The case for Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) and Parkinson’s

There is an Italian doctor, Antonio Costanini, who treats Parkinson’s patients with high doses of Vitamin B1 (Thiamin). He first published a report about his results in 2013:

There are interesting Before/After Patient videos (in Italian, but some have subtitles)…a few are embedded below, more are available at:





News article (in rough English):

Neurotalk Discussion Thread about Dr. Costanini’s treatment :

Related thread on Neurotalk with more research links :

Follow up small study :

A Vietnamese American study also published a similar case study :

Other related publications:

Benefits of Thiamin (Vitamin B1) Administration in Neurodegenerative Diseases may be Due to Both the Coenzyme and Non-coenzyme Roles of Thiamin – Victoria I Bunik :

My Thoughts

All said, I tend to be skeptical of these types of videos. Years ago, Dr. David Perlmutter was big on Glutathione IVs, and made a number of similar before/after videos. To prove his results Perlmutter collaborated on a randomized, double-blind study of Glutathione IVs for Parkinson’s. However, the study results concluded with “We did not observe a significant improvement in parkinsonian signs and symptoms in the glutathione group when compared with the placebo group.”

These videos obviously require a controlled study to be validated or disproven.

However, while I am skeptical of this Vitamin B1 miracle, I do expect that there is some truth to it. In my own PD journey, I believe that B Complex Vitamins have helped me. In particular, after I converted from a standard B-100 complex blend to a methylized blend (P5P for B6, Metafolin/L-5MTHF for B9/Folate, Methylcobalamin for B12) because of my MTHFR genes, I felt more energy and stamina for workouts.

B1 Thiamin is part of the B complex vitamin that I take, but I also have been taking additional dosage of B1 Thiamin, which I believe has helped improve my metabolism and energy.

Dr. Costanini’s Vitamin B1 injections contain a large dose of B1, but also include lesser, but significant, amounts of other B vitamins. (Last year, I watched a video of a colleague of his presenting at a conference where he described what cofactors were in the injection, but I am unable to locate the video at present.) These other B vitamins may be significant if his results can be validated.

B Vitamins are generally safe, but you should always discuss supplements wth your doctor. In particular,  be aware that large amounts folate may interfere with levodopa absorption. Nutritionist Kathryn Holden has published a great write-up on Vitamins B6, B9 & B12 and Parkinson’s at

As for B1, maybe Dr. Costanini is on the right path.


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2 thoughts on “The case for Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) and Parkinson’s”

  1. Hi David,

    For B-complex, I take Douglas Labs B-Complex with metafolin, since March 2015. My MTHR genes are compound heterozygous, so this particular blend seemed to have the best methylized blend of B vitamins (P5P for B6, Metafolin/L-5MTHF for B9/Folate, Methylcobalamin for B12). I’m not a strong believer in blaming MTHR for every health problem, but I do think there is considerable evidence that it does affect the body’s ability to process some of the B vitamins. This formula is still good if you don’t have any MTHR issues, but I’m just explaining why I chose this one.

    I also take what would be considered an excessive amount of B1, 1g in the AM and 1g in the PM, since May 2015. (I am planning to increase to 3g/day.) As a point of reference, the Douglas Labs B complex has 50mg of B1, or 1/20 of 1g. For this, I take Solgar B1 500mg. Of course, you should discuss with a doctor, but my understanding is that B1 is water soluble, and any excess just comes out in your urine.

    I also take an excess of B12, Jarrow Methyl-B12 500mg. I am less regular about taking this, on average every other or every third day. This is dissolved sublingually under the tongue, which is supposed to be a better way for bio-availability.

    Since October 2016, I have also been taking Nicotinamide Riboside (I take Jarrow, but this is a proprietary blend licensed from Niagen, and I am considering other brands). This is a form of niacin/B3, and has drawn interest primarily as a cellular energy booster and for potential anti-aging properties. From a Parkinson’s perspective, I am taking it to boost NAD+ levels and cellular energy. And as a side effect, I believe it is giving me more energy for exercise.

    A study published in the last month suggests boosting NAD+ levels may be neuroprotective. Granted, this was a fruit fly study, looking primarily at genetic conditions that are more likely to result in PD:

    Here’s a good article that explains more about that study:

    I generally buy from Amazon…not sure how reliable their product sources are…



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