Sunday, September 21, 2008

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

Readers concerned about young women in their families developing anorexia (or other eating disorders) have been trying vitamins B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), C, and D. The trials are succeeding. Virtual elimination of anorexia is now just a matter of time. If you are looking for good doses to start with, click here.

The key to accelerating the elimination of this tragic disease is primary care physicians. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to expect them to change without community action. Primary care physicians are the tip of a large system of healthcare workers who depend upon steady income from chronically ill (mostly) young women with eating disorders. The elimination of eating disorders is going to eliminate this system as well, creating substantial economic pain. The community, not mainstream medicine, stands to benefit. Therefore the community has the incentive to act. One sensible action is to point physicians to this blog and hold them accountable for reading it and responding.

More and more practical data emerges. Several prior columns have pointed to the special role of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in anorexia. Thiamine is the special vitamin of the four special vitamins. It requires transport proteins to be absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Some cases of eating disorders may be aggravated by poorly functioning thiamine transport proteins. These cases will often benefit from the use of an obscure form of thiamine called TTFD. Unlike ordinary forms of thiamine, TTFD diffuses throughout the body without requiring thiamine transport proteins.

Vitamin D may also play a significant role in eating disorders. Every day a better understanding is emerging about the important role vitamin D plays in neurological health. All vitamin therapies are slow acting. Vitamin D therapy, however, is particularly slow acting. It takes several months of supplementing at safe levels (1000 to 2000 IU/day) to reach a new steady state and months more to get full benefit of vitamin D’s healing powers. Vitamin D is better tolerated when obtained from sunlight or tanning lamps. 30 minutes in the sun can deliver more than 10,000 IU and serious side effects from sun-bathing are unknown. Advice from medical authorities to avoid sunshine has been tragically misguided.

If you know of a friend or family member in danger of developing an eating disorder, you have a strong incentive to act. Full-blown eating disorders may well involve irreversible neurological damage, and are regularly fatal. Young men and women in danger of developing eating disorders have much to gain and nothing to lose by getting more thiamine, vitamin D, vitamin C, and niacin into their bodies. For vitamin D supplements are not preferred in deference to mid-day sunshine.

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