Thiamin (thiamine), or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods, added to foods, and sold as a supplement. Thiamin plays a vital role in the growth and function of various cells. Only small amounts are stored in the liver, so a daily intake of thiamin-rich foods is needed.
What is the function of vitamin B1 in our body?
Thiamin (vitamin B1) helps the body’s cells change carbohydrates into energy. The main role of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and nervous system.
Thiamin also plays a role in muscle contraction and conduction of nerve signals.
Thiamin is essential for the metabolism of pyruvate, which is an important molecule in several chemical reactions in the body.
Thiamin is found naturally in meat, fish, and whole grains. It is also added to bread, cereals, and baby formulas.
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Beans, lentils
- Green peas
- Enriched cereals, bread, noodles, rice
- Sunflower seeds
What causes thiamin deficiency?
Thiamin deficiency can occur due to poor dietary intake, poor gastrointestinal absorption, and, sometimes, due to rapid weight loss.
Children who may have poor nutritional status (malnutrition) or with tendencies for limited dietary intake and not on vitamin supplementation – for example, children with autism or with eating disorders – may be prone to thiamin deficiency.
Poor absorption may be seen in children with short bowel syndrome (from many causes) and sometimes in children with disorders affecting the mucosa (lining of the bowel), who also have severe malnutrition. For adults, chronic alcoholism is a well-known cause of thiamin deficiency, as it decreases B1 absorption and storage.
Patients with poorly controlled Type 1 or 2 diabetes may be prone to developing thiamin deficiency, due to high urine loss. The relevance of low thiamin status and the benefit of extra supplementation in these patients are not clear at this point.
Patients with HIV/AIDS may develop low thiamin status, secondary to a poor nutritional state.
Symptoms appearing with mild to moderate deficiency:
- Weight loss
- Confusion, memory loss
- Muscle weakness
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Lowered immunity
Did You Know?
- Thiamin gets destroyed with high-heat cooking or long cooking times. It also leaches into the water and will be lost in any cooking or soaking water that is thrown out. It may also be removed during food processing, such as with refined white bread and rice. This is why thiamin is enriched or added back, to breads, cereals, and grains that have undergone processing.
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.
Article Credit & Source:
- https://health.usnews.com/ by Dr.Kadakkal Radhakrishnan