinary case report involving TTFD illustrates the difficulty modern society is having optimizing the use of vitamins. This case was published in 1987 in “A Nutritionist’s Guide to the Clinical Use of Vitamin B1”. An 18-month old baby girl previously diagnosed with Reyes syndrome was admitted to the hospital in a coma. The coma deepened rapidly and she became unresponsive to pain. For a week, every possible effort was made to save this girl. Nothing worked. All treatment, other than life support, was withdrawn. Permission was granted to try an experimental treatment with high dose vitamin B1 (thiamine) as TTFD. The RDA for vitamin B1 is between 1 and 2 mg/day. The comatose baby girl was treated with 750 mg/day of TTFD. In less than 24 hours there was obvious improvement. By 10 days, the TTFD dose had been reduced to 150 mg/day, where it was maintained. On the fifteenth day, she emerged from her coma. After one month, she was released from the hospital. After 3 months of treatment, she was clinically well.

I contacted the author of this book. The hospital staff, the family, and friends of the family all disowned responsibility for the knowledge of the remarkable healing powers of TTFD (fat-soluble thiamine). Only the author has pressed on using and publicizing TTFD. Similar stories can be told for vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin D. All have caused miraculous recoveries in extraordinary cases when used in high doses.

In my personal experiences with friends and family, taking these four supplements is a tough trip. I’ve seen fantastic recoveries, but it has been difficult to convincingly associate the supplements with the improvement. My friends and family do not like to take the supplements and are secretive about their habits. They rarely encourage their friends to follow their example, and never advocate forcefully. Taking these supplements doesn’t feel good, often causes minor discomforts, and never works in a day. Take the incredible case described above. One month is a long time for a baby girl to be in the hospital. Who’s to say she didn’t just get better on her own?

In typical cases, the benefits from taking these four special nutrients are difficult to measure. Proving effectiveness requires making the effort to measure and analyze health metrics over periods of months and years. Readers should expect to have to learn to manage vitamin side effects. The primary objective of adding vitamins should be to stop any chronic condition from getting worse. The secondary objective should be modest improvement over weeks or months. Complete recovery in a year’s time should be viewed as possible but improbable. Complete recovery in days should be conceptualized as a miraculous event.

These nutrients are not an alternative treatment, they are an additional treatment. Modern medicine has developed powerful and effective treatments, and readers are strongly advised to use them. If you suffer from a chronic disease, you’ve got a lot to gain and almost nothing to lose from adding these four special nutrients to the treatment you are already receiving.