Saturday, May 17, 2008

Infertility, Pregnancy, and Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Niacin, and Thiamine

My recent research on thiamine has convinced me that thiamine is likely to be helpful for preventing and treating infertility. In the process of researching this column, I was stunned to read statistics claiming that 10% of the population has infertility problems. This would mean that almost 20% of couples experience infertility problems. Even if the real number is only 5%, it is an astonishingly large number.

It is a long road from an egg and a sperm to a healthy adult and many difficulties can be encountered along the way. It is normal to reach adulthood with imperfections. The most important function of vitamins is to catalyze the conversion of egg and sperm into an adult. Extra vitamins can help children grow. All parents should be afraid that their children will grow up to be infertile. Extra vitamin C, niacin, and a multivitamin can prevent at least some infertility. The root causes of infertility are often traceable to events during growth and development. In previous columns I’ve discussed asthma, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, autism, anorexia, and obesity. Infertility is one more concern to add to the list. The paradigm that most children grow up healthy is wrong. A substantial fraction encounter chronic health problems by the time they reach adulthood.

Four vitamins are special – vitamin C, vitamin D, niacin, and thiamine. Read more here. These are the four vitamins associated with the four pandemic vitamin deficiency diseases scurvy, rickets, pellagra, and beriberi respectively. Read more here.

Vitamin C, vitamin D, and niacin are available in almost any pharmacy or grocery store. I recommend 4000 mg/day of vitamin C, and 250 mg time release niacin at least twice per week. For vitamin D, I recommend taking 2000 IU per day for one month, and then scaling back to the 400 IU per day found in a multivitamin. Blood levels of vitamin D should be checked every year as part of a routine physical, and should be maintained as close to the high end of normal as possible. Thiamine is also available in almost any pharmacy or grocery store. Unfortunately, the kind of thiamine in these stores is not useful. It is not well absorbed. Read more here. Fat-soluble forms of thiamine that are readily absorbed are available. The best of these is called TTFD. TTFD (fat soluble thiamine) is available as a skin cream and as powder inside gel caps. I’ve been taking the gel caps, breaking them open, and rubbing them into my skin with lotion. Read more here.

If you are struggling with infertility, or if you are a parent concerned that your children might grow up infertile, you’ve got much to gain and almost nothing to lose by trying vitamin C, niacin, vitamin D, and fat-soluble thiamine.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Vitamins, Viagra, and Erectile Dysfunction – Fat-soluble Thiamine, Vitamin C, Niacin, and Vitamin D

Recent epidemiological evidence suggests that 50% of men over the age of 40 suffer from minimal, moderate, or complete erectile dysfunction. No wonder Viagra is a blockbuster! Is this condition an inevitable part of aging? Obviously not – the other half doesn’t have a problem. Why isn’t anyone talking about causes? What’s the problem?

Like it or not, erection is controlled by the subconscious mind. So, for that matter, is sex drive. Sex drive and erections are not choices. The conscious mind can, and must, repress subconscious urges. The subconscious, however, responds to repression by intensifying sex drive and erections. Most people choose to find a way to enjoy obeying their subconscious mind.

To me, this means that erectile dysfunction is a problem with the subconscious nervous system. Something is wrong with the sensors that detect the presence of interested women, or the wiring that connects the sensors with the brain and the brain with the body, or something is wrong with the nerve circuits that process the information. In my opinion, the problem is most likely to be with the wiring and processing. Why is there such a high prevalence of failure of this wiring and nerve circuitry with age?

Thiamine deficiency is a reasonable hypothesis

Thiamine deficiency is safely and easily ruled out. It can’t, however, be ruled out by taking ordinary vitamins. Ruling out thiamine deficiency requires trying fat-soluble thiamine. Two forms of fat soluble thiamine are readily available. These are known as TTFD and Benfotiamine. Fat soluble thiamine was popularized in Japan several decades ago, yet remains underutilized there and obscure here in the U.S.

I developed a renewed interest in thiamine about 6 months ago when I had the insight that thiamine, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin D are special nutrients because they are associated with the four human pandemic vitamin deficiency diseases beriberi, scurvy, pellagra, and rickets respectively. Read more here.

The thiamine that is commonly found in multivitamins and in the pharmacy requires special transport proteins a first time to get into the bloodstream and a second time to get into cells. Fat-soluble thiamines do not require these special proteins. Again, until you try fat-soluble thiamines, you can’t rule out the possibility that your problems having sex are partially caused by thiamine deficiency. Read more here.


If you’re having problems having sex, there is much to gain and almost nothing to lose by finding and trying fat-soluble thiamine. If you’re already taking Viagra, keep on taking it. Vitamins and drugs are rarely counter-indicated. In fact, they often work better together. The objective is to use all available means and to find the combination of drugs and vitamins that best meets your individual needs. Extra vitamins work better in combination than alone, so I recommend taking at least 2000 mg/day of vitamin C, 250 mg of time-release niacin two or three times/week, and a daily multivitamin too. Don’t give up on your sex life. It is not an inevitable problem of aging.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Vitamins and Depression: Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D

Millions of Americans suffer from depression. Depression causes a surprising amount of discomfort. Good mental health is priceless. People spend lots of money on therapy, divorce, career changes, soothing music tapes, meditation courses, and more in a quest for good mental health. Drugs that manipulate feelings are blockbusters. Unfortunately, most people experience significant side effects and receive only partial benefits. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that super healthy people with excellent mental health get the most benefit from prescription anti-depressants – a kind of “super” caffeine.

If you are depressed, or know someone who is depressed, here’s something new to try – fat-soluble thiamine. Two forms of fat soluble thiamine are readily available. These are known as TTFD and Benfotiamine. Fat soluble thiamine was popularized in Japan several decades ago, yet remains underutilized there and obscure here in the U.S.

I developed a renewed interest in thiamine about 6 months ago when I had the insight that thiamine, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin D are special nutrients because they are associated with the four human pandemic vitamin deficiency diseases beriberi, scurvy, pellagra, and rickets respectively. Read more here

The thiamine that is commonly found in multivitamins and in the pharmacy requires special transport proteins a first time to get into the bloodstream and a second time to get into cells. Fat-soluble thiamines do not require these special proteins. Until you try fat-soluble thiamines, you can’t rule out the possibility that your depression is partially caused by thiamine deficiency. Read more here

If you’re depressed, there is much to gain and almost nothing to lose by finding and trying fat-soluble thiamine. Extra vitamins work better in combination than alone, so I recommend taking at least 2000 mg/day of vitamin C, 250 mg of time-release niacin two or three times/week, and a daily multivitamin too. Don’t give up on excellent mental health until you’ve tried all these vitamins together.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Vitamins and Sleep Disorders: Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders. Sleep specialists are only now starting to fully appreciate the complexity and importance of sleep. Sleep disorders can be the root cause of common conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, depression, headaches, seizures and more.

A good night’s sleep is priceless. People spend lots of money on high tech mattresses, fitness machines, soothing music tapes, meditation courses, sleeping pills, and more in a quest for a good night’s sleep. Recent sleep research suggests that these "cures" are not cures. A cure means you sleep normally almost regardless of the environment. Think of how well little children sleep. When they need to sleep, they fall asleep and stay asleep almost anywhere.

Very recent work suggests that vitamin D plays a crucial role in sleep - and that healthy sleep is not possible for many people severely deficient in vitamin D. I recommend watching a video on You-Tube. Type Stasha Gominak into the You-Tube search box. The lecture is broken up into 5 pieces. In my opinion, the safest way to attain higher levels of vitamin D is to get into the sun. In my case, it took a long time for my sleep to return to normal.

Thiamine is another vitamin that plays an important role in sleep. It's hard to get enough ordinary thiamine. Today, however, there are choices - fat soluble forms of thiamine known as allithiamines. Two forms of fat soluble thiamine are readily available. These are known as TTFD and Benfotiamine. Fat soluble thiamine was popularized in Japan several decades ago, yet remains underutilized there and obscure here in the U.S.

I developed a renewed interest in thiamine about 6 months ago when I had the insight that thiamine, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin D are special nutrients because they are associated with the four human pandemic vitamin deficiency diseases beriberi, scurvy, pellagra, and rickets respectively. Read more here

If thiamine was special, where were the literature reports of safety and effectiveness for doses well in excess of the 1 to 2 mg doses needed to prevent deficiency? There is extensive literature including double-blind, placebo controlled trials for vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin D. Unlike 12 years ago when I first investigated vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, this time I had a text book on vitamins to consult – “The Nutritional Biochemistry of Vitamins.” When I read this book I learned that the common, water-soluble forms of thiamine found in food and supplements are not absorbed beyond 2 mg/dose in the digestive tract. A passing reference was made to the existence of fat-soluble thiamine, and the fact that absorption of these forms was unlimited. Once inside the body, most cells require special proteins to pull the common forms of thiamine out of the blood and into the cells where thiamine is needed. Again, fat-soluble thiamine is not limited in this way. Once in the bloodstream, fat-soluble thiamine enters all cells. Fat soluble thiamine is a somewhat fragile molecule, so cells nearer to larger arteries probably receive larger doses.

Although obscure, the fat soluble thiamines TTFD and Benfotiamine are readily available here in the USA. They can be found and purchased by searching on the internet. Unfortunately, I’m still not done explaining the problems with potency – no wonder fat-soluble thiamine remains obscure. TTFD, the preferred form of fat-soluble thiamine popularized in Japan, is not stable to stomach acid. Enteric-coated or time-release formulations are required to reliably deliver the entire dose in the pill to the bloodstream. If TTFD is purchased without special formulation, it is important to take it on an empty stomach with lots of water. TTFD is also available as a skin cream – another means of reliably delivering the entire dose to the bloodstream.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, there is much to gain and almost nothing to lose by trying vitamin D and fat-soluble thiamine. Extra vitamins work better in combination than alone, so I recommend taking at least 2000 mg/day of vitamin C, 250 mg of time-release niacin two or three times/week, and a daily multivitamin too. Don’t give up on better sleep until you’ve tried all these vitamins together.