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118: Is subclinical thiamine deficiency a contributor to many diseases?

Masterjohn Q&A Files Episode 118


Question: Is subclinical thiamine deficiency a contributor to many diseases?

So in terms of like in terms of subclinical deficiency, is it common, does it exist? It is hard to answer because, as usual, most of the data that's clear is on severe deficiencies, but there are some studies. I wouldn't say that there's a huge body of literature. There are some studies suggesting that even if you take a group of people who have some blood sugar issues and they are not thiamine deficient by classical standards, you can give them a hundred milligrams of thiamine hydrochloride a day and their blood sugar improves. So I think that's pretty good evidence that there is widespread subclinical thiamine deficiency. A lot of nutrition scientists and policymakers would object to using the word deficiency in that context.

But the way that I see it is if you do a study and you show that blood sugar improves with a hundred milligrams of thiamine, unless you have a hypothesis about why a hundred milligrams of thiamine hydrochloride would be acting pharmacologically rather than nutritionally. And by that, I mean having some different effect at a higher than normal level, a supraphysiological level, that activates some biochemical pathway that is never activated at normal nutritional levels that could be obtained from food.

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DISCLAIMER: I have a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and my expertise is in performing and evaluating nutritional research. I am not a medical doctor and nothing herein is medical advice.

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The Masterjohn Q&A Files
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Chris Masterjohn, PhD