Jump to content
The Corroboree
Sign in to follow this  

Thiamine - how much do you really need for recovery?

Recommended Posts

Well modulating 5-HT did something helpful, temporarily...


In a moment of impulsivity went back to what was my first point of call after abstinence. Cheap old thiamine, was my body really getting enough or could that help explain the scary deteriorating struggle town I was in each day?

Not going to neglect the other vitamins  see table in this article The B vitamins: nomenclature, dietary sources, coenzyme forms (roles), symptoms of deficiency, and risk factors (over and above low consumption).


Of all the evidence based things I've tried to stay on top of, thiamine was one major legitimate concern. Thought I was including enough to try and cover that concern... but I upped the thiamine quite a bit.... and felt slightly better.  A few days, even better. These days of supplements being so dodgy in quality, I'll only use simple cheap pharmaceutical grade thiamine I trust from the chemist not some novel derivative.


B1 Thiamine -  brain deficiency particularly seen in alcohol abuse, obesity
Mild deficiency: irritability, emotional disturbances, confusion, disturbed sleep, memory loss
Deficiency: Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (neurodegeneration, within the medial thalamus and cerebellum). Ataxia, abnormal motor function and eye movement, amnesia, apathy, confabulation


- Thiamine deficient rats developed learning and memory deficits as well as aggressive  behaviour " [it] may have considerable potential for use in the control of aggression " [ref]
- There was significant cognitive deteriorations in the psychoneurotic scales in thiamine deprived participants .
- There was significant association between improved thiamine status and enhanced performance across a range of cognitive-function test [ref]

Thought I was on enough but if you start getting weird neurological symptoms and cognitive decline, it seems to be a really good thing to knock out as a potential causative factor ASAP rather than fluffing around, particularly if you've been on anything thiamine depleting. Not just take a bit but saturate your system with it for awhile...

Particularly when if you're getting changes in mental state and cognitive deterioration - disoriented, inattentive, agitated etc


Any thiamine experts?

How much thiamine is actually needed for abstinence recovery? How long do you need to maintain high-dose supplementation for? I used 100mg/day for a bit then I was using about 50mg/day. Maybe that simply wasn't enough


Alterations of serotonergic parameters have been demonstrated in experimental thiamine deficiency.


"...data suggest that 5-HT neurons, although structurally intact, are functionally affected early during the progression of thiamine deficiency. These alterations, which are likely a part of adaptive neuronal change consequent to thiamine dysfunction, may be important in the physiological manifestations and the learning deficits commonly encountered in experimental thiamine deficiency. "

Stuck with it a few days, got out in the garden more. Feel just clearheaded, been more able to persist with goal-directed tasks, not irritable. Calm and collected in the most grounded way I've felt for awhile. Stability of mood. I've actually slept in past my usual 3.30am wake up time, too.


With 50mg in healthy subjects:  An improvement in thiamine status was associated with reports of being more clearheaded, composed and energetic. These influences took place in subjects whose thiamine status, according to the traditional criterion, was adequate.


Once again, this seems to have antidepressant augmenting effects in human studies [1]. In a small study, thiamine supplementation significantly improved anxiety scores, general well-being and reduced fatigue in patients with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. "Interestingly these patients were able to discontinue taking anxiolytic and β-blocker medications." [2]. It has also been found thiamine supplementation shows a beneficial clinical effect on children with autism [3].


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26984349
[2] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7c1b/53c8c4dbfdccf441a16bcc1464b2b26c9c55.pdf
[3] http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ajpn.20130102.11.pdf

"Thiamine is being used to improve brain function and it is also shown to help treat neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons"


It's established "thiamine supplemented abstinent rats made a faster recovery of hepatic and neuronal damage than in the abstinence group. Changes in neurotransmitter levels in brain were also reversed by thiamine supplementation. DNA damage was decreased and DNA content increased in thiamine supplemented group compared to abstinence group showing a faster regeneration" [1]


It is claimed Steve Jobs took massive doses of thiamine when he was experimenting with other stuff and said both were about equally effective as idea stimulators, but B1 did not have the psychoactive effect.


Thiamine compounds may act by boosting anti-oxidant cellular defenses and prevent stress-induced inhibition of hippocampal neurogenesis [2] Thiamine has antidepressant/anti-stress effects that are associated with reduced GSK-3β expression and conditioning of adverse memories [3]


High doses have some utility in dementia potentially due to a cholinomimetic effect of thiamine in the central nervous system [4]  Thiamine is required to synthesise acetylcholine (ACh). Thiamine is involved in the presynaptic release of ACh; thiamine binds to nicotinic receptors and exhibits anticholinesterase activity


The treatment with thiamine led to a significant improvement of Parkinson's symptoms. Experimental findings showed an increased dopamine release in rat striatum after the intrastriatal thiamine administration and "high doses of thiamine, could lead to an increase of synthesis and release of the endogenous dopamine, to an increase of activity of the thiamine-dependent enzymes" [5]


A thiamine derivative promotes voluntary activity through dopaminergic activation [6] The same derivative has been found to make mice engage in more passive cuddling-type behaviours. Likewise acute sulbutiamine induced a modulatory effect on glutamatergic and dopaminergic cortical transmissions in the rat brain


It has anticonvulsant effects [7]


One report of a healthy subject taking mega-doses:

"I have been using megadoses of Thiamine (Vit. B1) on and off for over a year and am greatly impressed. I always take a 250 mg or 300 mg B1 pill with a Vitamin B Complex (100 mgs/mcgs of the various B Vitamins) usually twice per day (once with breakfast and once with lunch).


Good things about Thiamine megadoses:

- Greatly improves my attention to detail on reading tasks. Without it I often struggle reading through pubmed articles for example, with it I read every single word quickly and understand what the article is about without giving up (I often 'give up' without this given that I have inattentive type ADD).
- Greatly improves ability to do 'boring' mundane tasks. For example, when doing boring checking tasts at work, this helps me rip through them better than anything else. Also lets me rip through chores easily.
- Improves my motivation. It allows me to follow a more disciplined lifestyle (eating healthier, sticking to routines, doing boring chores without too much hassle, etc.)
- Gives me more mental energy and I feel more awake generally in the daytime." [8]

[1] https://www.ijpp.com/IJPP archives/2013_57_4_Oct - Dec/406-417.pdf
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28506637
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27825907
[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8251051
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828997/
[6] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-28462-2
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28766407
[8] https://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/65238-megadosing-thiamine-for-motivation-and-sexual-arousal/


I've learned with a potential deficiency ie thiamine, don't skimp on doses of the safe ones. Doses of high magnitude for longer periods are required to replenish many B vitamin levels and correct enzymatic activity, particularly with those who have restriction in their ability to absorb them. There is a linear dose response following single oral doses of thiamine in terms of whole blood and plasma levels up to the maximum administered dose of 1500 mg (corresponding to more than 1000 times the RDA). Higher doses have also been used such as 3g. It's seemingly better to get those levels up.

"Epidemiological evidence suggests that the benefits of B vitamins extend well beyond the accepted biochemical cut-offs for deficiency or marginal deficiency" 

Other B deficiencies from [ref]:

B2 Riboflavin
Fatigue, personality change, brain dysfunction

B3 Niacin - Particularly seen in alcohol abuse
Depression, anxiety, progressing to vertigo, memory loss, paranoia, psychotic symptoms, aggression (Pellagrous insanity)

B5 Pantothenic acid
Encephalopathy, behaviour change, demyelination

B6 Vitamin B6 (referring to: pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, pyridoxine) Particularly seen in Alcohol abuse, age-related malabsorption, contraceptive medications

Irritability, impaired alertness, depression, cognitive decline, dementia, autonomic dysfunction, convulsions

B7 Biotin - particularly seen in Type II diabetes, poor gluco-regulation
Depression, lethargy, hallucinations, seizures

B9 Folic acid/folate - particularly seen in Common genetic polymorphisms (inc. MTHFR C667T) Low Riboflavin and B12

B12 Vitamin B12 - particularly seen in age-related malabsorption, vegetarians, vegans, genetic polymorphisms

Both cause affective disorders, behaviour changes, psychosis, cognitive impairment/decline, dementia (inc Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia)


Observational and controlled trial research being focused disproportionately on just three of the vitamins—folate and vitamins B6 and B12. "Unfortunately, there is a general dearth of controlled trial research into the effects of the remaining B vitamins on brain function"


Edited by Alchemica
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This continues to deliver day by day. So much so I think the quest for some stability might be over :) I find the effects are very dose dependent in line with the dose-response noted above - using 500mg+ (I haven't noted side effects up to 1.5g) and keeping those levels elevated throughout the day has given me some good stability, I might be able to reduce doses soon.

Why did my brain feel daily like it was being eaten alive, was pure negative affect constantly over-riding my emotional world, was I in pure dysphoria with constant fluctuations in mental state and deteriorating cognition?  This seems to be the closest I've found to a solution and an affordable one at that

The encouraging thing is that on returning to what was my first point of call but really upping the thiamine dose with just healthy dietary diversity and maintenance, it feels like there's nothing too much needing continuous time investment in attempting 'fixing' which has been a super challenging loop for me to break free from when minute to minute your mental state, memory and cognition is doing weird things. Hopeful I can maintain that. I'm currently having manageable stable-ish days without extreme and constant mood, emotional and other weird neuropsychiatric stuff happening. That said, it's been a long time of symptoms so there's likely been damaging effects from that. I'm not saying it's at all perfect but it's workable and stable 'good enough'. I can actually do some things I want to do for a few hours, particularly manage some family time, without it being absolute torture for my fluctuating brain state. Get on with living life.

  • Like 4

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found myself identifying with many of the symptoms discussed above,  and so today I got some 100mg thiamine from the chemist - has to be the cheapest supplement there! Along with a "mega" multi-b, gonna give this a go. 


  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep us in the loop on any improvements or anything you note @Xperiment. I doubt you got up to as much thiamine depleting shenanigans as I did but if you did, be liberal with doses...

Longer term,  I've noted it's not the panacea for me - don't expect it to be - if I get stressed I get symptom flares but they actually resolve over a bit of time whereas before nothing would shift a continuous spiral down.

Edited by Alchemica
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you not anything @Xperiment


Hope you're going OK!

Trying to work out what I need without wasting  money has been interesting. I've been on and off these. Simply supplementing only B1 leaves you open to not getting enough of the others but I wanted to see if those "Executive B Stress Formulas" etc do anything other than give you fluoro pee? That was what I wanted to see, how I'd go without them. What's your opinion? Do you use them?


It is proposed that "supplementation, particularly with those higher in B vitamins, may improve cognition and mood, which might be facilitated by improving brain health" and that dietary intake above the RDI is often useful, particularly for brain health and even when vitamin status, according to the traditional criterion, is adequate there may be significant mental improvements [1].


I stopped my B-group supplementation for quite some time thinking I'd save some slight cash but despite attempts to eat well, I'm not sure it is providing adequacy for B-groups in particular, I started to show some potential deficiency signs physically. I was one of those that tried everything from L-methylfolate to thiamine etc at very high doses but there seems to be personally better effects with the spectrum. I use one with all B-groups at high doses (and methyl-B12), which is realistically affordable as a daily addition


A meta‐analysis found that adjunctive treatment with high‐dose B‐vitamins significantly reduced total psychiatric symptoms among 297 long‐term patients in 7 different studies [2]


I found thiamine quite a useful addition, but tended to feel it's better to go for the full spectrum at a higher dose. The B-group is proposed to be a useful "complementary therapy in several neuropsychiatric disorders" and "may have specific neuroprotective properties in attention/vigilance" in psychotic disorders [3] and "B vitamins can be useful as complementary strategies" [4] but currently the evidence is "inconsistent".


It has been claimed that "administration of the entire B-vitamin group, rather than a small sub-set, at doses greatly in excess of the current governmental recommendations, would be a rational approach for preserving brain health" [5].


"Even in healthy humans, multivitamin supplementation has been shown to improve cognitive performance and reduce negative mood states, including depression, anxiety, and stress" and several studies point "toward the efficacy of vitamin and mineral supplementation, particularly B vitamins, in preventing and alleviating disease and disability"


High-dose B-group supplementation [6]:


- acutely may improve contentment and cognitive task performance in adults
- shown to reduce negative mood states of personal strain, confusion, and depression when administered chronically in healthy individuals
- reduced fatigue and improved performance during a cognitive tasks
- shown to reduce blood markers for oxidative stress, inflammation and increase brain markers for oxidative metabolism and myelination


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9122365
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28202095
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30771856
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29171643
[5] https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30513795

Edited by Alchemica
  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good topic Alchemica. There's a wealth of knowledge in what you have posted.


Being in recovery atm I've been taking large doses of thiamine, activated B complexes, Magnesium C and NAC. I feel better than ever to be honest, but find that if I forget the supplements i have a harder day.  I'm thinking a lot on how I can improve my diet now, how to get better outcomes without having to dose all these supplements. Eating loads of foods that are high in B's every day isn't appealing though. getting a balanced system that just needs a top up is going to be a milestone I'm looking forward to.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Northerner said:

Eating loads of foods that are high in B's every day isn't appealing though.

Come on mate, don't ya like Vegemite? Anything yeasty should do. Kombucha and Kefir are easy to drink every day. Both have good levels of B's. What about beer? Good amount of B's in general but not a lot of Thiamine itself. Still can't hurt to drink a few and give it a go.:lol:

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

On that, I did use a bit of Nutritional Yeast for a bit thinking it would be good to be all dietary and stuff, bit of protein too. Cheesy and stuff. Good in theory. It's got a fair bit of niacin, don't know if that's why I'd break out in a strange peripheral reaction but really just doesn't compare to supplements many a time IMO. RDIs are not always applicable IMO

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like vegemite, as I do all good food. But trying to eat the sort of doses I'm getting from supplements is going to be hard to do without noshing down a big kale and vegemite liver pie daily. Doing that every day is the issue as I don't eat a hell of a lot of meat.


Was the reaction like feeling hot in the face and hands Alchemica? Maybe a bit tingly?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah that's the one, I assume it could have been a niacin flush but have never had niacin as nicotinic acid, always nicotinamide and never had issues so not sure.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had that before, it's a bit freaky hey. A couple of minutes and it passes, but in the moment it's pretty intense.

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 25/04/2019 at 6:56 AM, Alchemica said:

Did you note anything @Xperiment


Hope you're going OK!


Hi @Alchemica thanks for the tag. 

I have been doing OK. I was taking between 300 - 500mg thiamine in the morning with my other medication. Usually 300, but would up it if I felt low or knew I'd have the sort of day that would challenge me. Not sure if it works like that but it seemed to work well for a few months. I'd often wake up happy (unheard of - I get up fairly early for work) and think to myself "what the fuck are you so happy about? " :)


I stopped taking it for whatever reason... I really don't like taking tablets. But it was most likely forgetfulness, and I fell out of the habit. 

Also my regular GP moved away and the one I auditioned as a replacement doesn't seem to want to work with me to reduce my SSRI dose, in fact he suggested increasing it :rolleyes:


Since then, quite quickly in hindsight, I fell into a bit of a funk, and was struggling with motivation to do anything other than sleep (ie lay in bed awake) and struggle with interpersonal relationships (more than usual).


This thread is a call out for me to get back on the thiamine,  I really think it works and going into winter with a history of S.A.D. I think I'll need it. 

Still need to exercise more and always room for improvement in the diet. 


I hope you're going well, you certainly seem to work hard at getting better 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this