High-dose thiamine improves fatigue after stroke: a report of three cases

J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Sep;20(9):683-5. doi: 10.1089/acm.2013.0461.


Background and objectives: A previous study on fatigue and related disorders in inflammatory bowel disease, patients improved after therapy with high-dose thiamine. Chronic fatigue that accompanies inflammatory and autoimmune diseases could be the clinical manifestation of a mild thiamine deficiency, probably due to a dysfunction of intracellular transport or enzymatic abnormalities. Fatigue is a common symptom after stroke. Some studies show a severe functional effect of this symptom, as well as a high mortality rate. Necrotic cell death after cerebral ischemia triggers the activation of the immune system, followed by an inflammatory response. It is likely that fatigue related to stroke could benefit from high-dose thiamine. Consequently, the authors began treating poststroke patients with oral or parenteral high-dose thiamine.

Design: Case study.

Materials and methods: Three patients with stroke who also experienced fatigue were recruited. Severity of the fatigue was assessed by using the Fatigue Severity Scale. Blood free thiamine and thiamine pyrophosphate levels were within the healthy reference range in all the patients. Oral or parenteral therapy with high-dose thiamine was started.

Results: The therapy led to an appreciable improvement of fatigue.

Conclusion: This observation suggests that poststroke fatigue and related disorders could be the manifestation of mild thiamine deficiency due to a dysfunction of intracellular transport of thiamine or to structural enzymatic abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Fatigue / drug therapy*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Thiamine / therapeutic use*
  • Thiamine Deficiency / complications
  • Thiamine Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Vitamin B Complex / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Thiamine