sugar thiamine connection in adverse reactions

The Sugar – Thiamine Connection in Adverse Reactions

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As published on this web site previously, we have scientific evidence that two girls and one boy were shown to be thiamine deficient (TD) after Gardasil vaccination. On the other hand, a girl who had similar symptoms to these three had not received the vaccine and her laboratory test proved that she also had TD.  On the face of this information, it suggests that the vaccination has nothing to do with the illness of these individuals.  In a previous post, however, I have suggested that the vaccine is a “stress factor”, given to an individual in a state of marginal, or even asymptomatic thiamine deficiency, thus exacerbating the first appearance of symptoms. In this light, medications and other vaccines may also be considered stress factors and evoke or exacerbate a previously asymptomatic thiamine deficiency. There are a number of facts that need to be seen collectively in order to understand the hypothesis that follows.  In order to make this clear I am going to present the material under subheadings.

What Does Thiamine do in the Body?

All simple sugars that we take in our diet are broken down to glucose, the primary fuel of the brain.  This oversimplified fact has long been used to suggest that taking sugar is the way to meet energy demands in the body.  It is, in fact, an extremely complex chemical process which is well beyond the scope of an article like this.  It can, however, be simplified by comparing glucose, as a fuel, to gasoline in a car.

Gasoline + Oxygen + Spark Plug = Energy  + (ash/oxides)

Glucose + Oxygen + Thiamine = Energy + (ash/oxides)

Each one of these equations represents combustion, a combination of fuel with oxygen.  Because combustion is always incomplete, waste products (oxides) are formed and must be got rid of as waste.  It is obvious that combustion of gasoline without oxygen and spark plug, or glucose without oxygen and thiamine, will not occur.  What is not quite so obvious is the fact that an excess of gasoline causes choking of the engine, black smoke from the exhaust pipe (unburned hydrocarbons) and loss of engine efficiency.  This could be referred to as “oxygen/spark plug deficiency” since each of the three components must be present in proper concentration to produce efficient combustion (oxidation).  The three component parts, glucose, oxygen and thiamine are the equivalents in the body.  An excess of glucose “chokes” the “engines” (mitochondria) that create energy in all of our cells. This particularly applies to the brain because of its high rate of metabolism (energy consumption), thus providing a potential explanation for why the vaccine seems to pick off the brightest and the best students.

The Reptilian Brain and the Limbic Nervous System

All animal brains are built on the same basic principle, a lower, more primitive part and a higher, increasingly complex part. The lower part of the human brain, the limbic system, also known as “reptilian”, computes all the reflex mechanisms by which we automatically adapt to our environment.  For example, we sweat when it is hot and shiver when it is cold, both adaptations to the ambient temperature.  It also controls our emotional reflexes, represented by body language that we recognize easily.  It uses two mechanisms, the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system.

Autonomic and Endocrine Systems

We have two nervous systems. The one that we use to will our actions is controlled by the upper brain, here described as cognitive. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) automatically controls all the actions required by body organs to meet day- to- day adaptation.  It consists of two major branches, known as the sympathetic and parasympathetic components.  The sympathetic branch prepares us for mental and physical action while the parasympathetic switches us to a period of rest.  As one goes into action, the other one is withdrawn. The endocrine system is represented by a group of glands, each of which produces one or more hormones.  These are really messengers that induce actions in the cells to which they are aimed.  When either or both of these systems are not functioning in their ordained manner in the brain/body of an individual, we can refer to him/her as maladapted.

Explanation of Symptoms in Reference to Thiamine Deficiency

As explained in previous posts on this web site, the disease known as beriberi occurs as a result of TD.  The mother of a Gardasil affected girl had done her own research and had come to the unlikely conclusion that her daughter suffered from beriberiRed cell transketolase, a blood test used to depict TD, showed that she was correct in her conclusion. Her daughter did in fact have beriberi and has responded, at least partially, to thiamine supplementation.  We know, from historical data, that long term beriberi responds slowly to treatment and sometimes not at all, depending on chronicity.  Since she has had her symptoms for approximately four years, I think that it would be fair to call this chronic. When the ANS is not functioning properly, it is called dysautonomia (dys, meaning abnormal: autonomia refers to the ANS).  Beriberi in its early stages is the prototype for dysautonomia, the commonest effect being dominance of the sympathetic branch of the ANS.

Published Effects of Gardasil Vaccination

Although many symptoms have been reported related to this vaccination, two resultant conditions have been nominated: POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and Cerebellar Ataxia.  POTS is one of the many conditions that are described under the heading of dysautonomia and I have already reported in a post that the first case of thiamine dependency was in a six year old boy who had intermittent episodes of cerebellar ataxia, each of which was triggered by a stress episode that included mild infection, mild head injury or inoculation.  A critical enzyme that depends on thiamine for its energy producing action was able to function until some form of physical or mental stress was imposed.  The existing mechanism was insufficient to meet the energy requirement imposed by the stress.

Sugar, the Autonomic Nervous System and the Liver

New research provides one more clue to our emerging theory of thiamine deficiency in post vaccine and medication adverse reactions.  The study: The Autonomic Nervous System Regulates Postprandial Hepatic Lipid Metabolism by Bruinstroop et al. demonstrates the influence carbohydrate intake has on autonomic control of liver lipid metabolism. Triglycerides are measured in a medical laboratory as part of what is known as the “lipid profile”, that includes the various components of cholesterol. The Bruinstroop study found that when the parasympathetic system was deactivated and carbohydrates were ingested, triglyceride levels rose significantly, inducing metabolic dysregulation. Other studies have found stress, combined with diets high in refined carbohydrates can increase blood triglyceride concentrations also inducing metabolic syndrome. Indeed, stress and the concurrent increased sympathetic system activity seem key to metabolic functioning with sugar intake triggering the ill-health.

Interpretation of Technical Language

The work by Bruinstroop and associates was done in rats.  To understand what they found, it is necessary to remind the reader that the two branches of the ANS, sympathetic and parasympathetic, work synchronously.  As one branch becomes active the other one is withdrawn. This is automatically controlled by the “reptilian” brain, thus enabling us to adapt to the physical and mental changes we encounter on a day -to-day basis.  These authors were able to show that abolishing the parasympathetic input to the liver resulted in marked elevation of triglycerides in the blood. This would induce continuation of sympathetic dominance in any “stress reaction” in the animal if it was in a free living state. The effect was modulated by sugar intake. That is, when the animals were fed more, the effects were larger.

Hypothesis: High Sugar Diets Lead to Thiamine Deficiency, A Risk Factor for Adverse Reactions

I am proposing that an excess of carbohydrates in the diet, particularly fructose, results in a mild degree of thiamine deficiency.  We know, from studies done as early as 1943 (Williams R D, et al. Arch Int Med 1943;71:38-53), that this results in what is typically called psychosomatic disease, in which a large component is reflected in emotional lability (instability), so common in the modern child and adolescent.  Physical symptoms, such as unexplained “pins and needles”, in the hands or feet, may be so slight as to be ignored.  The stress of the vaccination or a medication reaction triggers an energy crisis in the “reptilian” brain, specifically evoking autonomic dysregulation, typically with sympathetic system dominance and resulting in beriberi, POTS, or cerebellar  ataxia and potentially other syndromes.  Perhaps a rise in blood triglycerides as suggested by the Bruinstroop study, indicates the partial crippling of the parasympathetic branch of the ANS and sympathetic dominance.  High blood triglycerides might well be a  mark of the early stages of underlying autonomic dysregulation and thiamine deficiency and a potential risk factor for adverse reactions to certain vaccines or medications.

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A 5th case of post Gardasil thiamine deficiency has been identified; a young woman who developed severe idiopathic hypersomnia, a variant of narcolepsy, post vaccination. The patient is undergoing treatment with success. A full case study will be presented soon.

Image by 🌸♡💙♡🌸 Julita 🌸♡💙♡🌸 from Pixabay.

This article was published on Hormones Matter previously in January 2014.

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. Dear Dr. Lonsdale : I could use some help. I was bed ridden for 3 1/2 years because basically I couldn’t stand and walk. When tried to walk I would list to one side, run into walls, the floor/sidewalk felt like it was moving up and down, plus hair loss and brain fog, extreme pain sensitivity. I live alone and it was very frightening. I could not understand what was happening to me. I went to a succession of “doctors” who told me that I was imagining all my symptoms. At the end of the 3 1/2 years I was not functioning at all. So I gave it one more try to figure out what was happening to me and had blood work – to look at all vitamin and minerals levels – done at a naturopath (as doctors were not helping). I was so far gone I couldn’t walk into the appointment, a friend half carried me, and I couldn’t balance to sit up at all. The lab results showed that I was seriously deficient in all of the B vitamins and most minerals. The naturopath began weekly injections of B12 (methylcobalamin). And I began to recover immediately! The importance of B1 was never discussed (nor the blood test erythrocyte transketolase). So 6 months into my recovery I discovered this website and was shocked to read of the importance of thiamine. I began getting an injection of B complex ( 50 mg thiamine) included with the B12 twice a week and supplementing a bit with Benfotamine and Lipothiamine. I am writing because 6 months ago my balance issues came roaring back and 4 months ago I came down with a bad case of acute bronchitis and got it again 3 weeks ago. I am thinking to request a transketolase blood test, and am ordering more lipothiamine, plus eliminating sugar, but could use any advice. Perhaps the balance/dizzyness issues reimerging were what you refer to as the “paradox”?: It is very odd to have no one to talk to who is more knowledgeable about the B vitimans/nutrition than I am at this point. It’s scary to me because I really don’t know that much. I welcome any advice. Thank you.

    • Many years ago I was in touch with a vet research group in Weybridge, Surrey, England. One of the researchers had been called to Cuba to investigate a disease that was occurring in cattle. An affected cow would walk up to a fence and as soon as her nose touched the fence, she would freeze in that position. She would have to be pushed away, only to repeat the performance at the next obstruction. Eventually the animal would go into seizures and expire. The farmers had had a great idea. They did not know what to do with the molasses resulting from the sugar industry, so they ran it into the feeding troughs, providing the cattle with an extremely high calorie carbohydrate feed. The vet researcher discovered that by adding grass and mixing it with the molasses, they prevented the disease. This came to be known as the discovery of silage. The mechanism is probably because the fiber in the grass slowed down the absorption of sugar. It was one of the important lessons in my long-term education and probably explains why fresh fruit is acceptable nutrition, whereas canned fruit is characteristically without fiber and has sugar added.The trouble with all this is that sugar has become virtually a sacred issue. Nobody wants to hear that it is a poison and is responsible for a colossal amount of disease. Anybody that points this out is classified as a whistle blower who has gone out of his head and we all know what happens to whistle blowers!. Unlikely as it sounds, I know of a patient with “heart disease’ who has totally unrecognized full blown beriberi as the underlying metabolic cause and treated purely symptomatically

  2. I purchased your book and have scoured through this website. If someone were to go on a low sugar, low carb diet due to thiamine deficiency or transport issues, might this include all sugars (natural or refined), refined white carbs (like potatoes, white rice, baked goods, etc) as well as possibly fruits due to the fructose and glucose? What do you consider acceptable carbs–whole grains and legumes? I notice I feel better (and some patients as well) on the SCD diet and lower fruits and I wonder if this has anything to do with thiamine. I’ve also attributed it to gut dybiosis. Just curious what type of diet changes you recommend in relation to thiamine issues.

    • I think that some medications and immunizations precipitate marginal thiamine deficiency into full blown deficiency because of the energy requirement to adapt to the stressor. You have to think which is the chicken and which is the egg.

  3. I’ve seen research showing that sulbutiamine crosses the blood brain barrier. How does it differ in effectiveness from lipothiamine?

    Benfotiamine, a Synthetic S-acyl Thiamine Derivative, has Different Mechanisms of Action and a Different Pharmacological Profile Than Lipid-soluble Thiamine Disulfide Derivatives
    Marie-Laure Volvert; Sandrine Seyen; Marie Piette; Brigitte Evrard; Marjorie Gangolf; Jean-Christophe Plumier; Lucien Bettendorff

  4. This was very interesting to learn the role of thiamine in energy production.

    I take Benfotiamine – it is the only fat soluble form for thiamine I am aware of, so it stays in the body for weeks, I get the 150 mg’s at vitacost (not promoting them- plenty of resources out there, just works for me, please shop around).

    It is a synthetic form, if I recall in Germany, it is used in assisting nerve neuropathy.

    I was researching thiamine again because I have been taking higher amounts at bedtime, and I have found myself waking up soaking in sweat coupled with rapid weight loss, I figured I’d research and see why adding higher amounts of thiamine (1000 mg+) would lead to this.

    Every once in a while I’ll explore higher thiamine levels simply because I find myself with a rare sense of ‘awe’ even staring at a tree at times. Also because I find can better organize my thoughts and memories as well tend to be more accessible with more thiamine.

    I did a week of high thiamine and found myself at the end meditating on some memories when I had to be 3 years old based on what I was seeing and where we lived. Then again I had increased choline intake to 4,500 mg a day during that time.

    DO check out Benfotiamine vs water soluble b-1, Benfotiamine again sticks around in the body a LOT longer since it’s fat soluble.

    I am not recommending anyone take any vitamin or drug or food. This is not medical advice. Hope that covers some disclaimer.

    • There clearly is some truth in what Timothy says. I must however point out that although Benfotiamine (BFT) and thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide (TTFD, also known as Fursultiamine, Lipothiamine,Alinamin) are both thiamine derivatives, they have very different properties. They are both absorbed from the intestine into the blood serum but TTFD is far superior to BFT in its absorption to blood cells where the action is needed. Japanese investigators showed many years ago that TTFD was by far the best derivative in many of its therapeutic benefits outside the scope of this post. What I am unable to understand is why BFT appears to be in common use in America while TTFD is almost unheard of. We have reason to believe that BFT does not enter the brain, while TTFD does. There is no doubt at all that thiamine deficiency has its major effect in the brain, the nervous system and the heart, all tissues that are extremely energy demanding and we want the vitamin to get into the cells, not floating around in the liquid part of the blood.

      • Dr. Lonsdale, I’m struggling with the fact that people are saying that TTFD is superior to benfotiamine. I tried to use TTFD and it made me suicidal for the first time in my life. It was terrifying and had a similar affect on my two autistic sons. It turns out that we had low g6pd levels because of our thiamine deficiency and it’s impact on transketolase. Transketolase is needed for proper synthesis of NADPH via glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase. Because of this we absolutely cannot tolerate sulfur supplements. Look up the list of supplements and drugs that someone with g6pd deficiency must stay away from to avoid hemolytic crisis. The doctor said that I had high levels of thiamine in my blood although I was not supplementing. Evidence of an uptake problem possibly a a result of how elevated blood sugar or biotin deficiency prevent thiamine transport. Benfotiamine saved me from anorexia etc. and significantly reduced the severity of my children’s autism. I fear for all the children with autism who are not getting help because TTFD is what is being promoted when in fact it could cause serious harm to a particular group suffering from thiamine deficiency.

        • It has been said that “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Why on earth did you change when Benfotiamine was working well? Here are the facts: TTFD and Benfotiamine both have only one action and that is to deliver vitamin B1(thiamine) into cells. Therefore, physiological changes produced by either are solely because of the presence of thiamine inside cells. They are not pharmaceutical DRUGS. Many illnesses are caused by lack of cellular energy and the role of thiamine is to stimulate the machinery in the cell that develops that energy. Symptoms merely provide evidence of inadequate cellular energy, leading to their dysfunction. Many years ago a researcher tried to find out the difference between these two derivatives. He found in a mouse experiment, that TTFD entered the brain, whereas Benfotiamine did not.Since thiamine deficiency has its severest effect in brain, TTFD would be expected to be the choice, but the experiment was performed in mice, not people. There is a clinical study going on at Cornell University in which Benfotiamine is being used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and the treatment was based on scientific evidence. I have always tried to advocate that my service is to let people know the importance of this information and that treatment should be under the care of a physician. However, when thiamin deficiency has been present for a long time, for whatever reason, when thiamine treatment is started, the patient is likely to experience a severe reappearance or exacerbation of symptoms for an unpredictable period of time. This is so common that I call it “paradox”, the very opposite of what the patient expects. The benefits appear after the paradox ceases: there is “no gain without pain”. Without this information, which ever derivative is being used would be written off as causing “side effects” like pharmaceuticals. The derivative would be discontinued and given a “black mark”.The answer, of course is recognizing symptoms at the earliest possible time when they occur. Paradox does not occur when symptoms are first recognized. They are not being diagnosed because ” vitamin deficiency does not occur in America and is dreamed up by a bunch of charlatans”. The longer the symptoms are untreated, the more likely is it that some form of neurodegenerative disease will appear. For those that want to educate themselves, I suggest that you obtain one of the books authored by myself and written for the public and available on Amazon books. Read the reviews. The most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Marrs is more detailed and aimed at trying to educate physicians. Its title is “Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia and High Calorie Malnutrition”. If you desire to seek the truth, our writing is backed up by hundreds of references in the medical literature.

        • My daughter fainted after her Gardisal shot. She then got sick with mono. She spent most of High School in bed. After that she was diagnosed with PCOS. She is 24 now and in very ill health. Close to 100 pounds overweight. Multiple doctors, thousands of dollars later……My daughter went from a healthy,slender, athletic girl to this. After reading this, I have hope that thiamine therapy may help her. Dr. Lonsdale can you contact me? Thank you!

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