SpectraCell Blog

Case Study: High Dose of Vitamin B1 Clears Up 26 Years of Painful Headaches

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

headacheIn this case report, a 41-year-old man who had been suffering from cluster headache since the age of 15 years old was treated with high dose vitamin B1 (thiamine).  He had been diagnosed with cluster headache at a neurological center in Italy. His first headache occurred at age 15 shortly after a motorcycle accident and they increased in frequency over the years, with acute pain and intensity that significantly compromised his quality of life.  Although the patient would experience some headache free months over the years, in January 2016 the headache clusters began occurring daily with no pain-free period for an entire year.  The patient had been treated with sumatriptan, a commonly prescribed drug for cluster headache, which did not work.  He had also been prescribed prednisone, although this not alleviate the pain either.  In December 2016, he was given oral high dose vitamin B1.  Initially, the dose was 250mg, then it was increased to 750 mg after a few days.  Within 10 days, the headache pain disappeared.  He continued the vitamin B1 daily indefinitely.

Interestingly, the neurological center requested that he stop the vitamin B1 in order to test whether the headaches would come back.  He refused this request citing his reluctance to re-experience his headache pain.  However, in May 2017 (five months after B1 treatment started), the patient forgot his vitamin B1 while on a vacation.  Within 48 hours of the last dose, a painful headache occurred.   He resumed vitamin B1 therapy after his vacation and was able to reduce the dose to 500mg with no recurrence of headaches to date.

Cluster headache is a painful condition in which very severe headaches occur with little warning and in “clusters” meaning several headaches will occur in a short time period.  Patients of cluster headache have very little or no warning when they occur unlike migraine which may gradually build in intensity.  Classified as a neurological condition, cluster headache is characterized by very severe and intense pain around the eye, often on only one side of the head.  Some researchers suggest that the role vitamin B1 plays in energy metabolism, brain function and pain modulation make it a potential therapy for this rare neurological disorder.  

(Case Reports in Neurological Medicine, April 2018)

LINK to ABSTRACT Oral High-Dose Thiamine Improves the Symptoms of Chronic Cluster Headache.

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Topics: micronutrients, Vitamin B1, micronutrient deficiency, Vitamin B1 Deficiency, Headaches and Nutrition, Vitamin B1 and Headaches

Cellular Levels of Vitamin B1 May Influence the Progression of Huntington's Disease

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 01:38 PM

Vitamin_B1Huntington’s disease is a relatively rare disease that occurs when a person has altered expression of a specific gene called the huntingtin gene. The presence of this mutated gene initiates the synthesis of an altered protein  (similarly called the mutated huntingtin protein, or mHTT) that damages nerve cells in the brain over time. The disease progresses over the course of several years and clinically manifests as gradually worsening mental, emotional and physical dysfunction, to the point of total incapacity.

In this experiment, scientists studied the effect of supplemental vitamin B1 (thiamine) on B lymphocytes (white blood cells) that carried the mutated Huntington gene and compared them to normal B lymphocytes that did not carry the mutated gene, which served as the control. The scientists supplemented vitamin B1 on the two sets of cells and compared the following: (1) cell growth rates, (2) vitamin B1 intake into the cell, (3) genetic profile of 27 different thiamine related genes and (4) the enzyme activity of several B1-dependent proteins.

They found that supplemental vitamin B1 stimulated more of an increase in growth in the mutated Huntington gene cells than the control cells, suggesting the Huntington cells had a higher requirement for vitamin B1. In addition, vitamin B1 intake, and therefore intracellular levels, was increased in the Huntington cells compared to control. Enzyme activity did not differ between cell types, but the expression of genes related to B1-dependent energy metabolism did differ between the control and mutated cell groups.

Vitamin B1 is known for its role in energy metabolism and deficiency has been linked to a several neurological syndromes such as Alzheimer’s disease and Wernicke encephalopathy, which suggests it may play a role in Huntington’s disease. Although this study was done in vitro (in test tubes), the increased expression of B1-related genes upon supplementation of B1 suggests intracellular vitamin B1 levels may play an important role in the manifestation of this enigmatic disease.

(Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine, August 2017) 
 Role of thiamine in Huntington's disease pathogenesis: In vitro studies.

Link to Abstract

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Topics: micronutrient testing, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B1 Deficiency, Functional Medicine, huntington's disease, vitamin b1 and huntington's disease, energy and metabolism, micrnonutrients

Vitamin B1 and Female Fertility

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

pregnant.jpegA vitamin B1 deficiency has been shown to compromise egg cell health in female mice. Even though this study was carried out on mice, the implications for human health and fertility are not lost. Scientists were interested in assessing the effect of mild and severe vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency on egg cells and what they found was revealing. 

Mice were fed one of two diets: normal or one lacking in vitamin B1. Not surprisingly, the vitamin B1 concentration in the ovaries of mice not given vitamin B1 was much lower than that of mice fed B1. Since the major source of cellular energy in oocytes (immature egg cells) comes from a compound (pyruvic acid) that is metabolized by a vitamin B1-dependent enzyme, researchers wanted to investigate the impact of B1 deficiency on egg cell development. 

If the vitamin B1 deficiency was “mild” (not severe enough to cause weight loss), the mice ovaries produced egg cells that were normal. However, if B1 deficiency reached severe levels, then their ovaries would produce abnormal egg cells more often: 44% of eggs from severely deficient animals were abnormal, compared to only 14% of eggs from mice with adequate B1. Furthermore, once the mice returned to a vitamin B1-containing diet, the level of abnormal egg cells dropped from 44% to 23%, suggesting that egg cell damage may occur as the cell matures but not in its immature stage. 

For more details on the cited paper, click here for a link to the abstract, “Effects of Mild and Severe Vitamin B1 Deficiencies on the Meiotic Maturation of Mice Oocytes,” published in the March 2017 issue of Nutrition and Metabolic Insights.  For a copy of the full paper, click here

Topics: micronutrients, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B1 and Fertility, Female Fertility, Vitamin B1 Deficiency