High-dose thiamine (B1) – an update

Early in the year, I shared about how and why I intended to embark on a high-dose thiamine (B1) protocol for addressing my long term chronic health conditions, all of which you can read about in my orginal post here.

I just want to offer a brief update on how this is going for me. Last time I shared about this, I was steadily increasing my dose of three different B1 supplements until I reached the following level: 200mg of Thiamax (thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide), 250mg Benfotamine and 250mg thiamin hydrochloride (for the difference between these three diffrent versions of B1, again see that earlier post). To reiterate, I did not start on these doses but inched them up very gradually over a period of several weeks. In general, though side-effects were few, I experienced a few subtle paradox efffects around day 2 or 3, each time I increased the dose, as can often happen, but nothing prohibitive until I went over 700mg per day so I decided to remain at this threshold.

Quite early on, I decided to drop the Benfotamine because it seemed to have an after effect that I didn’t like, which was an odd sensation to my head about half an hour to an hour after taking it. When I removed this, I compensated by increasing the Thiamax to 300mg and then to 400mg, totalling 650mg thiamine per day (including the 250mg of thiamin hydrochloride). All of these doses are entirely personal to me and my unique experience, therefore not a benchmark so much as an example of how I experimented with what seemed to work the best in my case.

I was quite happy at this level for some time, having tried a slightly higher dose but reduced it back again after I noticed a prolonged uptick in paradox symptoms, which B1 therapy can induce (see my earlier post for the reasons why and links to resources that advise how to guage whether to continue or pull back with your dosage). During this long phase at 650mg, I noticed significant improvements in my physical robustness, energy and mental clarity, also my ability to recover from bouts of fatigue, and enjoyed several really-improved weeks during which I was doing more and starting to enjoy a better quality of life than I had for some time. My disautonomic sysmptoms all but disappeared unless I was severely tired or triggered.

Unfortunately, it was around then that I experienced more than one physical injury, related to joint laxity, as a result of overdoing things (always the risk when you start to feel better…) and I was forced to take things much more slowly for a few weeks. That said, though these things set me back and significantly added to pain and fatigue, I look back and realise I have still managed to do more things, such as travel and tackling more physical tasks around the house and garden, than I typically do. I became much more confident that when I commited to a task, I would be able to complete it and this made such a difference.

I then noticed the effects of B1 began to plateau and, combined with finding the cost of Thiamax fairly prohibitive at that high dosage, I decided to try the much more cost-effective Befotamine again (this time increasing to 500mg) plus 200mg Thiamax, eliminating the thiamin hydrochloride, so that the total daily dosage is still very similar to before, at 700mg. I have been taking this dose for coming up two weeks as I write this.

This time, I have found I am able to tolerate the Benfotamine without any adverse side-effects whatsover, perhaps because I have become used to the higher dose of B1 in my system (and it does feel to me that this accesses the brain more readily than the other versions so maybe that was why I had peculiar head sensations before). Rather, I have started to notice some considerable benefits to taking Benfotamine, especially in terms of increased mental agility and clarity, with little to no lingering brain fog. I wake up feeling raring to go with my writing and other pursuits and, though I am decidedly more tired by the evening, I sleep well and start again the next day. Benfotamine has been linked in studies to considerable cognative benefits and I seem to be enjoying these already, which is a source of much relief and joy after years of regular bouts of cognitive fog or feeling that using my brain for a concerted period is a unhappy trade-off with all the extreme tiredness that inevitably follows afterwards, but not so at the moment!

In anecdotal support of my own observations, numerous respondants to a survey on well respected CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia blog Health Rising named Benfotamine as a “game changer” and other such hearty descriptors, see full article here. I, for one, am so very glad I decided to go back and give it another try.

Over this phase, I have handled a considerable amount of emotional and circumstantial strain of the kind that would normally floor me and yet have managed to remain calm, centred and in control of my emotions, without the usual deep-fatigue that would normally hit me when dealing with such things. I have certainly bounced back much better than I would have expected and not ruminated nor lost sleep over matters that concern me in the daytime. This could be due to other factors or even the time of year, being the best season of the year for me; however, I would still say that I do feel much brighter and more mentally and physically energised than is typical for me since I developed chronic conditions and that it seems to equate with the introduction of the supplement dosages I have taken, as above.

In fact, I am enjoying the most the enhanced and consitent period of brain clarity and improved energy that I can remember in recent years, even increased sharpness of vision (there are various articles and studies claiming that Benfotamine is of significant benefit to occular health), meaning I can go back to doing some of the activities I really love, like fine embroidery. The biggest risk, at this time, is to make sure that I don’t overdo things!

Along the way, when I experienced some paradox reactions a couple of months ago, I added into my dose mix 600mg of NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), which is mentioned by Elliot Overton in his advice about useful cofactors to thiamine, specifically because it helps the body replenish glutathione, which is an essential antioxidant and aids in glycolysis, something I talked about in my last post. This, in particular, has proved to be one of the most helpful supplements I have ever taken, affording increased energy, robustness and clarity, even mood enhancement, from day one such that I really wouldn’t want to be without it now. For more on why I decided to supplement NAC and the broad benefits it may have, see the heading in my earlier post. With this, I also decided to supplement Molybdenum. Again, I can only speak for the benefits I have personally enjoyed and do not recommend that you follow my example without conducting your own research and taking appropriate advice.

More recently, I have also added Resveratrol, which acts like another antioxidant. The combined positive side effect of these supplements seems to be that hayfever has hardly touched me this year, which is a first for me, showing my body is presuambly carrying far less of a load than it used to be (an effect I never managed to achieve from quercetin, Q10 and vitamin C, which I also take, on their own).

This is where I currently am with thie B1 protocol and, whilst my response to it is no guarantee, and is likely quite unique to me, I thought this update might be useful background information to others considering it, though you should, of course, do your research and take professional advice for yourself before doing so. For some great resources, I refer you to the website and videos of functional nutritionist Elliot Overton, as before; also to his document Thiamine Protocols and Nutrient Interactions (which can be downloaded from here). 

Disclaimer: This blog, it’s content and any material linked to it are presented for autobiographical, general interest and anecdotal purposes only. They are not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or prescribing. This article does not constitute a recommendation or lifestyle advice. Opinions are my own based on personal experience.Any links and information shared are for your own assessement and research purposes, I have no affiliation with any of the attached information sources and share them as point of interest, with no recommendation implied. You should check all health-related supplement and other protocols with your medical doctor before proceeding. Please seek medical advice from a professional if you are experiencing any symptoms or before you change your diet, your nutrients, your habits or anything else.

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