Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin essential for energy metabolism, cell growth, and development. The best source to get this vitamin is through diet. An interesting fact about thiamine is that it is stored in the body for a very short time; therefore, our body needs a continuous supply of this vitamin via food. Food choices are important to maintain healthy levels of this vitamin.
Food sources of thiamine
Thiamine is obtained from whole grains, cereals, meat, fish, bread, and other sources. The daily recommended dietary allowance for men is 1.2 mg, whereas for women, it is 1.1 mg.
Some of the diet tips that can boost Vitamin B1 levels are:
- Cooked barley and boiled black beans.
- Egg noodles
- Boiled rice.
- Toasted sunflower seeds.
- Plain yogurt.
- Boiled corn
- Beas and lentils
- Dry roasted soy beans
Other sources of Thiamine:
Our body needs Vitamin B1 to produce energy and maintain overall health. Thiamine supplements are taken to prevent deficiency of this crucial vitamin. The dosage depends on the age and gender. These supplements are taken in both physiological and pathological conditions like pregancy, diabetes, heart diseases, etc.
Health benefits of Thiamine
This vitamin helps you get rid of stress.
Some authors call thiamine an anti-stress vitamin. It has been used at 250 mg/day to treat anxiety. How this vitamin could help someone fight depressive symptoms? This vitamin could help one fight symptoms like extreme tiredness, not being able to sleep and eat properly, nightmares, diarrhoea, constipation, stomach pain, chest pain, aggression, and headache.
Promising in maintaining heart health
Vitamin B1 is an essential micronutrient for energy production in the heart. After it is absorbed in the jejunum and ileum, free thiamine enters the brain and is phosphorylated to thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), the biologically active form. According to a study, 33 % of heart failure patients have thiamine deficiency. This vitamin is vital for energy production, and its deficiency limits the energy available for heart muscles to contract. This demonstrates the importance of this vitamin in maintaining heart health.
A key to keeping muscular weakness away
We know carbohydrates are the primary source of energy. This vitamin produces energy from food. It helps in conducting nerve signals and muscle contraction. For pyruvate metabolism, thiamin is the key. In skeletal muscles, its deficiency decreases the production of ATP and increases pyruvate and lactate, causing threatening metabolic acidosis.
Thiamine-deficient patients often complain of myalgia. What is myalgia? It means muscle pain. There are cases reported in literature where such patients experience muscular weakness of the lower limbs with diminished response to tapping.
A vitamin that your brain needs the most
This vitamin plays a pivotal role in physiological functions, glucose metabolism, the maintenance of nerve membrane function, and myelin and neurotransmitter synthesis. The brain needs more energy and a constant supply to function. Let us now understand how it helps the brain.
Thiamine enables biochemical steps in energy production like the pentose phosphate pathway, glycolysis, and the Krebs cycle. These processes supply nerves with ATP and NADPH (energy forms). It is also involved in nerve conduction velocity because it aids in myelin sheath maintenance while exerting a protective effect on nerve cells owing to its antioxidative properties. It also protects cells from damage caused by high glucose.
Overall, this vitamin is important for the normal functioning of nerve cells. If the body is deficient in thiamine, neuronal damage occurs. The deficiency of this vitamin affects both the central and peripheral nervous systems. The features of deficiency are polyneuritis (inflammation of nerves), paralysis, pain, changes in temperature sensitivity, loss of vibratory sense, paralysis, muscle weakness, etc.
What is a thiamine deficiency?
Insufficient dietary intake, alcoholism, HIV, chronic illness, malnutrition, malabsorption, dialysis, diarrhoea, peptic ulcer, and bariatric surgery are the major causes of Vitamin B1 deficiency.
In the early stages of deficiency, one may experience symptoms like:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Short-term memory loss
- Muscle weakness
Health conditions due to thiamine deficiency
Beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome are conditions associated with thiamine deficiency. In beriberi, symptoms of tingling, numbness in the hands and feet, muscle loss, and poor reflexes occur because of insufficient dietary intake. In severe cases, the condition may progress to congestive heart failure, causing oedema of the lower limbs.
Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is common among those who are chronic alcoholic. This syndrome presents with paralysis of eye muscles, changes in mental status, poor muscle control, difficulty learning new things, and difficulty walking and balancing.
Interesting facts about Vitamin B1
- Thiamine is the first discovered vitamin.
- Heating and processing foods reduces thiamine content. Diets rich in polished rice/processed grains have poor thiamine content.
- This vitamin is water soluble, so a certain amount is lost when cooking water is thrown.
- Scientists are studying if benfotiamine, a synthetic thiamin, can help diabetes patients with nerve damage as they have low levels of this vitamin.
- Scientists are researching if this vitamin could help such patients improve mental function in Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cancer patients often have Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
- Unhealthy habits like excessive intake of soft drinks, junk food, Smoking, alcohol, tea, and tobacco consumption also cause vitamin B1 deficiency.
Role of Thiamine supplements in promoting overall health
How are thiamine supplements helpful in deficiency disorders?
Can supplements prevent beriberi and Wernick Korsakoff syndrome? Since thiamine deficiency can lead to complications and poor health, supplements are taken to maintain good general health. Let us understand this more in detail.
There are two ways to prevent vitamin B1 deficiency: food and supplements. Every phase of health is not the same. There could be phases of malabsorption due to gastrointestinal problems, increased demand in pregnancy and lactation, chronic conditions like diabetes, illness, etc. During this time, diet alone is insufficient to meet the body’s requirement for thiamine. In such cases, supplements take charge of overall health by maintaining energy, promoting healthy brain function, relieving depressive symptoms, etc.
Studies mention that thiamine supplements maintain an adequate level of thiamine and prevent deficiency conditions like Beriberi.
This vital vitamin is responsible for crucial functions of the body. After weight loss surgeries, thiamine deficiency develops. Do you know after undergoing weight loss surgery, one may develop Wernick-korsakoff sydrome due to non-compliance with vitamin intake? In this case, vitamin B1 deficiency is “prevented” by ensuring intake of daily multivitamin supplement containing 100% to 200% of the recommended amount of thiamine. Without supplements, deficiency cannot be prevented in these cases.
Allithiamine is a dietary supplement that helps the body maintain sufficient thiamine levels and combat deficiency. The professional formulation is supportive for muscles, brain and heart. It fills the nutrition gaps by supporting proper skeletal functioning, cardiovascular activity, nervous system problems, and healthy brain function.
Doctors recommend good-quality supplements
Body cannot store thiamine in much amount. After gastric surgery, thiamine deficiency develops. Beriberi may develop within weeks to months after surgery due to poor nutrition, vomiting, etc. National bariatric and gastrointestinal surgical societies recommend taking high-quality oral multivitamin supplement for daily thiamine replacement following gastric surgery. Nutriessential is the pioneer in selling high-quality dietary supplements. Visit our website and learn more about our scientifically proven formulations.
How to get good results from thiamine supplements?
We have tips that can help you gain the most from dietary supplements.
- Avoid smoking.
- Limit intake of tea and coffee.
- Limit alcohol.
- If you are diabetic, check blood glucose levels every 3 months and 6 months.
- Always discuss complete medical history including medicines with your doctor. Certain medicines can cause thiamine deficiency.
- Always consult a Nutritionist to get the best supplement advice.
Thiamine is one of the most important vitamins in our body. It is important to know the importance of this vitamin and maintain it through a healthy diet. There are benefits of taking thiamine supplements not only in preventing deficiency in high-risk individuals but also in maintaining body functioning.