Thiamine And Cancer

haidut

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Hi all,

There have been many studies on thiamine (vitamin B1) and its effects on cancer. The studies report mixed results, with some studies suggesting thiamine stimulates tumor growth and others saying it retards tumor growth. There has been a recent study (2013), which does a more thorough review on the role of thiamine in cancer and what are the discrepancies. It seems that whether thiamine helps of hinders cancers depends very much on its ability to stimulate pyruvate dehydrogenase and reduce lactate. So, if you are given thiamine and it does those two things for you then it will help with cancer. Otherwise, it may hurt. Well, what determines if thiamine lowers lactate and activates pyruvate dehydrogenase? Individual variability, metabolism, age, exposure to toxins, etc. So, basically everybody's response would be unique. That's pretty bad news from a medical point of view since it means everybody has to be evaluated separately, which pretty much guarantees that no doctor would give thiamine 2 seconds of their time. However, the researchers noticed that at high dosages pretty much everybody started responding to thiamine. Here is an excerpt from the study:

http://cgp.iiarjournals.org/content/10/4/169.full.pdf

"...A metabolic control analysis demonstrated a high stimulatory effect on tumor growth of 164% compared with controls with a thiamine dose of 25-fold the recommended dietary allowance (RDA); however, at very high doses of thiamine, ~2500-fold the RDA, the opposite effect was observed, producing an [haidut note: average] inhibitory effect on tumor growth of 36% compared with control animals (153). The Authors suggested that when thiamine supplementation is necessary for patients with cancer it should be administered at high doses to avoid the tumor-promoting effect of low doses."

So, the above inhibitory effect is an aggregate effect over many types of cancer and many types of patients. Another way to put it would be that high doses of thiamine would reduce tumor growth by 36% on average in most types of cancer. That's a pretty strong statement, and the only one I have ever seen made about a vitamin! Time will tell if it holds true as it has been shown for aspirin.
But more to the point, Ray seems to be once again correct in his assessment that agents that activate pyruvate dehydrogenase (thus kickstarting oxidative metabolism, lowering lactate, and limiting glycolysis), which thiamine does - such agents would be very helpful in the treatment/management of cancer. Palmitic acid is another such agent, and I believe fructose does it as well.
Finally, how much is 2500-fold RDA for thiamine? It is about 3,500mg daily, which suddenly do not seem that high when you take into account the other studies I posted on Chron's, PD, and MS. I think there is method to the madness. Dosages of thiamine that helped with those conditions, and even higher ones, would be helpful in cancer.
Thoughts?
 
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Peata

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Makes me worry about the 250 - 500 mg. I've been taking daily.
 

Giraffe

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"...A metabolic control analysis demonstrated a high stimulatory effect on tumor growth of 164% compared with controls with a thiamine dose of 25-fold the recommended dietary allowance (RDA); however, at very high doses of thiamine, ~2500-fold the RDA, the opposite effect was observed, producing an [haidut note: average] inhibitory effect on tumor growth of 36% compared with control animals (153). The Authors suggested that when thiamine supplementation is necessary for patients with cancer it should be administered at high doses to avoid the tumor-promoting effect of low doses."
"2500-fold" looks not correct to me. *)

The effect of thiamine supplementation on tumour proliferation

This must be the study where that figure came from. From the full text:
A clear thiamine stimulatory effect on tumour growth was found in a range of thiamine concentrations between 12.5 and 75 times the RDA, with a maximum effect (164% of cell proliferation increase with respect to controls) at a dose of 25 times the RDA.
...

In that study they did not only administer thiamine (as thiamine HCl), but also oxythiamine (never heard of that substance, lol). I googled a bit... It is described as "thiamine analog", "thiamine antagonist", "a toxin that causes functional thiamine deficiency" and as an "irreversible inhibitor of transketolase" and as such a possible chemotherapy drug.

So as other cells, the cancer cells need thiamine to survive. Administration of oxythiamine caused functional thiamine deficiency. Then they supplementented thiamine and checked at which dose the net effect was zero? This is what figure 1 looks like to me.

Am I missing something?

*) Edit to add: Don't know how to interpret a figures for thiamine if a thiamine antagonist was used as well.

-----

Sidenote: Ray Peat mentioned 300 mg thiamine when asked about cancer.
 
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haidut

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"2500-fold" looks not correct to me. *)

The effect of thiamine supplementation on tumour proliferation

This must be the study where that figure came from. From the full text:

...

In that study they did not only administer thiamine (as thiamine HCl), but also oxythiamine (never heard of that substance, lol). I googled a bit... It is described as "thiamine analog", "thiamine antagonist", "a toxin that causes functional thiamine deficiency" and as an "irreversible inhibitor of transketolase" and as such a possible chemotherapy drug.

So as other cells, the cancer cells need thiamine to survive. Administration of oxythiamine caused functional thiamine deficiency. Then they supplementented thiamine and checked at which dose the net effect was zero? This is what figure 1 looks like to me.

Am I missing something?

*) Edit to add: Don't know how to interpret a figures for thiamine if a thiamine antagonist was used as well.

-----

Sidenote: Ray Peat mentioned 300 mg thiamine when asked about cancer.

It's not a typo. The 2,500 is from the study itself. Look on page 174, bottom left portion of the page. Here is the full quote again:
"...A metabolic control analysis demonstrated a high stimulatory effect on tumor growth of 164% compared with controls with a thiamine dose of 25-fold the recommended dietary allowance (RDA); however, at very high doses of thiamine, ~2500-fold the RDA, the opposite effect was observed, producing an inhibitory effect on tumor growth of 36% compared with control animals (153). The Authors suggested that when thiamine supplementation is necessary for patients with cancer, it should be administered at high doses to avoid the tumor-promoting effect of low doses."

Oxythiamine is a thiamine antagonist. It depletes thiamine in the cell and I would never try it for any disease. The idea of using oxythiamine stems from the idea of starving the cancer of glucose. It does not work, many things like this have been tried with horrible results. Another similar approach that was tried was using 2-DG (a glucose substitute that cannot be metabolized) and fooling the cancer into starvation. Needless to say, that did not work either. If starving therapy works at all it should be aimed at restricting fat supply to the tumor, not glucose. I posted a few articles recently on tumors being addicted to fat and Ray wrote about that too and the role of the enzyme FAS in tumor growth.
The goal should not be to deprive tumor cells of thiamine since the goal is not to try and kill them. When you deprive them of their nutrient they grow and multiply even faster. The goal is to provide a high dose of thiamine to inhibit the excessive glycolysis in the cancer cell AND also inhibit carbonic anhydrase (as thiamine is a CA inhbitor) and thus sending the signal to the cancer cell that things are OK in the environment and there is no need to grow and divide.
 

Giraffe

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@haidut, you quoted from a review. What the reviewers wrote is misleading. Also what the authors of the original study wrote is not quite correct. I don't understand why the authors of the review incluced that study in the first place, and then failed to mention that a thiamine antagonist was used while thiamine was supplemented.

I am not worried of "cancer-promoting properties" of thiamine at doses of 300 mg /day. :wink
 

TubZy

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Hi all,

There have been many studies on thiamine (vitamin B1) and its effects on cancer. The studies report mixed results, with some studies suggesting thiamine stimulates tumor growth and others saying it retards tumor growth. There has been a recent study (2013), which does a more thorough review on the role of thiamine in cancer and what are the discrepancies. It seems that whether thiamine helps of hinders cancers depends very much on its ability to stimulate pyruvate dehydrogenase and reduce lactate. So, if you are given thiamine and it does those two things for you then it will help with cancer. Otherwise, it may hurt. Well, what determines if thiamine lowers lactate and activates pyruvate dehydrogenase? Individual variability, metabolism, age, exposure to toxins, etc. So, basically everybody's response would be unique. That's pretty bad news from a medical point of view since it means everybody has to be evaluated separately, which pretty much guarantees that no doctor would give thiamine 2 seconds of their time. However, the researchers noticed that at high dosages pretty much everybody started responding to thiamine. Here is an excerpt from the study:

http://cgp.iiarjournals.org/content/10/4/169.full.pdf

"...A metabolic control analysis demonstrated a high stimulatory effect on tumor growth of 164% compared with controls with a thiamine dose of 25-fold the recommended dietary allowance (RDA); however, at very high doses of thiamine, ~2500-fold the RDA, the opposite effect was observed, producing an [haidut note: average] inhibitory effect on tumor growth of 36% compared with control animals (153). The Authors suggested that when thiamine supplementation is necessary for patients with cancer it should be administered at high doses to avoid the tumor-promoting effect of low doses."

So, the above inhibitory effect is an aggregate effect over many types of cancer and many types of patients. Another way to put it would be that high doses of thiamine would reduce tumor growth by 36% on average in most types of cancer. That's a pretty strong statement, and the only one I have ever seen made about a vitamin! Time will tell if it holds true as it has been shown for aspirin.
But more to the point, Ray seems to be once again correct in his assessment that agents that activate pyruvate dehydrogenase (thus kickstarting oxidative metabolism, lowering lactate, and limiting glycolysis), which thiamine does - such agents would be very helpful in the treatment/management of cancer. Palmitic acid is another such agent, and I believe fructose does it as well.
Finally, how much is 2500-fold RDA for thiamine? It is about 3,500mg daily, which suddenly do not seem that high when you take into account the other studies I posted on Chron's, PD, and MS. I think there is method to the madness. Dosages of thiamine that helped with those conditions, and even higher ones, would be helpful in cancer.
Thoughts?

Is your view still accurate on thiamine based on this thread, I noticed this thread is 4 years old? If so, you are saying high dose thiamine only is the best way to go?
 

bzmazu

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Interested in this too.
 

haidut

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Is your view still accurate on thiamine based on this thread, I noticed this thread is 4 years old? If so, you are saying high dose thiamine only is the best way to go?

Peat was asked about this recently and he said 300mg up to twice a day is enough for people with cancer. Obviously, measuring lactate and blood B1 levels would be needed to see if the B1 is even absorbed as absorption is low in many sick people, and would show if the dose is enough to have a clinically meaningful effect on lactate and CO2.
 

haidut

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