Vitamin B1 or Thiamine Functions: Benefits | Deficiency | Foods | Dosage

What Does Vitamin B1 or Thiamine Do?

Vitamin B1, or Thiamine, is an important nutrient required by the human body. It has many health benefits, from protecting the heart and brain to strengthing the immune system.

Like all B-complex vitamins, vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin. It helps the body to convert food into energy. It is present in:

  • Food  
  • Multivitamins
  • Individual Supplements

The body requires thiamine to make adenosine triphosphate – ATP. This is a molecule that transmits energy within the cell.

How Does Vitamin B1 Promote Good Health?

Health Benefits of Thiamine: Thiamine is one of the essential nutrients needed by the body and helps in many important functions. It offers the following health benefits:

  • Boosts Energy Production: When sugar is mixed with vitamin B1, it becomes energy for your body. B1 helps speed up this process while supporting other enzymes.
  • Improve Appetite: Thiamine can significantly improve appetite and mental alertness.
  • Helps Digestion: Vitamin B1 also helps the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which is essential for the complete digestion of food particles.
  • Helps Fight Depression: Taking vitamin B1 supplements along with anti-depressants is beneficial for depression and stress. Vitamin B1 helps relieve symptoms more quickly and stabilize your mood.
  • Improve Memory: Improves memory. Getting enough Vitamin B1 can help improve memory and concentration. It is also known as the “morale vitamin” due to its positive effect on brain function and attitude.
  • Good for Diabetes: Studies have shown that after 6 weeks of intake of vitamin B1, hyperglycemia and insulin levels will improve. B1 also helps reduce heart complications and high blood pressure in diabetic patients.
  • Prevents Circulatory & Kidney problems: A dose of vitamins B1 with B12 can help relieve nerve pain in diabetic patients and reduce the need for painkillers.
  • Anti-aging properties: Vitamin B1 is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from the signs of aging, like age spots, wrinkles, and other age-related conditions that often affect organs, Hence, keeps you young inside and out.
  • Reduce the Effects of Sepsis: Reduces the effects of sepsis. Sepsis is a severe response to infection that can become fatal with low levels of vitamin B1. Together with vitamin C, B1 can reduce the effects of sepsis. It can also decrease the risk of kidney failure that often results from infection.
  • Decreases Heart Disease Risk: Vitamin B1 is key to the production of acetylcholine. It is the element that helps your body transmit information between nerves and muscles. Without this communication, your heart cannot function properly.
  • Protect Nerves: Vitamin B1 contributes to the normal development of myelin sheath around nerves. B1 deficiency can lead to the deterioration of these coverings.
  • Prevents Cataracts: When used with other crucial nutrients, vitamin B1 can prevent or prevent the onset of cataracts.
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s disease: It is well known that vitamin B1 can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Stimulates Production of RBC: Vitamin B1 plays a vital role in producing ‎red blood cells (RBCs), which keep people active, healthy, and energized.‎
  • Relieves Effects of Alcoholism: Vitamin B1 can combat deficiencies caused by other effects of liver cirrhosis, hyperthyroidism, infection, and other effects of alcoholism

What Happens When Don’t You Get Enough Vitamin B1?

Signs and Symptoms of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Deficiency: In the United States, Vitamin B1 deficiency is rare, as most people meet the RDA through their diets. ‎

  • ‎‎Loss of Appetite: One common early symptom of thiamine deficiency is a loss of ‎appetite or anorexia. Thiamin plays a key role in the control of the “satiety ‎” 
  • Fatigue: Fatigue is a common sign of Vitamin B1 deficiency and should not be ignored.‎
  • Irritability: Frequent irritability could be an early sign of Vitamin B1 deficiency, especially ‎in infants.‎
  • Reduced Reflexes: The damage caused by untreated B1 deficiency can affect “your motor nerves,” resulting in weakened or loss of reflexes.
  • Tingling in Arms & Legs: Deficiency of B1 can lead to paresthesias. Abnormal prickling, tingling, burning, or sensation of pins or needles in the upper and lower limbs is a paresthesias symptom.
  • Muscle Weakness: Muscle weakness, especially in the upper arms and legs, may ‎occur due to thiamin deficiency.‎
  • Vomiting or Nausea: In rare cases, gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, or abdominal pain may be symptoms of Vitamin B1 deficiency.
  • Blurred Vision: Deficiency of Vitamin B1 can damage the optic nerve, leading to blurred vision or blindness.
  • Shortness of Breath: Heart failure caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency can cause ‎ It can happen when fluid accumulates in the lungs.‎
  • Changes in Heart Rate: Deficiency of thiamin will cause a drop in heart rate, leading to increased fatigue and dizziness.
  • Delirium: Delirium is a serious condition that can cause reduced awareness, confusion, and inability to think clearly. Some people with thiamine deficiency may show signs of delirium and develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, especially if the vitamin B1 deficiency is caused by chronic alcoholism.

Who Is At Risk of Thiamin Deficiency?‎

People with poor diet, cancer, bariatric ‎surgery, hemodialysis, and morning sickness during pregnancy are at risk of thiamin deficiency.‎

Vitamin B1 or Thiamine Rich Foods

Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet that includes thiamine-rich foods can help prevent B1 deficiency. Here is a list of good sources of Vitamin B1, in addition to the recommended daily intake (RDI) found in 100 grams:

  • Beef liver:       ‎             13% of the RDI
  • Black beans:  ‎             16% of the RDI
  • Lentils: ‎                        15% of the RDI
  • Edamame:                ‎   13% of the RDI
  • Pork lion: ‎                    37% of the RDI
  • Asparagus:                  10% of the RDI
  • Macadamia nuts: ‎      80% of the RDI

Many foods contain small amounts of thiamin, including meat, fish, seeds, and nuts. Most people can meet their thiamine needs without supplements. Also, in many countries, grains, cereals, and bread are often fortified with thiamine.

How Much Vitamin B1 Do You Need?

In the United States, the recommended daily intake is “1.1 mg for women” and “1.2 mg for men”. Pregnant or breastfeeding women of all ages should take “1.4 mg per day.”

Functions of Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

B-Vitamins are essential to keep the skin, liver, eyes, and hair healthy. B-complex also plays a role in the nervous system and is necessary for normal brain functioning. They are also known as anti-stress vitamins because B-complex “enhance the body’s immune system during periods of stress.”

Interactions of Vitamin B1 with others      

Do you know? When cooking at a high temperature or for a long time, thiamine will be destroyed.

Certain foods and dietary practices may interact with thiamine, making it harder ‎to absorb by the body. These include:‎

  • drinking a lot of tea or coffee, even decaffeinated
  • regularly eating shellfish and raw fish
  • chewing betel nuts and tea leaves

What is the Role of Supplements?‎

In the U.S., alcoholics are the most at risk for developing these ‎diseases. Doctors use thiamin supplements to treat people going through ‎major alcohol withdrawal.‎

Scientists recommend thiamin as a possible treatment:     

  • Cataracts
  • Kidney disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Before starting any vitamin regimen, be sure to consult your doctor, especially if you are taking thiamin to treat a deficiency.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) – Takeaway

All tissues of your body need thiamine to function properly. Most people get ‎enough thiamine from food. Certain medical conditions and dietary practices ‎can stop the body’s usage of thiamine. This can lead to vitamin B1 deficiency. In that case, supplements might be necessary.

Talk to your healthcare provider before ‎taking any thiamin supplement. It’s key to ensure that you have the right ‎balance of B vitamins in your body.‎

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