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Vitamin B1 Health Benefits | Sources and Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin B1, scientifically called as “Thiamine”. It is a water soluble vitamin. All living organisms use thiamine, but it is synthesized only in bacteria, fungi and plants. Animals must obtain it from their diet, and thus for us it is an essential nutrient.

Thiamine is one of the 8 B vitamins. These 8 B vitamins are called as B complex vitamins. All the B vitamins help the body convert food into fuel, which is used to produce energy. B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver

What are The Functions of Vitamin B1 in the Body?

Vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient, and all the tissues of the body, including the brain, need thiamine to function properly. The body needs B1 to make ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a molecule that transports energy within cells. Like other B complex vitamins, thiamine is sometimes called an “anti-stress” vit6amin because it may strengthen the immune system and improve the body’s ability to withstand stressful conditions.

What is the Daily Recommended Allowance of vitamin B1?

Newborns               0-6 months                 0.2 mg
Infants                       7 months-1 y             0.3 mg
Children                   1-3 years                     0.5 mg
                                 4-8 years                     0.6 mg
                                   9-13 years                     0.9 mg
                                   14-18 years               1.2 mg
                                   14-18 yrs women       1 mg
Men greater than 19 yrs                             1.2 mg
Women greater than 19 years                   1.1 mg
Pregnant and breast feeding women       1.4 mg

What are the Sources of vitamin B1?

Most foods contain small amounts of vitamin B1. Large amounts can be found in

  • Pork and organ meats
  • Whole grain or enriched cereals and rice
  • Legumes
  • Wheat germ
  • Bran
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Black strap molasses

Vitamin B1 sources

Who are at Risk for Thiamine Deficiency?

Thiamine deficiency is rare but seen in

  • People with crohn’s disease
  • People with anorexia
  • People undergoing kidney dialysis

What are the Symptoms of Thiamine Deficiency?

Vitamin B1 deficiency is most common among people subsisting on white rice or highly refined carbohydrates in developing countries and among alcoholics

Early symptoms are nonspecific. Symptoms are fatigue, irritability, poor memory, sleep disturbances, pericardial pain, anorexia, abdominal discomfort

Thiamine deficiency can cause

  • Beriberi-three types of beriberi are present
  1. Dry beriberi:-peripheral neurologic deficits due to thiamine deficiency. Symptoms are Paraesthesia in the toes, burning in the feet which are severe at night, muscle cramps in the calves, leg pain
  2. Wet beriberi:-it is a myocardial disease due to vitamin B1 deficiency. First symptoms are vasodilation, tachycardia, a wide pulse pressure, warm skin, sweating and lactic acidosis. Later heart failure develops, causing orthopnea, pulmonary and peripheral edema. Vasodilation can continue, sometimes resulting in shock
  3. Infantile beriberi:- occurs in infants( usually by age 3 to 4 weeks) who are breastfeed by thiamin deficient mothers. Heart failure, aphonia and absent deep tendon reflexes are characteristics
  • Wernicke korsakoff syndrome:-it is a thiamine deficient disease linked to alcohol excess and a thiamin deficient diet. Alcohol decreases vitamin B1 absorption in the gut and increases its excretion from the kidneys. Symptoms are involuntary movement of the eye ball, paralysis of eye muscles, mental confusion.

What are the Uses of Vitamin B1 Supplements?

Vitamin B1 is often used in combination with other B vitamins, and found in many vitamin B complex products

  • People take thiamine for conditions related to low levels of thiamine, including beriberi and inflammation of the nerves associated with pellagra or pregnancy
  • Used for digestive problems including poor appetite, ulcerative colitis and ongoing diarrhea
  • Thiamine also used for AIDS and boosting the immune system, prevents cervical cancer
  • Some people use thiamine for maintaining a positive mental attitude, enhancing learning abilities, fighting stress and prevent memory loss including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Taking thiamine supplements may help to heart patients because many people with heart failure take diuretics which removes excess body fluid and may also cause the body to get rid of too much thiamine

Available Forms of Thiamine:-

Thiamine can be found in

  • Multi vitamins
  • B complex vitamins
  • Soft gels
  • Lozenges
  • It may also be labeled as thiamine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate

Thiamine is generally safe. Very high doses may cause stomach upset.

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