Health, Nutrition & Fitness

Vitamin B1 – Foods with Vitamin B 1 and Deficiency of Vitamin B1

Info about Vitamin B1 Thiamin, its source, food containing Vitamin B 1 and symptoms of Vitamin B1 deficiency.

Vitamin B1 or Thiamin known as the “morale” vitamin, vitamin B1 is beneficial for nerve and heart functions and for carbohydrate metabolism. Pregnancy, lactation, increased BMR, and antibiotic will increase the needs. An energy intake from protein and fat increases, vitamin B1 requirement decreases. Body reserves of vitamin B1 are small

So a steady dietary supply of the vitamin is important to avoid deficiency. Because of its central role in energy production, most of the body’s vitamin B1 located in the muscle. Thiamine absorbed from the diet is rapidly transformed in to its active form, thiamin pyrophosphate.

Functions of Vitamin B 1

Energy metabolism – thiamin as its active form TTP (combined with magnesium), is a vital coenzyme in the production of energy in cells.

Nervous system – vitamin B1 or Thiamin located in the nerve cell membrane is important for the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain and peripheral nerves. Vitamin B1 also plays an important role in metabolism of several brain neurotransmitters (including acetylcholine and serotonin).

Protein synthesis – thiamin is important in the synthesis of collagen (the major structural protein in the body). Thiamin deficiency is associated with decreased collagen formation and impaired wound healing.

Food containing Vitamin B1

pork, fortified cereals, dried legumes such as a split peas, brown rice, organ and lean meats, whole grains such as oats and whole grain wheat, nuts, cornmeal, enriched flour or bread, dried milk, wheat germ, dried egg yolk or whole egg, green peas, and seeds.

Vitamin B1 Deficiency

Heavy alcohol consumption reduces absorption of thiamin and interferes with its conversion to TTP.

Many processed food that form a major part of western diets today (e.g., sugar, white flour, white rice, oils, fats, and alcohol) have only trace amounts of thiamin. Infants who are breast feeded by mothers who are thiamin deficient can rapidly develop life-threatening signs of vitamin B1 deficiency. Also because of poor dietary intake, the elderly are at increased risk of deficiency.

Daily consumption of coffee and black tea depletes vitamin B1 stores in the body and may contribute to deficiency.

Folate deficiency impairs absorption of vitamin B1.

Because body reserves of vitamin B1 are low, an increase in requirements – caused by strenuous physical exertion, fever, stress, burns, overactive thyroid, liver disease, pregnancy, lactation, or adolescence, can rapidly lead to deficiency if dietary intake is poor.

Oral contraceptive use sharply increases vitamin B1 requirements. Several other commonly used drugs also interfere with vitamin B1 metabolism.

Sign and symptoms of Vitamin B1 Deficiency

Unrecognized vitamin B1 / Thiamin deficiency can produce ill-defined symptoms, such as irritability, depression, fatigue, and insomnia, particularly in people with increased thiamin requirements(e.g., pregnant and breast feeding women, women taking oral contraception, adolescent, diabetes, heavy alcohol users, the chronically ill.)

Impaired sensation, movement, and reflexes in the arms and legs
Mental confusion
deflects in learning and memory
frequent headache
Staggering gait, poor balance
Muscle tenderness especially in the calf muscles
Muscle weakness
Personality changes ( depression, irritability)
Weight loss
Impaired energy production and fatigue
irregular heartbeat
shortness of breath
Impaired protein(collagen) synthesis, poor wound healing
Loss of appetite
Diminished antibody response to infection
Signs of excess

Respiratory failure and death with large doses
Muscular weakness
Cardiac arrhythmia
Allergic reactions

Vitamin B1 is rapidly excreted from the body by the kidneys. Thus, no evidence of toxicity after oral administration of thiamin has been reported.

Excessive thiamin by injection, however, has been associated with adverse effect, including convulsions, cardiac arrhythmias, and anaphylactic shock.

Use of Thiamin in prevention and therapy

Nerve disorders – because vitamin b1 deficiency can reduce pain tolerance, supplemental thiamin may ease chronic pain. Vitamin B1 may be effective in peripheral neuropathy, particularly in inflammatory nerve disorder. It may also be effective in diabetic neuropathy.

Heart failure – particularly in the elderly, chronic heart failure that responds poorly to conventional medical therapy should raise the suspicion of thiamin deficiency.

CNS disorders – vitamin B1 may be benefit in Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.

Anemia – vitamin B1 deficiency produces an anemia resembling that of folate or vitamin B12 deficiency that responds to thiamin supplementation.

Exercise, physical activity, and sport – strenuous physical work or sports training increases demand for vitamin B1 and supplemental thiamin may improve performance if thiamin status is suboptimal.

Heavy alcohol consumption – supplemental vitamin B1 reduces the risk of deficiency in people who consume large amounts of alcohol.

About the author

Dr. Manisha Bhatia

M.D. (Hom), CICH (Greece)
Dr. (Mrs) Manisha Bhatia is a leading homeopathy doctor working in Jaipur, India. She has studied with Prof. George Vithoulkas at the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy. She is the Director of Asha Homeopathy Medical Center, Jaipur's leading clinic for homeopathy treatment and has been practicing since 2004.

She writes for about homeopathic medicines and their therapeutic indications and homeopathy treatment in various diseases. She is also Associate Professor, HoD and PG Guide at S.K. Homeopathy Medical College. To consult her online, - visit Dr. Bhatia's website.

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