Connection between fibromyalgia and thiamine deficiency?

Womans Hands Holding Heap Of White Round Pills And Glass Of Wate

How I Found My Long-Lost Energy author of article discusses a very small study done called “High-dose thiamine improves the symptoms of fibromyalgia.”  in Italy. It had only three FM patients to its name but it grabbed the attention of the author due to the startling results in pain and fatigue levels over a 20-day span of time with high doses of Thiamine treatment (vitamin B 1)

Reported results being:

  • Patient 1: 71.3% reduction in fatigue; 80% reduction in pain.
  • Patient 2: 37% reduction in fatigue; 50% reduction in pain.
  • Patient 3: 60.7% reduction in fatigue; 60% reduction in pain.“Wanting to know more, I contacted the lead author, Dr. Antonio Costantini.  I learned that in addition to the fibromyalgia study, the same group of researchers had also been studying the use of high-dose thiamine (also known as vitamin B-1) for several other diseases in which fatigue was a significant factor (including ME/CFS) – all with similarly impressive results”

While researching the scientific literature on thiamine and FM, they came across a 1998 study that stated, “A number of similarities exist between Fibromyalgia and thiamine deficiency. They include irritability, frequent headaches, unusual fatigue, muscle tenderness upon pressure palpitation, muscular weakness, irritable bowel syndrome and sleep disturbance. Studies published in JACN [Journal of the American College of Nutrition] have demonstrated abnormalities of thiamine metabolism in FM.”

The study itself wouldn’t have impressed me in the least bit given the size. Hard to say what three people would have results with really. Even 100 people is pretty small but I would have paid attention than with those sort of results. What is intriguing is the symptoms of thiamine deficiency, which yes have a remarkable resemblance to FM symptoms, and reported studies suggesting abnormalities with thiamine metabolism in FM. Now that seems something to pay attention to. Like how I pay attention to FM and magnesium. If studies might suggest we have issues with metabolizing it and deficiencies can resemble our symptoms… sort of makes sense to add that sort of thing to our diet or a supplement to our diet. One, there is no harm. Two, there is a potential benefit. Three, many of these sorts of issues are often ignored but can play a huge role so when we see these sorts of things it also piques my interest.

“So I began doing some research and here’s what I learned about thiamine:

  • Thiamine is another name for vitamin B-1.
  • It can be spelled as thiamine or thiamin.  The final “e” is optional.
  • Thiamine is an essential nutrient, meaning our bodies do not make it so we must get it from the foods we eat and/or supplementation.
  • Dietary sources of thiamine include legumes, beef and pork, Brewer’s yeast, whole-grain breads and cereals, oatmeal, rice bran and wheat germ, milk, nuts, seeds and oranges.  When it comes to grains, it’s important to eat whole grains because thiamine is found mostly in the outer layers of the grain and in the germ, both of which are removed during the refining process.
  • Thiamine is important for a variety of bodily functions, including nervous system and muscle functioning, carbohydrate metabolism, healthy digestion and more.
  • A severe thiamine deficiency results in a condition known as beriberi, which can be fatal if left untreated.
  • Up until now, thiamine deficiency was thought to occur most often in alcoholics, the elderly, people with malabsorption syndromes and people on kidney dialysis.  However, newer studies are beginning to show that a mild thiamine deficiency may be more prevalent than once thought.
  • Thiamine is considered safe and nontoxic, even at high doses.  Few side effects have been reported.  Although no side effects were seen in the fibromyalgia study, a few people in other high-dose thiamine studies did report side effects like insomnia and tachycardia.

Interestingly, when given a blood test, many of the people in these studies had normal blood concentrations of thiamine, yet they experienced significant symptom improvement when taking high doses of thiamine.  The study authors speculate that this “may indicate a dysfunction of intracellular thiamine transport or structural enzymatic abnormalities.””

I bet you are all thinking ‘my diet has loads of that’ but keep in mind if there is a dysfunction in metabolizing it, you might not be getting all of that.  Which is why I put the last part there i bold. And this was similar with magnesium by the way… blood work often demonstrated fine levels of magnesium but it wasn’t metabolizing correctly with FM patients and therefore not getting to where it should so certain amounts of it in supplement form were what showed improvements in studies. Perhaps these both indicate issues with digestion in the stomach or intestines with FM but either way if they do they are issues that people should consider with overall treatment. So if supplements improve symptoms then clearly that is a significant reason to take it right there.

The author’s personal results from trying this therapy:

My Personal Experiment with High-Dose Thiamine
Once I was convinced that thiamine would be relatively safe for me to try, I decided to follow the basic protocol used in the fibromyalgia study.  Those patients started at 600 mg/day and increased the dosage by 300 mg every three days until they reached a therapeutic dose.  (It can take up to 48 hours to experience the effects from an increased dose of thiamine.)

The first patient reported dramatic improvement at 600 mg.  The other two did not experience any changes until they reached a dose of 1500 mg.  The final therapeutic dose for both was 1800 mg, at which time they reported an abrupt improvement.

Since I couldn’t find thiamine in 300 mg tablets, I worked in 500 mg increments.  Within 24 hours of taking my first 1500 mg dose, I noticed a huge increase in my energy level.  I then tried taking 2000 mg to see if it made even more of a difference, but I actually felt a little worse, so I dropped back to 1500 mg/day and have remained there ever since. 

I can honestly say that my energy level now is much, much better than it has been in 24 years! 
By the third day after starting the 1500 mg dose, I almost bounced from one activity to another and kept thinking, “I feel so good!  What can I do next?” 

While I can’t say I’ve also experienced the same reduction in pain as the study participants, I’m hopeful that will come in time.  But even if it doesn’t, I’m thrilled with my increased energy!  It’s a lot easier to cope with pain when you have the energy to move around and be more active”



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