Originally published September 20 2014
Vitamin B1 deficiency can cause permanent brain damage and coma, but is rarely diagnosed
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is one of eight distinct members of the B complex, which helps maintain or improve brain and nervous system functioning and liver health, and resist the effects of stress on the immune system. Thiamine was named B1 simply because it was the first of the B complex series discovered.
You need it to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which every cell of the body uses for metabolic energy. One of the signs of B1 deficiency is fatigue, but that symptom covers many other deficiencies as well. There are other more distinct attributes of vitamin B1 deficiency that have been isolated.
B complex vitamins are water soluble and cannot be stored in the body, except for one form of thiamine that is fat soluble known as benfotiamine. Its application will be discussed later in this article.
Loyola neurologists report the extremes that vitamin B1 deficiency can lead toResearchers at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, published a report in the journal Scientific American Medicine explaining how thiamine deficiency can lead to permanent brain damage from which there may be no recovery.
Wernicke encephalopathy is a brain disease that's caused by metabolic disorders and toxic substances, which can occur from a lack of sufficient vitamin B1. In first-world countries, this malnutrition disorder is rare in our culture and occurs mostly in alcoholics, anorexics, Crohn's victims, people who use diuretics and those undergoing kidney dialysis.
But the Loyola neurologists claim that Wernicke encephalopathy is underdiagnosed. Many victims slip under the radar. They estimate that perhaps 3 percent of Americans suffer from the extremes of Wernicke that lead to Korsakoff syndrome (KS).
"Toxic and metabolic encephalopathies may range in severity from the acute confusional state to frank coma," wrote Loyola neurologists Matthew McCoyd, MD, Sean Ruland, DO, and Jose Biller, MD. "As permanent injury may occur, an organized approach is needed to make an accurate and rapid diagnosis."
Permanent injury can occur after the rapid onset of acute encephalopathy with symptoms of confusion, hallucinations, coma, loss of muscle coordination and double vision or involuntary eye movements. If ignored and not diagnosed as a vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency that can be remedied by supplementation, it can lead to late stage Wernicke.
Then things get really delusional. Untreated, Wernicke encephalopathy can lead to KS, characterized by profound memory loss and an inability to form memories leading to confabulation (making up memories). The 2000 movie Memento offers an entertaining example of extreme memory loss and confabulation.
About 80 percent of Wernicke encephalopathy patients develop KS, and once this occurs, only about 20 percent of those patients recover. Then brain damage can induce coma and death. Prior to that, B1/thiamine supplementation usually turns things around.
The pharmacist who came in from the coldPharmacist Stuart Lindsay had submitted an article to Orthomolecular.org titled "Confessions of a Frustrated Pharmacist" in which he explains how he had abandoned conventional chemical solutions and used supplements to overcome his own diabetes type 2 symptoms, especially the neuropathy that was affecting his feet.
Orthomolecular medicine uses high-dose supplements while eschewing pharmaceutical drugs. After getting frustrated by fellow graduate pharmacy students and teachers shunning his vitamin discoveries, Stuart posted his article at Orthomolecular.org.
His symptoms of peripheral neuropathy affected the feet and lower legs with unwanted tingling sensations, pain or a lack of any sensation at all from numbness. Big Pharma offered him no solutions. This can lead to the barbaric solution of amputation if unchecked.
Neuropathy is a less life-threatening neurological disorder than Wernicke, but it can progress to more extreme complications such as Wernicke or KS. Thus, the B1/thiamine solution was the same, except Stuart chose to use the fat-soluble benfotiamine for supplementing thiamine to optimize results and eliminate his neuropathy.
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