Has Paleo left you Thiamine Deficient?

by (1577) Updated February 19, 2014 at 10:40 AM Created May 20, 2013 at 8:10 PM

I have been Paleo for a few years (34 years old, 6ft, 190lbs 8-10%) now and wanted to share an experience i was having with an early waking sleep problems throughout my time on Paleo. I had limited success with supplementing Biotin (B-7) due to lots of eggs (and whites) I eat daily. I also make a smoothy once a week with 1-4 oz of raw liver and I eat oysters once a week.

More recently I had the most profound experience when taking a supplement and I can find zero evidence to support my results. I tried a Thiamine (benfotiamine) supplement on a whim and after one dose (I now take one pill every other day) experienced relaxation and ease of a full nights sleeps on the level I have never experienced while pale. I can now even nap freely and easily while sleeping a full 8-10 hours. I also seem to need way less carbs now, or am I absorbing carbs more efficiently now.

Has anyone had this experience with Thiamine? Most research on Thiamine deficiency has to do with alcohol dependency/ gastric bypass, has anyone been diagnosed with Thiamine deficiency?

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11648 · May 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM

This might be the case, since on Paleo we don't eat beans (not even traditionally-prepared). To me this became apparent via a proxy: I was craving for kale chips. For months! I'd go through bags of kale chips from Trader Joe's like they were water.

My husband got quite unhappy about it, since these are pretty pricey. The kale chips I was doing at home were not "doing it" for me, I needed the "cheesy" flavor.

It's only recently that I realized that it wasn't kale that I was craving (I thought I was vit-A deficient or something, for craving it so much), but B1. The nutritional yeast that the cheesy version of the commercial kale chips has about 500% the RDA for B1, per serving. This explained everything, especially since I was very rarely hitting 100% RDA on B1 on my daily food intake (I'm tracking what I eat).

875 · May 21, 2013 at 1:29 AM

I've seen many of these threads of people either not making it to the B1 RDA on a consistent basis. The only significant sources come in oats and grains like brown rice. (most people here reject brown rice and go with white rice which has barely any nutrients). Another source is lean pork but most people eat fatty pork cuts like bacon. Even if you eat 500 calories of bacon you still only get around 20% of your daily b1, as the vitamin is in the muscle meat.

952 · May 21, 2013 at 12:59 AM

Do you eat pork? It's one of the foods highest in thiamin, isn't it?

5814 · May 20, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Funny you mentioned this. I've been tracking on cronometer for a while. I was analyzing trends this week, and I seem to be only averaging 50% rda on B1, B5, and folate. And Eugenia, I'm also craving kale! I've been looking at the PHD recs on supplements, and will probably start adding some of those. They recommend a once weekly supplement of B complex.


5 · February 19, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Also from what I've read, baker's yeast can actually deprive the body of b vitamins because it's alive and will grow inside, but high temperatures probably kills it. What about baker's yeast in pressure cooked bone broth ? I guess I will try that.

0 · February 18, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Trying taking unsalted sunflower seeds and checking your magnesium levels. You can go as a high as 450 for Magnesium this will also help with calming the nerves and better sleep.

5 · February 18, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Not legumes, hibiscus tea and a search for highest thiamin content per calorie of food at nutritiondata.com

Editing: Hibiscus tea isn't a significant source and thiaminase can be a problem, see my reply below.

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