Our body requires a constant supply daily. Thiamin is stable in dry heat up to 100 degrees centigrade but destroyed in moist heat, especially in the presence of alkalis such as baking soda.
When water and drippings from our foods are discarded, this is where we can lose good nutrition from totally healthy foods. Last night’s fresh peas and beans out of my garden were steamed, and the water left over is where the thiamin ended up. Adding this back into the meal in some form retains these nutrients for my health.
Sulfur dioxide used in drying fruit destroys thiamin. The co-enzyme form of thiamin, (thiamin pyrophosphate (TPP)) is critical to many metabolic functions including removal of CO2 from alpha-keto acids for conversion of amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates to energy.
TPP converts pyruvic acid to acetyl CoA for entry into the Krebs cycle, and converts alpha-keto-glutarate to succinyl CoA within the Krebs cycle. Both of these reactions require the presence of lipoic acid, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
As you can see, no nutrient stands alone. Giving single vitamins without the full compliment found in vital foods can just cause a log jam in the metabolic functions in our system. Most commercial vitamin supplements consist of non-living, crystalline structures that fail to maintain the appropriate systemic balance. This is commonly seen when the patient comes in with the grocery sack full of every possible vitamin they’ve heard about.
TPP is required in the synthesis of acetylcholine. A lack of which can cause polyneuritis or inflammation of the nerves. This is consistent with conditions of beriberi and the cardiac, mental and circulatory issues which frequently accompany it.
Since TPP is responsible for driving metabolism, and removing metabolic byproducts, symptoms of deficiency may be caused by a build up of partially metabolized substances which can’t be removed without the presence of thiamin.
Exercise, carbohydrate foods, and alcohol worsen symptoms because of increased demand on the body for thiamin. Exercise drives metabolism and the Krebs cycle. When I hear of patients who are seriously aggravated by exercise, I have to consider the need for thiamin as well as the other co-factors, namely, lipoic acid, niacin, and pantothenic acid. In the case of pantothenic acid deficiency, adrenal exhaustion is a prime cause. Stress is a killer!
A diet which consists primarily of foods high in fats and sugar can seriously deplete thiamin. Since alcohol is a form of sugar, this is included in that list. Mild forms of neurosis may manifest in these cases. Thiamin deficiency can show up in cases of fasting, dieting, or eating a limited variety of foods in which either thiamin is left out or there are too much of foods that require thiamin to process.
Among the most common problems I witness, subclinical beriberi of the heart is far too often, and rarely identified in mainstream medicine. One hallmark which helps identify the condition is that of cardiac valve problems. With subclinical beriberi, the heart enlarges and since the valves remain the same size, we see where the valves no longer seat, and there is leakage and regurgitation. Because of this, the advice of the cardiologist is to have replacement of the heart valve with either a mechanical valve or a pig valve. The appropriate action is to nourish the heart with a viable, food based thiamin support so the heart muscle can resume it’s proper shape and contractility.
Besides it’s effect on the heart muscle, thiamin is responsible for proper nerve conduction through the heart from the atrioventricular node to the apex of the heart through a nerve bundle called the Bundle of His. In deficiencies of thiamin we can see where blockage of this bundle can affect proper rhythm of the heart, causing further circulatory impairments. A heart rate below 60 can be an indicator of thiamin deficiency unless the person has been doing serious aerobic training. In that case, there should be that much more thiamin to compensate for the exercise.
Chemical forms often fail to correct deficiencies. Repairing heart disease with nutrition isn’t all that difficult when proper nutrition is employed. My favorite source is Standard Process Cataplex B, or in cases of cardiac damage, Vasculin. I make these available to my patients.