WHAT’S WRONG WITH US?
Almost idly I asked, “What’s wrong with us?” It seems as though our prefrontal cortexes, the part of the brain behind the forehead, has somehow gone missing. Could it be an infection, a parasite, an allergy? The question made me think of ergot.
“Ergot has an interesting history. During the Middle Ages, ergotism, a severe reaction to ergot-contaminated food (such as rye bread), was common and was known as St. Anthony’s fire. Also, some historians believe that ergot played a role in the Salem witch hunt of 1692. They think that some women in Salem developed peculiar behaviors and accused other women of being witches as a result of eating ergot-contaminated food.” WebMD
I looked on the Internet to see what could affect the prefrontal cortex. One answer was thiamine. Vitamin B1. I’d already been reading about thiamine, that it could improve peripheral neuropathy (tingling and burning feet) in Diabetes 2 people, but that it needed to be both fat and water soluble. I’ve be taking Beta Benfotiamine for a month or more and it seems to be working.
But now I’m reading that there is a great thiamine deficit in most Americans, particularly if they drink. I’m reading that the deficit can lead to beri-beri with symptoms so mild that they are often labeled psychosomatic. B1 is involved with the metabolism of sugar and the regulation of high blood pressure, both of which are widespread afflictions of Americans. The symptoms begin to sound like the “metabolic syndrome” people talked about for a while or even like Hans Selye’s theories about basic stress.
“My direct answer to this question is that it is indeed extremely common. There is good reason for it because sugar ingestion is so extreme and ubiquitous within the population as a whole. It is the reason that I mentioned the experiment of Rudolph Peters. Ingestion of sugar is causing widespread beriberi, masking as psychosomatic disease and dysautonomia. The symptoms and physical findings vary according to the stage of the disease. For example, a low or a high acid in the stomach can occur at different times as the effects of the disease advance. Both are associated with gastroesophageal reflux and heartburn, suggesting that the acid content is only part of the picture. . . .”
NOTE: Heartburn is another widespread and constantly troublesome affliction of Americans today.
“It is extremely easy to detect thiamine deficiency by doing a test on red blood cells. Unfortunately this test is either incomplete or not performed at all by any laboratory known to me.”
My own widely respected doctor refused to do a test, simply bent me over and gave me a thiamine shot in the butt without telling me how much thiamine it was. She said this was efficient. It only lasts in the bloodstream about 24 hours.
Dysautonomia is a new term for me.
“Dysautonomia refers to a group of neurological disorders in which the autonomic nervous system (ANS) has become dysregulated. This can involve the failure of either the sympathetic nervous system or parasympathetic nervous system or both. The symptoms of dysautonomia can affect every system in the body, sometimes in unpredictable ways.”
The word is an umbrella meaning difficulties with the autonomic (sympathetic/parasympathetic) nerve system which can be detected from the outside but cannot be reached by consciousness, thus sometimes considered psychosomatic. Again, this concept is a bit old and does not include the research of Porges’ “third strand of vagus nerve” that connects to the expressive face, breath and heart, which include access to empathy.
Symptoms of dysautonomia include:
- Bradycardia (Abnormally Low Heart Rate) or Tachycardia (Abnormally High Heart Rate)
- Widely fluctuating Blood Pressure, high or low.
- Frequent, Large Swings in Heart Rate or Blood Pressure
- Orthostatic Intolerance or Exercise Intolerance
- Frequent Bouts of Dehydration
- Chronic Fatigue
- Heart Palpitations
- Dizziness or Vertigo
- Syncope (losing consciousness) or Near Syncope
- Low Blood Volume
- Frequent Nausea and Gastrointestinal Motility Issues
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath
- Frequent Migraines or Headaches
- Hypersensitivity to Light, Sound, Touch, or Smell
- Difficulty Regulating Temperature
The most vivid example of thiamine deficiency is Korsakoff syndrome: https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6843/wernicke-korsakoff-syndrome
“Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is a brain disorder, due to thiamine deficiency that has been associated with both Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome. The term refers to two different syndromes, each representing a different stage of the disease. Wernicke’s encephalopathy represents the “acute” phase and Korsakoff’s syndrome represents the “chronic” phase. However, they are used interchangeably in many sites. Wernicke’s encephalopathy is characterized by confusion, abnormal stance and gait (ataxia), and abnormal eye movements (nystagmus). Korsakoff’s syndrome is observed in a small number of patients. It is a type of dementia, characterized by memory loss and confabulation (filling in of memory gaps with data the patient can readily recall) and involvement of the heart, vascular, and nervous system. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome mainly results from chronic alcohol use, but also from dietary deficiencies, prolonged vomiting, eating disorders, systemic diseases (cancer, AIDS, infections), bariatric surgery, transplants, or the effects of chemotherapy.”
No mention is made of confusing these things with street drug ingestion which makes me suspect it’s also out of date. Other information is hard to find because it affects merchandizing, something like the huge impact of the worry about gluten or vegetarianism. Also, these are the kinds of things that are vulnerable to the body’s internal generation of molecules in the form of hormones which are needed but may escape proper calibration in exceptional circumstances, including lesions or behavior.
The great symphony of dynamic elements interacting with the environment is why humans are so various and unpredictable. But it also accounts for our fascination and the possibility of achieving peak excellence in many different ways from athletics to mathematics to poetry. Thiamine might be compared to the conductor of an assortment of instruments: brass, woodwinds, percussion, strings, human song. It’s been around a while but is subject to variables like content in current crops of grain (esp. those genetically altered for use with herbicides), how grains are stored and milled, willingness to supplement universally consumed foods, awareness of physicians (particularly those who treat psychic uneasiness) and the obsessions of addiction.
I’m just beginning to get a grasp on this universal called thiamine, its importance, and its deficit in the American population. Much less can prove any impact on what’s wrong with us. Yet.