Is thiamine the answer

Is Thiamine the Answer?

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Since we have shown that many people with complex disease patterns respond to megadose thiamine and magnesium, irrespective or their symptoms, we have concluded that disease is due to a breakdown of health from energy deficiency. We have proposed that 3 interlocking circles (as in Boolean algebra), labelled Genetics, Stress, and Energy (or Fuel) must be considered singly or collectively as the cause of any disease. Energy is the force that enables any form of mental or physical body function. Its deficiency affects one or more of the three circles.

Genetics is not often a sole cause of disease. It usually requires other factors and genetically determined disease can often be treated by epigenetic energy stimulation. Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes often appear in middle age, often after a mild stress event such as a common cold. Surely it would appear at birth if genetics was the sole cause.

Any form of stress (infection, trauma, prolonged mental stress) demands cellular energy to meet it. The hind brain controls the complex response and is automatic. This part of the brain is highly sensitive to cellular energy deficiency and thus, energy stimulation is the essential factor required to treat any disease.

Beyond Deficiency

It has been shown by Antonio Costantini’s group that mega-dose thiamine treats Parkinson’s disease, presently deemed to be incurable. They have reported similar clinical benefits in Friedreich’s ataxia (another neurodegenerative disease), Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia, suggesting that each of these diseases, rather than having separate causes, are all energy dependent manifestations of disease. Just last year, a group of researchers linked a damaged thiamine/biotin transporter gene to Huntington’s Disease. Just this month another group has found that thiamine/biotin treatment compensates for the genetic dysregulation, restores function, and rescues neuronal pathology associated with Huntington’s Disease in mice.

A publication decades ago in a prestigious medical journal reported that 252 different diseases had been treated with mega-dose thiamine, with varying degrees of success.

This information, published in peer-reviewed medical literature is startling, because thiamine, in minute doses, is thought to have its sole responsibility as a vitamin. To use it as a completely non-toxic drug offends the present model used to explain disease. Also, it demonstrates that our knowledge of vitamins is incomplete.

Children’s Health and Thiamine

While I was working at Cleveland Clinic in the seventies as a pediatrician, many emotionally disturbed children were referred to me by pediatricians in private practice in the Cleveland area. I found that the diet of these children was full of empty calories due to their indulgence with candy, soft drinks and a variety of substances usually known as “junk foods”. They had been treated with a variety of pharmacological drugs that either had no effect or even made the clinical situation worse. I treated them with large doses of thiamine and their symptoms disappeared. The explanation by my colleagues was the traditional one, “spontaneous remission”, usually used to explain a mystery cure. My explanation was that deficiency of brain energy was responsible for their symptoms. Thiamine was stimulating its cellular synthesis.

The RDA for Thiamine and High Caloric Intake

I looked up the history of the establishment of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for these essential substances occurring in natural foods. I found that the original recommendations had been made by a committee of “experts” and there was surprisingly little science involved. There was no attempt to tie the RDA of the vitamin to the calorie concentration.

The dietary supplementation of vitamins to selected foods by the food industry was thought to have completely removed vitamin deficiency disease from America. Consequently, doctors in practice are commonly seeing patients with many symptoms and failing to recognize the ancient disease known for centuries as Beriberi. Because the laboratory tests, used to confirm the nature of the disease, are normal, the many symptoms described by the patient gives rise to a diagnosis of psychosomatic disease by the doctor. Even worse, the patient is told that “it is all in your head” and he or she is advised to “pull him (her)self together”.

Deficiency of thiamine and magnesium, both essential to cellular energy production in the body, need to be in a concentration that is sufficient to oxidize the calorie concentration. That explains why the concentration of blood thiamine is usually normal in this common polysymptomatic disease, because the doctor fails to recognize the overload of “empty calories”. The concentration of thiamine would be normal for a healthy calorie load, as would exist in an organic natural diet.

We have reported high calorie malnutrition as a common cause of this widespread disease. Dysautonomia is responsible for the symptoms because the hind brain, where the control mechanisms of the autonomic nervous system exist, is highly sensitive to cellular energy deficiency. It matters little whether it is called Beriberi or high calorie malnutrition as long as the biochemical cause is understood.

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Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash.

Derrick Lonsdale M.D., is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (FACN), Fellow of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (FACAM). Though now retired, Dr. Lonsdale was a practitioner in pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic for 20 years and was Head of the Section of Biochemical Genetics at the Clinic. In 1982, Lonsdale joined the Preventive Medicine Group to specialize in nutrient-based therapy. Dr. Lonsdale has written over 100 published papers and the conclusions support the idea that healing comes from the body itself rather than from external medical interventions.


  1. Dr Derrick, what do you think of the late Dr Raymond Peat and his theory of excessive PUFA poisoning mitochondrial functioning? It would seem similar to your theory on the latent chronic poisoning, comparable to lead in the Roman Empire. I have my own analogy that the west is currently experiencing Chinas lost century, from the lost productivity and social issues arising from latent malnutrition. Would love to hear your thoughts!

  2. Has anyone smelled like a skunk when taking TTFD? On my first time taking it (2 pills) I smelled like a skunk, and it wasn’t a phantom smell because my boyfriend could smell it too! I did find a study done by Dr Lonsdale some time ago on children where I think 9 /10 were reported smelling like skunks, but their TTFD was taking rectally, which I definitely did not do.
    On second day I don’t smell skunk anymore, but I do smell metal (I did smell metal a little on day 1, mostly tasted it in the mouth). It’s not as bad as Day 2. So far anyway. I know it has to do with mercaptans, but it’s so odd to have experienced it with practically no one else having this experience. Apparently the study authors think it’s unlikely to happen orally?

  3. I have been taking thiamine mononitrate 1000 – 1500mg/day for decades. The last couple of years added bentofiamine 150mg/day and thiamine from cocarboxylase 13mg/day. I also take Magnesium 1000mg/day, B-complex, glutathione, and other vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.

    I plan to try Thiamax. Would it be best for me to continue taking the other forms of thiamine or to stop taking them when I add the Thiamax.

    Thank you,
    Annette Kastner

    • This sounds extremely demanding on the body/cells if you’re not in a deficient state. Is there a reason you’re taking all of this? There are major dangerous to upregulating your entire system past our baseline, as is seen with hyperthyroidism.

  4. I occasionally cruise these topics on this website and on NIH, and it seems that ATP availability plays much more of role in disease pathology than we think. I would, like to extend my curiosity and wonder if the dietary phosphorous content (RDA = 700 mg) might also play a role in dysautonomia and other energy-deficiency related pathologies? For example, its been shown that even in the presence of a high carbohydrate diet, supplementing with additional phosphorous salts improves glucose tolerance, in those with a previous glucose intolerance, and they did not have hypophosphatemia. Any thoughts or opinions are welcome.

  5. Thank you for this blog
    Several years ago our child got Misophonia,
    It progressed worse over time, luckily it turned around with B complex and minerals,
    Then we found high metal, especially copper in hair. Removing the metals really improved health but not the Misophonia.
    I understand now from reading this blog that our child is suffering from dysautonomia.
    What is more likely?
    Dysautonomia and high copper have common cause? i.e. Thiamine deficiency.
    Or high copper cause Thiamine deficiency?

  6. Dear Dres Lonesdale and Marrs

    What a surprising an informative Page! I am sorry, my English is Not as well because I am Swiss.
    All this Informations are very logic and well explained. I See a lot if questions here are unnecessary if the people read the Informations and the book ( I am reading IT now).
    First step I had done is to order a B Komplex, Mg and Benfotiamine for the whole family and I am waiting for my TTFD from England.
    My man is suffering from Post Polio Syndrom and I hope, Thiamin could help him a little.
    We know this will take time and we dont want to disturb you with questions.
    But we are very thankful for this occasion, so thank you both very much for your big work!!!
    And sorry for my awful English.

    With best regards

  7. I have some chronic health issues, that I’ve tried to treat with thiamine:
    – Extreme, chronic fatigue
    – Orthostatic hypotension
    – Feeling disoriented, dissociated.

    And I have a history of heavy overeating of refined carbohydrates.

    After starting thiamine (300mg HCl + 300mg benfo), I had a severe paradoxical reaction. I experienced a worsening of my existing symptoms and some additional symptoms (insomnia, anxiety, feeling very off/sick).

    After a couple of very hard weeks, the paradoxical symptoms disappeared. But instead of feeling better, I’m now just back to baseline (neither better nor worse than before the supplements).

    Maybe this means that the paradoxical reaction isn’t always a clear sign of the potential to improve with thiamine supplementation?

    • Did you take magnesium too, Daniel? My understanding is that mag is needed to get B1 into the cells. I think standard advice is to also take a B multi, or multivitamin, as all these things work in concert. Hope this helps.

  8. Thank you Dr. Lonsdale

    I think two main factors regarding health and adaptation towards stress are equally important.

    1. All essential co-factors for ATP-synthesis must be available in functional amounts
    2. The rapid depletion of cellular ATP, ADP, AMP, and Creatine Phosphate-levels must be avoided.(metabolic end-product: Uric Acid, from innocent bystander to key player in metabolic syndrome Johnson et al )

    If the polyol pathway (endogenous production of fructose from excess glucose, or as a result from to high sodium concentration/osmotic pressure in the blood) is activated, to large concentration of fructose d e p Le t e s the cells from AMP via the Enzyme AMP deaminase
    The activation of the Enzyme AMP kinase can slow down this process to the extent of the cofactors at this position of metabolism, so that AMP can be used again towards ADP and ATP..

    As a undesirable result of disautonomia, we probably don’t drink enough water, but consume more softdrinks and sugar

    Furthermore, one thing is often described to avoid while consuming prescription drugs: avoid sunlight!
    Why? Probably because the depletion of reduced glutathione or/either the lack of cellular energy to recycle oxidized glutathione/de novo synthesize glutathione
    Glutathione protects the skin from sunburn, and Melatonin might be the backup antioxidant for the frontline antioxidant glutathione.
    Melatonin is built from serotonin, serotonin synthesis is co-dependent of Acetyl-CoA, which is dependent on Pyruvate-dehydrogenase (Thiamin, Magnesium)

    By the way, Magnesiumphosphate is testing strong by kinesiology, and I want to quote my therapist :

    I haven’t tested anyone without phosphorus deficiency.

  9. The news that thiamine can help Huntington’s disease, and recent news of clinical trials showing thiamine’s efficacy in treating Alzheimer’s disease gives me hope that the tide is turning in thiamine’s favor, and that at least some doctors are becoming more aware of its therapeutic potential. Your book and this website also help immensely in spreading awareness. I think anyone who has been helped by thiamine or other nutrients is inclined to try to help others in turn, and that helps spread the word, too.

  10. I want to emphasize that Lipothiamine has a greater therapeutic action than the thiamine from which it is derived.

    • Hello Dr. Lonsdale how are you? I would REALLY appreciate it if you could answer this entire post for me along with my questions. THIAMAX is not working for me after almost 2-3 months now of supplementing it and I’m currently on 300 MG, twhat should I do EXACTLY? I get a slight increase in energy for a few days each time I increase the THIAMAX and it only lasts for a few days and then I crash hard and I’ve been even more fatigued and exhausted since starting all my supplements along with the TTFD and it’s not letting up. I got the increase in energy each time I increased dosage except for when I went up to 300 MG. Am I feeling even more fatigued than I already was (it was already debilitating) due to my potassium dropping and that’s all it is, or does it appear that I definitely need GLUTHATHIONE? Btw This is everything I’m taking:

      1) Magnesium Taurate (400 MG total a day)

      2) Riboflavin (235 MG total a day)

      3) Multivitamin (once a day)

      4) THIAVITE B-Complex (once a day)

      5) Vitamin D (2,000 IU total a day)

      6) Potassium Chloride (800 MG total a day)

      7) Calcium Citrate (1,000 MG total a day)

      9) Mineral supplement (once a day)

      ****do I need more B2?

      ****If I do need GLUTHATHIONE, which brand and at what dosage?

      *****Do I need NAC, SAM-E, GLYCINE, GLUTHATHIONE, more SELENIUM and MOLYBDENUM or anything else? I need to know what I’m doing wrong and what else I need to cofactor with and what dosages I need in everything (for the average person)?

      *****Is it true that some people need to combine several types of Thiamine together and to combine different forms of TTFD in order for Thiamine to start working? Is that maybe the problem for me? If this is true, WHY do we have to do that and what’s the reason why they MUST be combined?

      *****what other forms of Thiamine do you suggest to take along with the THIAMAX (that’s not working at all at 300 MG)? Lipothiamine, SUB, BENFO, HCL, etc? And at what dosages?

      • Have you ever had phosphorus checked? Do you tend to eat more when you get that energy boost from upping the thiamine dosage?

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