What is thiamine?
Thiamine is an essential nutrient that all tissues of the body need to function properly. Thiamine was the first B vitamin that scientists discovered. This is why its name carries the number 1. Only small amounts are stored in the liver, but storage only lasts at most 18 days so a daily intake of thiamin-rich foods is needed. The absorption of thiamine occurs in the duodenum, a part of the digestive system. Just another reason to have a healthy gut microbiome!! It all works together for your bodyís health!
What does vitamin b1/ thiamine do?
The body needs thiamine to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is a molecule that transports energy within cells or simply helps the body turn carbohydrates from food into energy or fuel for the body. It is essential for glucose metabolism, and it helps prevent complications in the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines. B vitamins are necessary for keeping the liver, skin, hair, and eyes healthy.† The B vitamins are sometimes called anti-stress vitamins, because they boost the bodyís immune system in times of stress.
It is also involved in the flow of electrolytes into and out of muscle and nerve cells. So, to sum it up, Thiamin is necessary for the growth, development and function of cells.
Health benefits of vitamin B1-
1.††††††††††† Some athletes use thiamin to help improve their performance. It is not a prohibited substances for athletes in the U.S.
2.††††††††††† Inherited metabolic disorders. Research on thiamin use for specific conditions shows oral thiamin helps temporarily correct different types of medical conditions caused by genetic defects ó most commonly inherited from both parents ó that interfere with the body's metabolism. One example is maple syrup urine disease.† https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-thiamin/art-20366430
3.††††††††††† Patients who may receive thiamin to treat low levels of vitamin B1 include those with peripheral neuritis, which is an inflammation of the nerves outside the brain, or pellagra.† https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/219545#benefits
4.††††††††††† Other conditions in which thiamin may help include: AIDS, canker sores, cataracts, glaucoma and other vision problems, cerebellar syndrome, a type of brain damage, cervical cancer, diabetic pain, stress,
heart disease, kidney disease in patients with diabetes type 2, motion sickness and people with a weakened immune system. Watch for more research is each of these areas.
5.††††††††††† People who have had bariatric surgery, are chronic alcoholics and people who use drugs such as the diuretic furosemide (Lasix), are at risk of a thiamin deficiency and may benefit from Vitamin B1.
Deficiency of Vitamin B1 or thiamine-
A thiamin deficiency in the U.S. is rare, as most people meet the RDA through their diets. It can occur from a low intake of foods containing thiamin, decreased absorption in the gut, or increased losses in urine such as with alcohol abuse or certain medications like diuretics. With Thiamin deficiency there is weight loss and anorexia. There may be mental problems, including confusion and short-term memory loss. Muscles become weak, and cardiovascular symptoms like an enlarged heart may occur. A more severe thiamin deficiency can lead to beriberi.
Beriberi is a deficiency of thiamin. Beriberi can affect the cardiovascular system or central nervous system. The condition is rare in western countries, where most people get enough thiamin in their diet, but the condition is relatively common elsewhere in the world. To treat beriberi, doctors typically focus on reintroducing enough thiamin into the diet, but more serious cases may require extensive medical intervention. People at higher risk for developing beriberi include:
Breastfed babies whose mothers are thiamin deficient, those who eat a high-carbohydrate diet, especially refined carbs, People engaged in extremely high amounts of physical activity or exercise, anyone with hyperthyroidism, which might prevent thiamin absorption, People with certain digestive problems that can interfere with nutrient absorption, particularly as they age, Anyone with high levels of stress. Your risk of beriberi may increase if you're on dialysis or taking diuretics. Doctors typically take steps to monitor thiamine levels during these treatments. There are two types of beriberi that affect different parts of the body. Both can be dangerous: 1. Wet beriberi affects the cardiovascular system. Since it involves the functioning of the heart, it's a life-threatening medical emergency that needs immediate treatment. 2. Dry beriberi can damage the central nervous system (CNS). It disrupts motor functioning (the movement of the muscles). It can also cause impaired reflexes and numbness in the extremities, but itís generally easier to treat than beriberi that impacts the heart. Other possible symptoms of beriberi include: Weakness and muscle loss, Mental confusion, Tingling or loss of sensitivity in the fingers or feet, Fatigue, Rapid heartbeat, Chest pain, Nausea or vomiting, Fever. If these symptoms arenít attended to when they first appear, beriberi may progress into Korsakoff syndrome. Good nutrition is the first line of defense against beriberi. Once beriberi is diagnosed and, assuming it isnít too advanced, doctors will try to correct the deficiency by recommending a thiamin-rich diet. Lack of thiamin, or vitamin B1, in the diet will lead to beriberi, no matter where you live in the world. So, make sure you have a thiamine rich diet.
Another result of serious thiamin deficiency often seen with alcohol abuse is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wernicke's encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disorder caused by the lack of thiamine (vitamin B1). It may result from alcohol abuse, dietary deficiencies, prolonged vomiting, eating disorders, or the effects of chemotherapy. B1 deficiency causes damage to the brain's thalamus and hypothalamus. Symptoms include mental confusion, vision problems, coma, hypothermia, low blood pressure, and lack of muscle coordination (ataxia). Korsakoff syndrome (also called Korsakoff's amnesic syndrome) is a memory disorder that results from vitamin B1 deficiency and is associated with alcoholism. Korsakoff's syndrome damages nerve cells and supporting cells in the brain and spinal cord, as well as the part of the brain involved with memory. Most symptoms of Wernicke's encephalopathy can be reversed if detected and treated promptly and completely. Treatment involves replacement of thiamine and providing proper nutrition and hydration. This is a rare but serious condition and is not reversible once the damage sets in.
Where is it found?
1.††††††††††† Food- Most people can get all the thiamine they need from food. It is commonly found in many plant and animal-derived foods. You can find thiamine in pork, poultry, liver, fish, seafood, sunflower seeds, nuts, dried beans, tofu, soybeans, whole grain cereals, lentils, legumes, bread, rice, yogurt and yeast. Many whole grain products are fortified with thiamine, such as: cereal, bread, brown rice and pasta. Fruit and vegetables that contain it include cauliflower, oranges, potatoes, asparagus, green peas, squash and kale. Keep in mind heating, cooking, and processing foods, and boiling them in water, destroy thiamin. As vitamin B1 is water-soluble, it dissolves into cooking water.
2.††††††††††† Supplements- Certain medical conditions and dietary practices can cancel out the bodyís usage of thiamine. This can lead to deficiency. In these cases, supplements may be necessary. You can find vitamin B1 in any natural grocery store, online or your local pharmacy. Check with your health care provider.
How much do I need daily?
Because B vitamins cannot be stored in your body, you must consume them daily. RDA: The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men ages 19 and older is 1.2 mg daily, and for women in the same age range 1.1 mg daily. For pregnancy and lactation, the amount increases to 1.4 mg daily. UL: A Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily dose unlikely to cause adverse side effects in the general population. There is no UL for thiamin due to a lack of reports showing negative effects from high thiamin intakes. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-b1/
A healthy and varied diet will provide most people with enough thiamin. However, for people who have had bariatric surgery, have conditions such as HIV/AIDS, are chronic alcoholics or use certain drugs, a thiamin supplement might be necessary. Thiamin is generally safe.
Now we know what we need-
Here are a few prize food choices for vitamin b1:
Seaweed (Such as Spirulina) ó 1 cup seaweed= 2.66 milligrams
Now some more normal foods-
Macadamia nuts- 1 cup= 1.6 mg
Sunflower seeds- Ĺ cup = 1 mg thiamin
Black beans- 1/3 cup= .58 mg
Lentils= 1 cup cooked= .53 mg
Navy, white, pinto beans- 1 cup cooked= .46- .53 mg
Beef liver- 3 oz cooked= .32 mg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is an essential nutrient required by the body for maintaining cellular function and consequently a wide array of organ functions. All tissues of the body need thiamine to function properly. When you eat thiamine-rich foods, they help the body convert carbohydrates to energy, which is important for your metabolism, focus and overall strength. It also plays a role in healthy liver function and is needed for healthy skin, eyes, hair and nails. Most people get enough thiamine from food which can be easily accomplished with a varied diet. In the United States, people consume around half of their vitamin B1 intake in foods that naturally contain thiamin, while the rest comes from foods that are fortified with the vitamin- such as fortified breads and cereals. With alcohol abuse and other health conditions as discussed earlier, a deficiency of thiamin leads to a breakdown of the body, particularly the nervous and circulatory systems. Your health care provider will provide direction for thiamine supplementation. As always- a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy will meet your thiamine daily needs!