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Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

What is Thiamine (Vitamin B1)?

Thiamine is a vitamin also known as vitamin B1 or thiamin. It was named vitamin B1 because it was the first B vitamin found within the body. It is most commonly known as thiamine, although it can also be referred to as thiamin, thiamine hydrochloride or thiamine mononitrate. Thiamine can be found in both plants and animals and like all B vitamins it is water-soluble, meaning it is not stored by the body.

Benefits of Vitamin B1

Thiamine is used for many different nutritional benefits. It plays a crucial role in certain metabolic reactions. It is necessary to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is used for energy by every cell in the body. It takes this energy from dietary carbohydrates and fats. Vitamin B1 is also known as an “anti-stress” vitamin because it is often thought to help strengthen the immune system and improve the body’s resilience to stressful situations. Thiamine can also be used for digestive problems including poor diet, diarrhea, and ulcerative colitis. Moreover, vitamin B1 has been used for a host of medical reasons such as AIDS, diabetic pain, heart disease, aging, brain damage, motion sickness, and certain vision problems. People have also used thiamine to maintain a positive attitude, enhance learning, increase energy, reduce stress, and improve athletic performance.

Dietary Sources

Most foods contain trace amounts of thiamine. However, larger sources of vitamin B1 include pork, beef, poultry and organ meats. Other rich dietary sources are whole grain cereals and rice, nuts, legumes, bran, yeast, and wheat germ. You can also take thiamine as a supplement. It’s typically found in multivitamins and B complex vitamins. This vitamin complex usually includes vitamin B1 along with vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin). These supplements come in a variety of forms including chewable tablets, softgels, lozenges, and in liquid form. Be sure to check the label as Vitamin B1 may also be written as thiamine hydrochloride or thiamine mononitrate.

Recommended Daily Intake

Since dietary and lifestyle habits can affect your necessary daily intake of vitamins, it’s important to consult your doctor to find out what amount works best for you. As a guideline, the National Academy of Sciences recommends the following daily intake for thiamine:

  • Infants:
    • Newborns, 6 months: 0.2 mg
    • Infants, 7 months to 1 year: 0.3 mg
    • Children, 1 to 3 years: 0.5 m
  • Young Children:
    • Children, 4 to 8 years: 0.6 mg
    • Children, 9 to 13 years: 0.9 mg
  • Teens:
    • Men, 14 to 18 years: 1.2 mg
    • Women, 14 to 18 years: 1 mg
  • Adults:
    • Men, 19 years and older: 1.2 mg
    • Women, 19 years and older: 1.1 mg
    • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 1.4 mg

Thiamine Deficiencies

Since thiamine is present in a lot of foods, most individuals do get the adequate amount of vitamin B1 in their diet. However, there are some factors that increase the risk for deficiency. Individuals who suffer from Crohn's disease or anorexia are at a greater risk of lacking vitamin B1. Alcoholics or individuals undergoing kidney dialysis may also have a deficiency. Furthermore, increased consumption of processed food can also cause a greater risk of having low thiamine levels. Vitamin B1 is one of the nutrients that is most prone to being eliminated from food by modern food processing. Symptoms of thiamine deficiency may include headache, nausea, fatigue, depression, and abdominal pain. Although rare in the United States, it’s important to be aware of vitamin B1 deficiency. Severe and prolonged cases of vitamin B1 deficiency have been known to affect the heart, nervous system, and digestive function.

*This page is for informational purposes only and shouldn't replace medical advice.

Try some Vitamin B1-Rich Foods!