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TOPIC: Thiamine and the Blood Brain Barrier

Thiamine and the Blood Brain Barrier 9 years 2 weeks ago #1

  • bolam56
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4 years into my MCS (with a remarkable recovery the past year) and I'm finally starting to understand what happened...

I had started a new job where I was exposed to a phenol disinfectant/biocide (phenoxyethanol) when I developed MCS. What I couldn't figure out is, why I got sick and no one else did. What was different about me? I was older than most of my coworkers... I drank tea instead of coffee... Quite a bit of it. Hot tea for breakfast, and ice tea at lunch to keep me going in the afternoon. In the evening, I drank alcohol in moderation... On weekends, I would go out to dinner and drink wine... Red wine!

What do these things have in common? All either burn through ones thiamine reserves during metabolism (alcohol), bind thiamine in the body to an unusable form (phenols) or inhibit absorption of thiamine in the gut (tannins). And what has been well documented as one of the first physiological manifestations of thiamine deficiency? Damage/breakdown/leakage of the blood brain barrier!


\"In rodent TD (Thiamine deficiency), the earliest region-specific pathological change is breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB)\".

\"Within 2-3 weeks of decreased intake and thiamine depletion, areas of the brain with the highest thiamine content and turnover will demonstrate cellular impairment and injury. The main consequence of these metabolic changes is the loss of osmotic gradients across cell membranes. The earliest biochemical change is the decrease in a-ketoglutarate-dehydrogenase activity in astrocytes. Additional findings include increased astrocyte lactate and edema, increased extracellular glutamate concentrations, increased nitric oxide from endothelial cell dysfunction, DNA fragmentation in neurons, free radical production and increase in cytokines, and breakdown of the blood brain barrier\".


Astrocytes are cells in the lining of the brain that \"support\" the blood brain barrier, which is responsible for keeping environmental toxins away from the brain... Apparently, this is a rather demanding task and consumes a lot of energy which is supplied by the mitochondria, of which astrocytes are quite rich in. I had tried all kinds of supplements for my MCS, including thiamine, but until I tried Phosphatidylcholine (PPC) nothing had worked. Phosphatidylcholine repairs mitochondrial membranes (which are comprised largely of phospholipids) and gets the mitochondria (and astrocytes) working properly again.

What I learned about thiamine is, that although it is common in all multivitamins and many foods, getting it through the membranes in your gut and into a usable form is not always an easy task. The vitamins I was taking advertised 100 milligrams of thiamine... 6667% of the minimum daily requirement! Hard to believe a deficiency could occur, however, getting even one milligram of usable thiamine into your blood is dependant on many factors such as the presence of \"antithiamine factors\" and \"Thiaminases\" as well as the Ph (acid/alkaline) of the gut.

Thiamine is best taken combined with other B vitamins as a \"B-Complex\"... Taking a low dose (B-50) vitamin B Complex several times a day is much better than taking a large dose of B vitamins once a day. You can actually see this in your urine... B complex will turn your urine a rather bright yellow. You can actually see the blood level of vitamin B fall off in a few hours as your urine turns pale again. I take a \"balanced B-50\" supplement 3 times a day.

If you have a thiamine absorption/uptake problem, there is a supplement called \"Benfotiamine\" which crosses the intestinal barrier and is utilized far more easily than traditional thiamine supplements. Vitamin C and garlic will also help get traditional thiamine supplements into your blood more effectively. Many B-Complex supplements also contain some Vitamin C... Get this kind if you see it!

Phosphatidylcholine is the third leg of the triad of supplements which I believe helped push my MCS into remission... I take a concentrated form called \"PhosChol\", which is 100% (900mg) of pure phosphatidylcholine. This concentrated form of PPC is also known as \"Polyenylphosphatidycholine\"... Don't know what the \"enyl\" in the middle means, but it is good stuff! Lecithin, which is much more common (cheaper!)and easy to find is the next best thing, but you'll need to take more of this (3-6/day)to get the 1 to 2 grams of phosphatidylcholine per day which is the dose that helped me.

If you have problems taking supplements, or prefer not to take them... EGGS are the best source for both B vitamins and lecithin/phosphatidylcholine! The vitamins and lecithin in eggs are damaged by the cooking process, and \"soft boiled/over easy/sunny side up\" where the yoke is still runny will help you get the most benefit. Raw or severely undercooked eggs can cause a risk of salmonella, so use caution if your immune system is compromised.

Best of Luck and GodSpeed!<br /><br />Post edited by: bolam56, at: 2010/02/07 06:55
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Re:Thiamine and the Blood Brain Barrier 9 years 2 weeks ago #2

  • Maff
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Hi Bill,

Good to see you on the forums again....and what a great post!

I had not come across the thiamine-BBB link before but the results of the study on mice you included (i.e. \"increased astrocyte lactate and edema, increased extracellular glutamate concentrations, increased nitric oxide from endothelial cell dysfunction, DNA fragmentation in neurons, free radical production and increase in cytokines, and breakdown of the blood brain barrier\") all fit with what biological research has found in MCS patients. It particularly makes me think of the work of Dr. Pall.

To avoid the digestive upset with magnesium you mention I recommend people try epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) baths/foot baths as the magnesium is absorbed easily through the skin and has a powerful relaxing effect this way. You also get the benefit of sulphate which is an important component of the liver's detoxification pathways which is almost always impaired in MCS and related conditions.

I have personally had trouble with polyenylphosphatidycholine (PPC) supplements as they irritate my gut no end. I suspect it is the ethanol that all these supplements contain so intend to try high PC lecithin as an alternative in the coming weeks (these supplements do not contain ethanol).

As Bill talks about phosphatidylcholine is vital for healthy cell membranes so improves the health of every cell in the body. Studies have found it to be extremely useful for treating liver disease by healing liver cell membranes and the Detoxx System devised by Patricia Kane, Ph.D et al uses IV phosphatidylcholine to restore health to people suffering from environmental illnesses.

Thanks again Bill. Great to hear you are improving so much. I will have to look into the thiamine link some more ;)<br /><br />Post edited by: Maff, at: 2008/12/01 18:55
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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Re:Thiamine and the Blood Brain Barrier 9 years 2 weeks ago #3

  • bolam56
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Thanks for the kind words Maff...

Another aspect to my thiamine theory... I have read Candida overgrowth in the gut, associated with leaky gut syndrome (which has been associated with MCS) produces low level ethanol (like in fermentation) continuously into the bloodstream. This would burn off all available thiamine in the body in a chronic manner, which seems like it could be a major factor in blood brain barrier/thiamine issues related to MCS. It may also be related to a sluggish/congested liver which you mentioned in another post.

\"Benfotiamine\" may be a key supplement to correct this! You might be able to take this without problems. I have had no trouble with this supplement. \"Life extension\" brand ( www.lef.org ) ( www.iherb.com/ProductDetails.aspx?c=1&pid=7456&at=0 ) has a Benfotiamine and \"thiamine hydrochloride\" combination pill, which is what I like. Thiamine hydrochloride (HCl) is supposed to be more effective/available for absorption than thiamine mononitrate, which is what most B-Complex supplements contain; and Benfotiamine is supposed to cross from the gut to the blood 10 times better than either thiamine mononitrate or thiamine HCl.

I hope you will try this! I was so sick for so long... It's wonderful to feel normal again! The disinfectants at work (medical professional) don't make me sick any more... And I can gas up my car without needing to have a cross wind to carry the fumes away.

My God... What if this is it? Somebody needs to look into this!
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Re:Thiamine and the Blood Brain Barrier 9 years 1 week ago #4

  • Maff
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I am certain that my MCS developed through chronic ethanol/acetaldehyde poisoning from serious fungal gut dysbiosis (Candida), leaky gut syndrome, and resulting liver function impairment.

As well as it causing thiamine (and other b vitamin) deficiency and weakening the BBB as we now know(!) acetaldehyde is highly neurotoxic and of the common group of organic chemicals thought to trigger MCS (it is a very close cousin of formaldehyde for example). Many people develop MCS after chronic or acute formaldehyde exposure.

I have found in my search for health that it is always best to go for the most absorbable and bioavailable forms of nutrient supplements. It is an area where the phrase \"you get what you pay for\" is important. I'd never considered thiamine to be so important before however so never really investigated different forms. So thanks greatly for the info on Benfotiamine and thiamine hydrochloride Bill :)

Other important B vitamins are B5 (in the form of pantethine) which helps to detoxify acetaldehyde and B6 (as P-5-P) which is important for neurotransmitter and hormone metabolism.

Since I learned that MCS is a neurological disorder and connected to impaired detoxification of chemicals I have focused in these areas. I have found that treating adrenal fatigue (with DHEA and licorice) and improving my serotonin levels (with bright light, sun expsoure, 5-HTP, DHEA etc) has been very powerful. Combined with addressing gut and liver issues and avoiding chemicals strictly for a couple of years I now find that I am free of MCS (touch wood). I have not reacted to anything (apart from one slight relapse lasting a few weeks) for around 4 years now.

Great to hear that you are improving as well Bill. I think it's very important for those still suffering to know that it isn't a life sentence and there are ways to get better. I think science will support what we have both done eventually!<br /><br />Post edited by: Maff, at: 2008/12/04 18:41
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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Re:Thiamine and the Blood Brain Barrier 9 years 1 week ago #5

  • bolam56
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Hey Again,

Great to hear you are in \"remission\" as well Maff... I never dreamt I'd see any improvement in my life for over 3 years.

I \"noticed\" the PPC having an effect on my MCS within a month after I started on it. This after trying about everything under the sun from the health food store! I still felt every little encounter with VOC/vapor at work and while out and about, but the dreaded sickness and brain fog in particular faded nicely. I had started on Benfotiamine and thiamine HCL (the Life Extension formula) shortly after the PPC, so it's hard to tell which really did the most to help me.

It took about 6 months before I was walking into situations that in past years would have filled me with DREAD, without worrying about it too much. I'm one year out on both the PPC and Benfotiamine/Thiamine HCL now, and am now quite fearless about working with the disinfectants at work, (though I still notice them!)

I'm also taking NAC, Molybdenum, TMG, SAM-e, Chromium, Zinc, Magnesium, Acetyl L-Carnitine, and Alpha Lipoic Acid, as well as the B-Complex. I really feel it is the PPC/Benfotiamine/Magnesium triad that were the magic bullets for me. All mitochondrial support supplements!

A great book on mitochondrial issues: \"Power, Sex, Suicide; Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life\" (Paperback) by Nick Lane. In this book, he talks about how most oxidative stress actually occurs within the cell itself at the mitochondrial level, and how \"mitochondrial membrane support\" can actually be more effective than systemic antioxidants at reducing oxidative stress. Mitochondrial membranes are made largely of phospholipids, and phosphatidylcholine/PPC is what makes them strong!

Too bad there is no doctor willing to write this up and spread the word about an effective therapy, but mine just roll their eyes when I talk to them about this.
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Re:Thiamine and the Blood Brain Barrier 9 years 6 days ago #6

  • Mariam
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Hi
I am really glad to hear that some people could get better is very encouraging indeed although 4 years is very long time. It would be helpful and really appreciate if you could tell me what for instance all these stand for PPC, HCL, NAC, TMG, SAM, TMG, SAM-e? To be honest I found it very confusing to know what are they and which one should we start with because am not that familiar with all these supplements and I don’t think I would be the only one? Many thnaks
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