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High-dose vitamin B1 may improve fibromyalgia symptoms

Published on 06 June 2013
High-dose vitamin B1 may improve fibromyalgia symptomsA regular high dose of thiamine (vitamin B1) could help to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, experts have suggested.

Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic widespread pain and fatigue and is thought to affect up to 1.76 million adults in England and Wales alone.

Researchers at Villa Immacolata and the Catholic University of Rome in Italy conducted a small study involving three women with fibromyalgia to see if their condition improved following treatment with high doses of vitamin B1.

The women - aged 37, 58 and 60 years - were recruited between June and July 2011 and were given a physical examination and standard assessments for fibromyalgia.

They were then started on 600-1,800mg per day of oral vitamin B1 and the researchers contacted them regularly to evaluate their condition.

Publishing their preliminary observations in the journal BMJ Case Reports, the study authors revealed that improvements were seen among the three patients within just a few days of commencing vitamin treatment.

Patient one recorded a 71.3 per cent decrease in fatigue severity and an 80 per cent decline in chronic widespread pain.

In patient two, the corresponding improvements were 37 per cent for fatigue and 50 per cent for pain, and patient three recorded 60.7 per cent and 60 per cent improvements, respectively.

Treatment has been ongoing since the study began and there has been no sign of any decrease in efficacy.

The study authors wrote that the response to vitamin B1 had been "favourable", with no side-effects observed.

They suggested: "Chronic widespread pain in a patient with fibromyalgia is not a symptom of a classic thiamine deficiency; rather it may be because, within spinal and upper-spinal circuits that control sensory inputs, a more severe focal disruption of the transport-metabolism of thiamine exists that produces this irritative symptom."

While the researchers conceded that further studies are needed to confirm their observations, they concluded: "We strongly believe that our observations represent an important contribution to the relief of many patients."

A spokesman for Arthritis Research UK expressed scepticism about the research, saying that it was impossible to draw conclusions based on a study with three participating patients.
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