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.

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