• Vitamins In Absentia: When The “Death Angel” Comes To Visit

    Posted July 21, 2013: by Bill Sardi

    It was S.C. Gilfillan in 1965 who wrote in the Journal of Occupational Medicine that chronic lead poisoning resulted in the fall of the Roman Empire centuries ago.

    It was lead, largely in wine, grape syrup and preserved fruit as well as in paint, which resulted in infertility among the ruling classes in Rome.  Sterility, miscarriage, stillbirth and premature labor rose to the point where the inheritance of the Roman culture was left to the less capable who were unable to bear the responsibilities of government.  Rome fell from within.

    Now another hidden dietary threat is ready to topple well-fed modern civilizations, and according to one expert, it poses the same severe threat to modern human civilization as lead did in Rome centuries ago.

    This alarm bell is being rung by Dr. Derrick Lonsdale MD, retired physician in Cleveland, Ohio, with 64-years of clinical experience, who says a shortage of a single nutritional factor is in the process of up-ending western civilization.

    No, he is not talking about the well-publicized antibiotic resistance problem and the threats to life it poses, even though the prospect of a future without “magic bullet” antibiotics like penicillin and vancomycin could cause a return of the bubonic plague that prevailed during the Middle Ages.

    When the death angel visits

    Dr. Lonsdale is talking about the “angel of death” vitamin.  The “death angel” visits when this vitamin is in short supply. Thiamin wards off this death angel like garlic scares away vampires.

    A century ago a shortage of this vitamin in Japan resulted in a rise in the death rate to 20 per 100,000.  When health authorities remedied the problem, the death rate dropped to 0.5 per 100,000 – a 40-fold difference!

    In 1882 when a Japanese navy ship raised its anchors and returned to port 272 days later with 61% of its crew in caskets, it became clear a lack of this vitamin, even over a short period of time, can rapidly result in major fatalities.  Removal of rice husks in polished rice at the time also removed vitamin B1 in the bran portion of the rice.  Replacement of bran resolved this epidemic.  But not for long.  A tendency for teenagers to consume excessive sweet carbonated soft drinks, instant noodles and powermill-polished rice reintroduced a vitamin deficiency and heart failure among the young in Japan.

    Deaths without a known cause

    Dr. Lonsdale notes that people are succumbing to heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, even sudden infant death, without a hint the cause of their demise may be a vitamin deficiency induced by, of all things, abundant high-calorie diets.

    Dr. Lonsdale calls it “high calorie malnutrition.”

    One striking fact laboratory experiments reveal is that thiamin-deficient animals can survive for many months if sugars and carbohydrates are excluded from the diet.

    Just as in ancient Rome, a marked increase in infertility was noted in the U.S. during the same years when high fructose corn syrup was being introduced in many soft drinks and foods.  Fertility clinics are a recent development in the U.S.

    Deficiency or lack of absorption?

    Dr. Lonsdale is not talking about the absence or shortage of a vitamin in the diet per se.  In fact, this vitamin is abundantly provided in fortified foods like breakfast cereals as well as flour for baked goods.

    For many millions of relatively well-fed Americans, they are just one-milligram a day away from suffering complete depletion of this water-soluble vitamin that requires daily replenishment.

    Few if any Americans are aware the soft drinks, coffee and tea they drink, the sugar they add to their morning cereal, the medicine pills they swallow, the antacids they down, the wine and beer they consume with their evening meal, are blocking absorption of this life-and-death vitamin  — thiamin (vitamin B1).

    The median intake of thiamin from food in the United States is approximately 2 mg/ day, with 5% of the population consuming approximately 6.1 mg.  The Recommended Daily Allowance is 1.5 mg.  Millions of Americans consume 1 milligram or less a day, and even less is absorbed.

    The broad spectrum of this modern version of beri beri, which is what abject vitamin B1 deficiency disease is called, is captured in an accompanying graphic.


    Common symptoms of thiamin deficiency are mental depression, weakness, backaches, insomnia, soreness of muscles (fibromyalgia), anorexia, nausea (during pregnancy), vomiting, weight loss, poor muscle tone, low blood pressure and slow heart rate, heart palpitations (fibrillation) and angina chest pain.

    Idiopathic (unexplained) maladies

    Among the unexplained modern maladies that cropped up only in recent times, such as irritable bowel, sleep apnea, Guillain Barre syndrome, fibromyalgia, bladder dysregulation, autism, all are associated with a shortage of thiamin.

    Shortage of two nutrients

    Of further interest is the demonstrated fact that with a shortage of magnesium, vitamin B1-deficiency is exacerbated.  Magnesium appears to be an essential co-factor with thiamin.  Lack of magnesium may render supplemental thiamin useless.  A lack of both of these nutrients has been demonstrated to produce early mortality syndrome among embryos of wild fish.

    The lead threat returns

    Recall the lead poisoning that S.C. Gilfillan retrospectively links to infertility among the ruling classes in ancient Rome.  Ironically, combined low thiamin and magnesium blood serum levels result in increased lead absorption and resultant nerve destruction.  Recognize that alcohol depletes both magnesium and thiamin from humans.  So the problem of lead exposure is acute among those who regularly consume alcohol.  That very same deadly alcohol-induced vitamin and mineral depletion was combined with added lead in Roman wines.

    While lead may have been removed from paints and gasoline in the past two decades, tons of lead are imbedded in U.S. roadways dating back to when leaded gasoline was used, creating widespread chronic lead exposure.

    Cross-over symptoms

    The symptoms of magnesium deficiency parallel those of a shortage of thiamin:  loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms.  The same medications that deplete thiamin (antibiotics, diuretics) deplete magnesium.

    More than half of the US population does not meet the US Recommended Daily Allowance for magnesium.  It is estimated less than 20% of the American population do not consume the Recommended Daily Allowance for thiamin, but that is raw intake data.  That number does not indicate how much thiamin gets absorbed.

    Those who escape may be chronically ill

    Those thiamin-deficient individuals who are not left infertile or who have not met their early demise due to a visit from “the death angel” may end up as mindless zombies.  The first evidence that a lack of thiamin is involved in the accumulation of beta amyloid plaque and tau protein in the brain, both associated with memory loss, has now been made.

    Modern medicine has no financial incentives to treat this umbrella disease as a simple vitamin would replace so many drugs used to treat the symptoms of “high calorie malnutrition.”

    That modern medicine has failed to see the forest and only the trees is an incredible indictment of the medical profession’s habit of treating single diseases with single drugs and addressing all diseases as if they are drug rather than nutritional deficiencies.  ©2013 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.


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