Curse of the Coffee, Tea and Beer Drinkers
by Bill Sardi: The
Dietary Supplement Label the FDA Doesnít Want You To See
What do all
of the illnesses below have in common?
- A policeman
is flagged down by a 32-year-old woman at a park in Joliet, Illinois
who says she canít
remember who she is or how she got there. She is later found
to be a mother of four children living in Jackson, Michigan. Her
name is Amber. She has not recovered memory of her earlier life
or what triggered her amnesia. Doctors are at a loss to know what
caused this case of "global amnesia."
- Marie is
college educated, with a father who is a physician and mother
who is a nurse, and she canít find anyone
who can tell her why she is experiencing severe nausea and vomiting
early in her first pregnancy. No one seems to know. Folk remedies
are sought. Despite being the most common torment of pregnancy,
the cause of morning sickness remains a mystery. Or is it?
- Jim, a rock
sculptor living near Ontario, California, looks like Indiana Jones
in the movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Prop him up on a bar stool
drinking down some brew and he would fit into any beer commercial.
He is manly but has an unmanly and embarrassing problem. All of
a sudden he canít seem to control his bowels. He is running to
the bathroom all the time. His doctor says it is irritable bowel
syndrome, a now common condition that forces sufferers to be closely
tethered to bathrooms. A drug is prescribed that slows down gastric
transit time but induces sleepiness, and canít be taken while
driving. But what is the cause of his problem?
- Jackie is
out of work and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and suffering
with relentless pain that has been diagnosed as fibromyalgia.
Doctors donít seem to have an answer as to what causes this problem.
Inexplicably, a number of people with fibromyalgia report having
the same problem as Jim the rock sculptor (above), irritable bowel.
Are the two conditions linked in any way? An estimated 5
million Americans have fibromyalgia, some of them children.
an award-winning journalist, wakes up one morning with a slight
weakness in his left leg. Then he begins to lose his ability to
speak. He has to say "yes" or "no" by shifting
his eyes. Doctors offer an experimental drug. For unexplained
reasons, doctors delay treatment until Robert loses feeling throughout
his body and is now permanently confined to a wheelchair. Doctors
say Robert had a bout
of Guillain Barré syndrome that never went into remission
as most other cases do. Again, doctors have no idea of the
cause of this progressive loss of nervous system control, some
believing it is triggered by a virus.
- Steve, age
been suffering heart palpitations for years and finally was diagnosed
with atrial fibrillation, a quivering heart muscle in the
top chambers of the heart. Surgery and medication began to slowly
help Steve regain his energy. Steve wonders if his children will
inherit his problem. Despite successful treatment, neither surgery
nor medication addresses the still unknown cause of atrial fibrillation.
Millions of Americans, mostly men, face this same problem. Treatment
consists of prescribing blood thinners to prevent a blood clot
in the heart being thrown into the lungs or brain and controlled
destruction of the heart muscle (ablation) itself. But what is
at age 56, first noticed could not keep up with his 70-year old
brother in law when out hunting. He began to experience shortness
of breath, fatigue, swelling in his ankles and a persistent cough.
diagnosis: heart failure. The cure: the implantation of a
device in his chest that helps his heart pump blood. The device
is credited with saving his life. More commonly heart failure
is treated with a battery of drugs. But a recent study shows the
are of negligible value.
all of these illnesses may be related to a single nutritional deficiency.
deficiencies not on modern medicineís radar screen
medicine completely miss detection of a widespread vitamin deficiency
disease that emanates as many different diseases? Dr. Derrick Lonsdale
MD, a practicing physician in Cleveland, Ohio and noted expert on
the subject, says "it is possible to start thinking that our
disease model is catastrophically wrong." 22116701
In a recently
published journal article Dr. Lonsdale says that the origin of this
oversight can be traced to when "vitamins fell into disrepute
and even today they are often spurned by physicians who regard their
pharmaceutical use as absurd."
deficiency Dr. Lonsdale is talking about: thiamin Ė vitamin B1,
the very first vitamin ever discovered. Unknowingly, due to a shift
towards high carbohydrate diets, refined sugars and availability
of alcohol, beri beri, the name for vitamin B1 deficiency disease,
is alive and well in the modern world even though it was thought
to be conquered through food fortification decades ago.
beri is subtle. It is not the same vitamin deficiency disease that
was traced to removal of bran from polished rice decades ago and
quelled with vitamin fortified foods. As Dr. Lonsdale says, modern
beri beri as a disease characterized by high calorie intake and
where the diet is rich in carbohydrates. It occurs in over-fed human
populations. As early as 1914 it was known that the risk
for beriberi increases with greater carbohydrate and sugar consumption.
says there are often surprisingly clear clues to the disease found
in the diet. Sugary foods, particularly those with sucrose and fructose,
are the primary offenders. A classic example would be a person who
consumes three or four cans of soda pop a day. A shortage of vitamin
B1 then results in inefficient use of oxygen in the body and tissues
that require high amounts of oxygen, such as the heart and brain,
suffer the most.
beri drum beats on
The list of
maladies linked to vitamin B1 deficiency is extensive. It goes beyond
heart failure, fibromyalgia and atrial fibrillation mentioned above.
In fact, in
virtually every nerve disorder, including multiple
sclerosis and glaucoma
(optic nerve) a shortage of vitamin B1 should be ruled out with
a strong repeated dose of a highly absorbable form of thiamin.
may misdiagnose thiamin deficiency symptoms as Alzheimerís
heart failure, amnesia,
in the ears (tinnitus), peripheral
bowel (ulcerative colitis), loss of vision (amblyopia,
In an era where
modern medicine treats nearly every disease as if it were a "drug
deficiency," recent studies reveal that an overlooked nutrient,
vitamin B1, may have profound effect in treating or reducing the
risk for major diseases such as Alzheimerís disease, diabetic-related
and heart failure.
thiamine itself has not been shown to produce a significant or consistent
benefit in clinical trials of Alzheimerís disease. But a recent
study shows that the fat-soluble
form of vitamin B1 (benfotiamine) raises brain thiamine levels and
improves cognitive (thinking) ability in laboratory mice. This
study runs contrary to a prior study which said benfotiamine
does not raise thiamin levels in the brain. Is Alzheimerís disease
actually a form of "sugar on the brain" and vitamin
B1 its antidote?
origin of fibromyalgia
There are other
disorders that have arisen in modern times that exhibit elusive
origins that may involve thiamin deficiency. One is the modern plague
which continues to confound modern medicine. Physicians often
believe the common symptoms
of fibromyalgia are totally psychosomatic ("in their head")
since there is no blood test or other marker that explains the "disease."
symptoms overlap with those of irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular
join (TMJ) disorder and chronic low back pain. Conventional
treatment is disappointing.
In a 1998 report
published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, registered
dietician Barbara A. Monroe noted that fibromyalgia
has many similarities with thiamin deficiency, such as muscle
tenderness, frequent headaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue. In
developed countries, alcohol consumption explains most of the cases
of thiamin deficiency. The fact that fibromyalgia
has been linked to alcoholism in first-degree relatives suggests
there may also be genetic imprinting involved, passing on the genetic
patterns induced by alcohol-related thiamin deficiency.
B1 and diabetes
2008 researchers said: "More immediately, given the emerging
multiple benefits of thiamine repletion, even mild thiamine deficiency
in diabetes should be avoided and thiamine supplementation to high
dose should be considered as adjunct nutritional therapy to prevent
dyslipidemia (abnormal blood cholesterol) and the development of
vascular complications in clinical diabetes."
about the role of thiamin deficiency not just in the prevention
of diabetic complications, such a kidney, retinal and nerve damage,
but in the actual onset of the disease itself.
appears to thin the lining in the digestive tract, leading
to increased passage (permeability) of sugars from the diet.
In fact, the complete
disappearance of diabetes and the need for insulin therapy has
with thiamin therapy. Some researchers have described diabetes
thiamin-deficient state." A lack of thiamin impairs enzyme
(transketolase) activity, a key enzyme involved in the control of
sugar within living cells.
beriberi: thiamin deficiency heart failure
induced by a deficiency of thiamin is called cardiac beriberi. Anywhere
from 3% to 91% of patients with heart failure are vitamin-B1 deficient.
Thiamin supplementation is not widely practiced among cardiac patients
of its importance.
study conducted among hospitalized patients with congestive heart
failure found a
third (33%) of patients were thiamin deficient compared to healthy
subjects (12%). In another study, 98%
of patients taking a 80 mg dose of a common diuretic (furosemide)
were found to be deficient in vitamin B1. Increased urinary
loss of thiamin was the primary cause of the vitamin deficiency,
pointing to the widespread use of diuretics in this patient population
as the primary cause of the vitamin shortage.
of this is that cardiologists
commonly prescribe two thiamin-depeleting drugs Ė digoxin (digitalis)
and furosemide (a water pill) Ė to treat heart failure.
drugs deplete vitamin B1. Included in the list are many antibiotics
(penicillin, amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, gentamycin, kanamycin,
minoxycycline, neomycin, doxycycline and tetracycline). Theophylline,
a drug used to treat asthma, dilantin (phenytoin), used to treat
seizures, also interfere with vitamin B1.
and vitamin B1 deficiency
is a very common
heart rhythm disorder. About 1% of American adults endure this
distressing condition which is a major risk for stroke. Advancing
age increases risk for atrial fibrillation. Above 80-years of age
about 8-percent suffer with this problem.
This is the
way a recent
review article stated it: "Currently available anti-arrhythmic
(anti-abnormal heart rhythm) drugs for the management of AF are
not sufficiently effective and are burdened with cardiac and extra-cardiac
side effects that may offset their therapeutic benefits. Better
knowledge about the mechanisms underlying generation and maintenance
of atrial fibrillation may lead to the discovery of new targets
for pharmacological interventions."
In this era
of modern medicine, treatment appears to be very crude. Drugs that
inhibit blood clotting and subsequent stroke are employed at the
risk of inducing hemorrhages, and as a last resort, the patientís
heart tissue is intentionally destroyed by application of electrical
energy (radiofrequency), leaving scar tissue behind. Ablation treatment,
as it is called, is widely performed, but in this era of evidenced-based
medicine, there is no evidence that ablation makes any difference
in all-cause mortality. Symptoms are allayed, but does the patient
live any longer?
experience of atrial fibrillation causes this writer to look into
areas not investigated by prior investigators.
Here are some
pertinent facts surrounding atrial fibrillation that may help lead
to an understanding of its cause:
fibrillation and heart failure often co-exist in the same
patients. Each condition predisposes
to the other. Another abnormal heart rhythm, tachycardia
(fast heart rate) is also associated with atrial fibrillation.
blood sugar (diabetes) is associated with atrial fibrillation.
abuse and/or illicit drug use may induce atrial fibrillation
in young adults, which is not typical for this disease.
vomiting and ringing in the ears (tinnitus) have been reported
among patients with atrial fibrillation.
- While both
atrial fibrillation and senility (memory loss, Alzheimerís type)
occur more often with advancing age, for unexplained reasons,
coexists with atrial fibrillation more often in older adults under
the age of 70 years.
a drug often
prescribed for patients with heart failure, and is also prescribed
for patients with atrial fibrillation, has not been shown to improve
atrial function largely due to the fact that digitalis aggravates
intracellular calcium overload induced by chronic atrial fibrillation.
In fact, digitalis has been described as a dangerous
drug in atrial fibrillation. While digitalis reduces morbidity,
it has no
effect upon survival. Digitalis is even questioned
in heart failure. Accidental overdose with untypical digitalis
also can induce
atrial fibrillation in a child.
- Atrial fibrillation
often occurs after
heart surgery and may be accompanied by delirium.
- The use
of theophylline, an anti-asthma drug, is associated
with the onset of atrial fibrillation.
patients treated with a high-dose
water pill/diuretic (furosemide) are more likely to experience
treatment is associated with atrial fibrillation.
correlation can be made between atrial fibrillation, the above listed
factors, and a covert nutritional deficiency. All of the above co-factors
associated with atrial fibrillation are also correlated with a shortage
of thiamin Ė water-soluble vitamin B1.
it is difficult for physicians to fathom that a shortage of a simple
vitamin is what causes such widespread disease. After all, the daily
requirement for vitamin B1 is just 1.5 milligrams per day, which
should easily be met in a world of fortified foods and multivitamins.
Furthermore, the body stores about 30-50 milligrams. But body
stores can be depleted fairly rapidly, within 4-6 weeks. It
is not fully appreciated that the human bodyís reserve pool of thiamin,
can be fully
depleted within days.
modernus: itís in the tea cup, coffee mug and beer stein
of thiamin deficiency may be traced to another daily practice, the
consumption of coffee, tea or beer. Many millions of people consume
coffee or tea at the same time they take their morning multivitamin.
Whatís the problem with tea or coffee? They contain tannins
(bitter parts) that alter vitamin B1 and render it useless.
as found in wine, are another antagonist to B1. Alcohol
also interferes with B1 absorption. In fact, about 30-80% of
alcohol users have low circulating levels of B1. The lesson here
is not to take vitamin B1 pills with coffee, tea or alcohol.
vitamin B1 tablets may not result in resolution of deficiency-related
health problems. An obscure form of B1, the fat-soluble benfotiamine
form of thiamin, is highly advised. In 1998 it was reported that
produces 5 to 25 times greater vitamin B1 levels in the brain than
plain thiamin. Over a decade has past while modern medicine
has ignored this discovery. It appears that many millions of people
may have prematurely become senile who could have averted their
age-related brain disorder by supplementing their diet with benfotiamine.
thiamin may produce no respite from symptoms. Sometimes the only
way to remedy a shortage of thiamin in the brain is by intravenous
therapy. Benfotiamine may be effective in lieu of intravenous
programs significantly reduce symptoms of beriberi, but fall short
of providing complete protection from a totally preventable disease.
The single greatest strike against beriberi modernus would
be to fortify
beer with thiamin. But this has only been mulled over. No action
plans have been drawn. .
We should be
reminded that vitamin
B1 supplements didnít eradicate beri beri outbreaks in the Japanese
navy because they were "unpalatable." One would guess
that sailors would prefer sugar-coated vitamin pills, which would
block thiamin absorption.
will likely confound the best laid plans aimed at disease prevention.
Mega-dose vitamin pills will have to be designed to overcome the
proclivity for alcohol and sugar, since attempts to get the public
to abstain will likely fail.
The many profitable
drugs that modern medicine prescribes to curb the symptoms caused
by thiamin deficiency disease certainly give no incentive to properly
fortify foods and provide adequate doses of thiamin in multivitamins,
to get at the cause of this wide-spectrum disease.
pill should advisably be taken apart from coffee, tea or alcohol.
the lens of modern medicine
other developed countries have developed a lifestyle that unconsciously
foments a widespread shortage of vitamin B1. Because medical research
focuses on minutiae rather than looking at a broader picture, a
disease that is so widespread and manifests itself as many other
diseases is outside the lens of modern medicine. Modern medicine
is making too much money off of beri beri to cure it.
patients themselves demand the costly high-tech care that America
showcases to the world rather than 10-cent cures. When it comes
to preventing beriberi modernus, itís every man for himself.
Such is the current state of disease prevention in America today.
of beri beri (vitamin B1 deficiency):
- Loss of
feeling (sensation) in hands and feet
- Loss of
muscle function or paralysis of the lower legs
- Mental confusion/speech
side-to-side eye movements (nystagmus)
of lower legs
- Neck veins
that stick out
- Droopy eyelids
- Loss of
- Leg cramps
- Mental confusion
to pain or noise
- Pain upon
pressure to calves (classic early sign)
- Slow heart
rate or fast heart rate
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory loss
him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political
topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com.
latest book is Downsizing
© 2011 Bill Sardi Word of Knowledge Agency, San Dimas, California.
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