What is vitamin B1 (Thiamin) and what does it do…

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is a water-soluble vitamin.  It helps to create energy in the body as well as enhances brain and heart function.

Where can I get it?

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is available in a range of foods such as milk, dairy products, cereals, meats, fruit, eggs and legumes. White and brown flour are fortified with vitamin B1 as a matter of law in the UK.

We may run in to difficulty of we are diary intolerant, yeast and wheat intolerant;  as the difficulty is in consumption of enough of this vitamin to make sure that we are fully healthy. It is as well to plan the menu around which  nutrients, vitamins and minerals the body needs, to make sure we are getting all we need.

Vitamin B1 is also available in supplemental form  is a good idea if we are not able to consume the necessary foods in enough volume to make sure our intake is minimally the ‘recommended daily amount’ – which incidentally is the recommended dose for people who are already healthy, for those of us who are deficient the dose would be higher.

What function does it have in the body?

Vitamin B1 is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids ( includes fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and who’s main function includes storage of energy).  Vitamin B1 is easily absorbed in to the system and once it is, it is carried by blood electrolytes to the various tissues and organs such as the liver, kidneys and heart.  It is also carried to the brain, intestines and muscles attached to the skeleton.  It is recognized as being linked to energy and the support to the body in the creation of energy.

What do I get out of it?

It has been well reported that vitamin B1 is considered key in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease but it is also useful to people who are into sports and exercise as a support to the muscles as well as pregnant ladies benefiting in the relief from muscle cramps during their pregnancy. And the information above would suggest that the heart, brain, kidneys and other organs would rely on this vitamin for the best function.

What if I don’t have enough?

Deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamin) can result in abnormalities of the nerve and brain function or confusion as well as cause problems with the heart and nervous system (Beriberi).  Chronic alcoholism can bring about severe depletion of vitamin B1 in the body and deficiencies are noted in cancer patients.  Pregnant women can become deficient in vitamin B1, the manifestation of which can be cramps in the leg muscles.  Absorption of vitamin B1 can be impaired in the elderly or those who are vomiting or have diarrhea.  Also when we do not take in enough vitamin B1, the body will hold on to it, but as it is used up and not being replaced, we can quickly fall in to deficiency.

I heard you can take too much…

Considering that the recommended daily amount is 100mg per day, a study has been done on  7g of vitamin B1 where there were some adverse symptoms, which reversed as soon as the dose was brought down.  It would be very difficult to take  7g of vitamin B1 – first, you would not be able to eat enough food to get  7g of B1, neither would you take 70 capsules of vitamin B1 100mg!

There have been no reports of any adverse effects of taking vitamin B1 at all.  The above test was set deliberately much higher than the norm for the reason of finding a problem, and the problem was found at  7g!

Normal intake through food is 2mg for men and 1.6mg for women however for elderly people, the intake could be far less.  Food supplements account for 18% rise in vitamin B1 for men and 30% for women.  It is wise to base your vitamin B1 intake in accordance with your activity levels and also if one is pregnant.

Supplemental doses are considered ideal at 100mg per day as well as what we eat during our day. If we have a lot of activity going on, it may be that you will need more.

Information Source:

Vitamins and Minerals an Overview of Benefits
Heath Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA)
Dr. Derek Shrimpton  and  Professor David Richardson


6 responses to “What is vitamin B1 (Thiamin) and what does it do…

  1. Brian Williams

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